Staff Writer

Could Cryptocurrency Signal a New Era of Cannabis Banking?
Could Cryptocurrency Signal a New Era of Cannabis Banking?
It seems like the ups and downs of cryptocurrency have been grabbing headlines for months. While the unpredictability of this new, decentralized currency has prompted many to be skeptical, Bitcoin and the like have piqued the interest of cannabis business owners worldwide. Without getting into all the technical details, cryptocurrencies are peer-to-peer virtual money. That means no bank has to approve transactions between people. And the blockchain technology upon which cryptocurrencies are built is inherently secure. Sure, you can’t physically pull a bitcoin or other cryptocurrency out of your pocket to pay for something at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. There are more than 1,000 different cryptocurrencies active worldwide and — as of December 2018 — their collective value totaled more than $500 billion. The number of currencies available may continue to grow, but the gist remains crypto represents a secure — albeit unpredictable — way to invest and exchange money. Taking Canna-banking to the Next Level So, what can crypto do for the cannabis industry? Understanding the benefits of virtual currency for the growing business of bud starts with investigating the barriers traditional banks present to legal cannabis companies. Traditional banks bring along traditional standards and regulations. More specifically, they have hundreds of years of regulatory standards written to prevent money laundering and fraud. For cannabis business owners, any transaction related to marijuana must be identified as a suspicious activity — even in states where cannabis is legal — and a separate set of reports has to be filed when tax revenue is deposited in a state’s bank account. It’s confusing and, long story short, it means the IRS tends to flag decriminalized states as potential money launderers. Looking at blockchain technology, which is totally secure, could show the validity of marijuana transactions at the state level, thus preventing any unnecessary red flags for fraud. While still in very early stages, blockchain and cryptocurrency could be the next big step toward legitimizing cannabis banking at the state and federal level.
Smoked Marijuana Is Medical Marijuana, and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise
Smoked Marijuana Is Medical Marijuana, and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise
Starting August 1, a “new” product went on sale at medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania: medical marijuana. For the first time since sales of medical cannabis began earlier this year, Pennsylvania’s 30,000 (and counting) medical marijuana patients can now legally obtain what PennLive.com referred to as “dry leaf forms of medical marijuana,” or what the rest of us might call cannabis flower, or herb or weed or just plain old cannabis. 
Before then, the only cannabis that was legal to be sold in Pennsylvania was processed — in topical oils, in edibles taken orally, in capsules, creams, or other products that had no chance of being used “recreationally.” Thwarting anyone who might want to “abuse” medical-marijuana law in order to simply get high was Pennsylvania lawmakers’ stated motive when they banned cannabis flower. But when sales began in March, dispensaries were so overwhelmed with demand — and so low on processed product, which is more difficult and more expensive to produce than the dried flowers of the female cannabis sativa plant — that regulators reversed themselves and legalized “smokable marijuana.” This is a good thing for the state’s medical cannabis patients, who now have a better chance of actually accessing cannabis in its cheapest and most effective form. 
Which means Pennsylvania is currently getting things half right. The State(s) of Legalization 
Of the 29 states where medical cannabis is legal, only Minnesota bans cannabis flower outright. A handful of states — including New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania — still sell cannabis flower with the understanding that it is not for smoking. That’s right: if you smoke cannabis flower sold in dispensaries in Florida or in Pennsylvania, you are breaking the law. For now, the simplest, cheapest, and most popular form of a drug that has therapeutic value is still not entirely acceptable. This is a ridiculous state of affairs. It is also untenable, as Pennsylvania’s quick reversal and an ongoing struggle in Florida to give up the charade and legalized smoked cannabis is demonstrating. People are going to smoke weed regardless of the law — might as well pass a law that recognizes this, rather than pretending. And while convincing doctors to embrace smoked cannabis as a healthy practice may be a difficult lift, there is also no honest or scientific medical reason to declare smoked cannabis an unacceptable risk. %related-post-1% The word “smoking” conjures visions of lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Just so: Smoking tobacco is a terribly unhealthy practice and the leading cause of premature death in the United States, and for as long as anyone alive can remember, to “smoke” or to be a “smoker” was synonymous with tobacco. Thus, it is perhaps understandable that “smoking” marijuana would trigger a similar knee-jerk. But this is no longer our reality. You can be a cannabis smoker and never touch tobacco. In fact, to do so may be beneficial: The only longitudinal study to examine the effect of marijuana smoking on long-term lung health found no link between cannabis use and lung issues like COPD or lung cancer. Indeed, according to UCLA researcher Donald Taskin’s landmark study, moderate use of cannabis might actually lead to increased lung capacity. You will hear otherwise, but consider this: Most of the studies cited by health officials and others that do declare cannabis smoking a health hazard come from Europe. This is significant. In Europe, the most common form of cannabis consumption is in concert with tobacco. This is not how we do in the United States. So that’s the data. Tobacco kills lots of people, cannabis kills nobody — even when smoked. It’s past time to admit this, yet old conditioning dies hard. (Not long ago, I was hanging out with a friend, a medical doctor. I offered him a hit of a joint, but he declined. “I want to healthier,” he explained, as he lit a cigarette. Yes, people like this exist. This really happened.) About the best you can hope for from a medical professional was the honesty displayed by Harvard Medical School’s Peter Grinspoon. “It is not recommended (at least by doctors) that people smoke it,” he wrote on HMS’s medical-marijuana explainer page. “Though, interestingly,” he noted, “it hasn’t been linked to lung cancer in the studies I’ve seen.” %related-post-2% This is not to say that vaporizing is not a healthier option (though it absolutely depends on what you are vaporizing; any benefit to not inhaling butane and burnt plant material may be lost if you’re sucking on a PCB stick laden with accelerants), or that someone with preexisting lung issues should find an alternative method of using cannabis. This is to say that cannabis and tobacco do not belong in the same bucket. 
To pretend that smoking one is like smoking the other is dishonest. It is not unlike eating a toxic mushroom versus a chanterelle bought at Whole Foods. Yes, they are both “mushrooms,” and they are both “eaten.” But it is there that the similarities end. A child could grasp this concept, yet there are lawmakers and medical professionals who continue to fail to make the same distinction with cannabis. No Weed, No Laughing Matter In sum: People smoke weed. They always have, and they always will. There is no real reason to pretend otherwise. It does not benefit public health to prohibit people with medical cannabis recommendations from smoking their medicine. Indeed, to do so only creates financial and logistical barriers — it makes obtaining and using medicine more difficult. Get it right: It makes medicine and ergo healing less accessible. In this way, banning smoked marijuana not only violates common sense, it also does real avoidable harm. This is slowly permeating the public knowledge. In Florida, patients and patient advocates will see a challenge to that state’s ban on smoking marijuana head to the state Supreme Court. Despite losing in a lower court, the state and the state’s health department are currently continuing to argue that the 71 percent of state voters who approved medical marijuana in November 2016 didn’t knowingly legalize marijuana in its most common and most recognizable form. It would be a joke if real patients weren’t suffering in the meantime.
Is Big Tech at Odds with Legal Weed?
Is Big Tech at Odds with Legal Weed?
Companies like Google and PayPal often grab headlines for their forward-thinking innovations and technology. But when it comes to weed, the big guys aren’t as friendly as you might expect. Big tech companies have a reputation for pioneering new technologies and evolving the ways we lead our everyday lives. Given how engrained technology is at home, work, or play, it can sometimes be easy to forget that these companies have a pretty significant influence over what we do or don’t see. In the case of legal weed, heavy tech hitters Google and PayPal have taken a relatively unexpected stance — they have become more strict on companies selling ancillary pot products, such as pipes, vaporizers, and bongs. Why Can’t We Be Friends? While at face value, it may seem like Google and PayPal are cracking down on pot-related products specifically, these restrictions are actually the byproduct of policies intended to limit underage access to harmful content. Based on these policies, Google has made it almost impossible for vape, bong, and pipe companies to advertise through their AdWords service, while PayPal has brought e-commerce to a screeching halt. For online retailers, or smaller brick and mortar retailers with online presences, finding ways to advertise products can mean success or failure. Right now, many of these companies are looking to social media to grow their customer bases. Looking Ahead The cannabis industry will continue to boom with expected profits reaching $57 billion by 2027. With the amount of money projected to roll in, it will be interesting to see if the big tech companies continue their hard-line stance on cannabis-related products. After all, more lenient guidelines for these goods could represent significant revenue opportunities. One thing is for certain: Only time will tell how these policies will adapt to the growing legal weed industry. Just as we have seen on a local level, recreational cannabis has caused both businesses and government organizations to rethink how they handle weed. And big tech won’t be any different.
Medical Marijuana Is Not Dead (and We Can’t Let It Die)
Medical Marijuana Is Not Dead (and We Can’t Let It Die)
There is a creeping contention that legalization has made medical marijuana less important or less relevant. None of this is true. In Colorado, America’s first home for marijuana legalization and possibly one of the most permissive atmospheres for marijuana on the planet, medical cannabis is having a tough time. In June, shunning the desires of parents with autistic children camped outside his office, Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill passed by the state Legislature that would have added autism to the list of conditions qualifying someone for legal medical cannabis access. As with nearly every other condition for which marijuana has been shown to provide relief, the proof that cannabis can “treat” autism is almost entirely anecdotal. There are clinical trials underway in Israel, and pushes to fund similar studies in the United States. Still, what literature there is in America does note several instances where cannabis products seemed to improve symptoms. Medical cannabis can easily be stuck forever in circular logic — if it’s not researched, it’s “not medical,” but if it’s not legal, it can’t be researched. Bad Presidential Precedent Recognizing the faulty thought pattern inherent to the situation — plus repeated insistence from parents, who went ahead and gave their children cannabis out of desperation, that it in fact works — doctors in other states like New Jersey have signaled their approval to allow people with Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and other brain afflictions not unlike autism to have cannabis as an available treatment option. This is an ongoing issue in a delicate balance. As Leafly reported, only five states allow autistic people to legally access full-plant cannabis medications — and Colorado will not be added to that list anytime soon. Citing “concerns” from the “medical community” — which includes some mainstream doctors who have opposed medical marijuana at nearly every turn — Hickenlooper also echoed his own obvious reservations towards marijuana. “If we sign that bill we end up, without question, in some way encouraging more young people to look at this as an antidote for their problems,” he said, according to The Denver Post. %related-post-1% Hickenlooper has presidential aspirations, and some see his continuing reluctance to embrace cannabis — he opposed marijuana legalization way back in 2012, you may recall, and was telling reporters as recently as 2014 that legalization was “reckless,” and that if he “could wave a magic wand” and make it go away, he could — as a way to shore up his law-and-order credentials with on-the-fence moderates and conservatives. But in the meantime, he is causing problems for medical cannabis’s continued existence and its necessary progress in the mainstream medical community — which is still in the very early stages, let’s not forget! — and is setting bad precedent other elected officials who would prefer cannabis remain illegal in any context (or, barring that, very hard to obtain) will almost certainly follow. An Over-the-counter Counterargument Only 93,000 people in Colorado are registered marijuana patients. This should not be interpreted to mean that medical marijuana is not popular or does not exist — just that most people for whom cannabis provides relief would just as soon not bother with a doctor’s visit before a trip to the dispensary. Anyone who buys basic medical supplies can surely understand this — just as they can surely understand why it’s silly to require a physician’s note before a purchase of Advil or over-the-counter cough medication, and that the fact that a doctor’s review was not necessary is somehow sign that the cold or headache tonics are somehow “not medical.” Yet that’s the argument you often hear, that somehow medical marijuana is going away or losing its grip. This may be true in terms of overall sales, but that cannot then be distorted to prop up bunk arguments that medical cannabis is “going away” or in any other way invalid. %related-post-2% Marijuana legalization sounds great for anyone involved in marijuana, but it’s not a given. Far from it: In Washington, cannabis patients were left scrambling for supply and emptying their wallets when they could find it thanks to the state’s legalization bill, which was slanted heavily towards regulating an adult-use market. Fair enough — legalization is good, and in most cases, it should be regulated — but it cannot be at the expense or hindrance of medical. The good news is that most voters in most places get this. Look at Oklahoma, where, according to former state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Colorado’s legalization was causing untold problems. There, voters just approved what the Washington Post called “one of the most progressive” medical-cannabis laws in the country! That’s good! But, as Hickenlooper’s attitude in a marijuana-friendly place shows, it’s far from a given. Medical cannabis is real, necessary, and important. We need to remember that, and remind everyone else who can’t or won’t.
Legalization: Just What The Economy Ordered?
Legalization: Just What The Economy Ordered?
There are plenty of reasons why people want to legalize weed. And there of plenty of reasons why people want cannabis to remain criminalized. The reality, however, is that there are several distinct — and rather obvious— economic benefits of legalizing weed. These benefits are already noticeable in states that have already legalized recreation cannabis, like Colorado and Oregon. Let’s jump in and take a look at some of the most compelling economic reasons to legalize weed. Revenue, Revenue, Revenue We’ll start by stating this point plainly. Based on recent estimates, legalizing marijuana in the United States could raise more than $131 billion in tax revenue. Yes, billion. This data was compiled by an organization called New Frontier Data that specializes in vetting and analyzing unbiased data in the cannabis industry. Although tax rates are always subject to change, but clearly the data shows the government could benefit from billions of dollars they are currently completely missing out on. An Eye On Employment In states where cannabis is legalized, one of the biggest benefits has come in the form of reduced unemployment rates. For example, Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012. As of 2015, the state’s newest industry had generated $2.4 billion in economic activity and a whopping 18,000 new full-time jobs. From farmers and trimmers to dispensary staff and budtenders, legalization means more jobs for people handling and selling weed — and that’s just the people directly handling cannabis. One of the added benefits of legalized cannabis is the industries and businesses that pop up to support the farms and needs of retail organizations, including insurance and technology firms. Lower Law Enforcement Costs It's no secret that the war on drugs has been costly and less than effective. With prisons across the country facing overcrowding and federal marijuana enforcement costing more than $3 billion a year according to the American Civil Liberties Union, decriminalizing weed could drastically reduce government spending, not including court costs. What are your thoughts on legalization? Let us know.
Wide World Of Weed: Estonia Edition
Wide World Of Weed: Estonia Edition
It’s tough to say what Estonia is most known for, but the Estonian town of Kanepi is doing its canna-best to put the country on the map for marijuana. We’ve seen time and again that if you leave a decision in the hands of the Internet, you’re playing with fire. Boaty McBoatface, ring any bells? How about the 2012 Chuck Norris pedestrian bridge fiasco? You’d think civic organizations would eventually learn that if you leave certain decisions in the hands of the people, they will never fail to amaze you with their creativity or sense of humor. The latest in a long line of naming mishaps comes from the tiny Northern European country Estonia. What’s In A Sign? Located in the southeastern part of Estonia, Kanepi is home to approximately 5,000 people. When the town decided to hold a vote for a new symbol earlier this year, oddly enough, more than 12,000 people voted for a cannabis leaf. Following the election, the familiar seven-pointed leaf we all know and love was officially adopted as the town symbol. Despite some pushback, the Kanepi’s town council defended their decision as very democratic, and we tend to agree. So what if more than twice the town’s population voted? A Deeper Meaning As it turns out, Kanepi didn’t earn its pot leaf icon by chance. Kanep just so happens to be the Estonian word for cannabis. And according to locals, the cannabis leaf has been the area’s legendary symbol for more than 150 years, since it was made into rope and clothing in the area. Although weed is still illegal in Estonia, possession usually results in only a fine. For people across the European Union, however, Kanepi’s decision to use the pot leaf is seen as increasing tolerance for cannabis. That’s why even though it seems pretty insignificant and more than a little silly, this little Estonian town is putting itself on the map by changing attitudes toward pot. How would you feel if your town changed its symbol to a pot leaf? Cool or no?
Cannabis Banking Bill Shot Down By Senate
Cannabis Banking Bill Shot Down By Senate
The surging legal marijuana industry could really benefit from traditional access to the banking industry. Unfortunately, the Senate disagrees. Americans’ support for marijuana legalization has never been higher. More than half of U.S. states legally allow cannabis in some form, and the nation’s current $6.7 billion cannabis industry is projected to balloon to $21 billion just three years from now. Despite this unprecedented momentum, however, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, which has forced those in the legal marijuana industry to deal almost entirely in cash. Introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, an amendment attached to a federal finance bill would have given the industry with access to banking services, but it was shot down by a U.S. Senate Appropriations committee on June 21 by a vote of 21-10. A parallel amendment failed in the House the week before. As we’ve outlined previously, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, banks that do business with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In 2014, the Obama Administration issued revised guidelines that loosened the restrictions somewhat, but virtually all banks kept their distance, still fearful of serving canna-businesses. The amendment introduced by Merkley would have protected banks and other financial institutions from legal concerns, but the Senate panel’s no vote keeps both banks and state-legal pot businesses in legal and financial limbo. Until positive legislation is passed, buying — and selling — legal cannabis will be needlessly complicated, and legal marijuana businesses will remain prime targets for violent criminals.   “The real losers from this action are our communities, who will remain less safe because of the cash that remains on the streets instead of in the bank,” Kenneth Berke, co-founder of cannabis payment and banking technology company PayQwick, told Marijuana Business Daily. “With so much of the country in favor of legal cannabis, it’s mind-boggling that our elected representatives remain unwilling to pass desperately needed legislation.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
A Stoner’s Summer Vacation Hit List
A Stoner’s Summer Vacation Hit List
It’s summertime, which means it’s prime season for a vacation. If you’re looking for a cannabis excursion, there are plenty of amazing places to see and legally enjoy cannabis. Let’s take a look at our top destinations for a canna-holiday. Denver, Colorado Everyone knows that Denver is the Mecca of cannabis culture in the United States. The city has been on the leading edge of the industry since the earliest days of decriminalization and legalization in the states. Surrounded by plenty of natural beauty and one of the country’s best outdoor music venues — Red Rocks — Denver is the ideal destination for cannabis lovers who crave time camping or hitting a trail. Seattle, Washington Seattle was one of the pioneers of legal cannabis. Surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the Emerald City is a stoner’s dream. Cannabis can be easily found, there are tons of landmarks to check out, and hiking trails abound. Plus, you can always catch a Seattle Sounders game. Or, at the very least, you’ll be able to hear the fans chanting from a few miles away! Washington, D.C. Summer vacay is the perfect time to head to our nation’s capital to take in some history. Home of more museums than you can count, D.C. is an amazing blend of culture, education, and fun. Although D.C.’s pot policy isn’t as liberal as Colorado or Washington, there are plenty of dispensaries where you can stock up before hitting the Smithsonian or our favorite, The International Spy Museum. Negril, Jamaica Jamaica and ganja go hand in hand. They’re pretty much synonymous. So, what could be a better summer vacay spot than Bob Marley’s homeland? Jamaica may not have the infrastructure of dispensaries that you’d find in the states, but buying and carrying bud shouldn’t be a problem. Snag a sack and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Jamaica isn’t the only ideal beach destination for a summer getaway. Costa Rica has decriminalized cannabis, and just so happens to be home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Central and South America. Toss in the rainforest exploration, vibrant nightlife, and surfing, and you’ve got one heck of a trip booked. Got a favorite summer vacation spot? Let us know your favorites in the comments!
The Stoner’s Guide to 2018 Summer Blockbusters
The Stoner’s Guide to 2018 Summer Blockbusters
Summertime is the season for barbecues, lounging by the lake or the pool, and — of course — blockbuster movies. From the early days of Jaws to Independence Day and today’s big budget films, here’s a list of our most anticipated Summer 2018 movies to help you beat the heat. Solo: A Star Wars Story We love Star Wars. We also love Donald Glover. Put them together and it’s a no-brainer. Audiences worldwide have been looking forward to this movie for months. And even though it’s already out in theaters, we had to include it on our list. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom The original Jurassic Park has been on our list of favorite films for a long time. Every installment — no matter how ridiculous the story lines get — will always grab our attention. There’s just something about seeing giant dinosaurs on the big screen. Hereditary What would summer be without a good scary movie? If creepy movies are your thing, Hereditary is a must-see. Just watch the trailer. Seriously. If it doesn’t send chills down your spine, you need to check your pulse. Ant-Man and the Wasp Marvel has single-handedly released some of 2018’s best action movies. Next in lineup is Ant-Man and the Wasp, and we’re pretty stoked. Ant Man is one of the most lovable heroes in the Marvel Universe. Despite his best efforts, he just can’t get things right on his own. Luckily, he has a sidekick in the next installment. Sicario 2: Soldado Following up on the 2015 masterpiece Sicario, Sicario 2: Soldado catches up with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro shortly after the president adds drug cartels to the list of international terrorists. All bets are off as the pair “get dirty” to take down cartel leaders and start a war with everyone. The Incredibles 2 We couldn’t make a summer movie list without including this film. The Parrs won our hearts back in 2004 and we're excited to see where the family goes next with Helen’s full-time job fighting crime. And Jack-Jack has laser eyes. Come on. What movies are you excited about this summer? Let us know!
Must-Spin Albums: May 2018
Must-Spin Albums: May 2018
It’s been a minute since we checked in with our favorite album releases. Luckily for us, the first wave of summer music releases started hitting shelves in May. Here’s a rundown of our favorites. Load up your playlists or grab them on wax and get spinning! Indie: Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts Hailing from Denton, Texas, Parquet Courts’ brand of stoner indie rock is a ton of fun. From 2012’s Light Up Gold to their latest release, the band has focused on high energy, relatable jams. Wide Awake! covers a lot of ground in its 13 tracks from surf jams to straightforward rock. Cue it up. You won’t be disappointed. Electronic: Singularity by Jon Hopkins Jon Hopkins is a genius. His electronic music reaches virtually unparalleled levels of virtuosity. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, you’ll dig his stuff. We thought his music couldn’t get better than 2013’s Immunity, but Singularity may have proved us wrong. Pop: 7 by Beach House Beach House’s lush brand of synth pop has been a crowd pleaser for years. 7 definitely seems like a return to form for the Baltimore-based band. Noticeably darer than previous releases, 7 feels more personal, yet still approachable. Hit the vape, start the album, and float away. Rap/Hip Hop: Daytona by Pusha T Pusha T is an OG. From his roots as a drug dealer in Virginia Beach to his work with Clipse and his partnership with Pharrell, he’s seen rap trends come and go. Now president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music, Pusha is helping pave the way in hip-hop. And he kept us waiting long enough for his new album. And calling it an album is a little generous. It feels more like an EP, but it’s all killer and no filler. Rock: Good Thing by Leon Bridges Now, we realize that classifying Leon Bridges as rock may be a bit of a misnomer. He’s soulful, for sure, and his voice shreds. And anyhow, rock is an attitude. And Bridges delivers that in spades. Did we miss your favorite May release? Let us know!
Can Cannabis Keep Your Brain Healthy?
Can Cannabis Keep Your Brain Healthy?
From star athletes struggling with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy to soldiers struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the countless Americas struggling with chronic stress, brain health is constantly top of mind. Thanks to new research, however, some scientists believe cannabis may be the key to keeping our brains healthy — especially after significant trauma. Approximately 2 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. With these injuries come a long list of cognitive and behavioral challenges that can be extremely stressful and detrimental to continued overall health.  In fact, the number of Americans living with TBI-related disabilities number as high 5.3 million. Despite these overwhelming numbers, researchers believe they have found a link between THC and CBD and recovery from significant TBIs. When administered shortly after a brain injury, THC has shown to jump start natural processes in the brain that protect brain cells and preserve cognitive abilities. How Cannabis Helps Administered before or after a TBI, THC, and CBD protect the brain by kickstarting the natural process the brain uses to minimize injury. When administered anywhere from one to seven days prior to an injury or one to three days following an injury, THC and CBD have shown to bolster the brain’s biochemical response to traumatic injury. Even more interesting is that the amount of cannabis found to help retain cognitive function is only a fraction of the amount found in a typical joint. Studies have also shown that CBD may be even more effective at reducing and minimizing the lasting effects of brain injuries. For younger patients or those who prefer to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD holds plenty of promise. What Are The Consequences? While the research is still on very preliminary stages, the parallels between cannabis and brain health are certainly promising. As more health professionals look to cannabis — especially CBD — as a safe, effective daily health supplement, the applications and benefits may prove life changing for many people worldwide. Do you see yourself toking into old age? If so, why? Let us know!
Seniors: The Next Cannabis Boom?
Seniors: The Next Cannabis Boom?
A recent study shows that 64% of Americans support legalized marijuana. While younger smokers and tokers certainly account for their fair share of those polled, a surprising finding stands out — seniors are the fastest-growing cannabis user demographic. Senior citizens are typically identified as anyone over age 65. At first glance, that may not sound like the ideal weed demographic, but recent surveys have found that older Americans — especially those who toked earlier in their lives — are rediscovering their love for bud. Industry leaders believe many older Americans stopped smoking due to the threat of legal trouble and the stigma surrounding cannabis use. Now that many states are decriminalizing and legalizing weed, however, seniors are giving green another shot. A Matter Of Preference One factor contributing to the increased number of older adults enjoying cannabis is the sheer number of ways to consume it, as well as the ability to get repeatable, predictable highs. Whether smoking, vaping, or eating, seniors are not looking for the most potent strains on the market, but are rather interested in smaller doses which are becoming more readily (and legally) available. Interestingly enough, for a generation that grew up rolling joints, smoking cannabis doesn’t appear be the preferred delivery method for seniors. For many, the thought of ingesting smoke seems detrimental to health. Instead, many seniors are turning to vape pens. In some dispensaries, vape sales represent 25% of total sales. What The Doctor Ordered Perhaps the most compelling reason seniors are looking to cannabis is for their health. And we’re not just talking THC, either. As research continues into the therapeutic applications of CBD, cannabis products of all types are being explored by aging Americans. Cannabis research has shown tremendous potential for herb to ease symptoms of chronic pain and other age-associated conditions. As more seniors look past the stigma associated with cannabis, many may find relief from troublesome conditions they struggle with daily. Do you see yourself toking into old age? If so, why? Let us know!
Why Jim Belushi Is Weed’s Latest Celebrity Advocate
Why Jim Belushi Is Weed’s Latest Celebrity Advocate
Yeah, Jim Belushi. John’s brother. We didn’t see it coming, either. The latest to join the celebrity stoner hall of fame and sit among Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Seth Rogen is none other than Jim Belushi. The According to Jim, K-9, and Jingle All the Way star has not only been outspoken in his support of legal weed, he has sponsored events at his mansion in Los Angeles to support cannabis entrepreneurs and investors. So, how did Belushi get involved? Diving Into The Industry Belushi’s involvement in cannabis may seem a little random, but the reality is he’s no stranger to the industry. He owns a cannabis farm in Oregon, he launched a line of dispensaries this year, and has plans to release branded pot later in 2018. That said, Belushi’s work has not merely focused on his own ventures. Partnering with Green Table Global, a networking group dedicated to matching investors with cannabis entrepreneurs, Belushi hosted an after party during the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference. The institute itself is focused on powerful ideas with the potential to greatly impact public health and economic wellbeing. During the party, six cannabis companies pitched to potential investors, while keynote speakers explained the potential of recreational cannabis. Getting Vocal We’ve already established that Belushi’s commitment to cannabis goes beyond playing party host. But recently, he has continued to put his money where his mouth is — even if that means going to jail. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Belushi was quoted saying, “I believe in this medicine. I’m a celebrity. I could be arrested immediately — and I want to be, by the way, because I want to send the message out that this takes opioids off the street.” Belushi has hit on an interesting point — cannabis as a means to help manage our nation’s opioid crisis. If he continues to be this outspoken, there’s no telling how far Belushi may go. It will be interesting to see the waves he — and his products — make in the industry. How do you feel about Jim Belushi’s stance on weed?
Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?
Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?
News headlines nationwide have been touting the canna-boom. Cannabis dispensaries and production facilities seem to be popping up everywhere medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal. But in light of these reports, just how big is the retail marijuana market? The legal cannabis boom has certainly grabbed a lot of headlines over the past year. Until recently, however, hard data comparing the size and growth of retail pot had been rather hard to come by. Thanks to the Annual Marijuana Business Factbook, however, that is changing. The leading resource for trends, facts, and figures in recreational cannabis, the factbook is 300 pages of forecasts, benchmarks, and statistics covering the nation’s fastest growing industry. What The Numbers Say The U.S. retail cannabis market is valued at about $55 billion total — including illicit sales. When comparing the market to other industries, it’s actually easier to look at year-over-year growth as a sign of overall market share. Representing roughly $5.8-6.6 billion in revenue, medical cannabis overtook some other noteworthy industries in 2017.   Last year, retail cannabis sales overshadowed both Oreos ($0.7 billion), the tattoo industry ($1.5 billion), and the organic produce industry ($4.8 billion). These statistics alone may be a little surprising, but what’s more noteworthy is that legal cannabis now has Netflix (annual revenue of $6.6 billion) and McDonald’s (annual revenue of $8 billion) clearly in its sights. On the heels of California’s legalization of recreational weed, the retail cannabis market is primed to surpass these numbers in 2018. A Matter Of Time Looking at 2018 is only part of the upside of the cannabis industry. For the next 4 years, the industry is poised for 200% growth. Continued decriminalization means a significant portion of the $55 billion legal and illegal cannabis market may become more legit. If so, retail cannabis will be rubbing shoulders with major tobacco ($80.3 billion) and beer ($111 billion). Although a significant number of factors are in flux — for example, the number of states legalizing weed — the future of retail cannabis sure seems promising.
Are Workplaces Becoming More Weed-Friendly?
Are Workplaces Becoming More Weed-Friendly?
Mandatory drug tests were once the name of the game for anyone looking for a job in corporate America. But as popular opinion towards weed is changing, are big companies keeping pace? Marijuana and employment are two words that haven’t always gone hand in hand. As the legal weed business has expanded, however, more jobs have become available in dispensaries and at grow operations. This, however, isn’t the only impact legal weed has made on the job market. In some industries, marijuana drug screenings have actually come to be seen as unnecessary barriers to employment. As the need for workers has increased, companies across the country removing cannabis from pre-employment drug screenings. Leading The Way It may come as no surprise that the industries dropping cannabis from pre-employment drug screenings are those with the largest staff shortages. Companies in hospitality, shipping, and assembly are all facing significant shortages of capable staff. Dropping cannabis from pre-screening opens up a large base of potential employees. Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is the latest in a long line of companies to change their tune on weed testing. Even in the highly regulated world of casinos, Caesar’s was struggling to fill vital spots on the casino floor and in other areas of the hotel. By updating their drug testing policy, Caesar’s has been able to increase the number of qualified candidates while working to ensure workers are not under the influence while at work. Look To The Future Although current trends may show companies taking a more lenient stance on marijuana screening, that doesn’t necessarily mean the trend will hold. Currently, employers in the nine states — and District of Columbia — where weed is legal, are most likely to drop testing. Much of this is due to the sheer number of jobs available in these areas. In Colorado, for example, the tourism and resort industry mean jobs can be found virtually year round. As unemployment trends continue to ebb and flow, however, we will have to wait and see if states continue to be lenient on screening for weed. How do you feel about drug screening for weed? Let us know!
Can Legal Pot Reduce Recreational Drinking?
Can Legal Pot Reduce Recreational Drinking?
In February, Molson Coors released a statement considering legal weed a “significant risk” to the beer industry. A few months later, has there been a definitive impact on drinking habits in states with legal recreational pot? Let’s take a look. Headquartered in Denver and Montreal, Molson Coors was the first big beer company to speak out on the worries of competition from recreational weed sales. In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, officials wrote: “Although the ultimate impact is currently unknown, the emergence of legal cannabis in certain U.S. states and Canada may result in a shift of discretionary income away from our products or a change in consumer preferences away from beer. As a result, a shift in consumer preferences away from our products or beer or a decline in the consumption of our products could result in a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.” The Battle For Budget The filing by Molson Coors hits on a very interesting point — are recreational drinkers more likely to be recreational marijuana users? If so, how will competition for disposable income impact the liquor and beer industry? Thanks to data from the State of Oregon, we’ve gotten a brief glimpse. Looking at two groups of cities in Oregon — those with an operating recreational dispensary and those which had none — from Summer 2016 to Summer 2017, researchers found interesting trends in hard liquor sales. In cities with a dispensary, liquor sales grew by 4.17 percent, while sales grew by 5.86 percent in cities without a dispensary. A Look Ahead The results from the Oregon study need to be taken with a grain of salt due the limited availability of data and the focus on head liquor sales. Even still, the findings point to the potential for legal weed to disrupt existing beer, wine, and spirits sales across the country. Only time will tell if this trend will continue, but it will definitely be interesting to see as the recreational weed market continues to grow. Given the choice, would you rather spend your money on weed or beer? Let us know!
Pot Lands In Pro Sports
Pot Lands In Pro Sports
Beer ads, fast food restaurants, candy companies — the list of major sports sponsors goes on. For legal weed brands, however, landing a sports sponsorship seemed like a pipe dream until one team set the precedent. Nevada legalized the purchase of recreational cannabis in July 2017. Although they weren’t the first to make such a move, Las Vegas is now grabbing headlines for breaking ground of a different kind with legal weed. The city is now home to the first sports team sponsored by a cannabis dispensary. Let There Be Lights If you had one guess as to the first sport to tout a legal cannabis sponsor, which would you pick? Football? Nope. Baseball? Yeah, right. NASCAR? Dream on. The answer? Soccer. The first team in U. S. history to be sponsored by a cannabis brand is none other than the Las Vegas Lights — a professional soccer team that competes in the United Soccer League (USL). The USL is the second tier of professional soccer in the United States, sitting right below nationally recognized Major League Soccer. Sponsoring the Las Vegas Lights is a 16,000-square-foot dispensary called NuWu Cannabis Marketplace. Complete with a drive-thru, the dispensary is expected to begin selling Lights-branded products. In return, NuWu ads will be found across the Lights’ Cashman Field, as well as at public events featuring players. Getting Down To Business Brand visibility for both team and dispensary is just one aspect of this winning deal. All adults 21 and older who visit NuWu with a Lights ticket stub will receive 10 percent off any purchase. The dispensary itself is also run by the Paiute Tribe and the dispensary itself is located on tribal lands. For both parties, the co-branding is viewed as an opportunity to bring new attention to Las Vegas, breathe new life into the city and shed light on the positive side of legal weed. “This is the right time and the right market to do this, and we’re not going to hide. We think this will be part of the destigmatization of this substance and business, “ said Brett Lashbrook, Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Lights. Is there a team you’d love to see your favorite dispensary sponsor? Drop us line and hit us with your ideas!
Early Facebook Backer, Snoop Dogg Partner With Pot Startup
Early Facebook Backer, Snoop Dogg Partner With Pot Startup
Snoop Dogg is an established name in legal weed. Tiger Global, on the hand, not so much. Now, the two are partnering to help a weed startup. Tiger Global may not be a household name, but chances are you’re familiar with more than one of their investment companies. Founded by Charles P. Coleman III in New York City in 2001, Tiger Global was an early investor in some of the world’s most popular social media and streaming services, including Facebook and Spotify. Teaming up with Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm, Casa Verde Capital, Tiger Global contributed to a $17 million series A investment for marijuana tech company Green Bits. Higher Tech Green Bits is one of the leading cannabis tech startups in the country. Offering a seamless point-of-sale system that incorporates state compliance standards, business growth best practices, customer satisfaction features, and operations guidance. The company currently operates in 11 states and has processed as much as $2 billion in annual retail pot sales. Available in 800 retailers in the United States, Green Bits has drawn numerous comparisons to the point-of-sale system Square, which revolutionized retail sales and the ability to make mobile devices sales ready. Impacting The Industry Although much may not be known about Tiger Global outside of the business in which they have invested, jumping into the cannabis world is pretty telling move for the notoriously private group. Partnering with Casa Verde indicates a growing trend of traditional VC groups branching out into the world of retail pot. Many industry pundits point to Tiger’s investment as the first by an institutional VC into the marijuana market. Boasting 38 exits among its portfolio of startup businesses, Tiger Global has a proven track record of building businesses to the point of major success or lucrative exits. With the cannabis industry still in its relative infancy, this move could prove a watershed moment for other startups and the potential for other major players to test the waters with legal weed. For green businesses, the future is certainly looking bright.
Study: Marijuana Legalization Linked To A Drop In Violent Crime
Study: Marijuana Legalization Linked To A Drop In Violent Crime
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly claimed that marijuana legalization drives violent crime. A new study finds that, yet again, Sessions’ claims are unfounded. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy and recently published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, focuses on a two-year window (2013 and 2014) when recreational marijuana was legal in Washington, but still illegal next door in Oregon. During that period, researchers studied a variety of data on violent crime rates and substance abuse in 11 counties in Washington and 10 in Oregon. Instead of an increase in crime, as Sessions would have likely predicted, researchers found that the legalization of recreational marijuana was linked to a 15 to 30 percent decrease in the number of reported rapes, as well as a 10 to 20 percent decrease in the number of thefts. %related-post-1% As Herb reports, researchers concluded that legalization itself “reduces the likelihood of [cannabis users and growers] engaging in violent activities.” They concluded that it also reduces the chances that people growing and selling marijuana will be involved in gang activity, and added that legal, regulated marijuana markets free up police to focus on other crimes. Researchers also found that access to legal weed caused residents in states where pot is legal significantly reduce their binge consumption of “violence-inducing” substances like alcohol and cocaine. Sessions has frequently echoed the concerns of the Attorney General of Nebraska, Doug Peterson, who has claimed that Colorado’s legal marijuana market has led to increased crime in neighboring Nebraska. In 2014, Nebraska brought a case before the Supreme Court, claiming damages caused by Colorado’s legal weed market. The court dismissed the case, however, and, as Herb notes, Sessions’ claims were debunked by Snopes, which found very little evidence that legal weed boosted violent crime in either Colorado or its neighboring states. Not only does the study in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization also debunk Sessions’ claims, but it also mirrors a 2016 study, which found that legal medical cannabis had “no negative spillover effects” and resulted in significant decreases in violent crime across 11 western states.
Oregon Update: Is Too Much Weed A Bad Thing?
Oregon Update: Is Too Much Weed A Bad Thing?
Since legalizing recreational cannabis, Oregon has seen an influx of dispensaries and cannabis production companies. With all that bud, is it possible that there is such a thing as too much green? As soon as recreational marijuana hit Oregon in 2015, all bets were off. New farmers, dispensaries, head shops, and more seemingly appeared overnight. And that could only be a good thing, right? Not so fast. One statistic sums up the not-so-silver lining of the canna-boom in the Beaver State: In all of 2017, Oregonians consumed roughly 340,000 pounds of weed by smoking, vaping, eating, or otherwise. As of February 2018, more than 1 million pounds — yes, you read that correctly — has been logged in the state’s database. What does this 750,000-ish pound surplus mean for the industry? The answer is great for consumers but could mean trouble for business owners. Boom And Bust In the early days of recreational cannabis sales in Oregon, it was unheard for the price of a gram of flower to drop below $8. At such a competitive price point, there was no need to drop any lower. As stock and the sheer amount of available bud in the state continued to grow however, a $4/gram sticker price is quickly becoming the new norm. And it’s not just smaller consumer sales that are suffering. As the Willamette Week reports, wholesale weed prices fell from $1,500 per pound in the summer of 2017 to $700 the following October. With so much product and lagging sales, many businesses have resorted to laying off employees and, ultimately, closing their doors. The latter is complicated by the fact that, because of marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule 1 narcotic, these businesses are unable to declare bankruptcy. A Reasonable Solution Oregon is currently a cannabis consumer’s paradise and a canna-business owner’s nightmare. And there’s a lot to be learned from how things got this way. First, increased regulation isn’t exactly the best solution. Currently, large dispensary chains are buying up smaller mom-and-pop business, despite bargain basement prices. While this may be a harsh reality for small business owners, the industry itself is still relatively secure. Second, more people need to smoke weed. It sounds simple, but one of the easiest ways to stem this tide is to encourage more people to smoke. And this isn’t just in Oregon. As more states legalize and decriminalize, Oregon has a huge opportunity to export its new cash crop. The future could be quite bright.
New Studies Show Cannabis Could Combat The Opioid Crisis
New Studies Show Cannabis Could Combat The Opioid Crisis
America has a real problem with opioids. Two new studies show that medical cannabis could be a real solution. Regardless of what you think of President Trump, when he called the nation’s opioid crisis a “national emergency,” he was completely right. As the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board points out, the misuse of and addiction to opioids — including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016 — the same number of opioid-related deaths predicted for this year. That number works out to more than 250,000 deaths over the past decade or 115 deaths each day. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging “health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose,” to learn how to use the highly effective anti-overdose drug naloxone and keep it “within reach.” It’s Science But while the use of naxalone, which is carried by many first responders, can certainly save lives, new research indicates that medical marijuana can reduce greatly patients’ need for opiates altogether. Two papers published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data and found that after states legalized medical cannabis, both the number of opioid prescriptions and daily opioids dropped dramatically. As Scientific American notes, this new research mirrors a 2014 study that showed that states that had legalized medical marijuana saw nearly 25 percent fewer deaths due to opioid overdoses. %related-post-1% According to the Union-Tribune, there are two key takeaways from the new studies. First, the new studies appear to back up another JAMA report from November that showed that emergency room patients in New York City reported roughly the same amount of pain relief whether they received over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol, prescription drugs like Percocet or Vicodin, or Tylenol No. 3. The study showed that not only are addictive drugs readily available in emergency room settings, but that they are prescribed too often, which is playing a significant role in the current opioid epidemic. The study also showed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are doing away with opioids in favor of non-addictive medical marijuana. While it’s unclear whether patients or doctors are leading the shift, a recent survey of 3,000 medical cannabis patients found that almost all of them say they could significantly reduce their dependence on opioids by adding cannabis to their treatment regimens, with a vast majority saying they would prefer to use cannabis over the prescription pills they currently take. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the Justice Department seeks a “rational” marijuana policy. Wanting to save lives is pretty rational.
How Brewers Are Shifting to Bud
How Brewers Are Shifting to Bud
Reports of major tobacco companies moving in on the rapidly growing legal cannabis game have swirled for years. But while these reports have slightly stalled, THC-infused products are nearing release from another industry — big beer. Rumors of major tobacco companies playing the long game of legalized weed have circulated for years. While the market has yet to see Marlboro Greens or any of the like, major beer companies are actually taking significant strides toward THC-infused beer. Leading The Way Heading the charge of cannabis brews is none other than Keith Villa, the founder of Blue Moon beer. Villa led the company for more than 30 years, specializing in European-style wheat beers, but eventually stepped away to start his own beverage company, Ceria. Based in Colorado — of course — Ceria isn’t the first company looking to infuse beer with cannabis. Many brands have taken on the challenge. The key difference, however, is that previous companies have infused their suds with CBD. Unlike these predecessors, Villa is going for a headier brew mixed up with straight THC. %related-post-1% According to Villa, CBD beer certainly has health benefits, but doesn’t provide the recreational buzz most drinkers would prefer. “CBD is not the component that most consumers look for,” Ceria said in an interview with Brewbound. “It certainly has its merits…But the THC is what gives people that buzz, which is similar to the alcohol buzz that people get from beer, spirits and wine. A lot of consumers of cannabis look for that buzz.” A Note on Safety Now, before anyone jumps on a soapbox about the dangers of mixing alcohol and bud — which can make you pretty ill if you overdo it — there’s one more point to consider. Ceria’s THC brew will actually be non-alcoholic. Instead of increasing the chances of over-indulging, Villa’s beer will simply offer a different type of buzz for beer lovers. %related-post-2% While details including release date are still developing, one thing’s for sure — Ceria’s beer buzz with cost more than your average six pack. “It’s going to be more expensive than beer, but it will be an affordable luxury for those people who want to have an alternative to alcoholic beer,” adds Villa.
California’s Chalice Festival Makes Canna-history
California’s Chalice Festival Makes Canna-history
The state of California made history when it legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, 2018. While the new law made it legal to purchase and possess recreational cannabis, it has had little effect on the state’s many music festivals. Cali-based cannabis lovers rejoiced as the calendar turned over to 2018 and recreational weed was made totally legal. While businesses flooded into the new market, there was one notable exception for cannabis vendors: music festivals. While California is home to some of the most popular music festivals on the planet, namely Coachella, on-site cannabis sales and even possession have been prohibited at 2018 festivals to this point. These festivals still play host to glassblowers and other paraphernalia vendors, but actual bud purchases continue to be a big no-no. Well, at least until July. Changing The Game Scheduled to take place July 13-15 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, Chalice Festival is the first Cali music festival to allow on-site weed purchases. With crowds expected to top 45,000, Chalice Festival has the potential to revolutionize festival culture, seamlessly blending legal canna-business with arts and music. “This year’s Chalice will make history in several ways,” explains event founder Doug Dracup. “We’ve always been a leader, and we plan to lead by example at Chalice 2018. We know all eyes will be on us, and we have no doubt that we will set the bar for the future of legal cannabis and its relationship with music and arts festivals.” A Lineup for the Record Books A groundbreaking festival like Chalice demands an all-star lineup of musical acts. And this year’s event certainly delivers. From world-class party DJ Bassnectar to hip-hop MVPs Ludacris, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and The Pharcyde, Chalice planners have put together a lineup sure to please anyone. Chalice Festival is apparently setting the bar pretty high for music festivals nationwide — especially those in legalized states — and it will be interesting to see what effect the festival has on other events in the state. Either way, it’s a big win for weed lovers in the Golden State.
Why John Boehner Changed His Views on Marijuana Legalization
Why John Boehner Changed His Views on Marijuana Legalization
Let’s face it: If Attorney General Jeff Sessions had his wish, there would be no such thing as marijuana legalization in the United States. And while former House Speaker John Boehner held a similar view just a few years ago, times have changed. It feels weird to say this, but former House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company with cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensing operations in 11 U.S. states. Boehner’s about-face is turning heads, as the former House speaker says he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization nine years ago. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” Boehner told Bloomberg. “I find myself in that same position.” From Speaker to Spokesman Boehner, who says he has never tried pot, says he changed his position on marijuana after being convinced about its potential to help veterans and after watching cannabis help a close friend suffering from back pain. He also says he’s long been troubled by problems within the U.S. criminal justice system. “When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head,” he says. “We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.” Boehner is being joined on Acreage Holdings board by former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. Neither has made a financial investment in the company, though Held says he has considered it. For now, Boehner says, they will be focused on providing Acreage with advice on how to deal with the “murky legal issues and political issues” that come with working with federal and state governments. Saying No to the Nanny State As Bloomberg notes, Boehner and Weld say the debate over legalization hinges on a discussion of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives states the freedom to act as they see fit. “If some states don’t want marijuana to be legal, that’s their prerogative,” Weld says. “But that shouldn’t be dictated by the nanny state in Washington.” %related-post-1% Sessions’ dislike of pot — as well as his desire to ramp up the powers of the nanny state by rolling back Obama-era protections on legal marijuana — has done little to dissuade Boehner or Weld from getting involved with the industry. In fact, Boehner actually finds the move kind of funny. “When I saw the announcement, I almost chuckled to myself,” Boehner says, referring to the January reversal of the Cole Memo. “I don’t know why they decided to do this. It could be that the attorney general is trying to force the Congress to act.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
The President Pledges to Protect Pot
The President Pledges to Protect Pot
President Trump has promised to protect the marijuana industry in states where the drug is currently legal, potentially putting an end to the legislative limbo set in motion by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent rolling back of the Obama-era Cole Memo. While on the campaign trail, presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to respect the rights of states that legalized marijuana. He also called recreational pot “bad,” however, seemingly implying that he’d be open to the idea of stiffer regulations. %related-post-1% While the legal marijuana industry has continued to boom since Trump took office, tensions within the industry increased further with Sessions’ decision in January to rescind the Obama-era policy of non-interference toward pot-friendly states. But while Sessions gave prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, he stopped short of directing them to do so. And now, President Trump appears willing to support legislation that would block them from even considering it. Some form of cannabis is now legal in 30 states, and more Americans — 64 percent — now support legalization than at any time in American history. Seemingly aware of the growing public support for cannabis, Trump recently pledged to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado that he would support a federalism-based legal solution that would protect the drug in states where it is legal. The pledge, which was verified by White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, came during a recent meeting between Gardner and Trump. Trump had previously singled out Colorado as having “some big problems” related to recreational weed, and those comments, coupled with Sessions’ actions in January — after Sessions had promised Gardner he would do nothing to interfere with the state’s legal weed market — prompted Gardner to make a deal with the president regarding the future of legal weed. %related-post-2% In exchange for the President Trump’s promise that he would protect pot-friendly states from federal interference, Gardner agree to lift his blockade on U.S. Department of Justice nominees — a move he made after Sessions’ move in January. Gardner was pleased with the deal. "President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all," he said in a statement. Legalization advocates are cautiously optimistic, as well. “We may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mason Tvert, who launched a 2012 ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, told the Associated Press. “This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado but throughout the country.” While Gardner plans to introduce bipartisan legislation that would block the federal government from interfering with state marijuana markets, there could still be cause for concern. As we reported previously, Trump has hinted at replacing the prohibitionist Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. If there’s anyone who’d like to crack down on legal weed more than Sessions, it’s him. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Which Celebrities Are Getting Into The Cannabis Game?
Which Celebrities Are Getting Into The Cannabis Game?
Celebrities are no strangers to the cannabis game. From familiar faces to former A-listers, celebs are making the move into legal cannabis for a multitude of reasons. Cannabis is still booming and is drawing investors of all industries anxious to cash in. Some of the most notable weed investors are celebrities who have developed a vested interested in marijuana. Whether through a lifelong love affair with herb or otherwise, it’s amazing to see who is investing, where, and why. Who And Why Now? Let’s start our discussion with the most familiar faces. The folks whose names pop in your head when you think of weed. That’s right — Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, and Snoop Dogg. Why are these guys getting in on the weed game? Well, it makes sense with their personal brands. These three guys have virtually been synonymous with smoking, so it’s only natural that they would release their products. Beyond some of the famous faces, there are celebs who are getting in on legal weed because of its health benefits. Whoopi Goldberg’s company, Whoopi & Maya, began in an effort to ease menstrual symptoms, while Melissa Etheridge’s Etheridge Farms offer cannabis products to treat cancer symptoms and arthritis. Finally, there is a group of celebrities that are investing in cannabis because it may have saved their lives — quite literally. In October 2015, Lamar Odom nearly died from a cocaine overdose. After recovering, Odom spoke out about medical cannabis and the key role it played in overcoming his cocaine addiction. Operating under the name Rich Soil Organics, Odom’s company is expected to launch in 2018. What Are The Obstacles? If you think a famous face is enough to sell cannabis, however, it’s time to think again. As legalization and decriminalization becomes more common, some countries are taking a harder stance on celeb-endorsed weed. Most notably, Canada has strict packaging guidelines that prevent Snoop Dogg from appearing in any ads for his products. If more countries follow Canada’s lead, it will be interesting to see just how much impact star power has on cannabis buyers. What are your thoughts on star power in the weed industry? Let us know!
2018’s Best Marijuana Storage Containers
2018’s Best Marijuana Storage Containers
Great bud is an investment, and no one wants to waste their money by letting their stash get stale. Let’s take a look at the best marijuana storage containers on the market designed to keep your weed in prime condition. Stale weed is no fun for anyone. It has less flavor, is less potent, and is just disappointing all around. The good news is that there is a whole host of new — and some tried and true — storage containers that will keep your buds looking and tasting fresh as a daisy. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites. The Mason Jar We’re kicking off our list with a classic. Mason jars are relatively inexpensive — around $20 for 12 brand new — and offer an air-tight seal, which is perfect for long-term weed storage. Also, you can find them at pretty much any thrift store, making them a very cost-effective option. The only knock against mason jars is that they aren’t light proof. So if you’re going with this option, make sure to store your stash in a cool, dark place. TightVac While not explicitly a cannabis accessory company, TightVac makes the perfect product for storing bud. These containers are super affordable, light proof, and offer air-tight sealing. Simply push a button and air is pushed out. At around $10 for ½ ounce container, they are a solid choice. Goodlife Cookies Stack If you consider yourself a cannabis connoisseur, this is the storage option for you. The Goodlife Cookie stack basically offers three storage options in one. If you like having multiple strains on hand, you can store them all side-by-side and quickly grab what you’re in the mood for. At $28, this option is a little on the pricey side, but worth it for keep you stash organized. Cannador This piece works just like a cigar humidor, using moisture to keep your herb in prime condition. It’s extremely effective and sharp looking, but at $150 it’s not the best choice for the budget conscious. Still, if you can handle the cost, there aren’t many better options on the market. SneakGuard The SneakGuyard is the best all-around storage container on the market. It’s smell proof, blocks out moisture and light, is air proof, and can be secured with a code. Add in built-in storage sections for various strains and a price point of $39.95 and the decision practically makes itself. Do you have a preferred method for storing your stash? Shoot us a line and let us know!
