Category Archives: Activism

How to Lose Every Argument

Usually, I’m hesitant to lay ultimatums down saying that one tactic or another will never, ever work. That makes a lot of assumptions that I’m not qualified to make, However, I would say that with certain goals, being uncivil harms, not helps, the cause.

This is true for any cause. But it is especially true for the cause of human liberty and social peace.

Defining Civility

Civility has taken quite a beating recently. From being confused with “political correctness,” to being maligned as only the domain of losers, numerous public figures have decided that treating their opponents on either side of the aisle with respect is a thing of the past. In this fracas, civility has often been cast as another term for word policing and censorship.

Civility is a view that the human being you are talking to is your equal.

Yet this definition of civility misses the important reason we developed civil language in the first place.

Civility is a view that the human being you are talking to is your equal. The reason I treat you with respect is because I view you, your opinions, and your ideas as I view myself. No matter how evil or good, uninformed or smart I think you are, if I had your experiences, I could be in your position. I may very well have become you and held your views.

Without this understanding, some of the greatest accomplishments of civilization would have been prevented by the dividing lines of culture.

To put it another way, civility is the humility that if you were born in North Korea, you’d also think Kim-Jong Un had god-like wisdom and power. Reclaiming the position that all of us should be treated as equals to the other is the true definition of civility. The way we speak to each other is the respect developed from that.

As a tactic, though, some have argued that incivility has its uses. It gets attention. It shakes people out of their apathy. Some even contend it won Donald Trump the presidency. The blunt, honest, truth, they call it. I would argue that if our goals are peace and liberty, there are two big reasons incivility has no place in our movement.

Incivility Prevents the Spread of Ideas

Liberty and peace are primarily advanced through the spread of ideas. It was not too long ago that John Locke, arguing that the subjects of the king had inherent rights, refused to put his name on that book, the Second Treatise of Government, for fear he would be hanged for such a radical idea. A mere hundred years later, the Founding Fathers built an entire government based on those ideas. Today, even the word “libertarian” is mainstream, and more people believe in individual rights and self-ownership than ever.

Division prevents the spread of ideas.

Further, nearly every major advance in liberty has been preceded by an advance in our ability to communicate ideas. The printing press, the radio and television, and the internet each have advanced human liberty by leaps and bounds.

And this is where incivility becomes a major problem. Division prevents the spread of ideas, and I’m not sure it’s possible to be irascible, i.e. easily angered, or uncivil, without being divisive. When I divide you, set you apart, say you are not equal to me, you, rightly so, stop listening to me. And that stops the spread of ideas between us.

“Forget” Everything about You

These were the words (more explicit in real life) of Philadelphia woman as she urinated on the American flag this Fourth of July. It contained all the shock doctrine, attention, and brashness praised by opponents of civility. After she got death threats and had a contract put out on her head, the media responded, with everyone from the Daily Mail and The Sun to Breitbart and Fox News picking up the story.

In the face of such an overreaction, there is a tendency to respond in kind. And many writers did, some calling those who respect the American flag “flaggots” and “flag-worshipers” or “admirers of a piece of cloth.” One journalist wrote “you should be offended with your own damnable hypocrisy… calling for the bodily harm of someone committing a nonviolent act against a symbol.”

There’s no need to attack either side for us to agree that harming someone over a symbol is wrong.

This is laying a dividing line down, splitting those who support the flag for what it stands for to them, maybe American values like freedom, liberty, and equality under the law, maybe the only thing they recognized in a foreign country, maybe the last thing they saw draped over their grandfather’s coffin, from those people who see the American flag as a symbol of oppression, genocide, or war.

It is a dividing line that doesn’t need to be laid down, as there’s no need to attack either side for us to agree that harming someone over a symbol is wrong.

This is even a dividing line that doesn’t need to be laid down. Most who support the flag could be easily convinced against those who would cause bodily harm to someone for defacing it, were they not lumped into the same category. They would also be most likely, since they shared similar values, to be able to rein in those who were advocating violence.

