sabato 30 maggio 2015

Richiesta di Autorizzazione Ministeriale per la coltivazione di cannabis

Alla cortese attenzione dell' ufficio di competenza per il rilascio dell'autorizzazione ministeriale per la coltivazione di cannabis.

Con la presente per richiedere formalmente, l'Autorizzazione Ministeriale per la coltivazione di cannabis, sviluppando un progetto di coltivazione "demand based" ispirato dagli stessi principi di "tutela dell' interesse della collettività e a tutela del diritto alla salute , allo scopo di fornire un appropriato trattamento fitoterapico ai pazienti” come da accordo firmato tra i Ministri Sanità e Difesa sulla produzione di cannabis.

Essendo presenti i requisiti richiesti dall'art 19 recante "Indicazioni sui requisiti personali" per i rilasci delle autorizzazioni al fine di procedere all'avvio di una attivita' a carattere economico atta a "la coltivazione, la produzione, la fabbricazione, l'impiego, il commercio, l'esportazione, l'importazione, il transito, l'acquisto, la vendita e la detenzione delle sostanze stupefacenti o psicotrope, nonche' quelle per la produzione, il commercio, l'esportazione, l'importazione e il transito delle sostanze suscettibili di impiego per la produzione di sostanze stupefacenti o psicotrope di cui al comma 1 dell'articolo 70;" (art 2. dpr 309/90).

Sono a richiedere l'Autorizzazione biennale (art .17 dpr 309/90) e a procedere a fornire tutta la documentazione richiesta al fine di poter procedere alla raccolta di adesioni (come da modello allegato ai soli fini esemplificativi) e procedere all'avvio di una attività di produzione per la vendita di cannabis a supporto della domanda nazionale, che può essere stimata in 630.000 kg annui e vista l' impossibilità dell'istituto chimico militare farmaceutico a soddisfare tale fabbisogno.

Sempre nell'interesse della collettività la suddetta richiesta è altresì ispirata dalla necessità di ricerca e sviluppo che può sorgere dallo sviluppo di attività private in collaborazione con centri di ricerca universitari, in campo sanitario, lavorativo, economico e di riflesso sulla sicurezza pubblica.

In attesa di un riscontro in merito all'esito di questa richiesta, al fine di procedere con il processo di collezionamento delle informazioni richieste dal Ministero per il rilascio dell' autorizzazione ministeriale e di futuro concerto con gli organismi di riferimento per le comunicazioni del caso.

This Is Where ISIS Gets Its Weed

Most Lebanese hash is produced by Shia who are sworn enemies of the so-called Islamic State, but that doesn’t mean they won’t sell them a ton or two.

THE BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — They are killing Syrians and each other at an astronomical rate but there seems to be one thing that jihadist troops and Assad allies are working together on: getting high on Lebanon’s supply.

Just across a snow-capped mountain range, in the Bekaa Valley, are weed fields tended mostly by poor, Assad-friendly Shia farmers. But business is business. They tell The Daily Beast they are selling their products to ISIS recruits, who are allegedly blazing Lebanese blond and reselling it to fund their atrocities.

“Last month we sold one ton of hash to ISIS,” says “Imad,” who farms a 15-acre cannabis plot in the shadow of the Qalamoun Mountains that separate the valley from Syria. (He declined to use his real name out of fear of arrest.) The 50-year-old father of six has fought in Syria with Hezbollah against the so-called Islamic State, often referred to as ISIS. And he was related to one of the Lebanese soldiers captured and beheaded by jihadists in the border town of Arsal, a key base of support in Lebanon for the Sunni sectarian fundamentalist movement that has used mass murder, torture, and rape to establish a self-proclaimed caliphate.

But none of that stopped Imad and some of his fellow farmers from brokering the drug deal with the holier than thou “caliphate” that he says also included “some coke and pills.”

Assad’s fighters, less surprisingly, also like to go to war with a buzz, and also want a piece of the action distributing one of Lebanon’s largest exports. “We sell a bit to people in the Syrian army, too,” said Imad, a little cautious on the subject. “It’s small scale, one to two kilos at a time.”

Imad, sporting a trim beard and green military fatigues, says he hates ISIS with a bitter passion and swears he will hunt down and kill those in Arsal who butchered his relative, but, again, business is business. The war, he says, has blocked the traditional trade routes through Syria to markets in Jordan and Turkey, so selling to militants is one of the ways to continue to turn a profit.

“Before the war in Syria we would cross the mountains with 200 kilos [of hash] each, get the cash and come back,” he told The Daily Beast. Nowadays the only exports to Syria happen when militants make orders.

Clouds hang low over the fertile valley where the earth is moist and warm with the coming of spring, and Imad bends down to inspect his recently planted crop. His calloused hand gently lifts a green pointed leaf to make sure it is healthy. He reads it like a printout, in ways farmers have passed down over centuries of cannabis cultivation in the region.