4/20: One Stoner’s Game Plan
4/20: One Stoner’s Game Plan
As if 4/20 wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, this year’s celebration happens to fall on a Friday. Get your pencils ready and let’s put together the perfect game plan for a world-class 4/20. The world’s biggest cannabis celebration is right around the corner, so now is the perfect time to put together a schedule of your favorite weed-related activities. Here are our suggestions: Step 1. Call in sick. Ok, ok... Technically, you could have taken care of this one ahead of time, but not all of us are planners, per se. Anyhow. First things first. Give your boss a ring and say you’re a little under the weather. It’s tough to celebrate from a desk, you know? Step 2. Go outside. One of our favorite cannabis activities is hitting a bowl and then hitting a trail. Since you got up early to call in anyhow, you might as well make the most of the morning by heading out into the great outdoors. Whether you go for a quick hike, take the dog for a walk, or go grab coffee in the park, you won’t regret starting your 4/20 this way. Step 3. Hit the dispensary. We can’t really imagine anything worse than running out of herb on 4/20. Make sure you’ve got enough stock by heading to your local dispensary. Or, better yet, get some bud delivered. Wink, wink. Give something new a shot and maybe find a new favorite strain or edible. Step 4. Veg out. Vegging out is a classic stoner activity. Naturally, you should schedule some time to lounge on the couch. Watch some Netflix, chill out to some good music, or just do whatever you want. There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate 4/20, so do what makes you happy! Side note: Super Troopers 2 opens on 4/20, so feel free to forgo a couch party for a trip to your local theater! Step 5. Catch some live music. Cities across the globe celebrate 4/20 in the best possible way: music festivals. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, chances are someone is hosting a 4/20 concert. From Bob Marley cover bands to Sublime and Grateful Dead-inspired groups, there are likely to be plenty of options, so head to your local watering hole and see who takes the stage! Step 6. Celebrate safely. Just because. Do you have a favorite way to spend 4/20? We’re all ears. Hit us with your suggestions!
2018: The Biggest 4/20 Yet?
2018: The Biggest 4/20 Yet?
4/20 is Black Friday for cannabis dispensaries. With California and Nevada dispensaries now in action, 2018’s annual celebration is looking like a record breaker. Shrouded in the mists of time, the origins of 4/20 have been cause for speculation for decades. A quick internet search, however, will give you the 4-11 on a group of teens from Marin County, Calif., credited with coining the term. Decades since the Waldos, as they affectionately referred to themselves, started toking outside their high school, 420 has become the biggest pot celebration on the planet. A Cause For Celebration Ever since 420 became a staple of stoner jargon, the date has been circled on calendars as a celebration of all things green and ganja-related. Even before Colorado legalized marijuana, The University of Colorado in Boulder was notorious for huge smoke-ins and weed celebrations each April. Now, Colorado is still ground zero for some of the largest 420 celebrations in the U.S. From Denver’s Mile High Festival to the Colorado 420 Fest in Colorado Springs, the state is home to hundreds of events. Not to be outdone, California and Arizona are fully embracing their legal weed status in 2018 with major events, including 4/20 Green Gala: Super Troopers Edition in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the SoCal Cannabis Cup — featuring Lil Wayne and Nas — in San Bernardino. A National Impact 420 is expected to leave much more than a cultural impact this year. Dispensaries across the country are preparing for record-breaking sales figures. With 4/20 falling on a Friday in 2018, experts are expecting sales to outperform the massive $45 million mark set by the 2017 celebration. That number represented a 20 percent growth over 2016 and an overall increase of 13 percent in consumer traffic, according to MJ Freeway, a leading cannabis industry data company. Nationwide, 4/20 is becoming a natural entry point for adults interested in learning more about cannabis. Many dispensaries and cannabis companies run significant discounts on their products, making some products and experiences more accessible to a broader audience. In addition to the growing financial impacts 420, opening up new consumer bases may prove pivotal in the growing trend of decriminalization.
The Challenges of Marijuana Marketing
The Challenges of Marijuana Marketing
While the legal weed industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, conflicting local, state, and federal regulations present unique roadblocks when it comes to marijuana marketing. As we may have already mentioned a few times, the legal marijuana market is exploding. Not only are more and more states moving to legalize cannabis, but countless budding bud businesses have sprouted up to provide pot — as well as new pot-related products and services — to the growing numbers of consumers who can now legally buy the drug. For all of its innovation and growth, however, the cannabis industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to digital marketing. %related-post-1% As Ad Week notes, Google, Facebook, and Instagram have all blocked marijuana companies from advertising on their platforms — even in states where marijuana is legal. “Operators like Facebook, Instagram are pulling accounts all the time or Facebook won’t even let you start advertising,” Cy Scott, CEO and co-founder of an analytics company that works with cannabis brands, told Ad Week. “It’s worse than alcohol or tobacco—you see beer commercials all the time [where] everyone looks like they’re having a good time and enjoying alcohol, but you don’t see that with cannabis.” While 30 states have legalized some form of marijuana, 20 have not. That disparity, coupled with the fact that marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level, has made allowing marijuana advertising — even in small amount — too politically risky for the likes of Google and Facebook. And that climate isn’t likely to change much until cannabis is legal everywhere. In order to maximize their opportunities for growth in the face of these unique obstacles, cannabis companies are taking a creative approach when it comes to marketing. With many cannabis companies steering away from digital ads, the folks at Search Engine Land recommend companies build cannabis marketing teams consisting of “the best SEO strategists, content marketers, email specialists and public relations (PR) managers available.” %related-post-2% Cura Cannabis Solutions’ e-commerce site features a referral program that uses MailChimp for managing email campaigns. The company also partners with publishers like Leafly, who offer reviews of dispensaries and specific strains of cannabis. Some retailers and dispensaries connect with new customers via in-store demonstration days. Others have promoted themselves with near-field communication, mobile payments, and text messaging campaigns. As industry experts note, the cannabis companies who can successfully navigate today’s complicated landscape will be at an advantage when more traditional advertising channels finally open up for the legal weed industry.
Would Pruitt Be Better Than Sessions For Cannabis?
Would Pruitt Be Better Than Sessions For Cannabis?
President Trump has hinted at replacing prohibitionist Attorney Jeff Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. But could Pruitt’s confirmation actually make the legal climate around the marijuana industry even more hostile for the nation’s growers, retailers, and users? As Marijuana Moment reports, President Trump’s desire to remove Sessions has to do with the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump believes the decision made him susceptible to scrutiny by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and, as Vanity Fair speculates it could cause Trump to remove Sessions in the wake of the recent dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Back in January, Politico reported that Pruitt told those close to him that he’d interested in the attorney general post. His record on pot, however, could make Sessions look like a legalization advocate by comparison. So, Who Is Scott Pruitt? While Sessions claims that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and overturned the Obama-era Cole Memo, Pruitt’s might actually have a more prohibitionist track record than Sessions. While serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt’s disdain for cannabis was on full display when he filed a federal lawsuit against marijuana policies of the neighboring Colorado. (The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided not to take the case.) In another case, Pruitt tried to rewrite the ballot title for an Oklahoma medical cannabis measure to make voters think it was actually a recreational initiative. Ultimately, advocates sued and the state Supreme Court overturned the attorney general’s changes, but Pruitt’s actions the delay caused the measure to be bumped from the 2016 general election ballot to this year’s primary at the end of June. Last year, as EPA administrator, Pruitt moved to block approval of pesticides for use on marijuana in states where it is legal, claiming that “any economic, social or environmental costs associated with pesticide use on cannabis would not be reasonable or justified in light of the fact that such use is in furtherance of an illegal act.” As of this time of this writing, Trump has avoided shaming Sessions publicly, and says that he isn’t considering replacing Sessions with Pruitt. Those close to the situation aren’t so sure, however, claiming that Trump’s criticism of Sessions behind closed doors is as aggressive as ever. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Who Will Lead International Cannabis Production?
Who Will Lead International Cannabis Production?
Which countries are poised to lead the globe in cannabis production? The answers may surprise you. While the United Kingdom maintains an aggressively prohibitionist stance on medical and recreational marijuana, a new United Nations study cited by Cannabis Now shows that Great Britain is the world’s biggest producer of legal cannabis. According to a new annual report issued by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a United Nations body, the UK produced 95 tons of legal cannabis in 2016 — more than double the amount it produced the previous year. That total accounted for roughly 45 percent of the global total. A Cannabis Now notes, Great Britain also exported 2.1 tons of legal weed — of 67.7 percent of the world total. Trailing Great Britain in the INCB report was Canada, which produced 80.7 tons of legal marijuana in 2016, followed by Portugal (21 tons), Israel (9.2 tons), and the Netherlands Chile (1.4 tons each). The Netherlands was the world’s second-biggest exporter of the crop — and a distant one at that — shipping out 16.4 percent of the global total. (The United States federal government did not submit any production data to the INCB.) The UK’s top total can be traced to the pharmaceutical industry. British drug firm GW Pharmaceuticals uses legal cannabis in the manufacturing of both Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment, and Sativex, a drug that treats muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. The production of Sativex accounts for most of the UK’s legal pot productions, and GW’s operations likely account for the bulk of country’s legal cannabis exports. As Cannabis Now notes, Sativex is shipped to corporate and university laboratories around the globe, instead of the retail medical market. While Colombia is also looking to be a major player in global marijuana production, Canada might be best poised to surpass Great Britain as the world’s greatest pot producer. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1991, and with the nation’s annual legal pot production only trailing the UK by a mere 15 tons, our neighbors to the north could soon be the next worldwide weed leader. As the Motley Fool explains, Canada appears to be on the verge of allowing recreational cannabis sales to adults in late summer or early fall, which has sent the nation’s growers angling to grab as much of Canada’s medical and recreational markets as they possibly can. Despite warnings from forecasters about the potential for severe oversupply, Canada’s pending legislation has prompted a flurry of organic expansion, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions, with four of the five largest marijuana acquisitions of all-time occurring within a four-month span. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Will Atlantic City Follow Las Vegas’ Lead On Weed?
Will Atlantic City Follow Las Vegas’ Lead On Weed?
While new Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam says legal marijuana could help boost New Jersey’s economy and increase tourism — especially along the Boardwalk — the legislative barrier between gaming and weed in Las Vegas casinos could cause Gilliam to reconsider his vision for economic revitalization. Four decades ago, Atlantic City, New Jersey, bet its economic future on casino gambling. But while gaming remains the city’s leading industry, a handful of casino closures have put hundreds of people out of work and done a number on the city’s tax base. Among the ideas to improve the city’s fiscal fortunes is the planned construction of a college campus in the city, as well as the renovation of one shuttered casino and a new owner for another. And if Gilliam and other legalization advocates get their way, pot could also play a key role in the area’s resurgence. As WHYY reports, the New Jersey Assembly recently held its first meeting to discuss whether marijuana should be legalized and sold in retail shops across the Garden State. While many towns have already begun debating whether to ban dispensaries, some, like Atlantic City, view cannabis as a way to boost their economies. %related-post-1% One of New Jersey biggest legalization advocates, Gilliam says he would like to see “adult entertainment districts” in Atlantic City, where visitors could enjoy restaurants, bars, spas, and marijuana. “I don’t have the appetite to just be a pusher of the product. I don’t want people to think that they should just come here, buy it and leave,” Gilliam told WHYY. “I want it to be…a destination, where folks can come here and enjoy it in a controlled area.” In an attempt to determine the feasibility of his idea, Gilliam recently visited Las Vegas to see firsthand how that city has mixed legal weed with its casinos and nightlife. And what he found was likely disappointing. Las Vegas casinos have not embraced legal cannabis in the same way the rest of Nevada has. While recreational pot has been legal in Nevada since last summer, users have been forced to use it in their homes. Nevada’s Gaming Policy Committee has voted to not allow direct relationships between the gaming industry and marijuana distributors, and while Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed an executive order requiring the cannabis industry and casino heads to discuss a way that casinos could host pot-themed conventions and trade shows, casinos are concerned that they could be charged with racketeering and/or money laundering due to the fact that cannabis use is still technically a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. %related-post-2% As The Fresh Toast explains, pot’s illegal status at the federal level means the vast majority of banks won’t accept cash from canna-businesses for fear of losing their licenses. As a result, employees of cannabis companies convert their cash into chips, gamble a bit, then convert whats leftover into casino checks they can then deposit into a bank. While this practice is legal at the state level, it puts banks at risk for money laundering at the federal level. As of now, Vegas casinos are prohibited from housing marijuana smoking lounges. Financial deals between companies or marijuana providers are prohibited, as well. And while casinos can host conferences or conventions where members of the cannabis industry discuss business, companies are prohibited from bringing any cannabis products to those events. Despite what he learned during his visit to Las Vegas, Gilliam appears to be committed to the idea of creating pot-friendly areas in Atlantic City. Before that can even happen, however, New Jersey first needs to decide if it will even allow recreational marijuana. The odds are it could be awhile before that happens. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Will Lower Taxes Sideline Black Market Marijuana?
Will Lower Taxes Sideline Black Market Marijuana?
California’s historically high tax rates have, at times, driven people and businesses out of the state. Not surprisingly, the excessive taxes associated with the state’s burgeoning legal marijuana industry have driven a steady number of California’s cannabis consumers to the black market. Now, a couple of lawmakers want to do something about it. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November of 2016. And while adult-use weed is projected to bring in an additional $1 billion in California marijuana taxes, the additional taxes that come with it are also causing many pot buyers to buy their supplies from less-than-legal suppliers. As we’ve mentioned before, a Motley Fool report shows that California’s cannabis growers are subject to a state cultivation levy of $9.25 per ounce of cannabis flowers, or $2.75 per ounce of cannabis leaves. There is also a 15 percent excise tax added onto the final product. Both of those taxes are on top of the nation’s highest base sales tax rate of 7.5 percent, as well as local business taxes that range from 7.75 percent to 9.75 percent. According to Fitch Ratings, the total state, local, and other taxes can make the aggregate tax on weed more than 45 percent in some regions of California. In an attempt to bring some of California’s canna-biz out of the shadows, two state lawmakers have introduced a measure to lower the state’s cannabis tax rate. %related-post-1% As Marijuana Business Daily reports, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a Republican from Southern California, and Oakland Democrat Rob Bonta have co-sponsored an amendment to an existing bill, AB 3157, that would lower the cannabis tax rate for three years, which should lead to retailers charging less for legal products. Three other Democratic lawmakers helped to write the measure. The bill would drop the state excise tax on cannabis products from 15 percent to 11 percent for the next three years, as well as suspend the state’s cultivation tax. According to analysis by New Frontier cited in a news release from Lackey’s office, the measure would essentially cut the prices that consumers pay for medical and recreational cannabis products by roughly 9 percent. AB 3157 “reduces the tax burden on the licensed cannabis market during this transition period, keeping customers at licensed stores and helping ensure the regulated market survives and thrives,” Bonta said in the release. Stay tuned for the Sugar Leaf for updates on this and other pending legislation.
2018’s Best Bowls (So Far)
2018’s Best Bowls (So Far)
In the age of vapes and temperature-controlled devices, there’s still something special and nice about hitting a bowl. Bowls are arguably the most utilitarian device for enjoying herb. They’re portable, easy to share, and they’ll get you where you wanna go pretty quickly. What’s not to like? Better yet, bowl designs are continually improving, meaning they’re becoming more effective and fun to use. Here’s a look at our favorites for 2018 so far. Just remember to keep your bowls clean: Summerland Ceramics Fruit Fantasy Fine, we’ll admit it. We love basically everything Summerland Ceramics produces. And how could we not? From their incredible terra cotta bongs to amazing one hitters, all of their pieces are thoughtfully designed and fun. Perhaps none more so than the Fruit Fantasy bowl. Imagine the scenario — you’ve got herb, but nothing to smoke it out of. In a fit of desperation, you grab an apple and quickly make a bowl. This piece will remind you of those hard times without wasting fruit! Plus, it would look awesome sitting on a bookcase or desk. GRAV Sitter Sherlock Sherlock pipes are classic. The GRAV sitter may just be our favorite iteration of the design. Totally customizable, the Sherlock Sitter comes in a ton of colors. They look awesome and smoke so well. All of your friends will be asking where you got it. Just make sure none of them get sticky fingers! Sesh Supply Theseus Pipe x Bubbler Hybrid We know it’s not a traditional bowl, but this piece is too cool not to mention. The Theseus works as a standard bowl — and that’s all well and good. But what makes it really special is that it can also be used as a spill-proof bubbler, essentially making it two pipes in one. The versatility of the piece, along with its minimal design earned it a spot on our list. Got a favorite new or super reliable bowl? Drop us a line and tell us about your favorites!
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 7
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 7
We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a man was shocked when police arrested him with “nothing but a pound or a pound and a half” of pot, a school resource office was sadly misinformed about marijuana’s ability to grow breasts in men, and an elderly woman who called the cops to make sure she wasn’t growing too much weed. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ll be danged if we don’t pass them along. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 7. Enjoy… WORST BROTHER EVER A teenager from Racine, Wisconsin, tried to buy seven grams of pot using a fake $100 bill. Once the seller realized the money was fake, he chased the young man home. The seller confronted him, and “in order to pay off his drug debt,” the teenager gave the dealer his brother’s Xbox One, two controllers, and four games. When the teenager’s mother found out about at the incident, she gave her son the opportunity to return the weed to the dealer in return for the game system. But when they teenager wasn’t able to get it back, the teenager’s mother and boyfriend decided to call police. According to Fox 6, the mother told investigators that she not only wanted to prosecute her son in the case, but that she was also willing to testify against him in court. You go, mom. “SURE, OFFICERS, COME ON IN AND ARREST ME…” A New Jersey man was recently arrested for growing pot in his apartment after his girlfriend called police following an argument. According to NJ.com, officers responded to a 9-1-1 call of a domestic dispute. When they arrived at the apartment, they weren’t able to enter, but after putting their ears up to the door, they heard “sounds consistent with human cries.” %related-post-1% While they were at the door, they were met by Anthony J. Morcillo, who told them his girlfriend called 9-1-1 and was somewhere outside. When they couldn’t find her, they became concerned and asked to look inside the apartment. Morcillo then allowed the officers inside, where they immediately noticed the strong smell of weed, as well as numerous extension cords leading into a closet, where they ultimately found seven marijuana plants, 12 bags of medical marijuana candy, and marijuana-growing equipment. The woman, who was not inside the apartment, later told officers by phone that she left after calling 9-1-1. According to police, the cries they heard were from a dog in its cage. DON’T VOTE FOR BEN A Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat in Illinois, who gained notoriety after smoking weed in one of his own campaign ads, has been accused of abusing women and falsely referring to himself as an “Iraq veteran" and "former FBI agent." According to Fox News, Benjamin Thomas Wolf recently came under fire an ex-girlfriend told Politico that he had hit her, thrown her to the ground, and put his foot on her chest, as well as revealing her name and home address on social media — also known as “doxing.” Another ex-girlfriend says Wolf showed “abusive, escalating behavior” toward her, as well. His behavior led to him being banned from DePaul University, where the first woman is a student. %related-post-2% Not only does Wolf deny the allegations, he has also been defiant in the face of false claims about his military service that appear on his website. While Wolf has reportedly never served as a member of the armed forces, his website claims that he has been a diplomat in the Foreign Service under the State Department during the Iraq war. One of his tweets reportedly read: "Wolf served multiple terms in Africa and Iraq. Wolf for Congress." “People in the military get upset when I say I served in Iraq,” he told Politico. “The military doesn't have a patent on the word 'served,’” he told Politico, adding that a person doesn’t have to be in the military to call oneself a veteran. But that’s not all… In a recent news release, Wolf’s campaign also identified him as a “former FBI agent,” despite claims by an agency spokesperson that the candidate worked at the agency as “a non-special agent professional support employee” rather than as an agent. There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next round.
Top 5: Mile High 420 Festival
Top 5: Mile High 420 Festival
4/20 is right around the corner, and Denver is ground zero for the cannabis celebration. Here’s a look at the most anticipated events at this year’s Mile High 420 Festival. Denver has been home to 4/20 celebrations for years, and 2018 is no exception. This year, the Mile High City will be home to the Mile High 420 Festival — a celebration of anything and everything cannabis related. Let’s take a look at some of the event’s sure-fire headlining moments. Lil Wayne Weezy is one of our favorite rappers of all time, and we wouldn’t pass up any opportunity to see him live. Lil Wayne performing on the biggest cannabis holiday ever? That’s bucket list material right there. This set is sure to be fire. Do yourself a favor and get there early to grab a primo spot. District Edibles Local Stage Denver is known for plenty of amazing things: cannabis, beer, football, and more. But the city is also a hotbed for amazing local musicians. The District Edibles Local Stage will be highlighting some of the best and brightest from Denver over the course of the entire festival. Pop over to hear for yourself! The Wailers The Wailers are reggae heavyweights that deliver the perfect vibes for a day of celebrating weed. Scheduled to hit the stage in the middle of the festival, The Wailers will give you the perfect boost to keep you lifted straight into the evening. Lil Jon DJ Set YEAH! OK! All right, just kidding. But Lil Jon made his name rapping and living the pimp cup party dream. We can only imagine what one of his DJ sets is like. He’s sure to bring the heat, so fire it up and get moving! The Vendors What kind of festival would this be without amazing vendors? From food to glass pieces and handmade goods, we are really excited about scoping the goods and wares on sale at the Mile High 420 Festival. Getting some good grub and heading home with a unique souvenir is the perfect way to cap a day of celebrating. Are you heading to the Mile High 420 Festival? Give us a shout and let us know what you’re looking forward to!
The Best New Albums: March 2018
The Best New Albums: March 2018
The hits keep coming this year. Let’s take a look at the best music releases from March. We’re back at it with our monthly picks for the best albums! Get your playlists ready and enjoy! Indie: There’s a Riot Going On by Yo La Tengo Yo La Tengo have been making music for decades. And there’s just something about their music that feels comfortable. Their sound is always welcoming and familiar, but nuanced enough to provide unique experiences from album to album. Cozy up and let the calming vibes wash over you. Electronic: Le Kov by Gwenno Mysterious and a little dense, Gwenno’s latest album may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, you have to respect the atmospheres she creates on the record. Psychedelic and poppy, the compositions are absolutely gorgeous. You may not be able to sing along — the lyrics are all in Cornish — but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a spin. Pop: Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves You may know her as a country artist, but hands down, Kacey Musgraves just released the best pop album of the year. This record weaves in and out of genres, crossing from more traditional country ballads to electro-pop jams and back. Even if you don’t like country, you’ll love this album. Rap/Hip Hop: Rich As In Spirit by Rich Homie Quan Quan may not gain as much attention as some other sing-song style rappers, but that hasn’t kept him from releasing some classics. Rich As In Spirit offers up low-key production that serves to highlight Quan’s vocal abilities even more. Rich in hooks, this record is perfect for a chill hang. Rock: Jericho Sirens by Hot Snakes Comprised of former members of indie rock heavyweights Drive Like Jehu and Rocket From The Crypt, Jericho Snakes deliver high octane rock n’ roll. Put this album on, turn it up, and enjoy the ride. The album moves, blazing along riff after riff, providing a true sonic experience. Give our list a listen, then drop us a line and tell us your favorites! Oh, and if you liked this list be sure to listen to our selections for January and February.
How Far Will The Price Of Wholesale Cannabis Drop?
How Far Will The Price Of Wholesale Cannabis Drop?
While industry experts have a good idea why wholesale marijuana prices continue to drop, the drop could soon stop. According to a new report by cannabis industry analysts, the price of a pound of legal cannabis has been falling since the middle of 2016. The report by Cannabis Benchmarks, an independent price reporting agency, shows that the U.S. spot index for legal marijuana fell 13 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. A subsequent report by the agency found that marijuana prices had continued to dip slightly during the first month of 2018. The spot index, which averaged $1,789 per pound in 2016, opened 2017 at $1,562 per pound and closed the year at $1,436 — a decline of 6 percent. By January of this year, the price had fallen to $1,292 per pound. While the marijuana industry has been operating under a cloud of uncertainty in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescinding of the Obama-era Cole Memo, analysts say that drop in wholesale marijuana prices has nothing to do with the perceived threat of federal interference, but rather simple supply and demand. As report author Adam Koh told The Cannabist, the spot price uncertainty of cannabis is in line with other commodities, though pot prices are more susceptible to factors such as politics, varying state guidelines, and natural disasters. While the overall drop in wholesale prices was primarily driven by significant overproduction in Oregon, most of the nation’s major Western marijuana markets — with the exception of Colorado — have seen decreases in their composite prices. As Koh adds, however, while the drop in prices has been steady, it has also been relatively calm. “While prices declined in (Colorado and Washington), they did so fairly gradually,” he told The Cannabist. “The landscape in those two markets is pretty settled on the whole, so you didn’t see a lot of abrupt regulatory changes like you’ve had in the past — no big overhaul of rules like what took place in the first couple of years of those markets. So businesses were just able to go about their day-to-day operations with less turbulence.” While the different markets across various states make predicting pot prices a bit of a challenge, Koh believes the continued lack of overall market turbulence will help the prices of pot to level off sooner than later. “I think we’re getting close (to the bottom),” he says. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
New Colorado Study Shows How Marijuana Benefits The Economy
New Colorado Study Shows How Marijuana Benefits The Economy
Marijuana advocates have long touted the economic benefits of legalization. A new study helps their case. For years, thousands of residents of Pueblo, Colorado, enjoyed solid, middle-class jobs at the Colorado Fuel & Iron steel mill. When the mill left in the early 1980s, however, many Puebloans without high school or college degrees struggled to find work — struggles that lasted for 30 years. The Great Recession lingered far longer in Pueblo than elsewhere in Colorado. Unemployment rates stayed in the double digits in Pueblo through spring 2013, while the unemployment rate elsewhere in the state hovered just below 7 percent. However, as the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, preliminary data show that Pueblo’s unemployment rate had dropped to 4.9 percent. And as a new study from the Colorado State University-Pueblo Institute of Cannabis Research shows, the marijuana industry has been a key factor. The study, which is the first of its kind, finds that legal cannabis provides a net positive economic benefit to Pueblo County, even when additional costs associated with law enforcement and social services are taken into account. %related-post-1% The report indicates that the legal marijuana industry had an estimated economic impact of more than $58 million in 2016. The county also saw added related costs of roughly $23 million, leaving a positive net impact of more than $35 million. The report projects that figure to reach nearly $100 million by 2021. According to Chris Markuson, Pueblo County’s director of economic development and geographic information systems, the recreational marijuana industry’s explosive growth “literally saved” Pueblo’s construction community during the latter part of the Great Recession, accounting for more than half of the county’s construction-related revenue over the past three years. As the Gazette notes, taxes on legal cannabis have helped to fix up schools, parks, and roads, while generating $3.5 million in marijuana-related tax revenue and fees last year alone. On top of that, roughly $1,000 in scholarship money also will be available to each qualifying high school senior who graduates in Pueblo County and who attend either Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo. %related-post-2% Pueblo’s economy has long trailed that of Denver, Fort Collins, and the state’s numerous well-to-do mountain towns. Last November, after ballot measures were introduced put a halt to Pueblo’s growing cannabis industry, voters renewed their commitment to the industry. As a result, advocates say, the Steel City has become a sort of Napa Valley of Weed. “The rest of us have been getting ignored,” longtime Pueblo diner owner and cannabis advocate Jim Parco told the Gazette. “So when they legalized cannabis in 2014 and started taxing it, it changed the game. Now we have a chance.”
Outlaw Country: One Stoner’s Top 7
Outlaw Country: One Stoner’s Top 7
The golden age of country music operated more like a machine than an artistic industry — artists sang the songs the labels wanted them to and that was that. But when a few artists decided they wanted to start writing their own rules, outlaw country as born. Outlaw country is a rollercoaster. From hootin’ and hollerin’ songs about raisin’ hell to slow, heart-wrenching tales of lost love, here are some of our favorite acts known for playing by their own rules. Townes Van Zandt " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Townes never really fancied himself part of Nashville’s big-time country scene. He opted instead to forge his own path and make a name for himself. He did just that and recorded the best version of “Pancho & Lefty” along the way. Kris Kristofferson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> A quick glance at Kris Kristofferson’s Wikipedia page will show you what kind of badass he is. Helicopter pilot? Check. Army captain? Double check. Groundbreaking country music artist? You bet. Border Lord is his best. Sturgill Simpson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The modern torchbearer of outlaw country, Sturgill has publicly declared his disdain for the Country Music Awards and openly mocked the country music establishment. Listen to a few tracks, and you’ll know the future of outlaw country is in good hands. Jessi Colter " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Outlaw country is often seen as a man’s game, but Jessi Colter stands that notion on its head. Colter was a trailblazer in songwriting and production, paving the way for many of most famous female country acts around today. Waylon Jennings " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Waylon may be the OG outlaw. He basically invented the genre by taking no prisoners and made major-label creative control a possibility for country superstars. Willie Nelson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Another artist who doesn’t need any introduction. Willie made his name by breaking the rules. From his love for fine cannabis to his pigtails, Willie has never given a damn what people thought about him, and his music’s been better because of it. Gram Parsons " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Not an outlaw per se, Gram Parsons was no stranger to the fast lifestyles of some of the other folks on our list. He developed his own brand of country music and never let a label dictate his sound or songwriting. Did we miss your favorite outlaw country artist? Let us know who it is and hit was with some tracks!
The Case Of Weedmaps And California
The Case Of Weedmaps And California
Weedmaps and California are in a jurisdictional tussle. What does it mean for the marijuana industry in the Golden State? On February 16, Lori Ajax of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control sent a cease and desist letter to Weedmaps, informing the online marijuana directory and search platform that it needs to stop running ads for unlicensed pot retailers. A few weeks later, Weedmaps responded, claiming the bureau lacks the authority to police who can advertise on the site. While the tussle could lead to disciplinary action for the site, it could also lead to clearer rules for canna-businesses. %related-post-1% In Ajax’s letter, she explained that Senate Bill 94 requires that ads for cannabis retailers must include a California license number showing they’re permitted by state and local authorities. The license number is also intended to ensure that, when all regulations are fully enacted later this year, all marijuana sold by a particular retailer has been tested for safety, properly labeled, and is otherwise in compliance. If Weedmaps doesn’t immediately drop ads for unlicensed businesses, Ajax says, the company could be subject to criminal and civil penalties, including civil fines for each illegal ad. While Weedmaps competitor Leafly.com announced that it was dropping ads for all unlicensed retailers as of March 1, Weedmaps denied Ajax’s request to cease and desist running such ads. Online advertising giant Weedmaps, which was founded in 2007 and has offices from Denver to Berlin, helps visitors locate dispensaries and browse their selections of cannabis. Its site and app use a Yelp-like system to rate cannabis retailers — many of which are unlicensed. As Marijuana Business Daily reports, the company responded to Ajax’s letter with a letter of its own, claiming that it is “not a Licensee subject to the Bureau’s purview,” and that he bureau is “putting the cart before the horse” by focusing on enforcement while the vast majority of existing canna-businesses are still unlicensed or in the process of obtaining permits. %related-post-2% While Weedmaps hasn’t publicly commented on its letter, company president Christopher Beals was defiant about the issue of unlicensed retailers during an interview in February. “The thing is, at the end of the day, we’re an information platform,” Beals said. “We’re showing the same information that Google and Yelp and Craigslist and 30 other websites are showing.” Beals went on to say that if states and cities really want to control the illegal market, they need to establish a solid regulatory framework and issue permits to enough licensed marijuana businesses to meet demand. “To sort of say, ‘Let’s pretend an illegal market doesn’t exist’ or that people can’t just type ‘dispensary’ into Google and find this information… isn’t really realistic,” he added. Lawyers close to the industry are split on the issue. %related-post-3% One attorney, Omar Figueroa, told Marijuana Business Daily that the bureau has jurisdiction over all “commercial cannabis activity” in the state, up to and including Weedmaps. He also says, however, that it’s unclear what that means in terms of disciplinary actions. Another attorney, Khurshid Khoja, says that, according to his reading of state law, the bureau only has legal jurisdiction over licensees, not ancillary businesses like websites that serve as advertising platforms. Khoja says that since the main punishment the bureau can impose is suspending or revoking licenses, its disciplinary procedures won’t apply to Weedmaps. While bureau spokesman Alex Traverso told the Orange County Register that there is “no immediate action planned” against Weedmaps, the company’s current strategy and defiance could be damaging its reputation among its California clients. “It’s not just the legal concerns that they have to consider. It’s goodwill among licensees,” Khoja told Marijuana Business Daily. %related-post-4% As Khoja explains, the bureau’s cease and desist letter was written at the request of current licensees, who are also customers of Weedmaps. In addition, Figueroa says, Weedmaps could be angering customers by charging licensed retailers thousands of dollars a month, while potentially charging unlicensed competitors far less. Some licensed retailers, he said, have already complained. “Weedmaps could also get sued by its advertisers who are licensed for unfair business practices,” Figueroa said. “California has pretty strong protections for that. There’s definitely a risk of that.”
5 Noteworthy Portland Cannabis Writers
5 Noteworthy Portland Cannabis Writers
Portland is home to some great cannabis writers. From covering the latest brands and industry trends to policy reporting, here are some of the best Portland cannabis writers. It’s always good to have a trusted advisor — someone you can turn to for perspective or advice. In the wide world of weed, we always look to some of our favorite writers for inspiration, education, and good, old fashioned fun. Portland cannabis writers happen to be some of the very best cannabis writers. Here are five you should know. Oh, and just because these writers are Portland-based, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be followed by wider audiences. %related-post-1% Angela Bacca We had to start the list with one of our own contributors! We are honored to have Angela Bacca as a regular contributor here at The Sugar Leaf. She has covered everything from cannabis politics and policy analysis to cannabusiness business trends — always offering a fresh perspective and balanced take regardless of the topic covered. If you want the inside track on the latest developments in legal cannabis, look no further than Angela’s work. Josh Jardine Resident cannabis journalist for The Portland Mercury, Josh Jardine covers it all. From politics to product reviews, no topic fall outside his purview. One of our personal favorite articles by Josh covered the tumultuous topic of cannabis and romance. Every article Josh writes bears his signature wit and sense of humor, making even the drier topics interesting. Martin Cizmar The former Arts and Culture editor for The Willamette Weekly, Martin Cizmar consistently produced great writing on the beer and cannabis industries. Over the course of his tenure, Martin left an indelible mark on cannabis journalism in Oregon. And, though he has moved on, to a different publication, we’ll always enjoy revisiting his WW work. %related-post-2% Laurie Wolf Referred to as the “Martha Stewart of marijuana edibles” by The New Yorker, Laurie Wolf’s recipes have appeared in High Times and Dope magazines, as well as countless other online outlets. Laurie’s recipes are so delicious and popular, that she founded Laurie + MaryJane to bring her edibles to the masses. Her recipes consistently inspire us to get in the kitchen. Lester Black Lester Black with the Portland Mercury takes a no-side-stepping approach to cannabis journalism. He’s a straight shooter in an industry where a frank perspective is appreciated. His product reviews and first-timer guides should be required reading for anyone new to cannabis. Of course there are other great Portland cannabis writers. Enough for more articles like this one in the future (yes, that’s a teaser).
Oregon Cannabis Vapes: 5 Brands To Know
Oregon Cannabis Vapes: 5 Brands To Know
Discreet and effective, vapes are quickly becoming a consumption method of choice for tokers everywhere. Here are a few Oregon cannabis vapes to keep in mind. Sometimes you may want to blaze up and not have to worry about sidelong glances. You know, feeling comfortable ripping a bowl or bong among friends. Other times, you want to roll as incognito as possible. For those situations, there’s nothing better than a trusty vape pen. Check out these brands for our go-to options for subtle toke sessions. %related-post-1% Quill If there’s one company that’s mastered a stylish, high-performing vape pen, it’s Quill. Based out of Portland, Quill manufactures a sleek pen that looks amazing and works like an absolute charm. The Quill is easily slipped into your pocket and makes travel a breeze. In fact, it looks more like a ball point pen then a vape. Evolvd Based in Eugene, Evolvd is notable for a few reasons. First, they have designed a sleek, stainless steel, leak-proof vape pen with their proprietary Capsl atomizer. Pretty awesome, right? It gets better. They’ve also mastered the development of strain-specific, “terpene-steeped” Atrisn extracts. Produced without harsh solvents, these extracts blend the best elements of popular cannabis strains — and the results taste amazing. Select Oil Select has championed the development of vape pens for cannabis users of all walks of life. From their phenomenal CBD disposable to the powerful Elite line, Select offers potency and flavor options for everyone. This range of products, coupled with a 7-step quality check process means Select vapes products consistently knock it out of the park. %related-post-2% Golden Xtracts Golden Xtracts is another vape company that pioneered the development of their own pen system. Called the Bliss cartridge, Golden’s design is completely plastic-free and provides clean, clear hits. They also offer a full range of extracts from small-batch Private Stash to Gold Label Reserve, Golden offers blends and single-strain options that are total crowd pleasers. Green Dragon Extracts Green Dragon specializes in extracts produced through a proprietary CO2 subcritical extraction system. The results are tasty, strain-specific vape cartridges that hit clean and provide astounding results. Do you have a favorite vape brand? Clue us in! Or head on over to our Shop Now page to browse our inventory of Oregon cannabis vapes.
Snoop Dogg’s Pot-Focused Venture Capital Firm Raises $45 Million
Snoop Dogg’s Pot-Focused Venture Capital Firm Raises $45 Million
Snoop Dogg, the legendary entertainer, entrepreneur, and marijuana advocate has always had his mind on his money. Now, his money is on marijuana. Snoop Dogg co-founded venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital in 2015 with the view that “the cannabis industry will be among the most compelling investment themes of our generation.” After recently raising $45 million its first round of capital funding, it seems the MC and mogul was on to something. %related-post-1% While Snoop — who’s listed by his real name, Calvin Broadus, on Casa Verde’s website — seldom passes up the opportunity to get his hands on some weed in his personal life, his firm is taking an arms-length approach when it comes to investing in legal marijuana. Instead of investing in dispensaries, farms, and other business that handle the plant, CVC is directing its dollars toward the “ancillary cannabis industry.” “We’re investing in the picks and shovels,” CVC managing partner Karan Wadhera recently told TechCrunch. Wadhera calls Snoop “among the most important cultural figures” in the legal marijuana biz, and says that his involvement “lends a lot of credibility and excitement” to CVC’s portfolio companies. While Snoop is hands-off on the investment process, Wadhera says Snoop is very involved with some the firm’s portfolio companies, most notably cannabis lifestyle site Merry Jane. “That’s content. That’s media. That’s Snoop’s bread and butter,” he says. %related-post-2% While much of the legal marijuana industry is focused on how to survive and thrive in the midst of the current uncertain legal climate, Wadhera and the team at CVC are decidedly optimistic about the industry’s long-term future. “The industry is fraught with a lot of temporary issues that people are trying to solve, including banking and payments, which are a problem because [cannabis is] still illegal under federal law,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re more interested in companies that are building functions for the long term because those short-term solutions won’t be relevant once we’re in a federally legal environment.” One such company is LeafLink, a e-commerce platform for cannabis dispensaries and CVC’s biggest investment to date. According to the company, LeafLink is designed for “cannabis brands and retailers who want to streamline the ordering process, simplify communication, and spend less time on busy work.” The platform has handled more than $180 million in transactions since 2016, and projects that its order volume will reach $500 million this year. As marijuana becomes legal in more states, Wadhera predicts, companies like LeadLink and firms like Casa Verde will be poised for growth. “We’re just getting started,” he says.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 4
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 4
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 4: Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words We’re glad you’re back for more of our Classical Music for Marijuana series. And we hope you’ll humor us here, as we continue down the piano solo path. There’s just something about the anticipation of Spring that pairs so wonderfully with the thought-provoking sound of beautiful piano music. Last time, we treated your ears to the English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. Now we turn to another soothing collection of solo piano music, Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Felix Mendelssohn? Felix Mendelssohn was a highly regarded composer of the Romantic era. Born in Germany, Mendelssohn was celebrated for his wide-ranging composition genres, which included symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. While Mendelssohn’s own original pieces were widely celebrated, he was also known to have brought the works of Johann Sebastian Bach back into vogue. Of all his most notable feats, one of the most remarkable is the sheer amount of musical works Mendelssohn was responsible for in such a short amount of time, as his life was cut tragically short at the age of 38 (in 1847) by a series of strokes. About Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words Between 1829 and 1845, Mendelssohn wrote a series of 48 songs expressly for the piano. All told, there were eight volumes, each one consisting of six songs. In the early 19th century, the piano was becoming more attainable by middle class households, and (as it’s told) since his piano works were within the performance abilities of pianists of many skill levels, Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words became ever more popular. Quick listen There will never be a time we encourage anything other than listening to an entire collection, but if you need a sample to try out, start with Opus 30 Number 6 in F Sharp Minor (aka, “Gondolier’s Song”). " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We hope you fall in love with Songs Without Words as much as we have. And be sure to come back for Volume 5 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland
Who says great hikes have to require a ton of planning and time? That’s definitely not the case in PDX. Here are some of the best urban hikes in Portland (or very close by). Portland didn’t earn its reputation as one of the best outdoor cities in the country on accident. Portland’s network of urban green spaces is continually growing and offering up new opportunities to get out and get active. So grab you trusty vape and hit these trails! Kelley Point Park " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Portland’s waterfront is a must-see, and Kelley Point Park is perfect for a quick trip to the beach. Clocking in at 1.7 miles, this hike leads to the intersection of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and the views are breathtaking. There’s a beach, so feel free to take a dip while you take in the great outdoors. Orenco Woods Nature Park Covering 42 acres, the Orenco Woods Nature Park is one of the newest parks in Portland. Since opening in February 2017, the park has become an amazing destination for outdoor enthusiasts, tourists, and more. Home to wetlands, forests, and other gorgeous scenery, the park is a great place to spy black-tailed deer, red-tailed hawks, and beavers. Even better, the park is just 15 miles from downtown Portland. Hoyt Arboretum Loop Situated in Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum Loop is a 4.7-mile hike that showcases some of the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful plant life. Sequoias and redwoods line the trail and wildflowers offer up a truly vibrant scene. Leashed dogs are also allowed on the trail, so bring your best furry friends along. You won’t regret it. Washougal Waterfront Park What kind of list would this be if we didn’t mention getting a beautiful view of Mt. Hood? Thanks to the Washougal Waterfront Park — completed in 2016 — you can do just that only 21 miles from downtown Portland. There’s a picnic area, as well as a canoe launch, so it’s the perfect place for a relaxing day by the river. Washington Park Loop We’ve already mentioned Washington Park in our list, but it’s so good we had to include it twice. This loop covers some of the most natural beauty Portland has to offer. At 3.9 miles, it’s a quick trip, but will take you through the famed Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Got a favorite hike in Portland? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
What Are Terpenes?
What Are Terpenes?
While many cannabis users are interested mainly in THC content, terpene profile is equally as important. But what are terpenes, exactly? Terpenes have long been used for medicinal purposes. They are found in many common fruits, herbs, and plants — including cannabis. We have been ingesting terpenes our whole lives, whether we’ve known it or not. From aromatherapy to essential oils to virtually every meal we’ve ever eaten, terpenes have played a role. And cannabis consumption is no exception. %related-post-1% What are terpenes and how do they work? Terpenes are essential oils that are produced in the cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands. They are produced alongside — and work in conjunction with — cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to connect with the receptors in your brain and produce myriad effects on your body and mind. The cannabis plant contains more than 200 different terpenes that can also also found in all kinds of other plants around the world. Not only do terpenes provide the distinct and enjoyable aromas and flavors of your favorite strain of cannabis, they also influence how the plant interacts with your body. For example, strains containing myrcene, which is also found in mangoes, can produce a more sedative high or an energizing effect, depending on how much of the terpene they contain. Humulene, which has a woodsy and earthy smell, produces healing properties. Linalool can tame aggressive behavior and improve one’s quality of sleep. Pinene can boost your memory function, as well as well help your lung and respiratory system. Limonene can kill cancer as well as the growth and spread of cancer cells. %related-post-2% Terpenes are just as important as THC content When selecting the best cannabis product for you, researching its terpene profile is just as important as evaluating its THC content. As the recreational cannabis industry continues its expansion, so will research into terpenes and their numerous potential benefits. For a deeper look at terpenes, check out our Cannabis Terpenes 101 series: Volume 1: Myrcene and Limonene Volume 2: Humulene and Pinene Volume 3: Linalool and Caryophyllene
What Is Hemp?
What Is Hemp?
While there is a lot of confusion about what hemp is — and isn’t — there isn’t any confusion about its usefulness. But, what is hemp, exactly? Many people think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, and while it’s true that they both come from the same plant species — cannabis sativa L — the comparisons pretty much end there. %related-post-1% Hemp vs. Pot Hemp is derived from the fiber and seed part of the cannabis sativa L plant, while marijuana comes from its buds and flowers. The buds and flowers are the parts of the plant legally considered to be marijuana due to the levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain. Marijuana can contain anywhere from 5 percent to more than 20 percent of THC content, while hemp only contains .3 percent to 1.5 percent. The levels of THC in marijuana is what makes users feel high. The amount of THC in hemp will do little but maybe give users a headache. While marijuana is grown for its psychoactive and medical effects, hemp is grown for its strong, useful fibers. What is hemp used for? Hemp can grow quickly in a variety of conditions. As a result, it has been used by numerous civilizations for more than 12,000 years to make rope, paper, and cloth for clothing or furniture. Hemp seeds have a high nutritional value, and can not only be used to make oil for soap, lotion, and shampoo, but also for products like milk, energy bars, salad dressing, and protein shakes. In recent years, hemp has even been used to make plastics and building materials. %related-post-2% Is hemp legal? China is the world’s largest producer of hemp, followed closed by Australia and Canada. Hemp production in America dates back to the 1600s, cultivation of the plant was made illegal as part of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The plant (as part of the cannabis plant as a whole) was then given the strictest classification category — Schedule I — with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While hemp (like marijuana) is still technically illegal at the federal level, the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama reclassified hemp as a crop distinct from pot, and gave states the authority to legalize hemp themselves. Since then, 34 states have reclassified industrial hemp as distinct and allowed its production.
What Are The Best Ways To Store Marijuana?
What Are The Best Ways To Store Marijuana?
The more marijuana is exposed to air, heat, and humidity, the faster it loses potency. Proper storage is imperative, and these are some of the best ways to store marijuana. No matter what type of cannabis you use, it’s important to store it properly so it will stay as potent as long as possible. The best ways to store marijuana almost always include low light, limited exposure to air and humidity, and quality temperature control.  %related-post-1% Flower Airtight glass jars — like those used for picking vegetables or canning fruits — are your best best for storing weed. Try to find some similar in size to the amount of weed you need to store, as too much extra space will allow air to dry out your supply too soon. Choose colored or opaque jars, as they will give your weed added protection from light. Then, store your jars in a cool, dark place. While you can also freeze your bud if you have to, wait until it is completely dry — usually after four weeks — before doing so. Depending on the quantity, you can either store it in mason jars or double-bag it in Ziploc freezer bags, then wrap it in foil before placing it in the freezer. %related-post-2% Vapes First, always unscrew the cartridge from your vape pen when you’re not using it. This will prevent leakage, damage, and unnecessary heating. Then, make sure to keep your cartridge is stored in a cool, dry place, and in upright position with the mouthpiece facing down — preferably in the case it came in. This will give it extra protection, and let you safely carry it in your backpack or purse — or even in your jacket pocket — if you need to. (Never store a cartridge in your pants pocket, however.) %related-post-3% Edibles To maximize the lifespan of your cannabis-infused edibles, keep them sealed in an airtight container or bag and out of the light. You can also freeze them if you need to.   Note: No matter how well you store them, remember that cannabis-infused edibles aren’t supposed to last forever. Keep an eye on the expiration dates of your edibles, as their shelf life will be most affected by their fastest-expiring ingredients. For example, chocolate or candy will likely last longer than baked goods. If you have questions about the best way to store a specific product, ask your retailer. %related-post-4% Dabs The quality of your concentrates can be diminished by exposure to light, heat, and air. Wrap portions tightly in parchment paper, then store as tightly as possible in small silicone containers. If your concentrates aren’t solid enough for parchment paper, use an air-tight glass jar, making sure that there isn’t much excess room in the container. Store your containers in a dark place that is cooler than room temperature. (A root cellar or basement with stable humidity is a good option.) Make sure to open the containers as little as possible. While you technically can freeze concentrates, you run the risk of exposing them to excess moisture that can damage them. If you must freeze your concentrates, wrap them in parchment paper and freezer bags before placing them in airtight containers. You’ll also want to let them thaw while also watching for excess moisture before using them. These are just a few of the best ways to store marijuana with items you likely already have in your home. There are also many products on the market specifically made for storage that are worth exploring.
Do Marijuana Sales Increase Tourism, Or Vice Versa?
Do Marijuana Sales Increase Tourism, Or Vice Versa?
Do marijuana sales drive tourism, or do established tourist destinations simply generate more revenue because they’re already prepared to handle marijuana-minded visitors? The answer is somewhere in between. There’s no doubt about it: The legal marijuana industry is booming. Despite the fact that cannabis is still technically illegal in all forms in 20 states and at the federal level, the legal pot  business raked in nearly $9 billion in sales last year — a figure that’s projected to reach $21 billion by 2021. %related-post-1% In addition to this mountain of revenue — and its associated taxes — legal marijuana sales help countless people deal with dozens of medical conditions, reduces crime, and creates jobs. It is also making a noticeable impact in the nation’s tourism industry    While it is still too early to assess just how much of a boon legal pot has been to the tourism industry, data from a few states where marijuana is legal shows that not only is legal weed driving tourism, but that tourists in search of legal weed are also inspiring existing canna-businesses to expand their product and service offerings to meet this growing demand. In Colorado, for example, a research firm hired by the state’s tourism office found that legal marijuana was “extremely influential” in the vacation decisions of 23 percent of the state’s visitors in 2015. A deeper look at the numbers shows that roughly 4 percent of Colorado’s tourists age 25 or older said they both came to the state for weed and actually shopped for it that year. %related-post-2% Those numbers shouldn’t have been a surprise to state officials, however, as a midsummer report by the Colorado Department of Revenue the previous year indicated that out-of-state visitors accounted for half of all pot sales in Denver and nearly 90 percent in the state’s mountain regions. Another indicator? Searches for Denver on the travel booking site Hotels.com have humorously spiked each year on April 20 since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. In response to the growing interest in marijuana-based tourism, cannabis entrepreneurs in Colorado have launched cannabis tours and a “weedery” patterned in the mold of a winery. Tours of dispensaries, grow houses, and other cannabis-friendly destinations are popular with visitors of California, as well. And other new, bud-related businesses are popping up all the time, looking to capitalize on the budding industry — businesses like Oakland’s Puff Pass Paint. Modeled after popular classes that pair wine and painting, Puff Pass Paint lets customers pay a few bucks to get creative and high for a few hours. %related-post-3% Colorado and California aren’t the only states reporting an influx of pot-minded tourists. Oregon, Washington, and Nevada are seeing gains, as well. As Marijuana Business Daily notes all of these states are benefiting from cannabis branding and retailing practices that continue to advance significantly — practices that are helping them not only attract out-of-town customers, but also serve the ones who are already coming. In Nevada — home to the uber-tourist destination, Las Vegas — the state’s first six months of recreational marijuana sales ($195 million, 2017) crushed those of Colorado’s ($114 million, 2014). And in Oregon, counties along the North Coast, whose natural beauty is popular with tourists, boasted some of the highest per capita sales numbers in the state. Once these (and other) states can move fully past some of the legal hurdles associated with the legal marijuana business, their ability to generate crowds — and revenue — will be virtually endless.
