Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Time was, stoners had limited options when it came to using marijuana. There were pipes carved out of apples, of course, and homemade gravity bongs, and even hashish, but that was about it.

How times have changed.

Marijuana EdiblesIt’s still pretty easy to find weed, buy it, and smoke it the old-fashioned way. But there is a host of alternatives now: hash oil, topicals, tinctures, and the list goes on. It’s enough to make a pothead dizzy without toking.

Thanks to the rapid spread of legalization over the last few years, along with a nationwide boom in retail medical marijuana dispensaries, customers have easy access to almost any cannabis product the mind can conjure.

Infused products widely available in legal states

Edibles. Shatter. Lotions. These products and many others are sold widely in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, the three states where commercial marijuana sales are now legal. Alaska and the District of Columbia, where pot is legal to buy and use, have yet to approve retail shops or pass regulations on non-smokeables.

So what are the most popular legal cannabis products? Is no-frills bud still the king? And what are the up-and-comers you should know about to impress your friends?

Here are a couple of charts published by Priceeconomics on the relative success of various infused products.

Popular Pot Products

The company’s data came from its customer Headset, a dataset that tracks cannabis retail transactions. The statistics cover about 25 percent of legal pot sales in Washington State, giving at least a limited idea of what products sell best across the country.

Cannabis flower still most popular

Nor surprisingly, traditional marijuana flower comes out on top. Dried bud accounts for 49 percent of transactions, making it by far the most popular form of cannabis. Edibles, meanwhile, comes in second at 13 percent of all sales. But a variety of other products, from wax and alcohol-based tinctures to topicals and iced coffee, add up to another 20 percent.

Most Popular Pot Products

Hash oil and edibles

Hash oil and edibles are climbing especially fast, Proceeconomics reported, and while flower remains the biggest seller by a wide margin, these products are already more profitable. Edibles generate the most profit.


Flower itself comes in several forms. The most popular is simple packaged bud, but many customers prefer pre-rolled joints, which typically sell for $10 to $15 and account for 11 percent of all Washington cannabis sales.


Vaporizers and vape oils, meanwhile, fall somewhere in the middle of the list. The relatively slow sales of these products and concentrates such as hash oil suggest their potency is high enough that customers buy less.

Popular Pot Products

An analysis of flower sales found that hybrid strains sell better than any other product, accounting for 25 percent of all cannabis sales. Indica is the second-most popular strain at 11 percent, followed by sativa at 10 percent of all transactions. That might come as a surprise to many stoners, given the widespread perception that sativas are more popular than indicas.

Vape cartridges and wax rank fourth and fifth on the Priceeconomics list, respectively. But edibles claim the most sales behind bud. Curiously, brownies and cookies sell less frequently than newer treats, such as chocolates and Truffles. Infused beverages are also increasingly popular, with carbonated drinks ranking at No. 13 on the list of best-selling products.

For all the entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals who stand to benefit from a legal marijuana market, there are plenty of others who have a lot to lose. And they’re fighting reform tooth and nail.

But who are they? And what are they doing to stop voters from legalizing cannabis in states from California to Maine?

Big Booze

Whiskey AlcoholNot surprisingly, the U.S. alcohol industry has a big stake in the outcome of marijuana reform. And it is pumping money into the cause at a rate to match.

The reasons for this are obvious, mostly. Booze is by far America’s most popular intoxicating drug, generating more than $200 billion in sales each year, almost all of it legal. In fact, the very legality of alcohol is the larger part of its appeal.

But marijuana is provably safer than booze, and given a choice, many regular drinkers would likely pick weed. Alcohol kills thousands of Americans each year, but there is no such thing as a fatal cannabis overdose.

Big Booze pumped big money into anti-legalization efforts, especially in Massachusetts, where an industry trade group gave $25,000 to a political committee set up to fight a ballot initiative in that state.

Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada also voted on legalization Nov. 8. The beer, wine, and spirits industries also fought cannabis reform in those states.