I don’t know of a way you can be uncivil – to come from a place where you view the person you are talking about or to as lower than you – without being divisive. They are inherent to each other, as the person targeted is inherently pushed away by such damaging language. When that person is pushed away, rest assured they will lock down, the conversation about our ideas on peace and liberty will end.

The Roots of Tyranny

More importantly, though, we have to recognize the role incivility plays in the roots of tyranny. The roots of tyranny have always been in the beliefs that a group of people deserve fewer rights, are less intelligent, less noble, less pious, less moral than another group. The claim of the inferiority of the other is the one consistent thing that has justified tyranny and force from time immemorial.

We cannot impose tyranny on another person without believing they are lower than us.

Our wars in the Middle East were justified because the Muslims are “savages” and “uncivilized.” Our drug war at home was justified because drug users were considered lower beings than the rest of us. Labor regulations were justified on grounds that some people – you know, those people – just can’t manage their own lives. Chinese immigrants were ruthless and bent on poisoning people, blacks were thugs and uncivilized, and so on.

We cannot impose tyranny on another person without believing they are lower than us. Equality of rights is key to preserving any type of liberty. Equality is what civility starts to bring back. If many of the “proud boys” in the alt-right and members of Antifa sat down at the bar away from politics, they would find plenty to agree on. And both sides having seen the other as human, they would be less likely to use force against the other.

The odds are, if we sat Antifa and the “proud boys” down for a beer, the clash at Berkeley would never have happened. It is only when one group views the other as less than that they are willing to use violence on them.

Civility starts from a position of “we are equal in dignity.” Incivility starts from the opposite position. And all it does is reinforce the divide between whatever sides are in the conversation.

Walk Away

Do you know why we hate lawyers? Because they are the civilized form of a warrior. Prior to legal systems, you would just kill your neighbor if he wronged you. That civility prevents lots of unnecessary deaths.

Do you know why many people hate politics? Because they are on the modern day battlefields. Our ballot box is the pillbox, our elections the great battles across fields of blood, only instead of killing each other with weapons, we are using words.

Beating up your target just turns people on the fence against you.

Lose civility, make it so people think words aren’t enough, and we will go back to the violence of before. That is something I absolutely cannot bear to see happen here, and we are so, so close.

Some people confuse hard truths with a lack of civility. Look at Glenn Greenwald. He tells the truth. He doesn’t hold back. Yet he is still civil. He still commands the conversation always strives for clarity, honesty, sincerity. And because of this, he gains far more respect than if he just spit all over everyone who disagreed with him.

Hard-hitting journalism doesn’t mean you have to beat your target up, and often beating up your target just turns people on the fence against you, exacerbating the problem you were hoping to address in the first place.

Finally, there are people who have no interest in civility. They only want to insult, humiliate, smear, and get attention for doing so. They will always find sparring partners with others who desire the same. What can you do about them?

My suggestion: walk away. There is no good to be accomplished in this realm. Being civil to others, however, serves as a model for others, and a way to gradually change the world to one where there is greater peace and liberty.

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson

Daniel is the Executive Director at Tax Revolution Institute, the President of the Solutions Institute, and an anti-partisan super activist.

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

The Life of a Flintstone


Shawn Dixon
Founder of Fli-Ladies Empowerment
Seniors out of Pittsburgh in front of Flint City Hall

A little about myself, my name is Shawn Dixon, raised in Flint,Mi, known world-wide for its “water crisis”. I founded Fli-Ladies Empowerment in 2015 once I wanted to do more to help out our low-income community, now being poisoned by its government. The non-profit org. will focus on the empowering of youth all over but mainly in Flint,MI.

The last of July 2016, I embarked on a journey through Flint, while chaperoning our out-of-town guests. For those who don’t know, Flint has been in a state of emergency for its water crisis since 2014, 1,167 days to be exact. That’s when state officials switched Flint’s main water source to the toxic Flint River without proper cleansing solutions. Since then our city has lost several lives due to legionnaires disease, we’ve finally had a few officials charged with alleged manslaughter in 2016  Enough about that, now back to the subject at hand.