The Bekaa’s traditional dominance of the hash business is being challenged, however.

ISIS and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front are also able to develop their own hash-cash economy. According to Ahmad Moussalli, a political science professor at the American University in Beirut who specializes in Islamist movements, the vast territorial gains by ISIS around Syria’s border with Lebanon have given the jihadists control over significant areas of cannabis cultivation. They are “profiting from the trade,” says Moussalli, referring to accusations by the Lebanese army.

But those profits are getting harder to come by, at least in Lebanon. The war has created competition for Bekaa’s hash industry while an increase in the valley’s own production has sent prices plummeting. The war has altered the underground trade by blocking major routes, and it has also pulled the Lebanese security forces’ attention away from the Bekaa’s weed farmers.

The result is an exceptionally bountiful bud harvest with few places to go, says a major hash exporter who refers to himself as “Abu Hussein.”

“We had a good harvest this season but have a distribution problem,” Abu Hussein told The Daily Beast.

We met at one of Abu Hussein’s houses in the Bekaa town of Brital, known as a center of Lebanon’s underworld. The mostly Shia town of 20,000 has gained a reputation as a hash and weapons trade hub as well as a place to find counterfeit passports.

It is also known for its fierce opposition to ISIS. Posters of Hezbollah martyrs and the party leader, Hassan Nasrallah, plaster the entrance to the hilly village on the edge of the towering mountains. “When Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ISIS] attacked this area in August, the people of the town rose up to push them back,” says Abu Hussein. The battle on the outskirts was fought by village residents and Hezbollah fighters, he said.

There is little attempt to hide the illicit trade here. As we sat in Abu Hussein’s living room, his friend dropped a 10-pound bag of reddish-brown hashish, still waiting to be compressed, on the coffee table. He then returned to puffing on a massive blunt that would make Snoop Dogg proud.

Abu Hussein’s hoodie bunches over his pot belly as he slumps into the couch, describing how this year’s yield should bring in $200 million for the valley. It will sell for much more on the street and the largest cut of the profits, he says, will go to about 100 major exporters.

While Shia farmers play a large role in the trade, Abu Hussein says Sunni villages in the area also grow cannabis, and the trade employs people across confessions and nationalities. Bekaa is a place where Sunni, Shia, and Christian communities live in close proximity, if not always as neighbors.

“Syrian workers here process [the hash] and Christian army officers smuggle it out,” says Abu Hussein. It’s a mass export industry that relies on bribing government and security officials.
The huge influx of over a million Syrian refugees into Lebanon, a country of 4 million, has created a pool of unemployed and exploitable workers that is now vast, but Abu Hussein says Syrians have been a cheap source of labor in hash production since the days when Lebanon was occupied by Syrian forces and Damascus tried to erase the borders.

Since the Syrian civil war started, Lebanese hash mostly ends up in Egypt, Syria, the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, But Abu Hussein notes that Israelis, too, get a small portion of Bekaa bud. It travels either via Jordan or in bags that are tossed over the closed border fence between Lebanon and northern Israel in exchange for bags of cash thrown back.

Only a sliver of these profits will make it back to the growers. Imad estimates he will get just over $4,000 per acre, a total of $60,000, from his last harvest. He says it will sell for 16 times that price on the street and suggests he would prefer to grow potatoes and vegetables. But that’s more or less a fantasy. He did try to grow potatoes, he says, and he lost almost $60,000.

“If the government supported us we wouldn’t be doing this,” he tells The Daily Beast. He says he is frustrated that government projects to support alternative agriculture have failed because of corruption.

As he sits with his family on the porch of his modest one-floor home, which accommodates his wife, six children, and his parents, it is clear why Imad’s situation, common in these parts, has the potential for political exploitation. On the one hand, he is on the ground floor of the drug trade, steeped in corruption that is heightened by Syria’s war. On the other, he is a farmer, the salt of the earth, in Lebanese terms, who is trying to eke out a living in an industry that has been a part of the valley for centuries.

It is a situation that led Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, head of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party, to call for legalizing the cannabis trade. “It creates economic activity for poor people,” he tells The Daily Beast.

Moussalli points out that Jumblatt’s position hasn’t received much opposition and is part of increasing political competition for the support of Bekaa farmers. “Jumblatt is trying to soften his position with the Shia,” he says.

“Hash is one of the very important trades for Lebanon historically,” says Moussalli. “It will be important for years to come, either legally or illegally. ”

This Is Where ISIS Gets Its Weed

Narcotraffico e finanziamento destabilizzatori mondiali tipo Stato islamico. Continuare a farsi male?

