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Washington LCB Updates DIA Map for Social Equity Cannabis Licensees



On February 2, 2023, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“LCB”) released an update regarding the interactive mapping tool for determining whether people meet have lived in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (“DIA”). As we wrote about here, having lived in a DIA for at least five years between 1980 and 2010 is one of three possible eligibility criteria for the forthcoming Social Equity in Cannabis (“SEIC”) program, which opens for applications March 1. We wrote about that here. The map can be found by a link on the LCB’s website, or here.

Increased threshold rate in the new DIA map

Prior to the update, to qualify as a DIA, an individual census tract must have been in the top 20% on all of the following indicators:

  • high poverty rate;
  • high rate of participation in income-based federal programs;
  • High rate of unemployment; and
  • High rate of convictions.

The update states the LCB has increased the qualifying threshold to now include census tracts in the top 30% of the above factors. We note our concerns from a recent post about the mapping tool that while it may be safe to assume that it relies on 10-year national census data, it is far from clear what exactly an eligibility showing on the mapping tool really means.

Ultimately, the mapping tool is only intended for applicants to collect information about their eligibility. As the LCB notes on the mapping tool “The final determination about whether an applicant lived in a disproportionately impacted area will be made by the third-party reviewer”.

Impact of the new DIA map

The LCB’s update states that community members were concerned that “the maps did not identify enough places that were more likely to have been impacted by the war on drugs”. This is a quick acquiescence by the LCB to concerns of community members and stakeholders, which should be applauded. It’s likely that the 20% threshold was too low and as barring many prospective applicants from establishing eligibility for an SEIC application.

It should come as no surprise that limiting DIA eligibility to census tracts in the top 20% of poverty, unemployment, and criminal conviction rates resulted in too few prospective applicants having interest in the program, and others being barred from eligibility on this basis. Many people having lived or living in such census tracts, by definition, may have a tough time starting a retail cannabis operation for a host of reasons. The absence of disposable time and income necessary to either quit a job and invest in or spend time raising capital to start a cannabis business venture being the most obvious.

Starting and operating cannabis businesses is not a cheap proposition. These businesses are subject to extraordinary tax burdens, a shortage of traditional banking and lending opportunities, and an absurdly restrictive regulatory landscape. These factors are only a few of the many challenges Washington cannabis businesses face that make for slim margins, particularly in a bottomed out regional market for the commodity.

By increasing the threshold DIA rate to 30%, it stands to reason that more prospective applicants will become eligible that have the time and capital to apply for these licenses. Thanks to continuing community member and stakeholder involvement in the development of the program it seems unlikely that the increase will have any negative impact on its purpose. This is the right move by the LCB and will hopefully increase the number of eligible applicants.

The application window opens for 30 days on March 1 and hopefully this development increases opportunities for more people disaffected by the war on drugs. Let’s see how it goes.

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Weed Smokers Needed – Get Paid to Smoke a Joint and Talk about How It Makes You Feel, Would You Join This New Medical Study?




smoke a joint for money

The cannabis industry has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years, with increasing legalization and a burgeoning market for products. Amidst this expansion, a unique opportunity has emerged for individuals to contribute to the scientific understanding of cannabis while earning compensation. A company is willing to pay participants to consume marijuana joints and participate in research studies, sparking curiosity and interest. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of cannabis research, exploring the reasons behind this initiative, the potential benefits, and the intricacies of such studies.

The Purpose of Cannabis Research

Cannabis, a plant with a rich history, has been shrouded in mystery and controversy. As societal attitudes and laws evolve, the need for comprehensive research intensifies. Scientists aim to unravel the complexities of cannabis, investigating its effects on human physiology, psychology, and behavior. This knowledge will inform product development, potential therapeutic applications, and responsible use guidelines.


Objectives of the Study

The primary objectives of the study encompass a broad range of scientific and consumer-focused goals. By paying individuals to consume pre-rolled cannabis joints, the company aims to achieve the following:

  • Understanding Cannabis Effects: To gain a deeper understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of cannabis consumption, including both immediate and long-term impacts.

