TIME Drugs

Report Predicts 18 States Will Legalize Pot by 2020

Whether that pans out depends on Colorado, cash and the federal government

A new report predicts that 18 U.S. states will have legalized recreational marijuana in the next five years, a huge increase from the four states that currently have or are in the process of creating legal markets for pot.

The report, set to be released in February from ArcView Market Research, a firm that pairs investors with marijuana-related businesses, was sponsored by marijuana-industry groups and has a prolegalization tone. But their prediction is not simply self-serving optimism. The map below shows the states where ArcView’s researchers believe recreational pot shops will open their doors:

This chart appears in the executive summary of Arcview Market Research's Marijuana Markets report, 3rd Edition.
This chart appears in the executive summary of Arcview Market Research’s Marijuana Markets report, 3rd Edition.


The map has a lot of overlap with the places where the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the group that helped launch legal weed in Colorado, already has workers on the ground in preparation for legalization votes over the next two years. Yet MPP is a bit more cautious in its outlook: the group believes 12 states could join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in allowing recreational pot by 2017. Unlike ArcView (whose executive director sits on MPP’s board), they’re not banking on legalization taking root in Montana, New Jersey or Connecticut over the next few years, according to spokesperson Morgan Fox. He says they’re concentrating current efforts in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. They see Texas — yes, Texas —as an outside possibility.

In the report, ArcView claims that “2014 will be remembered as a year when … a sense of inevitability about national legalization became conventional wisdom among elected officials and the general public.” But the issue and the mood of the electorate are far from settled. In November, Gallup released a poll showing that a majority of Americans favor legalization. But it’s a slim majority of 51%, down from 58% in 2013, with many conservatives still balking at the idea.

As with so many other political issues, the speed at which states legalize marijuana is going to be affected by the rate at which donors are willing to pour money into elections and lobbying. In 2014, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson proved that there is a Republican with deep pockets willing to spend big to fight against legalization. In Florida’s midterm election, voters considered an amendment to legalize medical marijuana, and Adelson shelled out at least $5.5 million to defeat the measure. It failed by a 2% margin, just shy of the 60% required to pass.

Meanwhile, legalization advocates have lost stalwart funders like Peter Lewis, the chairman of Progressive Insurance who died in 2013. By one estimate, he had spent $40 on legalization efforts since the 1980s. His allies have been scrambling to fill the funding hole left by Lewis. In Florida, the effort to legalize medical marijuana was largely bankrolled by one man, personal-injury lawyer John Morgan, who was behind about $4 million in funds. He has vowed to try again in 2016, but legalization advocates fighting for reform in other states can’t necessarily count on his support. MPP’s Mason Tvert says that while money is obviously important for their cause, “there’s no one individual who is going to be responsible for passing these measures.”

Two other factors will be key to determining if the above map proves accurate: whether the federal government continues to keep its distance from state experiments with legalization (which remain illegal under federal law), and whether states with existing legal markets encounter any major problems.

In Colorado, for example, parties are gearing up for a political fight over edibles, which have led to children who accidentally ingested them being hospitalized. One of those groups is Smart Colorado, which includes parents concerned about the pace at which marijuana laws have been liberalized. “We’re looking out for public safety and our kids,” founder Gina Carbone told TIME in an earlier interview about edibles regulations, “not just expanding this huge market.” According to the new report, legal weed yielded $2.7 billion in retail and wholesale sales in 2014.

Tvert says there’s also the possibility of an “unexpected event” that could thwart or boost their cause, like an endorsement from a major, mainstream celebrity or a high-profile incident that could set the movement back. “A big part of this is really optics,” he says.

TIME public health

Medical Pot May Have a Place for Very Ill Kids, Says Pediatric Group

Medical Marijuana
Colin Brynn—Getty Images

'The Academy recognizes some exceptions should be made for compassionate use'

In an update to its 2004 policy statement on marijuana legalization, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now says that in some cases, children with certain debilitating illnesses should be allowed derivatives of marijuana to ease their suffering.

The group of pediatricians announced the change in position today in a statement reaffirming its opposition to the legalization of marijuana. It now includes several exceptions for “compassionate use” in children dealing with debilitating or life-limiting conditions. Compounds found in pot, known as cannabinoids, have become a method of stopping seizures for children suffering from epilepsy.

