Barr: Feds Won’t Interfere With State Pot Legalization

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Photo by Cannabis Culture via Flickr

In what may be encouraging news to the marijuana legalization movement, Attorney General nominee William P. Barr has pledged not to interfere with the District of Columbia’s decriminalization of marijuana.

During his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Barr suggested that he would return to the Obama-era policy of not enforcing federal law prohibiting the possession and sale of marijuana in states that had legalized it, reports the Washington Post.Former attorney general Jeff Sessions had reversed that guidance last year.

At the hearing, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) asked Barr whether he would enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized marijuana — as well as the District.

“To the extent people are complying with the state laws in distribution and production and so forth, we’re not going to go after that,” Barr replied.

In other news from the marijuana front, The Boston Globe reports on the struggle of entrepreneurs in the now-legal recreational pot industry in Massachussetts to gain leverage in an expending marketplace.  New sellers need to balance the need to stand out with catchy brand names,  while staying within state regulators’ limits on referring, directly or colloquially, to the main product.

From 2014 through November, most marijuana firms in the state were medical dispensaries that, in picking their appellations, sought to avoid stoner stereotypes and evoke professionalism and health, leading to such names as Alternative Therapies Group, New England Treatment Access, and Theory Wellness. But now that recreational sales are flowing, the market is changing. More creative names have emerged, such as The Green Lady and The Verb Is Herb

So far, lots of companies have tapped into Boston’s healthy hometown pride with names such as Baked Bean, Mayflower Medicinals, and Patriot Care — a localized version of national parent company Columbia Care. Beantown Greentown is also growing local strains called Boston Skunk, 617 Haze, and Wicked Pissa.

The local angle works because people want to support Massachusetts businesses over big marijuana companies from out of state, said Hillary King, a Boston-based consultant with 5 Point Management Group, who has worked on cannabis store branding.

Meanwhile, the first medical marijuana sales in Ohio are expected to begin Wednesday, reports Dispensary owners prepared for large crowds on what is essentially the program’s opening day. They set up heated tents for waiting customers and planned to serve coffee and hot chocolate.

Initial prices were expected to be high and three dispensaries planned to set limits on how much dried marijuana flower – the only product available at first – could be bought to ensure there is enough to go around.

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