Big Pharma

Big Pharma Pills
Insys Therapeutics of Arizona gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group formed to fight Proposition 205

Some of the strongest opposition to legal marijuana comes from the pharmaceutical industry. The reason is simple: Some of these corporate drug manufacturers hope to patent and sell synthetic forms of pot that would compete aginst the real thing.

If Big Pharma could stop legalization (it can’t), it would ensure that all THC medication, including traditional cannabis bud, would require approval from the FDA before reaching patients. This in turn would allow the government to limit prescriptions to tightly controlled synthetic formulas and ban traditional medical cannabis outright.

The makers of Subsys – a potent prescription painkiller made from fentanyl – donated $500,000 to fight legalization in Arizona. They worked quietly elsewhere, too, along with other drug makers that stand to lose billions in future revenue to legal pot.


Sheldon Adelson
Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson has donated at least $2 million to groups opposing legal cannabis in Nevada.

Why on Earth would the casino industry care about legal cannabis? If anti-legalization contributions by gambling magnates are any guide, it’s all about profit.

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, for one, poured $3.5 million into opposition campaigns across the country this year, much of it spent in Nevada. Adelson and his fellow casino owners have an interest in discouraging legal marijuana use, since alcohol is much more conducive to impulsive gambling: Drunk people play slot machines, while stoners stay in and order room service.

What do you think: Who poses the greatest danger to the future of marijuana reform? Does the outcome of the 2016 election change your answer? Leave a comment below and let us know.


Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas billionaire, newspaper publisher, and casino magnate, is one of the Republican Party’s wealthiest backers. He is also one of its staunchest.

And now Adelson, who has thrown at least $100 million into the campaigns of Donald Trump and other GOP candidates, is giving a bit more in an effort to stop marijuana legalization.

Adelson disclosed in October that he has donated $2 million to groups opposing legal cannabis in Nevada. The state will vote on the issue on Election Day. Public support is strong, giving the measure a strong chance of success.

Adelson’s money alone won’t stop Question 2, the initiative that would make recreational marijuana use legal across the state. Even his massive financial presence in Las Vegas won’t make much of a difference.

Sheldon Adelson

But his contributions are a sign of the growing desperation among legalization opponents. As state after state reforms its cannabis laws, the odds of turning back the tide grow ever slimmer.

Adelson is best known as a billionaire supporter of conservative causes. He has been one of the biggest donors to GOP candidates in 2016 and one of the few financial titans to openly back Trump. Adelson’s newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, gave the GOP nominee his first – and only – major editorial endorsement.

Biggest contributer to Protect Nevada’s Children

Adelson’s most recent campaign finance disclosures, filed Oct. 17, show he is the biggest contributor to an anti-pot political action committee called Protect Nevada’s Children, giving the group $1.8 million. Three of his casinos have also donated tens of thousands of dollars to the committee, which was formed explicitly to defeat Question 2.

Marijuana Leaf and Cash MoneyWith roughly $2 million in the bank, Protect Nevada’s Children has almost equaled the $2.1 million raised by marijuana reformers who support Question 2. But Adelson has done little to convince voters they should reject the measure.

Though mostly associated with conservative political campaigns, Adelson also gives significant amounts of money to a wide range of charitable causes. He and his wife have founded addiction treatment clinics, an experience that may contribute to his anti-marijuana views.

Battling legalization in Massachusetts

Nevada isn’t Adelson’s only target. He has already given $1 million to stop legalization in Massachusetts – though his money is unlikely to have any effect in that deep-blue state.

Adelson also opposes a medical marijuana vote coming in Florida, donating $1 million to that cause. He helped defeat a similar proposal in the Sunshine State two years ago by giving $5.5 million.

Nevada and Massachusetts are among five states voting on legalization proposals next month. The others are Arizona, California, and Maine. Recent polls show at least one or two of the measures will pass, including California.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think: Do big-money donors like Sheldon Adelson make any difference in the outcome of legalization votes?