Comunicato di Vincenzo Donvito
27 maggio 2015 13:42

Secondo l'ufficio antidroga della Repubblica di Russia, lo Stato islamico (Is) ha trasformato il traffico di droghe nella sua principale fonte di finanziamento. Non sarebbe la prima volta che attivita' di destabilizzazione e di terrorismo sono finanziate da attivita' illecite molto lucrative, e il traffico di droghe e' la prima di queste attivita' a livello mondiale. Ovunque nel mondo sono diventati insignificanti i finanziamenti da parte degli Stati piu' o meno interessati alle destabilizzazioni (l'Unione Sovietica a suo tempo, l'Iran, Cuba, alcuni Paesi arabi, etc) in virtu' di un loro presunto nuovo ordine mondiale. A questa mancanza, ogni destabilizzatore si e' organizzato per conto proprio; hanno fatto scuola le Farc (Forze Armate colombiane rivoluzionarie) che, nonostante oggi siano in corso “trattative di pace” tra loro e il governo ufficiale della Colombia, continuano a svolgere la loro attivita' di controllo di produzione e traffici della cocaina che dal loro Paese invade il mondo. Oggi il governo del Venezuela viene accusato dall'Agenzia Antidroga Usa (DEA) di essere una sorta di hub delle droghe verso il resto del mondo. I famosi destabilizzatori del Triangolo d'Oro (Thailandia, Birmania, Laos e l'aggiunta del Vietnam), sono anch'essi in lotta per le loro rivendicazioni territoriali e rivoluzionarie, e si finanziano con i traffici di eroina. Cio' che accade in Afghanistan, nonostante gli aiuti internazionali, sono storia ordinaria di produzione e distribuzione delì'oppio. I vari destabilizzatori e tagliagole dell'Africa del nord ovest, non sono estranei ai traffici di cocaina che dal SudAmerica, usano i loro territori come transito verso l'Europa. Etc etc. (1).
Le abituali politiche antidroga di tutti gli Stati e istituzioni internazionali sono basate sulla repressione a tutti i livelli, con risultati che fino ad oggi hanno dato esiti contrari al previsto. Tant'e' che in diversi oggi si stanno ponendo il problema se l'approccio repressivo sia ancora da considerare quello utile, e la prossima sessione ONU del 2016 in materia, discutera' proprio di questo, anche grazie ad alcune politiche nazionali che, per conto loro e con molte polemiche, hanno gia' intrapreso strade legalitarie per produzione e distribuzione: Uruguay, diversi Stati Usa, Portogallo, Spagna, Olanda, etc..
La notizia che oggi ci arriva dalla Russia rispetto allo Stato islamico, molto d'attualita' rispetto a iniziative e presenza destabilizzatrice e violenta, quanto minino ci deve far porre una domanda: si puo' impedire che abbiano i soldi necessari per le loro politiche? Forse si', se le droghe non continuassero ad essere considerate un prodotto illegale che alimenta altrettanto mercato illegale, con relativi guadagni stellari tipici di quando si opera in regime di proibizionismo.
E non sarebbe una domanda relativa al solo Stato islamico. Pensiamo alla scia quotidiana di violenza e morte che attanaglia il Messico. Pensiamo al coinvolgimento delle istituzioni piu' o meno deboli in Paesi altrettanto deboli per la loro qualita' di vita e istituzionale: corruzione, etc. Pensiamo anche a cio' che accade nei nostri confini nazionali, con le principali malavite organizzate ormai al centro del mondo per il loro business col narcotraffico.
Cosa potrebbe accadere se a questi destabilizzatori si levasse il terreno sotto i piedi, andando alla loro radice: la materia prima dei loro finanziamenti che, diventata legale, verrebbe tolta dal loro dominio? La realizzazione non e' altrettanto semplice ed immediata. Ma se si continua a perseverare in cio' che ha portato ad acuire ed espandere il problema, senza mai cominciare una strada alternativa per difficile che possa essere all'inizio, possiamo solo dire che piu' d'uno, in Italia, in Europa e nel mondo, e' piu' che stolto, e' complice!

(1) informazioni quotidiane in merito si possono leggere sul nostro specifico canale web dedicato alla materia

ITALIA - Droga e reati satellite. Cassazione: sezioni unite stabiliscono il favor rei

L'aumento di pena per i reati-satellite di droghe leggere deve essere ricalcolato dopo la sentenza costituzionale che ha bocciato l'equiparazione con le droghe pesanti della legge Fini-Giovanardi. Lo stabiliscono le Sezioni unite penali della Cassazione con la sentenza 22471/15, pubblicata il 28 maggio: la pena prevista dalle norme deve influire sul computo del trattamento sanzionatorio ex articolo 133 Cp rispetto a ogni singola violazione.
Accolto il ricorso di uno spacciatore di droghe pesanti e leggere. La pena base resta uguale perché legata al più grave traffico della cocaina, ma lo sdoppiamento nel caso di droga «mista» non può essere a danno dell'imputato: l'aumento per la continuazione del reato, quando riguarda solo le droghe leggere, deve tenere conto che sono stati ripristinati i limiti edittali più favorevoli al reo, cioè da due a sei anni di reclusione e da 5.164 a 77.468 euro di multa. Il trattamento previsto dalle norme incide sulla pena applicabile in caso di reato continuato.
L'istituto della continuazione serve a rendere più mite la sanzione perché sono ritenute meno gravi la condotta e «l'elemento volitivo» che la sorregge: chi commette il reato ha superato in un'unica occasione i paletti a tutela dei beni protetti da parte del diritto penale.