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Mt. Hood Hikes
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Mt. Hood Hikes
The Pacific Northwest brings to mind images of tall pines, moss, and running waterfalls. One visit to the Mt. Hood area offers all of these. Here are some of the best Mt. Hood hikes. Anyone who has ever visited — or seen a picture for that matter — of Portland is no stranger to the majesty of Mt. Hood. The mountain’s picturesque peak dominates Portland’s skyline, serving as a constant reminder of the incredible outdoor adventures that lie just beyond the city’s bustling streets. Want to get out there? Then let’s take a look at some of the best Mt. Hood hikes (of the day hike variety). Oh, and as usual, we’ve got some great strain recommendations for these journeys. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Devil’s Peak Devil’s Peak is home to one of the few remaining Forest Service lookout points, which means it’s home to some killer views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding scenery. The hike is relatively short — just 3 miles roundtrip — and that makes it perfect for a quick smoke sesh and stroll through the woods. Recommended strain: Orange Juice — a delicious, citrusy indica-heavy hybrid. Lost Lake Loop The Lost Lake Loop is a nearly level hike, making it ideal for hikers of all levels and interests. What makes Lost Lake so special is seeing Mt. Hood’s reflection off the shimmering surface of the water, so be sure to bring your camera! Recommended strain: Blue Dream — one of Portland’s most popular strains. Still Creek Still Creek may not offer up any views of Mt. Hood, but it will provide breathtaking scenes of rushing water and lush forests. Turns out Still Creek isn’t actually that still after all. Recommended strain: Sour Diesel — a surefire sativa-heavy hybrid. Mirror Lake Located just off Highway 26, the Mirror Lake hike may be the most easily accessible hike on our list. And clocking in at just under 3 miles, it is ideal for a quick day hike. If you time your trip right, you see why Mirror Lake got its name courtesy of a beautiful reflection of Mt. Hood. Recommended strain: OG Kush — another regional favorite perfect for a day on the trail. Ramona Falls This hike is a moderately difficult 6.9 mile loop trail. While it’s not a simple stroll, the waterfalls are well worth the trip. Shaded by huge trees, the sunlight that filters through to the falls makes for gorgeous rainbows. Recommended strain: Girl Scout Cookies — a cross between Durban Poison and OG Kush is the ideal hiker’s companion. Did we miss one of your favorites on our best Mt. Hood hikes list? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Will We See More Marijuana Sanctuary States?
Will We See More Marijuana Sanctuary States?
From new laws to lawsuits from the Trump administration, there’s been a lot of movement as of late regarding the movement toward marijuana sanctuary states. Shortly after President Trump was elected, California lawmakers passed a “marijuana sanctuary state” bill that blocked state and local police from helping the federal government enforce federal anti-pot laws that conflict with state law. %related-post-1% California legalized recreational pot the same month Trump was elected, and lawmakers passed the law because they were uneasy about how the new administration — specifically, prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions — would deal with states like pro-pot states like theirs. And while it has generally been business as usual for the marijuana industry since Trump took office, Sessions’ decision in January to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo has prompted even more states to consider what they should do should the feds start targeting their canna-businesses. Cannabis is still technically illegal at the federal level, and Sessions’ move reversed a 2013 policy that protected the legal marijuana industry by limiting federal prosecutors’ power to go after pot producers, retailers, and users as long as states prevented the products from getting to places where outlawed, as well as keeping them out of the hands of gangs and children. As the Reno Gazette Journal notes Sessions’ move has also unsettled the industry and spooked some potential investors. It also caused more lawmakers to take proactive steps to protect their state’s pot industries. Alaska state Rep. Adam Wool, who owns a restaurant, movie, and concert venue with a liquor license in Fairbanks, says he introduced his own protectionist bill as both a statement and a precautionary measure. %related-post-2% "If the federal government wants to prosecute someone for breaking federal law, I guess they have every right to do that," Wool, a Democrat from one of Alaska's major marijuana-growing areas, told the Associated Press. "I'm just saying, we will have no obligation to assist them." When voters in Massachusetts approved recreational marijuana in 2016, the legislation included language blocking state law enforcement from assisting federal agents in prosecuting legal cannabis users. A new bill pending in the state tightens things up even more in light of Sessions attitude toward the drug. As High Times explains, the creatively named “Refusal of Compliance Act,” would prohibit state law enforcement from cooperating with federal marijuana agents. Designed to protect the legal marijuana trade, the legislation would block state police from partnering with the Feds to target federally illegal operations. Co-sponsor Rep. Mike Connolly says the bill reflects the will of the people of his state. %related-post-3% “Massachusetts voters have gone to the polls and expressed their support for what I’d call a sensible drug policy and an end to marijuana prohibition,” he told CityLab. “I can appreciate the parallel between this and more typical sanctuary-state-type stuff. I think the comparison is pretty clear. We are a state government responding to the will of our own voters and people in our community.” While California already passed a marijuana sanctuary state bill, the Berkeley City Council doubled down by passing a new resolution declaring the California city a sanctuary for recreational weed. Under the resolution, High Times reports, “no department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Berkeley shall use any City funds to assist in the enforcement of Federal drug laws related to cannabis.” The resolution also states that the city “does not support cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration in its efforts to undermine state and local marijuana laws.” While Sessions hasn’t directly pushed federal prosecutors to go after the legal marijuana industry, the Justice Department has sued California over its protection of unauthorized immigrants, leading many close to the issue to believe that Sessions would take similar measures against states that declare themselves sanctuaries for the marijuana industry. %related-post-4% During prepared remarks, Sessions told the California Peace Officers’ Association recently that federal law is "the supreme law of the land," and added that “bragging about and encouraging the obstruction of our law enforcement and the law is an embarrassment to this proud and important state." Sessions repeated his view that undocumented immigrants pose a threat to public safety, echoing his past comments drawing a connection between immigrants, marijuana, and violence. Undaunted, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has already sued the Trump administration numerous times, has vowed to take action if the federal government tries to crack down on cannabis. "You take a look at everywhere you can to protect your people and your interests," he told the Los Angeles Times. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about marijuana sanctuary states .
5 Reasons We’re Excited To Launch Cannabis Delivery In Portland
5 Reasons We’re Excited To Launch Cannabis Delivery In Portland
There are countless reasons why we’re excited to launch cannabis delivery in Portland. Out of them all, though, here are five of the biggest reasons. But if you want cannabis delivered to you without reading this list, then head over to our Shop Now page ASAP. The City of Roses. Ah yes, Portland, Oregon. We are, to be completely honest, beside ourselves with excitement to finally launch our cannabis delivery service in this dynamo of a town. It’s a natural, no-brainer of a partnership. We could go on for days citing the reasons we’re happy to be here. But, since you no doubt have other things to do today, we’ll settle for these five. Great food No shocker here. After all, one of the most popular duos of all time is good cannabis and good food. And it’s no secret that Portland has an enviable culinary community that our products complement nicely. Whether it’s tapas from Ataula, Szechuan wontons from Duck House, or a sugary treat from Voodoo Doughnut, we know Briteside is the perfect pairing for Portland’s delectable food scene. Incredible outdoors Hey, we have absolutely nothing against cannabis and couch time. We’re fans of it, actually. However, for those moments when the spirit moves us to get outside and be active, it’s hard to beat the natural beauty surrounding Portland. From Forest Park right outside downtown to nearby breath-takers like Eagle Creek and Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Portland is an outdoor wonderland. Nonstop entertainment When we’re not stuffing our faces or working those calories off on a closeby trail, Portland is loaded with in-town places and events that keep us moving. Awesome venues like Mississippi Studios and Dante’s: Check. Unique festivals like Pickathon and Soul'd Out: Check. And let’s not forget museums and sports: Check and check. Portland is a feast for fun, and we always brag about it. A leading cannabis industry It’s like a scientific fact, or something: People like to be around people they identify with — and so do businesses. As a cannabis company, we are inspired by others in this up-and-coming industry, and we want to surround ourselves with the best peers. Portland, naturally, is the place to be when it comes to cannabis. We are thrilled to join its already thriving roster of cannabis companies and leaders. Dang good people Sort of related to the last point, we feel like we’re good people. But we already know Portland is filled with tons of good people. So, it doesn’t take a professional matchmaker to figure out that we’re going to hit it off well. Now, just head over to brtside.com, fill up your cart, and we’ll come introduce ourselves...with some goodies, of course!
The Medical Benefits Of Cannabis
The Medical Benefits Of Cannabis
Public support for marijuana legalization has never been greater, and much of that support is due to the many medical benefits of cannabis. As of the time of this writing, more than half of the states in America have legalized medical marijuana, and it’s not hard to see why. Medical cannabis creates jobs, generates tax revenue, shrinks the black market, and reduces crime. It’s biggest benefit, however, is the relief it provides to millions of people suffering from numerous medical conditions. %related-post-1% Popular medical benefits of cannabis Medical marijuana is most often used to provide relief from the following conditions: Chronic Pain: More people use medical cannabis for relief from pain than any other condition. The plant is especially helpful for people suffering from pain related to arthritis, migraine headaches, cancer, fibromyalgia, and traumatic events. Cannabis can also serve as an effective substitute for opioid pain relievers, as it not only provides pain relief, but can also help people prevent or overcome addiction to those popular yet potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Glaucoma: Cannabis can lower pressure in the eye, helping to not only lower the risk of optic nerve damage, but also keeping any existing nerve damage from getting worse. Cancer: Not only can medical cannabis help alleviate the pain associated with cancer, but it can also help to alleviate other cancer-related symptoms, including: nausea, skin irritations, digestive distress, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and mental health. There is increasing research that indicates that cannabis can also successfully kill cancer and tumor cells. Epilepsy: The potential of medical cannabis to suppress nearly 100 percent of seizures in people suffering from epilepsy has drawn widespread enthusiasm from the scientific and medical communities. Stress: Whether you are dealing with anxiety related to personal issues, professional issues, emotional issues, illness, or a traumatic event, medical cannabis can help you relax. Nausea: Multiple studies have shown that medical cannabis is more effective at combating nausea than many pharmaceutical drugs. This is especially helpful for people suffering from illnesses that put them at risk for weight loss because they have trouble keeping food down. Sleep disorders: In addition to helping people relax and get a good night’s sleep, medical cannabis is also effective in treating sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep-related issues. Other medical benefits of cannabis The list of conditions that can be helped by medical cannabis doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s just getting started. There is increasing evidence and research showing that medical marijuana can also help those suffering from myriad other conditions, including: Loss of appetite Obesity Diabetes Inflammatory bowel disease Psychosis Liver disease Multiple sclerosis Crohn’s disease Tourette’s syndrome Osteoporosis Parkinson’s disease As always, consult your physician — and your state’s marijuana laws — before pursuing a medical cannabis regimen.
What Is THC?
What Is THC?
What is THC? We get that question a bunch, and as we continue to cover the cannabis basics, let’s set some THC facts straight.   Almost everyone is familiar with the letters THC. After all, it’s the stuff that gets you high. But whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned smoker, there are probably a few things you don’t know about the substance. Let’s dive in! %related-post-1% What is THC? Simply put, yes, tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC — is the substance that causes users to feel high when they smoke, eat, or otherwise consume cannabis. More specifically, THC is a cannabinoid, one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain. What does THC do? The receptor system in the human brain is called the endocannabinoid system, and these receptors allow THC to bind to them. After THC binds to these chemical receptors, it is broken down and produces psychoactive effects. It’s important to note that the body also produces its own cannabinoids, including anandamide — the substance responsible for what most runners call “runner’s high.” The effects felt after ingesting cannabis are caused by the same system that produces this naturally occurring sense of euphoria. %related-post-2% How does THC impact the body? Brain chemistry varies from person to person, and because of this, the effects of THC can cover a vast spectrum. Add in the fact that different strains of cannabis offer different concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, and the combinations of effects, both physical and mental, become even more wide-ranging. While one strain of cannabis may cause some users to feel relaxed and chill, the exact same strain may cause higher anxiety levels for other users. The good news? Online databases are making it easier and easier to find a strain that delivers the exact effects you want. Beyond these variations, the short-term physical of effects of THC range from pain relief and greater relaxation to dry mouth, red eyes, and increased appetite. As far as long-term physical effects are concerned, research is still very much in preliminary stages. Much of the conclusive research tends to focus on how cannabis is ingested — smoking can increase cancer risk, etc — while studies regarding mental function or effects on memory have yet to yield concrete proof one way or the other. There you have it! Our primer on THC is complete. Drop us a line if you have other questions you’d like us to answer!
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 9
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 9
It might not be Spring yet, but the fact that we’re putting the wraps on the first full week of March makes it feel close. Here’s the cannabis news of the week. You can do it, people. Just close your eyes and envision those warm temperatures right around the corner. Can you feel them? Ahhhhh, yes. They’ll be here soon. And to help keep you preoccupied until we can thaw out, here are some cannabis news headlines from the past week. Reefer Madness kills Kentucky’s MMJ bill " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> For some time, it really looked like Kentucky would legalize medical marijuana this legislative session, especially as a combatant against their raging opioid epidemic. But alas, old biases — trot out the "gateway drug" line — won out this week as the bill was sidelined. One opponent claimed, “I think it’s wrong to herald marijuana with its many proven negative qualities.” Mmmhmm, right. Nevada keep casinos and cannabis separate This has been a topic of much discussion since Nevada gave the thumbs-up to recreational marijuana. But this week, the state’s Gaming Policy Committee formally moved to keep the barrier up between the two, worried about how federally illegal cannabis money might be “legally laundered” through the casinos. Denver’s Mile High 420 Festival unveils 2018 lineup We all know that Coloradans have long been big celebrators of April 20. And this year, Denver’s 420 Festival looks to be a doozy as the music lineup was released this week. The festival will be held at the Civic Center Park, and will include headliners Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and the Original Wailers. USA Today announces its new “Potcast” Here is yet another tell-tale sign that marijuana is working its way deep into the mainstream: USA Today, owned by media mega-corporation, Gannett, announced this week the rollout of a new podcast called “Potcast.” It’s already on iTunes, and will focus on everything related to the emergence of this new legal industry. California gets tough on Weedmaps Earlier this year the California Cannabis Control Bureau sent out some 900 letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses telling them to get right with regulations. Now the state is zeroing in on popular websites like Weedmaps, requiring them to delist unlicensed industry businesses. Leafly, a Weedmaps competitor scrubbed its list earlier. We’ll keep our eyes out for more cannabis news next week, and we’ll pass along the best nuggets.
Why Cannabis Is Relaxing
Why Cannabis Is Relaxing
If you were to ask 100 cannabis consumers why they use it, chances are more than half would say something like "cannabis is relaxing." Here’s why that is. Stress affects virtually everyone. For some people, work is their biggest cause of stress. For others, it could be financial or family issues. Others might be dealing with illness or the loss of a loved one. Still more might be battling an emotional disorder or trying to recover from a traumatic event. %related-post-1% We need relief from stress in order to clear our minds and release physical tension. If we’re unable to relax, however, we can compromise our physical and mental health. And while healthy lifestyle factors like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep can promote relaxation, sometimes the stress is still too much. Sometimes, we need more relief. And since cannabis is relaxing, it can help provide that relief. How it works When we’re anxious, our bodies emit hormones that transmit stress signals to our nervous system. According to current scientific theory, our endocannabinoid system responds to those signals by producing a cannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is designed to connect with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system. When it does, it helps regulate things like your appetite, memory, emotions, and sensitivity to pain. The trouble is, it doesn’t always work. If you experience chronic stress, anxiety, or trauma, you’re at risk for anandamide deficiency, which can hinder your body’s natural regulatory system. The THC and CBD in cannabis counteracts this deficiency, taking the place of anandamide in your CB receptors, and helping you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and even sleepy. Relaxing cannabis strains Having trouble relaxing? These cannabis strains can help you chill out: Northern Lights: A classic choice that can provide some quick peace and quiet after long, hectic day Master Kush: Produces a perfect blend of full-body relaxation and deep concentration AC/DC: Keeps you clear-headed and focused in even the most uncomfortable of social settings   Canna-Tsu: Pain, inflammation, and emotional stress are no match for the mellowing hybrid strain Willy’s Wonder: This indica-dominant hybrid will send you hightailing it to the bed for a better-than-good night’s sleep Watch your dosage Note: While cannabis is relaxing, using too much of it can have the opposite effect. The amount of cannabis that can take you from relaxed to anxious can be very small. Consult your local budtender for tips on how to best balance your bud.
These Are The Cannabis Articles You Like To Read
These Are The Cannabis Articles You Like To Read
We publish a lot of cannabis articles here at the Sugar Leaf, and while they all attract plenty of eyeballs, here are the ones readers seem to like the most. The cannabis industry is booming with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Sure, there are hurdles (side-eye at Jeff Sessions), but we remain bullish about matters. And while we love to connect you to the best cannabis products, we also enjoy providing you with worthwhile cannabis articles. Of those articles, here are the types our readers engage with the most. Anything by Angela Bacca We are fortunate to have Oregon-based industry guru Angela Bacca as a regular contributor to the Sugar Leaf. She’s incredibly well-versed in all things cannabis, from growing to policy, and her insights never disappoint. Why The Legalization Of Marijuana Is Not Enough Cannabis In A Commodity Market Marijuana Prices Are Plummeting: What Does It Mean? Chris Roberts’ wordsmithing Chris Roberts is an OG writer in the marijuana world with bylines in just about every cannabis publications you’ve heard of. From San Francisco, he supplies us with editorial goodness twice monthly, and our readers love his work. What To Do When Some Cannabis Voters Aren’t Your Friends The 5 Biggest Cannabis Roadblockers In Washington D.C. First Impressions From California’s Commercial Cannabis Rollout Classical music as a smoking backdrop No lie, we were kind of surprised by how well these posts performed, but hey, we’re happy to learn our readers have high-brow musical tastes. Our Classical Music for Marijuana series is relatively new, and we look forward to publishing more installments. Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 1: Frédéric Chopin's Nocturnes Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 2: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 3: English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach Law and politics There are no two ways about this: Given the mishmash of federal, state, and local laws related to cannabis, it is impossible to understand the industry today without following law and politics closely. These are always at the top of our most read cannabis articles. Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence Cannabis industry did-you-knows? Not a week goes by that we don’t come across some tidbit of information that makes us say “hmmmm.” In its nascent state, the cannabis industry is littered with new findings that easily make their way into conversations. “Say, did you know….?” How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging Music recommendations It’s no secret that music is a perfect cannabis complement. In addition to our classical series and best of the month recommendations, we also have a robust collection of other music articles. And they ALWAYS get tons of interaction from readers. One Stoner’s Top Rap Albums Of 2017 5 Electronic Acts You Should Know (And Smoke To) 5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums Cannabis 101 information People love to learn about cannabis. And as the industry grows, more people are wanting to have their questions answered. Our 101-type cannabis articles are big time favorites of our readership. And we’re always building out this content. Why THC Content Shouldn't Be The Only Variable Influencing Your Cannabis Purchase Why Does Weed Make You Hungry? What Are Cannabis Hybrids? Whatever the angle, we’re always working to get you the most helpful cannabis articles. Shoot an email to editor@brtside.com to let us know what you'd like to read more about, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, so we can fill your timelines with some good stuff.
Would Jeff Sessions Target Businesses Just To Make A Point?
Would Jeff Sessions Target Businesses Just To Make A Point?
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn’t specifically directed federal prosecutors to go after legal marijuana businesses, the mere fact that he has given them that option has already started impacting the canna-biz. And not in a good way. As we’ve noted time and time again, the current legislative limbo between federal and state marijuana law is doing more than anything to keep the legal marijuana industry from reaching its full potential in this country. %related-post-1% Marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level, and while dozens of states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis in some form, all of them are operating with the fear that the feds — empowered by Sessions’ recent rescinding of the pot industry-protecting, Obama-era Cole Memo — could come after them at any moment. In Colorado, for example, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) says he wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Sessions “sow doubt” about legal marijuana by pushing for the federal closure of some marijuana facilities in states where it’s legal. “He does not think in any way that it’s a good thing for this country to have legal marijuana, so when he rattles his saber, I wouldn’t be surprised if he closes down one or two of these facilities just to make that statement,” Hickenlooper told The Hill’s Power Politics podcast. Hickenlooper, who is in his final year in office, cites numerous back market vendors coming out of the shadows, as well as a lack of escalation in cannabis use among teens and people driving high, as reasons why legalization has been a good thing. He also praised the economic benefits of the industry. %related-post-2% “Now, look at all these people who are involved in the marijuana business and are paying taxes,” he said. “They’re not breaking the law.” Despite his support of the industry, when officials in other states often consult Hickenlooper regarding the pros and cons of legalization, he tells them to “wait another year or two.” Hickenlooper says that while public demand for cannabis is reaching “critical mass,” there will continue “no predictability” within the industry unless Congress and President Trump take action — action that would counteract Sessions’ perceived plans. Among the items that need to be resolved, Hickenlooper says, is the ability of to banks to serve marijuana businesses without fear of facing criminal charges and civil liability for “aiding and abetting” a federal crime and money laundering. As Vice reports, the Twin City Bank inn Longview, Washington, which has been serving cannabis dispensaries and other pot-related businesses, has been getting nervous calls from people considering closing their accounts. The owner of a Seattle medical and recreational dispensary sent out an email to customers assuring them that it was still operating as usual and that it would advise of them of any changes. And last month, a bipartisan group of 16 Senators asked the Department of Justice to maintain its guidance so banks could continue serving the industry. %related-post-3% But while one of the senators who co-authored the letter, Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, has also proposed legislation that would make it legal for banks and credit unions to provide full banking services to marijuana businesses, nobody knows exactly what Sessions’ influence over the industry will ultimately be. How do we put this? Sessions needs to quit or lay off of pot. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates. As long as Jeff Sessions is attorney general, there will likely be many.
The Most Popular Ways To Consume Cannabis
The Most Popular Ways To Consume Cannabis
Here is a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, along with the benefits and drawbacks associated with each. As the legal marijuana industry grows, so to do the choices for ways to consume cannabis. Which method — or methods, plural — you choose should depend on your lifestyle, any conditions you might be seeking relief from, and which physical and mental benefits you’re looking for. %related-post-1% Smoking Despite the development of other popular ways to consume cannabis, smoking remains the most well known and most common. Smokers place cured cannabis flower into rolling papers, bongs, pipes — aka bowls — hookahs, or other homemade devices (the list of homemade smoking devices is seemingly endless, since you can smoke out of nearly anything if you harness your creative spirit). They then put a flame to the flower and inhale the smoke of the burning marijuana, often in short puffs in order to minimize harm to the lungs. Pros: Smoking allows users to easily regulate their dosage of marijuana, as well as experience the immediate impact of the substance, as flower marijuana is typically less processed than other forms. Smoking cannabis is also typically very cost effective. Cons: Not only is the smell a turn-off for many, but the burning of cannabis produces several byproducts which can irritate — and, over time, damage — the lungs and throat. Smoking can also lead to inflammation, coughing, mucus production, bronchitis-like symptoms, and difficulty breathing. Anyone dealing with lung cancer, asthma, and other pulmonary conditions should avoid smoking cannabis. %related-post-2% Vaporizing Also known as vaping, this method provides similar effects to smoking without many of the potentially harmful side effects. Cured cannabis flower or extract can be vaped depending on the specific mechanism used. Once the heat breaks down the compounds of the cannabis, the user inhales the fumes. There are all kinds of different vaporizers (or “vapes”) out there from inexpensive throw-away pens to extravagant high-dollar pieces. Pros: More popular than smoking among some of the more health-conscious cannabis users — yet providing the same immediate impact — vaping eliminates the harmful effects of marijuana smoking and greatly reduces the odor. There are countless stylish and portable vaporizers available on the market. Cons: Though it's quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, vaping devices can be costly, as can replacing batteries over time. %related-post-3% Dabbing Perhaps the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis next to vaping, dabbing involves the use of a bong-esque dab rig and the extreme heating of a small amount of cannabis extract — typically via a small blowtorch or electronic nail (enail). Instead of a bowl, the rig has a nail which is heated up. Once the nail reaches the desired heat, the user places a small piece of concentration on it, and inhales it as it burns. Dabbing allows users to feel smooth and strong effects of THC very quickly — often as soon as the vapor leaves their lungs. (Some compare the effect to smoking several joints at once.) This especially helpful for people seeking quick relief from significant pain or extreme nausea. Pros: Not only does dabbing provide users with a quick and powerful high, it is also typically far easier on the lungs than regular smoking. Dabs can be affordable, are easy to store, and emit very little odor. Cons: It is probably the most complicated consumption method for a first time user. Due to intense heat involved, dabbing is (potentially) the most dangerous method, as well. (Some users have caused fires or explosions while attempting this method.) It is also possible to ingest harmful contaminants while making your own dabs. Ask an experienced user or budtender for tips. Newbies should dab conservatively at first with experienced dabbers, as they might not be prepared for the intense high. %related-post-4% Edibles Edibles produce noticeably different effects — and are typically more potent and longer lasting — than inhaled cannabis. Edibles come in various forms, including candies, cookies, crackers, chocolate bars, ice creams, and trail mixes. They can also also be infused in countless home food recipes, typically with a high-fat ingredient like olive oil or butter that best extracts the flower’s therapeutic properties. (Note: Cannabis in beverage form provides similar benefits to edible cannabis, though regulating the dosage amount can be more tricky.)   Pros: Edibles essentially serve as a delicious delivery device for medicine. They make it easy to ingest a precise dosage, and they serve as a great alternative for those opposed to inhaling marijuana, as well as younger folks and elderly people needing to medicate without the possible exposure to toxic fumes. Cons: Edibles do not provide the same high as inhaled cannabis, and it can take 30 minutes for the drug to take effect. They should also be kept away from children and pets, who may think they are harmless treats. %related-post-5% Sublinguals  Many medical patients suffering from cancer and other conditions elect to consume cannabis sublingually — or under the tongue. There are a large number of blood vessels under the tongue which can absorb cannabinoids, and users can ingest cannabis in this manner via dissolvable strips, sublingual sprays, medicated lozenges, or tinctures. (Note: Sublingual delivery is becoming increasingly popular for recreational users, as well.) Pros: Not only is sublingual delivery easy and closer to being stigma-free, but it provides rapid absorption almost directly into your bloodstream. Patients can feel the effects of the dosage in as little as 30 seconds. Cons: Users may also need to consume other forms of cannabis in order to receive comprehensive treatment for specific conditions. %related-post-6% Topicals A full cannabis extract — or thick oil — of activated cannabinoids, topical marijuana is absorbed by your skin to provide localized relief for myriad conditions, including muscle soreness, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, eczema, minor burns, swelling, and chapped skin. Topicals are commonly available as lotions, ointments, sprays, and salves, among other forms, and can typically be applied multiple times since they are for external use. Pros: Topicals allow you to maintain a clear head and full brain functions while providing specific, localized relief for a wide variety of conditions. Cons: Not all products work for everyone. Topicals are not effective for people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. So there you go, a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis. And, of course, we know a good place you can find these (wink). 
Portland Weekend Planning: Easy Ideas For A Solid 48 Hours
Portland Weekend Planning: Easy Ideas For A Solid 48 Hours
The weekend is closing in — ah, yes, you can just feel it. Have plans? If you don’t, then you should let us help with your Portland weekend planning. If you’re anything like us, then you probably believe that weekends are sacred times to be cherished. After all, five straight days (or more!) at the old 9-to-5 can be grueling, and that 48 hour respite between Friday and Monday always seems to be the fastest two days of the week. So, what to do with that brief window of sanity? We have a few suggestions for your Portland weekend planning. Crack open a new book We’ll soon be adding to this series, but you should definitely read up on our first set of recommendations for new books to read while you’re slightly stoned. If your mind is right, a page-turning book can be a great way to spend some downtime.  3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed And while a certain mega-website can get books to your doorstep pretty fast, if you're in Portland, then we highly recommend heading to one of the Powell's Books locations to nab your weekend reading list. Listen to some of the year’s best tunes At the end of every month, we publish our favorite new albums from the previous few weeks. In all honesty, it’s one of the toughest pieces we put together since there is so much good music to sift through. Oh, and if you need some good earphones for those tunes, we’ve got you covered there too. The Best New Albums: February 2018 The Best New Albums: January 2018 Log some quality couch time Yeah, we’d be liars if we said we didn’t like to spend some weekends entirely in our PJs. Especially when it’s gloomy outside or the previous week requires us to recharge completely. If this upcoming weekend it looking like one of those, then look no further than the following recommendations. Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors Some Of Our Favorite Video Games To Play High The 5 Best Netflix Series To Watch Stoned Top Movies For Stoners: 10 Great 2017 Films Get outside for a nice hike On the other end of the energy spectrum, if you’re the kind of person who likes to take a toke and then blow off some energy, these stroll and strain recommendations are tailor-made for you. Each article suggests not only great Oregon hiking spots, but pairs them with a complementary cannabis strain too. Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast Alright, hopefully we’ve given you some good Portland weekend planning ideas, whether you’re vegging out or getting out. And if you’re in the mood for some more cannabis-related articles, check out our list of Most Read Articles.
What Is CBD?
What Is CBD?
We’ve covered indica, sativa, and cannabis hybrids so far in our Cannabis 101 series. Now it’s time for CBD. But, what is CBD exactly? Let’s discuss. Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When taken alone, CBD provides a wide range of health benefits without leaving you feeling high like you would after consuming the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). %related-post-1% What is CBD? When you consume CBD, it bonds with your endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that runs through all the major systems of your body. The bond between CBD and these receptors can produce numerous physical benefits, from boosting and stabilizing your mood to stimulating your appetite and alleviating pain. Why do we hear so much about CBD? More than ever, it seems, we're hearing people ask "what is CBD?" But it's been around awhile. While Queen Victoria frequently used cannabis high in CBD to relieve menstrual cramps during the 19th century, the compound’s medicinal qualities didn’t get much attention until the 1990s. Animal studies in Great Britain showed that CBD lessened anxiety and reduced the frequency and severity of seizures. Further studies were conducted to assess the compound’s potential health benefits, and by 2009, a lab in California successfully cultivated strains containing more CBD than THC. In 2010, CBD gained more notoriety when a desperate father in Montana treated his 20-month-old son’s stage IV brain cancer with CBD oil. The boy’s tumor shrunk almost immediately, and he lived for another two and a half years before the state inexplicably passed legislation that hindered the boy’s family from getting the cannabis oil he needed. CBD then made national headlines in 2013 when a 3-year-old Colorado girl suffering from 300 grand mal seizures each week — or every 15 minutes — saw her seizures cease for a week at a time after starting a regimen of CBD-rich oil. The girl’s story was broadcast on CNN, leading other families to move to the state in order to obtain similar treatments for their sick kids. It also led previously prohibitionist states to introduce pro-CPB legislation. %related-post-2% Understand the effects In addition to fighting cancer and stopping epileptic seizures, CBD can also protect nerve cells from neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. It can serve as a safer alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers — which is especially helpful in light of our nation’s current opioid epidemic. CBD can also reduce inflammation, as well as help people suffering from schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression and PTSD. Research has also uncovered its potential for treating other health conditions, including diabetes, alcoholism, arthritis, and antibiotic-resistant infections. CBD can even help counteract the feelings of paranoia and anxiety often experienced by recreational users of THC.   All-star CBD strains Evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses, and if you’re considering using CBD-heavy strains, consider one of the following popular, CBD-dominant strains:   AC/DC: This berry-scented strain typically tests around 30-to-1 CBD-to-THC, and has long been a favorite of CBD fans Cannatonic: With strong citrus notes, this strain has less than 6 percent THC and is frequently used to fight migraines, muscles spasms, stress, and nausea Charlotte’s Web: A well-know strain that tests at less than 0.3 percent THC, this is most commonly used for pain relief and delivers virtually no psychoactive effects Corazon: A new strain (2017), this Oregon specialty with AC/DC lineage has a 22.5 percent CBD score with less than 3 percent THC Hopefully this helped you better understand CBD. If you’re looking for information on strains with increased psychoactive effects, head over to our Cannabis 101 articles on indica, sativa, and hybrids.
What Are Cannabis Hybrids?
What Are Cannabis Hybrids?
Indica and sativa are the two main types of cannabis. But what happens when you blend them? Hybrids, naturally. But what, exactly, are cannabis hybrids? As the legal marijuana industry has grown, so has the demand for new and interesting strains. Most of the strains on the market today are cannabis hybrids — strains that blend sativa and indica plants, balancing the effects and features of both. %related-post-1% What are cannabis hybrids? Commercial cannabis is typically available in pure form or in a hybrid mix of strains. Hybrids generally skew to either sativa or indica, with each hybrid providing effects associated with its dominant strain. Understand the effects By finding the right balance of sativa and indica, cannabis breeders can create various hybrids that feature specific concentrations of cannabinoid content. Many breeders create breeds that maximize or minimize the amount of THC or CBD based on the desired effects they — and consumers — are seeking: Sativa-dominant hybrids provide an energizing high paired with a feeling of relaxation. They are popular if you are engaged in physical activity, dabbling in creative projects, or interacting with folks in social settings. Indica-dominant hybrids provide an intense high in the body, which can make them a great choice if you need relief from moderate pain. They also carry a sedating effect, which is especially helpful for getting a good night’s sleep. Balanced hybrids provide something close to a 50/50 balance of indica and sativa plants. They are great choice if you are looking to balance the effects of cannabis on the mind and body. They also provide a good introduction to cannabis for new users. %related-post-2% All-star hybrid strains If you’re looking to try cannabis hybrids, here are some of the most popular kinds: Blue Dream: A sativa-dominant hybrid that is known for its body relaxation, thought stimulation, and sweet aroma Girl Scout Cookies: This is a balanced hybrid that blends sweet smells with a woodsy scent, relaxes the body, but also urges conversation Lemon Kush: Another evened-out strain, Lemon Kush deliver a citrusy scent and is well-regarded as a depression-fighter a creative kick-starter Purple Haze: This leans towards sativa spurring high-energy euphoria and smelling of berries and spice Alright, now that we have have indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis covered, let’s tackle CBD.
What Is Sativa Cannabis?
What Is Sativa Cannabis?
Sativa is one of the two primary cannabis strains. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series we’ll explore sativa cannabis, and what makes it different from indica. In our bookend to this Cannabis 101 installment, we covered the basics of indica strains. Now, let’s jump in and get to know the other main strain — sativa cannabis. %related-post-1% What is sativa cannabis? Cannabis sativa was first classified by Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus all the way back in 1753. Linnaeus encountered cannabis sativa in Europe and western Asia where it was commonly used to make textiles and rope. Unlike cannabis indica plants, which are short and stout with broad leaves, sativa plants are tall with characteristically narrow leaves. Sativa plants flourish in warmer temperatures and tend to have longer flowering periods. Understand the effects In the cannabis world, sativa strains are known as active strains. This classification comes from the perceived energy boost that will get you off the couch and tackling the trails or housework in no time. These uplifting effects are attributed to combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that will make you feel energetic and itching to get active. Just like indica strains, sativas can range from higher THC to higher CBD offering varied psychoactive intensity. The terpene morphology and characteristic scents of these strains tends to fall in the vein of citrus, pine, and wood. Sativa strains are extremely useful for treating many medical conditions including depression, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and stress. %related-post-2% All-star sativa strains Want to give sativa cannabis strains a shot? Here are some can’t-miss, popular choices: Sour Diesel: A well-known sativa that packs a pungent, earthy punch Amnesia Haze: With a lemon/citrus nose it’s an easy smoke that delivers a mellow high Strawberry Cough: Although it offers up more classic indica scents of berries and sweetness, this strain provides a big boost of energy Maui Wowie: This strain smells like it’s straight from the islands and is a clean, delicious toke That does it for our coverage of indica and sativa cannabis. Now head over to our post about hybrids.
What Is Indica Cannabis?
What Is Indica Cannabis?
Indica is one of the two most prominent types of cannabis. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series, we’ll explain what indica cannabis is, and its significance. Part of what makes cannabis so much fun — besides consuming it, of course — is learning about various strains, their effects, where they come from, and what sets them apart from other types of cannabis. Square one when learning about cannabis is appreciating the differences between indica and sativa strains. We’ve got another post all about sativa, but while you’re here, let’s get down to the nitty gritty with indica. %related-post-1% What is indica cannabis? The term cannabis indica was first coined by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. Lamarck named and described the species based on specimens collected throughout India. Indica plants are stout and robust with broad leaves and short flowering cycles — perfect for thriving in the colder climates and mountainous regions of India. The leaves also have a thick coating of resin, making them especially potent. Understand the effects Indica strains tend to be synonymous with one word: Relax. These strains offer combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that deliver more sedative and calming effects. It’s important to note that indica strains can vary from higher THC to higher CBD, but the terpene morphology tends to be similar — big notes of berry, earth, pine, and sweetness. Overall, indica strains tend to be uplifting and will make you feel euphoric and, yes, every, very relaxed. Indica can be extremely helpful treating a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, stress, insomnia, and depression. %related-post-2% All-star indica strains Indica strains tend to be very popular as a pre-bedtime smoke or nightcap. They taste amazing and are the perfect pairing for a chill night in. Indica = In da couch. Want to give indica cannabis strains a shot? Here are some highly recommended, popular choices: Granddaddy Purple: Sweet berry and grape flavors makes this a delicious smoke Northern Lights: Earthy and pine-forward with a higher level of THC Purple Kush: A delicious blend of grape and earth flavors perfect for a night on the couch DJ Short Blueberry: Sweet, ripe berry taste that is a perfect into to indica That does it for our primer on indica cannabis. Now head over to our post about sativa!
How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging
How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging
Once big rivals, Big Tobacco and marijuana are poised to partner for big profits. The first forays are already underfoot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes in the United States has been on the decline since the 1960s. Part of that drop has been caused by increased awareness about the dangers of smoking. Part of the drop is due to Americans’ interest in other things. One of those other things is marijuana. %related-post-1% Big Tobacco has viewed pot as both a competitor and a potential source of profits since at least the 1970s. As the substance’s popularity has increased and the legal marijuana market has grown, tobacco companies have begun to invest in cannabis. Foreshadowing a shift into the legal marijuana biz, Imperial Tobacco changed its name to Imperial Brand in 2015. Then, last year, in a move that raised even more speculation, the company named Simon Langelier, the chairman of a Canadian cannabis oil extract supplier, to its board of directors. As Imperial Chairman Mark Williamson told the Motley Fool, Langelier's “extensive international experience in tobacco and in wider consumer adjacencies will be a great asset to the board." Also looking to expand into some of those “wider consumer adjacencies” is Philip Morris International of Switzerland, who, as High Times explains, has purchased a patent for a GMO plants with higher terpenes. %related-post-2% Not to be outdone, North Carolina-based tobacco company Alliance One International recently staked a claim in the pending legal pot market north of the border, purchasing an 80 percent stake in Canadian pot grow facility Goldleaf Pharm Inc. It’s pretty obvious that Big Tobacco is banking on the fact that, one day, they will be able to sell marijuana to the public as easily as they can a pack of cigarettes. All that’s holding them back — and the rest of the industry — is outdated federal law. When that changes, be ready for a full-on marriage between tobacco and marijuana. 
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 8
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 8
The week we flipped the calendar from February to March was yet another big week in the cannabis news world. Here are some of the more notable headlines. It’s always a tough task trying to whittle down the week’s cannabis news headlines to a Top 5 list of sorts. These days the sheer amount of breaking, important cannabis news is impressive, so picking and choosing is no simple chore. But here we are, so let’s do this. Denver issues first cannabis club license " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> At long last the city of Denver, Colorado, has issued its first license for a social cannabis club wherein of-age consumers can BYOW and partake together. The license was awarded to The Coffee Joint (a straightforward name if there ever was one), which is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Flower will not be permitted. However, vapes and edibles will be. Nevada marijuana sales are off the charts We had a hunch that recreational marijuana sales in Nevada (especially in Las Vegas) would be a hit. But woo-doggy, it turns out projections were conservative to say the least. The news broke last week, but continued to make headlines this week, that last year Nevada recreational sales averaged more than $1 million per day. December was the busiest month with $35,769,000 in sales. Happy Holidays, indeed. Canadian marijuana use has skyrocketed the past few decades It would make sense that a country about to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide would be home to many friends of marijuana. And, of course, that’s the case in Canada. A study made the rounds this week that between 1985 and 2005, Canadian cannabis consumption more than doubled. In 2015, 12.3 percent of the population over the age of 15 used marijuana. In 1985 it was just 5.6 percent. Pedestrian fatalities tied to legalized marijuana Legalization advocates are used to this: Studies with marijuana scare statistics. Such an example was big news this week as a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association tied spikes in pedestrian deaths to smartphones and legal cannabis. Of course, many headlines (unlike the one linked above) ignored the phone part, instead zeroing in on weed. American Legion wants medical marijuana for veterans This can’t keep up forever. American veterans begging their government to allow them to legally access medical marijuana, only to be denied. It can’t. And it won’t. This week the leader of  the American Legion, the United States’ largest veteran organization, pressed Congress during a hearing on the matter. National Commander Denise H. Rohan asked for “immediate reclassification of cannabis to allow research into its potential for medical application.” Thanks, Commander Rohan. That’ll do it for this week’s batch of cannabis news headlines. We, as always, will be back next Friday with more.
The Best New Albums: February 2018
The Best New Albums: February 2018
2018 keeps bringing the heat with incredible new albums. Check out which ones we think are the best new albums of February. This year’s music continues to impress. Across virtually every genre, there was a solid — if not amazing — February release. Here’s a rundown of our favorites that will fit every mood. Indie: Twin Fantasy by Car Seat Headrest " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo originally released Twin Fantasy in 2011, but following the success of the group’s 2016 album, Teens of Denial, he decided to rework and reissue the record. While the songs may not be new per se, all of the tracks have a new energy that perfectly matches Toledo’s witty lyrics. And if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe Toledo’s Smash Mouth cover — yes, you read that correctly — just might! Electronic: 2012-2017 by A.A.L (Against All Logic) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Nicolas Jaar built his reputation creating everything from disco-influenced, danceable albums to spaced-out, minimal electronic. For his latest release under an old alias, A.A.L, Jaar opts to dust off his sample collection to deliver driving beats and swelling melodies. This record is high-energy and the perfect instrumental soundtrack for a smoke sesh. Pop: Blood by Rhye " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Our pop picks tend to err on the side of bubblegum, but every once in a while, an album comes along that blurs the line between pop and r&b. Rhye is reminiscent of Sade — delivering dreamy slow jams that you won’t want to turn off. This album is a more low-key listen, so it may not be great for a party setting, but it’s perfect for solo or small group hangs. Rap/Hip Hop: Black Panther The Album by Various Artists " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Black Panther had a record-breaking month in theaters and brought along with it our favorite rap album of the month. Largely curated by Kendrick Lamar, the album features cameos from The Weeknd, SZA, and many more. From top to bottom, the record has something for everyone, from bangers to more soulful songs, all delivered while seamlessly crossing genres of pop, African soul, and more. Rock: Uncle, Duke & the Chief by Born Ruffians " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Even though the weather may be getting warmer, spring showers have made themselves felt at Briteside HQ recently. Despite the weather outside, Born Ruffians’ latest release has been a ray of sunshine. Surf-inspired, sunny rock, this record is a laid-back listen that is tailor-made for a chill smoke session. Give our list of best new albums a listen, then drop us a line and tell us your favorites! Oh, and if you liked this list be sure to listen to our The Best New Albums of January collection.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast
With scenery ranging from beaches to rainforests, Coastal Oregon is a dream. Here are some of the best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast. Coastal Oregon is considered heaven on Earth for outdoor lovers. Some of the country’s best hiking sits in the backyards of the state’s larger, bustling cities. Let’s take a look at the area’s most scenic vistas. Ecola State Park " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Close to the tiny towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside, Ecola State Park is home to nearly 10 miles of hiking trails along the lush Pacific Coast. The area is absolutely gorgeous, so much so that movies like The Goonies and Point Break filmed in and around the area’s famous Haystack Rock and breathtaking Indian Beach. There's simply now way we could leave this off a best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast list. Recommended strain: Super Lemon Haze — this strain lives up to its name and is citrusy, sweet, and refreshing. Oswald West State Park Covering 2,500 acres, the Oswald West State Park has plenty of trails to offer. From a short stroll down to the beautiful Short Sand Beach or the longer trek to Cape Falcon, this area has something for everyone. Recommended strain: Sour Diesel — earthy and pungent, this sativa will keep you uplifted and excited on the trail. Oregon Dunes Coastal Oregon isn’t all beaches and forests. Known as the Sahara by the Sea, the Oregon Dunes offer a stark contrast in landscape. There are plenty of fun hikes to get into and around the area, but the dunes themselves are prime turf for ATV activities. Never fear, though, there are plenty of peaceful, quiet places too. Recommended strain: OG Kush — this hybrid is synonymous with relaxation. Perfect for a day away from the stresses of daily life. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor stretches for 13 miles along the shores of Western Oregon. The scenery varies from beautiful beaches to rocky coastline and sea caves. There are plenty of stops along the way making it the perfect place for a day outside. Recommended strain: Green Crack — earthy and sweet, this sativa packs a boost of energy so you can make the most of your trail time. Heceta Head Lighthouse Although it’s a pretty short hike, the Heceta Head Lighthouse doesn’t hold back on scenery. Originally built in the 1800s, the lighthouse sits on 200-foot-high cliffs, offering up an unforgettable view of the coast. Recommended strain: Jack Herer — this pine-forward sativa will help you feel right at home in the woods. Do you know some of the best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast that we might have missed? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
The Best Bongs For 2018 (So Far)
The Best Bongs For 2018 (So Far)
Cannabis devices keep getting smarter, more efficient, and even healthier for users. Bongs are no exception. Here are some of the best bongs on the scene in 2018. There’s something undeniably fun about hitting a bong — and it seems like everyone has a great story about a beloved bong. Whether you have fond memories of a rainbow-colored glass piece from your college dorm or you still prefer a big rip to a casual toke, bongs are a stoner ever-present. And with a new wave of bongs being released in the new year, you’ll have even more reason to love them! Let’s jump in and see what’s coming! The Puffco Peak " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Puffco Peak has been referred to as the product Apple would release if they ever designed a bong. Just one look at this piece lets you know it means business. Designed specifically for use with concentrates, the Peak is built to draw the richest potency and flavor, allowing users to enjoy all the nuances of specific strains. The piece is also super efficient, meaning smaller amounts of concentrate go much further. Pack it up just as you would any other bong, rip it, and pass it along. Aura Waterpipe The Aura Waterpipe was designed to solve a common problem: A living room full of brightly colored, easily noticeable bongs. At first glance, this pipe looks like a water bottle. But according to the manufacturer, it works just as well as — if not better than — more traditional bongs. It’s dishwasher safe, easy to load up, and virtually indestructible. Sounds like a winner to us! Look for its official release later in 2018. Summerland Land Yacht Bongs may be getting smarter and more efficient, but there’s still something about a traditional water bong that just seems right. Summerland specializes in creating traditional, effective bongs with a designer’s eye. These pieces aren’t groundbreaking in terms of how they operate, but they sure are beautiful. And the Land Yacht is so aesthetically pleasing, it was featured in Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy” video (2:20 mark). They are available in a variety of finishes, are super reliable, and can even be a conversation piece in your living room. Did we miss one of your favorites on our best bongs list? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Georgia Medical Marijuana Legalization A Work In Progress
Georgia Medical Marijuana Legalization A Work In Progress
While the Peach State has traditionally been one of the most prohibitionist states in the nation, the tide is slowly turning for proponents of legalized Georgia medical marijuana. According to a recent Georgia College survey, more adults (78 percent) in the state support the possibility of legalized Georgia medical marijuana than support the governor, state legislature, charter schools, or same-sex marriage. Another poll conducted this year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that 77 percent of registered voters want to see Georgia’s medical marijuana program to be expanded to allow harvesting and distribution. %related-post-1% Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll have to wait a little longer to get their wish, as the Georgia medical marijuana saga continues to be a two-steps-forward-one-step-back ordeal.  As High Times notes, Georgia doesn’t have a citizen-initiated ballot initiative process. As a result, any and all progress toward marijuana legalization must come via state lawmakers. Luckily, Georgia lawmakers have been largely receptive to the will of the people on the issue, showing support for legalization in numbers never before seen. Last October, Atlanta lawmakers put an end to criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession, and, in January, state representatives reviewing the Georgia’s medical marijuana laws voted unanimously to advance a bill allowing cannabis oil dispensaries. State Rep. Allen Peake, a self-avowed conservative Christian, chairman of the House Medical Cannabis Working Group, and one of Georgia’s chief advocates for medical marijuana, told the Journal-Constitution that there are now upwards of 3,400 Georgians registered with the state to use medical marijuana oil — oil they have no way of legally obtaining. %related-post-2% “There’s still a huge issue,” said Peake, R-Macon. “People come to the Department of Public Health (and say), ‘OK, I’ve got my card now, what do I do? Where do I get the product? Where do I go to access medical cannabis oil that the state has said I can legally possess?’” In 2015, Peake presented a bill (later signed by Gov. Nathan Deal) that legalized the possession of medical cannabis oil for patients with certain serious medical conditions. Since then, he has helped shepherd cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people in the state who are legally allowed to possess it, but who have no legal way of obtaining it. “The only way to legally get the THC oil here to dispense is to produce it here in the state of Georgia,” Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta, told the Journal-Constitution. If signed into law, Peake’s new Georgia medical marijuana legislation — House Bill 645 — would allow up to 10 businesses statewide to distribute medical marijuana oil to registered patients. Up to two universities or businesses would also be licensed to cultivate, harvest, and produce the oil. %related-post-3% But while Gov. Deal recently said he supports adding PTSD and chronic pain to Georgia’s existing medical marijuana program, he has openly come out against Peake’s effort to allow the in-state cultivation of medical marijuana this year. Supporters of HB645 have no choice but to wait to argue their case until Deal’s successor takes office next year. And Deal isn’t the only one leaving office.  Peake, who is also the CEO of one of the nation’s largest restaurant franchises, says he will not run for re-election for another term as state representative. He told The Telegraph of Macon that he plans to continue working as an advocate for medical marijuana, as well as working to help families with children with special needs. We hope that before he leaves the legislature, he’s able to spend a little more time convincing his friends in the state capitol to also consider legalizing recreational marijuana — an industry that, as High Times points out, could generate an additional $340 million of tax revenue for Georgia annually.
What Does The New Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Look Like?
What Does The New Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Look Like?
The new Virginia medical marijuana bill is only a governor’s signature away from becoming a law. Doctors in Virginia are now one step closer to be being allowed to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. As the News Leader reported, the Virginia Senate voted unanimously February 12 to pass SB 726 — the Joint Commission on Health Care bill — which will permit physicians in Virginia to recommend the use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil to patients suffering from any diagnosed condition or disease. The vote came on the heels of the unanimous passing of companion bill, HB 1251, in the Virginia House of Delegates. Both bills were recommended by Virginia’s Joint Commission on Health Care, which is tasked with researching health policy options for the state. %related-post-1% The Virginia medical marijuana bills’ progress through the state legislature was swift. Just two months ago, Nikki Narduzzi, patient coalition director at Cannabis Commonwealth and an advocate for medical marijuana legalization in Virginia, met with Delegate Ben Cline at a Starbucks in order to ask him to patron a Let Doctors Decide medical cannabis bill. He agreed, and as the News Leader rightly declared, public policy history was made. “Today’s passage of the HB 1251 is a monumental win for patients across Virginia,” said Narduzzi. “Cannabis Commonwealth is ready to transition from educating our legislators to educating patients and healthcare providers about what this means for them. We are excited to help patients achieve their goals of pain management, reducing prescription opioid use and a better quality life via cannabis therapies right here in their home state.” Physicians in Virginia currently can issue medical marijuana certifications only to people with intractable epilepsy. Once signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, however, the new law would allow doctors to issue cannabis certifications to treat any condition. Northam, a Democrat and physician, has already pledged to sign such a measure into law. %related-post-2% While the new law is a little tricky, it will help scores of Virginians who will benefit from access to medical cannabis. Here’s how it works: Virginia has already approved a regulatory program for the in-state production of medical cannabis oil by five licensed providers — one per Health Service Area — which will grow, extract, dispense, and deliver the oils. Once the program is operational, patients who register will be able to fill their recommendation at one of five licensed facilities in Virginia. Physicians will recommend the oils, not prescribe them as they do with traditional pharmaceuticals. As the News Leader explains, “prescribe” is reserved for FDA-regulated products, and legally denotes writing a prescription on a DEA-numbered prescription pad. While the new laws technically don’t make medical marijuana compounds legal in Virginia, they do provide an affirmative defense for possession by patients and caregivers with written certification, as well as an affirmative defense for production by licensed providers. %related-post-3% “Medical cannabis oil has been proven to effectively and safely help patients manage pain,” Cline told the News Leader. “With Virginia fighting a growing opioid crisis, this is smart legislation to reduce dependence on addictive narcotics. By expanding the ability to recommend medical cannabis oil, we are giving doctors the freedom to make a decision based on the most up to date research and data, just as they do for any other medication they prescribe. I am pleased to see this bill pass the general assembly, and I look forward to the governor signing it into law.” Zach Mauldin, the Marijuana Policy Project’s legislative council for the state, expects Gov. Northam to sign the Virginia medical marijuana legislation “without issue.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Why California Is Considering A Cannabis Bank
Why California Is Considering A Cannabis Bank
Federal law blocks canna-businesses from accessing traditional banking services. So officials in California want to create a state-run cannabis bank. California became the sixth state in the nation to offer recreational pot sales earlier this year — sales that are expected to generate upwards of $7 billion in just a few years. But while those sales will be a boon for the state’s cannabis retailers, antiquated federal laws that block those retailers from traditional banking services require all of that business be done in cash. %related-post-1% As we’ve mentioned previously, the federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. As a result, cannabis consumers and businesses must handle all of their transactions in cash, which is not only a hassle for everyone involved, but can also make both buyers and retailers prime targets for violent criminals. In an attempt to make California’s booming legal marijuana business easier and safer for everyone involved, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) are looking into the possibility of creating a taxpayer-backed cannabis bank to handle the canna-billions generated in the state. “We are contending with the emergence of a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry that needs banking services, and a private banking industry that is stymied by federal law in meeting the needs of the new industry,” Chiang told The Hill. %related-post-2% Chiang says that California and other states will need to take the lead in “bringing the cannabis industry out of the shadows so that it can be properly regulated to prevent sales to minors, to protect the public’s health and safety, and ensure cannabis businesses behave as legitimate tax-paying members of our economy.” In 2016, Chiang established a Cannabis Banking Working Group, which held a handful public meetings with industry stakeholders around the state. The next step will be a feasibility study to determine if such a bank could work. As Fast Company reports, Chiang’s office has already a request for information — a step toward conducting such a study — and Becerra’s office will handle the legal side of things. Only one other state, North Dakota, has ever opened a state-run bank. In 2010, Massachusetts considered opening a state-run bank similar to the one proposed in California, but ultimately scrapped the idea because it would have cost billions of dollars. %related-post-3% As Fast Company notes, such a cannabis bank would likely be subject to less oversight than a private bank — an arrangement, opponents warn, would create opportunities for scandal and abuse of taxpayer dollars. But while a lawyer who specializes in the cannabis industry disagrees, calling a state bank a good idea, the attorney also says “any bank solution is a future fix, not an immediate solution.” What that immediate solution might be, nobody knows. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
What Is Marijuana Gifting Exactly?