“Given that some children who may benefit from cannabinoids cannot wait for a meticulous and lengthy research process, the Academy recognizes some exceptions should be made for compassionate use in children,” the organization said in a press release.

Read More: Pot Kids: Inside the Quasi-Legal, Science-Free World of Medical Marijuana for Children

The organization stopped short of explicitly endorsing the practice and called for further research into its effectiveness.

“While cannabinoids may have potential as a therapy for a number of medical conditions, dispensing marijuana raises concerns regarding purity, dosing and formulation, all of which are of heightened importance in children,” said policy statement co-author William P. Adelman in the press release.

The organization maintained its steadfast opposition to recreational marijuana use, arguing that allowing its use for adults is more likely to lead to increased use among teenagers.

“Just the campaigns to legalize marijuana can have the effect of persuading adolescents that marijuana is not dangerous, which can have a devastating impact on their lifelong health and development,” said Seth D. Ammerman, another author of the statement, in the release.

TIME Washington

Growers Struggle With Glut of Legal Pot in Washington State

Too Much Pot
Ashley Green trims a marijuana flower at the Pioneer Nuggets marijuana-growing facility in Arlington, Wash., on Jan. 13, 2015 Elaine Thompson—AP

The legal pot market isn't flying as high as growers had hoped

(SEATTLE) — Washington’s legal marijuana market opened last summer to a dearth of weed. Some stores periodically closed because they didn’t have pot to sell. Prices were through the roof.

Six months later, the equation has flipped, bringing serious growing pains to the new industry.

A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state’s licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are — surprisingly — struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are already worried about going belly-up, finding it tougher than expected to make a living in legal weed.

“It’s an economic nightmare,” says Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.

State data show that licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of bud as of Thursday, but Washington’s relatively few legal pot shops have sold less than one-fifth of that. Many of the state’s marijuana users have stuck with the untaxed or much-lesser-taxed pot they get from black market dealers or unregulated medical dispensaries — limiting how quickly product moves off the shelves of legal stores.

“Every grower I know has got surplus inventory and they’re concerned about it,” said Scott Masengill, who has sold half of the 280 pounds he harvested from his pot farm in central Washington. “I don’t know anybody getting rich.”

Officials at the state Liquor Control Board, which regulates marijuana, aren’t terribly concerned.

So far, there are about 270 licensed growers in Washington — but only about 85 open stores for them to sell to. That’s partly due to a slow, difficult licensing process; retail applicants who haven’t been ready to open; and pot business bans in many cities and counties.

The board’s legal pot project manager, Randy Simmons, says he hopes about 100 more stores will open in the next few months, providing additional outlets for the weed that’s been harvested. Washington is always likely to have a glut of marijuana after the outdoor crop comes in each fall, he suggested, as the outdoor growers typically harvest one big crop which they continue to sell throughout the year.

Weed is still pricey at the state’s pot shops — often in the $23-to-$25-per-gram range. That’s about twice the cost at medical dispensaries, but cheaper than it was a few months ago.

Simmons said he expects pot prices to keep fluctuating for the next year and a half: “It’s the volatility of a new marketplace.”

Colorado, the only other state with legal marijuana sales, has a differently structured industry. Regulators have kept a lid on production, though those limits were loosened last fall as part of a planned expansion of the market. Colorado growers still have to prove legal demand for their product, a regulatory curb aimed at preventing excess weed from spilling to other states. The result has been more demand than supply.

In Washington, many growers have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they should be able to recoup their initial investments, Simmons said. And some of the growers complaining about the low prices they’re getting now also gouged the new stores amid shortages last summer.

Those include Seitz, who sold his first crop — 22 pounds — for just under $21 per gram: nearly $230,000 before his hefty $57,000 tax bill. He’s about to harvest his second crop, but this time he expects to get just $4 per gram, when he has big bills to pay.

“We’re running out of money,” he said. “We need to make sales this month to stay operational, and we’re going to be selling at losses.”

Because of the high taxes on Washington’s legal pot, Seitz says stores can never compete with the black market while paying growers sustainable prices.

He and other growers say it’s been a mistake for the state to license so much production while the rollout of legal stores has lagged.