Life has not been especially easy for tourists who want to sample some of Colorado’s famous legal weed. While the drug has been available at retail stores for almost three years, out-of-state visitors still have few places to use it.

An illicit cannabis club
An illicit cannabis club

That could change soon, as voters in Denver decide Nov. 8 whether they want to allow members-only cannabis clubs in the city. If they do, the Mile High City would become the largest in the country to allow any form of public marijuana consumption.

One state lawmaker called the vote a potential “shot across the bow” that could convince the state Legislature to clear the way for pot clubs elsewhere in Colorado. It may even have national implications.

Four-year pilot program

Initiative 300, which appears on the local ballot, would launch a four-year pilot program to license public accommodations such as bars, cafes, and yoga studios so their customers could toke on their property.

The law would require that each guest bring his or her own cannabis. Aside from licensed pot shops, no private businesses would be allowed to sell the drug. And while vaping and edibles would be legal indoors, smoking would only be allowed in designated outdoor areas.

A handful of smaller communities in Colorado already allow regulated cannabis clubs, but Denver would be by far the largest. And the licensing process would be complicated.

Any permit application filed by a business could be effectively blocked by neighborhood groups, including so-called business improvement districts and other community organizations registered with the city. These groups could even set their own local regulations.

Aiming to reduce high driving

Backers of Initiative 300, also known as the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, say their proposal would cut down on high driving and make it easier for tourists to enjoy the city.

The measure was drafted by Kayvann Khalatbari of Denver Relief Consulting, with support from area marijuana businesses. But that backing is not universal. Anti-pot groups claim clubs open to the public would increase impaired driving, contribute to excessive use of the drug, and lead consumers to mix it with alcohol.

These arguments aren’t backed by statistics, which show the rate of drugged driving actually dropped after Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012. But some neighborhood groups insist they won’t allow cannabis clubs on their streets.

Cannabis Club Barcelona
Social cannabis use in Barcelona, Spain, where there is already a thriving cannabis club scene.

Khalatbari, meanwhile, says he and his supporters are already accounting for the concerns of residents who live near possible club sites. Some local anti-cannabis activists disagree, saying rejection by one local group would simply lead business owners to look for locations in other neighborhoods.

It’s unclear how that argument works, since angry neighbors would presumably be happy to see a proposed pot club give up on their districts – even by moving somewhere else.

And supporters say there’s a critical fact to consider: If Initiative 300 works in Denver, it could provide a road map for safe, legal public consumption in other parts of the country. That, they say, could save lives by keeping pothead tourists from toking in their cars or otherwise hiding from the law.

What do you think? Will legal cannabis clubs make life easier for stoners? What about safer? Leave a comment below.


Vaporizers are mostly good things. They make it easier, and a bit healthier, to consume marijuana, especially when it’s used as medicine. They could also help tobacco users cut back or even quit cigarettes.

But not everything is as it seems in the vape industry. Ben Livingston, vape critic for the Cannabist (a blog by the Denver Post), says the market is flooded with vaporizers marketed as the “next, greatest” thing – when in fact they’re mostly foreign knockoffs.

For example, “white-label” products are generic but marketed as brand-name devices anyway. And then there are the outright fakes, made mostly in China.

Most products are cheap Chinese rip-offs

“If you actually innovate a vape pen or a vape product, the odds are somebody else is just going to steal it,” Livingston says. “The next round from China, from the factory, they’re going to reproduce that same model and they’re going to call it their own.”

The marketing that sells these knockoffs pushes them as “new and interesting and unique,” he says, even though most are no different from the rest of the market. Livingston spoke about the problem in a sit-down with the Cannabis Show.

Ben Livingston, vape critic at the Cannabanist
Ben Livingston, vape critic at the Cannabist

“I have to do a lot of research, and when I have somebody actively trying to sell me a load of lies, like marketing speak, it’s harder for me to understand what’s going on,” he says. “And I’m paid to try to filter through this stuff. Imagine if you weren’t.”

