Joy to the weed! Marijuana legalization comes bearing gifts

PORTLAND, Maine — Peter Bernard’s Yuletide plans embrace dressing up in a tuxedo emblazoned with marijuana leaves, donning a inexperienced Santa hat and doling out cookie bars made with marijuana to his buddies from an enormous pillowcase.

“That’s me exercising my right to give marijuana this Christmas,” stated Bernard, a Taunton, Massachusetts, pot lover who heads the Massachusetts Growers Advocacy Council when not doubling as “Pot Santa” at occasions for weed fanatics.

Not everybody’s plans are fairly so flamboyant, however for a lot of pot lovers, this Christmas is rather more about reefer than wreaths. Gift-giving has lengthy been part of marijuana tradition, and the drug’s newly authorized standing is a supply of Yuletide celebration in 4 states.

Voters in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts voted to legalize leisure marijuana final yr, and a few residents of these states will legally stuff stockings with spliffs for the first time this Christmas.

Because retail gross sales are working in solely a type of states — Nevada — Bernard and others enthusiastic about legalized pot stated homegrown marijuana is one notably in style present.

“I figure, I’ve got all this pot, I might as well just give it away for Christmas,” stated James MacWilliams, of Portland, Maine, who began rising weed when it turned authorized and is gifting away fancy jars of his stash this yr. “I told my friends, you’re all getting a little bit of pot for Christmas.”

Others plan to give marijuana-infused baked items and even decorations manufactured from pot crops.

Statistics about authorized gross sales of marijuana recommend a modest bump round the holidays. In the 4 states the place it was already authorized, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, it has been “generally a good month,” barely forward of November and January, stated Roy Bingham, chief government officer of BDS Analytics, a agency that compiles knowledge about the pot business. December gross sales accounted for 9.38 % of gross sales income in Colorado final yr, which is one proportion level above common, in accordance to statistics offered by the agency.

California’s retail legal guidelines start subsequent month, whereas Massachusetts’ retail legal guidelines are scheduled for July and Maine’s are nonetheless being developed.

Legalization means pot lovers can legally do one thing they’ve all the time executed, which is give away marijuana to individuals they love, stated Aaron Smith, government director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

“People consume cannabis on the holidays and they always have,” Smith stated. “Now they are doing so through a regulated system.”

The drug stays unlawful on the federal degree, which suggests actions similar to driving it throughout state strains or sending it via the mail are off limits. An aged couple was arrested close to Bradshaw, Nebraska, on Tuesday with about 60 kilos of marijuana they described as future Christmas gifts.

Authorities will cope with incidents involving marijuana in interstate commerce “on a case by case basis,” stated Matthew O’Shaughnessy, a Boston-based spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Hezekiah Allen, government director of the California Growers Association, stated marijuana was probably to be part of Christmas in California this yr whether or not it was authorized or not.

“Cannabis has been pretty ubiquitous here for several generations,” he stated. “Honestly, I think everyone’s just a little more open about it.”


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