What Is Marijuana Gifting Exactly?
All but one of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana also allow marijuana gifting. As a result, scores of clever entrepreneurs are using — and some abusing — this legal gray area. While cannabis companies in some states wait for their opportunity to sell weed via retail locations, some have already been selling the substance for months via a legal loophole known as “gifting.” According to this provision, small amounts of cannabis can be exchanged  — or “gifted” — from one adult to another. %related-post-1% As the Associated Press explains, marijuana gifting makes it legal to, say, share a joint at party or put a little weed in your brother’s Christmas stocking. Some budding bud entrepreneurs are taking things a little further than that, however, seeking to use the loophole to establish themselves in a fast-growing industry. In cities where legal pot retailers exist, those running gifting operations don’t face the same oversight or pay marijuana sales taxes. Not only does this practice undercut licensed retailers, but it also creates a legal limbo in states which have legalized, but have no plans for regulated storefronts. So, what does gifting look like in practice? In Boston, for example, you can order a $55 bottle of juice that comes with a “free” bag of marijuana. In Washington, D.C., you can get a gift of pot with the purchase of a $60 t-shirt, $80 Pokemon action figure, or with the purchase of an in-person motivational speech. (We’re not kidding.) %related-post-2% While this is not exactly what lawmakers intended when drafting gifting provisions, police generally haven’t hunted for violators as long as the practice stays low-key and neighbors don’t complain. “We serve the citizens and if they say there’s a problem on this or that block, we’re going to do something about it,”  Lt. Andrew Struhar of the Narcotics and Special Operations division of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department told Washington D.C. radio station WTOP. “If you’re going to flaunt it and you’re going to stick it in our face and force us to take action against it, then we’re going to take action.” And, unfortunately, the habitual line-stepping of some “ganja-preneurs” has caused police to do exactly that: In 2015, police in D.C. arrested Nicholas “Kush God” Cunningham, who handed out edibles from a fleet of cars covered in pot-leaf decals in exchange for “donations.” Police in Massachusetts investigated a Craiglist ad offering plastic bags filled with “free” weed for as much as $325. (They stopped their investigation when they couldn’t identify the seller. Reports of socks — yes, socks — being sold at a D.C. nightclub for $300 a pair led to a recent police raid that netted 17 pounds of pot, 10 pounds of edibles, and two quarts of oils infused with THC. %related-post-3% For now, the gray area surrounding gifting is likely to exist — if not get even more fuzzy — until legislation changes. Complicating already-complicated matters is U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to give federal prosecutors more freedom to go after marijuana business in states where the drug is legal. While Sessions stopped just short of directing prosecutors to go after the marijuana industry, as the Cannabist points out, any pressure from the feds could prove to be a boon for underground marijuana gifting operations. Check back later for updates.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 6
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 6
We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a man who tried to use pot to pay for a drink at Domino’s and a couple of Canadian cops who got into trouble when they sampled some of the edibles they were supposed to be guarding. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ll be danged if we don’t pass them along. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 6. Enjoy… %related-post-1% You grow, granny! A 78-year-old woman in Austria wanted to try cannabis tea and oil to help her deal with chronic pain. She legally purchased some cuttings and, before she knew it, she had grown three good-sized plants. While cannabis seeds and non-flowering plants are legal in Austria, plants that develop buds are illegal, as is cultivation of them. Worried that she might be breaking the law, the precious woman called the cops to tell them about her plans to use them for medicinal purposes. As Marijuana.com reports, the somewhat bewildered officer who answered the phone told the woman that she could only legally own two plants. Unfazed, she responded, “that’s all the same to me,” adding that she would just let the third plant die. As of the time of this writing, Austrian police had not paid the woman a visit in order to more closely examine her growing operation — not even after she recounted her hilarious story on national television.        %related-post-2% Man gets Megabusted Tevin Lewis and a companion recently boarded a Megabus in Atlanta, Georgia, headed for Memphis, Tennessee. According to High Times, Lewis had 1.5 pounds of weed hidden in his luggage. When police later boarded the bus, they approached Lewis and asked if they could search his bags. Shaking nervously, he agreed. Upon looking thorough Lewis’ bag, detectives found three, vacuum-sealed bags of bud, covered in aluminum foil, and hidden underneath his clothing. As police took him into custody, a defiant Lewis tried to downplay the discovery. “That ain’t nothing but a pound or a pound a half,” he told police. Shockingly, police arrested him anyway. %related-post-3% An open-and-not-shut-down case While the sale of recreational marijuana is illegal per current Massachusetts state law, the law does allow anyone of legal age to carry a small amount of weed on their person, as well as imbibe it in a private setting. As the Cannabist reports, that distinction allowed Kyle Moon to recently open a legal private club in Worcester where members can bring and smoke their own weed. Shortly after the club’s opening, however, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus accused Moon of exploiting an obvious loophole that Augustus himself, apparently, didn’t think of.   When Moon and his partners were submitting license applications for their lounge, regulators asked what the club’s members would be smoking. “Anything that’s legal in Massachusetts,” Moon told them. Moon says his group also had other conversations with the city that went into more detail. The club was then granted its license. After the opening, Augustus called on the Cannabis Control Commission to shut the club down. Augustus was quickly reminded, however, that the CCC doesn’t have jurisdiction over private clubs, leaving Augustus no choice but to “move past” this awkward incident, which he has agreed to do. Moon says he and his family would eventually like to open a dispensary. Don’t tell Augustus. %related-post-4% The breast story ever During a recent drug awareness panel in Canada, Canadian police fielded questions about the country’s pending legalization of cannabis. According to High Times, Nigel Cole, a school resource officer, responded to questions with a bevy of alarming — and factually inaccurate — information. While Cole made some questionable comparisons between pot and alcohol, it was his bold claim regarding the physical effects of cannabis use that, um, really stuck out. “There are studies that marijuana lowers your testosterone — we call it ‘doobies make boobies,’” he said. “We’re finding 60 percent of 14-year-olds are developing ‘boobies.’” Following the event, doctors said there was no scientific basis to Cole’s “urban mythology.” Dr. John Harrison, the chief scientific officer of a Toronto-based holistic wellness team, said it was an issue of common sense. “Millions of men smoke marijuana and you don’t see millions of men walking around with pronounced breast tissue,” he said. Oh, Canada… Another installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series in the bag. Stay tuned for the next round.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 7
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 7
Though not too splashy a week in cannabis news, there were plenty of important items making headlines in the last full week of February 2018. Some weeks burst at the seams with eye-grabbing cannabis news. Other are more subdued, though no less important. This week was of the latter category: Chill but meaningful. Here’s a quick rundown of some cannabis news headlines from the past few days. Colorado Girl Scouts allowed to sell outside dispensaries You likely recall the recent kerfuffle surrounding a San Diego, California, Girl Scout who set up shop outside a local dispensary. She, of course, sold out of her cookie stash in record time. Well, in some more cookie-related news, the Girl Scouts of Colorado have formally declared dispensaries as fair game for enterprising young girls who want to sell their Thin Mints and Tagalongs to shoppers buying cannabis products. Las Vegas airport as a pot dumping ground We’re all very familiar with the old line, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” And true to form, officials at McCarran International Airport are making it easier on travelers to ditch their cannabis stashes before they hop on a flight home. There are now 13 “amnesty boxes” located around the airport where tourists can offload their green goods before heading through the security line. Denver marijuana is a BIG consumer of electricity This was one of those headlines that had us thinking “yeah, that makes sense.” But even still, it was eyebrow-raising. We learned this week that nearly four percent of all electric usage in Denver, Colorado, is from marijuana grows. Energy consumption related to the marijuana industry is a topic of increasing interest, and Denver provides an example of how much marijuana demand drives energy demand. Canadian health insurer announces MMJ coverage This is a big win for Canadian medical marijuana patients, as Sun Life Financial, a major health insurer, will allow companies to add medical marijuana coverage to their group health plans. Sun Life isn’t the first Canadian insurer to make such a move, but the are the biggest, as they provide coverage for over 3 million Canadians and their families. Tennessee judge allows raided CBD-selling businesses to reopen In one of the most eye roll-inducing installments of “Modern Reefer Madness,” police from multiple law enforcement agencies in Middle Tennessee recently raided and shuttered 23 businesses for selling CBD-infused products. They also issued 21 criminal indictments on business owners. But pump the brakes, people. It turns out that, yes, such products are actually legal in Tennessee. The good news is that this week a judge allowed the businesses to reopen. The bad news is that authorities acted so ham-handedly without knowing the actual laws. That’ll do for this week’s Cannabis News Nuggets. You know the deal, we’ll be back next week and we hope to see you then.
How Montana Medical Marijuana Legislation Is Finally Catching Up With Demand
How Montana Medical Marijuana Legislation Is Finally Catching Up With Demand
For 14 years, Montana medical marijuana patients have had to get by on a limited supply. New legislation is (hopefully) about to change that. In May 2011, there were 31,522 legal Montana medical marijuana cardholders. But when the state enacted a newer, stricter MMJ program later that year, the number of legal users started to plummet. %related-post-1% However, as a recent report by the Montana Legislative Services Division’s office of research and policy analysis indicates, the number of cardholders in Montana has nearly tripled and the number of MMJ  providers has increased by 17 percent since a 2016 ballot initiative and 2017 state Senate bill relaxed restrictions. Montana first legalized medical marijuana in 2004, allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally possess the substance. In 2011, the state legislature approved a new medical marijuana program which placed more restrictions on the drug and implemented tougher requirements for Montana’s physicians, caregivers, and patients. The new program — SB 423 — has been roundly criticized by patients, who claim it has made obtaining medical marijuana needlessly complicated. In 2015, a medical marijuana patient submitted a petition to get the legalization of pot on the ballot in the state. The proposed amendment, which would have allowed adults to legally purchase, possess, and consume marijuana, failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot. While SB 423 would ultimately be upheld by the state Supreme Court and go into effect in August 2016, Montana residents successfully voted to expand the state’s medical marijuana program in November of that year. %related-post-2% As the Great Falls Tribune explains, voters approved the the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative in November 2016, and the Legislature passed Senate Bill 333 in 2017. The ballot initiative and senate bill removed a stifling three-person limit on the number of patients per marijuana provider, added post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of approved medical conditions, broadened the production parameters of cannabis products, and allowed licensing and testing laboratories and dispensaries. The final version of the medical marijuana program’s rules, which go into effect April 10, clarify testing procedures, how providers will secure their businesses, and how marijuana will be labeled, among other tweaks. While some of Montana’s 600-plus cannabis caregivers are concerned about the potential costs associated with the new regulations, many are already getting ready for the expected influx of business. According to Marijuana Business Daily, many of the state’s caregivers have moved to open dispensaries or make first-time expansions into retail chains. As one MMJ business owner estimates, there are now between 120 and 150 dispensaries in Montana — up from roughly 50 a year ago — as well as another 50 or so modest medical marijuana delivery operations. %related-post-3% Progress is still progress, even if it happens slowly. Kudos to Montana for finally getting with the program with their MMJ program. Is it too soon to suggest that they consider legalizing recreational pot legal, too? Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 3
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 3
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 3: English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach We hope you enjoyed the last installment of Classical Music for Marijuana. It would be hard to find a more fun-filled classical suite than Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns. For our third volume of the Classical Music for Marijuana series, we’re recommending a set of six suites written expressly for the harpsichord (or clavichord). We tend to feel they sound their best on a warm Spring day, your windows open and a nice breeze blowing through your home. Trust us, you’ll love these: The English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Johann Sebastian Bach? Certainly one of the most recognizable names in all of classical music, Johann Sebastian Bach was a German musician and composer of the Baroque period. Johann Sebastian was the last-born child to a highly regarded musical family, and his robust library of work included Latin church music, passions, oratorios and motets, as well as wide-ranging concertos for violin and for harpsichord, and suites as chamber music and for orchestra. Other major composers of the Baroque period include Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Claudio Monteverdi, among many other well-known names. About Johann Sebastian Bach’s English Suites Bach’s English Suites represent some of his earliest works, written between 1715 and 1720, though the precise dates are not certain. One line of thinking holds that these suites — there are six of them — were composed for an English nobleman, though we do not know which individual that was. Hence the name “English Suites.” The English Suites are considered “dance” music — for that time, anyway. Quick listen We couldn’t imagine recommending listening to anything but all six suites, but if you want just a quick sample of what Bach’s English Suites have in store for your ears, try Suite No. 2 in A minor. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We really do hope Bach’s English Suites provide a perfect musical companion for you next cannabis experience. And we hope we see you for Volume 4 of the Classical Music for Marijuana series.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon
Topographically speaking, Eastern Oregon stands in stark contrast to some of the state’s other regions, but it is no less beautiful. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Eastern Oregon. As we continue our tour of the best hikes in Oregon, it’s time to take a look at some of the best hiking trails in Eastern Oregon. Get ready to plan your routes, load up your pre-roll or bowl, hit the trail, and take in the great outdoors. Anthony Lake " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Just north of Baker City, Anthony Lake is 7,140 feet above sea level. The hike is a relatively easy 1-mile loop, but the scenery of wildflowers and granite peaks of the Elkhorn Range is absolutely gorgeous. Recommended strain: Blue Dream — an old favorite, this strain is the perfect companion for a day on the trail. Gunsight Mountain Another trail in the Elkhorn Mountains, the Gunsight Mountain trail is an 8.2-mile loop that takes you around the peak of Gunsight. Gunsight is one of the more easily accessible mountains in the area and is surrounded by beautiful alpine lakes. Recommended strain: Orange Crush — tangy and citrusy, this sativa-heavy hybrid will put a pep in your step. Riddle Brothers Ranch Riddle Brothers Ranch is in the middle of juniper country in Southeastern Oregon. A national historic site, the ranch was originally constructed in the early 1900s. The ranch is home to a few trails, including a 1.5-mile path that ends at the meeting of the Little Blitzen and Donner and Blitzen rivers. Recommended strain: Willie Nelson — a straight up sativa that will prime your senses for a day in the woods. Wildhorse Lake " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Located near Steens Mountain, the Wildhorse Lake trail is 2.5 miles roundtrip with 1,200 feet of climb. It may not be the best choice for a casual stroll, but the effort is worth the views of lake surrounded by breathtaking wildflowers. Recommended strain: Durban Poison — a must for an inspired outdoor experience, this potent strain will help you connect with your surroundings. Little Blitzen Gorge The Little Blitzen Gorge offers up incredible views of Aspen trees and waterfalls, as the trail follows the Little Blitzen River. This trail is perfect for a day hike or even longer trips if you’re feeling more determined. Recommended strain: Alaskan Thunder F*ck — a delicious boost of energy, this strain will keep your feet moving and prime your senses for beautiful views. Got a favorite outdoor activity in Eastern Oregon? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Celebrity Cannabis Products: VIPs In The S(pot)light
Celebrity Cannabis Products: VIPs In The S(pot)light
The canna-boom has resulted in thousands of new businesses. And a few familiar names have gotten in on the act. Let’s a take a look at some well- and lesser-known celebrity cannabis products. People from all walks of life are seizing the opportunity to take advantage of the rapidly growing cannabis industry — including many celebrities. While some of these celebrities wouldn’t raise many eyebrows by lending their name to a cannabis product, a few might be a little surprising. Here’s a quick rundown of some new and established celebrity-owned cannabis brand to keep an eye on! Chelsea Handler We’ll start our list with one of the newest celeb cannabis entrepreneurs: Chelsea Handler. Handler has never been one to avoid the spotlight, especially when sharing her cannabis experiences, and the recent announcement of her new cannabis line was no exception. The details are still sparse, but based on an Instagram photo, we can expect a line of flower and possibly edibles in the future. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Willie Nelson Willie Nelson is an American cannabis national treasure, and it’s no surprise that he’s made his mark on the legal cannabis industry. Willie built a reputation for his stoner-friendly concerts and his willingness to share his stash with his concertgoers. It’s this history and sense of community that formed the foundation of his cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Snoop Dogg Snoop has made his name virtually synonymous with weed. Snoop’s cannabis brand, Leafs by Snoop, offers up a roster of flower, edibles, and more inspired by the famous rappers world travels. Snoop also started the online media outlet Merry Jane as a celebration of all things cannabis culture. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Ghostface Killah One of the founding members of the rap group Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah was another early celebrity adopter of the legal weed game. Partnering with vaporizer company DynamiteStix, Ghostface released his personal line of flavored THC cartridges — Wu-Goo. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi has taken a different approach to legal weed. Instead of standard bud and edibles, her company Whoopi & Maya — founded with renowned cannabis vet Maya Elisabeth — focuses on cannabis-infused lotions, soaks, and tinctures all intended to provide women relief from menstrual symptoms. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Did we miss one of your favorite celebrity cannabis products? Let us know.
Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions
Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions
In the age of gradual legalization, past marijuana convictions can be a sticky subject. Some locales, however, are making moves to erase convictions for now-legal activities.  If you have past marijuana convictions on your record, we don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be to take out a college loan, obtain a professional license, get a job, or qualify for housing. Often compounding the frustration is the fact that the offense you were busted for back in the day may no longer be illegal today. %related-post-1% While some prohibitionist hardliners say you should have to live with the consequences of your actions, other bigger-picture thinkers in a few bigger-city governments are moving to make it easier for you to move on from your past pot convictions. In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 — the Adult Use of Marijuana Act — which not only legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21, but also gives those convicted of pot-related crimes an opportunity to reduce or expunge their criminal records. As MERRYJANE explains, Prop 64 allows anyone who has been (or is currently) behind bars, on probation, or on parole to petition for resentencing or redesignation. Felonies can become misdemeanors, and misdemeanors can be reduced to infractions or erased altogether, depending on the amount of weed in question and if those convicted have completed their sentences. San Francisco and San Diego, however, have taken things up a notch. While Prop 64 allows Californians with prior pot convictions to petition for expungement, those two cities are doing the heavy lifting for many of them. %related-post-2% As the New York Times reports, the San Francisco district attorney’s office plans to automatically erase 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back 40 years. Prosecutors will also examine another 4,900 felony marijuana charges to determine if they should be retroactively reclassified as misdemeanors. San Diego has selected another 4,700 felony and misdemeanor cases for possible clearance or reduction. And California’s move to expunge convictions mirror similar efforts in other states. In 2015, the Oregon legislature passed a bill allowing people to retroactively clear their marijuana convictions. Colorado passed a similar bill in 2017, Virginia passed one this year, and Seattle’s mayor and city attorney recently announced that the city will nullify hundreds of misdemeanor convictions for pot possession that occurred in the years before the drug was legalized in Washington State.   %related-post-3% “Seattle is doing the right thing,” says Jolene Forman, staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is important that states considering legalizing marijuana, as well as states that already have legalized, acknowledge the past harms of the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws, and work to repair them. Repairing the harms of marijuana criminalization, especially in communities of color that have been hit the hardest by our destructive drug laws, is an essential piece of properly implementing marijuana legalization. It is exciting to see a city like Seattle doing all it can to improve what the state of Washington approved in 2012.” While Vermont also allows cannabis offenders to petition to have their cases expunged, current state law makes them wait a minimum of five years to become eligible to do so. According to MERRYJANE, the state legislature has introduced a proposal that would expedite the process and allow anyone arrested recently for marijuana possession to immediately apply for expungement. While these are all moves in the right direction, we hope more states follow suit, and that the cities and states making incremental moves today erasing past marijuana convictions, make bolder ones in the future. We’ll keep you posted.
How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling
How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling
The increased production of legal weed in the United States, coupled with Mexican marijuana prohibition, has created a new market for drug smugglers. The growing availability of legal pot in the United States over the last decade has all but killed American demand for illegal, Mexican-grown cannabis. Cartels have adjusted, largely abandoning growing pot and shifting their attention to the production of heroin and fentanyl, and zeroing in on theft and extortion schemes. %related-post-1% According to figures from the Mexican government, federal forces wiped out 74,531 acres of pot crops in 2006. In 2016, that figure dropped to 13,537 acres. This steady drop in Mexican weed production has contributed to a sustained fall in the amount of weed being smuggled north. A recent report by the Los Angeles Times showed that seizures of pot by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have steadily declined for a decade. Last year, 861,231 pounds of marijuana were seized at U.S. ports of entry. That figure is down from 2.4 million pounds in 2013 and 4.3 million pounds in 2009. During one recent seizure of a drug shipment in Ensenada, just 85 miles south of San Diego, Mexican police found considerable amounts of fentanyl, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. They found no marijuana. %related-post-2% But while there isn’t much Mexican pot heading north these days, there is still plenty of pot crossing the border. The production of Mexican pot might have dwindled, but Mexico’s demand for pot remains significant — a demand the cartels are all willing to meet. As KPBS reports, Mexicans are quite fond of American-grown cannabis due to its superiority over the weed typically grown by the cartels. As a result, Tijuana residents with dual citizenship have been driving into California to buy American weed and smuggle it back home. While it is technically illegal to smuggle pot from the U.S. into Mexico, doing so is much easier than smuggling it from Mexico into the U.S. Drivers heading south are seldom subject to the same border stops as those heading north, making it virtually risk-free for smugglers to carry a modest supply of herb with them on each and every trip. %related-post-3% The trend of reverse smuggling started with the legalization of medical marijuana in the United States, and is expected to skyrocket now that California and other states have legalized recreational weed. And while Mexico has dragged its feet when it comes to full legalization, an increasing amount of legislators and citizens south of the border have rightfully made the case that it makes no sense for both countries to pursue such widely conflicting drug policies. As more and more of Mexico’s lawmakers and residents realize the positive impact legal marijuana can have on both crime and the country’s coffers, the push to end Mexican marijuana prohibition will only intensify. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 6
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 6
This week was full of good cannabis news headlines, including record-breaking receipt totals in Colorado and Pennsylvania MMJ patients finally gaining access to medicine. Some weeks, unfortunately, not all the cannabis news we share with you is positive. But this week was something special. It was jam-packed with good vibes, and as usual, we’re happy to share some of the more notable cannabis news headlines with you. Berkeley, California becomes a marijuana “sanctuary city” On Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council passed a new resolution making the town a “sanctuary city” when it comes to marijuana. What does this mean? Here’s verbiage from the document itself: “No department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Berkeley shall use any City funds to assist in the enforcement of Federal drug laws related to cannabis.” Simply put, if federal agents want to raid any legal cannabis entity in Berkeley, they’ll have to do it without any local help. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Colorado 2017 legal marijuana sales pass the $1.5 billion mark At some point legal marijuana sales in Colorado have to plateau, right? Well 2017 wasn’t that year — if it exists. The Colorado Department of Revenue announced this week that the state hit a record $1.51 billion in cannabis sales last year, of which $1.09 billion were recreational and $416.52 million were of the medical variety. For reference, 2016 totals hit $1.3 billion in sales, and 2015 tallied a (by comparison) paltry $996 million overall. Alcohol more damaging than marijuana? No way! Consider us not shocked by these results. Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder released findings, that eventually made the rounds this week, that marijuana use does not negatively impact the size or functioning of white or gray matter in the brain. But do you know what does lead to “negative associations” in those areas? Yep, alcohol. Mr. Steves goes to Washington (D.C., that is) We don’t try to hide our love for Rick Steves, the greatest travel guide in the history of travel guides. This week, the Washington State native traveled to Washington D.C. to brief members of Congress and their staffs on why marijuana prohibition needs to end. Steves anchored his argument in civil liberties, but also discussed crime reduction and public revenue reallocation. First Pennsylvania MMJ dispensary opens We’re beyond happy that the first MMJ dispensary in Pennsylvania opened to patients this week. The first customers into the store were the mothers of children who suffer from seizures. The pair advocated for fair cannabis laws for years, and finally had the chance to purchase medicine from an actual dispensary. We hope many (many!) more will finally be able to join them. Alright friends, that does it for this installment of Cannabis News Nuggets. We’ll be back again next Friday with more.
The Northern Corridor Is The Nation’s Prime Pipeline For Marijuana Trafficking
The Northern Corridor Is The Nation’s Prime Pipeline For Marijuana Trafficking
The amount of black market weed being smuggled through states like Idaho, North Dakota, and Minnesota is on the rise. But a closer look at current marijuana trafficking numbers nationwide tells a better story. While the legal marijuana industry is exploding across the nation, recreational marijuana remains illegal in all but eight states and marijuana in all forms is illegal in 21 states. States like Oregon, California, Colorado, and Washington are largely responsible for spearheading the growth of the nation’s legal marijuana industry. They are also potentially responsible for propping up pot’s black market. %related-post-1% Growers in pro-pot states on the West Coast produce more legal pot than their residents need — pot that is highly sought after by buyers in prohibitionist areas of the country. As MERRY JANE reports, with customers on the East Coast still willing to pay big bucks for West Coast bud, several northern states have become “prime thoroughfares on weed’s black market pipeline.” According to a report by CBS affiliate KBOI, and cited by MERRY JANE, Idaho State Police seized more weed between 2016 and 2017 than in the previous three years combined — a trend they trace to the legalization of weed in neighboring Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. "We're seeing a huge increase in possession throughout the state of Idaho and also seeing an increase in trafficking cases," ISP Trooper Jason Maxfield told KBOI. "It's no coincidence at all.” Interestingly enough, while law enforcement in North Dakota and Minnesota have reported similar increases in the number of smuggling arrests in their states, a recent report from the United States Sentencing Commission shows that the number of trafficking arrests has actually dropped significantly nationwide in the years since states began legalizing recreational pot. %related-post-2% When residents of Colorado and Washington voted to end cannabis prohibition in 2012, the report says, nearly 7,000 people were found guilty of trafficking marijuana. By 2016 — with recreational use allowed in eight states — the number of convictions had dropped by more than 50 percent. So, what to make of this? Well, it’s pretty safe to assume that as long as weed is legal in some states while remaining illegal in others, marijuana trafficking will continue (supply and demand, ya know). The solution to reducing cannabis trafficking, as MERRY JANE notes is not for authorities to continue pursuing their “outmoded policing procedures,” but rather for more states to legalize this highly profitable, taxable, and medicinally beneficial drug. Here here. We agree.
Must-See Music Venues For Your Bucket List
Must-See Music Venues For Your Bucket List
An amazing venue can make an average band sound great. Even better, A+ music venues can make an incredible band sound out of this world. Let’s take a look at some of our bucket list music venues. Listening to music at home — on some great speakers or in your headphones — is all well and good, but it doesn’t get any better than hearing one of your favorite bands live. Toss in a killer venue, and you’ve got the recipe for a totally unforgettable night. Here’s a look at some of our dream venues and a few shows we wish we could’ve seen. %related-post-1% The Greek Theater — Berkeley, California Located smack dab in the middle of the University of California’s Berkeley campus, the Hearst Greek Theater is a sight to behold. An open-air amphitheater, the Greek, as most know it, opened to the public in 1903. In the years since, the theater has played host to presidents, the Dalai Lama, and a list of bands a mile long. A concert under the stars at the Greek should definitely be on your bucket list.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Red Rocks Amphitheater — Red Rocks, Colorado A proverbial stone’s throw from downtown Denver, Red Rocks is one of the most well-known music venues in the world. The natural red rock scenery is absolutely gorgeous and gives the amphitheater incredible acoustics. Since originally opening in 1906, Red Rocks has become a permanent stop on virtually any tour. The Beatles even played there on their 1964 U.S. tour. Red Rocks should definitely be a stop on your next trip to the Mile High City. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Metro — Chicago, Illinois The Metro is a Chicago landmark. Opened in 1982, the venue has hosted some of the world’s most incredible bands over the last 30 or so years. The Metro has built an incredible reputation for the best sound of any venue around. Even on Youtube, concerts at the Metro sound amazing. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Ryman Auditorium — Nashville, Tennessee The Ryman Auditorium originally opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle all the back in 1892. In the center of Music City, the Ryman has seen generations of talented artists come and go. The venue’s astonishing acoustics have made some for spectacular performances throughout the ages. If you get a chance, don’t pass up a show at the Ryman. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The 9:30 Club — Washington, D.C. We are huge fans of NPR’s All Songs Considered, and there’s a reason why the 9:30 Club is where the radio show records live performances of their favorite acts. The venue has everything you could want: great sound, amazing bands, and plenty of history. Seemingly everyone in D.C. has a favorite memory of a show at the 9:30, so why shouldn’t you? " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Do you have a favorite venue we should check out? Let us know! We'd love to write more music venues lists. 
Super Troopers 2: Who’s Excited?
Super Troopers 2: Who’s Excited?
Super Troopers is a stoner classic. With the sequel confirmed for release in Spring 2018, let’s get hyped by counting down some of our favorite moments from the original. Everyone has a favorite line from the original Super Troopers. And, despite its release in 2001, the lines haven’t really gotten old. Re-watching this gem is always good for a few laughs. As we gear up for the sequel, let’s count down our favorite moments from the original Super Troopers. But first, don’t forget to check out the trailer for Super Troopers 2 — of course it’s release date is April 20th: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The cat game Here it is. The game that launched 1 billion “meow” jokes. Though it can seem a little played out meow, this bit was absolutely hilarious at first. Almost 20 years later, the nostalgia factor still gets a good chuckle out of anyone who remembers Mac and Foster. Key line: “Am I jumping around all nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Liter a’ cola Officer Farva is the bane of the other troopers’ existences. And, to be honest, most of the audiences probably hated him, too. But the truth, however, remains Farva plays a key role in some of the movie’s best scenes — none of them better than his classic order at Dimpus Burger. Key line: “Liter is French for give me some f***in’ cola!” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You boys like Mex-ee-co? From the opening scene of the movie, the three stoners being pulled over by Thorny become is unforgettable. The troopers love messing with these dudes and it’s hilarious. This happens to be our favorite of those pranks. Key line: “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Shenanigans Captain O’Hagan is one of the few characters in Super Troopers with more than a shred of common sense. Although he can come across as a bit of a buzzkill, he’s the loveable authority figure, and provides one of our favorite moments. Key line: “I swear to God I’ll pistol whip the next guy who says shenanigans!” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Bullet-proof cup Just watch it. Seriously. Key line: “You’re a sick m*********er, Mac.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Got a favorite moment we didn’t include? Don’t be all nimbly bimbly! Let us know!
Valentine’s Day Marijuana Gifts: What Your Significant Other Really Wants
Valentine’s Day Marijuana Gifts: What Your Significant Other Really Wants
Forget jewelry. If your significant other is a cannabis consumer, here are some things to consider when picking out Valentines Day marijuana gifts. Ah, Saint Valentine’s Day, the spot on the calendar when we celebrate romance above all else. And how do we celebrate it? Naturally, in the West, by spending money! Nothing says “I love you” more than a mass-produced Hallmark card, or a swanky “2 for $20” entree special at your favorite chain restaurant. %related-post-1% Hey now, we’re not throwing total shade at these “traditions.” After all, if it makes your significant other’s heart swell with endearment, we’re all for whatever your plans might be. That said, if your love happens to be a fan of cannabis, we’ve got some ideas for you. Of course, we’re not bringing any new ideas to the table. It appears that cannabis connoisseurs have already begun circling Valentine’s Day as a time to purchase something special — marijuana-wise — for the objects of their affection. According to Flowhub, a Colorado-based software company, dispensary sales jumped 22 percent between 2016 and 2017 on the weekend before Valentine’s day. What’s more, edible sales spiked 42 percent on that weekend. That makes sense to us considering strawberries and chocolates — and we don’t mean the Hershey’s kind — are an age old pairing. %related-post-2% If you’re about to make a last-minute dash to the dispensary to grab some product for your sweetheart, keep these statistics from Eaze in mind. In 2017, women were more prone to purchase cannabis-infused health and wellness products (see our last recommendation below) while men preferred concentrates. But if you held our feet to the fire and told us to recommend three Valentines Day marijuana gifts, we’d have to start with these: The Nuggy by NugTools Outdoor enthusiasts usually keep a multi-tool (think Leatherman) on them at all times. Cannabis fans have their own version of this in the Nuggy. Whether you’re cleaning out your bowl or in need of a roach clip, look no further. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Cupid, the Love Bubbler by MJ Arsenal The makers of Cupid pose the question, “What’s more romantic than smooth jazz on Valentine's day?” And their answer: “Smooth smoke!” We won’t disagree, and their heart-shaped love bubbler is a spot-on gift for Valentine’s Day. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Awaken by FORIA Awaken is a new topical spray for her by FORIA that blends “8 all natural aphrodisiacs including Kava Kava, Cacao, Hemp, Vanilla and Cinnamon.” The reviews speak for themselves: five stars all day. Here is a news report of their launch product: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Alright, there's your head start on Valentines Day marijuana gifts. Oh, and don’t forget to buy flowers. And not the red kind either (wink, wink).
How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom
How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom
As legalization spreads, marijuana consumer preferences are shifting. Two correlating trends are the growing popularity of vaporizers and a dip in flower demand. For decades, if you wanted to use cannabis — even in states where it was legal — you had few options but to roll a joint and smoke it.  As California cannabis delivery service Eaze and other pot startups have discovered, however, easier and less messy delivery methods like vaping have not only transformed the usefulness and public perception of the drug, they have also helped the industry explode into the mainstream. %related-post-1% As Eaze explained in its “2017 State of Cannabis” report, these products are helping more and more longtime — and new — users discover how easy it can be to enjoy marijuana. “Products that are ready to use out of the box, easy to use, and portable, especially interest newcomers as these products result in a smooth and pleasant first-time introduction to marijuana,” the report says. “These ‘convenience’ products only require a match or lighter, a push of a button, or some appetite, and are perfect for many lifestyle activities, such as prerolls for a concert, or a vaporizer for yoga.” Similar to e-cigarettes, vape cartridges are the most popular of all the new convenience products. Because the products don’t actually burn any organic material, the New York Times notes, they are widely considered to be safer than smoking in the same way vaping nicotine is safer than smoking cigarettes. As recently as 2014, marijuana flower accounted for 85 percent of Eaze’s annual sales. The company saw sales of vape cartridges jump by 400 percent between 2015 and 2016, driving down flower to less than a third of its total sales and helping to boost the company’s overall sales by 300 percent in 2017. %related-post-2% Another cannabis start-up, Cura Cannabis Solutions, an Oregon company that specializes vape cartridges, has seen similar growth. In December 2016, the Times reports, the company’s sales were $2 million. One year later, they were raking in $7 million each month. According to the Times, this “increasingly sophisticated set of marijuana start-ups” argue that by “pushing the industry past smoke, they can make cannabis convenient and ubiquitous — the drug of the future, and the next great American bonanza.” With the industry estimated to hit $23 billion by 2021, it’s hard to disagree.
New Legislation, New Products Could Expand New York Medical Marijuana
New Legislation, New Products Could Expand New York Medical Marijuana
In an effort to get medicine into the hands of more patients, new legislation coupled with new products could bring welcome change to the New York medical marijuana scene.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent move to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo may have given federal prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, but it stopped just short of directing them to do so. Unfazed by this token anti-toking gesture, pro-pot legislators and canna-biz leaders are continuing to work to expand the availability of legal marijuana to those who need it and want it. Such is the case in New York. %related-post-1% While New York is one of 29 states in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, its program — signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 under the Compassionate Care Act and launched in 2016 — was initially one of the most conservative in the nation. At first, only patients with illnesses including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease were permitted to consume smokeless forms of cannabis. The state added chronic pain to that list of qualifying illnesses in 2016, and post-traumatic stress disorder last year. Not surprisingly, the slowly expanding list of qualifying conditions has hampered New York’s medical marijuana from attracting patients. According to Health Department data cited by the Daily News, only 40,286 patients currently use the program. However, new regulations announced last summer expanded the methods New York medical marijuana could be offered, and at least one company is seizing the opportunity to launch new products — and attract new customers. The 2014 law limited forms of the drug to capsules and liquids and oils for vaporization. According to the Daily News, Etain Inc. has become the first grower in the state to receive preliminary approval from the Health Department to offer newly permitted products, including pot lozenges and ground marijuana flowers for use in vaporizers. %related-post-2% A health department spokeswoman told the paper that the new products must still undergo “rigorous testing” before they can hit the market. Hillary Peckham, Etain’s founder and chief operations officer, is hopeful that the products will hit shelves in March. “Whether you’re the parent of a child with epilepsy, a cancer patient, or a veteran dealing with PTSD, you shouldn’t have to live in fear when seeking legal medical treatment for a debilitating illness,” she says. If recently introduced legislation is enacted, all of those patients listed by Peckham — and more — could have access to medical marijuana with as little as a doctor’s note. Introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Assembly Bill 8904 would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any serious condition — not just those currently allowed per the state’s medical marijuana program. %related-post-3% "I have always opposed a restricted conditions list for medical marijuana," Gottfried told MERRY JANE. "No other medication has a statutory list of what conditions it may be used for because healthcare professionals, not the state, should make prescribing decisions." While it’s too early to tell if or when the bill will actually pass, support for it is building across the state due to the marijuana program’s potential to provide patients with a safer alternative to dangerous painkillers.   "That's crucial for us in New York right now, facing the opioid crisis," says Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "In this moment, it's clear that New Yorkers are sick and tired of marijuana prohibition getting in the way of people's ability to access medication and to be able to live as healthfully as possible." Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about New York medical marijuana laws and other legalization efforts across the nation.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 5
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 5
Interesting cannabis headlines keep coming at us at lightning speed, and the first full week of February 2018 was loaded with notable cannabis news. Every single day we keep our eyes on cannabis news headlines — then we pass some of the best nuggets on to you. Here are six from the past few days. Girl Scout entrepreneur under fire (you gotta be kidding us!) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> It’s hard to think of a better munchie fix than a box of Girl Scout cookies. That reality — we’re sure you’ve heard by now — led to the most perfectly located Girl Scout sales spot imaginable . . . outside a San Diego dispensary. She, of course, sold out of her stock in no time. Cue the the hand-wringers and fun police. Did she break rules? Or not? *eye roll* Our question: Are people really worried about this?  Our verdict: We love her style either way. Cannabis jobs are booming We all had a hunch that the number of legal cannabis jobs were booming. Earlier this week, that hunch was confirmed as new statistics were released by ZipRecruiter revealing that cannabis job postings increased by 445 percent in 2017. That’s incredible. Especially considering that the year prior job posts grew by just 18 percent. Cannabis delivery coming to Colorado? We're obviously big fans of cannabis delivery here at The Sugar Leaf, and we hope it’s a service that becomes as common as pizza delivery one day. And if a group of Colorado legislators have their way, it will be — in Colorado, anyway. News broke this week that Colorado legislators are, again, considering allowing cannabis delivery in the Centennial State. A bill was introduced last year, but it failed. We’ve got our fingers crossed they have more luck this time. Washington marijuana tracking still a problem It would be an understatement to say that the state of Washington has had problems with their marijuana tracking system. And last week, after a three month delay, the system launched yet again. Celebration time, right? Well, not so fast. According to some businesses this week, there have been abundant problems generating manifests and traceability has all but shut down at times. Authorities have said the problems will be resolved — and we hope, for the sake of cannabis businesses, they’re right. Portland gets its first “cannabis bodega” We’re in L-O-V-E with this idea. Jeffrey's Flower and Oil is a cannabis dispensary in Portland that is, as the Willamette Week puts it, “a one-stop for tinctures, drinks and munchies.” PTL, friends. PTL. What’s more, Jeffrey’s plans on offering picnic baskets full of great grub and cannabis items this summer. Talk about a yard party upgrade. Sign us up. Virginia one step from legalized medical marijuana oil We are heartened that that the Virginia House and Senate have unanimously approved a bill that would allow patients to access cannabis oil upon the recommendation of a physician. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam, a doctor, who has already voiced support of medical marijuana. Hi-five, Virginia. Alright friends, be sure to come back next week for more cannabis news headlines.
How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence
How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence
Legal American marijuana is killing the market for Mexican-grown cannabis. It’s also making a noticeable dent in violent crime on the border. Legal marijuana has helped countless people deal with numerous health conditions. It has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue. It has also helped to slow down drug trafficking and other drug-related crime. And perhaps nowhere is that reduction in crime more evident than on the border between the United States and Mexico. %related-post-1% According to data from the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, Mexico rakes in between $6 billion and $8 billion each year from the drug trade. The center estimates that 15 percent to 26 percent of that revenue comes from marijuana. As significant as Mexico’s marijuana revenues are, however, they used to be higher — much higher. And the increased availability of legal American marijuana is the reason. As the Los Angeles Times reports, seizures of pot by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have steadily declined for a decade. Last year, 861,231 pounds of marijuana were seized at U.S. ports of entry. That figure is down from 2.4 million pounds in 2013 and 4.3 million pounds in 2009. With their pot profits dropping, Mexico’s drug cartels have increasingly dropped out of the marijuana business. According to figures from the Mexican government, federal forces wiped out 74,531 acres of pot crops in 2006. In 2016, that figure dropped to 13,537 acres. %related-post-2% During a recent seizure of a drug shipment in Ensenada, just 85 miles south of San Diego, Mexican police found 100 pounds of fentanyl, 914 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 88 pounds of cocaine, and 18 pounds of heroin. They found no marijuana. Not only has the falling demand for Mexican marijuana taken money from cartel pockets, it has also contributed to a significant (and welcome) drop in drug-related crime. Of the the four U.S. states that border Mexico, three — California, New Mexico, and Arizona — have some form of marijuana legalization. According to a recent study published by the Economic Journal, the rate of violent crime fell by 12.5 per cent in counties nearest to the border after the introduction of medical marijuana laws. As the Independent notes, data from the study shows that robberies in these counties have dropped by 19 percent, murders by 10 percent, and assaults by nine percent. The most notable number is in the number of drug-law related murders, which have fallen by almost 41 percent. %related-post-3% While the cartels are increasingly abandoning the marijuana business and shifting their focus to the production of heroin and fentanyl — as well as extortion schemes and fuel theft — pockets of pot production and pot-related crime still exist south of the border. Some within the Mexican government are pushing for legalization, looking to further stamp out violence, as well as replicate the streams of newfound revenue that are currently being generated in the United States. With drug enforcement agents now seizing more and more illegal shipments of legal American marijuana bound for Mexico, it’s safe to say the demand is there. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon
Home to Bend and other outdoor destinations, Central Oregon is full of natural beauty. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon. Central Oregon is home to some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in the country. We’re talking waterfalls to beautiful mountain peaks, and even caves. So pack up your vape or grab your pre-roll and get hiking! Tumalo Falls " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The hike along Tumalo Creek to Tumalo Falls is a 7-mile loop. The lightly traveled trail will take you right up to a breathtaking view of the nearly 100-foot falls where you can choose to continue your hike to more scenic overlooks. This is a must-see sight in the Deschutes National Forest. Recommended strain: Durban Poison — a sweet, earthy tasting sativa that offers a boost of energy and uplifting high. Deschutes River Trail This trail starts in the heart of Bend and offers tons of access points. It’s 12.5 miles in length one way, and the trail showcases Central Oregon’s natural beauty a stone’s throw from any modern conveniences you may require. Recommended strain: Emperor Cookie Dough — citrusy and tropical, this bud is a cross of Girl Scout Cookies and Emperor OG and provides a nice, relaxed high. %related-post-1% Lava River Cave Just 13 miles south of Bend, Lava River Cave is an un-collapsed lava tube. How many opportunities do you get to hike in one of those? The hike isn’t super long — only about a mile — but it is about 100 feet deep in certain spots. This is a hike to remember, earning an obvious spot on our list of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon. But, be sure to check whether it’s open before you hike. The Lava River Cave is closed during cold months. Recommended strain: Strawberry Banana — an indica-dominant strain that is a cross between Banana Kush and Bubblegum, this strain will make any hike more enjoyable. Green Lakes Trail The Green Lakes Trail offers some of the best views of the South Sister and Broken Top mountains you can find in the Bend area. The trail winds its way along Fall Creek and provides plenty of scenic views and rushing water along the way. Be sure to bring your camera. Recommended strain: Grape Stomper — this strain is perfect if you’re not looking for a huge head high. It offers delicious grape flavor with higher CBD content. Taste great and no couch lock! %related-post-2% Whychus Falls Creek Trail This trail is a 5.8 out-and-back hike to another absolutely gorgeous waterfall in the Deschutes National Forest. The hike is perfect for all skill levels, and the view at the end is well worth it. Recommended strain: Blue Dream — (most) everyone knows and loves this strain. Strong berry flavors give way to uplifting effects that provide a mellow high. Didn’t see your favorite hike on our list of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We'll be posting more of Oregon's best hiking trails. 
Bluegrass And Marijuana: 5 Ear-Pleasing Picks
Bluegrass And Marijuana: 5 Ear-Pleasing Picks
There’s something about soaring bluegrass melodies that instantly get us hooked. Whether you prefer high-energy jams or chill tunes, bluegrass and marijuana make a great pair. There’s a bluegrass album for every mood. So, if you’re looking for a soundtrack for the next time you toke up, it may be time to pop one of our favorite bluegrass albums on the stereo. We’ve got just about every type we could think of covered, so try one or try ‘em all and let us know what you think! Self-titled by The Earls of Leicester " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Despite only releasing two albums, The Earls of Leicester are considered one of bluegrass’ most well-known super-groups. Not only is the group comprised of world-class pickers, they also specialize in covering the songs of bluegrass royalty — Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. This is a great place to start for a modern primer on classic bluegrass. Nobody Knows You by Steep Canyon Rangers " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Hailing from Brevard, North Carolina, Steep Canyon Rangers have been making music together since the early 2000s. However, the band didn’t hit the big time until they supported and collaborated with comedian and banjo player, Steve Martin. Nobody Knows You won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 and it definitely still holds up. Drive by Béla Fleck " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Béla Fleck is a modern bluegrass OG. He’s been picking and releasing music for decades. Although you could really just about start anywhere with his catalogue, Drive is our personal favorite, mainly due to the backup work provided by Sam Bush and Jerry Douglass. Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We might be stretching the definition of bluegrass with this pick, but we hope you won’t hold it against us. Known more as a folk artist than bluegrass performer, Gillian Welch’s voice is so beautiful we don’t care what genre it is. Roll up some indica and let yourself get carried away. At Carnegie Hall! by Flatt & Scruggs " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This album is a classic. A must-hear if you are in the mood for lightning fast guitar and fiddle lines. These are the men who put bluegrass on the map. Did we miss a good bluegrass and marijuana pairing? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites!
Could New Jersey Marijuana Laws Finally Be Taking Root?
Could New Jersey Marijuana Laws Finally Be Taking Root?
New Jersey’s new governor supports legalization. But when will the state’s lawmakers get on board and pass New Jersey marijuana laws. During former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s time in office, marijuana legalization didn’t stand a chance. Christie, a Republican, called the idea of cannabis legalization “beyond stupidity,” and penned a letter deriding the movement as chairman of President Trump’s commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis. %related-post-1% New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, couldn’t disagree more. A former Wall Street banker and ambassador to Germany under former President Obama, Murphy values the medicinal benefits of the drug, and has pledged to make the possession and sale of marijuana legal in the state.   In a Jan. 23, 2018 tweet, Murphy touted medical marijuana use in treating “chronic and debilitating pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, PTSD, ALS, side effects of cancer treatment, side effects of HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other painful illnesses.” “We will not deny people compassionate care any longer,” he added. As Entrepreneur reports, Murphy calls the state’s current marijuana legislation unfair, blaming it for the incarceration of a disproportionately high number of people of color. On his website, Murphy says he will “end mass incarceration by pursuing the legalization of marijuana and comprehensively reviewing all criminal sentencing laws.” %related-post-2% First enacted in 2010, New Jersey’s medical marijuana program only allows patients suffering from a limited number of conditions to legally use medical marijuana, including multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and muscular dystrophy. As Entrepreneur reports, Murphy has blamed Christie for severely hindering patients’ access to the drug, noting that only five dispensaries serve the program’s 15,000 enrollees across the state. Murphy has already issued an executive order directing the New Jersey Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the existing program in order to “eliminate barriers” to access for patients suffering from conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana. State lawmakers are also drafting a bill that would create a legal adult-use cannabis market, and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora has already introduced a companion bill that would allow a single household to grow up to 12 marijuana plants if and when recreational cannabis becomes legal in the Garden State. Murphy says he’d like to see a legalization bill passed “sooner than later.” But despite his enthusiastic advocacy of legal marijuana — and the fact that Democrats now hold the governor's office and a majority in both chambers of New Jersey’s Legislature — the governor is facing opposition to his plans from members of his own party. %related-post-3% Not only have 11 of 15 Republican state senators said they would vote "no" on any bill legalizing weed, but half a dozen Democratic state senators told NJ Advance Media that they also intend to vote against any bill legalizing pot for recreational use by adults. Some of those who oppose legalization have expressed concerns about potential public safety issues on the state’s roadways. Others are concerned about the message legalization might send to New Jersey’s youth. Most, however, are concerned about the aforementioned unfair pot-related prosecution and incarceration of people of color, and want to see that discrepancy fixed before any new laws are passed. Given Murphy’s insistence that "a stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform — including a process to legalize marijuana," the senate and the governor’s office might not be as far apart as they think. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about New Jersey marijuana laws and other legalization efforts across the nation.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 4
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 4
We’re now to the second month of 2018, and if January was a harbinger of things to come, we are never going to run out of cannabis news to share this year. Is it possible to be surprised that we’re already to February while simultaneously feeling like January took foreverrrrrrrr to end? Whatever the sentiment, January delivered stacks of cannabis news headlines that have set the tone for the entire year. Here are a few from the week the calendar flipped to February. Willie Nelson’s cannabis line nabs $12 million to expand The Redheaded Stranger is cannabis royalty, and there is absolutely no doubt about that. He’s been a canna-advocate for decades, and a few years ago he launched his own line of cannabis products called Willie’s Reserve. This week, the Colorado group that markets Nelson’s line announced it had raised $12 million to expand beyond its current market, which is comprised of Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Oregon.  *coughs into hand* “California” Here’s a Rolling Stone video from the initial launch of Willie’s Reserve: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Canadian cops eat confiscated edibles and then one...climbs a tree? We already discussed this in our Weird Weed Headlines post earlier this week, but it’s definitely worth another mention. Two Toronto policemen who were supposed to be guarding products confiscated during a dispensary raid decided to, um, sample the goods. Afterwards the two got separated from one another, and things went awry from there. Long story short, one called for backup while hallucinating, and when help arrived, here’s what he saw: "He was up in a tree. Up there with the birds.” Literally and figuratively, we assume. San Francisco to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions From some funny news (above) to some seriously good news: Going back four decades, the San Francisco district attorney’s office is tossing out old misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession. Some 3,000 misdemeanor convictions will be thrown in the trash, while another 4,900 felony marijuana convictions will be evaluated to see if they can be downgraded. San Diego is making similar moves. Hi-fives, people! 6-year-old girl becomes first recipient of legal MMJ in Texas More good news here. MMJ has been a long time coming in the Lone Star State, and a Central Texas girl suffering from intractable epilepsy become the first patient in Texas to receive a legal medical marijuana delivery. There is only one dispensary in the state — tucked between San Antonio, Houston, and Austin — and though advocates were celebrating a single delivery, that one transaction represented the culmination of years of hard work. Super Bowl dispensary blitz coming Sunday is the big day for football fans everywhere, as the New England Patriots square off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. And speaking of bowls, dispensary owners are anticipating a major rush on their inventories by fans who would rather enjoy cannabis with the game than beer. Tastes great, less hangovers. Another round of cannabis news in the books. We’ll be back again next week with more.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 5
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 5
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 5 We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a strain of cannabis named after Monica Lewinsky and a county sheriff who was offered four pounds of pot for his used truck. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ve got to share them. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 5. Enjoy… %related-post-1% Pot for pizza? Last month, we told you about a dude who tried to trade some pot for a used truck he found on Craigslist. Unfortunately for the dude, he didn’t know the seller was the county sheriff. This month, we have the story of another fella who tried to use pot to pay for a drink at Domino’s. Not surprisingly, he also wound up in jail. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the man first tried to pay for a pizza and some chicken parmesan with a ripped but taped-up $50 bill, but the cashier said the business couldn’t accept it. After he paid with a $20 bill, he decided that he also wanted a drink. According to the clerk, the man mumbled incoherently and then passed her some weed. She then told her manager, who called police. When officers arrived, they found a joint behind the man’s ear and some individually packaged weed inside a can in his backpack. They also found a scale, three checks, and, um, $87 in cash. Why he didn’t just use the cash to buy the drink, you’ll have to ask him. Down at the jail. %related-post-2% Law & Order: SMH Police officers are supposed to protect and serve the public, not themselves. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when two cops in Toronto, Canada raided a marijuana dispensary in January. As the International Business Times reports, two officers who were supposed to be guarding evidence allegedly ingested some seized cannabis edibles, started hallucinating, and became separated from one another. One of the officers then called an off-duty colleague who confused the call for a kidnapping alert and requested backup. When the backup officers reached the scene — which was not far from their precinct — they had trouble finding the officers. When both were found, one was up in a tree. An EMS paramedic helped him get down and provided him with medical treatment. While no criminal charges were filed against the officers, the pair have been suspended pending what must be one of the most hilarious police investigations in Canadian history. %related-post-3% Snuggling is always better than smuggling Of all the smuggling stories we’ve brought you over the last few months, this one might be the cutest. During a routine security check at an Amtrak Station in Iowa, police noticed that Hunter L. Parker, 21, had a one-way ticket to St. Louis. After speaking with Parker, deputies were granted permission to search his bags. During the search, the officers discovered a four-foot-tall teddy bear which had a “strong odor” of weed and a hard substance in its legs. According to the Globe Gazette, Parker bolted when he was placed under arrest. After a brief foot chase, he was apprehended and taken to jail. According to police, the bear contained five packages of suspected marijuana weighing 5.6 pounds and 92 grams of hash, worth an estimated $25,000. Parker is scheduled to appear in court on February. Little is known about the fate of the bear. %related-post-4% Super special socks While pot is still technically illegal at the federal level, a ballot initiative in Washington, D.C. legalized possession of up to two ounces of pot, home cultivation of up to six plants, and the gifting of up to one ounce of pot to a person 21 or over. Inspired by the gifting portion of the ballot initiative, scores of clever “ganja-preneurs” have seized the opportunity to give customers “free gifts” of weed with the ridiculously overpriced purchase of all kinds of (often ridiculous) items. As the CBC reports, those items have included $60 T-shirts, $80 Pokemon action figures, and — we’re not kidding — in-person motivational speeches that range from $60 to $360 and come with a free sampling of weed. The gifting of 1 ounce (or less) of cannabis is legal as long as no money, goods, or services are exchanged. Despite the fact that buyers, sellers, and police all know what’s really going on, law enforcement has pretty much looked the other way — except on a nights like one Saturday night in January when socks were being sold at a nightclub for $400. A police raid that night netted 17 pounds of pot, 10 pounds of edibles and two quarts of oils infused with THC. And, apparently, a bunch of socks. There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next round.