“If it’s a natural bump from the outdoor harvest, that’s one thing,” said Jeremy Moberg, who is sitting on 1,500 pounds of unsold marijuana at his CannaSol Farms in north-central Washington. “If it’s institutionally creating oversupply … that’s a problem.”

Some retailers have been marking up the wholesale price three-fold or more — a practice that has some growers wondering if certain stores aren’t cleaning up as they struggle.

“I got retailers beating me down to sell for black-market prices,” said Fitz Couhig, owner of Pioneer Production and Processing in Arlington.

But two of the top-selling stores in Seattle — Uncle Ike’s and Cannabis City — insist that because of their tax obligations and low demand for high-priced pot, they’re not making any money either, despite each having sales of more than $600,000 per month.

Aaron Varney, a director at Dockside Cannabis, a retail shop in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, said stores that exploit growers now could get bitten in the long run.

“Right now, the numbers will say that we’re in the driver’s seat,” he said. “But that can change. We’re looking to establish good relationships with the growers we’re dealing with.”

MONEY stocks

What This 20-Year Study on Marijuana Use Means for the Pot Market

Marijuana plant
Pablo Porciuncula—AFP/Getty Images

There's reason for cautious optimism—but it's not time to invest yet.

Marijuana laws and public perception have come a long, long way over the past 20 years.

In 1996, we witnessed the first approval for marijuana on a medical basis by a state, and in 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to approve marijuana use on a recreational, adult-use basis. As I write today, there are 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana and four states that now allow marijuana to be used on a recreational basis.

Public perception has been a major motivator in this shift. According to Gallup, which polls Americans every so often on whether or not they believe marijuana should be legal, just one in four respondents 20 years ago were in favor of legalization. That figure stood at 58% as of 2013. Between the need for additional revenue at the state level to help reduce or close budget gaps and providing solutions to people with serious medical conditions, marijuana’s momentum is undeniable.

I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t also state that many questions remain, such as whether or not the government will change its stance on marijuana being a schedule 1 drug, and if marijuana’s benefits outweigh its risks. The last question is particularly hard to answer as we have very limited long-term data, and what we do have was primarily focused on the risks of marijuana rather than the benefits.

Five intriguing marijuana finds

However, a recently released study from Dr. Wayne Hall, a the director of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland, sheds new light, both good and bad, on long-term marijuana use.

Hall’s study examined the effect of marijuana over a 20-year period (1993-2013), and was made possible by the fact that recreational cannabis use has risen, and stronger cannabis has become available in recent years. Hall’s review notes that between 1980 and 2006, the amount of THC found in marijuana increased more than fourfold to 8.5% from less than 2%.

Specifically, Hall’s review led to five intriguing findings about marijuana.

1. It’s essentially impossible to overdose on marijuana

One of the most common comments I’ve received in my research into medical marijuana from readers is that “no one has ever overdosed from smoking marijuana.” This turns to out to practically be true, according to Hall’s review. The study points out that it would take between 15 grams and 70 grams of marijuana to cause someone to overdose, which is an amount higher than even a heavy user could consume in a day.

By comparison, opioid analgesics, which are commonly used to treat pain, one of the indications for which marijuana is typically prescribed, led to 16,007 deaths in 2012 based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, the implication is that marijuana might be a solution to dramatically reducing opioid-related overdose deaths.

2. Marijuana use and driving don’t mix

We know that drinking and driving don’t mix, but Dr. Hall’s study, which included a meta-analysis of drivers who smoked and a control group that didn’t, definitively showed that smoking marijuana nearly doubles your risk of an accident.

Why does this matter? A number of states are beginning to legalize marijuana for recreational use, so there’s concern we could see an increase in accidents caused by marijuana. Further, the review in Australia notes that public education about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana may not be enough to deter drivers. There would have to be a real fear of their cannabis use being detected by law enforcement in order to get drivers to give up their keys.

3. Cannabis addiction exists, especially in adolescents

A good chunk of negative marijuana studies focus on the drugs’ effect in adolescents. It turns out that those fears may be on target. Per Dr. Hall’s review, cannabis addiction does exist, and it’s more prevalent in adolescents than adults. One in 10 adults who use marijuana on a regular basis become addicted to it compared to one in six adolescents.