Cheaply made vape pens can be dangerous

It’s a real problem for tokers. A bad vape pen can reduce quality, waste hash oil, and even cause injuries. Several people have suffered severe burns from vape explosions in recent years, due mostly to faulty batteries and rechargers.

In other words, a cheap Chinese copy isn’t worth the money and could hurt you. But it’s also just a matter of not getting ripped off. It’s not hard to find quality vaporizers these days, if you’re willing to do at least some minimal Googling.

Vape Pens Industry Secret

Vapes, especially pens, are likely to come under much tighter regulation by the FDA in coming years. The devices are largely unregulated, as is the nicotine liquid used by regular vapors. Those liquids are much more likely to cause health damage than hash oil, but the devices themselves could also come under government scrutiny.

That’s why it’s so important to research the cannabis-related products you buy. Vaporizers may ultimately help people by getting them off cigarettes and reducing the cannabis smoke they inhale, but it will probably be a while yet before you can trust what you see on store shelves.

Leave a comment. Do you use a vape pen? Do you have any idea who made it? Does it matter?


Voters in Denver will decide in November whether certain businesses may allow marijuana use on their property.

Officials at the Denver Elections Division have approved a ballot proposal that would make it legal for yoga studios, restaurants, bars, and some other businesses to set aside indoor or outdoor areas for cannabis use. Stoners would have to bring their own pot, and business owners would have to win the approval of neighbors, among other tough rules.

Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program

The initiative is known as the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, and its backers say it will cut down on high driving and public marijuana consumption. These violations account for the largest number of low-end pot-related criminal charges.

Marijuana Store Pot Shop

Kayvan Khalatbari, the program’s lead advocate, says the proposal wouldn’t significantly change marijuana use in Denver or the rest of Colorado. Pothead-friendly businesses would not have to make major changes to qualify, Khalatbari says.

“I think there’s these little additions to these businesses, that there’s an expansion of the business model that exists right now,” he says. “They’re not going to drastically change, though.”

Segregated areas for cannabis use

The initiative would allow coffee shops and bars to set aside back rooms for smoking and outdoor courtyards for vapers. Actual smoking would remain illegal in any place where cigarettes are prohibited by local, state, or federal law (which includes most space in restaurants, bars, and cafes).

“This isn’t flipping the switch on something crazy, you know, wackadoodle,” Khalatbari says. “This is something that’s already happening that we’re simply trying to maneuver and push into places that are regulated, spaces that are regulated and have some sort of supervision over them.”


Kayvan Khalatbari
Kayvan Khalatbari

Khalatbari owns two businesses – pizzeria Sexy Pizza and the comedy club Sexpot Comedy – and notes that they’re not equally suited for stoners. Sexy Comedy appeals to a young, marijuana-friendly crowd while the pizza shop caters to families.

“Sexy Pizza, they’re both establishments where a lot of families frequent, so I don’t see us engaging in this, because it can’t be in places where children congregate,” he says. “A pizzeria is a place where children congregate.”

Natural step away from prohibition

Public spaces for cannabis use are the natural next step away from prohibition, says Brad Bogus, a fellow supporter of the Denver measure. Colorado voters legalized marijuana for any adult use in 2012, along with Washington. Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia followed suit in 2012, while several other states will vote on the issue in November.

“If there’s already an economy here and there’s an industry that’s regulated and we can partake in that as citizens, we should also be able to use those substances in places where it’s allowed,” Bogus says.

A vote to allow these spaces would also keep Colorado at the forefront of the marijuana reform movement, Khalatbari says. With California set to legalize on Election Day, Colorado could lose its position as leader of the cause, he says.

“This is just the opportunity for us to continue doing what Colorado’s been doing very well over the last four or five years and setting the pace and the trend with how this should be operated,” he says.

Leave a comment and tell us: Would you smoke at marijuana bars?


Marijuana is getting cheaper almost by the day in Colorado, and that’s good news for customers. Or is it?