Fli-Ladies Empowerment was contacted by Anita Moncrief of Solutions Institute with last-minute plans for me to assist with a group of kids out of Pittsburgh as they took a journey to learn more about the impoverished city of Flint. I had 4 days to set a plan, they already had plans for Friday so I set up Sat..   I began to set up a water distribution or water drop as we call it, for Saturday. Just so happens DeWaun E. Robinson already had an event “Tour de Flint” set up with a guest appearance by Freeway Rick Ross (ex-con and drug lord). Once I connected with a local water distribution center and obtained a donation of 2 pallets of water I then connected with DeWaun to host a water drop alongside him and his event.

Water Distribution during Tour de community.



Unfortunately, I’m still winding down from the non-stop events plus the holiday. I still have tons of photos, and videos to go through, please stay tuned and keep a lookout for ” the Life of a Flintstone” part 2. Then you will find the finer details of my weekend.

Tennessee Passes on Chance to OK Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana won’t be legal in Tennessee anytime soon after a House Representative’s bill, which aimed to legalize cannabis use for people suffering from certain conditions such as cancer, HIV and epilepsy, failed to get Senate support. The bill, HB0495, was considered dead for the year after the state’s House Health Committee rejected the measure following… Continue reading Tennessee Passes on Chance to OK Medical Marijuana

“Behind the Smoke” Legendary Rock Guitarist Steve Hackett formerly of Genesis on ‘I Take LIBERTY With My Coffee’

Saturday, March 11, 1:00 PM EST/10:00 AM PST Guitar virtuoso and rock legend, Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), joins me on “I Take LIBERTY With My Coffee” for a revealing interview. Steve is set to release his latest album ‘The Night Siren’ on March 24th, 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). As implied in the title, ‘The Night Siren’ is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of strife and division.  I recently hung out with Steve on the Cruise to the Edge 2017 and we discussed what inspired him to make this album and the messages he hopes to reach people with. The album’s first track ‘Behind the Smoke’  is about the refugee crisis.  Not just now but in history as well.  Steve, like many of us, is a descendant of refugees as his grandparents had to flee Poland in the late 1800’s. Please join me as I welcome this legendary artist as we discuss his career, his life, his activism and his desire for a world filled with Peace and Justice first.

“I will always be known as a progressive musician. But what that means is there are no rules to be followed. Anything can happen at any time, and that’s certainly the case here.”

“Right now, it seems the world has been plunged into darkness. Wherever you look, extremism and intolerance are dominant, and people are getting fed up with politicians. They are losing faith in the way they behave. But within the midst of all this, what I am saying is that embracing a multi-cultural approach gives us all a way of moving forward in the right way.”

It’s taken a year or so for Hackett to bring this ambitious album to fruition. In doing so, he has shown a tremendous capacity for following his instincts and inclinations, eschewing the easy path of going in a straight musical direction, in favor of being more adventurous.

Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2016, all rights reserved.


Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday is guaranteed to be a memorable affair for reasons beyond the historic moment of America welcoming its first reality-TV, Twitter-feuding, sexual assault-boasting president.

Forget, for a second at least, the cheap jokes about the musical acts pulled from the hotel-by-the-airport convention circuit in order to perform before the #MAGA set at the celebrity-shunned inauguration, or the very real, very ominous army of immigration authorities waiting to descend on America’s workplaces as soon as Trump gives the word.

There’s going to be five thousand marijuana joints in the crowd, and unless the incoming administration signals a clear truce on cannabis before Friday morning, a cadre of Washington, D.C. activists have vowed to light them up just as Trump’s first big speech gets going.

Marijuana advocates with DCMJ, the organization responsible for D.C.’s successful marijuana legalization push, have spent the past few weeks rolling thousands and thousands of joints and waiting—waiting for Donald Trump, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, Russian intelligence or anyone else close to the president to suggest what the incoming administration’s intentions on marijuana are going to be.

Will they do the conservative thing, and let the states legalizing recreational cannabis, giving sick people access to medical marijuana and leaving those states alone to do their thing, like Barack Obama has done? While there are certainly other priorities—such as ensuring the world doesn’t fall into a state of chaos, as seems increasingly likely—Trump and his people have barely said a word.

