ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 7 - November

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 134 of 163

illustration by luke wilson (portrait) Nearly half of all states have legalized medicinal marijuana, with Colorado and Washington serving as bellwethers for recreational use, and the US is amid an end to a prohibition on par with that of alcohol. But just how will the Green Rush grow? And why is it attracting some surprising advocates among doctors, entrepreneurs, politicians, attorneys, and businesspeople? DaviD Rheins Founder of Seattle's Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) On Marijuana PrOhibitiOn: "We've had the discussion about Prohibition. We've given it well past its due with 80 years of a war on not drugs, but on people, in a culture where pharmaceuticals are every other com- mercial and ad page." FOunding the Mjba: "We chronicle and promote the industry. The best way to build a sustainable industry is by providing reliable information and the network of experts and folks that every small and start up business needs. [They] just happen to also have an extra layer of compliance and regula- tion to contend with." tax talk: "We're told we can't afford to fund teachers in schools, to fx the roads, to clean the air, to develop alternative energy. The reality is that with these extra dollars we can apportion this in such a way that we can say, 'Yes, let's address these social issues.' I would rather pay a higher tax to fx the economy and reinvigorate these communities and stop the sense- less prosecution and the wasted lives that are victims of this war on drugs." W eed. Ganja. Marijuana. Pot. During the opening session of the heady 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival held in June of this year, refer- ences to the potent plant were the keynote kicker. An intellectual with enviable wit, David G. Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Media Company, delivered an opening monologue that imagined some 250, type-A festival speak- ers high on Colorado cannabis, enlivening a crowd of CEOs, politicians, doctors, and thinkers with scenarios such as Secretary Hillary Clinton pulling her tempted hus- band into a car with a reference to her memoir, "We're making hard choices, Bill." But all jokes aside, this international platform—which eventually staged a very serious conversation on marijuana between Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Katie Couric—is illustrative of an escalating national debate embracing medical marijuana and its rapid-fire industry growth. And for many close to the cause, weed is no laugh- ing matter, posing hard choices indeed. Pot chatter is pervasive throughout the US, whether at din- ner parties or on the floor of Congress. In Atlanta, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical correspondent, who was once vocally anti-pot, passionately discusses the benefits of cannabis in his second documentary film, Weed 2: Cannabis Madness. In Nevada, State Senator Tick Segerblom and Congresswoman Dina Titus are cham- pioning bills that favor PTSD medical marijuana research and protect the rights of legal users. In Los Angeles, former talk show host and celebrity Ricki Lake is producing a new documentary, Weed the People, which follows cancer-stricken children and the use of cannabis as medicine. In Denver, Tripp Keber, founder and CEO of Dixie Elixirs and Edibles, is launching his latest edible product, Dixie One. And just a 20-minute drive from Keber's new 40,000-square-foot Colorado headquarters, Governor Hickenlooper is repeat- edly quoted as stating that we are in the midst of one of the "great social experiments of the 21st century." On late-night talk shows and in countless political jokes, the enduring dope-fiend stereotype propagandized in the 1936 film Reefer Madness is perpetuated, but in fact, the growth of the marijuana industry is predicted to outpace smartphones: A projected $2.34 billion worth of legal weed will be sold in the United States in 2014, according to the State of Legal Marijuana Markets (2nd Edition) produced by ArcView Market Research. The same report projects a whopping $10.2 billion market by 2018. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, a milestone ballot that legalized cannabis for medicinal use. Since that time, more than half of all states have either fol- lowed suit—in June, New York became the 23rd state to sanction medical marijuana—or taken steps to decriminal- ize the substance, making possession of a small amount on par with a traffic ticket. And referendums on legal recre- ational use of marijuana are cropping up on ballots nationwide since Washington State and Colorado voters approved the practice in 2012. In 2013, Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannibis Pilot Program Act. (Chicago had already passed an ordinance in 2012 that allowed police to issue tickets, rather than criminal charges, to someone caught with 15 grams or less of pot—the equivalent of about 25 cigarette-size joints.) Since September 2014, the pilot program has been accepting applications from businesses and farmers who want to be among the state's allotted 60 dispensaries and 22 growers. That same month, patients  133

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