Marijuana Leaf and Cash MoneyA report released recently by Tradiv, a marijuana distribution platform, suggests wholesale prices on the state’s legal cannabis market have dropped from about $2,600 per pound in October 2015 to just $1,600 per pound in August 2016.

This really is good news for consumers and for Coloradans. The cheaper legal pot is, the more likely users will buy it in legal shops and avoid the black market. What’s more, low prices encourage spending, which leads to higher revenue and a bigger tax haul for the state.

That it’s happening at all is impressive. The black market has inherent built-in cost savings, since there are no taxes or regulatory overheads. At the same time, though, supply for any kind of contraband is usually below demand, so illicit prices remain stubbornly high over time.

The drop in legal prices across Colorado, by comparison, means voters’ decision to legalize marijuana in 2012 has worked like a charm; so far.

Does big business pose a threat?

But some signs are less hopeful. In fact, the declining short-term prices could be a sign that big business poses a threat to longer-term costs for consumers.

The Tradiv report shows that prices have dropped in the wake of a decision by state regulators to let big cannabis cultivators join the recreational market while blocking the way to new mom-and-pop operations. And the state imposes no limit on how many plants a given cultivator may grow, opening the door to massive corporate expansion.

Ganja Goddess Dispensary SeattleThat in turn can lead to a market flooded with too much supply and plagued with artificially low prices. And if the current savings are driven by oversupply rather than genuine demand, prices are bound to spike eventually – and they could stay that way.

Colorado could allow more cultivation licenses

Colorado may move to increase the number of available cultivation licenses, which would encourage more small providers and enhance competition. But if the big players keep pumping too much marijuana onto the market, those local businesses will have less incentive.

In other words, what’s good for the consumer today could be bad for the industry tomorrow, and even worse for the consumer the day after that. And there are other worries: Legalization opponents loudly warn of the impending doom of “Big Marijuana,” an impending corporate behemoth they say will equal Big Tobacco in the harm it causes. Giving too much ground to corporate investors could play into those claims.

The future of cannabis prices in Colorado and elsewhere depends on a multitude of factors. If more states legalize in November, as observers expect, competition could increase further, even within state lines. And that could keep prices low while, at the same time, blocking Big Weed from scaring off mom and pop.

Let us know: How much do you pay for marijuana where you live? Leave a comment below.

If you’ve ever tried and failed to grow marijuana, sell it, or build a legal retail franchise to sell it for you, you may want to check out Hemp Inc, a new video game that immerses players in the cannabis industry and introduces them to some of its players, including celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Cheech Marin.

You may have heard of Hemp Inc, but probably not. It should be much more popular than it is, though that may be a good thing for you. If nothing else, playing this game before it takes off will give you a slight edge over everyone else in launching a multi-national cannabis empire.

Hemp Inc is a mobile app from HKA Digital Studios, a video game company run by former Call of Duty and Tony Hawk developer Danny Hammett. As Vice News noted in July, the game is similar to FarmVille, with a few exceptions: You can interact with Facebook, you can make your own avatar, and you can grow weed – but only weed.

Cultivate, buy property and grow your business

Offered as a freemium app (it’s free but includes in-app purchases), Hemp Inc lets players grow and sell up to 20 different strains, buy stores and other property, and build a local marijuana franchise. Celebrities show up frequently, including Snoop, Khalifa, Willie, Cheech, and Tommy Chong. And there are notable references to NORML, High Times Magazine, and other aspects of weed culture.

A screen grab from Hemp Inc.
A screen grab from Hemp Inc

The potential for the game is huge. Millions of aspiring ganjapreneurs – not to mention stoners who simply want to grow their own supply at home – have little access to credible information on how to get started. Even cultivating a single cannabis plant can take several tries for inexperienced gardeners.

Over a million downloads

So it’s somewhat surprising Hemp Inc hasn’t exploded yet. It’s been downloaded more than a million times, but marketing has been minimal. Hammett says that’s because he and his colleagues wanted to coordinate marketing efforts with the schedules of the featured stoner celebrities.