4. Marijuana can negatively impact your IQ

It turns out that marijuana can actually lower your IQ as well, but according to the review, only if you’re a heavy marijuana user. The study notes that “these effects on IQ were only found in the small proportion of cannabis users who initiated in adolescence and persisted in daily use throughout their 20s and into their 30s.” This news mirrors a recent abstract we examined that showed marijuana users on average had a slightly lower IQ than non-users.

In addition to potentially lower IQs, the review also suggests that cannabis use is strongly associated with the use of other illicit drugs.

5. Marijuana’s long-term effect on respiratory health is inconclusive

Lastly, Dr. Hall’s study also brought up one glaring inconclusive finding: that being whether smoking marijuana had a negative effect on the users’ respiratory function. Previous studies have gone both ways on this question, and this review notes that there’s no conclusive evidence that smoking marijuana will lead to reduced respiratory function or respiratory cancer. The primary reason this turned out inconclusive is because most marijuana users were also smoking tobacco products, making it impossible to differentiate the effect on the body of one from the other.

Bifurcated results for marijuana

Based on the study’s findings, the outlook for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is widely bifurcated.

With inconclusive data on the long-term respiratory effects of marijuana, and given the fact that a person’s chances of overdosing from marijuana are extremely slim, it potentially strengthens the case for exploring marijuana’s medical benefit profile. Let’s remember that marijuana can be absorbed a number of ways beyond smoking, so the respiratory concern can possibly be eliminated.

This would be good news for GW Pharmaceuticals GW PHARMACEUTICALS PLC GWPH -2.5715% , a predominantly clinical-stage company focused on creating drugs using the more than five dozen cannabinoid compounds it’s discovered to date. Currently, it has just one drug approvedoutside the U.S. (Sativex), which is absorbed as an oramucosal spray to treat spasticity associated with multiple scleorsis, but is working on a range of additional studies, including cancer pain, type 2 diabetes, and adult and pediatric epilepsy. As long as marijuana studies continue to point toward the drug being safe to use, it’ll only further strengthen the need for GW and its peers to conduct more research into its potential uses.

On the other hand, the case for recreational expansion continues to take a hit based on these studies. Although the four states that have approved marijuana for purchase have strict age requirements in place, it’s clear from a number of other statistics and studies that adolescents are still getting their hands on this drug — and that adolescents are the most susceptible to negative effects from its use.

As an investor, I continue to view the space with cautious optimism. I’d be thrilled to see marijuana or marijuana-based compounds help patients control serious diseases. But, I’m also a realist who understands that the federal government is unlikely to change its stance on marijuana anytime soon. Also, a vast majority of marijuana-based companies simply don’t have viable business models, so you might as well be throwing your nest egg at the roulette table and hoping for the best. I’ll continue to closely follow marijuana studies moving forward, but I have no intention of investing in the space anytime soon.

TIME Drugs

Marijuana-Infused Sex Spray To Hit Stores in Colorado

The product will be launched at the X Games next week.

As the marijuana industry evolves in Colorado, which legalized recreational use in 2012, so too are the product offerings.

The latest, according to USA Today: Foria, a spray containing marijuana extract that claims to improve sex for women. As part of an intensive marketing campaign, the spray will be launched at the X Games in Aspen on Jan. 22 and be available in Colorado for people 21 and older.

Foria, a product from the California medical marijuana cooperative Aphrodite Group, has been available in California for holders of medical marijuana cards for several months, and it doesn’t come cheap. While card holders don’t buy the product, they “donate” about $44 for a 10ml bottle, according to USA Today.

Colorado and three other states — Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use, though recreational sales are currently only allowed in Colorado and Washington.

[USA Today]

TIME celebrities

Jackie Chan’s Son Jaycee Gets Six Months in a Chinese Jail for Pot

FILE - Jackie Chan's Son Detained In Beijing On Drugs Charges
Jackie Chan and his son Jaycee Chan attends a commercial event on April 5, 2008, in Shanghai ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

The case has proved embarrassing for Jackie, who is an antinarcotics ambassador

Kung-fu movie star Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee, was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to marijuana-related charges in a Beijing court.