  • Consumer Preferences: To identify consumer preferences regarding different strains, potency levels, and consumption methods, which can inform product development and marketing strategies.

  • Safety and Efficacy: To assess the safety and efficacy of various cannabis products, providing valuable insights for regulatory bodies and healthcare providers.

  • Public Health Insights:To contribute to the broader body of knowledge regarding cannabis use and its implications for public health.

The Role of Cannabis in Scientific Research

Cannabis has been a subject of scientific interest for decades, with research focusing on its medicinal properties, potential health benefits, and risks. The legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in various regions have paved the way for more comprehensive studies, yet challenges remain due to regulatory constraints and the stigma associated with cannabis use.

  1. Medicinal Properties: Research has shown that cannabis can be effective in managing conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. This study aims to further explore these medicinal benefits.

  2. Recreational Use: Understanding the patterns and effects of recreational cannabis use can inform public health initiatives and harm reduction strategies.

  3. Policy Development: Data collected from such studies can support evidence-based policy development, helping to create regulations that balance public safety with individual freedoms.


Eligibility and Participation

Individuals interested in participating must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Age: 21+ years old

  • Health status: Generally healthy, with no severe medical conditions

  • Cannabis experience: Active users or willing to try cannabis

 Benefits for Participants

Participants will undergo thorough screenings, including medical evaluations and psychological assessments. Those selected will receive compensation for their involvement, which may include:

  • Financial Compensation: Participants are paid for their time and involvement, providing an additional incentive to take part in the study.

  • Personal Insights:By participating, individuals can gain a better understanding of how different cannabis products affect them personally.

  • Contributing to Science: Participants play a crucial role in advancing scientific knowledge and informing future cannabis-related policies and products.

  1. Safe Environment: The controlled setting ensures that participants can consume cannabis safely, with medical supervision and support available if needed.

Ethical Consideration

Conducting research involving cannabis consumption requires careful consideration of ethical issues to protect participants and ensure the integrity of the study

  1. Informed Consent: Ensuring that participants are fully informed about the study’s objectives, procedures, and potential risks is paramount.

  2. Confidentiality: Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of participants’ data is a key ethical concern.

  3. Risk Management: Implementing measures to mitigate any potential risks associated with cannabis consumption, including providing medical support if necessary.

  4. Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to all relevant regulations and guidelines to ensure the study is conducted ethically and legally.

Potential Challenges and Limitations

Despite the promising aspects of this initiative, several challenges and limitations must be acknowledged and addressed. This challenges include:

  • Regulatory Hurdles: Navigating the complex and often restrictive regulatory landscape surrounding cannabis research can be challenging.

  • Participant Variability: Differences in individual responses to cannabis can make it difficult to draw generalized conclusions from the data.

  • Stigma and Perception: The stigma associated with cannabis use may deter some individuals from participating in the study.

  • Data Interpretation: Ensuring the accurate interpretation of data, especially when dealing with subjective experiences and self-reported outcomes.

Implications for the Cannabis Industry

The findings from this study could have significant implications for  the cannabis industry, influencing product development, marketing strategies, and regulatory frameworks.

  1. Product Development: Insights into consumer preferences and effects can guide the development of new cannabis products that meet market demands and safety standards.

  2. Marketing Strategies: Understanding how different demographics respond to cannabis can inform targeted marketing efforts and improve consumer engagement.

  3. Regulatory Frameworks: The data collected can support the creation of evidence-based regulations that promote safe and responsible cannabis use.

  4. Industry Standards: Establishing industry-wide standards for product safety, quality, and efficacy based on scientific evidence.

Future Directions and Research Opportunities

This initiative represents a significant step forward in cannabis research, but it also highlights the need for continued exploration and study.

  1. Longitudinal Studies: Future research should include long-term studies to assess the chronic effects of regular cannabis use.

  2. Diverse Populations: Including a diverse range of participants can help ensure that findings are applicable to a broader population.

