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Generation W



School's back in session and a new study reports that more college students are smoking pot frequently.

Six percent of students told University of Michigan researchers that they smoked weed daily or nearly daily in 2014, according to a Reuters article, nearly double the number in 2007. (Quick math: If 6 percent of 20 million students smoke a modest eighth ounce per week at $10 per gram, we're looking at $630 million in pot sales a semester — or more than 2 billion ramen packages.)

The study associates rising usage with shifting marijuana morals around the U.S. and slackening prohibitions in some states, but Reuters reports that regular pot use is actually down from 7.2 percent of college students in 1980. That is, of course, before Ronald Reagan took the presidency and began a concerted War on Drugs.

The study also reports that 41 percent of students admit to using illicit drugs, up from 34 percent in 2006, an increase that researchers dubiously suggest was "driven mostly by the uptick in marijuana use," Reuters reports.

As reported in the Aug. 27 Week in Weed, staff members for state Sen. Mike McGuire and assemblymen Jim Wood and Rob Bonta were scrambling to get final amendments into their legislation so they could be reviewed in time for the Sept. 11 Senate and Assembly voting deadline.

All three bills came out of committees with approval, and with "intent language," meaning they still have time to refine some specifics in the bill. Wood's spokesman Paul Ramey said he expects the bill to go the Assembly floor for a vote soon. The three bills have been tied together, which means all of them must pass in order for any of them to pass.

"We're feeling optimistic," Ramey said.

If the bills pass, they will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. Ramey said the governor's office is working with Wood to ensure that the final language of the bill is to the governor's liking.

McGuire is optimistic as well, saying senate and assembly staff have put in thousands of hours on the bills in recent months. "We've been working hard to make sure that there's going to be a comprehensive statewide program for medical cannabis that recognizes the unique role the North Coast plays in the industry."

McGuire said he expects his bill and Bonta's assembly bill will end up merged, with Wood's assembly bill, which focuses more specifically on regulating cannabis cultivation, going forward on a "parallel track."

He said there are more similarities than differences between his and Bonta's bills. "I'm optimistic that after nearly two decades, legislation will finally be advanced in 2015. We're making up for 20 years of inaction and it takes a lot of work on all sides to be able to draw consensus."

Discussing his soon-to-be-launched personal marijuana brand in GQ, Outlaw Country pioneer Willie Nelson gave a little love to Humboldt County buds.

Asked about his preferred weed, Nelson said, "Oh, wherever I am there are favorites. You know, you got your Maui Wowie, you got your Humboldt County in California, and you got the purple, you know, uh, in Florida. ... Lot of different places that have their own brand that's from the area. The growers and the farmers around can tell you what grows best in their area."

His ambiguity may have been cautious — it's unclear where his own brand will be sourced and what strains will make up his eponymous assortment of weed, and unlikely that it'll come from the hills and hollers of Humboldt County. But thanks for the shout out anyway, Willie!

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