The court convicted Jaycee, 32, of providing a venue for marijuana use and also fined him the equivalent of $326, the state-run Xinhua News reported.

The young actor and singer was arrested in August along with Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-tung, and both men admitted to smoking weed themselves.

The case has proved an embarrassment for his father Jackie, who in 2009 was made an antinarcotics spokesman by the Chinese police.

Read next: Jackie Chan’s Son Has Been Detained in a Beijing Drug Bust

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Drugs

Colorado Begins $5.7 Million ‘Good to Know’ Campaign for Marijuana Awareness

DENVER, CO. - DECEMBER 06: A tour members purchases marijuana at La Conte's Clone Bar & Dispensary during a marijuana tour hosted by My 420 Tours in Denver, CO on December 06, 2014. During the day tourists visited La Conte's grow facility, La Conte's Clone Bar & Dispensary, Native Roots dispensary  and Illuzions Glass Gallery.  (Photo By Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post)
A tour member purchases marijuana at La Conte's Clone Bar & Dispensary during a marijuana tour in Denver on Dec. 6, 2014 Craig F. Walker—The Denver Post/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

The campaign is aimed at educating the state's citizens without alienating them

The state of Colorado is spending $5.7 million to educate its citizens about the responsible use of marijuana in a major public campaign beginning this month.

The “Good to Know” initiative will utilize radio broadcasts, newspapers and the Internet, USA Today reports. The campaign apparently has a folksy and relatable tone to it, with one of the radio spots featuring a rhyming cowboy and banjo music. Colorado’s chief medical officer Dr. Larry Wolk says its goal is to educate without alienating.

Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana last year, although Alaska and Oregon have also since voted in favor of doing so. But according to a survey of the drug’s use and perceptions done along with the campaign, only 27% of Coloradans realize it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public, and only 23% know that one must be 21 to purchase it.

[USA Today]

TIME medicine

Former U.S. Senator to Sell Pot Products

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel CEO pot company
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel in 2008. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Former Sen. Mike Gravel is getting into the marijuana business

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel is the new CEO of a marijuana-infused edible company called KUSH, a Cannabis Sativa, Inc. subsidiary.

“I’m anxious to assist in bringing this important resource to a broader market in a serious and credible way,” Gravel said in a statement.

According to the company, KUSH will focus on marketing and development for cannabis products for both recreational and medicinal use. This includes a lozenge known as the “Kubby.”

Gravel, who served two senate terms from 1969 to 1981, adamantly opposed the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance signed into law in 1970 by Richard Nixon. He won’t be the only politician getting into the ganja game either. Huffington Post reports that former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is the CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc.

TIME apps

L.A. Judge Stubs Out Marijuana App

Marijuana is seen under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market in Los Angeles
Marijuana is seen under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014 David McNew—Reuters

Court says Nestdrop flouted Proposition D's rules against pot delivery

Correction appended: Dec. 24, 2014.

A Los Angeles-based smartphone application aimed at becoming the city’s first mobile medical marijuana logistics service was ordered to stop business by a judge on Tuesday.

Judge Robert O’Brien, of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, said Nestdrop, a mobile app hoping to connect the city’s medical marijuana patients with dispensaries, was in violation of a voter-approved law called Proposition D that explicitly bans medical marijuana delivery, according to the Associated Press.

Nestdrop claimed that they were not in violation of the law because they only connect distributors with patients and do not handle the marijuana themselves, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Dec. 2, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer filed an official complaint about the company’s supposed violation of Proposition D.

“Nestdrop is the technology platform that connects law abiding medical marijuana patients with local dispensaries to receive the medication that they need in a safe and secure manner,” Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.

Launched earlier this year, the company said that it will maintain its alcohol logistics service within Los Angeles while evaluating future options to operate there in the medical marijuana industry as well.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the timing of Feuer’s lawsuit. It was filed on Dec. 2, 2014. The original version of this story also incorrectly described when Nestdrop first launched. The app first became available in the summer of 2014.

TIME Drugs

Meet the Man Behind Oregon’s New Legal Pot Market

Rob Patridge is chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the body that will oversee the creation of Oregon's market for recreational marijuana. Michael Schoenholtz

'We’ve been fortunate that we weren’t the pioneers'

When Oregon voters approved Measure 91 in the midterm elections, they became the latest to say that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol. Now comes the enormous job of actually bringing the legal marijuana market to life.