ITALIA - Droga e reati satellite. Cassazione: sezioni unite stabiliscono il favor rei

domenica 24 maggio 2015

Marijuana incorporated: cannabis eases into a billion-dollar business high

Legalisation has created a ‘green rush’ as companies find success in edibles, a growing consumer base and a three-day expo at the Hilton

Four years ago Cassandra Farrington couldn’t find any venue in the country that would host her idea for a conference on the business of marijuana. This week, she hired out the Hilton Chicago, one of the city’s most famous hotels and one that has accommodated every US president since it opened in 1927.

“When we first started looking for venues, people ran screaming in the other direction when we said ‘Hey, we want to have this marijuana business conference’. They were like ‘no way, get out of here’,” Farrington said as 2,103 attendees ate lunch from white tableclothed tables at the 2015 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. “Our first conference was at this masonic lodge in downtown Denver because it was the only place that would rent a venue to us.

“Being here [in the Hilton Chicago] is mind-boggling. It just shows how far the industry has come,” said Farrington, the co-founder and chief executive of Marijuana Business Media, which organised the three-day conference. “I don’t think you can come to this event and then think this isn’t a real industry.”
Now legalised in 23 states and the District of Columbia for medical use and four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – and DC for recreational use, weed is big business. Farrington said independent analysts have valued the legal industry at $3bn, rising to $10bn when including ancillary trades and services. She puts the industry’s workforce at 60,000.

“You have to keep in mind that this not a new market or a new product, there is an existing consumer base who have been purchasing this in the shadows and in shame for decades,” George Jage, president of Marijuana Business Media, said. “It’s really difficult to pin down an estimate of the black market, but calling it $50bn would be a reasonable estimate.

“Now that black market is slowly becoming the white market creating taxes for the state, and jobs that people can actually tell their mothers about.”

He said the estimate of the economic benefit of legalising weed would be even higher if it accounted for the savings created by reducing the number of people jailed for possession, which is much more likely to affect black people than whites.

Farrington reckons it is just a matter of time before the end of marijuana prohibition across the US no matter who wins the 2016 presidential election. “But, everyone in this room would cheer for [US Senator and Republican nomination hopeful] Rand Paul,” she said. “He has been very vocal and supportive of the libertarian aspect. The founding principle of libertarianism is to allow people their personal freedoms as long as you’re not infringing on other people.”

For now, Farrington says, the industry is concentrating on making cannabis more of a “mainstream and sellable product”. Leading that charge are companies making marijuana-laced chocolate and sodas infused with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the active ingredient which produces the “high”.

“If you’re somebody who’s kind of interested in trying it [cannabis] but says ‘I’m not going to smoke a joint, I’ve never smoked in my life’, [it’s difficult to market to you],” Farrington said. “But say ‘Hey, here have a little chocolate, and have a good time tonight.’ It’s a much easier sell.”

She said the science of weed has come on so much in recent years, that she could imagine “light beer-type strains” being marketed at “soccer mums”, while “the 20-something stoners going on the frat party down to Panama City Beach for the weekend they can get what they want too”.

“All of those things are available, and even if you’re not looking for recreational purposes there are the wellness benefits: the CMB (cannabinoid)-only that gives you the relaxation without the high. All of that is really becoming possible.”

Cannabis chocolates and drinks make up a heavy presence across three exhibition halls in the basement of the Hilton taken over by the conference, which is now a twice-yearly event and will next be held in Las Vegas this fall.
Sweet tooth or gourmet cannabis chef?

One of the biggest is the Venice Cookie Company (VCC), the largest manufacturer and distributor of cannabis brands on the west coast. Dan Zuckerman, VCC’s representative at the show, is showing off an eclectic range of products from cookies (naturally) and chocolates to tea, vapes and even olive oil and coconut butter.
Most popular, he says, are the 4.20 chocolate bars made of fair trade cacao and up to 180mg of THC, which sell for $20 a bar. His personal favourite is the Cannabis Quencher a fruit juice marketed as a “potent, refreshing and fast-acting way to consume cannabis” with no added sugar. “It will get you pretty high,” Zuckerman said. “It’s the equivalent of 6-7 joints, it’s best to share it with friends.”

VCC also offers cannabis infused ingredients to “let you be the gourmet cannabis chef”. Recipe ideas include creating your own “edible experience from a simple salad with Not So Virgin Olive Oil” or making cinnamon toast “slathered in Cannabis Coconut Butter”.