Larry Linietsky, COO at High Times, says product placement was a “natural fit” for the publication. The High Times logo appears as soon as the app starts, several characters hold the magazine throughout, and the company has a local office in the game’s fictional town.

“Many of the people who come to our events, read the magazine, [or] go to the website are gamers,” Linietsky says. “They expect, of course, that if there’s going to be a game that is in this space, that those same brands would be in it.”

Promoted by cannabis celebrities

The arrangement with celebrities also makes sense, Hammett says. It cost a lot to hire them, but they will also promote the app so it reaches a wider audience. At the same time, the celebs will have access to a younger demographic that spends more of its time staring at iPhones than watching TV or listening to satellite radio.

There will probably be some push-back once Hemp Inc’s audience starts to grow, with opponents accusing the game of glamorizing cannabis use. But Brian Kelly says it’s too late for that to matter much.

“There’s a movement in this country toward the legalization of marijuana,” says Kelly, vice president of First Harvest Financial, an equity firm that specializes in legal pot. “People who haven’t played the game will think we’re glamorizing it. But I think we’re kind of past that point. Most people out there believe that cannabis shouldn’t be illegal. That mood, that tone, has shifted.”

Let us know: Would you play Hemp Inc? Do you think it could help you start a legal weed business? Leave a comment below.


Legal marijuana is just a few years old, but it’s already big business – big, big, big business, and growing. And that fact hasn’t been lost on another booming industry: Silicon Valley.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, and other tech behemoths have long lured the best and brightest to the Bay Area. Now many of those people see cannabis as a new green light on the horizon, a beacon of financial promise and social change. And they’re getting in on the game while it’s still young.

“This industry is becoming an economic engine for the country,” Chris Walsh of Marijuana Business Daily says. Jake Bhattacharya, who left a tech job to launch a California pot company, agreed: “The fastest-growing industry in America is marijuana. Period.”

So who are the entrepreneurs cashing in on the legal weed boom, and what can we expect from them? Here are four of the most important names, courtesy of The Cannabist.

Eric Eslao, founder and CEO, Défoncé Chocolatier

Eric Eslao, CEO of Défoncé Chocolatier
Eric Eslao, CEO of Défoncé Chocolatier

Eric Eslao, 35, recently quit a six-year job at Apple to launch a line of gourmet marijuana chocolates. His Défoncé Chocolatier products are already on sale in dispensaries across California, and he hopes to supply them to restaurants once the drug is legal for recreation.

“I absolutely loved working at Apple, but I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I felt I could make a bigger impact by starting my own company,” Eslao says. “I founded Défoncé because my passions for both chocolate artisanship and cannabis connoisseurship found a home in one pursuit — the creation of a single-origin, craft, cannabis-infused chocolate.”

Alan Gertner, co-founder, Tokyo Smoke

Alan Gertner, co-founder of Tokyo Smoke
Alan Gertner, co-founder of Tokyo Smoke

Alan Gertner, 31, spent six years traveling the world for Google, bringing the Internet to developing countries. He had an epiphany in Ghana last year, he says, when a tour guide told him, “You either work on something you love or work because it supports the people you love.”

Gertner’s Toronto-based business is both a marijuana cafe and a retail pot shop. His father, a longtime ganjapreneur, is helping him plan new stores in the United States. Tokyo Smoke may also develop its own proprietary strains, Gertner says.

“Leaving the corporate world was about finding something to work on that was more important than me,” he says. “I connected with the cannabis movement and believe that bringing elegance, thoughtfulness, and normalization to it can change our world.”

Peter Bain, Jonathan Bernbaum, and Tania Goulart, executives at Pax Labs

Jonathan Bernbaum (left), Tania Goulart, and Peter Bain of Pax Labs
Jonathan Bernbaum (left), Tania Goulart, and Peter Bain of Pax Labs

Pax Labs, a company run in part by Peter Bain, 40; Jonathan Bernbaum, 28; and Tania Goulart, 37, produces the most popular vape pen in the world. The three, who started at GoPro, jumped to Pax in 2015.