Will Tennessee Medical Marijuana Ever Become Legal?
Will Tennessee Medical Marijuana Ever Become Legal?
Two Republican lawmakers in the Volunteer State think residents should have access to Tennessee medical marijuana. The governor doesn’t agree. Last year, State Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville and State Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby headed Tennessee’s Medical Cannabis Task Force, a panel created by House Speaker Beth Harwell to explore the possibility of marijuana legalization in the state. As the Johnson City Press reports, the task force drafted legislation based on testimony from hundreds of experts like doctors, patients, and officials from other states where marijuana is already legal. %related-post-1% Dickerson, a physician, and Faison, a lawmaker who has travelled to Colorado multiple times to research medical marijuana, have filed a bill which would legalize oil-based medical marijuana products for an estimated 65,000 Tennesseans suffering from a variety of health conditions. Faison has chided the Senate for being too “scared” to pass previous Tennessee medical marijuana bills. This time around, he and Dickerson are taking a softer approach, dubbing the latest bill the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018 as way to remind people that the bill would legalize only cannabis oil products, not the recreational use of marijuana. Dickerson told Knoxville’s WATE that legalizing the cannabis oil “will help Tennessee’s sickest citizens,” while Faison calls the bill “an alternative to opiates.” According to the Tennessee Department of Health, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 1,186 people in Tennessee in 2016. Despite the fact that a recent Vanderbilt University poll indicates that nearly 80 percent of registered Tennessee voters support doctors having at least the option to prescribe medical cannabis to patients battling opioid addiction and other conditions, Gov. Bill Haslam isn’t too keen on the idea. %related-post-2% Just a day after Dickerson and Faison introduced their bill, Haslam introduced TN Together, a plan to battle the state’s growing opioid epidemic by focusing on prevention, treatment, and expanded law enforcement capabilities. Medical marijuana is not part of the plan, and, if Haslam has his way, it never will be.    “I think our position on medical marijuana has been the same, and I don’t think you’ll see our administration be in favor of that,” he told WATE. Haslam, along with other top Senate Republicans, have indicated they would be a “no vote” on the marijuana bill, citing the need for more research on the benefits of cannabis, as well as a need for the Drug Enforcement Administration to change marijuana’s prohibitive federal classification as a Schedule 1 substance. Nashville Democrat Sherry Jones, who has sponsored numerous medical cannabis bills, told WATE that Haslam and Republican leadership need to re-read the existing research. %related-post-3% “If the governor is not for medical marijuana and for helping the people that studies have proven it will help, then he is wrong,” she says. As of the time of this writing, several members of Senate leadership say that, instead of Tennessee medical marijuana, they are focused on the governor’s opioid bill. Will the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018 ever pass? Your guess is as good as ours. If it does pass, Tennessee would join 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana. But only If…
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 2
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 2
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 2: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns We hope you liked our first installment of Classical Music for Marijuana. It’s hard to imagine a more chilled way to pass the time than to bliss out to some of Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. For our second volume of the Classical Music for Marijuana series, we’re recommending something that includes those mellow tones again, but also sprinkles in a heavy dose of some uptempo action that will totally ensnare your brain space: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Camille Saint-Saëns? Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, conductor, pianist and organist of the Romantic era. A child prodigy, Saint-Saëns studied music at the Paris Conservatoire, and before spending the latter years of his career as a freelance composer, he served — among a handful of other posts — as the organist at La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. Saint-Saëns had a deep appreciation for music history, but he was also a reputed fan of the modern music of his age. Of his favorites were Robert Schumann (Germany), Franz Liszt (Hungary), and Richard Wagner (Germany). About Saint-Saëns’ Le carnaval des animaux Translated as “The Carnival of the Animals,” Le carnaval des animaux is a fun, generally uplifting musical suite, comprised of fourteen movements. It was, oddly enough, born out of frustration, as Saint-Saëns composed it after returning from an underwhelming German concert tour. Once the tour was over, Saint-Saëns secluded himself in a small Austrian town and wrote the suite in early 1886. Saint-Saëns relished in the fun of composing Le carnaval des animaux, but only published one movement of it during his lifetime. He believed it would detract from his reputation as a “serious” composer. The rest of the suite was released posthumously, becoming one of his most famous works. Quick listen As always, we recommend listening to the full suite, but if you want just a quick sample of Le carnaval des animaux, play “Aquarium.” If Aquarium’s smooth otherworldliness sounds familiar, it’s likely because it has been featured in seemingly countless motion pictures.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We hope you love Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns as much as we do. Come back for Volume 3 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
3 Reasons Why The Cannabis Industry’s Cash-Only System Stinks
3 Reasons Why The Cannabis Industry’s Cash-Only System Stinks
Federal law has rendered the nation’s booming legal marijuana industry a cash-only affair. Here’s why that’s terrible for everyone involved. Despite Americans’ unprecedented support for marijuana legalization — as well as the fact that 30 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing cannabis in some form — the drug remains illegal at the federal level. As we’ve discussed previously, this legal grey area has forced those in the marijuana industry to operate without traditional access to the banking industry. %related-post-1% The federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In 2014, the Obama Administration issued revised guidelines that gave some leeway to banks to legally provide financial services to state-licensed and law-abiding marijuana businesses, but virtually all banks kept their distance, still not confident that they could serve cannabusinesses without risking fines or prosecution. While the Senate recently approved legislation to protect banks against repercussions if they do business with marijuana businesses, a Republican-controlled committee voted against even talking about a similar amendment in the House. This lack of access to banking services means that virtually all marijuana business must be done in a cash-only fashion, which can be an enormous — not to mention dangerous — hassle for all involved. Here’s why: %related-post-2% Marijuana businesses are prime targets for violent criminals The more successful a marijuana business is, the more cash it’s likely to have laying around. Criminals know this, and have targeted employees who guard and/or transport large sums of money. In 2012, a pot shop owner was kidnapped, tortured, and left for dead in the Mojave Desert when his assailants incorrectly believed he had buried money in the desert. (He, as well as a female acquaintance who was also kidnapped, thankfully survived.) In 2014, a marijuana delivery driver was beaten with a gun and robbed in Lake Forest, California. The robber stole cash and weed. A year later, a security guard was forced to shoot and kill a burglar at a medical marijuana dispensary in Anaheim, California. In 2016, a 24-year-old former marine with a wife and three children was shot in the head and killed during his second week on the job as a pot store guard in Aurora, Colorado. The robbers fled without any cash. Just four days later, a 35-year-old guard at a San Bernardino, California medical marijuana dispensary was shot. He survived, but three armed robbers made off with a mountain of cash. (The case mirrored a 2015 shooting of another dispensary guard in San Bernardino who died from his wounds.) A couple of weeks before the Aurora incident, a dispensary owner in Walnut Park, California survived a gun battle with two would-be robbers. In November, another dispensary owner in Los Angeles survived after being shot twice by robbers outside his store. Unfortunately, these cases only scratch the surface. The longer dispensary owners and employees have to handle tons of cash, the longer we will likely continue to see similar incidents. %related-post-3% Buying cannabis can be needlessly complicated Not only are cannabis customers also putting themselves at risk when they visit dispensaries while carrying large amounts of cash, but products that have been introduced to help marijuana growers, retailers, and customers navigate the industry’s cash-only status only serve to add extra steps to what should be a much simpler buying and selling process. For example, PayQwick, the so-called “PayPal for pot,” issues customers a preloaded card that they can use to make purchases and collect rewards. According to the Orange County Register, the company charges a 2.75 percent transaction fee to cannabis businesses, who can also use the online payment platform to pay vendors, landlords, and employees. Similar to Groupon, Denver-based Greenito allows dispensaries and delivery services to offer “smokin’ deals” on various products. Customers then use their credit cards to pay for the products and a small “access fee” online, and then receive a certificate to redeem at the retailer. While innovative, neither of these options are simpler than, say, using your credit card or debit card to buy weed like you would anything else. Neither are the pot vending machines or delivery services that accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — currencies that are only used by a minute fraction of consumers. Until pot businesses can use banking services without fear of penalty, pot customers will continue to deal with the hassle and risk that comes with operating in a cash-only world. %related-post-4% Current regulations are a pain in the bud for some marijuana business owners Even if marijuana business owners and employees are never in any physical danger, they still face of barrage of hurdles brought on by the cash-only cannabis industry. Without a bank account, marijuana businesses can have trouble managing payroll, getting business loans, and obtaining mortgages or credit cards. And the cannabusinesses that do somehow to get bank accounts have to walk on pins and needles, afraid their accounts could be closed at any moment. Marijuana businesses have difficulty getting insurance, as well. Without access to a bank account, Mendocino County, California cannabis farmer Ashley Oldham started to keep her cash in a safe under her house. When wildfires ravaged the area last October, she lost both her home and her savings. As she told public radio station KALW in San Francisco, she can’t help but compare herself to her grape-growing neighbors in Mendocino who have access to federal crop insurance. “We should be treated 100 percent equally to grape farmers. And, we don't have crop insurance like they do,” she says. “If I was in a situation where I could've had crop insurance and my money in a bank, I wouldn't be hurting nearly as bad as I am right now.”   Not only do marijuana businesses have to shell out high fees to keep up with regulatory requirements, they are also taxed through the roof. As we outlined recently, U.S. tax code blocks businesses that sell federally illegal substances from taking standard corporate income-tax deductions. As a result, marijuana companies can see their profits taxed anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent. %related-post-5% And when it comes time for marijuana business owners to pay their local, state, and federal taxes, they must count and deliver their payments in cash. Some of those payments are so large that the businesses have to hire armored cars or independent security firms to protect themselves. As CNBC notes, the amount of money coming into the IRS from the legal cannabis industry is so huge that the agency has ratcheted up its cash-counting capabilities in both Denver and Seattle. While Attorney Jeff Sessions recently reignited the legislative limbo between federal and state marijuana laws, you can bank on the fact that the cannabis industry can’t remain unbanked for much longer. Today’s $6.7 billion U.S. cannabis industry is projected to hit $21 billion just three years from now. That's a massive cash-only industry. Is the IRS going to want to continue counting all that cash? Don’t count on it.
The Best New Albums: January 2018
The Best New Albums: January 2018
2018 is starting off as a great year for music. Check out our picks for the best new albums of January, and add them to your listening queue. A ton of amazing albums came out in 2017, and 2018 shows no signs of breaking the trend. In the first month of the new year, some incredible records from all genres have graced our headphones. Let’s take a closer look at our picks of the best new albums of January to help you load up your playlists. Indie: Post- by Jeff Rosenstock " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Jeff Rosenstock has been an indie rock mainstay for going on a decade. Offering up his unique brand of power pop/catchy rock, Rosenstock tackles some pretty heavy issues including, but not limited to, politics and self doubt. In the wrong hands, such tough topics could make for rough listening, but Rosenstock approaches them with cynicism and humor, making for fun, thought-provoking listening. Electronic: All Melody by Nils Frahm " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Nils Frahm is a master of electronic melodies. His ability to craft memorable hooks without words is simply incredible. On his latest release, Frahm has truly mastered his art. If you’re looking for mind-expanding tunes for your next sesh, look no further. Pop: Camila by Camila Cabello " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Ok, we’ll shoot you straight. “Havana” has been stuck in our heads off and on since we first heard it. Building on the momentum from the Young Thug collab, Cabello finally released her full length album and it totally delivers. The record is fun and catchy — the perfect soundtrack for toking up with friends. Rap/Hip Hop: Culture II by Migos " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Culture was one of our favorite rap records from 2017, and Migos are back at it with Culture II. Coming in at a whopping 24 tracks, the album can be a little overwhelming at the start. But featuring Drake and Kendrick, as well as the group’s signature back-and-forth, it feels like the record picks up where Culture left off. It’s fun and the beats boom, so put it on and turn it up. Rock: Ruins by First Aid Kit " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You probably wouldn’t expect solid folk rock to come out of Sweden (or maybe you would?). And even if you’ve heard First Aid Kit, you probably had no clue they are Scandinavian. These sisters crank out harmonies and melodies that sound like they were pulled straight from an Emmylou Harris record. Their songs are beautiful and perfect for getting swept away during your next smoke session. Did we miss something? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We’ll be back next month with our picks for February’s best new albums.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley
Oregon is an outdoor lover’s playground. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best hiking trails in the Willamette Valley. If you love the outdoors, Oregon has plenty for you. Even better, some low-THC bud can make many of these activities even more enjoyable. For this article, we’re suggesting 5 of our favorite hikes in the Willamette Valley and some cannabis strains to make your time in the great outdoors as pleasurable as possible. Forest Park, Portland " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> One of the most sizeable urban forests in the United States, Forest Park is a pure crowd pleaser. Only 10 minutes from downtown Portland, the park is convenient and offers more than 70 miles of hiking and running trails. This destination is sure to keep you busy even on repeat visits. McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, Eugene Renowned as one of the most beautiful trails in the U.S., the McKenzie River Trail is a hiker or mountain biker’s dream. Stretching 26 miles along the McKenzie River and Cascade Mountains, the trail is a stone’s throw from Eugene. The trail is open year-round, but think twice before taking a dip in the river — it stays pretty chilly! %related-post-1% Opal Creek Wilderness Area, Salem Opal Creek offers 36 miles of mostly in-and-out hikes. Running along Whetstone and Henline Mountains, many of the trails lead to beautiful overlooks of the Douglas firs that cover the area. The terrain can be steep in places, so it’s not the most ideal for camping, but if you’re in the Salem area, Opal is perfect for a day trip. Eagle Creek Trail Park, Portland Located 45 minutes from downtown Portland, Eagle Creek is a popular weekend destination for area hikers. If you’re looking for total solitude, this may not be the best locale, but it’s convenient and offers a quick getaway from city life. Eagle Creek offers roughly 10 hiking trails that can provide a much-needed escape close to home. %related-post-2% Mount Pisgah, Eugene Mount Pisgah offers literally dozens of hiking options for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. The trails are well-maintained and offer some of the most gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley’s natural beauty you can find. Keep an eye out for wildflowers and local wildlife, depending on the time of year you visit. Didn’t see your favorite hike on our list of the best hiking trails in the Willamette Valley? Got a favorite strain to recommend for hiking? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We love writing best hiking trails articles — there will definitely be more to come. 
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 3
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 3
The last full week of January 2018 featured plenty of captivating cannabis news — including Vermont becoming the newest recreationally legal state! Here’s a new rule for cannabis news watchers in 2018: Don’t blink. But if you did this past week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the bigger ticket cannabis news items. Vermont goes recreationally legal The Green Mountain State, indeed! After nearly joining the recreational ranks in 2017, Vermont became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through their legislature on Monday when Gov. Phil Scott signed House Bill 511 into law. Beginning July 1, 2018 Vermont residents will be able to grow their own cannabis and possess small amount for personal use. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Is marijuana flower power dwindling? Yes The New York Times ran a story on the front page of their business section Wednesday highlighting the decreasing consumer appeal of marijuana flower. Consumers have, especially over the past year, shown an increasing interest in other forms of cannabis products. A recent Eaze consumer study bolsters the NYT piece. According to Eaze, vaporizer products are cutting into flower popularity the most. Marijuana media attention is booming Gone are the days of relying on industry-specific media outlets for cannabis news and information. Nowadays, mainstream outlets are dedicating more type space to marijuana than ever before. Just this week, the Associated Press announced the formation of a dedicated marijuana editorial team comprised of seven reporters, two video journalists, and a photographer. Georgia makes encouraging MMJ dispensary moves It’s no secret that southeastern states haven’t been the most friendly to marijuana — recreational or medical. Georgia, however, looks to be taking steps in the right direction medically speaking, as an MMJ dispensary bill was approved Wednesday by a House review group. The bill, if signed into law, would allow for limited cannabis cultivation, and up to 10 medical dispensaries in the state. A cannabis-based anti-seizure medicine may come to market soon GW Pharmaceuticals released results this week from study conducted on seizure-suffering patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Participants were given a new drug with ingredients derived from cannabis — and the results were favorable. According to the lead author of the study, “For some, it (cannabis) does not do a whole lot. But for the people it does work in, it is priceless.” Allllllllllrighty then. We’re always happy to give you some cannabis news headlines that you can share at your next dinner party. Come back next week for more.
Public Support For Marijuana Is Booming. So, When Will More Politicians Act?
Public Support For Marijuana Is Booming. So, When Will More Politicians Act?
Public support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. has never been higher — and it looks like it will only keep growing. Will that translate into more political change? A recent Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans now favor marijuana legalization, as do a similar percentage of Americans surveyed in three other recent polls by CBS News, Quinnipiac University, and the Pew Research Center. Even a majority of Republicans support legalization for the first time in history. %related-post-1% But public support for marijuana doesn’t always mean political action. While the legal marijuana industry has never been bigger, recreational pot remains illegal in 41 states, medical marijuana is still illegal in 21 states, and both forms of marijuana are still technically banned at the federal level. And it is that federal ban — held up by a Republican complacency regarding the ban—which is ultimately doing the most to keep cannabis out of the hands of voters who want it and need it. As the Motley Fool outlines, cannabis is a Schedule I drug at the federal level. This classification makes marijuana illegal, like heroin and LSD, and also keeps it from being legally recognized as having any medical benefit. It also labels the drug as having a high potential for abuse. Marijuana’s Schedule I classification hinders medical cannabis researchers from conducting research, as there is only one federally approved grow facility in the entire nation. The classification also blocks cannabusinesses from traditional banking services. The federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could be at risk of fines and criminal charges. On top of that, U.S. tax code disallows businesses that sell federally illegal substances from taking standard corporate income-tax deductions. As a result, marijuana companies can see their profits taxed anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent. %related-post-2% Despite pot’s Schedule I designation, the Obama-era Cole Memo established a federal policy of non-interference toward pot-friendly state laws. The policy, designed by former Attorney General Eric Holder, allowed the nation’s legal marijuana industry to pick up steam. Yet, current prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since rescinded the policy, and while he hasn’t directed federal prosecutors to go after the pot industry, he has given them carte blanche to do so at their own discretion. Not only has this legislative limbo soured some investors on the domestic marijuana market, it has also given obstructionist Republican lawmakers an excuse not to reconsider their stances on legalization. The fact that the majority of Republican voters supporting legal marijuana is the mathematically smallest majority possible — just 51 percent according to Gallup — doesn’t do much to move the needle, either. With that said, there are encouraging signs that an increasing number of those on the political right are also on the right side of the legalization issue: %related-post-3% South Carolina Rep. Eric Bedingfield has co-sponsored legislation that would pave the way for medical marijuana to replace opioid painkillers, helping curb an epidemic he's seen destroy families of all economic levels — including his own. Bedingfield’s fellow South Carolinian, Senator Lindsey Graham, has been a major backer of the CARERS Act  — aka, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act of 2015 — which, if passed, would do a number of things, including reclassifying marijuana to maximize its medical value, allow banks to handle money from legal marijuana businesses, and prevent the government from interfering with state-legal medical marijuana programs. In Georgia, Conservative Christian lawmaker, State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, presented a bill in 2015 (later signed by Gov. Nathan Deal) that established the state’s medical cannabis program, which now allows more than 1,000 people with qualifying diagnoses to possess cannabis oil. He also drafted a bill (awaiting Gov. Deal’s signature) that would expand previous bill’s list of qualifying conditions. Peake, who is the CEO of one of the nation’s largest franchise restaurant businesses, also helps to shepherd cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people in the state who, according to state law, are allowed to possess it, but who have no legal way of obtaining it.     Two Kentucky Republicans, Senator Rand Paul and Representative Thomas Massie, have been outspoken in their support of pro-marijuana legislation, and noted marijuana advocate and State Senator Perry Clark has been aggressively pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. While Clark’s Cannabis Freedom Act bill failed to pass in 2016, he has filed two new legalization bills, SB76 and SB57, which, if approved by lawmakers, could eventually be voted on by the people of Kentucky. Sen. Paul, along with Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives who introduced comprehensive medical marijuana legislation that would block the federal government from interfering with medical marijuana activity legal at the state level, permit Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis, remove cannabidiol from the Controlled Substances Act, and expand research on marijuana. Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott recently signed House Bill 511 into law, making Vermont the first state in the nation to authorize recreational marijuana use via the act of a state legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure. New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra unveiled a proposal to legalize cannabis and use the resulting tax revenue to pay for subway repairs and other transportation projects. Tennessee State Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) have introduced the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, which would allow Tennessee patients with specific health conditions access to safe, regulated medical cannabis oil-based manufactured products. %related-post-4% Seventy-two percent of Democrats now support marijuana legalization. And while the 51 percent of Republicans supporting legalization might seem a bit underwhelming, that number was 17 points lower just two years ago. As legal marijuana continues to create jobs, generate tax revenue, help people cope with numerous diseases, and combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, the percentage of voters — Republicans and Democrats, alike — who support legalization will only continue to increase. The number of Republican legislators who are responding positively to voters on this issue is encouraging. So, encourage your local elected officials to join them. It's about time political action matches public support for marijuana legalization. 
Judge Says 11-Year-Old Illinois Girl Can Use Medical Cannabis In School
Judge Says 11-Year-Old Illinois Girl Can Use Medical Cannabis In School
While medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, only three say schools must permit students to use legal prescribed cannabis in school. The groundbreaking case of a 11-year-old girl in Schaumburg, Illinois, however, could help to narrow that gap. Ashley Surin was a toddler in December 2008 when she was diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. While several rounds of chemotherapy and spinal injections helped send her cancer into remission, one of the injections triggered debilitating seizures. Ashley has had to take numerous medications for those seizures — medications with serious side effects like extreme mood swings, memory loss, and limited energy. And, as her father, Jim, told CNN, Ashley still had semi-regular seizures. %related-post-1% After one particularly scary episode at a grocery store last year, Ashley had to be taken to the hospital. During a full-body seizure, her head hit the cement with such force that doctors had to drain blood from her brain. "It was the most helpless feeling in the world to see her go down and not be able to help," Jim told CNN. It took Ashley a long time to recover, and when doctors wanted her to try yet another drug last August, Jim says the family “drew a line in the sand.” They started seeing another doctor who suggested that a new regimen consisting of a change in diet and medical cannabis would produce much better results. And it has. The Surins got their medical marijuana license in December 2017, and according to Ashley’s mother, Maureen, Ashley’s seizures have already declined immensely. "We're amazed with her progress," she said to NPR. %related-post-2% Ashley uses a patch on her foot and an oil extract on her wrists. If she happens to have a seizure, she gets a small drop of oil on her tongue. As CNN explains, the cannabidiol in the cannabis helps to keep the seizures at bay. State laws in New Jersey, Maine, and Colorado says that schools must allow students to use prescribed legal cannabis in school. In Washington State, there is no such requirement, and schools can decide for themselves whether or not they will allow it. In the other 25 states where medical marijuana is legal, however, it is against the law for students to use it — or have school nurses administer it — while on campus. Illinois is one of those states. Despite the fact that Ashley takes cannabinol and not tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC, or the marijuana drug that causes people to get high — she couldn’t have it on school grounds. While, say, diabetic children in Illinois can receive help from an adult at school to administer insulin, a teacher or a nurse could lose his or her license if they helped Ashley with her prescription cannabis in school. And, as CNN notes, if Ashley wore her patch to school, she or her parents could technically face criminal prosecution. %related-post-3% While Schaumburg School District 54 was sympathetic to Ashley’s condition, and neither she or her parents were likely to be prosecuted, the school district said it was still compelled to follow the letter of the law. This left Ashley’s parents with two options: keep Ashley out of class or take the school to court. On January 10, her parents filed a lawsuit against the school system in federal court, claiming that the state's ban on utilizing medical cannabis in school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Two days later, a judge ruled in the family’s favor. After missing a couple weeks of class, Ashley has since returned to school, and lawyers for the school district and the attorney general’s office are working on a long-term plan for Ashley and the school. While this case reached court, it should be noted that the school district was determined to find a solution that balanced the law with its obligation to serve a “medically fragile” student like Ashley. Darcy Kriha, the district's attorney, told CNN that the morning before the court hearing, she got a call from the district superintendent and the school board president who told her to do whatever she could to make sure Ashley could come back to school. Ultimately, the Illinois attorney general agreed not to prosecute, saying the staff who help Ashley with her medicine shouldn’t face any legal trouble. The federal judge quickly followed by issuing an emergency order to allow Ashley to go back to school. "They've changed Ashley's life today and they may've also changed the lives for other children for the better,” says Kriha. Kriha added that she applauds the Surins’ "courage" to bring a lawsuit on behalf of their daughter. As do we.
Vermont Marijuana Is Now (Recreationally!) Legal
Vermont Marijuana Is Now (Recreationally!) Legal
After a false start in 2017, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana through legislative process. Now, Vermont marijuana can be enjoyed by the masses. The last time we checked in with Vermont, the state’s Senate and House had approved a bill that would allow adults to possess and grow recreational marijuana. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has now signed House Bill 511 into law, making Vermont the first state in the nation to authorize recreational marijuana use via the act of a state legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure. %related-post-1% One of the most politically liberal states in the nation, Vermont marijuana — of the medical variety — became legal in 2004, and recently they decriminalized possession of small amounts of recreational pot. While state lawmakers passed a recreational marijuana bill last year, Gov. Scott vetoed it, arguing that it didn’t do enough to shield kids from the drug or protect against stoned drivers. Legislators made his requested changes, and Scott signed the new version into law “with mixed emotions” on January 22. The law will go into effect on July 1. "As I said when I vetoed S. 22 in May, I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children," the self-described “libertarian” Scott said in a statement after signing the bill. The new law, which is unrelated to the state’s existing medical marijuana program, will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Adults over 21 will be permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, two mature marijuana plants, and four immature marijuana plants. %related-post-2% Laura Subin, director of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, told USA Today that residents will likely be permitted to give marijuana, seeds, or plants to one another as gifts. But while New England neighbors Massachusetts and Maine are preparing for recreational weed sales this summer, the recent Vermont marijuana law limits pot sales to its registered medical marijuana patients — a regulation that Scott has little interest in changing. As the Huffington Post reports, Scott has serious concerns about how a regulated recreational marijuana commercial market would work in Vermont. As a result, he has created his own marijuana task force, which is examining Vermont’s involvement in recreational pot sales and focusing on developing comprehensive strategies for education, prevention, and highway safety. “There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial ‘tax-and-regulate’ system for an adult marijuana market,” he says. “It is important for the General Assembly to know that – until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns – I will veto any additional effort along these lines, which manages to reach my desk.” Vermont is now the ninth state in the country, along with Washington, D.C, to approve the recreational use of marijuana.
Best Headphones For Your Next Mind Melt
Best Headphones For Your Next Mind Melt
Listening to music high is one thing, but listening with a good pair of headphones is a totally immersive experience. Hear things you’ve never heard before and dive into your favorite jams with our picks for the best headphones (in all prices ranges). Best Earbuds: Klipsch R6i Nothing beats the convenience and portability of earbuds. The little Klipsch headphones deliver a lot of power in a small package. They won’t let you down on bass-heavy rap and electronic, and they are super comfortable. Great sound, excellent portability, and high quality all for around $50. Not bad! Budget Pick: Shure SRH144 If you’re unfamiliar with Shure headphones, they have a reputation for producing amazing sound. The SRH144 lives up to the company’s reputation at a very affordable price point. Although they may not have all the bells and whistles of some other cans, they will offer super clear mids and highs with tight bass, making for a really pleasant listening experience. Shure surely deserves to be on our best headphones list.  Best All-Around: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 The Momentum 2.0 is a comfortable, amazing sound set of headphones that will please even the most discerning ears. Couple astounding performance with a refined, classic design and this pair is well worth the price tag. With options for Android and iPhone, as well as a wireless set at additional cost — Sennheiser has made sure there’s a Momentum for every taste. For the Audiophile: Beyerdynamic T90 Audiophiles mostly only care about fidelity and sound quality. Fortunately for them, and thanks to Beyerdynamic, these folks can get amazing sound in a sleek, stylish package with the T90. While some audiophile-grade headphones look like spacecraft, the T90s maintain a classic look that is comfortable for long periods and allows for highly accurate sound reproduction. Audiophile quality does, of course, come with a steep price tag. But hey, look at it as an investment! Noise Canceling: Bose QuietComfort 35 II Bose set the standard for noise canceling headphones. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing a set of 35 IIs on a noisy airplane, you know why. Nothing comes close to the noise isolation offered up by this set. If you travel frequently or just want a superior listening experience, head straight for this pair.
Top Music Festivals Not Named Coachella Or Bonnaroo
Top Music Festivals Not Named Coachella Or Bonnaroo
It might be cold outside now, but the season of music festivals will be here soon. Sure there are some big name music festivals, but how about some others? Music festivals can be a pretty polarizing topic. Some people love them, some people hate them, and others just think the glory days of truly killer lineups have simply passed us by. While we know plenty of people who fit into each of these categories, we can’t quite shake the amazing memories — even the really blurry ones — that we’ve made camping out at a fest. While the big-name festivals — cough, Coachella and Bonnaroo, cough — get all the attention, we thought we’d put together a quick-hit list of our favorite festivals across the country. Let’s take a look! Sasquatch! Music Festival, May 25-27 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington is home to the Sasquatch! Music Festival, and boy, could they not have picked a more scenic location. Founded in 2002, the festival has taken place every Memorial Day weekend since. Spanning the entire weekend, the festival offers up performances from artists that span the spectrum of musical genres. In 2017, headliners included Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, and comedy from Fred Armisen. That plus one killer view has us sold. Seriously. Google pictures of The Gorge Amphitheater, then book your ticket. This highlight video from 2017 might help, too. Pitchfork Music Festival, July 20-22 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Pitchfork has a reputation for being one of the snobbier taste-making music review sites. You have to give them credit, though, because they sure know how to program a festival. Held in Chicago — and Paris for that matter — the festival consistently highlights some of the most talented live acts around. 2017 featured LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Vince Staples, and Solange. I mean, come on! Plus, tickets for the three-day 2018 festival are only $175. A steal! The 2018 lineup hasn’t been released, so keep your eyes peeled! Check out this performance from one of our favorite artists, Angel Olsen, from the 2017 festival. Boston Calling, May 25-27 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Boston is an amazing city full of great food, delicious beer, and tons of history. Beantown is also home to one of the country’s newest music festivals — Boston Calling. With its official debut in 2013, Boston Calling set the bar high for festival experiences, and five years in, there aren’t any signs of slowing down. 2018 will offer up performances from The Killers, Paramore, Jack White, and…Eminem. Seriously, buy tickets and book your flights immediately. This 2017 recap video should keep you hyped until then! Did we miss your favorite festival? Hit us up and let us know!
Big Beer Bullish Toward Cannabusiness
Big Beer Bullish Toward Cannabusiness
For some consumers, adult beverages and marijuana go together like peanut butter and jelly. But as legal weed grows, Big Beer is looking for ways to recoup its losses to cannabusiness.  At first glance, the increased availability of legal marijuana appears to be doing quite a number on the beer business. Some of the nation’s biggest breweries have seen significant drops in sales as more and more Americans are, apparently, substituting pot for beer. %related-post-1% But while the likes of Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are seeing short-term dips, a growing number of big beer’s biggest movers and shakers are also eyeing longer-term opportunities to hop from hops and barley into the cannabusiness. As we reported previously, the country’s breweries, which have lost 10 percent of their market share to wine and hard liquor since 2006, have seen their profits plummet even more with the increased availability of legal marijuana. According to industry data, sales of Coors Light and Miller Lite were down 3.6 percent and 1.6 percent last year, respectively, through the third quarter ​from a year earlier. In October, Molson Coors, MillerCoors' Denver-based parent company, reported that its domestic beer sales had dropped by nearly three percent during the previous quarter. As a whole, light beer sales dropped by 14 percent between 2010 and 2016 — a drop that researchers say will only continue. "There's clear evidence that access to legal cannabis softens alcohol revenue," Vivien Azer, an analyst at equity research firm Cowen, told Crain’s. %related-post-2% Studies at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University show that alcoholic beverage sales fell 15 percent after medical marijuana became legal in several states, and a recent report from Cannabiz Consumer Group indicates that 27 percent of beer drinkers say they have already swapped cannabis for beer, or would do so if pot was made legal in their state. With legal marijuana becoming easier and easier to obtain across the nation, the nation’s breweries will have more and more difficulty trying to recoup sales. But instead of competing with the cannabusiness, more and more big names from world of big beer world are seizing big opportunities to invest in the cannabis space. Here are just a few examples: Heineken is test marketing a marijuana-infused craft beer brand in California.   A former marketing chief for Budweiser has co-founded Toast, which markets pre-rolled joints. He has also joined the advisory board of San Francisco-based startup GreenRush Group, which aims to become the Amazon of weed. Most recently, Constellation Brands — the country’s third-largest beer company — acquired a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth, one of the biggest companies in the legal weed industry, to co-develop THC-infused beverages. And the investment isn’t likely to end there. According to Brett Cooper, an analyst at Consumer Edge Research in New York a lot of alcohol companies “are taking a serious look at the space.” Cooper told Crain’s that at a recent industry conference, "every single executive speech referenced the issue of marijuana's cannibalization of alcohol sales.” “It's not a fringe issue anymore,” he says.
Viceland Canada’s Demise Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Still Enjoy Weediquette
Viceland Canada’s Demise Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Still Enjoy Weediquette
Viceland Canada is going under? Bummer. The channel has aired some great shows, one of which is Weediquette. Here are some episodes you should watch. With the recent news that Viceland Canada will soon be pulled off Canadian cable television — the cord is slated to be yanked on March 31, 2018 — many fans of the channel’s programming have wondered where they’ll be able to view their beloved shows. %related-post-1% Fear not, dear Canadian viewers. Though Viceland Canada will soon be off air, company executives promise the full suite of the channel’s shows will continue to be accessed on Vice.com. It should come as no surprise that at The Sugar Leaf one of our go-to Viceland shows is Weediquette, the documentary series following Krishna Andavolu as he examines some of the industry’s most pressing topics, and explores them with some of its most interesting characters. So, in tribute to Viceland Canada, here are some of our most recommended Weediquette episodes from the past three seasons. Kings of Cannabis | Season 1, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Krishna heads to Colombia with Arjan Roskam, one of the world’s most influential marijuana breeders (he’s won 38 Cannabis Cups), as he searches for the country’s rarest marijuana strains. The F*@k It, I Quit Lady | Season 1, Episode 7 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> In 2014, Alaskan news anchor, Charlo Greene, shocked viewers when she revealed that she was the owner of a dispensary, and that she was leaving television news to advocate for better marijuana legislation. She signed off, “F*@k it, I quit.” This episode follows her post-television advocacy efforts. Gridiron Ganja | Season 2, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> It’s no secret that professional football — football at any level, really — is grueling on those who play the sport. As injuries to the head and body mount, their long term consequences are becoming ever more debated. And figuring more prominently in those debates: marijuana’s healing powers. Oil for Autism | Season 3, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> As autism rates increase, parents are becoming increasingly desperate to find cures for their children. How desperate? Many break federal laws to obtain cannabis products and administer them to their ailing kids. These four episodes are just a sampling of the Weediquette goodness. Now, let’s binge watch.
Texas Marijuana: The (Lone) Lone Star MMJ Dispensary
Texas Marijuana: The (Lone) Lone Star MMJ Dispensary
When it comes to Texas medical marijuana — the medical kind — pickings are slim in the Lone Star State. Really slim. Texas is the biggest state in the lower 48. It ranks second in the nation in terms of population and it’s home to seven of the nation’s 20 biggest cities. And while Texas is also home to 150,000 patients who qualify for the state’s new medical marijuana policy, there is currently only one dispensary in the entire state to serve them. Yes, uno. %related-post-1% Last September, Florida-based Knox Medical opened their medical-marijuana dispensary on a farm near Schulenburg, Texas. As The Fresh Toast notes, the small town of some 3,000 residents is a 90-minute drive from Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, making it a central location for those in need in the area. Not surprisingly, the locals in the conservative town are quick to point out that the lone Texas marijuana business is technically outside of city limits. Even Kristopher Emola, the cultivation manager for Knox Medical, has learned to keep quiet about the fact that he grows pot when talking to people in Schulenburg. “It’s one of those things that has been so stigmatized for so long, that it’s natural to question it initially,” Emola told The Atlantic. As The Fresh Toast points out, however, being off the beaten path is probably a good thing for the dispensary. Not only does Knox Medical have more than enough room to grow cannabis without getting too close to schools or playgrounds, it is also located far enough out that it won’t be stepping on locals’ toes — or convictions. According to The Atlantic, if small towns like Schulenberg can “get past the stigma” of playing host to such dispensaries, they could serve as the perfect entry points for the legal cannabis business to grow across prohibitionist states. %related-post-2% “If it helps people and it doesn’t hurt anything, why not do it?” asks Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka. The lone dispensary is the result of Texas lawmakers passing the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015, which allows patients to obtain low-THC cannabis. The law authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to establish a registry of prescribing doctors, and required the DPS to issue licenses by September 2017 to at least three dispensaries to sell CBD to 150,000 patients in Texas, mostly children, who suffer from severe epilepsy. According to Andrew Lerman, a neurologist who has been prescribing the drug to his own epilepsy patients in Florida since it was legalized there four years ago, the drug significantly reduces the number of seizures many of these patients suffer — and with virtually no side effects. While the drug could be a godsend for those who need it, there is no guarantee that all of the patients could benefit from it will actually have access to it. For starters, as The Atlantic points out, federal law stipulates that physicians in Texas could risk their prescribing rights if they recommend CBD to their patients. That fear is likely a big reason why only seven doctors in the state have registered for the program. On top of that, since cannabis oil is still classified as a a Schedule I narcotic and no health insurance will cover it, a good number of patients who would otherwise qualify for the pricey drug likely won’t be able to afford it. %related-post-3% Still, while CBD-heavy, low-THC marijuana could be too pricey for some patients, the fact that it’s legal at all in a state largely opposed to legalization is a definite sign of progress. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state lawmakers insist that the Texas Compassionate Use Act will not usher in broader legislation, but, as The Atlantic rightly argues, it’ll be tough for legislators to fight the urge to expand Texas’ pot laws once the revenue from CBD starts coming into the state — not to mention the fact that the nation’s cannabis market is expected to grow three to four times over in the next seven years. At the very least, such growth could lead to an expansion of the Compassionate Use Program and more registered physicians. It could also drive legislators to reconsider their opposition to other, stronger forms of cannabis that could benefit even more people and, in turn, Texas’ coffers. But you gotta start somewhere. And, for now, that somewhere for Texas marijuana is Schulenberg. Well, just down the road from Schulenberg…
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 2
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 2
Another week in the books, another week’s worth of big ticket cannabis news headlines. This trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing. Of all the developments, here are five cannabis news nuggets that piqued our interest the most this week. The Garden State will get greener — eventually A much-discussed platform item during New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign was marijuana legalization. And sure enough, the Democrat wasted no time addressing the matter in his Tuesday inauguration speech. %related-post-1% From the podium, Murphy said “a stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces criminal justice reform comprehensively, and that includes a process to legalize marijuana.” And while most have assumed the state will now launch full speed ahead toward legalization, it appears there might be some pushback in the New Jersey legislature — even from fellow Democrats. Netflix goes pro-cannabis with pro football players Let’s be honest, the human body was not built to play football. It’s hard to come up with another sport more physically grueling and debilitating. Given that reality, the chorus of voices arguing that NFL players should have access to MMJ is growing louder, and heading into last weekend Netflix released a video advocating for a change in the NFL substance policy. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Will there be a California cannabis supply crunch? Legal recreational marijuana sales in California have been celebrated by cannafans since the calendar flipped to 2018. However, some are wondering if the state is heading toward a marijuana shortage. What’s causing the hand-wringing? Local licensing red tape that cultivators and processors are having to cut through in order to get their products on dispensary shelves. Our fingers are crossed this gets sorted out because as the (massive) legal Los Angeles market comes online, the state’s dispensary stockpiles will quickly diminish. Marijuana as a crime deterrent We’re all familiar with the prohibitionist line that marijuana increases violence. Yes, people still say that. But a study — released in late-2017 — made the rounds this week, and it showed the complete opposite. Shocker, we know. According to economist Evelina Gavrilova, when U.S. states along the Mexican border legalized medical marijuana, violent crime (associated heavily with Mexican gangs) decreased an average of 13 percent. Gavrilova said legal "growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.” Eaze releases more cannabis consumer trends Our friends over at Eaze releazed (get it? ha!) their 2017 State of Cannabis Data Report this week, and it is chalk full of interesting consumer tidbits. As always, folks, we’ll keep our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled with interesting cannabis news to share with you.
These 5 Movie Characters Just Had To Be High, Right?
These 5 Movie Characters Just Had To Be High, Right?
We’re all familiar with stoner movies where everyone is high. But what about these five movie characters from mainstream flicks — they had to be high too, right? We all know movie characters like “The Dude" (The Big Lebowski) and Kumar Patel (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) from classic stoner movies were regularly high — after all, smoking was an integral part of their respective roles. But what about characters from mainstream movies who, based on their onscreen idiocy, had to have been toking? Here’s a quick list of movie characters who we just know had to be high. Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) played the dimwitted sidekick of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) in Dumb and Dumber. While neither character displayed massive amounts of intellect during their cross-country journey from Rhode Island to Colorado, Dunne just seemed to be a bit slowwwwwer than Christmas. Favorite line: “She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Karl Spackler from Caddyshack It’s hard to believe Caddyshack is nearly 40 years old in 2018. Even though it has some mileage on it, the classic comedy is always good for a laugh. The main plotline revolves around an exclusive golf course caddy, Danny Noonan’s, pursuit of earning enough money to go to college. Circling that story are countless misadventures, including greenskeeper, Karl Spackler’s (Bill Murray) ongoing duel with a pesky gopher. Favorite line: “I have to laugh, because I've outsmarted even myself. My enemy, my foe, is an animal. In order to conquer the animal, I have to learn to think like an animal. And, whenever possible, to look like one. I've gotta get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Marv Merchants from Home Alone A holiday season standard, Home Alone represented what every kid wishes for at least once in their life: to be the master of their own home. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) got his wish, but then had to fend off the thieving Wet Bandits, Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), the latter of which consistently appeared half-baked. Favorite line: “Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Garth Algar from Wayne’s World Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World. Party time. Excellent. You know the tagline to the faux talk show filmed in the basement of Wayne Campbell’s (Mike Myers) suburban Chicago home. This Saturday Night Live skit-turned feature film owned movie theatres in 1992, thanks to the hilarious gaffes of Wayne and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). Though neither character would be confused with a Nobel Laureate, Garth could have been easily confused with a space cadet. Favorite line: “Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Delmar O’Donnell from O Brother, Where Art Thou Based on Homer’s The Odyssey, the Coen brother’s O Brother, Where Art Thou follows three escaped convicts as they race across Mississippi to reach Ulysses Everett McGill’s (George Clooney) home before it’s flooded out by a new dam. All three main characters are loveable in their own way, but Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) always seems like he’d be the most fun to grab a toke with. Favorite line: “Of course it's Pete! Look at him!... We gotta find some kind of wizard to change him back.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Of course there are plenty of other suspect stoner movie characters out there. Shoot us an email to let us know your favorites. 
Detroit Marijuana: A Messed Up MMJ Journey In Motor City
Detroit Marijuana: A Messed Up MMJ Journey In Motor City
Passing pro-MMJ legislation is just the first step in getting cannabis to patients. From there, the journey can take a very long time. Example: Just try getting Detroit marijuana. The birthplace of the American auto industry, Detroit, Michigan (aka, Motor City) was once the wealthiest city in the nation. By the 1950s, it had the highest median income and the highest rate of home ownership of any city in the country. %related-post-1% Sadly, the collapse of Detroit’s manufacturing sector — coupled with white flight — decimated the place, and while the city has begun to rebound a bit in recent years, full recovery remains quite a ways away. One way for the Motor City to speed up that recovery would be to fully embrace the legal marijuana industry. And while some have set out to do just that, Detroit marijuana businesses have faced shifting regulations, padlocked doors, and, now, a legal battle that threatens to bring the fledgling medical marijuana industry to a halt. While voters first approved legalized medical marijuana back in 2008, the Michigan Legislature let canna-businesses in Detroit and other Michigan communities operate in a weird grey area for several years. Then, as the Detroit News explains, the City Council finally adopted a strict set of zoning and licensing requirements in 2015 which required all dispensaries — both new and existing — seeking to operate within the law to apply online, submit plans, meet rules, and obtain licensing, or risk being shut down. The rules, which went into effect in March 2016, also stipulated that medical marijuana dispensaries could not be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary, church, day care facility, school, or park. %related-post-2% In November of last year, voters pushed back on the tougher regulations, voting in support of yet another new ordinance that reduced the distance between dispensaries and churches from 1,000 to 500 feet, and expanded the areas in which dispensaries are allowed to operate. Dispensaries’ legal hours of operation were extended, as well. While voters passed the new ordinances, many city officials didn’t support the vote, concerned that the relaxed rules would lead to an explosion of pot shops across Detroit. As the Free Press reports, a group of citizens and a medical marijuana firms have filed a lawsuit in response. According to Michael Stein, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of a handful of disgruntled applicants, city officials actually welcome the injunctive action because it gives them an excuse to challenge the new ordinances approved by voters. Dizzy yet? Stay with us. There's more to the Detroit marijuana sage.  "Their plan all along was to not take the applications so no one could stay open," he told the Free Press. "But the new ordinance gives the clear direction that they have to take the applications." %related-post-3% In order to get a license, a business must have proof that the city where it wants to locate has an ordinance allowing medical cannabis, as well as proof that it has received approval from that city. While Detroit says it won’t accept any applications for city approval under the new ordinance until the lawsuit is resolved, the state, which doesn’t want to harm medical marijuana patients in the interim, has declared that existing dispensaries with approval from Detroit can remain in business as long as they submit applications by June 15. The temporary reprieve, which was issued before the the city’s new ordinances went into effect on January 4, applies to 62 dispensaries, and could expire on June 15 if Detroit hasn’t moved past the legal impasse by then. Stay tuned for updates from Motor City.
3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed
3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed
The past couple years have been incredible for readers, as countless great books have hit the shelves. And, these three are especially fun companions for cannabis. Some people love to read great books after consuming cannabis. Others, however, have a hard time concentrating from one paragraph to the next. We’ve learned that it typically comes down to which strain you’ve enjoyed prior to settling in for some literary enlightenment. But once you’ve mastered the cannabis selection process, few things are more fun than diving deep into some prose while cannabuzzed. %related-post-1% For those who like to read while high, or at least slightly stoned, here are three thoroughly enjoyable books, published recently, that you should definitely put on your “to read” list. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles One hallmark of a good book — especially a work of fiction — is that you can imagine yourself in it. You can feel the suspense, you can envision the scenes playing out, you can hear the voices of the characters. And before you know it, you’ve flipped 50 pages without remembering turning a single one. Amor Towles’ second book, A Gentleman in Moscow, is one such read. Almost the entire book is set in a renowned Moscow hotel — a vintage from when hotels were destinations unto themselves — where movie stars, politicians, spies, and the hotel staff all plot with and against one another. The main character, Count Alexander Rostov, lives under house arrest in The Metropol, his crime being that he was born into the nobility before the Bolsheviks came to power. In A Gentleman in Moscow, there are love affairs, twists of fate, and mountains of suspense, all while Russian history unfolds outside the hotel, sometimes creeping across the threshold of the front door. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward If you want a book that has won awards, then Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is for you. The novel won the National Book Award for fiction, was listed by TIME Magazine as a Best Novel of the Year, and was a New York Times Top 10. And did we mention Barack Obama said it was one of his favorite reads of 2017? Not too shabby. (Oh, and for what it’s worth, A Gentleman in Moscow was also on #44’s list). %related-post-2% Ward’s third novel is the crushing coming of age tale of a young boy named Jojo, who along with his drugged-addicted mother drive across Mississippi to retrieve his estranged father from Parchman prison. Along the way, Jojo is visited by a ghost of the Delta’s past, another young boy whose life was tragically cut short while serving time at the infamous Mississippi penitentiary. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel Sometimes after smoking, forgetting the world and trekking into Mother Nature seems like a great idea. But you probably haven’t considered disappearing for as long as Christopher Knight did. One day in 1986, Knight decided he’d had enough of mankind, wandered into the woods in remote Maine, and didn’t come out for a couple decades. For real. Michael Finkel’s book The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit is an all-consuming account of how Knight managed to live on his own, through brutal winters and mosquito-plagued summers, without any human interaction. Knight became a figure of lore, like the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, until his reclusive foray ended thanks to local officials. Be sure to pick up copies of these great books, and we’ll be sure to tell you about more in the future!
Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors
Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors
Any ice cream connoisseur has their own list of  Ben & Jerry’s best ice cream flavors — Burlington, Vermont's most famous export. How does ours stack up against yours? We’ve all been there — you just wrapped up a smoke sesh and your stomach starts rumbling. When the munchies strike, there are all kinds of foods that can hit the spot. One of our favorites just so happens to be ice cream. And while there are tons of brands to choose from, Ben & Jerry’s has our hearts. But with so many (incredible) flavors to choose from it can get a little overwhelming making a pick. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed down our list of Ben & Jerry’s favorites to save you valuable time in the freezer aisle. While you dig into your favorite pint, peep this vid to see how your favorite flavors get made: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Cherry Garcia There’s a soft spot in our stoner hearts for anything Jerry Garcia related. It just so happens that the ice cream flavor bearing his name is absolutely delicious. What’s not to like about cherry ice cream with chocolate chips? Answer: not much. Just try not to kill the entire pint in one sitting. Half Baked You really can’t go wrong with a classic flavor like chocolate chip cookie dough. But Half Baked takes it to the next level. This classic B&J flavor offers chocolate and vanilla ice cream swirled with cookie dough AND brownie dough (where’s that drool-face emoji?). You won’t regret popping the top on this bad boy. Americone Dream Stephen Colbert is one of our favorite late night television hosts. And he apparently has great taste in ice cream. Vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolate-covered waffle cone chips. It’s a delicious, patriotic treat. Phish Food Chocolate ice cream, marshmallow swirl, caramel swirl, and chocolate fudge fish. This ice cream has a lot going on, but what do you expect from a flavor named for one of the headiest jam bands of all time? Chunky Monkey Banana, as a general rule, seems to be an overlooked ice cream flavor. Fortunately, Ben & Jerry’s used it as the base for one of their OG flavors — Chunky Monkey. Banana ice cream, fudge chunks, and walnuts. Yes, please! Did we miss your favorite on our list of Ben & Jerry’s best ice cream flavors? Let us know! We’ll look ‘em up in the freezer section.
5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums
5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums
There’s something about a jam band and a good buzz. The Grateful Dead practically invented the jam band genre, so naturally their live recordings — a mega-legendary collection — set the perfect mood for a solo or group smoke session. So, here’s our starter set of Grateful Dead live albums. Pick one, queue it up, and get toking! Cornell 5/8/77 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This album is touted by many Deadheads as the band’s best recorded live performance. Renowned in tape-trading circles, the recording finally got a proper release. What makes it so special is that it perfectly toes the line between Dead deep cuts and classic hits, making it ideal for seasoned and new listeners alike. The Closing of Winterland: December 31, 1978 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Winterland was a classic San Francisco music venue that hosted plenty of Dead shows and helped build the band’s reputation as one of the best live bands of all time. It was only fitting that the Dead would play the last show at the famous venue, making this album an instant classic. Europe ‘72 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Every list of best live albums has to include Europe ’72. Period. The original release, along with the subsequent bonus albums, showcase the Dead at a transitional period from blues-based rock to more jazz-influenced performances. Fillmore West 1969 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This is peak Grateful Dead. Offering up one of the best recorded versions of “Morning Dew,” this is the Dead that many fans first fell in love with. Listening to this album will make you feel like you were in the audience at the Fillmore on a sunshiny San Francisco day all those decades ago. Dick’s Picks Vol. 8: 5/2/70 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Anyone familiar with live Dead recordings knows about Dick’s Picks — specific live recordings collected and released due to their higher quality stereo recording. Vol. 8 just so happens to be our favorite of the series, thanks in large part to a killer acoustic set. Toss in two more electric sets, and you’ve got everything you need for a good time. Did we miss any of your favorite Grateful Dead live albums? Let us know!
Marijuana Legalization Across the Nation: What’s New In New England?
Marijuana Legalization Across the Nation: What’s New In New England?
While Massachusetts steams ahead with recreational marijuana legalization, two other New England states are fast on their heels.   While U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions may have recently given prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, he didn’t explicitly direct them to do so. In the days and weeks since that move, states that were planning to implement or expand marijuana legalization appear to be moving ahead with their plans despite the current legislative limbo. %related-post-1% The same day that Sessions took steps to roll back federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws, the Vermont Senate gave final approval to a bill that would allow the recreational use of marijuana. A mere five days later, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize the substance for recreational use as well. Vermont legislature approves recreational marijuana legalization As USA Today reports, the Vermont Senate agreed by voice vote to a proposal that would allow adults older than 21 to possess of up an ounce of pot and have two mature marijuana plants or four immature plants in their homes. The state House has already approved the bill, and Gov. Phil Scott has said that he plans to sign it. The legislation would make Vermont the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana via a legislative act instead of a citizen referendum. Vermont passed a similar bill in the spring of 2016, but Scott vetoed it due to fears that it didn’t do enough to shield kids from the drug or ensure highway safety. Legislators made the governor’s requested changes, and when Scott signs the bill into law, Vermont will join eight states (along with the District of Columbia) where recreational pot is legal. While the law, which would take effect July 1, does not include a system to tax and regulate the production and sale of the drug, lawmakers hope the bill will encourage the legislature to add such a system down the road. %related-post-2% New Hampshire gives marijuana legalization another legislative try Neighboring New Hampshire has taken a similar approach to Vermont in its path to legalization. As Forbes explains, the New Hampshire House in 2014 became the first legislative chamber in the nation’s history to approve a marijuana legalization bill. That bill died in the Senate, but the latest bill, which is expected to move forward once it leaves the state’s House Ways and Means Committee, would allow people over 21 to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and home cultivation of up to three plants. While retail sales would not be allowed initially, the bill would also create a regulatory system permitting the eventual cultivation and distribution of taxed cannabis sales. As Forbes points out, a handful of other states are expected to vote on ballot initiatives to legalize medical and recreational cannabis this year, as well. Unless Sessions directs — and not merely suggests — that prosecutors do more to crackdown on states where pot is now legal, it looks like it will be business as usual for the nation’s growing canna-biz.
Ganja Claus At It Again: Marijuana Gift Givers Arrested Once More
Ganja Claus At It Again: Marijuana Gift Givers Arrested Once More
Patrick and Barbara Jiron became the most popular marijuana gift givers of 2017 just a few short weeks ago. Well, that wasn’t the end of the story.   Remember that elderly couple who were caught with 60 pounds of weed in their car in Nebraska right before the holidays? You know, the ones who said they were giving it all away as Christmas gifts? Well, they were busted again. %related-post-1% As we previously reported, Patrick Jiron, 83, and his wife, Barbara, 70, were pulled over by police in Nebraska a few days before Christmas after deputies observed their vehicle traveling over the center line and failing to signal. When they approached the car, the officers could immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana. The Jirons acknowledged that there was, indeed, weed in the back of their Toyota Tacoma, and when deputies inspected the vehicle, they found 60 pounds of high-grade pot worth an estimated $336,000. The couple, who were traveling from California to Vermont for the holidays, said they had no idea it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska, and that they planned give the weed away as Christmas presents. Patrick was arrested and booked on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp. He posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, and was released. Barbara was cited in the case, but was not jailed “due to some medical issues.” %related-post-2% The story doesn’t end there, however. As the Lincoln Journal Star reports, deputies stopped the same black Toyota Tacoma on January 9 on the same Interstate in Nebraska for following too closely. A deputy asked the driver, the Jiron’s 42-year-old daughter, Mariah, to sit in a cruiser while her parents stayed in the truck. "During this time, reasonable, articulable suspicion was obtained that criminal activity was afoot," the deputy wrote in the incident report.    While the report doesn’t explicitly say what the officers suspected, there really was no mystery. When the deputy asked Patrick and Barbara if he could search the truck, they refused. But when a drug dog showed much interest in the truck, the deputies went ahead with the search and found $18,000 in cash in a duffel bag in the cargo area. %related-post-3% The officers detected trace amounts of cannabis during field tests of the money, as well as a garbage bag in the back of the truck containing raw marijuana residue. They also found notes seemingly connected with marijuana sales. The Jirons were arrested — again — and Mariah Jiron, the daughter, was issued a warning. As of the time of this writing, Patrick and Barbara were out on bond and expected to be in York County Court soon at separate hearings in the original case. Hopefully, the marijuana gift givers are also out of the interstate pot business — for now, anyway.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 1
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 1
The first week of 2018 was a doozy in the world of weed, and this week was no different with plenty of breaking cannabis news. Here are five cannabis news nuggets that caught our attention. Cory Gardner vs. Jeff Session cage match Okay, it wasn’t a battle royale in the WWE sense, but the Colorado senator did stand his ground against every marijuana fan’s favorite Attorney General when they met Wednesday morning. The bad news is that Sessions apparently held firm too. So what does this mean? That’s still to be determined. The Cole Memo — which helped the legal cannabis industry flourish — still resides in the policy trashcan, and Sen. Gardner, like many other elected officials, continues his protest. In his particular case, Gardner vowed to block any Justice Department nominees so long as Sessions keeps his heels dug in. %related-post-1% East Coast legalization efforts speeding ahead West Coast states may have gotten the jump on the rest of the U.S. when it comes to marijuana legalization, but a handful of East Coast states are sprinting to catch up. This week the Vermont Senate gave the final thumbs-up to a bill that will allow adults 21 and older the ability to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and two mature plants at their residence for recreational purposes. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has said he’ll sign the bill into law soon. Over in New Hampshire, a similar bill — this one allows people over 21 years old to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home — advanced out of the House and is heading for the Senate. And in New Jersey, a bill was introduced in the House that would allow the legal possession of recreational marijuana while also establishing the framework for commercial marijuana enterprises in the state. Incoming Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on legalizaition and appears committed to a speedy legislative passage. California recreational sales booming California’s Jan. 1 recreational rollout was the marijuana news of the week last week until Jeff Sessions decided to shred the Cole Memo. But Sessions’ move has not put the slightest dent in Golden State marijuana sales. While total retail numbers won’t be out for a while, anecdotally there’s reason to believe they’ll be massive. So heavy was foot traffic that some California dispensary owners are worried about employee burnout. We’ll keep an eye on how estimates actually pan out, but for now the state’s projections for a million pounds worth of first-year sales doesn’t sound too far-fetched. %related-post-2% Problematic Oregon underage sting results  It wasn’t too long ago that legalization advocates were cheering the results of an undercover sting operation in Oregon designed to catch dispensaries selling marijuana to underage customers. The results? A 100% pass rate! But just after we finished spiking that football, news broke this week that multiple dispensaries in a different Oregon sting operation were busted selling pot to people under 21 years old. Talk about a — low note.  Who likes poll numbers? We do (at least these, anyway) Not only does marijuana legalization enjoy majority support across the United States, but these two new polls came out reflecting that — by wide margins — Americans oppose federal marijuana intervention in state-based legalization efforts, and they have little faith in the War on Drugs. Take heart, friends, for if politics is indeed downstream from culture, the future of legalization looks bright. We’ll keep our ears to the ground again next week, so we can give you a rundown on more cannabis news highlights.
Cannabis Is Replacing Tobacco As Colorado Social Programs Benefactor
Cannabis Is Replacing Tobacco As Colorado Social Programs Benefactor
As tobacco lawsuit settlement revenues dry up in Colorado, cannabis is replacing tobacco as one of the state's social programs benefactors. Back in 1998, Colorado was one of 46 states that agreed to a settlement with the nation’s four largest tobacco companies. As the Denver Post reported at the time, the settlement specified that the companies would make payments to the states in order to help them recoup the costs of medical care associated with smoking-related illnesses. %related-post-1% In the two decades since, that settlement has amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars for Colorado — funds that have been crucial for dozens of public programs. Those funds have been shrinking in recent years, however, leaving state legislators to explore other revenue sources to fill the gap. And just as other states have done, Colorado has turned its attention to marijuana revenue. As the Denver Post notes, payments from 53 tobacco manufacturers have a 25 year lifespan, totaling a minimum of $206 billion dollars. Colorado has already received upwards of $1.7 billion of its allotted share, but a smaller stream of money related to the settlement has already come to an end. As one of the seven states that initiated the 90’s-era lawsuit, Colorado received a decade’s worth of supplemental payments — called strategic contributions payments — designed to repay the state for its legal work. Colorado’s annual payments, which began in 2008, worked out to $15 million. The state received its final payment of $15.5 million in April 2017. On top of that was a guarantee that future tobacco settlement payments would shrink, which would, in turn, negatively impact revenue directed toward numerous social service programs. The fact that smoking is down nationwide has also negatively affected settlement funds — which are based on annual cigarette sales — as well as state sales taxes derived from cigarette and tobacco purchases. Enter marijuana money. %related-post-2% Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012, legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana to adults. The following year, voters passed a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana. The state has created other taxes on cannabis, including sales taxes and so-called “sin” taxes, which have generated a substantial mountain of cash for the state and its social service programs. As we reported previously, taxes on pot netted Colorado more than $105 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and more than a half billion dollars since 2014. These funds go largely toward public health programs, housing for at-risk residents, student scholarships, anti-opioid treatment, and the rebuilding of crumbling public schools. Without the revenue from marijuana, officials tell the Post that many social programs would be in serious jeopardy. Other states are taking cues from Colorado when it comes to parlaying legal pot to fund their own social programs. For example, when recreational pot becomes legal for in Massachusetts later this year, a portion of the taxes on the drug will fund substance abuse treatment programs. Connecticut is considering legalizing marijuana in order to pay down its debt and help fund its pension and health-care obligations. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned legal marijuana’s power to help to slow down drug trafficking, reduce drug-related crime, and help countless people deal with myriad health conditions.
Some Of Our Favorite Video Games To Play High
Some Of Our Favorite Video Games To Play High
When you’re stoned, sometimes you just want to kick your feet up and chill with a great movie or binge-watch a Netflix series. Other times, however, you might want to grab a controller and get in some quality gaming. Join us as we take a look at some of our favorite video games to play high. FIFA 18 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Of all the games on our list, this one probably has the steepest learning curve. Before you start challenging folks online, it would best to toke up with some buddies and take each other on tournament-style. This game becomes especially hilarious when reflexes get a little slow. For added fun, randomize the teams and see who comes out on top. Battlefield 1 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Shooter games are so much fun to play stoned. The sound effects and amazing map design make BF1 one of the most immersive shooting games around. From campaign to online play, it’s good for hours of entertainment. Grand Theft Auto V " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> GTA V has been on the block for a minute, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a hell of a lot of fun. The game’s open world is good for countless hours of old fashioned, law-breaking fun. For an added challenge and a few laughs, try playing the game without breaking any laws. South Park: The Fractured But Whole " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> South Park is one of our favorite shows to watch high, so any SP video game is an instant winner in our book. In this game, create your own superhero and team with up to 13 of your best friends to reclaim South Park from the forces of evil. It’s tons of fun and hilarious. NBA Jam " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We had to include an old school game on our list favorite video games to play high, and NBA Jam is one of our all-time favorite video games to play while high. If you’ve got a Sega Genesis, we are infinitely jealous, but the game is now available on most modern consoles. Find it, download it, and go head-to-head with your buddies. Did we miss your favorite game? Let us know what we should’ve included!
The 5 Best Netflix Series To Watch Stoned
The 5 Best Netflix Series To Watch Stoned
Netflix and...blaze up. No matter the season, one of our favorite pastimes is scoring some couch time. And for that, here’s a list of the best Netflix series to watch stoned. Netflix has been bringing the heat with their original series for years. As if the top-notch quality of all of their content wasn’t enough, Netflix also released more than 1,000 hours of programming in 2017. With tons of series spanning documentaries to science fiction and everything in between, this should be music to any stoner’s ears. So, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the best Netflix series to watch stoned. Chef’s Table " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The munchies can rear their ugly head when you’re blazed. And food shows don’t always exactly help the situation. The great thing about Chef’s Table is it toes the line between food programming and an art documentary — showing the time, energy, and love each chef pours into the food s/he creates. It may not cure the munchies, but it’ll at least be a feast for your eyes while you destroy that bag of potato chips. The Punisher " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> A spin off from one of Netflix’s other original series, Daredevil, The Punisher is an action-packed revenge story. The plot may be a little straightforward for some tokers, but sometimes all you need is a good old shoot ‘em up show and this is just the ticket. Master of None " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Aziz Ansari just took home a Golden Globe award for this show, so even Hollywood critics think it’s pretty good. The series centers on Dev, an actor in New York City, and his quest to find meaning — and love — in the big city. Like Ansari’s other projects, there are plenty of funny moments that are perfect for any smoke sesh. Mindhunter " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You can’t go wrong with a good crime thriller, and Mindhunter delivers in spades. A fictionalized account of the FBI’s development of modern serial killer profiling, the series is engaging with its portrayal of real life murderers, including Ed Kemper and Jerry Brudos. Last Chance U " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Profiling the winningest junior college football program in the United States, Last Chance U follows the lives of some of the nation’s best football players trying to salvage their careers and go pro. Did we miss something? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites!
Cole Memo Marijuana Limbo: Congress Needs To Act
Cole Memo Marijuana Limbo: Congress Needs To Act
As frustrating as Jeff Sessions' move was to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo — which since 2013 had enabled the legal marijuana industry to flourish — we really need Congress to act.   Tensions within the legal cannabis industry have been ablaze since Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to kick off 2018 by kicking to the curb the Obama-era policy of non-interference toward pot-friendly state laws. But while Sessions has become Public Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the cannabis industry, Congress’ inaction has been the real stumbling block when it comes to legalization of pot at the federal level. %related-post-1% As we’ve discussed previously, in 2013 former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. sought to reform America’s prisons via simple changes to the way drug cases were prosecuted. He issued a memo — called the Cole Memo, authored by his deputy, James Cole — designed to prevent decades-long prison terms for people who were arrested with a small amount of drugs and who weren’t dangerous, hard-core, and habitual criminals. Holder rolled back the default position of the harshest possible jail term in all drug cases, while still keeping the option on the table in cases involving, say, defendants who were living a life of crime as part of a large-scale drug trafficking organization, cartel, or gang. Sessions — who has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that the Justice Department was working toward a “rational” marijuana policy — rolled back the Cole Memo on January 4, 2018, essentially giving federal prosecutors across the country carte blanche to decide individually who should be prosecuted when it comes to possession, distribution, and cultivation of pot in states where the drug is legal. But while Sessions gave prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, he stopped short of directing them to step their efforts. Without such a mandate, the confusion produced by conflicting state and federal marijuana laws is only more, well, confusing. And the fact that President Trump appears to be wholly uninterested in the issue does nothing to clear things up. %related-post-2% With the Cole Memo, the Obama administration essentially kicked the issue of legalization down the road. President Trump is essentially doing the same thing, despite the pseudo-aggressive tactics of his prohibitionist attorney general. While this legislative limbo has led to the current legal pot boom in the United States, urging the executive branch to simply look the other way when it comes to enforcing unpopular laws is not quite the best way to build an industry. Those laws actually need to be changed. With public support for marijuana legalization at an all-time high, now would be a great time for Congress to actually start listening to — and acting on behalf of — the public. Please forward this article to your nearest elected representative.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 1
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 1
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 1: Frédéric Chopin's Nocturnes We’re not all that fancy over here at The Sugar Leaf, but you have to admit that in certain moments nothing pairs better with your smoke session than some beautiful classical music. The right match can take your mind down some seriously fun paths and provide the backdrop for an enjoyably thoughtful experience. So, without further ado, here’s our first recommendation for our series, Classical Music for Marijuana: Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Frédéric Chopin? Any well-curated classical collection must include the works of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), a Polish composer and pianist of the Romantic era. Other famous composers of this era include Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Felix Mendelssohn. Chopin was a child prodigy, and most of the performances of his brief career (he died at the age of 39, most likely from tuberculosis) were conducted in front of intimate audiences. In the last 18 years of his life — after he left Warsaw for Paris — only 30 times did he perform for the general public. About Chopin’s Nocturnes Chopin’s Nocturnes popularized the nocturne genre, a musical style that evokes the feeling of night — often dreamy or sleepy (see, a perfect complement for cannabis!). Chopin’s Nocturnes are a collection of 21 pieces composed for a solo piano performance. He released all of them over the course of his career in chronological order, except for numbers 19 and 20, which were written when he lived in Poland, and they were released posthumously. He didn’t write Number 21 as part of his nocturne collection, but it has since been grouped with the rest. Quick listen While the entire collection is definitely worth your time, if you need a quick sample, we recommend Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2. It’s an absolute dream. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Enjoy! And we hope you’ll come back for Volume 2 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
Oregon Marijuana Dispensaries Unstung By Undercover Sting
Oregon Marijuana Dispensaries Unstung By Undercover Sting
As 2017 drew to a close, Oregon marijuana dispensaries aced a sting operation by state regulators aiming to bust underage sales.  Back in November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department was working toward a “rational” marijuana policy. A few weeks later, when Sessions rolled back three Obama-era rules that held the federal government back from interfering with marijuana-friendly state laws, he said the “finite resources” of the DOJ required federal prosecutors to “weigh all relevant considerations of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community" when deciding which cases to prosecute. %related-post-1% Well, if there’s any justice in the way Justice ultimately decides who should — and shouldn’t be — prosecuted when comes it to weed, it will consider a recent sting operation in Oregon. As Marijuana.com reports, one of the biggest hurdles for national marijuana legalization has been the prohibitionist argument that widespread availability of cannabis would lead to wider use of the drug among young Americans. A handful of recent undercover sting operations in two Oregon cities would seem to refute those claims, however. According to a press release from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, OLCC marijuana inspectors visited 20 cannabis retailers in central Oregon, and all passed a check for prohibiting pot sales to a minor volunteer decoy. During each undercover sales check, the release explains, a minor volunteer attempted to enter a licensed marijuana retailer and/or purchase marijuana products from a licensed business to see if staff were checking ID’s correctly and refusing entry to anyone under 21. OLCC inspectors supervised the minor volunteers. The volunteers carried their own legal ID that identified them as being under 21, and did not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana. %related-post-2% In all instances, the Oregon marijuana dispensaries were found to be complying with state laws. “That our licensed retailers in central Oregon scored 100 percent on refusal to sell marijuana to a minor is a sign that this segment of our regulated industry understands the importance of compliance,” says Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “As we continue these checks I hope that these results will be reflected across the state.” While there will always be unscrupulous business owners in any industry, the nation’s cannabis retailers are showing their willingness to play by the rules just as much as, if not more than, anyone else. With that said, it sure would be nice to know what the rules actually are. Paging Mr. Sessions.
New Year, New Marijuana Industry Projections
New Year, New Marijuana Industry Projections
When evaluating projected economic numbers, the marijuana industry appears to be set for liftoff. To start the year, Arcview published some new (positive) predictions.  If you follow marijuana industry news then you’re no stranger to industry-related projections. There are forecasts around the total valuation of the market. There are predictions for the number of jobs that will be created. There are estimates for how the taxes collected will benefit society. There are even guesses for how much marijuana sales will … hurt shoe sales. Nope, we didn’t make that last one up. %related-post-1% Of course, we love getting our eyeballs on new projections whenever they come out. And just in time for the New Year, Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics released a new study that is filled with positive numbers for all things marijuana. The report, “US Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output,” was released the day after recreational marijuana went legal in California, and that state especially figures to be a key driver of the bullish estimates. Of all the numbers, the most eye-catching reveal that the total economic output of cannabis in the United States will mushroom from $16 billion in 2017 to a staggering $40 billion (okay, $39.6 — but who’s counting?) by 2021. The report suggests that in 2021, $20.8 billion in consumer marijuana spending across the U.S. will drive $40 billion in overall economic impact, while creating 414,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in tax receipts. %related-post-2% Amazing. Also amazing are these additional findings: By 2021, California alone will support 99,000 cannabis-related jobs. 60 percent of the total $40 billion economic output will be experienced in six of the “early mover” recreational states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Wholesale, excise, and cannabis-specific sales taxes will hit $1.4 billion when 2017 totals are tallied and $2.8 billion by 2021. Throw on state and local taxes, and total tax receipts could reach $4.7 billion. Most reports tend to be conservative with their projections. Even if these are, they should make the hearts of most everyone involved in the marijuana industry swell. We’ll certainly keep you posted on how these pan out.
Labor Unions And Marijuana: A New Opportunity For Big Labor?
Labor Unions And Marijuana: A New Opportunity For Big Labor?
Labor union rosters have been shrinking for years, but a new industry might offer a boon. What, exactly, will the future look like between labor unions and marijuana? Not only has the legalization of recreational marijuana in California caused folks to line up by the hundreds to buy pot at the state’s dispensaries, it has also caused some of the nation’s biggest labor unions to line up in order to represent the tens of thousands of weed workers California’s cannabis industry could eventually employ. Big Labor's hope is that the new (legal) industry will provide a favorable backdrop for a partnership between labor unions and marijuana. %related-post-1% California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and voted in November of 2016 to become the sixth state in the nation to allow sales of recreational marijuana. As of January 1, adults 21 and older in California can possess as much as an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home.     As more cities in the state finalize their licensing procedures, more retail shops are expected to open, driving up the number of planters, rollers, sellers, and other workers that will be needed to staff California’s multi-billion dollar recreational marijuana industry. Those workers will need to be organized, say a few prominent labor unions, and the unions are currently jockeying for position to do just that. According to a report by the Cannabist, organizers with the United Farm Workers, Teamsters, and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to unionize the roughly 100,000 cannabis industry employees California is expected to need in the coming years. Doing so would be a boon for organized labor, which has seen its membership numbers in the United States drop by nearly half since 1983. %related-post-2% The opportunity for unions to benefit from the state’s weed boom could be compromised by infighting among the groups, however. As the Cannabist notes, the United Farm Workers see themselves as a natural fit for an industry rooted in agriculture, while United Food and Commercial Workers — which represents grocery store employees, meat packers, and retail workers — has registered its intent to organize cannabis workers across the nation. “We would hope they respect our jurisdiction,” UFCW spokesman Jeff Ferro told the site. Teamsters organizer Kristin Heidelbach is tad less confrontational, however, rightly noting that the industry’s eventual shift from small business to large corporations will provide plenty of workers needing representation from all three unions. And what kind of representation might weed workers need? Los Angeles resident Richard Rodriguez told the Cannabist that a police officer pulled him over while delivering a legal shipment of marijuana and detained for 12 hours after he was accused of following too closely behind a semi-truck. He was eventually released without being arrested or even given a ticket when a union lawyer stepped in to help. %related-post-3% Elsewhere, cannabis software platform Eaze, often referred to as the “Uber of marijuana,” is facing a lawsuit from one of its former drivers. According to a report by CannabisNow.com, the former driver, Dakota Quigley, says Eaze failed to pay him daily rates promised to him by a recruiter working for the company. At issue in the lawsuit — which may have been avoided if Quigley had had proper representation — is the question of whether Quigley was working directly for Eaze, or as the company asserts, as an employee of one of its partner dispensaries. As marijuana continues its move from the black market to the mainstream, its workers will undoubtedly continue to deal with similar mainstream issues. And as they do, labor unions and marijuana workers will continue their courtship.
Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History
Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History
With 29 states, as well as Washington D.C., already having passed medical marijuana laws — not to mention the nine states where recreational marijuana is legal — the demonization of the substance in the eyes of the American public, as well as legislators, continues to wane. How far will the prohibition of pot ultimately be pushed back, though? It’s too early to tell, really. We can, however, make an educated guess regarding the pace of progress by studying how marijuana law has changed in the United States during its history. Colonial cannabis use The use of marijuana in the United States dates back to the 17th century. Before a single marijuana law was created, the American government promoted the production of hemp to create clothing, sails, and rope, and marijuana — a mixture of dried flowers and leaves derived from the hemp plant — became a widely used ingredient in numerous over-the-counter medicines by the late 19th century. %related-post-1% Below the border fears Things began to change as the century turned, though. Mexicans were using cannabis for relaxation and medicinal purposes, and in the wake of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the immigrants flooding into the U.S. from south of the border brought their marijuana with them. Fear and prejudice regarding the new immigrants extended to a dislike of their use of marijuana, and those openly protesting its use blamed it — as well as the Mexicans who used it — for any number of crimes. Not only was marijuana possession then seen as a good reason to deport Mexican immigrants, but by the time the Great Depression rolled around, massive unemployment fueled even more resentment toward Mexicans (as well as other foreign-born residents) and increased public and governmental outcry about marijuana. Spurred by bogus research linking pot use with violence, crime, and other socially deviant activity among (mostly) “racially inferior” communities, 29 states had passed legislation banning the substance by 1931. And in an effort to further curb the drug’s use nationwide, Congress passed a dagger of a marijuana law called the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which effectively banned virtually all sales and use of the substance. Mid-century marijuana crackdown During the 1950s, the federal government established tougher sentences for those convicted of drug-related offenses, including first-offense marijuana possession. A decade later, however, reports commissioned by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson found that pot use did not induce violence or serve as a gateway to harder drugs. These findings, coupled with increased use of marijuana among the white upper middle class, paved the way for increased discussion and increasingly lenient attitudes toward the drug. By 1970, Congress, recognizing that the harsh minimum sentences had done absolutely nothing to slow down the nation’s drug culture, repealed most of the mandatory penalties for marijuana-related offenses. However, that year also saw Congress pass the Controlled Substances Act, which placed drugs into various categories — or schedules — based on their potential medical value and abuse potential. %related-post-2% Nixon nips it in the bud Clouded by his dislike for the counterculture associated with marijuana, President Richard Nixon disregarded scientific, medical, and legal findings pointing to the benefits and actual effects of the plant, and instead pushed for cannabis to be placed under Schedule 1, the most restrictive category reserved for drugs like heroin and LSD that the federal government deemed as having virtually no positive benefits. Not even the findings of the Shafer Commission, an investigative body appointed by Nixon himself, could convince the president that marijuana should be decriminalized and removed from Schedule 1. Nixon rejected the commission’s report, and the Schedule 1 designation would continue to cause those convicted of marijuana-related offenses to receive needlessly harsh sentences. Also, since Schedule 1 meant that the federal government categorized the drug as basically worthless, physicians and scientists were blocked from obtaining marijuana for the purpose of studying its medical, scientific, and pharmaceutical usefulness. The "War on Drugs" Still, while Nixon himself rejected the commission’s recommendation, the remainder of the decade saw eleven states decriminalize marijuana and most others drastically reduce penalties for marijuana-related offenses. But while states were moving to lessen the penalties related to marijuana, the creation of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1973, as well as a concerted effort by concerned parents across the nation just a few years later, was very effective in shifting public sentiment back toward stricter regulation and stiffer sentences. As part of his war on drugs, President Ronald Reagan built on this newfound momentum, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 combined to increase federal penalties for pot-related crimes, including a "three strikes and you're out" policy, which required life sentences for repeat offenders, and the death penalty for those deemed to be "drug kingpins." But while President George H.W. Bush declared his own War on Drugs in 1989, by 1996, things started to loosen once again. %related-post-3% Turning the tide That year, California voters passed Proposition 215, a marijuana law that allowed the sale and medicinal use of marijuana for patients suffering AIDS, cancer, and numerous other serious diseases. While opponents of the measure claim there is too little evidence to establish the medicinal benefits of marijuana, advocates cite the thousands of years the drug has been used as medicine by countless cultures — a reality that far exceeds the danger associated with it. While the details vary from state to state, millions of Americans suffering from a wide variety of medical conditions can, with a physician’s order, obtain marijuana to help treat their symptoms. An increasing number of Americans — mainly in western states — also have access to marijuana to use for recreational purposes.    *Since this article was originally published, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo, a document issued by the Department of Justice in 2013 that helped pave the way for the growth of the recreational marijuana industry. Sessions' move has unleashed confusion across the cannabis landscape, and its full effect is yet to be seen.  As always, The Sugar Leaf will keep you posted on legal developments related to marijuana. 
Police Forces More Forgiving Of Recruits’ Past Pot Use
Police Forces More Forgiving Of Recruits’ Past Pot Use
More and more police forces are taking an increasingly lenient approach to the past pot use of their recruits. In some places past marijuana use is no longer a disqualifying foul.  Just a few years ago, if you wanted to become a police officer, your application would be rejected if you had ever used marijuana. Now, with public attitudes changing toward cannabis and police forces across the nation struggling to recruit new officers, an increasing number of police chiefs and sheriffs are rethinking their stances toward recruits’ past pot use. %related-post-1% When Colorado Springs Police Department Spokesman Lt. Howard Black first joined the force, pot use among police officers was a big no-no. “Thirty-five years ago when I started it was you never could have smoked it,” Black told the Denver Post. “That was a question on the polygraph.” Today, however, growing public support for marijuana legalization — coupled with a growing economy that offers potential recruits alternative job opportunities, less stress, and higher pay — has caused many departments to relax their hiring rules when it comes to applicants’ marijuana use. For years, applicants looking to become police officers in Maryland could not have used marijuana five times since turning 21 or more than a total of 20 times in their lives. Earlier this year, however, the state’s Police Training and Standards Commission, which establishes hiring policies for all of Maryland’s law enforcement officers, relaxed its policies on pot at the request of the Baltimore Police Department, which had complained that the more stringent standards were negatively affecting the recruitment of new officers. Under the new rules, applicants will only be barred from consideration if they’ve used marijuana in the past three years. %related-post-2% That three-year window is similar to one in Denver, Colorado, as well as the requirements that were part of nearby Aurora’s until last year. As the Denver Post explains, there is no statewide standard for applicants’ marijuana usage in Colorado. Instead, individual agencies, or their commissions that make hiring rules, and the state’s sheriff’s offices create their own policies. In 2016, the Aurora Civil Service Commission reduced the amount of time that applicants to its police and fire departments must be marijuana-free from three years to one. Elsewhere, the window for applicants in Colorado Springs is a mere 18 months. Facing a similar challenge in attracting new recruits, the military has also become more lenient toward prior marijuana use. As we’ve reported previously, the U.S. Army has begun issuing hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used marijuana in their youth. Those who receive waivers must vow not to use it again. “The big thing we’re looking for is a pattern of misconduct where they’re going to have a problem with authority,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, who oversees Army recruitment, recently told USA Today. “Smoking marijuana in an isolated incident as a teenager is not a pattern of misconduct.” While both the nation’s police forces and military still have a long way to go before their internal policies toward cannabis are more in line with public opinion and the growing trend toward legalization, shrinking windows and issuing waivers are both signs of progress.
Weird Weed Headlines <br>Volume 4
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 4
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 4 We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring space weed and drug-sniffing bunnies. We can’t make this stuff up, but we’ve got to share it. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 4. %related-post-1% Canna I Have Two Scoops, Please? In previous articles, we’ve told you about weed being smuggled into jails by carrier pigeons, hidden in Ford Fusions, and discovered in shipments of furniture. Now comes the story of a bunch of pot that showed up in a North Carolina frozen yogurt shop. As WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported, police say an employee at a TCBY in Matthews found three packages containing $225,000 worth of weed that had been accidentally delivered to the store. The employee panicked when she opened the boxes, and immediately notified police. A manager at the postal store next door said the packages were supposed to be delivered to one of their post office boxes, not the yogurt store, and that the intended recipient’s info was turned over to authorities. Police say they’ve made no arrests, and employees of the store say it isn’t clear where the packages came from. What is clear is that the Matthews TCBY was very close to having the most popular frozen yogurt flavor in town. %related-post-2% Mari Christmas! According to a recent survey, one in nine children say they have only ever received bad gifts from their grandparents at Christmas. We’re guessing that Patrick and Barbara Jiron saw that survey, and wanted to do something about it. A few days before Christmas, Patrick, 83, and Barbara, 70, were pulled over by police in Nebraska after deputies observed their vehicle traveling over the center line and failing to signal. When they approached the car, the officers could immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana. The Jirons acknowledged that there was, indeed, weed in the back of their Toyota Tacoma, and when deputies inspected the vehicle, they found 60 pounds of high-grade pot worth an estimated $336,000. The couple, who were traveling from California to Vermont for the holidays, said they had no idea it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska, and that they planned give the weed away as Christmas presents. Patrick was arrested and booked on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp. He posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, and has since been released. Barbara was cited in the case, but was not jailed “due to some medical issues.” Say it with us: Best. Grandparents. Ever. %related-post-3% Putting the “Cray” in Craigslist Like millions of people before him, Jason Mikesell recently posted his used vehicle for sale on Craigslist. The offer he received for it, however, was anything but typical. Shortly after posting his SUV, Mikesell received a text from Shawn Langley. Langley offered to pay for the truck in pot. This story probably wouldn’t have made the news except for the fact that Mikesell is the county sheriff, and he used the opportunity to bust Langley. "You want to know the truth? I saw that text, and I started giggling," Mikesell told the Colorado Springs Gazette. "I was really surprised and I thought at first, 'Maybe this is a joke.’” But it wasn’t. Langley texted Mikesell photos of the weed, boasting about its quality. Mikesell showed the texts to detectives, and the next morning, they arranged to make the “deal” in a nearby park. When Langley and his companion, Jane Cravens, showed up to trade four pounds of killer (but, unfortunately, illegal) weed for the SUV, they were arrested. According to court records, the pair were both charged with suspicion of possession with intent to sell — one misdemeanor count for a small quantity, and a felony count for a larger amount. While Mikesell might still sell his truck, he says he won’t be selling it on Craigslist. %related-post-4% Bill Might Have Inhaled This A Washington-state cannabis producer named Sugarleaf — no relation to this blog, though we (obviously) dig the name — has named one of its strains of cannabis after former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. According to lemonhaze.com, the strain is a hybrid flower, and a 14g container retails for $104. As Complex notes, the product is not yet listed on Sugarleaf’s website, but it is proudly (and frequently) mentioned on the company’s social media accounts. While Sugarleaf CEO Cody Anderlini hasn’t quite said exactly why the weed was named after Lewinsky, he says he would be honored if she would like to stop by and check out the factory where it’s produced. Lewinsky herself seems tickled about the product, tweeting a photo her eponymous strain and joking that she was thinking of about throwing “party just for the party favors!” And there you go, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next one.
What Are Drug Schedules, And Why Are They Important?
What Are Drug Schedules, And Why Are They Important?
At time of this writing, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, while eight have legalized the recreational use of the drug by adults. Despite the trend toward legalization, however, the United States government classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 illegal drug. But what does that mean? And what are drug schedules, anyway? %related-post-1% In classifying marijuana under Schedule 1, not only has the government declared pot to have no health benefits, but it also says the drug has a higher potential for abuse than drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and Vicodin. To better understand the legal, medicinal, and cultural ramifications of pot’s Schedule 1 designation, it’s important to understand what drug schedules are, where they came from, and why they’re important. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five categories (or schedules) based on the drug’s acceptable medical use, as well as its abuse or dependency potential. The current drug schedules date back to 1970, when Congress, recognizing that harsh minimum sentences did little to slow down the nation’s drug culture, repealed most of the mandatory penalties for marijuana-related offenses. As a result, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which placed drugs into various schedules. Here’s how the DEA’s schedules are currently broken down: %related-post-2% Schedule I consists of drugs with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” including heroin, LSD, peyote, ecstasy, and (the government says) marijuana. Schedule II are “also considered dangerous” and carry a high potential for abuse. They include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. Schedule III drugs possess a “moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence.” This group includes products with less than 90 mm of codeine, ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids. Schedule IV substances — like Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Ativan, Soma, and Ambien — have a low potential for abuse or dependence. Schedule V includes products that contain low levels of narcotics, such as cough syrup. As we’ve written previously, President Nixon harbored a strong dislike for the counterculture associated with marijuana and, despite scientific, medical, and legal findings pointing to the benefits and actual effects of the drug, pushed for cannabis to be placed under the very restrictive Schedule 1. Not even a conflicting report by the Shafer Commission — an investigative body appointed by Nixon himself — could convince the president that marijuana should be decriminalized and removed from Schedule 1. Congress approved its placement, and it’s stayed there ever since. %related-post-3% Since then, those convicted of marijuana-related offenses have received needlessly harsh sentences, and since Schedule 1 classification means the federal government deems the drug as basically worthless, physicians and scientists have been blocked from obtaining marijuana for the purpose of studying its medical, scientific, and pharmaceutical usefulness. During a 1971 “special message” to Congress, Nixon characterized America’s drug problem as “a national emergency,” and he was largely successful in shifting public sentiment toward stricter regulation and stiffer sentences when it came to all kinds of drugs — including marijuana. Hopefully, with an increasing number of states — as well as citizens — now favoring legalization, Congress is now getting the message that pot use isn’t quite the emergency the late president made it out to be.
8 New Year's Eve Playlist Must-Haves
8 New Year's Eve Playlist Must-Haves
A solid New Year's Eve playlist is essential for any good New Year's Eve party. So, let us help! Use these 8 eight tracks as the foundation for an awesome New Year's Eve playlist.  As 2017 winds down, it’s tempting to set your sights on 2018 and all the possibilities the New Year will hold. But there’s still one big celebration left in 2017 — a baller New Year’s Eve party. Whether you’re hosting or attending, there’s one fundamental elemental that will keep any party rocking well past midnight, and that’s an A+ playlist. We’ve put together our list of must-have hits for our year-end bash. It features some old tunes and a few of 2017’s biggest hits, so dive in and let us know what you think! “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” by Ella Fitzgerald It’s no secret that we love Ella’s Christmas album, and she’s no stranger to our list of seasonal songs. Her version of this quintessential New Year’s track is unbeatable. It’s slow pace, carried by her amazing voice and powerful backing band make this song the ideal early evening/pre-party track. Put this song on as your guests arrive to add a little class and air of exclusivity before the bangers you’ll play later in the night. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Slide” by Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean and Migos As the guests start piling in and the drink start flowing, transition into some more upbeat tunes to up the energy level. Calvin Harris released one of the best dance songs of 2017 with Migos and Frank Ocean. Putting this song on will get heads bobbing and toes tapping in no time. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Mask Off (Remix)” by Future ft. Kendrick Lamar “Mask Off” was a 2017 monster jam on its own, but then Future released the remix featuring Kung Fu Kenny and took the track to a whole new level. If there’s a dance floor at your party, this track on your New Year's Eve playlist will get more bodies out there and prime the crowd for more hip hop. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B This was arguably the most popular song of the year. Everyone’s heard, almost everyone loves, and pretty much every person at your party will know the lyrics to the chorus. You may just start a sing along, but that will keep your party on track as midnight gets closer. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Lemon” by N.E.R.D. ft. Rihanna Pharrell and rapping Rihanna. What more could you ask for? Keep the momentum up with this dance track and all-around crowd pleaser and thing’s will keep bouncin’ around, bouncin’ around, bouncin’. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “1999” by Prince Every powerful playlist needs a solid throwback jam, and this tune is perfect for New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2017 going on 18, people still love this song and it’s a go-to party anthem for any decade. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “This Will be Our Year” by The Zombies After the clock strikes midnight, it’s the right time for an optimistic tune about all the possibilities and potential the New Year holds. 2017 may not have been everyone’s year — for any number of reasons — but this song is a comforting shoulder to lean on in light of the past year’s difficulties. Even better, the theme of going into 2018 confident and excited is uplifting as the party rolls on. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> BONUS: “Auld Lang Syne” as performed by literally any artist “Auld Lang Syne” is a classic. It’s almost criminal to not play it on New Year’s Eve. Even though it’s not our prime choice as the clock strikes one, it still warrants a place on our list. Since the song is synonymous with New Year’s there are literally thousands of recorded versions to choose from. So, track down a version by one of your favorite artists and queue it up! Here’s one of our favorite covers featuring Aretha Franklin and the legend Billy Preston. Enjoy! " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Did we miss something on our New Year's Eve playlist? Let us know!
California Marijuana: Where (And When) You’ll Be Able To Buy It
California Marijuana: Where (And When) You’ll Be Able To Buy It
January 1, 2018 is a big day for cannabis consumers in the Golden State. But exactly where (and when) will you be able to buy California marijuana? California is the largest state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, but, with the first licenses in the state being issued as we speak, a majority of California’s 482 cities still haven’t authorized recreational pot sales — and aren’t likely to do so anytime soon. %related-post-1% As we’ve discussed previously, California was already one of the nation’s biggest pot producers when it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Residents in the Golden State voted to approve the legal sale and possession of an ounce of pot for recreational use in November of 2016, but now, with growers wanting to seize the opportunity to make some bank in the booming industry, most cities and counties won’t be allow commercial cannabis sales by the January 1, 2018 target date. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the November 2016 initiative immediately allowed Californians age 21 and older to possess and transport up to an ounce of marijuana for use for recreational purposes, as well as grow up to six plants for personal use. And sales of recreational cannabis were slated for January 2018. In order to sell recreational California marijuana, the Times explains, retailers must first get approval of their individual cities or counties before they can be licensed by the state. Los Angeles will allow retailers to sell recreational weed in January, joining other major cities like San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland and San Jose. Cities and counties can opt out of allowing commercial cannabis sales, however, and most have, including Riverside, Fresno, Bakersfield, Pasadena and Anaheim. Other cities, like Long Beach, say they will take another look at the issue after they see how the new system works elsewhere. %related-post-2% “It’s going to be months, maybe even a year before a majority of the state has access that is less than a half-hour drive away,” Nate Bradley, a representative of the California Cannabis Industry Association, told the Times. He estimated that only about a third of the state will initially allow the sale of recreational weed. As of the time of this writing, it appears that the 150 medical marijuana dispensaries already in Los Angeles will be the some of the first places that can apply for recreational sales licenses from the state in January. Being able to apply for a license doesn’t mean they will be able to sell pot right away, however. Licensed retailers will still have to deal with delays brought on by a flood of other applicants, staffing issues, and a huge set of new rules for cannabis growers, sellers and distributors. In the interim the state has issued temporary licenses to a short roster of California marijuana dispensaries, and our friends over at Leafly have compiled a running list of these. Click here, to view them. “The first few weeks, the first month, I do think people need to be patient,” Lori Ajax, director of the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, told the Times. Some will need to be more patient than others. Like, way more patient.
Massachusetts Recreational Marijuana Rules Continue Taking Shape
Massachusetts Recreational Marijuana Rules Continue Taking Shape
Massachusetts recreational marijuana (the legal kind!) becomes reality in the summer of 2018. In the meantime, policy-makers are issuing mountains of rules.  Residents of Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2012, but legal challenges and lawmakers’ hand-wringing over regulations delayed the opening of the Bay State’s first dispensaries until June of 2015. And while voters voters approved Massachusetts recreational marijuana last November, the regulatory groundwork needed to bring it to the marketplace could mean another wait for cannabis consumers. %related-post-1% The passage of last November’s ballot question makes it legal for Massachusetts residents to buy or grow limited amounts of recreational pot. Where they will be able to buy or grow it, and how much they will be able to possess, has yet to be finalized, however. While the state is supposed to issue the first Massachusetts recreational marijuana licenses by July of 2018, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission and the Marijuana Policy Committee still have considerable details to work out. Here are some of the rules the CCC has come up with so far: Regulators have agreed on guidelines for when, where, and how people can use recreational cannabis in social settings and other establishments. The commission settled on two types of on-site consumption licenses, one for businesses like cannabis bars or cafes that derive more than 50 percent of their income from cannabis sales, and another for places like restaurants, movie theaters, or yoga studios that make smaller amounts of cannabis available to consumers. Home delivery would be limited to $3,000 worth of cannabis, and would have to be done during a store’s normal operating hours. Buyers would have to show proof they were 21 or older, as well as sign for delivery. In order to join a craft co-op, members must have been residents of Massachusetts for at least a year. While co-ops could brand and package cannabis products and deliver them to retailers, they couldn’t sell directly to consumers. The co-op would also have to organize as a limited liability company or similar business organization. %related-post-2% Marijuana research facilities would be licensed under a special license category. They could cultivate or buy cannabis, but not sell it, and all testing must be done on humans age 21 or older and would have to be approved by an institutional review board. Lawmakers want to provide opportunities in the legal marijuana industry to economically disadvantaged residents, especially those harshly affected by the so-called “war on drugs.” The commission has agreed to designate as yet undefined “areas of disproportionate impact,” and offer priority status to applicants for cannabis business licenses from those communities. According to industry analysts, Massachusetts could see upwards of $1.7 billion in combined recreational and medical cannabis sales — as well as 17,400 full- and part-time cannabis industry jobs — in 2021. The state also projects state and local tax revenue of approximately $240 million for that fiscal year. The commission is slated to vote soon on the above preliminary regulations. The regulations will then be subject to public hearings over the next few months. Any necessary revisions that result from those meetings would have to be made before any retailers would be allowed to open. Stay tuned for updates.
The Sweet Leaf Saga: Colorado Dispensaries Offer “Looping” Lesson
The Sweet Leaf Saga: Colorado Dispensaries Offer “Looping” Lesson
Anyone who keeps up with marijuana headlines couldn’t have missed the Sweet Leaf saga that unfolded earlier this month. The Colorado dispensaries were shuttered when authorities found them in glaring violation of “looping” rules. According to KUSA-TV, 13 employees of Sweet Leaf dispensaries were arrested after undercover police detectives were able to buy as many as 16 ounces of marijuana in a single day from eight of the popular cannabis retailer’s Denver locations. %related-post-1% "The operation is the result of an extensive, year-long criminal investigation into illegal distribution of marijuana at those locations," the Denver Police Department announced in a statement regarding the arrests. The statement goes on to explain that Amendment 64 of Colorado law “allows for the personal use of marijuana, and specifically allows the possession, use, display, purchase, and transport of one ounce or less of marijuana.” The 13 employees who were arrested are accused of selling marijuana in excess of that limit by a practice known as “looping.” What’s looping? As Westword explains, looping occurs when a dispensary customer buys the maximum amount of cannabis allowed — in this case, one ounce for recreational customers and two ounces for medical patients — and then leaves the store, only to return soon after to buy more. While Colorado has a state tracking system in place for medical patients, none exists for recreational purchases, which makes the looping practice easier to exploit. Arrest affidavits indicate that during each undercover buy, a detective carrying a hidden video camera would enter the store and show their ID to an employee behind a glass window in the lobby. The employee would then give the ID to the “budtender,” who would escort the undercover detective to the sales floor. Court documents show that, at some of Sweet Leaf’s locations, the same undercover detectives were able to walk in and buy weed anywhere from seven to 16 times a day. In one case, a budtender sold pot to the same detective nine times in less than two hours — sometimes ringing him up a mere 15 minutes between purchases. %related-post-2% Nine times in less than two hours? Whoa. Five of the 13 arrested face felony charges, as they sold more than four ounces of marijuana to undercover detectives in one day. The rest face misdemeanor charges. None of the chain’s owners were arrested, though all 26 of their licenses to cultivate, process, and dispense pot were suspended by the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. A hearing to decide any additional action is expected in a few weeks. Sweet Leaf has 10 of its Colorado dispensaries in Denver and one in nearby Aurora. While all 11 of their Colorado dispensaries are currently closed, their dispensary in Portland, Oregon is still open. The company had planned to open another location in Thornton, Colorado in 2018, but the city is now reviewing the matter in light of their troubles elsewhere in the state. And so dire is the financial situation facing Sweet Leaf employees, all out of work now, the Colorado marijuana community is holding fundraisers for them. There are lots of lessons in all this.
The Marijuana Business Buttons Up
The Marijuana Business Buttons Up
Similar to most things in the industry, the marijuana business workforce is changing — and the professionalization of the industry is moving at light speed. Not only is the increasing legitimacy of the legal marijuana industry changing public perception about the plant, it is also attracting entrepreneurs and professionals who previously considered the marijuana business taboo. With each passing day, big cannabis is moving away from the black market and into the hands of scientists, software executives, bankers, ex-military personnel, former pro athletes, and other accomplished folks looking for opportunities in this fast-growing industry. %related-post-1% According to cannabis industry tracker, Arcview Market Research, the legal cannabis market is currently worth roughly $8 billion, and will likely hit $22.6 billion in total annual sales by 2021. That kind of value, which could exceed the value of the National Football League, has spurred pot-based businesses to increasingly professionalize their operations by attracting top talent from other industries and billions of investment dollars from Wall Street. (A new commodity index even tracks the going rates for greenhouse and field-grown weed.) While marijuana is still illegal in all forms in 21 states, other states are aggressively marketing cannabis like they would, say, tourism or manufacturing. And new marijuana business professionals are playing a pivotal role in that marketing. Aiming to address lingering questions and concerns about the industry, Oregon has launched a new series of videos highlighting the importance of cannabis consumers and industry members who have chosen to participate in the legal and growing market. The videos, which were spearheaded by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s Recreational Marijuana Program, feature interviews with major players from Oregon’s regulated pot industry. Among those interviewed include a former fishery biologist, a former architect, and a former midshipman with the United States Naval Academy. %related-post-2% “We wanted to help dispel old stereotypes and enable Oregonians to better understand who’s in this industry,” Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the Recreational Marijuana Program, told Civilized. Elsewhere, ex-NBA players Cliff Robinson and Al Harrington have become canna-biz execs, former Google sales team leader Alan Gertner now works for a cannabis firm that sells high-end vaporizers and bongs, and Eric Eslao, founder of an artisanal cannabis-infused chocolate company, was a senior production manager at Apple a little over a year ago. Eslao told Reuters that while he feared the stigma of joining the weed industry, that fear ultimately wasn’t enough to stop him. “The opportunity was too good not to make the jump,” he says. Entire venture capital firms are making the jump, as well. This year has seen at least 27 investments by venture capital funds in cannabis companies, compared with just 10 such deals in 2016 and nine in 2015, according to data from venture capital data provider CB Insights cited by Reuters. Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm well-known for its investments in Twitter and Buzzfeed, invested $3 million in a business-to-business platform that provides a market for dispensary owners to buy inventory. The Founders Fund, started by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, has invested in a cannabis private equity firm. And prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalists 500 Startups, DCM Ventures, along with New York-based Great Oaks Venture Capital, have all backed a medical marijuana delivery app that allows patients to order cannabis on demand. %related-post-3% While Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ prohibitionist mindset and marijuana’s illegality in 21 states (and at the federal level) continue to cloud the cannabis industry’s long-term future, the growth of the industry in the other 29 states — as well as President Trump’s apparent disinterest in rolling back that progress — would seem to indicate that the marijuana marketplace will only continue to flourish. Sessions might not like pot, but the general public’s comfort level with legal marijuana continues to grow. And as the public gets more and more comfortable with legal weed, so will professionals and investors.