And during his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions explicitly reserved his right to ramp up the drug war on the country’s multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.

The silence has led to weeks of intense speculation, much of it not very reassuring, and now, DCMJ promises, it’ll culminate in a cloud of marijuana smoke rising above the steps of the U.S. Capitol as Trump is talking.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything from the incoming administration about cannabis reform,” DCMJ wrote in an e-mail newsletter issued Thursday afternoon, “so the Inaugural #Trump420 is still happening.”

TIME magazine caught up with DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller, who says that the joints are rolled, they will be passed out and at “exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech,” they will be fired up.

He insists that the event isn’t an anti-Trump protest, per se—after all, marijuana proved vastly popular in red states like Florida, where 70 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana—so much as it is for “anyone who supports cannabis reform.”

Presumably, that includes people in Trump’s inner circle other than Jeff Sessions, and maybe even a fair number of the #MAGA and alt-right crew. Surely Pepe the frog smokes weed? The world will find out tomorrow morning.

The 5,500 joints will be available for pick-up to anyone over 21 beginning at 8 a.m. at Dupont Circle in the district. Participants are encouraged to walk over to the National Mall and have their lighters and matches ready once Trump takes the oath.

Although marijuana possession and use is legal in D.C., it’s not legal on federal property—which includes the Mall. But this is no time to be worried about obeying the letter of the law.

“The act of nonviolent civil disobedience is to break a law that they wish to change,” Schiller told TIME. “The smell can go around and people can know ‘oh those people are demonstrating the importance of cannabis legalization.’”

DCMJ’s act of protest is one of many scheduled for Inauguration Weekend, including national women’s marches on Saturday.

Georgia Medical Marijuana Supporters see opening, obstacles to state expansion

Seven states passed marijuana initiatives on Nov. 8, which ordinarily would have injected new life into the push to expand Georgia’s tiny medical cannabis program.

But those advocates must now wonder whether the incoming Trump administration will quash their enthusiasm. While the president-elect himself has said marijuana policy should be left up to the states, his nominee for attorney general, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has been a fierce critic of the drug, which remains federally classified as a harmful and illegal substance.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, the driving force behind the 2015 creation of Georgia’s limited marijuana operation, said he will ask lawmakers in 2017 to at the very least expand the number of conditions that qualify for the state’s program. His “home run” scenario is for his legislative colleagues and Gov. Nathan Deal to agree to a narrowly tailored in-state program to grow and cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Peake said more than 1,000 Georgians are now registered to legally possess cannabis oil to treat one of eight conditions that qualify for the program. The positives of the program far outweigh any negative, he said.

“The sky has not fallen,” Peake said. “We’ve not seen a significant uptick of people driving while intoxicated with medical cannabis oil. It hasn’t become a public health hazard.”

It’s not just the governor who opposes expanding the program. Many prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have, too. The Faith and Freedom Coalition, a Duluth-based group that advocates for social conservative causes, has made blocking expansion of the program a top goal for the coming legislative session.

In 2015, the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the original bill that created the state’s current medical marijuana law, calling it the “camel’s nose in the tent” toward full legalization. Many states that now allow recreational use of the drug first legalized it for medicinal purposes.

Frank Rotondo, the executive director of the police chiefs’ organization, said his board will wait to see any new legislation before taking a position. But, he said, their past concerns remain unchanged. For example, states have yet to find safe, accurate and efficient ways to test whether a motorist is under the influence of marijuana, he said.

“From a law enforcement perspective, it’s a public safety issue,” Rotondo said.

For patients already in the state program, the largest impediment, however, remains where to get the oil. While Deal and the General Assembly agreed to allow Georgians to legally possess the oil, they did not agree to allow it to be produced here.

So families and patients on the state’s medical marijuana registry must buy it and have it delivered, or they can travel to other states to buy it and risk arrest while transporting it home. Peake said he’s not aware of any Georgian who has been arrested for doing so. The oil that is available via mail is less potent than what Georgia law allows and what many patients need.