“My passion is helping build companies that drive change in some massive social and cultural experience, and the quickly changing landscape of cannabis is creating this at Pax,” Bain says. “I personally feel strongly about helping to mainstream and normalize the conversation about cannabis, and working with vapor products allows me to do that. Pax as a company is so well-positioned with some of the most talented engineers I’ve worked with, we have first-class customer service and an innovative approach to marketing.”

Lance Galey, chief technology officer, MassRoots

Lance Galey, chief technology officer of MassRoots
Lance Galey, chief technology officer of MassRoots

Most recently, Lance Galey, 41, led infrastructure development for Salesforce, where he rose to vice president; before that, he worked for Disney, Amazon, and Autodesk, where he was the lead cloud architect. Now he’s an executive at MassRoots, a marijuana social media platform.

“There is a massive market opportunity in cannabis right now,” Galey says. “The long game has already started, and there is enough fear around the industry that tells me this is actually the very moment to be here.”

Tell us: Would you enjoy working in the marijuana industry? What if there were no employee discount on grass? Leave a comment below.


It’s yet another item in a never-ending parade of stories in which gullible potheads fall for hoax news articles claiming their favorite drug is on its way to their favorite fast-food restaurant.

McDonald’s. Burger King. Taco Bell. All these North American staples have had to shoot down rumors, usually coming from people with little grasp of irony, that they plan to introduce weed to their menus.

Now it’s Tim Hortons, the beloved Canadian chain of fast-food joints best known for their donuts and coffee to go. A recent article on a “news” website titled The Global Sun reported the restaurant chain would launch a cannabis menu item in 2017.

Story first published on a parody news site

The article was published July 1 by the Sun, a parody site that runs mostly satirical pieces skewering mainstream media – a la The Onion. As often happens with these stories, some readers failed to pick up on the sarcasm and started spreading the claim as gospel. Pot is coming to Tim Hortons!

Even a lot of Americans could sympathize with the appeal of that idea. It would be something like allowing customers to spark up inside a Waffle House or IHOP while enjoying a double-double and a chocolate glazed.

“Canada’s most popular fast food restaurant franchise, ‘Tim Hortons,’ will now be selling marijuana upon its legalization in Canada,” the website claimed, referring to plans by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legalize the drug in 2017.

If only. These stories aren’t entirely implausible; Taco Bell and McDonald’s already serve alcohol at limited locations in the United States. Why not weed?

Public use of cannabis is prohibited

Well, for one thing, even in places where cannabis is legal for any adult use, there are few if any places open to the public where users can legally partake. Public consumption has been banned in every jurisdiction with legal marijuana, and there is little chance that trend will change soon.

Cannabis at McDonald's
Fake stories circulated about cannabis smoking ‘pods’ in McDonald’s restaurants last year.

If Trudeau follows through on his pledge to legalize, cannabis could be available in retail stores across Canada within a couple years. It’s already relatively easy to get in the form of legal medicine, though the government long fought to abolish that program.

Trudeau and his triumphant Liberal Party, which swept back into power last year after a decade in the minority, made legalization one of their key campaign issues. Trudeau announced plans to carry out the promised reforms shortly after taking office.

Canada to legalize marijuana in 2017

Liberal members of the Canadian Parliament plan to introduce legislation next spring that would make marijuana legal for recreational use by adults over 21. Farmers would be allowed to grow the drug for commercial distribution, and retail stores would be permitted to sell it.

Sadly, Tim Hortons has been silent on the recent rumor, a sure sign the company has no plans to start serving Sour Diesel with jelly donuts anytime soon. The Global Sun, like The Onion, is strictly a humor magazine, so readers should assume anything published there is false – especially if it involves cannabis and fast food.

Tell us what you think: Will restaurants like Tim Hortons ever really sell marijuana on-menu? When? Drop a comment below.