  3. Cross-Disciplinary Research: Collaborating with experts from various fields, such as pharmacology, psychology, and public health, can provide a more comprehensive understanding of cannabis use.

  4. Technological Integration: Utilizing advanced technologies, such as biometric monitoring and data analytics, can enhance the accuracy and depth of research findings.


The initiative to pay individuals for consuming pre-rolled cannabis joints as part of scientific research marks a novel and important development in the study of cannabis. By offering financial compensation and conducting the study in a controlled environment, the company aims to gather valuable data on the effects, safety, and consumer preferences related to cannabis use. This research has the potential to significantly impact public health, policy, and industry practices, contributing to a more informed and balanced understanding of cannabis. As the landscape of cannabis research continues to evolve, such initiatives underscore the importance of scientific inquiry in shaping the future of this dynamic and growing industry.





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What Hunter Biden’s Verdict Means for Cannabis Users




I wrote about Robert Hunter Biden’s indictment for violation of federal gun laws in a post entitled “What the Hunter Biden Indictment Means for Cannabis Users” back in September 2023. On June 11, 2024, a jury in a federal district court in Delaware found Hunter guilty of three felony counts. Today I want to look at how this could affect cannabis users.

Cannabis legalization and gun control laws

Below is a list of prior posts from our blog on the intersection between cannabis legalization and federal gun control laws, which give a lot of background to what this post discusses:

Without rehashing these prior posts, the main issue is that federal law prohibits ownership or possession of guns by persons who are addicted to or unlawfully use controlled substances. This includes cannabis, even in states where it is legal, and even if it is for purely medical purposes. In fact, the ATF’s required form to purchase a firearm states this clearly.

In 2022, the US Supreme Court rendered a decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which changed the tests courts use to determine whether laws infringe the Second Amendment.

Following Bruen, numerous federal court challenges have been lodged against the federal prohibition on gun possession or ownership by cannabis users. Many of these cannabis-related challenges have been successful. In fact, federal courts have already found different federal firearm restrictions unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on a similar challenge (not cannabis-related) this month.

In other words, it’s likely that in the next few years the US Supreme Court will consider an appeal regarding cannabis users’ gun rights. Based on my review of the current landscape of decisions, I believe the US Supreme Court would hold that cannabis users still have Second Amendment rights, but it would qualify that decision by allowing restrictions on possession by persons under the influence of cannabis.

The Hunter Biden matter

Now, how does this relate to Hunter Biden? Hunter’s case involved allegations that he was addicted to crack cocaine (not cannabis) when he purchased a firearm. Two of the charges related to false statements on governmental forms, and one related to possession of a gun in violation of federal law. As mentioned, the jury found him guilty on all three charges.

Once the Delaware court sentences Hunter, he is likely to challenge the above-mentioned federal laws on the grounds that they are unconstitutional under Bruen. While crack is obviously much different from cannabis, federal gun control laws treat all controlled substances the same. In other words, the law that Hunter was found guilty of violating would also apply to similarly situated cannabis users. Likewise, if the law is held to be unconstitutional with respect to drug users, it would likely apply equally to Hunter and cannabis users.

All that said, the difficulty for Hunter will be in the fact that he was charged for lying on a federal form. Even if the prohibition on gun ownership by drug users were held unconstitutional, there is still the problem that what he wrote on a federal form was not accurate. This is also an issue that some of the cannabis challengers could face as well.

What’s next for cannabis users and gun control laws

Ultimately, these federal challenges have a long way to go, and there is always the possibility that he is pardoned before an appeal is exhausted. That said, it’ll be interesting to watch folks from very different political persuasions linking up to challenge federal gun laws. As always, we’ll keep posting with more updates, so stay tuned to the blog.

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Will the German Cannabis Market be Worth $100 Billion in the Next 5 Years?




german cannabis market size

Germany Legalized Recreational Cannabis

The Biggest EU Market For Weed Recently Legalized Weed For Adult Use! What’s Next For Weed In Europe?

Last March, Germany announced that they would be legalizing recreational weed.