The task falls to Rob Patridge, the chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and its four volunteer commissioners. The group will be busy ahead of the Jan. 5, 2016 deadline for accepting applications from Oregonians who want to grow, process and sell marijuana. TIME spoke to Patridge, a former Republican state lawmaker and the current district attorney of Klamath County — proud home of Crater Lake — about his thoughts on edibles, when the market will realistically open and whether lawsuits like this one are a threat to the commission’s work.

What is your general philosophy for developing Oregon’s pot market?

We’re going out in late January and doing what we’re calling a listening tour. We’re going to go throughout Oregon to talk to the communities, local government, law enforcement, educators, the treatment community, the people who are invested in growing marijuana and selling marijuana. We’re going to listen to the impacts it’s going to have on the community and try to define how we’re going to move forward to address that as we put together the rules.

What issues do you expect to come up on this listening tour?

There’s been a lot of interest in stuff that the legislature may or may not address [like possibly allowing a special election for local jurisdictions to opt out of allowing pot shops]. There are concerns related to edibles and local government is very interested in public safety issues, how it’s going to interact with criminal laws. The issues are large but we’re going to try to break them down so we can eat the elephant one bite at a time rather than trying to eat the whole thing.

Edibles are proving to be controversial. People are concerned about kids accidentally ingesting them, wondering whether certain types should be banned. What are your thoughts about how to approach the issue?

The concern has certainly been raised, and we’re going to be proceeding with caution. I know there’s some legislative interest related to edibles. The legislature could mandate types. So the jury’s going to be out for a while … We’re watching what Colorado and Washington are doing. We’ve been in direct contact with the other states. We’ve reached out to Alaska. And we’re going to take some of our commissioners and staff there to talk about implementation. I’m not one to not learn from other people’s lessons.

At this point, do you think there are certain types of edibles that shouldn’t be on the market?

I don’t know that [certain types] should or shouldn’t be on the market. It’s about how they’re used and what’s responsible from a packaging standpoint, how they get labeled, those types of things.

In general, how is the situation going to be different in Oregon than in Washington or Colorado?

First, we’re not starting from zero. We already have a system in place for medical. We also have the benefit of seeing what’s gone on in Washington and Colorado, which they didn’t. We’re not plying new ground. The Colorado model is probably a better fit, because of how their medical marijuana is regulated. It’s similar to what we do. We’ve been fortunate that we weren’t the pioneers, even if we are the Pioneer State. We’re fortunate to gain from their knowledge, and they’ve been very free about sharing it.

What is your timeline for when legal shops will open their doors and the state will start collecting tax revenue?

We’re really on a fairly tight timeline. What I’m calling the “home grow provisions” [personal cannabis growing and possession becoming legal] come into effect July 1, 2015. Beyond that, we’ve got a whole set of rules we’ve got to deal with. We’ve got to set up a whole seed-to-sale system. And if the legislature changes the playing field, we’re going to be continually looking at that. Best case scenario, last half of 2016 before we’d be up and running. We’re trying to be very up front. A lot of people thought that in January 2016 these retail locations would pop up and people would go purchase marijuana. And that’s just not going to be the case.

The attorneys general in Oklahoma and Nebraska are suing Colorado over marijuana legalization, saying it violates the Supremacy Clause. How does that shape your thoughts about the nature of the market you’re setting up?

There’s the potential for a lot of legal challenges for Measure 91. Until it’s declared one way or another, we have to stay with what current law is. Our job under current law is to implement, and the court can do what it may. If it’s looks like it’s a substantial enough issue—if a judge issues a stay or something else happens—obviously we would work with the legislature to decide whether we should continue to spend the state’s money, of if they’d want us to wait until there was a legal resolution.

Is legal pot good for Oregon?

It’s my job to implement it as the chair of the commission. Voters made that decision. And as I’ve told everybody, I try to be a consensus builder. That’s my job, to create a process that’s transparent, that engages everybody. That’s really our role, and I’m not taking a policy position as the chair. Certainly there are arguments on all sides. It’s so early.

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