Teen Marijuana Use: No, Legalization Is Not Causing A Surge
Teen Marijuana Use: No, Legalization Is Not Causing A Surge
Counter to prohibitionist hysteria, marijuana legalization has not led to a surge in teen marijuana use. Ever since marijuana legalization was first discussed in the U.S., anti-cannabis advocates have argued that legalizing marijuana would cause usage among teenagers to explode. According to multiple studies, however, most states where cannabis has been legalized have seen a drop, not an increase, in teen marijuana use. %related-post-1% As Straight.com reports, data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that the percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who used pot in the past year dropped by more than two points between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 in Colorado and Washington, which both legalized cannabis in 2012, as well as the District of Columbia, which legalized cannabis in 2014. The data also shows that a drop of less than one percent in Oregon, as well as an increase of less than one percent in Alaska. Cannabis legalization was implemented in both states in 2014. Further NSDUH data examining cannabis use in the past month showed similar results, with decreases in use among 12- to 17-year-olds in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Washington, and an increase of less than a half-percent in Oregon. Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that while pot use by 8th, 10th and 12th graders has increased slightly over the course of the past year, it is still generally lower than it was before states began legalizing marijuana in 2012. %related-post-2% According to the latest edition of the university’s annual Monitoring the Future report, the percentage of students surveyed who had used pot in the previous year increased to 24 percent, up 1.3 percent from 2016. However, as CNN notes, the study also shows that the rate of pot usage among students is still far lower than its 1997 peak, when 38.5 percent of 12th-graders had used marijuana in the previous year. In fact, the study points out, the overall use of marijuana among teens has generally been trending downward since 2013. Not only has marijuana usage among teens not skyrocketed, but teens’ opinions about it haven’t changed much, either. Last year, 68.5 percent of 12th-graders disapproved of regular pot use. This year, that percentage fell to 64.7 percent. All told, cannabis use among teens is down by about a half-percent nationwide. Not quite the explosion we were warned about it, is it?
The Stoner’s Guide To The Best Electronic Albums Of 2017
The Stoner’s Guide To The Best Electronic Albums Of 2017
Do you like electronic music? Good. A cannabis fan too? Yes? Even better. You should definitely listen to our list of the best electronic albums of 2017. The amazing thing about electronic music is just how many moods and atmospheres can be covered in a single genre. Our favorite electronica releases from 2017 cover the entire spectrum — from brooding and a little melancholy to pop-inspired. Roll a joint, fire it up, and let the beats wash you right into 2018 and beyond! Compassion by Forest Swords Forest Swords is the king of slow building, dark electronic, and his most recent release is a perfect start to our best electronic albums list. Drawing together droning horns, driving percussion, and sharp strings, Forest Swords builds multi-layered sonic environments that surround every listener in lush waves of sound — perfect for getting lost, if that’s your thing. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Love What Survives by Mount Kimbie Mount Kimbie ventures close to rock territory at times, especially on their latest release Love What Survives. Toss in a guest spot from King Krule, as well as a few from James Blake, and you’ve got an album that is perfect for solo listening or as background music at your next get together. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Black Origami by Jlin Jlin produces beats like you’ve never heard before. A rhythm master, this album will take your expectations and blow them clear out of the water. The dizzying compositions on this album are ideal for solo listening, so grab some good headphones and dive in. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Self-Titled by Kelly Lee Owens Kelly Lee Owens self-titled album is best labelled as dream pop. The tracks are puffy, billowing, richly textured pieces that will carry you away. Add in a guest spot by Norwegian dream pop veteran Jenny Hval on “Anti.” And this album has just about everything you could want from an electronic artist. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Reassemblage by Visible Cloaks Visible Cloaks specialize in crafting ambient, synth soundscapes. Inspired by the synth music of 1980s Japan, this album sways back and forth from starkly minimal to swells of multi-layered sound and spoken word pieces. While challenging and dense at times, the record ultimately proves to be well worth the time you spend with it. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> New Energy by Four Tet Four Tet has a signature sound of harps, shuffling beats, and round percussion, but its arguably most fully realized on his latest album. New Energy is so relaxing to listen to, it will transport you from your living room to the most tranquil place on Earth. Upbeat while remaining calm, give this album a spin when you want to focus or need to give your mind a break. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Plunge by Fever Ray Karin Dreijer is well known for two things: being one half of electronic outfit the Knife — famous for their hit song “Heartbeats” and for penning “If I had a Heart,” which serves as the title song for the History Channel’s series Vikings. An accomplished artist in her own right, Dreijer released one of 2017’s most driving, intense records period. Deep, but danceable, this record is incredible. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Self-Titled by Sophia Kennedy Sophia Kenney could easily be classified as a pop singer. Her melodies aren’t always what you might expect, but her knack for storytelling and well-crafted vocals add up to a exhilarating listening experience. The album is flat out fun to listen to, and the tunes will get stuck in your head for days. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> That does it for our best electronic albums of 2017! Did we miss something? Do you disagree with our picks? Let us know!
New Jersey Marijuana: Legal In 100 Days?
New Jersey Marijuana: Legal In 100 Days?
Politicians use their first 100 days in office as a timeframe to institute new policies. But can legalization of New Jersey marijuana happen that fast? While the idea of legal recreational marijuana has seemed like an impossibility during the regime of prohibitionist Republican Governor Chris Christie, Democrat Phil Murphy’s victory in the New Jersey governor’s race last month could signal real reefer reform for the Garden State. %related-post-1% Throughout his campaign, Gov.-elect Murphy has openly promoted the idea of making New Jersey marijuana available for recreational use for people 21 and older, even pledging to sign legislation legalizing pot within 100 days of his Jan. 16 inauguration. Although there is a very good chance that Murphy will be able to fulfill that pledge, it’s too early to say how long it will take for recreational weed to reach consumers. While public support for legalization has increased in New Jersey and across the nation since 2010, the amount of time it could take to get the state’s recreational cannabis industry up and running could come close to how long it took medical marijuana legislation in New Jersey to move from signature to sales. How Long Did Medical New Jersey Marijuana Take? New Jersey became the 14th state to allow medical marijuana when the state legislature passed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act on January 11, 2010. Then-Governor Jon Corzine signed the act into law a week later, and, after some stalling tactics by his successor, Chris Christie, the state’s first alternative treatment center finally began dispensing the drug to qualified patients in December 2012. %related-post-2% Not much progress was made toward legalization under Christie, who has called legalizing recreational pot “beyond stupidity,” as well as a public health hazard that could contribute to the use of opioids and heroin. Will the Bill be Ready? Luckily, Murphy doesn’t agree. The governor-elect supports — and has pledged to immediately sign — a bill introduced in May by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, that would allow state residents age 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. The drug would be taxed at the point of sale, bringing in an estimated $300 million in revenue for the state. As App.com reports, Scutari’s bill only requires a minimum of one marijuana license for each county, with enough total establishments to “ensure that there are adequate licensed premises to serve the market demands of the county during the peak seasons.” Since a mere six dispensaries currently serve all of New Jersey’s 15,000 medical marijuana patients, existing businesses — like vape shops, paraphernalia stores, and those same six dispensaries — might leapfrog new businesses when it comes to obtaining recreational licenses. %related-post-3% After Murphy Signs, Then What? While Murphy has pledged to sign legalization legislation within 100 days of taking office, the process could actually take longer than that. Legislators are expected to begin working on amendments to Scutari's bill within the first few weeks of Murphy’s term, and a series of committee hearings are also scheduled in the months after the bill is introduced, meaning the bill likely wouldn’t be voted on until at least March or April — though it’s possible the bill might not actually be voted on and signed until June. Then, once the bill is signed into law, it could still take a while before state residents can legally buy and smoke New Jersey marijuana. “It’s going to take some time. It will take a long time to review the applications for licenses, then they have to find a place they can operate that’s consistent with local zoning rules,” Kate Bell, a cannabis industry analyst who has been involved in New Jersey’s legalization efforts, told App.com. “Then they have to put plants in the ground – and it takes at least 90 days to grow a crop.” Having to wait 90 days — or even two years — under Governor Murphy might be a hassle, but it’s still better than waiting forever under Governor Christie.
Marijuana Legalization In Canada: Three Looming Questions
Marijuana Legalization In Canada: Three Looming Questions
With marijuana legalization in Canada right around the corner, pot advocates have much cause for celebration. However, three big questions still remain. While medical marijuana is legal in Canada, recreational cannabis has been illegal in Canada for more than 90 years. That prohibition hasn’t stopped the nation’s youth and young adults from using it at a rate on par with the highest rates in the world, however. Prompted by this seemingly irreversible amount of usage, as well as growing support for legalization nationwide, Canada gave itself a deadline of July 2018 to make recreational marijuana legal across the nation. %related-post-1% The legislation for marijuana legalization in Canada essentially splits the responsibilities for legalization between Canada’s federal and provincial governments. Ottawa will regulate production, the licensing of producers, and the safety of the nation’s cannabis supply, while the provinces will determine how the drug will be distributed and sold. With July creeping up quickly, there are many questions regarding specific details of the new legislation. Here are the three biggest: Where Will Canadians Be Able to Buy Cannabis? As MerryJane.com reports, each province can establish its own rules regarding public, private, and online sales. From the details released so far, it looks like those rules will be all over the map. (Pun intended.) Per the Financial Post, cannabis sales in the provinces of Manitoba and Nova Scotia will be regulated by the provinces’ liquor commissions, while the liquor commissions in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island will sell pot though standalone dispensaries. Similar plans in Yukon and Quebec are awaiting approval from voters. Newfoundland and Labrador will allow private sales in stores. Alberta will allow private sales, as well, but the retailers must be physically separate from retailers that sell alcohol, tobacco, or pharmaceuticals. British Columbia plans to have both public and private retailers, but private dispensaries will be required to get their supply of cannabis from the same government wholesale distribution system used for alcohol. %related-post-2% While Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia intend to allow online cannabis sales, Alberta and Quebec have been more specific in their intent to control online sales. Saskatchewan, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories are still consulting the public regarding policy specifics. It should also be noted that while the federal government has established a minimum age of 18 for marijuana buyers, provinces can set the legal age higher if they wish. Those provinces who have outlined their plans so far have all set the legal age at 19. How Big Will the Demand for Recreational Marijuana Actually Be? In August 2016, Deloitte estimated that Canada’s demand will be 600,000 kilograms next year. The Parliamentary Budget Officer projects a demand of 650,000 kilograms. According to one influential research firm, however, demand for weed will be much higher those estimates. According to Denver-based Marijuana Policy Group (MPG), Canadian demand for pot could surpass 900,000 kilograms (992 tons) next year — 40 percent higher than previous estimates. “In our view, demand has been underestimated because the number of heavy users in Canada had been underestimated,” Miles Light, MPG co-founder and partner, told Marijuana Business Daily. %related-post-3% Light points out the the number of heavy users has been underestimated because five years passed between the PBO’s projections and his firm’s projections — a span that saw projections of heavy users jump from 12 percent of total users to more than 25 percent. Canada’s black market for pot is (including exports) is an estimated CA$22 billion per year. That’s more than the nation’s annual private sector and government-owned alcohol sales of CA$21.3 billion. As more people have access to legal pot — and consume less alcohol as a result — that gap could increase even more. Will Canada’s Legal Pot Sales Launch on Time? Despite the excitement surrounding recreational marijuana legalization in Canada, there is still a lot of work to do — work that could realistically push the planned legislation well past its planned July launch date. Each and every aspect of the bills must be discussed in parliamentary committees, and the federal government must negotiate the legislation with each of the country's provinces. As Lift News reports, parliamentary bills C-45 and C-46 are currently at second reading in the Senate, after working through the House earlier this year. The debate around both bills in the Senate has been limited to this point, however, with a little less than three hours spent debating C-46, and roughly one hour debating C-45. If the entire process isn’t sped up, there is concern that marijuana legalization in Canada could be delayed well into 2019. And, many would agree, that's no good.
One Stoner’s Top Rap Albums Of 2017
One Stoner’s Top Rap Albums Of 2017
2017 was an amazing year for hip-hop. From bangers to sprawling, thought-provoking albums, this year had something for everyone. So let’s get to it — it’s time to light up and dive into my list (in no particular order) of the top rap albums of 2017. Damn. by Kendrick Lamar If Kung Fu Kenny wasn’t first on this top rap albums of 2017 list, we’d probably lose everyone’s attention...fast So here he is. This album was flat out incredible. From the pointed hits, “D.N.A.” and “Humble” to the soulful “LOVE.” Kendrick showcases his diverse flows in what is arguably his most focused release ever. This is Kendrick at the top of his game. He reduced U2 to little more than background noise one of his tracks — that’s bold.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Big Fish Theory by Vince Staples The beats on this record completely caught us off guard. Vince’s bars have always been hard, but the mix of production and his delivery on this record was something truly unique. Couple that with production from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and a guest spot from Kendrick Lamar, this record is a classic. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> More Life by Drake Not gonna lie — Drake’s last release Views was kind of bummer for me. That’s why his 2017 release, More Life was such a breath of fresh air. It seemed like the expectations lowered just a bit and the spotlight shifted, so he dropped this masterpiece to remind us he’s one of the greatest in the game. While “Passionfruit” may have gotten a lot of attention, there’s plenty on this record to keep you coming back. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Before I Wake by Kamaiyah I first picked up on Kamaiyah after a few guest spots on a few tracks from fellow California rapper YG. She really started getting noticed with her 2015 record, A Good Night in the Ghetto, and Before I Wake is the perfect follow up. Featuring old school, 90s-era beats, this album is so smooth and perfect for kicking back, toking, and taking in the sounds. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Autobiography by Vic Mensa It takes something special to get Pusha T and Pharrell to help out on one of your tracks. And Vic Mensa has that “something” in spades. This album is highly introspective and Vic doesn’t shy away from talking politics, which makes for a heavier listen. If you’re in the mood for something to get you thinking, queue this up and enjoy. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You Only Live 2wice by Freddie Gibbs Hailing from Gary, Indiana, Freddie Gibbs has a reputation for using his music as a window into his life of drugs, gangs, and more. His gruff voice and the booming beats on his tracks are haunting, alternating between prideful boasting and almost sorrow. Regardless of the emotion he shows, Freddie knows how to hook a listener. Plus, he’s got lines like, “I be kickin’ shit like Solange in an elevator.” Come on, that’s hilarious. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time by Big K.R.I.T. K.R.I.T. is known for doing it all, and no top rap albums of 2017 list would be complete without him. From writing his rhymes to producing his tracks, he’s a hip-hop renaissance man. His 2017 release is arguably his crowning achievement, highlighting him at the top of his game whether rapping or showing a soulful side. 4eva comes across almost as a double album, the first side showcases his rhymes, while the second side plays almost like an R&B record. Just hit play and let it ride — you won’t be disappointed. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Culture by Migos Everyone was singing “Bad and Boujee” this year. Instead of being just a one off, it turned out to be a smash hit from a very strong album. Featuring three member’s very distinct deliveries, the dynamics of each track make this album so much fun. The chemistry shared by Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset is obvious and you can tell they are having a great time. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> BONUS War & Leisure by Miguel Ok, it may not be a rap record per se, but Miguel’s new album flat out goes. Featuring guest spots from Rick Ross, Travis Scott, and more, there’s enough here for us to consider it on our list. Spark up and enjoy! " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> There you go. My top rap albums of 2017 list. Here's hoping that 2018 is just as solid on the hip-hop front. 
Nevada Marijuana Industry Trends: How Do They Compare To Others?
Nevada Marijuana Industry Trends: How Do They Compare To Others?
A new study highlights Nevada marijuana industry trends — and compares them to other states — since Silver State recreational marijuana sales began in the summer of 2017. Residents of Nevada have had legal access to medical marijuana since the summer of 2015 and recreational cannabis since July 2017. As a result, a new survey says, more than a quarter of the state’s adults are now buying pot on a regular basis. %related-post-1% While California still produces — and consumes — more pot than anywhere else in the country, the gap is slowly closing, and the trajectory of toking in states like Nevada could provide a glimpse into legalization’s ultimate effects nationwide. When Did Nevada Legalize Marijuana? As we discussed earlier, Nevadans first voted to legalize medical marijuana use in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the state’s legislature voted to allow regulated access to medical cannabis. After the state’s first medical dispensaries opened in the summer of 2015, Nevadans then voted to allow recreational marijuana use for anyone over the age of 21 by approving Question 2 on the state’s ballot in November of 2016. With the vote, Nevada joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., in allowing marijuana to be legally purchased for recreational use. Nevadans 21 and older can now possess up to an ounce of marijuana or as much as one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis concentrate. And that’s what many are doing. How Does Nevada Compare? Despite the enormous taxes on cannabis, a limited number of licensed retailers, and strict zoning laws which largely relegate dispensaries to inconvenient locations, Nevada marijuana industry is booming. According to a new survey, 28 percent of Nevada adults over the age of 21 have purchased weed in the past six months. Of those buyers, 28 percent buy weed a few times per month, 19 percent buy it once a week, and 19 percent buy it a few times a week. Another 15 percent of those surveyed are considered “potential users” who plan to buy within the next six months. %related-post-2% The survey studied people in five states — California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada — and while Nevada had the lowest rate of cannabis use among the five, the numbers aren’t very far apart. Oregon (36 percent) and Washington (35 percent) have the highest percentages of adult use among the states studied, but Nevada’s usage rate (28 percent) isn’t far behind, trailing California — the market with the largest overall number of cannabis users in the country — by only three percentage points. Are These Statistics Trustworthy?  As the Nevada Independent reports, Ana Hory of the cannabis business consulting firm Enlucem presented the survey at November’s Marijuana Business Conference. Data like that found in the survey can be hard to obtain due to the stigma that still surrounds the drug, as well as the fact that it’s still banned at the federal level and in many states. With that said, the data that is available does more than an adequate job of painting a picture of the pot industry’s progress in the Silver State. While Riana Durrett, head of the Nevada Dispensary Association, couldn’t provide the Independent with exact statistics on how many individuals have purchased recreational pot legally since it hit the market in July, owners of a handful of Nevada’s 50 cannabis retailers say their stores have served between 20,000 and 25,000 unique customers since the drug became legal. %related-post-3% What Are Legalization's Biggest Benefits (and Potential Hangups)? Not only is the legal Nevada marijuana industry providing buyers with a safer supply, helping people deal with medical conditions, creating jobs, and generating tax revenue, it’s also making a dent in the black market. As Durrett notes, the people that are buying cannabis from dispensaries in Nevada — and across the country — “are often people who had been purchasing untested illegal marijuana from the illegal market, which is often connected to crime rings and violent crime.” Durett also warns, however, without further adjustments to current marijuana legislation, legalization could very easily prop up the black market instead of combating it. “Nevada’s retail stores are appreciative there is a significant demand that exists for medical and adult use marijuana in Nevada,” she says, “but caution that taxes, regulatory, and operational costs must be maintained at a level that allows them to compete with the illegal market that does not pay taxes on sales.” Let that be food for thought for the 29 states that have legalized cannabis so far, and the 21 states that may consider doing so in the future.
Anxiety Is Ruff: CBD Treats For Dogs
Anxiety Is Ruff: CBD Treats For Dogs
Have you been wondering if CBD treats for dogs are a good idea? There's a clear need for more scientific studies, but here’s one story that may help. My Dog Has Anxiety Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. He’s not afraid of thunderstorms, but he eyes neighborhood garbage cans with suspicion. He once got so stressed out during a long car ride — panting and shaking — that I thought he was going to have a heart attack. It was really next level. After trying everything I could think of to get him to calm down, I realized he was bothered by the shirts my husband and I had hung in the window. I can never predict what’s going to cause his stress, but I assume that my dog will be a nervous wreck at some point during any adventure, no matter how tame. %related-post-1% I am fortunate enough to work in an office where dogs are welcomed. I bring my precious pup — a sweet and beautiful hound/pitbull mutt — with me two or three days a week, normally anytime I don’t have off-site client meetings. We have a small work team, 10 in total, and my pup has gotten to know everyone well enough that he is delighted when we get there. But before the excitement and peacefulness that comes with being in the office, we have to actually make it there. Our office is in the heart of the downtown of a mid-sized city. We park a few blocks away and walk in each morning. Queue stress. Weighing in at 55 pounds of solid muscle, my dog is strong. And weighing in at 110 pounds soaking wet, I struggle to keep him on track. Tail tucked, he pulls on his leash and jumps at any loud noise. Horns honk. Box truck doors slam closed. Dogs bark in cars driving by. Every startling experience compounds the last, and some days I can hardly keep up. Luckily, I’ve never had a situation where I couldn’t hold him back — but there have been a couple instances where I have worried that one or both of us could be put in danger if he ever completely loses it. We'd heard that CBD treats for dogs could help. So, we tried them. Office Trip with CBD Before heading out the door, I gave my pup the recommended dosage of some locally produced CBD oil-infused dog treats. It was a mild fall morning, so we enjoyed a slow ride to work, my pup sticking his head out the window, eagerly sniffing, wind flapping his ears. We parked the car and walked in. His tail stayed tucked, and he still pulled some. Luckily nothing crazy happened on our trek, and he romped up the stairs and through the halls, tongue flapping, winding his way to our office. He always waits for me to catch up at each turn before barreling down the next hallway. (It’s adorable.) %related-post-2% With his best pitty smile on his face, he greeted everyone as they arrived. We make it to the office first each day, and he gets so excited every time the door opens. “He’s so confident today!” one of my coworkers beamed. “Man he is in such a great mood!” said another later in the day. My pup normally hesitates to leave my side if I have to go into a coworker’s office for a meeting, but he wandered happily around and didn’t seem to stress about anything all day. During our midday potty break, which of course requires wandering around downtown in the same scene as described above, he did pull a bit but not as intensely as usual. And our walk to the car at the end of the day was a piece of cake. He was so calm, I kept wondering if he was lagging behind to stop and sniff, but instead he was just keeping pace with me instead of trying to run ahead like he normally does when he gets anxious. So, Do I Think It Worked? Yes, most definitely. It wasn’t some miraculous experience that totally changed my dog’s personality, but honestly I wouldn’t have wanted it to. I think it helped take the edge off and helped him feel much more comfortable in the hustle and bustle of a downtown environment. Most importantly, I think the added calm ensured both of us were safer during our walks throughout the day. I’ve read articles that say it may take a while to find the right dosage for your dog, and I think that’s definitely true. Based on the dosage recommendations of the treats I gave my dog, I could have given him a tad bit more, or even given one dose the night before and another in the morning. %related-post-3% The treats I found are a bit pricey with the amount I’d have to feed our pup since he’s a solid boy, but I plan to also try an oil tincture in the future. Depending on the CBD oil product, dosage recommendations either suggest putting the oil in your pup’s food or rubbing it on a venous area (such as the ears or groin) for absorption through the skin. So far, we haven’t integrated a daily CBD treat into our dog’s regimen, but I definitely see value in using the product when I know we’ll be dealing with stressful situations, such as going on a long trip, going to the vet, or visiting a new place. To find out more about what CBD oil is and what it can do for humans, our blog "What Is The Medical Value Of CBD?" may help. If you’ve had positive experiences with CBD products—whether for yourself, your loved ones, or your pets—we’d love to hear about it. Give us a shout at editor@brtside.com.
A Marijuana Industry Need: Product Standardization
A Marijuana Industry Need: Product Standardization
Where did that product come from? And what exactly is in it? The marijuana industry, and all who are a part of it, would benefit from standardization. What's In the Bag? Never Mind. I'll Take It. Back in the days before marijuana was legal, you were never quite sure what you were getting. Your dealer was at the mercy of a bigger supplier up the food chain who would provide whatever strain was available at the time. Ultimately, what kind of weed you bought or where it was grown wasn’t as important as the fact that you had some weed — any weed. %related-post-1% However, as the marijuana industry has become more mainstream (aka legal), consumers, retailers, farmers, and lawmakers have pushed for increased standardization of the drug. Lawmakers want to make sure the cannabis industry is regulated and taxed. Retailers want to make sure they are dealing in reliable, quality supplies. They also want customers to be able to easily identify and choose their products. Farmers want to be able to grow and market their specific strains without fear of prosecution or without being ripped off by dishonest middlemen. And users want to be able to rely on products that they know have specific benefits or effects while avoiding others with certain side effects. While growers once avoided using distinctive packaging so as to conceal their product from law enforcement and thieves, legalization has caused an explosion of easily identifiable and heavily marketed cannabis brands. But while legalization has made pot easier to get, it’s done little remedy labeling confusion. Quite the opposite, actually. Where Did That Come From? The label on a cannabis product may say that the pot it contains comes from a specific part of the country, but there’s a really good chance it doesn’t. For example, when hmbldt first launched in August 2016, its founders told Amanda Chicago Lewis of Rolling Stone that the hash oil in their popular vape pens came from pot grown in Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties in Northern California. The company’s name is a not-so-thinly veiled reference to Humboldt County, one of the premier regions for cannabis production in the world. Two other cannabis brands — True Humboldt and Humboldt’s Finest — are also capitalizing off of Humboldt’s reputation, but hmbldt isn’t actually run by anyone from Humboldt. (As Lewis notes, one of the company’s co-founders is from Humboldt, but is no longer with the company.) %related-post-2% When hmbldt launched its pens, newly passed medical marijuana regulatory bills implied that only a county’s full name would be protected by the law. There was little guidance regarding using the name of county minus vowels. This past summer, however, California tightened things up, affirming the section of the ballot initiative that forbids licensed businesses from giving any impression that their cannabis comes from somewhere it doesn’t — vowels or not. "People are claiming to be something that they're not," Dani Burkhart, a founding board member of the Humboldt Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, told Rolling Stone. "It's really important when you have a craft product to have something that protects branding rights. In California, you can't call wine that's not from Sonoma, 'Sonoma Valley Wine.’” Leaning on marijuana industry businesses to accurately label their products is a step in the right direction, and growers in places like Humboldt have a right to be angry if other canna-businesses claim the county as their own. As Lewis notes, however, none of California’s marijuana farms have been officially licensed by the state, and the state’s thorough regulatory system won't kick into gear for at least another year. Also, none of the cannabis in the state is being tracked, which means that any claims about where something was grown are impossible to prove. It’s going to take something more than a name or a business owner’s word to verify a product’s origin. It’s going to take something like what’s currently being developed in Oregon.   Could a DNA Database Help? As Josh Jardine, Senior Cannabis Correspondent for the Portland Mercury reports, scientists at a firm called Phylos Bioscience have launched a new program called Phylos Certified (PC). PC is a database of cannabis genetics that confirm a plant’s identity. %related-post-3% According to Carolyn White of Phylos, the database is the largest of its kind on the planet. Marijuana industry growers across the country have been submitting their particular strains for the last two years. Scientists sequence and analyze the DNA of each strain that’s submitted, and then compare it to all the other varieties and give it a genetic location. The data is presented via an interactive 3D visualization called the Phylos Galaxy, which is free to access. “Names aren’t reliable, but DNA data is,” White tells the Mercury. “Inconsistency is a major problem when names are the primary way people categorize and find cannabis. For consumers, it’s about repeating a great experience. If you pick up a local variety that’s Phylos Certified, you know that its DNA has been publicly recorded. You can learn more about the farmer who grew it, see pictures, and — most importantly — know that you can find the exact same thing again, even if it’s under a different name elsewhere. It’s bringing transparency to the supply chain.” Not only can the database help consumers know exactly what kinds of products they’re getting — and from where — but it can also help small growers protect the integrity of their products in the face of threats from bigger companies who wouldn’t think twice about wrongfully capitalizing on their reputations. It's a win-win for everyone involved in the marijuana industry.
Our Starting 5 Pro-Marijuana NBA Stars
Our Starting 5 Pro-Marijuana NBA Stars
It’s not a big secret that many professional athletes are cannabis consumers. But just how many partake in toking? Well, if this NBA estimate is accurate and holds true across all sports, the more fitting question might be “who doesn’t smoke?” In a past interview with Fox Business, former Duke University All-American and Chicago Bulls guard Jay Williams said between 75 and 80 percent of NBA players use cannabis. That sure is a lot of pro-marijuana NBA sentiment.  Perhaps not all professional sports have such high consumption rates, but since the NBA seems to be the standard-bearer for marijuana use, we thought we’d compile a starting 5 roster of pro-marijuana NBA stars. Their playing days are behind them, of course. We wouldn't want to get any active players in trouble. So, here they are: %related-post-1% Bill Walton, Center One look at Bill Walton (former NBA All-Star, MVP, and two-time champion) might be enough for the casual observer to think “Yeah, that dude likes reefer.” His stoner-chic fashion sense and well-known love of the Grateful Dead are telltale giveaways. But he has also grown more outspoken as a cannabis advocate during his basketball retirement, publicly musing that “this whole war on drugs has been an absolute failure across the board. Why are we punishing people for things that are legal? Why are people languishing in jail for things that are legal?” We agree, and Walton is definitely our pro-pot starting center. Cliff Robinson, Forward One of the toughest things former professional athletes face is to find a new calling once their playing days are done. Yet former NBA All-Star, Sixth Man of the Year, and defensive guru for the ages Cliff Robinson has done just that. Today, he’s arguably the most active pro-marijuana NBA voice. Earlier in May 2017, Robinson went so far as to offer a formal written testimony to the Oregon legislature pleading with them to vote ‘yes’ on a Oregon Senate Bill 307, which would allow “regulation by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission of consumption and sale of cannabis items at temporary events, including licensure of premises on which temporary events are held.” He also has his own line of cannabis products.  Stephen Jackson, Small Forward/Shooting Guard As a player, former NBA champion Stephen Jackson was the quintessential journeyman, playing for 8 different teams in 14 seasons — and that’s after playing three professional years abroad and in the Continental Basketball Association. Jackson could pour in the points, averaging over 15 points per game during his career. And as odd as it may sound, some of his best shooting performances were done while high. It’s true, he says. “I just gotta be real, you know, it's been a couple games where I smoked before games and had great games.”  Well, ok then. Whatever works! %related-post-2% Steve Kerr, Point Guard/Shooting Guard Steve Kerr has an insanely rich NBA resume, including five championships and three-point shooting crown. And that’s just as a player. As a coach, he’s steered the Golden State Warriors to two league titles, also earning Coach of the Year status in 2016. Not too shabby. Kerr has also called into question the league’s stance on medical marijuana use, saying “I think it's a very important issue to talk about, having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery back surgery, a lot of pain, chronic pain. The issue that's really important is how do we do what's best for the players?” Swish. Jay Williams, Point Guard We’ll conclude this list where we started it — with Jay Williams. Before playing for the Chicago Bulls, Williams claimed an NCAA title at Duke University where he was an All-American and named the National College Player of the Year. Now a college basketball analyst, Williams has taken the opportunity to encourage the NBA to amend its cannabis policies, drawing from his own past experiences: “It’s easy for doctors to prescribe you Oxycontin, and look, I was addicted to it for five-plus years, so I know. But when you say 'marijuana,' you get a reaction: ‘Ahhh, it’s a gateway drug.’ It’s something that the whole world is becoming more progressive with. So it’s about time some of these entities do as well.” So there you have it, our starting 5 pro-marijuana NBA stars. We'll put them up against any lineup any day.
5 Marijuana Statistics From Updated Arcview Report
5 Marijuana Statistics From Updated Arcview Report
Appropriately harvested marijuana statistics, specifically related to industry trends, benefit consumers, business folk, policy makers, and many others. And one of the best things about the maturation of the marijuana industry — besides, of course, the availability of high quality legal products — is the prevalence of more trustworthy data. As the industry grows, more data specialists are training their eyes on nuances in marijuana numbers, trying to glean as much information from marijuana statistics as possible in an attempt to forecast where the nascent industry might be headed. %related-post-1% In business and law-crafting especially, being able to anticipate future developments is paramount. Which, is why we’re always excited to get our hands on new analysis and studies. Hot off the presses — or perhaps we should say “fresh to our inboxes” — is Arcview’s mid-year update to their well-traveled publication, “The State of Legal Marijuana Markets.” It’s a hefty update, some 87 pages long. Naturally, we raced through it as quickly as possible, and we thought we’d share with you five (very notable) tidbits that caught our eye. Business is Booming It should come as no surprise to anyone who even remotely follows marijuana statistics that the industry is hot, hot, hot. But just how hot? Check this: the North American marijuana industry is projected to be valued by a third more than its 2016 value by the end of 2017. In dollars, that equals roughly $9.7 billion (yes, with a “b”). In 2016, industry spending hit $7.3 billion. What’s more, according to Arcview, by the year 2021 that total will reach $24.5 billion. California is a Massive Market Another seeming no brainer here, a bunch of people light up in California. But what snagged our attention wasn’t the fact that there are loads of cannabis fans in the Golden State. It was how many there are in relation to other states. Try this statistic on for size: the medical marijuana market in California is bigger than the total (medical and recreational) markets of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington...combined. Insane. With that, just imagine how big the California market will get when it marijuana becomes recreationally legal there. Americans Embrace Marijuana It’s (finally!) starting to look like the days of fearing Reefer Madness are behind us. Few matters have experienced a more rapid pendulum swing in public sentiment than marijuana legalization. According to polling data cited by Arcview, there is now bipartisan majority support to end prohibition. Further, 94 percent of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana, and 73 percent oppose the federal government’s meddling in state cannabis laws (cc: Jeff Sessions). Marijuana Taxes Benefit Society In an age of budgetary hand-wringing, tax revenue from legal marijuana sales are helping subsidize from truly noble endeavors. Some examples? Sure. In Colorado, marijuana money is paying to build new schools and staff them with educators. In Oregon, it’s funding schools, substance abuse and mental health services, as well as law enforcement and other line items. And in Washington it’s supporting public health and local government needs, among other things. That’s money well-spent. Investment is Skyrocketing Talk about a banner year for marijuana investing. With reporting complete for only the first three quarters of the year, 2017 has by far been the most lucrative year on record for investments. In the same time span in 2016, there were a combined 238 public and private capital raises. All told, they raked in $720 million at an average of $3 million a piece. Nice! But, 2017 is blowing those numbers out of the water. This year there have been 269 capital raises totaling $1.8 billion (again, with a “b”) at an average of $6.7 million each. Whoa, mama! How about those for some encouraging marijuana statistics? If 2017 has been a banner year, 2018 looks to be downright bullish for the industry. To access the entire Arcview report, click here. 
Why Marijuana And Gun Laws Aren’t Friends
Why Marijuana And Gun Laws Aren’t Friends
Marijuana and gun laws don’t exactly go hand in hand. Actually, they’re more like oil and water. Why? It all goes back to the late-1960s. If you are a law-abiding citizen living in anywhere in the United States, you can legally own a gun. There are also 29 states (along with the District of Columbia) where you can legally obtain medical marijuana. There are no states, however, where you can legally possess both at the same time. Legal gun ownership doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, and as the number of states legalizing marijuana — as well public support for cannabis legalization — continues to expand, so will the discussion about how to marry these two freedoms. For now, however, the rules are pretty clear. %related-post-1% Current legislation forbidding anyone from possessing a gun if they use or are addicted to cannabis dates back to the Gun Control Act of 1968. That law bans anyone who is “an unlawful user of or addicted to marihuana” from possessing a firearm, and since marijuana in all forms is still technically illegal at the federal level, those unlawful users include anyone who is legally permitted to use the drug by their state. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” — just like heroin, LSD, and other hallucinogens (*eye-roll*). "There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana used for medicinal or recreational purposes," says Special Agent Joshua E. Jackson, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C. Back to 2011, a legally registered medical marijuana patient in Nevada named S. Rowan Wilson tested the federal regulations by attempting buy a gun for self-defense. As Green Rush Daily notes, Wilson said she didn’t consume medical cannabis regularly, but was nonetheless an active supporter of medical cannabis in the state and accepted a medical cannabis card as a political statement. When the gun store owner refused to sell her a firearm, she filed a lawsuit challenging the law.   %related-post-2% Wilson’s case was heard by 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, where Chief District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that the federal government’s ban of gun sales to lawful, state-legal medical marijuana patients did not, in fact, violate the Second Amendment. "It is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely as a consequence of that use to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior,” justices wrote in the ruling. But things didn’t stop there for the marijuana and gun laws debate. According to Leafly.com, the Ninth Circuit Court ruling prompted the ATF to add a warning to the Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, amending the question regarding whether or not the prospective firearm owner uses or is addicted to marijuana: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.” While the surge in legal marijuana users — and states — may eventually prompt lawmakers to take another, more lenient look at weapons legislation, some states have already begun acting on the for-now irreconcilable relationship marijuana and gun laws by taking steps to take guns out of the hands of pot users. %related-post-3% Police in Hawaii have sent letters to medical marijuana users, telling them that they will need to surrender their weapons within 30 days of receipt, while authorities in Ohio and Pennsylvania have issued public statements making sure citizens of their respective states know that medical marijuana users would not be allowed to purchase or technically possess of a firearm under federal law. As numerous attorneys and lawmakers — as well as gun and cannabis rights activists — point out, there is a definite conflict between state and federal law on this issue. Where is the line between protecting lawful cannabis users’ right to own guns for, say, hunting or self-defense, and the public’s right to be protected from individuals who handle firearms while under the influence of marijuana or other potentially harmful substances? Society and the courts will ultimately decide the relationship between marijuana and gun laws. Stay tuned for updates.
Top Movies For Stoners: 10 Great 2017 Films
Top Movies For Stoners: 10 Great 2017 Films
2017 was an amazing year for movies, so I took it upon myself to assemble my official 2017 Top Movies for Stoners list. You won’t find too many heavy hitting dramas on this list of top movies for stoners list, but you will find a nice blend of comedies, action flicks, and some thrillers. As always, if you don’t agree with my list, don’t hold back — let me know what I missed! Otherwise, just pack that bowl and press "play." Get Out Some reviewers classified this flick as a comedy, and we’re not quite sure why. More accurately described as a socially conscious thriller, this movie made huge waves in early 2017. It can get a little (ok, a lot) intense at moments, so proceed with caution if you don’t want to harsh your mellow. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Wonder Woman DC Entertainment’s movies have been a little hit or miss over the years, but they knocked this one out of the park, making it a no-brainer for my Top 10 Movies of 2017 list. Featuring amazing performances by Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, prepare for an action-packed ride — especially that trench scene that had everyone talking. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Baby Driver My recipe for an amazing movie: bank robberies, car chases, and an amazing soundtrack. Baby Driver has it all. Seriously, you will be hooked within the first 10 minutes. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Logan It’s easy to see the Wolverine from the X-Men series as all blades and rage, but Logan shows him as much more. This movie doesn’t skimp on the action and is an interesting glimpse into what happens when superheroes age. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Big Sick Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani wrote this movie along with his wife, Emily Gordon. Based on the true story of their relationship, this romantic comedy has some heavy moments, but levels things out with plenty of spot-on jokes. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Blade Runner 2049 Even if you haven’t seen the original Blade Runner, you will still enjoy the hell out of this movie. Ridley Scott’s stunning visuals will transport you to the not-so-distant future and Ryan Gosling’s performance will pull you into this dramatic thriller. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Ingrid Goes West Aubrey Plaza delivers a powerhouse performance in this dark comedy. An exploration of life and friendship in the age of social media and curated online presences, this movie is equal parts hilarious — and honestly a little frightening. Keep an eye out for an amazing performance from Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> John Wick: Chapter 2 Sometimes you just want to pack up a bowl, kick up your feet, and watch a no-holds-barred action movie. John Wick: Chapter 2 is tailor made for movie nights like this. Get ready for non-stop action, an enthralling story, and some killer performances. This movie is fast, violent, and oh so much fun. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Split M. Night Shyamalan has had some pretty famous hits (and misses) over the course of his career. This movie, however, is great, carried along by a powerhouse performance from James McAvoy — who portrays a man with dissociative identity disorder. McAvoy commands the nuances of multiple personalities, setting everything up perfectly for a classic Shyamalan twist. Get ready for a thrill ride. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Lost City of Z Probably the most straightforward drama on our list, this movie earned its place for a few reasons: beautiful cinematography, an incredible story, and some all-star performances from Charlie Hunnam and Sienna Miller. This movie harkens back to the classic adventure films of old Hollywood and is an excellent choice for your upcoming movie night. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> So there you have, my 2017 Top Movies for Stoners. A little something for every stoner out there.  Now, if you're looking for some yuletide films, be sure to head over to our post, 5 Great Holiday Movies For Cannabis Lovers. 
Briteside Friends Discuss Veterans Marijuana Study On NBC
Briteside Friends Discuss Veterans Marijuana Study On NBC
Briteside is fortunate to count among our friends some of the leading canna-advocates for America’s military veterans. Two were recently featured on NBC Nightly News, discussing the first ever FDA-approved veterans marijuana trial for former soldiers suffering from PTSD. If you caught NBC Nightly News on November 30, you might have seen Iraq veteran and longtime veterans health and cannabis advocate — who’s also good friend of Briteside — Roberto Pickering (he even donned a Briteside t-shirt for the spot). " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Pickering was interviewed by NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and how cannabis helped him not only overcome his symptoms, but also eliminated the need for the 14 (fourteen!) drugs he’d been prescribed after coming home from war. “I stopped all pills cold turkey, and I picked up cannabis because, in my opinion, it was either find relief or (commit) suicide,” Pickering says in the interview. Pickering isn’t the only veteran facing a similar crossroads, and he’d love to see more research done on the benefits of cannabis for others battling PTSD — research like the kind being done by scientists in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Sue Sisley — another Briteside friend — site principal investigator with Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), is the administrator of the first FDA-approved trial of its kind. Sisley says Phoenix was chosen as the location of the study because the city’s VA hospital has highest density of U.S. military veteran patients who continue to suffer from PTSD symptoms despite undergoing VA-administered medical treatment and/or therapy. Sisley says that new treatments for PTSD are desperately needed, and that she, like Pickering, believes cannabis “will reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms.” We’ll present the findings of the veterans marijuana study as soon as they become available. In the meantime, you should definitely watch NBC’s full report.  Keep fighting the good fight, Sue and Roberto.
Weird Weed Headlines <br>Volume 3
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 3
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 3 We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series. This stuff never ceases to amaze us, and we just have to share it. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 3. Enjoy… %related-post-1% There’s Getting High…and Then There’s Getting Spaced Out Would you like to try some weed that’s out of this world? How about some weed that was out of this world for a few minutes, then came back down and landed safely at your local dispensary? That’s what a dispensary in Arizona is offering. As CBS 5 reports, a Scottsdale outfit partnered with a british company called Sent Into Space to launch a pound of weed 19 miles up. The pot was launched from a weather balloon in Casa Grande, and spent 35 minutes in space before falling back to Earth in nearby Superior. The strain of weed, which tastes like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, has been dubbed “Space Weed Bro,” and will be available at the Level Up pot dispensary for 100 dollars a gram. There’s no word on how much of that hundred bucks goes toward intergalactic shipping charges. %related-post-2% Hey, You Forgot Your Enormous Stash of Weed Look, we all lose things from time to time. Sometimes, you might have trouble finding the remote control for the TV or accidentally leave your cell phone at a restaurant. Other times, you might accidentally leave seven trash bags full of weed by the side of the road. It happens… If you live in England and somehow dropped seven trash bags full of weed at the side of the road near Harrogate, don’t worry. The North Yorkshire police found it, and they’ve asked the BBC to help get it back to you. “If it's yours come and speak to us at Harrogate Police station, we're more than happy to discuss!” PC Amanda Hanusch-Moore tweeted. She sounds nice. Give her a call. Sure. %related-post-3% Look Over Your Shoulder If You’re Gonna Use a Boulder As a Pot Holder We often share stories of people’s creative attempts at smuggling pot, but this guy’s idea rocks. Literally… According to a report by the Eugene Register Guard, Curran Millican Manzer, 36, of Waterville, Oregon, shipped more than $1 million worth of marijuana to another state via UPS, hiding the drugs inside of artificial boulders he made himself. While weed is legal in Oregon, it’s illegal in the state its was being shipped to, and Manzer faces charges of felony laundering a monetary instrument, felony unlawful manufacturing of marijuana, and misdemeanor charges of unlawful delivery of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana. He will also be subject to high fives from the rest of the worldwide drug smuggling community. %related-post-4% The Cutest Drug-Sniffing Hoax Ever During a recent mayoral forum on Phoenixville, Pennsylania, Republican nominee Dave Gautreau declared that, if elected, he would seriously consider getting drug-sniffing bunnies for the borough police department. The trouble is, drug-sniffing bunnies don’t actually exist. According to a (hilarious) report by the Philadelphia Inquirer, police in Amherst, New York, proposed narcotics rabbits on their Facebook page as an April Fool’s joke in 2016, and a satire page called “People of Lancaster” posted a similarly fake article about Lancaster police getting drug-sniffing bunnies in March 2016. While attending a party last summer, Gautreau mentioned that he wanted to get K-9 officers to help fight drug-related crime in the area, but getting dogs would be a big expense. A fellow partygoer told him that Lancaster police were using drug-sniffing rabbits as a cheaper alternative, and when Gautreau called to ask Lancaster officials about it, the lady who answered the phone confirmed that they were, in fact, using the bunnies. The woman “sounded convincing,” he said. “I should have googled it then, but I didn’t.” Unfortunately, nobody else in Gautreau’s camp Googled it, either — not even his Chester County sheriff, Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh. Seriously. That’s her name. We’re not making this up. We really wish we were. And we really wish drug-sniffing bunnies were real, too. There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for our next 
The 7 Best Holiday Big Band Songs
The 7 Best Holiday Big Band Songs
The holiday season is prime time for cocktail parties and entertaining. And every perfect party needs the perfect holiday soundtrack. Luckily, some of the greatest crooners and big bands of all time have left their marks on holiday hits. So, get your party planning started and pack up a playlist (you thought we were going to say “bowl,” didn't’ you?) with our top 7 holiday big band songs. “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” by Nat King Cole If we had to pick one and only one Christmas song to listen to, this would be it. It doesn’t get any more classic than this prime cut from Nat King Cole. Even if you’ve never come close to roasting a chestnut on an open fire, this song will tug at your holiday heart strings. It’s ideal for setting the mood at a classy get together. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Christmas in New Orleans” by Louis Armstrong Satchmo may not have had the smoothest voice ever recorded, but his signature growl in the song will transport you right down to the French Quarter. Backed by brash, bold horns, Armstrong takes you on a walking tour of The Big Easy right around Christmas. This tune is upbeat and the most perfect of holiday big band songs to get toes tapping. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)” by Frank Sinatra No one captures the longing of this song like the Chairman of the Board. Crooning about his desire to be home with his loved ones for the holidays, you can’t help but feel bad for old Frank. It may not be the peppiest Christmas song, but it’ll make the best song for swaying along with your special someone as the party winds down. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Jingle Bells” by The Glenn Miller Orchestra If you look “big band” up in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Glenn Miller. Ok, not really. Maybe? Regardless, this man and his orchestra are a household name. And this performance of “Jingle Bells” fits right in with rest of their catalog. A fast, fun take on the classic tune, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a glass of eggnog. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Bing Crosby This song is a Christmas standard. It’s all about the excitement and anticipation of the season, which makes it unparalleled for sharing with close friends and family. Not too fast, but not too slow either, this song will offer the ideal background music for your holiday party. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Let It Snow” by Ella Fitzgerald The instrumental version of this song is arguably more well known, but Ella absolutely slays this cut. As a matter of fact, the entire Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas album goes pretty hard. Well, as hard as a Christmas album can, anyhow. Add this track to your playlist and you can guarantee a few guests will ask who’s singing. It’s THAT good. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland The absolute best version of one of the most beautiful Christmas songs ever. Originally included in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis, the song stands more than well enough on its own. Slow and moving, add this in the final slot on your playlist and let Judy wind the evening down for you. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> So there you have it, our favorite holiday big band songs. Did we miss any? Be sure to let us know. 
Former Attorney General To Current One: War On Weed A Waste Of Time
Former Attorney General To Current One: War On Weed A Waste Of Time
Will the current U.S. Attorney General listen to one of his predecessor's advice that the war on weed is a waste of time? Here's to hoping. With 94 percent of the country supporting medical marijuana and 29 states and the District of Columbia having legalized pot for medical purposes — and still more moving in that direction — it would seem as if it’s only a matter of time before pot is legal in every state in the nation. %related-post-1% Of course, considerably fewer states have legalized recreational marijuana, and pot of any kind is still technically illegal at the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act. If you were to poll legalization advocates, however, you’d likely find them less concerned about those roadblocks than they are U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his prohibitionist views toward the drug. Sessions has said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and he discounts the benefits of medical marijuana, as well as research indicating the drug’s effectiveness in combating opioid abuse. And while Sessions hasn’t yet moved to reverse the trend of increased legalization, Alberto Gonzales, who served as attorney general during the administration of President George W, Bush, says Sessions would be wasting his time if he carried out his possible plans to prosecute medical marijuana distributors in states where pot is legal. According to Gonzales, there are many more important issues that need addressing than the fighting a war on weed.  “With respect to everything else going on in the U.S., this is pretty low priority," Gonzales told Newsweek.    Due to the Justice Department’s limited resources, Gonzales says, the agency needs to be focusing on bigger problems. He also points out that attorneys general don’t operate in a bubble when it comes to setting agency agendas. “What people often fail to understand or appreciate, is that the attorney general works for the president,” he says. “While the attorney general has a great deal of say about law enforcement policy, so does the White House. When Jeff Sessions makes something, he responds to the White House.” %related-post-2% As of late, Sessions’ interactions with the White House have been dominated by other matters. As ABC News notes, President Trump took issue with Sessions — and still might fire him — for his “weak” handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Also, as the New York Times reports, the president berated and humiliated Sessions in the Oval Office after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was tapped to lead the FBI investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump said little about cannabis on the campaign trail, and has been similarly quiet about it since taking office. And while in April Sessions directed a Justice Department task force to review Obama-era marijuana policy and offer suggestions for possible reforms, the task force failed to come up with anything. As a result, Sessions says Obama administration policy that allows states to legalize weed without interference from the feds will remain in effect. How long will the policy remain in effect? Well, as Forbes reports, during a Senate hearing in October, Sessions conceded that allowing more researchers to legally grow more cannabis for scientific studies would be a “healthy” thing to do. Maybe the current attorney general is starting to see eye to eye with the former attorney general. A war on weed is a waste. 
Cannabis Advertising May Not Add New Cannabis Consumers
Cannabis Advertising May Not Add New Cannabis Consumers
Ever since certain states began allowing marijuana ads on billboards, television, the Internet, and in print publications, outspoken members of the anti-legalization crowd have warned that cannabis advertising would create a whole new crop of cannabis customers. But is that the case? The more often people are exposed to ads for weed, opponents warn, the more inclined they’ll be to try it. And that is a worthy concern, especially when it comes comes to children and teens — a demographic that even the staunchest legalization advocates agree have no business using the substance. %related-post-1% The trouble is, there is no evidence that weed ads translate into new cannabis consumers -- regardless of age. In fact, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, people exposed to marijuana ads are not significantly more likely to use marijuana. The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, examines the reach of pot advertising across Oregon. “Exposure to any marijuana advertising in the past month did not significantly differ by participant gender, race/ethnicity, highest level of education completed, home ownership, residence in a metro area, or marijuana use,” the study says. As Marijuana Moment points out, researchers determined that “exposure to advertising was significantly higher among people who said they had a marijuana store in their neighborhood.” And as the site also notes, there was nothing to indicate that the respondents’ increased exposure to those ads meant that they were more likely to shop at those retailers or otherwise consume marijuana. Among respondents who viewed a marijuana ad within the past 30 days, 53 percent said they never consumed cannabis, 54.9 percent described themselves as former users or had “experimented” with the drug, and 57.6 percent were current users. %related-post-2% Not only does the study contradict widely held assumptions about the negative impacts of marijuana advertising, it also suggests that marijuana dispensaries are effective at providing valuable educational information regarding the possible risks of cannabis use — information that might not otherwise reach prospective users. So, if marijuana ads do little to produce new users, what are they good for? As Marijuana Moment suggests, pot ads provide cannabis businesses with an effective method of differentiating “their specific offerings from those of their competitors in the minds of already-active consumers.” In other words, if you aren’t going to buy pot, cannabis advertising isn't going to change your mind. If you already buy pot, however, pot ads could change your mind about whose pot to buy. Marijuana marketers take note.