Blaine Cloud, a leading advocate for expanding Georgia’s program and the father of a child on the registry, said many families are turning to a third, more dangerous way to get the oil: cooking it themselves.

Cloud, in a letter to lawmakers, said some Georgians are buying marijuana illegally and turning it into cannabis oil in their own kitchens.

“We knew some people would have to resort to this,” he said, “but more people are doing it than we initially thought.”

Cloud vowed to return to the state Capitol in January when lawmakers convene to fight “to get actual access to the medicine we’re allowed to possess.”

Peake said he hopes to convince Deal that enough states have adopted medical marijuana laws that the risk is worth it, something he’s been unable to do the past two years.

“The issue is coming across the country,” Peake said, noting that 28 states and the District of Columbia now allow the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. “Access and cultivation in the state is coming to Georgia.”

The question, he said, is whether Deal wants to tackle it or let the next governor, elected in 2018, address it.

Jen Talaber Ryan, Deal’s communications director, said the office does not comment on pending legislation.

JJ McKay, the publisher of The Fresh Toast, a news and lifestyle website with a focus on cannabis, said 60 percent of Americans now live in a state where a form of marijuana is legal.

“Look at the people it helps,” McKay said. “Opioids is a raging national problem. Marijuana, if done correctly with the right supervision, is a better alternative and less harsh on both the system and the person.”

McKay does not believe, meanwhile, that Sessions, if he’s confirmed as attorney general, will necessarily be an impediment to expansion of marijuana laws in the states.

“Jeff Sessions is anti-marijuana,” McKay said. “But Jeff Sessions is anti many things. He has a full plate, and you’re walking into a system where it would be very difficult to overturn things in 28 states.”

Legal marijuana is a $7.1 billion industry that produces hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for states, McKay said. Florida, which voted for a medical marijuana program in November that includes the in-state cultivation Peake wants, is expected to see a $1 billion tax benefit, McKay said.

Plus, he said, President-elect Donald Trump has said marijuana policy should be left to the states.

“Will Sessions make it harder? Maybe,” McKay said. “Will he be able to overturn it? Doubtful.”

By Aaron Gould Sheinin – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NAACP protesters are arrested during sit-in to protest Sessions’ nomination for attorney general

Six protesters were arrested Tuesday evening during a sit-in staged by the NAACP to protest Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Among those arrested were NAACP President Cornell Brooks and Alabama NAACP state conference president Bernard Simelton, report the New York Times, ABC News, CNN and the Washington Post. The group was protesting at Sessions’ office in Mobile, Alabama, and will be charged with criminal trespass in the second degree. The protest was among several organized by the NAACP throughout Alabama.

Sessions, a Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, was formerly Alabama attorney general and a former U.S. attorney in Alabama. Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship in 1986, but the nomination failed amid allegations he had made racially biased comments.

The protesters want Sessions or Trump to withdraw Sessions’ name from consideration. Brooks told CNN that Sessions “has failed to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression while pretending to believe in the myth of voter fraud.”

The NAACP and other civil liberties groups have also pointed to evidence of Sessions’ biased comments aired during his 1986 judicial nomination. But Simelton told the New York Times that civil rights groups would have opposed Sessions’ nomination in any event because of a legislative record that showed “he has not been a champion for civil and human right.”

A live-stream broadcast of the NAACP sit-in on Facebook showed group members kneeling in prayer before their arrest and shaking hands with officers.

Also opposing the nomination is a group of more than 1,200 law professors, the Washington Post reports. Among those signing the professors’ letter are Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, and University of California at Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

“In 1986,” the letter read, “the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, rejected President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of then-U.S. Attorney Sessions for a federal judgeship, due to statements Sessions had made that reflected prejudice against African Americans. Nothing in Senator Sessions’ public life since 1986 has convinced us that he is a different man than the 39-year-old attorney who was deemed too racially insensitive to be a federal district court judge.”

Sessions has said he is not biased. On Tuesday, he ordered pizza for the protesters which, according to the Times “was taken to the office by a somewhat confused deliveryman.”