Zuckerman said VCC is actively exploring expansion to Colorado, Illinois, Nevada and Arizona before the end of the year, but the company’s ambitions are being hampered by federal law that prevents cannabis and cannabis products from being transported across state lines even if (as in the case of Oregon and Washington) it is legal on both sides of the border. “It means we need to grow it, and produce it and package it all inside each state. It’s quite a logistical challenge,” he said.

While VCC and Colorado-based Dixie are currently the biggest players in cannabis edibles and drinks, most people at the conference reckon it’s just a matter of time before big business companies move into the sector.
“Pharma, tobacco, alcohol they are all eyeing this industry,” Farrington said. “They may well be walking these halls, but absolutely surreptitiously. This is a schedule 1 drug they cannot be seen to be associated with it.”

A couple of stalls down from VCC’s chocolates, Jaïr Velleman is declaring a “green rush” to anyone who’ll listen. Velleman has flown over from the Netherlands to sell indoor horticultural lights made by his company, Gavita. “This is the green rush,” he said. “It’s like the gold rush but this time the money is in plants. I’m selling lights – the shovels of this trade. And in the real gold rush who made the most money? The people who dug gold or those who sold the shovels …?

“We sell lights to grow plants, they can grow any plants. Our biggest customers were people growing cut flowers, but weed has become really big business in the last few years and is now our biggest market,” he said. “We expect it to grow exponentially in the next 2-5 years as more states and countries move to legalise marijuana.”

Velleman explained that demand from marijuana growers is strongest because the most popular cannabis plant strains grow best indoors under artificial lights.

Gavita is not the only traditional horticultural company shifting its business to take advantage of the marijuana growing boom. Jason Schofield Ralph-Smith of British hydroponics company Autopot said he is “just following the money”. “There is so much money to be made out of cannabis,” he said. “And it will just get bigger and bigger as more US states legalise, the rest of the world is watching and we expect more and more countries to follow.”

Ralph-Smith said he imagines about 60% of the watering systems he sells are used for weed cultivation, but he stressed: “I don’t know what they’re growing. I don’t ask, it could be tomatoes.”

mercoledì 20 maggio 2015

Cannabis Investors Growing Faster Than The Deals

Debra Borchardt

The growth of the marijuana industry may be slowing slightly, but that isn’t stopping the millions of investor dollars circling the sector. Marijuana Business Daily has forecast that marijuana sales could hit eight billion dollars by 2019, not its previous forecast date of 2018. The recently completed 2015 MBD Factbook cited issues at the state level as the cause for the the slower growth curve. California was mentioned for its struggles with regulating its cannabis industry that has resulted in the closings of dispensaries. Massachusetts and Washington were both noted for their delays in instituting their medical marijuana programs.

However, eight billions is still a huge number and for this reason investment firms are clamoring to be a part of this nascent sector. “It’s changed dramatically,” said Steve DeAngelo of the Arc View Group. Arc View helps to connect cannabis companies with potental investors and has 54 companies raise $21 million. “It wasn’t until we got into the election of 2012 that we saw a whole new wave of investors and entrpreneurs entering the industry,” said DeAngelo. “That was really a signal for people that it was a lot safer.” According to the MBD Factbook, the amount of capital for funding start-ups and expansions has risen by an estimated 900% or more. This is creating a potential bubble situation where there are too many investment dollars chasing too few worthy companies. Douglas Leighton of Dutchess Capital agrees and said, “There is too much money and too few deals.”

The strategy for these investments firms is to get in early and establish themselves as the experts in the field. While 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, investing in the group still remains somewhat taboo. The group is lumped into the “sin” category of finance that includes casinos and tobacco. Plus, it doesn’t help the group when the Securities and Exchange Commission suspends trading on several publicly traded cannabis stocks. Another concern is that some of these funds create great fanfare when they start their fund or open their venture capital firm, but then get very quiet. Still, some of these financiers are pulling in big money and scouring the field for good investments and these are some of the top names in the group.

Privateer Holdings – This investment company made headlines recently when it secured an $75 million investment from the Founders Fund, a San Francisco based venture capital firm. Founders Fund has picked some winners in the past including Facebook, Airbnb, Spotify and SpaceX. Getting an investment from this group is like receiving the investing seal of approval. This brings Privateer’s total funding to $82 million, which isn’t bad considering the company was just founded in 2010. It was also the first private equity firm to close a multimillion dollar funding round in 2013. Privateer has invested in the online cannabis review site Leafly and the Canadian cannabis grower Tilray. In addition to those, Privateer has invested in Marley Natural, a cannabis lifestyle brand that will sell cannabis and accessories. Privateer is the largest and most established of the funds. No secrecy here.

