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In the first months of marijuana legalization in Oregon, a flood of medical marijuana shops has spread the customer base thin in parts of the state.

According to a Guardian article, an oversaturation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland has some business owners hurting, with hundreds of business license applications still being processed. Recreational pot shops won't open until late next year.

One marijuana business advocate described it as a survival-of-the-fittest situation, saying, "Those with sound business practices will survive, those without are going to fail."

That appears to have played out in Colorado, according to one dispensary owner, who said Denver's 900 medical dispensaries from five years ago have dropped to half that number. Meanwhile, marijuana revenue in Colorado continues to grow.

With a variety of local moratoriums on dispensaries (and an insignificant population compared to more urban areas), Humboldt County hasn't experienced a boom of medical marijuana dispensaries in recent years. But all eyes must be on the supply/demand scenarios playing out around the country and the state's shifting medical marijuana laws — and recreational laws on the horizon.

The New York Post reports that a mayoral mandate has reduced pot arrests by 40 percent in the last year.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 20, NYPD officers arrested 18,120 people for possessing small amounts of pot, down from 29,906 arrests during the same period the year before. In the same time, citations for possession of marijuana have risen by 20 percent.

Last year, the Post reports, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office ordered police to issue tickets to people caught with less than 25 grams of marijuana, rather than arrest them.

Unsurprisingly, as the mandate comes down to individual officers' discretion, arrests and citations vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Back on the West Coast, East Bay cops are slated to begin using prototypes of marijuana-detecting breathalyzers next year.

The devices are being developed at University of California Berkeley by a former venture capitalist, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and will undergo trials overseen by UC San Francisco. Alameda County sheriff's deputies will conduct voluntary roadside tests as part of the trials.

The device will need to pass Food and Drug Administration approval, and faces a number of issues: It won't detect marijuana in people who've consumed edibles, for example. And a UC Berkeley law professor warns that marijuana's effects on driver impairment need to be studied in conjunction with development of a device that measures a level of cannabis intake.

"Because alcohol and cannabis behave so differently on the human body, states considering legalization shouldn't just adapt the blood-alcohol scale to measure cannabis impairment," the Chronicle reports.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors finally took up the much-discussed medical marijuana outdoor cultivation ordinance as the Journal went to press on Dec. 15. In attendance, no surprise, were dozens of people from the environmental and cannabis cultivation communities, many of the same folks who've been weighing in on the proposed regulations as they made their way through the California Cannabis Voice Humboldt PAC process, the county staff drafting and the planning commission review.

The board's still on a tight deadline to hear from the public and discuss the law. In order to make a state deadline of March 1, the supervisors need to pass the land use law by the end of January.

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About The Author

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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