State Approves St. Francis Hospital Research Into Marijuana As Alternative To Opioid Painkillers

A first-of-its-kind research program by a St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center team to gauge the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a painkiller for traumatic injuries such as broken ribs has been approved by the state.

Hospital and state officials said Friday the program’s goal is to develop medical marijuana as a safer alternative to the highly addictive painkillers that have led to a deadly opioid epidemic in Connecticut and across the nation.

State Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris said this is the first research program of its kind in the U.S.

“Medical marijuana is nonaddictive, it’s almost impossible to overdose on it, and it has very mild side effects,” said Dr. James M. Feeney, director of trauma services at St. Francis and the head of the new research effort.

“If we can stop prescribing opiates [as painkillers]… we can stop the whole cycle of abuse,” Feeney said.

Dr. John F. Rodis, president of St. Francis Hospital, said the “opioid epidemic is devastating families and towns across the country. We need to find alternate methods to effectively and safely treat illnesses and diseases that can save lives and not ruin them.”

The U.S. Senate last week overwhelmingly approved $1 billion over two years to combat opioid abuse and addiction. Misuse of opioids such as codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people in Connecticut in recent years and thousands in the U.S.

Legislation allowing research into potential new uses of medical cannabis was signed into law by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in May and took effect on Oct. 1.

The project proposed by St. Francis is the first to be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection under the new law.

The same legislation expanded the number of major diseases and conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Connecticut and also, for the first time, authorized the use of medical marijuana for people under age 18 for severe conditions such as terminal illness, cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy.

Harris said the state’s medical marijuana program has been a remarkable success and that nearly 600 physicians have registered for the ability to prescribe the drug and that more than 14,800 patients can now legally get and use medical marijuana.

The announcement of the state’s approval of the new research program came one day after recreational marijuana became legal in Massachusetts. Seven other states, from Oregon to Maine, have also legalized recreational pot.

The initial phase of the St. Francis research is expected to take about eight months and involve 60 patients with rib injuries. Patients who would normally be prescribed opiate painkillers for six to eight weeks will be chosen for the study. Feeney said heroin addicts and habitual marijuana users will be excluded from the program.

The $30,000 to $50,000 estimated cost of the initial research phase is being covered by the hospital and the doctors involved, according to Feeney. Additional research will be needed in the form of a randomized control trial that would involve about 310 patients, Feeney said, and that could take approximately 18 months.

Although this is the first research program of its type in the U.S., Feeney said similar studies have been done in other countries that indicate marijuana can be used as a substitute painkiller with success.

Neither Harris nor Feeney said they could predict how long it would take before medical cannabis could be in widespread use as a substitute for traditional opiate painkillers. According to Feeney, both national and state laws would need to be reformed before that could happen.

Feeney said the results of the St. Francis study could be used to support such reforms.

Harris pointed to the 25 states that have medical marijuana programs as evidence that “reflects a change in people’s attitudes” about the drug.

Connecticut authorizes patients suffering from 22 serious medical conditions to qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions. The new law that took effect in October lists six major conditions that would allow marijuana to be prescribed for people under age 18.

Feeney and Rodis said research into expanding the use of cannabis as a medical painkiller is long overdue.

“Unfortunately, we are the first state to allow research into medical marijuana,” Feeney said. Rodis agreed, saying, “It’s kind of sad that it’s so late in coming.”

Boston Could Become ‘Cannabis Capital of the World,’ Say Industry Analysts

When marijuana shops arrive in Massachusetts—at the start of 2018, barring any delays from the Legislature—they’ll bring a brand new industry with them. But just how big will it be? If you ask the researchers behind a study about the future of pot in the Hub, the answer is: huge.

According to a forecast from cannabis industry analysts ArcView Market Research and New Frontier Data, we could very well become “the cannabis capital of the world in short order.” So says Troy Dayton, Arcview’s CEO. It also projects that the Commonwealth will be home to a $1 billion marijuana industry by 2020, in a summary of their findings published Wednesday.

The report argues that, as the first East Coast city to have shops with recreational marijuana on its shelves, Boston will be a magnet for tourists. A lot of that has to do with location, as many of those would-be visitors wouldn’t have to go far to sample the new products on our shelves.