Dutchess Capital – This firm is not just a marijuana investor, but a manager for investment funds and was established in 1995 in Massachusetts. The founder Douglas Leighton decided to enter the cannabis space when Massachusetts legalized medicinal marijuana. Dutchess will be targeting consumer consumption devices and consumer use companies. Leighton said, “Our total portfolio is valued north of $25 million and we’ll probably add another $10 million in 2015. Dutchess has invested in the beverage company Dixie Ellixirs in its licensing side and the marijuana social media site Mass Roots (MSRT), which recently went public. Dutchess was able to return some value to its investors with a partial exit when Mass Roots went public. A trend that Leighton has noticed amongst his investors are that they tend to be in the 45-60 age group, are already successful businessmen and aren’t squeamish when it comes to investing in the sin category.

Poseidon Asset Management – This marijuana hedge fund was founded by the brother, sister team of Emily & Morgan Paxhia. The duo was drawn to the industry when they sadly lost both parents to cancer and the hospice treatment recommended cannabis. The fund was established in January of 2014 and they are hoping to raise $15-20 million, a more modest goal than Privateer. Emily Paxhia also expressed concern about the rapid increase in investors. “There is a lot of money circling the space and the deals aren’t always the best,” said Emily, “We want to find the ones that are worth it.” Poseidon’s focus is on the ancillary businesses. “One of our core beliefs is efficiency and utilizing technologies,” said Morgan Paxhia. So Poseidon is focusing on software for point of sale, seed-to-sale, lighting software and ways to help patients. The two also believe in good due diligence and are on the board of the Responsible Cannabis Public Companies or ARCPC.

Salveo Capital – Salveo is a private equity fund out of Chicago with Alex Thirsch as a Managing Principle. Thirsch initially applied for a pot dispensary license in Illinois, which he didn’t receive. So some of Salveo’s seed money is from the investors that backed him in his quest for a license. Salveo is still in the fund raising stage with a target of $16 to $25 million. Thirsch said, “I have no doubt we’ll hit that in a short time frame and I anticipate we’ll form a second and third fund.” Thirsch said he hasn’t had to do a lot of selling to find investors because “investors want to get in, but they aren’t sure how to do it.” He also hasn’t had to look hard for places to invest. “We’ve received more requests for capital and seen lots of business plans,” said Thirsch. “We have real money to invest.”

Greenleaf Joint Ventures – This company provides capital for cannabis and hemp start-up and existing companies. Greenleaf also does business consulting and is involved in real estate It has invested $250,000 in CrowdFundConnect, which will work with another Greenleaf company called CannaFundr for an equity based investment for accredited investors focused on cannabis. Greenleaf has also invested in Hemp Inc., Kraftwurx Technology and Common Bond Collective. It also posted a video on its Facebook site of a company called hempitecture that it helped fund. Hempitecture builds with hemp walls and was funded through Kickstarter. This very open and visible list of investment projects is definitely a positive sign for investors.

Emerald Ocean – This venture capital advisory firm was established in August of 2013. The management team includes Justin Hartfield the founder of and Doug Francis, the President of Ghost Group and a long time cannabis entrepreneur. Included in the team is Bonnie Goldstein, a doctor that specializes in cannabis treatments and is the Medical Director of Canna-Centers. Great lineup, but then very little information as to what the firm has done since it was established. Emerald says on its website that it will “acquire companies through vertical integration, own and operate the “Starbucks” and “Bacardi” of the marijuana industry, and be the first to market on many key industry verticals.” For now there is scant information on any companies that Emerald has invested in or helped fund. Emerald didn’t respond when asked for a comment.

High Times Investor – The High Times Growth Fund was launched in 2014 with plans to raise $100 million in 2 years. Investments are expected to be in the range of $2-$5 million making the company act like venture capital or private equity fund. The focus is said to be on ancillary businesses. However, there has been little information on the fund since it was established and requests for an update were not answered. The web page for the fund has no information regarding a portfolio or amount of money raised. In June, Bloomberg reported that the fund planned on raising $300 million. In October of 2014, MJ News reported the fund had looked at 30-40 deals, but again there is little real information regarding this fund.

All this investment money chasing small businesses is reminiscent of the dot com era and even the current silicon valley mood where start-ups are looking for funding even as they plan their exit strategy. The difference here seems to be the due diligence. These investor groups are very focused on the viability and future of their companies. They truly believe in this industry whether from an emotional point of view or from a strictly business outlook. “The cannabis industry is still young,” said DeAngelo. “There are great investment opportunities, but it takes time to find them. It takes experience and understanding,” said De Angelo, “and typically they require more management from the investor side than what you see in other types of investments.”