Thousands of German residents are relieved that the country has finally legalized adult use marijuana; medical use has been legal since 2017 but the German marijuana market has been plagued with issues. These include extremely strict regulations, access and supply issues. After all, cultivation (as well as possession) of marijuana was illegal, as per the German Federal Narcotics Act. The law only made exceptions for specific and rare circumstances, which added complexity to the legal framework.


Yet, given the sheer size of Germany’s medical marijuana market – with approximately 6.71 million people who were taking cannabis for therapeutic reasons in 2022, one can say that these problems are expected.

And despite having medical marijuana laws, the black market is still prevalent in Germany. Young people and minors always found a way to buy weed off the streets, which was becoming a problem. Other issues they faced, which is common among other countries where recreational use still isn’t legal, include contaminated weed.  

Finally, as of April 1, 2024, Germany became the third European country to legalize weed for recreational use. According to the government, there would be other benefits to legalizing cannabis for personal use, such as tackling the illegal drug trade, minimizing the risk of contaminated weed, and allowing police the resources to go after actual serious crimes.


According to the new law, adults can possess as much as 25 grams of weed for recreational use. In addition, adults are now allowed to grow up to 3 cannabis plants at home. Consumption of weed is restricted to no more than 100 meters of a school or playground entrance, confirms the AP. Furthermore, Germans above the age of 18 will be allowed to join cannabis clubs, which are nonprofit organizations with 500 members maximum. Individuals can only be a member of one cannabis club at a time.


The law also states that marijuana use will still be illegal for minors.


“This is better for real addiction help, prevention for children and young people and for combating the black market, for which there will soon be an alternative,” wrote Germany’s Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach in X.

The government will also be working on amnesty for marijuana-related crimes, since they are no longer considered illegal in the country. This will give those convicted of cannabis crimes in the past a chance to reverse these charges, after being reviewed by the judicial system.


Of course, the legalization is not without criticism, although that is only normal, as we’ve seen in other nations. According to Katja Seidel, who works as a therapist in a marijuana addiction center focusing on young children: “From our point of view, the law as it is written is a disaster,” she told the AFP. The police have also expressed worries that it will be a challenge to enforce the laws. “From April 1, our colleagues will find themselves in situations of conflict with citizens, as uncertainty reigns on both sides,” said GdP police union Vice President, Alexander Poitz.

Biggest EU Market For Legal Weed: What Can Germany Expect On The Economic Side?


Aside from being the third nation in the EU to legalize adult-use cannabis, Germany is now also the biggest legal weed market. The eyes have been on Germany for several years now, especially among those who want a piece of the pie: being the largest cannabis market in the EU also means that businesses and investors can expect to reap generous rewards after legalization.


A few days before April 1st, the decriminalization date, marijuana stocks already began skyrocketing. Out of these companies, Canopy Growth saw the biggest stock price rise, with over 50% year to date, according to Investor Place. “Germany’s reform brings significant advancements in patient access to medical cannabis and a much-needed liberal approach to cannabis that we have advocated in favor of,” said Dirk Heitepriem, the head of Aurora Europe’s external affairs has said.


We can expect the medical marijuana market in Germany to grow like a weed, and in an impressive timescale. That said, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that there are improvements made in terms of patient access and supply.


There will also be a growing number of opportunities for equipment, facility rentals, jobs and services, and other ancillary businesses. The growth of the adult-use market itself may be slow to start with, especially because there are financial issues affecting the market, caused by inflation, rising interest rates, and other factors. Thankfully, the German government is supportive of that; the Growth Opportunities Act will support and facilitate capital access, research, and help simplify taxation issues.


There will still be the usual challenges, such as ensuring that the German recreational cannabis laws comply with EU laws as well as international drug treaties. They will have to develop effective regulations to prevent any loopholes when it comes to legal purchases, enforce the laws, work out the logistics, and so on.




This year marks a new era in Germany, though their laws are still stricter than other jurisdictions around the world. Regardless, it’s a start; experts forecast the market to be worth as much as $100 billion come 2030, so we may soon be witnessing the growth of a giant in the MMJ industry in Europe!





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