“Unlike other places where cannabis is legal, Boston is within driving distance of many of the most populous places in America,” Dayton says.

It also predicts that legalization here is a bellwether for other states in the region, who are likely to follow Massachusetts’ lead and pass legalization initiatives of their own.

The forecast acknowledges that, despite voters approving the law via ballot initiative in November, the marijuana industry is still vulnerable to being shaped by lawmakers. The regulatory body charged with overseeing it, called the Cannabis Control Commission, has not yet been formed. And on Beacon Hill, where the ballot question was largely opposed by top politicians, there are discussions in progress that could result in everything from increased taxes for cannabis, to changes to the minimum legal age for marijuana consumption, to significant delays in implementing the law.

“The full regulatory structure and key program details of the adult use market remain to be determined, and the market could take a few different directions depending on the actions of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and local municipalities across the state,” a summary of the report reads. “However, the broad parameters of the law create an opportunity for an open and expansive market.”

Not everyone is likely to be pleased with the prospect of Massachusetts becoming a booming pot tourism destination. Concerns about pot shops outnumbering McDonald’s and Starbucks were a central talking point in the campaign opposing legalization (that was also the argument made in the much-talked-about anti-marijuana ad that ran this year, featuring a flabbergasted mom and her THC-consuming son, Kevin).

Officials warn of medical cannabis scammers

Maryland patients are several months away from being able to legally obtain medical cannabis to treat chronic conditions. But scammers are already trying to make a buck off patients desperate for the relief from the new drug, according to regulators and industry officials.

State officials have been told that some companies are selling “marijuana cards” or offering exams to “pre-approve” patients for medical cannabis.

Neither is a legitimate practice, officials say.

“They are telling patients that they have the ability to pre-approve them for the medical cannabis program and that is a lie,” said Darrell Carrington, executive director of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association. “There is no such thing as pre-approval.”

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which regulates the industry, has issued preliminary licenses for companies to grow, process and dispense cannabis in the state. But none of the businesses have received final licenses or begun operation. No doctors have the ability to issue certifications for legal medical cannabis.

Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said “there are already attempts at fake patient identification cards being promulgated.”

“This type of fraudulent activity preys against the most vulnerable people in society and we will do everything possible to stop this behavior,” Jameson said in a statement. “Only patient identification cards issued by the Commission are legitimate. At this point no ID cards have been issued.”

The state commission has received about 20 reports of questionable claims by cannabis businesses, according to Vanessa Lyon, a spokeswoman for the commission.

Carrington said he’s frustrated that companies are trying to dupe sick patients.

“They’re taking advantage of them because people are so desperate for the medication,” he said.

It’s already a struggle for the emerging cannabis industry to win over skeptics, he said, and dishonest operators don’t help.

“Groups that are operating nefariously and preying on people’s hopes and desires do a huge disservice,” he said.

Maryland’s medical cannabis system won’t involve written prescriptions. And while the commission will offer patient identification cards, they won’t be required.

Both doctors and patients will be required to join an online registry that will be monitored by state regulators. Doctors will use the system to issue online certifications for patients to use cannabis.

Doctors can currently join the registry. The patient registry won’t open until sometime in the first few months of 2017, Lyon said.

A doctor’s certification for cannabis will be good for 120 days from its issuance. Patients will be able to obtain one 30-day supply at a time. Licensed dispensaries will check the state database before selling the drug.

The dispensaries will verify a patient’s identity, either through government identification such as a driver’s license or a patient identification card issued by the commission.

All transactions will be monitored by the state commission.

Medical cannabis will be available to Maryland patients no earlier than late next year, Lyon said.

A number of factors will influence the timing of when legal medical cannabis will be available to patients.

In response to concern about the lack of diversity among preliminary license winners, state lawmakers could decide to change the rules governing the medical cannabis program during the General Assembly session that begins Jan. 11. And there are multiple lawsuits that have been filed over the licensing process that have yet to be resolved.

“We’re not there yet,” Carrington said. “We’re close. We’ll get there soon.”