Cannabis Investors Growing Faster Than The Deals

domenica 17 maggio 2015

La festa parmigiana antiproibizionista

Egregio Direttore, l'importanza del dialogo, della comunicazione tra i cittadini e le istituzioni, la possibilità di cambiare opinione sono tra le più grandi conquiste della democrazia.
E' attraverso il dialogo e il dibattito che la società civile evolve sia collettivamente che economicamente; il rapporto simbiotico tra capacità di elaborazione di idee e loro messa in opera è un baluardo fondamentale della libertà economica, oltre che democratica, dell'Occidente.
Proprio lo spirito di dialogo tra istituzioni e cittadini è alla base dei dibattiti, che da oltre dieci anni, animano la Festa Antiproibizionista Parmigiana e fortunatamente, anche quest'anno, la giunta ha dato il proprio benestare, soprattutto ai dibattiti che si terranno alla festa.
Quest'anno parteciperanno, all'annuale dibattito, personalità di spicco della politica Italiana nazionale: saranno presenti il Senatore Benedetto della Vedova, promotore dell'intergruppo parlamentare che lavora ad un progetto di legge trasversale sulla legalizzazione della cannabis.
Parteciperà l'Onorevole Filippo Civati, sostenitore e aderente al progetto interparlamentare.
Parteciperà l' Onorevole Vittorio Ferraresi del Movimento 5 Stelle, promotore di un progetto di legge a suo nome sulla legalizzazione della cannabis e sottoscrittore dell' intergruppo.
Uno spazio particolare verrà dedicato anche a Rita Bernardini dei Radicali Italiani.
Alla luce dei calibri presenti quest'anno alla manifestazione e dell' interessantissimo dibattito che si prospetta, le polemicucce dell' UDC, attraverso le parole del consigliere Giuseppe Pellacini, risultano decisamente provincialotte e di stampo acidamente propagandistico oltre che totalmente irrazionali.
Se per Pellacini "le finalità del Comune devono essere la salvaguardia della popolazione, della sua cultura e soprattutto della salute", invito il consigliere a prendere parte alla manifestazione ed informarsi sui problemi che strettamente legano la sicurezza dei cittadini, la cultura e la salute al tema cannabis.
Le inchieste regolari della Gazzetta sullo spaccio di stupefacenti in città, hanno ormai evidenziato, a qualsiasi lettore, la totale inefficacia dell'attuale approccio nel contrastare la diffusione degli stupefacenti. Di più. I cittadini sono stanchi della totale assenza di risultati di una politica fallimentare da un punto di vista di sicurezza. 
Esistono politiche migliori? Politiche i cui risultati siano stati misurati? La risposta è si e viene dagli Stati Uniti.
Dopo sei mesi di legalizzazione della vendita, produzione ed uso di cannabis, i risultati diffusi dallo stato del Colorado parlano da soli: diminuzione  del 10% dei crimini nelle proprietà, calo del 60% degli omicidi, diminuzione del 5% dei crimini violenti,  risparmiati tra i 12 e i 40 milioni di dollari e creazione di 10.000 posti di lavoro.
Il Governatore del Colorado John Hickenlooper, da oppositore del referendum che avrebbe successivamente legalizzato la cannabis, ora è tra i primi sostenitori del successo di questa linea politica.
Tornando alla nostra città, un mercato che vale 24 milioni di euro l'anno, il dibattito di quest'anno porterà una maggiore consapevolezza nei cittadini nel comprendere il fenomeno cannabis. La speranza è che i primi a prenderne una maggiore comprensione siano i consiglieri comunali, (non solo della minoranza) al fine di dirigere le azioni della giunta verso la cannabis legale a Parma.

martedì 5 maggio 2015

U.E. - Gruppi criminali. Un business annuo di 110 miliardi

E' di 110 miliardi di euro l'anno il giro d'affari generato dai principali gruppi criminali in Europa. Una cifra pari all'1% del Pil del Vecchio Continente. E l'Italia - con mafia, 'ndrangheta e camorra - è in prima fila a generare proventi illeciti, che vengono poi ampiamente riciclati nell'economia legale. La stima è contenuto nello studio 'Organized crime portfolio', prodotto da Transcrime (curato da Ernesto Savona e Michele Riccardi) per la Commissione Europea. Il rapporto si è focalizzato su sette Paesi (Finlandia, Francia, Irlanda, Italia, Olanda, Spagna e Gran Bretagna), fornendo comunque un quadro dell'Europa in generale. Il mercato criminale più redditizio è quello della droga (produce 28 miliardi di euro all'anno). Tra le attività criminali emergenti la frode appare esser quella maggiormente in crescita (29 miliardi di euro). I numeri più grandi sono quelli della contraffazione (42,7 miliardi di euro). Gli investimenti criminali sono concentrati in aree a forte presenza di crimine organizzato (come il Sud Italia, Lazio e regioni del Nord-Ovest, Lombardia in testa), strategiche per i traffici illeciti (Andalusia), con porti e aeroporti (Amsterdam e Rotterdam). Bar e ristoranti, costruzioni, vendita al dettaglio (specie cibo e abbigliamento), trasporti, hotel e immobili sono i tradizionali settori di infiltrazione. Ma c'è la crescente evidenza di influenze criminali nel settore delle energie rinnovabili, gestione dei rifiuti, money transfer, slot machine, giochi e scommesse. Evidenza degli investimenti delle mafie italiane, indica lo studio, possono essere trovate in un ampio numero di Paesi europei, in particolare nel settore immobiliare, nelle aziende di costruzione, nei ristoranti e nell'ingrosso e dettaglio di prodotti alimentari.

U.E. - Gruppi criminali. Un business annuo di 110 miliardi

sabato 2 maggio 2015

Rising marijuana sales leave pot shops flush with cash they can’t deposit

By Reid Wilson April 27

Two months from now, on July 1, Oregon will become the fourth state to allow residents to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. In anticipation of legalization, the governing body that will oversee marijuana licensing and sales is preparing for something unexpected: A huge influx of cold, hard cash.

Legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington have surpassed revenue expectations in their first few years. But when marijuana businesses try to pay their taxes, the federal law that makes marijuana illegal limits their access to financial institutions.

Despite assurances from the Treasury Department that they would not be prosecuted, banks have been reluctant to open accounts for weed-related businesses. Some banks that accept money generated by marijuana sales fear that they may leave themselves open to federal money-laundering charges.

What’s next for the marijuana movement. (The Washington Post)
That’s forced marijuana businesses in several states to keep their profits in cash. And when those businesses have to pay sales and other taxes, they deliver those payments in cash — something almost no other business has to do.

“There are real public safety concerns any time you have to handle large sums of cash,” said Brian Smith, a spokesman for Washington State’s Liquor Control Board.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has taken note of trends in Washington, where Smith estimated that about a quarter of all marijuana-related businesses are paying their taxes in cash, and Colorado, where a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue said cash “seems to be the primary method of payment for marijuana businesses.”

The logistical challenges for the state are nothing compared to those for businesses, the vast majority of which have just a handful of employees.

“We still have people paying their taxes in cash by hiring the Brinks truck,” said Dan Riffle, a spokesman for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

Oregon and Alaska, where voters passed marijuana legalization initiatives in 2014, are preparing for the cash influx. Oregon’s commission will spend $636,000 to upgrade security at its main office. The commission expects businesses to pay about $400,000 a month in sales taxes alone, meaning staffers will have to deal with at least $100,000 in cash until banking regulations are changed.

“The fact that states are having to put in all these extra provisions to deal with the cash is just another indicator of how problematic forcing these businesses outside the banking system is,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “If you think the state has logistical challenges with it, imagine being a business owner.”

A small handful of banks have accepted accounts associated with marijuana businesses. But the extensive reporting those banks have to undertake is burdensome: Earlier this month, MBank, a small Oregon bank, said the onerous reporting requirements will force them to shutter the 70 to 75 marijuana-associated accounts they maintained.

“Because banks risk prosecution for violating federal law, they are … assessing account relationships that are even peripherally related to marijuana businesses and discontinuing those relationships,” the American Bankers Association said in a February 2014 report on banks and the marijuana industry. “It is important to recognize that banks are held to a high standard of compliance through regular examination. It is also important to recognize that federal officials, not only from the Department of Justice but bank regulators as well, emphasize the importance that banks must comply with all applicable laws — and this includes federal laws against marijuana.”

To get around bankers nervous about accepting marijuana-related money, some in the marijuana industry are using creative methods to avoid the problems caused by huge stacks of cash. One Colorado marijuana dispensary has paid employees to spray cash with Febreze before depositing it in a local bank to avoid suspicion.

But a broader solution will not include a chemical spray. Colorado officials are trying to secure a charter from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to create a banking cooperative that could accept deposits from the marijuana industry, though the corporation has not granted approval.

Riffle and other legalization advocates say a federal solution is necessary. The Treasury Department has asked banks for input on how to handle marijuana deposits. Last February, the department issued guidelines that were intended to ease bankers’ concerns that they could be prosecuted for accepting donations; few banks took comfort in those guidelines. In January, the IRS reaffirmed that marijuana businesses must pay income taxes, even though their product is technically illegal under federal law.

In Congress, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to create a “safe harbor” for banks that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses. Their bill [pdf] would amend section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code to allow marijuana businesses to take deductions like any other business.

“Our legislation would provide an overdue update to federal tax law, which has not caught up to the fact that it’s 2015 and Oregonians have voted both to legalize medical marijuana and to regulate marijuana for recreational use,” Wyden said this month.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) last week introduced a measure that would require the federal government to respect state laws that legalize marijuana; that measure would allow banks to avoid disclosing whether revenue was generated by marijuana businesses.

Congress has blocked officials in Washington, D.C., from coming up with their own rules and regulations for the legal sale of marijuana, which voters approved in 2014. Washington’s attorney general has warned D.C. Council members that even holding a hearing on marijuana sales could violate federal law.

Rising marijuana sales leave pot shops flush with cash they can’t deposit