Why Rick Steves Is Our Favorite Travel Expert
Why Rick Steves Is Our Favorite Travel Expert
You probably know travel expert Rick Steves from the 22 European guidebooks he’s penned or his popular PBS television series, “Rick Steves’ Europe.” But did you know that Steves is also one of the globe’s foremost proponents of marijuana reform? From his hometown headquarters of Edmonds, Washington, Rick Steves produces his PBS show, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column, guidebooks on European travel, and free travel information via his travel center and website. He also manages a tour program, which runs 200 annual bus tours that escort more than 5,000 Americans through Europe. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Steves makes the domestic rounds as well, including Chicago when we first wrote this piece, advocating for “an anti-prohibitionist movement.” Unsurprisingly, Steves’ views on marijuana legislation have been shaped by his frequent travels abroad. While Steves doesn’t personally use — or even promote the use of — marijuana, he takes issue with the unfair and excessive penalties associated with marijuana use in the United States. He believes that mature adults should be able to consume marijuana recreationally in the privacy of their own homes. Instead of locking up pot smokers, he says, America should employ a European-style, “pragmatic harm reduction” approach that tackles drug abuse as a health and educational challenge. “Like most of Europe, I believe marijuana is a soft drug (like alcohol and tobacco), not a hard drug,” he says. “Like alcohol and tobacco, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be taxed and regulated. Crime should only enter the equation if it is abused to the point where innocent people are harmed.” Steves rightly points out that there “has never been a drug-free society in the history of humankind” and that marijuana is “here to stay.” “That's the reality,” he says. %related-post-1% He also points out another (unfortunate) reality: America’s courts and prisons are “clogged with non-violent people whose only offense is smoking, buying, or selling marijuana.” And, to make matters worse, he notes that poor people and/or people of color make up an unfair percentage of those unfairly behind bars. In a 2012 speech advocating for the passage of Initiative 502, an ultimately successful marijuana reform measure in his home state of Washington, Steves noted that, “well-off white guys in the suburbs can smoke pot. But the majority of the 800,000 people arrested in the USA on marijuana charges this year were poor and/or people of color. Some have dubbed the war on drugs ‘the New Jim Crow.’” Steves says it’s time for a “new approach” to marijuana. “Untold billions of untaxed dollars are enriching gangs and empowering organized crime. And tens of thousands have died in Mexico because of the illegal drug trade in the USA. Facing this challenge, we believe the safest approach is to bring cannabis out of the black market and regulate it.” Steves has turned his words into action as both a member of the Advisory Board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), as well as by co-sponsoring Washington Initiative 502, which legalized, taxed, and regulated adult-use marijuana in Washington State. %related-post-2% According to Steves, I-502 wasn’t a “pro-pot” initiative — after all, he says, he and most of its sponsors don’t even smoke weed. He says I-502 would be more accurately described as “anti-prohibition.”   The initiative allowed adults to buy up to an ounce of cannabis from state-licensed stores, and kept the drug illegal for anyone under 21. It also came with strict DUI provisions, and called for aggressive taxing of drug to the tune of $500 million a year. (Roughly $200 million was line-itemed to the state’s general fund, the rest to be used for health care and drug abuse prevention work.) “We believe that, like the laws that criminalized alcohol back in the 1930s, our current laws against marijuana use are causing more harm to our society than the drug itself,” he says. “Rather than being hard on drugs or soft on drugs...we can finally be smart on drugs.” Smart words from a smart man.
5 Holiday Cannabis Gifts For Cannabis Fans
5 Holiday Cannabis Gifts For Cannabis Fans
Shopping for someone special this holiday season who just happens to love cannabis? Then be sure to scout out these five possible cannabis gifts.  As more and more folks have access to legal marijuana, more and more products are hitting the market to enhance their legal weed experience. Whether you — or a weed lover you love — is looking for a quick, tasty hit or to, say, spend more afternoons in the kitchen baking cannabis-infused treats, these great cannabis gifts are perfect for sprinkling under the tree or stuffing in a stocking this holiday season. SILVERSTICK FILTERED ONE-HITTER Equal parts class and convenience, the SilverStick is as great to look at as it to use. Made with large aircraft-grade alloy pipe, this one-hitter sports a cotton filter, which diffuses your smoke, blocks unwanted embers, and filters out the tar, sludge, and other impurities you get from unfiltered pipes. Each SilverStick is reliable, easy to clean, and comes with 15 filters. Price: $25 — PAX 2 PORTABLE VAPORIZER Do you want the best in portable, handheld, vaporizer technology? Of course you do. And the Pax 2 is the way to get it. The original Pax was pretty good, but the Pax 2 is smaller, lighter, smarter, and just plain better. The battery lasts 30 percent longer, the redesigned oven gives more consistent heat, and its four heat settings, one button control, and LED indicator make vaping a breeze. The redesigned mouthpiece won’t conduct heat when the unit is not in use, and the Pax 2’s intelligent heating and cooling system regulates the temperature only when ended, extending battery life and giving you hit after hit on a single charge. Price: $149.99 — ZIG ZAG ROLLING MACHINE The Zig Zag 78mm Rolling Machine rolls “cigarettes” that are just a little bit bigger than typical rolling machines. It’s fast and easy to use, and at $4.99, it’s too good of a deal to pass up. Just drop in a filter, add the weed and paper, and let it roll. Price: $4.99 — KIND ASH CACHE Not all ashtrays are created equally, and none are created like the Kind Ash Cache. Gone are the days of worrying about smashing your glass pipes. Constructed from stainless steel and and featuring a Soft Silicone Smash Pillar, the Kind Ash Cache lets you safely tap away your ash. Not only does it catch all your ash, but it features 14mm and 18mm glass piece holders, slots for poker and rolling papers, as well as a lighter or a dram vial holder. Price: $13.44 — THE MAGICALBUTTER MACHINE We can safely say that there is not a single kitchen appliance — or canna-gadget — in the world quite like the MagicalButter Machine. Making cannabutter or oil can be a time-consuming process, but not with this botanical extractor. Simply drop in your herb, along with some butter or oil, then press two buttons and let this slow cooker do its business. In addition to butter and oil, you can add weed to grain alcohol, lotions, or whatever else you can dream up. The MagicalButter Machine cooks easily, safely, and consistently, and even does a great job of minimizing the smell of cooking with cannabis. Price: $174.95 So there you have it, a list of five cannabis gifts any cannabis lover would enjoy. Happy shopping.
From Marijuana Prohibition To Progress Down South
From Marijuana Prohibition To Progress Down South
While they still lag behind other states, southern states in the U.S. are finally softening their hardline marijuana prohibition stance. When it comes to championing legal weed in the United States, the East and West coasts have long led the charge. All states on both coasts have some form of legalization, while other parts of the country like the Midwest and, especially, the South continue to lag far behind. While Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida have legalized medical cannabis, Alabama and Mississippi only allow it for those suffering from severe epileptic conditions. Virginia has had a law on the books for years allowing individuals to possess marijuana if they have prescriptions from doctors, but since federal law prohibits physicians from prescribing cannabis — they can only recommend it — the Virginia law is invalid. Georgia has a limited law that allows people suffering from a small list of condition to use low-THC extracts. Recreational marijuana is illegal in all southern states, while Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina do not permit legal cannabis of any kind. %related-post-1% Things are starting to change, however. With a majority of Americans now favoring legalization for the first time in history, we are now seeing a nationwide shift from marijuana prohibition to progress happening in all 50 states. Here are a few examples of how the push for legal weed is picking up steam down South: Residents of Florida can now get medical marijuana at approved dispensaries. As the Sun Sentinel reports, patients must be suffering from qualifying “debilitating medical conditions” like cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or Crohn’s disease. They also have to wait a while, as they first must be entered into the state’s medical marijuana registry, then wait months for a medical marijuana card. Patients can receive a 70-day supply day at a time, but must then visit their doctor in order to get a refill. They also have to pay out of pocket, too, as insurance can’t cover any part of the process. Medical marijuana is now more popular among residents of Georgia than the governor, the state legislature, Obamacare, or same-sex marriage. According to a new Georgia College survey, 78% of adults support medical cannabis, and while the legislature and governor haven’t moved to expand legalization, some progress had been made. A tiny number of people in Georgia can get low doses of cannabis for a limited number of conditions, and Atlanta recently enacted an ordinance decriminalizing low-level pot possession. Savannah is considering a similar move. Last fall, voters in Arkansas passed a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. And while lawmakers have been working ever since to implement regulations and licensing requirements for the state’s growers and dispensers, a new poll shows that those who voted for it disapprove with the rate of progress to this point. Unsurprisingly, those who didn’t vote for the amendment are happy to see it stumbling out of the gates. %related-post-2% According to FBI data cited by Rep. Jeremy Faison, Co-Chairman of Tennessee’s Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Medical Cannabis, Tennessee is one of the Top 5 states in the nation for growing marijuana. Since weed is already there, regardless of the state's marijuana prohibition, Faison reasons he and his fellow committee members plan to file legislation calling for the formation of a commission to be appointed by Governor Bill Haslam and others. The bill would only legalize cannabis oil-based products, and the commission would be in charge of regulating every aspect of licensing, production, research, and distribution. Faison plans to invite officials from the DEA and FBI to provide input at future committee meetings. Things are a bit more urgent in Kentucky, where Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she wants to see medical marijuana legalized by 2018. She plans to personally lead a task force to iron out implementation and regulation in order to “help Kentuckians who are hurting.” While Governor Matt Bevin has previously rejected any legalization proposals, he has softened to the idea as a means of dealing with Kentucky’s billions of dollars in pension debt. Check back for future updates on marijuana prohibition and legalization efforts across the South and the rest of the nation.
California Marijuana Taxes Could Push Many To The Black Market
California Marijuana Taxes Could Push Many To The Black Market
One of the most popular legalization selling points is the possible tax revenues marijuana can haul into state and local coffers. But in the Golden State, could California marijuana taxes be too aggressive? When a formerly prohibitionist politician has a change of heart toward marijuana legalization, it’s typically because he or she gets excited about the potential revenue that can come from taxing the drug. And nowhere in the nation have politicians gotten more excited about taxing pot than in California. California is notorious for super-high tax rates and convoluted tax codes that have, at times, driven people and businesses out of the state. Not surprisingly, the excessive taxes associated with the state’s burgeoning legal marijuana industry could drive an enormous number of California’s cannabis consumers to the black market. %related-post-1% California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November of 2016. And while adult-use weed is projected to bring in an additional $1 billion in California marijuana taxes once pot goes on sale in 2018, the additional taxes that come along with it could also cause many pot purchasers to buy their supplies from less-than-legal suppliers. As the Motley Fool outlines, growers are subject to a state cultivation levy of $9.25 per ounce of cannabis flowers, or $2.75 per ounce of cannabis leaves. There is also a 15 percent excise tax added onto the final product. Both of those taxes are on top of the nation’s highest base sales tax rate of 7.5 percent, as well as local business taxes that range from 7.75 percent to 9.75 percent.   According to a report by Fitch Ratings, this stack of state, local, and other taxes could send the aggregate tax on weed to more than 45 percent in some regions of California. "High tax rates raise prices in legal markets, reinforcing the price advantage of black markets," the report explained, via the Los Angeles Times. Taxes aren’t only thing helping to propel California’s black market, however. As we’ve discussed previously, the number of growers trying to cash in on California’s pot market has resulted in the annual production of some 12.5 million to 14 million more pounds of pot than the state’s buyers need. As a result, the executive director of the California Growers Association says, state-licensed growers “are going to have to scale back” their marijuana surplus. %related-post-2% Since current federal law bans interstate trade of cannabis, and California law will ban the export of pot after January 1, California’s growers can try to reduce their crops — as well as try to compete with other legal growers with similar surpluses — or they can try (like some are already doing) to operate without a license by selling cannabis to buyers in other states via the illegal black market. They could also try, as some have proposed, converting their cannabis into oil. Or they just they could just decide to quit. There is plenty of pot in California, plenty of people who want to sell it, and plenty of people who want to buy it. What seems to be lacking, however, is common sense about dollars and cents when it comes to California marijuana taxes. While California’s lawmakers are just as excited to get their hands on pot profits as the growers are, strangling the industry with excessive taxes and regulations isn’t helping anyone — anyone except the barons of the black market, that is.
How The Marijuana Industry Is Influencing Big Beer
How The Marijuana Industry Is Influencing Big Beer
While Americans will always love beer, they are drinking a little less of it these days — as the marijuana industry booms. Let's look at how the marijuana industry is influencing big beer. Beer has lost 10 percent of its market share to wine and hard liquor since 2006, and the rapid growth of the legal marijuana industry has further tapped into the profits of the country’s breweries. In 1969, 12 percent of the U.S. population supported the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. According to a recent Gallup poll, that number has now grown to 64 percent. Despite the federal ban, medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states (and the District of Columbia), with recreational marijuana legal in eight states (and, again, the District of Columbia). The legal cannabis industry reached $6 billion in sales last year, with sales expected to grow by 25 percent through 2020 and reach $50 billion by 2026. %related-post-1% So how is the beer industry responding to the news that more and more people are looking to get a buzz elsewhere? Business Insider calls legalized pot “is the new craft beer,” and just as the beer industry giants have made it a habit of buying up small, popular breweries, they’ve now set their sights on getting into the cannabis market. As craft beer sales exploded from just under 10 million barrels in 2009 to nearly 25 million barrels in 2015, sales of big brands like Budweiser and Corona saw their sales drop off. In response, the companies who produced iconic brands started investing in craft beer. The same is now happening in the cannabis space. A few months ago, Heineken began test marketing a marijuana-infused craft beer brand in California. More recently, Constellation Brands — the third-largest beer company in the country — acquired a 9.9% share in Canopy Growth, one of the biggest companies in the legal weed industry. %related-post-2% Chris Burgrave, former marketing chief for Budweiser, is also shifting his attention from beer to pot. Burgrave co-founded Toast, which markets dosed, pre-rolled joints, and has also joined the advisory board of GreenRush Group, a San Francisco-based startup, which says its goal is to become the Amazon of weed. “The same way that craft beer started and, for the longest time, was ignored and then exploded, there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen in this space,” Burgrave told Bloomberg. “There will be part supplementing and part complementing. The jury is out on how and where that will happen.” According to a new report from Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G), 27 percent of beer drinkers say they have already swapped cannabis for beer or would do so if pot was legal in their state. With lots of states yet to join the legal ranks, there is plenty of room for growth for the marijuana industry and (possibly) plenty to worry about for big beer.  
5 Great Holiday Movies For Cannabis Lovers
5 Great Holiday Movies For Cannabis Lovers
After you’re done holiday decorating, kick back with this list of five great holiday movies for cannabis lovers. ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Ok, fine. When you’ve got some good green or tasty edibles, every season is jolly. Regardless, toking up and watching a movie is a classic get-happy routine. And with the holidays right around the corner, we are presenting our hit list of some of the best holiday movies to watch stoned. So pack your bowl, grab a vape, or pop your favorite holiday-themed cannabis treat, then press play, and ring in the most wonderful time of the year with some of our favorite seasonal movies. Friday After Next (2002) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Any stoner knows that Friday is a classic. It’s hilarious and loaded with one-liners that still make their rounds to this day. Friday After Next is Christmas tale that builds on the classic banter of the first Friday installment with some added holiday kick. Join up with Craig and Day-Day as they try to track down Ghetto Santa Claus — who robbed them of their gifts and rent money. This Christmas story is anything but conventional and good for a few belly laughs. We think it’s so good “you’ll slap ya momma.” Bad Santa (2003) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This is easily the darkest movie on our list, but no one ever said all holiday movies have to be totally uplifting. In this film, you follow professional thief Willie T. Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) and his sidekick Marcus Skidmore as they impersonate a mall Santa and his elf in order to knock off high dollar department stores. Sure, Willie isn’t the most wholesome character, but his exploits are hilarious and he ultimately learns the true meaning of Christmas…sort of. Despite it’s relatively uplifting ending, this film definitely isn’t for the whole family. Die Hard (1988) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> What would our list be without a little bit of a hot take? Well, here’s ours: John McClane is a classic hero — skirting the rules and doing what has to be done to take down the terrorists and save the day AND Christmas. Ok, that last part was a little bit of a stretch. But the movie takes place at Christmastime and Alan Rickman is the best villains ever with his performance as Hans Gruber. Those two factors have secured this classic action film a place on our list. Forget the “is it or isn’t it” debate about Die Hard’s holiday movie status and just watch it — you won’t regret it. The Night Before (2015) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Seth Rogen is no stranger to The Sugar Leaf. So, naturally, his holiday movie, The Night Before, earned a place on our list of best stoner holiday movies. The movie is about three best friends who commit to spending every Christmas Eve together. Despite almost ending the tradition, the guys band together one more time for a night of seasonal hijinks — complete with plenty of weed (duh). Again, this may not be appropriate viewing for the whole family, but it’s good for some laughs and ultimately those wonderful Christmastime warm and fuzzies. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We would get fired if we didn’t include this movie on our list. No, seriously. Verbal threats may have been issued. Anyhow. There was never any doubt that this masterpiece of a film would make our list. It simply has too many amazing moments and one-liners to count. Just about anything that can go wrong with the Griswold’s Christmas celebration does and the results couldn’t be more hilarious. Maybe your family has its own cousin Eddie or you love Christmas lights as much as Clark. Either way, get blazed, have a good laugh with the Griswold crew, and pray you don’t end up with a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club for Christmas.
Could German Marijuana Legalization Happen Soon?
Could German Marijuana Legalization Happen Soon?
Could German marijuana legalization happen soon? Near term political needs in Berlin could impact the trajectory of the matter.  Last year, the German cabinet unanimously approved medical marijuana legislation. As Forbes reports, however, cannabis reform might not stop there for the European Union’s most populous country. %related-post-1% The law, which went into effect in March, lets “seriously ill” patients get the drug on a case-by-case basis. The country started with 10 licensed medical marijuana producers, and will import cannabis from numerous Canadian suppliers until domestic suppliers can meet demand. According to a recent report, the legislation has already vaulted the fledgling German marijuana market to the top spot among all European countries. The market has a current value of €10.2 billion ($11.9 billion), and could reach an estimated €14.7 billion ($17.14 billion) if Germany legalizes recreational marijuana and hemp. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she does “not intend to make any changes” to the country’s current medical-only marijuana legislation, voters’ unprecedented support for German marijuana legalization, as well as Merkel’s record of making surprising political moves, could set the stage for even bigger cannabis reform. Despite garnering the most votes in Germany’s September election, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its ally, the Christian Social Union, actually lost seats and currently do not have a clear majority. Needing the support of other parties in order to actually be able to govern, they are negotiating the formation of a coalition government with the Free Democrats and Greens. Part of that negotiation appears to be a deal to fully legalize marijuana. %related-post-2% If the deal goes through, German newspaper Stuttgarter-Zeitung reports, recreational marijuana would be fully legalized and made available for sale in pharmacies and licensed dispensaries. Fritz Becker, Chairman of the German Pharmacists Association, says the nation’s pharmacies are ready to distribute cannabis, adding that the regulated storefronts would provide “advice on risks and side effects, good customer service and ensure clean goods.”   As Marijuana.com notes, Merkel’s political aspirations have traditionally outweighed her adherence to dogmas. As long as she can benefit politically, the site points out, she is more than willing to abandon conservative positions. With cannabis reform now more popular among German voters than in all former election campaigns, expect Merkel to make another (not-so-)surprising move.
3 Fake Marijuana News Items: Don’t Take The Bait
3 Fake Marijuana News Items: Don’t Take The Bait
Whether you call them scare tactics or outright lies, don’t fall for these fake marijuana news items. When the cult classic propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was released in 1936, it was intended to alert parents to the supposed dangers of marijuana use. If teens used the drug, the film warned, they would be in danger of hitting someone with their car, being raped, killing someone, committing suicide, or, at the very least, descending into insanity.    But while audiences have laughed off the film’s hilarious absurdism in the decades since its release, bogus scare tactics remain at the forefront of the anti-marijuana movement. Yes, there is such a thing as fake marijuana news. And here are three popular whoppers. %related-post-1% Halloween pot candy Have you ever heard anti-legalization folks warn that boogeymen would take advantage of lax legalization laws to give trick-or-treaters pot-laced candy without their knowledge? Well, as far as anyone can tell, it’s never happened. The concern centers around edibles. The effects of marijuana in, say, gummy bears can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to kick in. If an unsuspecting kid were to chow down on a bunch of pot-packed gummy bears, he or she could conceivably be harmed. For example, as Vox points out, there was the case of a college student who hallucinated and jumped to his death from a hotel balcony in 2014 after eating six times the recommended amount of pot cookie. While that was a terrible incident, there have been zero reported cases of any kids accidentally ingesting edibles out of their Halloween stash, let alone OD’ing on them. (Think about it: Who’s gonna pay good money for edibles only to give them away like that? But we digress…) %related-post-2% Fentanyl-laced marijuana There have also been rumors of pot being found laced with fentanyl, and Tennessee offers a good example of this hysteria. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be deadly if ingested in even small doses, and despite a retired DEA agent telling local media that there have been incidents of marijuana laced with fentanyl, reporters, when following up on those claims, could not find any cases. While the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has found fentanyl in a sample of cocaine, according to NBC affiliate WBIR, no forensic scientists in any of the TBI’s state testing labs have found any cannabis laced with the drug. No Drug Enforcement Agency labs have found it nationwide, either. Is it possible to lace pot with fentanyl? Yes. Is there any evidence that it’s happening? No. Marijuana as bad as opiates You might have also heard folks like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) predict that expanded medical marijuana laws could cause abuse among pot users rivaling the nation’s opioid epidemic. Once again, this is fake marijuana news. “There is a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency and abuse potential for marijuana,” Christie wrote in a letter to President Trump. “This mirrors the lack of data in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when opioid prescribing multiplied across health care settings and led to the current epidemic of abuse, misuse and addiction.” %related-post-3% Christie’s impassioned plea to look at the data curiously overlooks a growing body of research that shows that, instead of mimicking opioid addiction, medical marijuana is actually associated with reduced opioid addiction and overdose deaths. If you have any concerns about the safety of consuming medical or recreational marijuana, do your homework. Avoid buying off the street, and consider purchasing your cannabis from a reputable and safe dispensary or retailer. Your local legal marijuana dealer is a great source of information, as is this blog. Check back often for more helpful information and advice.
Briteside Releases “The Dopest” Cannabis Commercial
Briteside Releases “The Dopest” Cannabis Commercial
Briteside releases “the dopest” cannabis commercial, according to industry insiders. To coincide with the launch of their cannabis delivery service, Briteside has released a cannabis commercial unparalleled in the legal marijuana industry. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Briteside partnered with Sandwich Video out of Los Angeles to produce the commercial. Sandwich’s client roster is chock full of top-tier brands, including Facebook, Starbucks, Uber Airbnb, and Amazon Studios. That impressive list spurred Briteside CEO Justin Junda to reach out to Sandwich. “When you’re looking to for a video production partner to manage your company’s initial public-facing presence, you have to trust that partner completely,” said Junda. “We saw what Sandwich had done for other companies, and we believe Sandwich delivered a wonderful commercial for us at Briteside.” %related-post-1% Junda’s sentiment is shared across the cannabis industry. Dope Magazine, one of the most popular marijuana industry publications, called Briteside’s video “The Dopest Cannabis Commercial (Ever)” — that’s high praise. For those familiar with pharmaceutical advertisements, the Briteside commercial will seem familiar. With one big difference: Humor. Sandwich and Briteside decided on a creative take blending the calming aesthetic appeal of pharma commercials with a subtle Saturday Night Live-like humor. The result was a “spot on” cannabis commercial. “I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed a commercial as much as I enjoyed Briteside's first ad," said Andy Williams, CEO of Medicine Man, a cannabis industry leader. "It is spot on, and quite frankly I hope we start seeing more video production like that in our space since it presents cannabis consumption is an everyday, relatable light.” As for the product itself, Briteside is launching its cannabis delivery service first in Oregon. Successes there will inform future rollouts in other states across the U.S. Briteside begins with a Shop Now service, which delivers individual online cannabis orders in roughly an hour. Soon, they’ll launch Discovery, a recurring delivery service that introduces consumers to new strains and products. They’re currently taking sign-ups for that service.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 2
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 2
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 2 We hope you liked the first installment of Weird Weed Headlines series. Here’s our latest collection of news from the world of weed at its weirdest. Enjoy… %related-post-1% Shoppin’ Broccoli When eaten prior to smoking marijuana, broccoli works in conjunction with cannabinoids to help you fight depression. Smoking broccoli that you thought was really marijuana, however, will not only provide you with no health benefits, but it could also cause your depression to give way to anger. Similar emotions ran high in Colorado in March of last year after a drug dealer shot at a couple of customers who were angry that he had sold them broccoli disguised as pot. The dealer, Sababu Colbert-Evans’, and his partner-in-crime, Tercell Davis — perhaps both still bitter that their parents had given them names very close to the names of cars — tricked two prospective pot buyers into paying $10,000 for a bag of broccoli. When the buyers figured out what had happened, they angrily set up another meeting with the dealers — this time, under different names — in order to either get real weed or get their money back. When the dealers brought another bag of broccoli to the meeting, a fight erupted. The broccoli dealers fired 11 shots at the two customers, hitting one in the torso. The victim eventually recovered. Colbert-Evans was convicted of attempted first-degree murder in July of this year and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Davis pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and was to be sentenced in August. %related-post-2% Drug Smuggling Is for the Birds The use of carrier pigeons in Argentina’s drug trade is nothing new. In years past, the birds have made routine daily deliveries of drugs, cash, and other items inside and outside prison walls. While they aren’t used as much as they once were, carrier pigeons are still very much involved in smuggling. Recently, police in Argentina shot one of the birds out of the sky while it was on its way to deliver weed and other illegal materials to a jail in Santa Rosa. When the body of the bird was found, it was wearing a backpack containing cannabis, sedative pills, and a USB drive. While there are dozens of types of pigeons, carrier pigeons definitely lead the most dangerous of lives. Well, next to stool pigeons, that is… %related-post-3% Alexa, What’s Up with This Monster Shipment of Weed? You can get tons of things on Amazon.com these days. A few dozen pounds of weed isn’t supposed to be one of those things, however. When a couple in Orlando, Florida was planning to put a few things in storage recently, they ordered some plastic storage bins from Amazon. When the boxes arrived, they were way heavier than they should have been. Upon opening the shipment, the customers found 65 pounds of marijuana inside the bins. Once the couple saw the pot, they contacted police. "When the first officer got here, she was in disbelief," the customer told WFTV. The package was shipped from a facility in Massachusetts, and the Orlando Police Department is working with authorities to try to determined who put the pot in the package. In case you wondering, yes, huge and mysterious shipments of marijuana are apparently eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime. %related-post-4% In Otto Weird Weed Shipment News Let's talk furniture to round out this edition of Weird Weed Headlines. Prior to closing its doors after Labor Day this year, a furniture store in Olympia, Washington received an unexpected surprise when a box it had shipped came back to the store marked “return to sender.” The box sat in the store for a day or so until employees started smelling an unusual odor. When they opened the box, they found an ottoman and 25 pounds of pot inside. “Someone’s going to be upset,” owner Jeff Olson told the Centralia Chronicle, adding that he also experienced a “whiff of fear.” The store was going through a liquidation sale, and Olson says he can’t rule out than an employee may have been responsible, as the business had hired several temporary employees to help with the sale. Olympia police do have a lead in the case, though at the time of this writing it wasn’t known whether the suspect had been an employee of the store. Whoever it was otto be ashamed of themselves. The judge otto teach them a lesson. OK, we otto stop now… Another installment of Weird Weed Headlines will be out soon.
Could A Marijuana Breathalyzer Be The Cannabis Industry’s Best Friend?
Could A Marijuana Breathalyzer Be The Cannabis Industry’s Best Friend?
During an on-stage interview at a recent tech startup conference, TechCrunch Editor-At-Large Josh Constine poked fun at Mike Lynn, co-founder and CEO of Hound Labs, about his startup’s development of the world’s first reliable marijuana breathalyzer. “Why are you such a narc?” Constine asked. Both Lynn and the audience laughed before Lynn answered Constine’s question by aptly pointing out that there is, in fact, an actual need for such a device. “What we really try to do at Hound Labs is really be fair, to balance public safety and fairness because we need to have a standard,” he said. “We don’t want people going around stoned behind the wheel, just like you can’t drive drunk. But, at the same time, you don’t want to start firing people or arresting people who aren’t impaired.” %related-post-1% With medical marijuana still illegal in more than 20 states and recreational pot illegal in more than 40 — as well as the fact that marijuana of any kind is still technically illegal at the federal level — the cannabis industry still has quite a ways to go when it comes to respectability. It might be funny to joke that companies like Hound Labs are trying to ruin everybody’s buzz, but the fact of the matter is that advocates of responsible use could actually take the booming cannabis industry to even greater highs. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says fewer people are driving after drinking these days, more are driving with marijuana in their bloodstream than any other illegal drug. In Texas, for example, there were nearly 170 traffic accidents in 2012 where the driver tested positive for marijuana. That number jumped to 300 last year. But even if a driver tests positive for marijuana, it doesn’t mean he or she was impaired at the time of the accident. Unlike with alcohol, there is no national standard for intoxication from marijuana. And even if there was, according to Alex Berezow, a senior fellow at the American Council on Science and Health, blood and urine tests aren’t sensitive enough to show whether someone used pot five minutes or five days ago, and the first few hours after smoking pot is when someone will most likely be too impaired to drive. “The problem is really figuring out who is actually stoned — shouldn't be behind the wheel or in the cockpit of an airplane, or in an operating room in the hospital — versus who has THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — just floating around in their system,” says Lynn. %related-post-2% If someone is stopped for drunk driving, police can whip out a breathalyzer and test the driver on the spot. No such marijuana breathalyzer exists to test for pot. Well, not yet, anyway. Hound Labs and another Canadian firm, Cannabix Technologies, are developing small handheld devices that people can blow into, similar to the breathalyzers used to detect drunken drivers. Police and employers will be able to use the devices to detect and analyze the amount of THC in someone’s system in minutes. Berezow says that whichever company “gets to market first and can reliably and quickly and easily show a product that a police officer can use on the side of the road is going to have a very substantial market advantage.” And he’s right. As the cannabis industry grows, so will the opportunities for cannabis-related businesses. But the development of an effective marijuana breathalyzer is bigger than that. Not only will it help save people from needless hassles, it will, quite literally, help save people. If a few folks shout “narc!” in the process, then so be it.
Marijuana Approval Ratings Keep Gallup-ing Along
Marijuana Approval Ratings Keep Gallup-ing Along
Marijuana approval ratings in the United States have never been higher. In 2001, roughly one-third of Americans supported marijuana legalization. According to a new Gallup poll, however, that number is now approaching two-thirds. Last year, another Gallup poll found that a then-record of 60 percent of Americans supported ending marijuana prohibition. The latest poll measuring marijuana approval ratings shows that 64 percent now support legalization — a number that has more than doubled since 2000. Correspondingly, the percentage of those opposed to legalization has dropped to an all-time low. %related-post-1% While there is a gap between the number of Republicans and Democrats supporting legalization, the majority of both Democrats (72 percent) and Republicans (51 percent) — the first-ever such majority of Republicans — now think the use of marijuana should be made legal. As FiveThirtyEight notes, Republicans and Democrats are much closer on the issue of marijuana legalization than they are, say, abortion, gun control, or health care. While the two parties may never see eye-to-eye on the latter issues, the comparative lack of polarization between the two parties when it comes to marijuana legislation is encouraging. More than half of the states in the United States have some form of legalized form of cannabis, and if public opinion continues its current trend, we could conceivably see cannabis become legal in all 50 states — even in red states which have, to this point, been most opposed to the idea. As Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project outlined in a recent statement, widespread legalization just makes sense. “It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing," said Fox. “Americans are tired of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works. Adult-use marijuana laws create jobs, generate tax revenue, and protect consumers while taking the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals." %related-post-2% So, if marijuana approval ratings reflect that the majority of the American population wants legalization, what’s the hold up? Politicians, says FiveThirtyEight. Despite the drug’s appeal, the site points out, neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump vocally supported legalization during the 2016 election, even if politicians as a whole might be completely aware of how much — and how quickly — public sentiment has shifted on the issue. As legal marijuana continues to enhance the lives of more and more people from all political persuasions, more and more people will want access to it. The candidates most willing to help provide that access will be the candidates most likely to be rewarded at the polls.
NBA Marijuana Rules Should Change Says Former Commissioner
NBA Marijuana Rules Should Change Says Former Commissioner
David Stern says that when he was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1984 to 2014, it was “generally known” that many players smoked marijuana. Due to the prevailing wisdom of time, “that marijuana was a gateway drug,” he says he was instrumental in tightening NBA marijuana rules in order to keep players getting high before stepping on the court. But now, he says, things have changed. Citing what he calls “universal agreement” that marijuana should be completely legal for medical purposes, Stern says the NBA should remove pot from its list of banned substances. %related-post-1% During a recent interview from a documentary by UNINTERRUPTED, Stern told former NBA player and current marijuana entrepreneur Al Harrington that there is now a “completely different perception” regarding marijuana, and that “it’s up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going and maybe lead the way." "I think all of the leagues are now appropriately focused on player training, structuring of the right parts of their body, player rehabilitation in the case of injury, (and) player nutrition,” he said. “(Marijuana) should be a part of that conversation.” Harrington, who launched a cannabis extraction company after retiring from the league in 2015, says he started using medical marijuana after a botched knee surgery during his playing days — and four subsequent surgeries to clean out a resulting staph infection — left him taking a slew of pain medications. A nurse saw all the pill bottles, and asked him if he’d ever tried cannabinoids. Harrington tried them and says he “immediately felt a difference.” Later, Harrington convinced his grandmother to try CBD to treat her diabetes and glaucoma. She also felt immediate relief, and it was as that point that Harrington says he started viewing cannabis “as just medicine.” “It’s not about rolling a joint,” he says. “It’s bigger than that.” Harrington took a form of CBD that didn’t show up on drug tests, and which allowed him to extend his career without ever testing positive or being suspended. Former Portland Trail Blazers sixth man Cliff Robinson wasn’t so lucky. %related-post-2% During his 18 seasons in the NBA, Robinson was suspended three times for breaking NBA marijuana rules. When he left the league in 2007, he became an advocate for marijuana legalization, and has since entered into a partnership with a Portland-based company called Pistil Point Cannabis to launch a line of sports cannabis products. He has also joined Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in supporting a bill that would allow people to smoke or vape cannabis in social settings away from their homes. Like Harrington, Robinson believes that using marijuana helped extend his playing career. He says the drug helped him deal with anxiety, as well as focus in all aspects of his life. "I had a little anxiety sometimes. I definitely didn't like pharmaceutical drugs, as far as how they made my stomach feel, so I would use [marijuana]. But you couldn't be really consistent with cannabis use, because of the way they tested," he told the Willamette Week last year. "I put myself in a position where I had to be taken off the court, which you're never proud of. But at the same time, I did feel that cannabis was helpful for me. I took the risk." Like Stern, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr thinks NBA marijuana rules should be tweaked to allow current and future players to use marijuana without the penalties risked by Harrington and Robinson. “I think the world is starting to understand that opioids are way worse for you than anything, and right now, in professional sports, we’re quick to write a prescription for Oxycontin or Percocet when your shoulder hurts or your knee hurts or whatever hurts,” Kerr said during a recent post-game press conference. Kerr says that while we’re learning “that medical marijuana is much healthier than those alternatives,” it remains a “tricky issue” — especially when it comes to selling the game to the fans. Still, he says, the health of the players should be the most important thing “by far,” which should motivate the league to come up with a way to regulate players’ use of the drug. %related-post-3% “It makes sense to use (medical marijuana) for specific injuries, and I don’t know how that happens or manifests itself, but the league would be wise to look into it,” he says. Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver agrees. He told Slam that if the science of medical marijuana checks out, the league “will look at” accommodating it by publishing new NBA marijuana rules. “My personal view is that it should be regulated in the same way that other medications are if the plan is to use it for pain management,” he says. “And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reasons, we’ll be open to it. Hopefully there’s not as much pain involved in our sport as some others, so there’s not as much need for it.” Former Commissioner Stern surmises that the reason the league hasn’t moved faster on the issue is because it hasn’t had “a proper spokesperson for this subject.” He says the league needs to define what constitutes proper use of the drug by its players, make the NBA marijuana rules official, and then start educating doctors about how to best use cannabis to treat injuries and other conditions. All of that starts, he says, by reconciling current state law with the league’s current collective bargaining agreement. "I think we have to change the collective bargaining agreement and let you do what is legal in your state,” he says. “If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what's legal in your state.” The role of the commissioner is huge here. Silver understands the situation, and is in a position to act. Stern has watched the issue evolve — as well as his own position on it — and can serve as a unique and powerfully ally to Silver. Perhaps he’d be interested in that spokesperson gig, as well.
Marijuana Investment Hits Another High
Marijuana Investment Hits Another High
It was just a few months ago that our collective jaws were dropping at the boatload of marijuana investment dollars that were pouring into the industry. In 2014, 59 cannabis companies raised raised a total of $104.5 million. In  May of this year, $200 million was pledged in a single day by two different investors. Less than six months later, the flood of funds shows no signs of stopping, as a staggering $1.8 billion has been raised in the first three quarters of 2017, significantly up from the $720 million that was raised during the same time period last year. %related-post-1% While Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ prohibitionist mindset and marijuana’s illegality at the federal level continue to cloud the cannabis industry’s long-term future, the growth of the industry at the state level — as well as the Trump administration’s apparent disinterest in rolling back that progress — would seem to indicate that the cannabis marketplace will only continue to flourish thanks to increased marijuana investment. Sessions might not like pot, but the general public’s comfort level with legal marijuana continues to grow. And as the public gets more and more comfortable with legal weed, so do investors. Spurred by the irrefutable medical value of marijuana, an increasing number of traditional investors are jumping at the huge opportunity for high return assets. Not only is the total number of marijuana investment dollars significantly higher, but, so is the average size of raises — more than doubling from $3 million last year to $6.7 million this year — according to the Iridian Cannabis Deal Tracker, which tracks capital market activity in cannabis. %related-post-2% While the distribution of funds going to public and private companies has held steady since last year — publicly traded firms receive roughly 73 percent of the money — the sector breakdown has shifted. According to Benzinga, biotech and pharma industries easily led the way last year, trailed considerably by cultivation and retail. This year, retail has led the way, undoubtedly due to consumers’ clamoring for edibles and concentrates. Just a few months ago, we pointed out that American dollars were being pumped into the legal marijuana market at an unparalleled clip. Well, we’ve reached another such clip. Check back for future updates.
Marino Out, Who’s In As The Trump Drug Czar?
Marino Out, Who’s In As The Trump Drug Czar?
After nine months without finding the right candidate, it looked like the Trump drug czar search might finally come to a conclusion. The search will have to continue, however, after President Donald Trump’s nominee, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) withdrew his name from consideration following damning reports by The Washington Post and CBS News. According to Leafly.com, the reports shined a light on Marino’s involvement in a 2016 law, signed by President Obama, which weakened the federal government’s authority to block companies from distributing opioids. As we have reported before, an American Society of Addiction report cited by Leafly, shows that 33,091 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2015. That’s 91 deaths every day. And the numbers are growing. %related-post-1% Trump has equated the opioid crisis with a “national emergency,” and it’s clear that nominating anyone as drug czar who may have even indirectly contributed to the problem would send the wrong message. The day after the reports, Trump told reporters that if he thought Marino’s nomination was “1 percent negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change.” The next day, during an interview on Fox News Radio, the president said Marino told him that “if there’s even a perception that he has a conflict of interest...he doesn’t want anything to do with” the job. “He felt compelled,” Trump added. “He feels very strongly about the opioid problem and the drug problem and Tom Marino said, ‘Look, I’ll take a pass.” As of the time of this writing, Marino hadn’t spoken publicly, nor had the next Trump drug czar nominee been named. According to STATnews.com, however, names of possible contenders are starting to circulate. Outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might be the leading remaining candidate. He has chaired the president’s commission on the opioid crisis since March, and has also unveiled a $200 million program to address the epidemic in his state that has been lauded nationwide. As of now, Christie has not been offered — or expressed an interest in — becoming czar. %related-post-2% Another potential choice is Bertha Madras, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, who currently serves on a presidential commission dedicated to helping the federal government fight the opioid epidemic. Madras says she is currently focused on wrapping up an Opioid Commission report, and won’t be to “focus on the future” until it’s finished. Also mentioned as possible candidates are Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general and a member of Christie’s commission, and Richard Baum, the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. However, past pay-to-play allegations against Bondi and Baum’s institutionalist reputation could bar them from serious consideration. We’ll keep you posted on how the Trump drug czar search develops.
Medical And Recreational Marijuana: What's The Difference?
Medical And Recreational Marijuana: What's The Difference?
One of the more confusing matters in the cannabis industry is understanding the difference between medical and recreational marijuana.  The medical benefits of cannabis have led 25 states (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize medical cannabis, compared with four states (plus, again, the District of Columbia) that have legalized it for recreational use. While both kinds of marijuana are naturally grown by farmers or gardeners — as opposed to being manufactured in a lab — the main differences between medical and recreational cannabis have to do with the strength and medicinal qualities of the drug, as well as regulations regarding who should (and shouldn’t) have access to it. %related-post-1% While we have another article that dives deeply into the matter of how medicine is defined, here are the main differences consumers usually experience between medical and recreational marijuana, as outlined by Civilized and MMJ Reporter: • While the marijuana you buy in dispensaries — whether medical or recreational — is typically grown methodically and organically, little is often known about the recreational pot bought off the streets. • How you plan to use the drug can make a big difference in the strain of pot you obtain. Those using medical cannabis tend to seek out the best strains for treating their specific medical conditions. Those who use it recreationally might be less picky, or only look for strains with a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). • Recreational marijuana often has a higher concentration of THC than medical cannabis. On the flip side, medical cannabis has more cannabidol (CBD) than recreational pot. Medical marijuana doesn’t leave users feeling as high as recreational weed, and the edible power of medical cannabis is typically higher than the power of recreational cannabis. • Medical weed must be purchased from a certified medical dispensary, while recreational pot can be purchased from a dispensary or other licensed shop. • Patients must be at least 18 years of age to purchase medical marijuana, while people typically must be 21 or older to purchase recreational pot. (Some states allow marijuana sales to people under 18.) • Buyers must possess a regularly renewed recommendation letter when buying medical marijuana. Recreational marijuana can be purchased without such a letter, provided the buyer is of legal age.     • The amount of the marijuana of either kind that can be purchased varies from state to state, and the amount of medical marijuana that can be legally purchased often differs than the amount of recreational marijuana.
Medical Marijuana States: Who Consumes More MMJ?
Medical Marijuana States: Who Consumes More MMJ?
At the time of this writing, more than half of the states in America — 29 — are medical marijuana states, and it’s not hard to see why. Legal medical cannabis helps to boost local economies, provides relief to millions of people suffering from numerous medical conditions, shrinks the black market, and reduces crime. As Civilized notes, the governors of the first four states to legalize medical marijuana — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — are lobbying the Trump administration to let the cannabis industry continue to grow unabated. If it does, the site predicts, more states will legalize medical marijuana, and the industry will continue to see increased scientific research, product development, investor interest, and sales. %related-post-1% While the cannabis industry still has much more room to grow, Civilized wanted to see how much it has grown so far. Using data from the Marijuana Policy Project, the site recently ranked medical marijuana states according to how much of their populations are currently using medical marijuana. Note: Of the 29 states where medical marijuana has been legalized, seven did not have enough data to be included in the list, as they have either yet to implement the law or have just recently implemented it. Here is how the other 22 states rank: 1. California: 3.83% 
Total population: 39,849,872 
Medical marijuana patients: 1,526,250 2. Maine: 3.31%
 Total population: 1,327,472
 Medical marijuana patients: 43,906 3. Michigan: 2.20%
 Total population: 9,935,116 
Medical marijuana patients: 218,556 4. New Mexico: 2.13%
 Total population: 2,084,193 
Medical marijuana patients: 44,403 5. Arizona: 1.89% 
Total population: 7,026,629 
Medical marijuana patients: 132,487 6. Rhode Island: 1.71%
 Total population: 1,059,080 
Medical marijuana patients: 18,155 7. Colorado: 1.53%
 Total population: 5,658,546
 Medical marijuana patients: 86,821 8. Oregon: 1.49%
 Total population: 4,144,527
 Medical marijuana patients: 61,867 9. Montana: 1.48% 
Total population: 1,052,343 
Medical marijuana patients: 15,563 10. Hawaii: 1.05% 
Total population: 1,454,295 
Medical marijuana patients: 15,334 11. Nevada: 0.95%
 Total population: 2,995,973 
Medical marijuana patients: 28,308 12. Vermont: 0.71%
 Total population: 624,592 
Medical marijuana patients: 4,439 13. Connecticut: 0.53%
 Total population: 3,583,134 
Medical marijuana patients: 19,082 14. Massachusetts: 0.50% 
Total population: 6,873,018 
Medical marijuana patients: 34,189 15. Washington: 0.33%
 Total population: 7,384,721 
Medical marijuana patients: 24,577 16. Delaware: 0.32% 
Total population: 965,866 
Medical marijuana patients: 3,092 17. Illinois: 0.18%
 Total population: 12,815,607 
Medical marijuana patients: 23,300 18. New Hampshire: 0.16%
 Total population: 1,335,832 
Medical marijuana patients: 2,089 20. (tie) Alaska: 0.14%
 Total population: 741,204 
Medical marijuana patients: 1,042 20. (tie) New Jersey: 0.14%
 Total population: 8,996,351 
Medical marijuana patients: 12,514 21. New York: 0.13% 
Total population: 19,889,657 
Medical marijuana patients: 26,096 22. Minnesota: 0.12% 
Total population: 5,554,532 
Medical marijuana patients: 6,384
Multiple Sclerosis And Cannabis: Grace's Story
Multiple Sclerosis And Cannabis: Grace's Story
Is there a beneficial connection between multiple sclerosis and cannabis? Consider Grace's story. Note: This article is about an individual who resides in a state where cannabis is not legal for medical or recreational purposes. Her identity has been withheld at her request due to the illegal nature of her cannabis usage. The name “Grace” used in this article is an alias. Have you ever met someone who instantly puts you at ease? Whose presence is like the warm spot in the living room where the sun shines through the window on a cold day? That’s how I felt when I met Grace. How we met My husband and I decided to grab a quick drink after dinner on a low-key Friday night. Grace was hanging out with a friend of ours, and we wandered over to chat. Just a few minutes into talking with her, I was suffering from a severe case of deja vu — I knew this girl. I knew the way she made me feel. I’d experienced her calm coolness and the syrupy sweetness of the “darlings” and “lovelies” she peppers into conversation. It didn’t take much time to make the connection that she is a server at a restaurant my husband and I frequent, and it wasn’t long after this discovery that she was refilling my glass with the bottle of rosé she had split with our friend. The refills kept flowing generously, and we stayed at the bar much longer than we’d intended to. %related-post-1% Grace and I talked about everything — work, life, the usual. She’s 24 and isn’t entirely sure what she wants to do with her future. For now, she serves at a couple of different restaurants, doesn’t really have any “off days,” and plans on moving to New York City. At some point, the whole group landed on the subject of medical cannabis, and Grace mentioned that her support for the cause is personal, as she suffers from a chronic condition that she’s noticed is positively impacted by cannabis usage. I learned that Grace has multiple sclerosis, and I asked her if she would mind talking more about it. We decided to meet up later in the week so I could get all the details I’d need to tell her story. We got together at a local tea shop on what must have been the hottest Friday afternoon of the summer. I wound up having a hectic day at work and rushed frantically to meet Grace once I had everything wrapped up. Sweating and disheveled, I apologized for my tardiness. True to her calm, comforting form, Grace assured me that it was no trouble and she had all the time in the world. Finding out Grace was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 16. I asked what led to the diagnosis, and she explained that her symptoms initially presented as vision problems — seemingly random blurred vision and double vision. “I was at a theater conference watching a play, when I started seeing double, vertically, in one eye. I thought maybe it was my contact so I took it out, but my vision was still really blurred,” she said. When she returned home from the school trip, her parents took her to an eye doctor, who referred Grace to a neurologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. After a series of tests, including blood work and an MRI, the doctors felt confident that they had identified the cause of Grace’s vision problems. “I was only 16 at the time, so they sent me into another room so they could talk to my parents first,” she said. “When they brought me back into the room, they said, ‘We think you have multiple sclerosis, do you know what that is?’ And I immediately started bawling. My uncle had multiple sclerosis and he was in a wheelchair. That was the only image I had of MS at the time, so it was really scary.” %related-post-2% Grace has relapsing-remitting MS, a condition that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “MS causes the immune system to attack the myelin, which is the insulation protecting the nerves.” These attacks result in scarring — or sclerosis — of myelin and/or the nerves the myelin protects. (In discussion of MS, these scars may also be referred to as lesions.) Because the central nervous system controls just about everything in the body, MS can present itself in many different ways — it all depends on the location of the lesion(s). For Grace, symptoms come and go and manifest in a variety of forms. “Summer is the worst,” she explained. “When my core is overheated, my eyes go blurry, my legs go numb, and my cognition is terrible. It’s hard to be a person.” Finding relief While there is no cure for MS, there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease, minimize inflammation, and promote temporary healing. After trial and error with a number of intensive treatments, Grace landed on an infusion given once per month, which she told me costs around $12,000 per visit. That’s $144,000 a year. Right now, Grace is still on her parents’ insurance but worries about what she’ll do when she turns 26 and no longer qualifies to remain on their plan. Grace also takes medication to soothe the anxiety that comes with worrying about impending medical bills, disease progression, and life in general. What she feels like she’s missing is access to a natural remedy for pain and stress. “I’d read about medical marijuana trials for MS, and I heard people talking about [medical cannabis] in hushed tones when I was in high school,” she said. “I never actually smoked until I was in college, probably my freshman year, and I realized that it made such a difference.” Grace explains that using cannabis before bed helps alleviate pressure and relax her muscles, which tend to tense up when she lays down to sleep at night.  But even though Grace has noticed benefits, she explained that because cannabis is still illegal in her state, she doesn’t buy it and often feels hesitant to smoke with friends because the product isn’t regulated. She also noted that she personally prefers not to smoke, and that she would love to have access to products such as edibles, oils, and other cannabis products on the market. %related-post-3% What we know about Multiple Sclerosis and cannabis The effects of medical cannabis for multiple sclerosis have been studied in formal research and clinical trials. With results that support Grace’s personal findings, the National MS Society reports that positive correlations have been found between cannabis products and the reduction of muscle stiffness/spasms/pain, as well as better sleep for MS sufferers. No long-term studies have been completed to determine the effects of medical cannabis on MS disease progression. A common thread The more I talk with people who suffer from chronic conditions that can benefit from medical cannabis, the more I realize they all want the same thing: an opportunity to try a natural product that can help their symptoms. “If medical marijuana was legalized in more states, a lot more people could feel better on a regular basis and not be stressed out because their body is in pain,” Grace said. “That would be a really beautiful thing.” This boiled down sentiment is one of the most basic, yet most profound ways I’ve heard anyone explain the benefits of medical cannabis. Feel better. Less stress. If that’s the only thing cannabis did for anyone, Grace is right: That would be a really beautiful thing. Have a story you’d like to share? The Sugar Leaf would love to tell it. Contact us at editor@brtside.com
I Want You (Even If You’ve Smoked Marijuana)
I Want You (Even If You’ve Smoked Marijuana)
The U.S. Army has found itself in a tight spot when it comes to recruiting. They need to lure in some 80,000 new soldiers, but are finding it tough to fill all those vacant spots. Uncle Sam is still saying "I Want You," but he’s having a hard time finding enough folks to take him up on the offer. Well, let’s put a qualifier on that last sentence. He’s having a hard time getting enough qualified folks willing to join the ranks. Why? Some observers point to the fact that a strong economy is pulling the more qualified potential recruits into the private sector. Selling a stint or two in Afghanistan to someone who has numerous other — possibly more lucrative — options at home is proving an uphill battle. %related-post-1% To that point, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, who oversees Army recruitment, recently told USA Today, “(we’re) in an environment where unemployment is 4.5 percent. We’ve got our work cut out for us.” So, what to do? In order to meet its quota, the Army has decided to relax some of its criteria for joining up (including military exam performance), they’re offering more sign-on bonuses, and — here’s a big one — they’re forgiving past marijuana use, which used to be an automatic disqualifier. Now Uncle Sam is saying "I Want You" (yes, even if you’ve smoked pot in the past). As reported by USA Today, the new stance reflects the fact that more states are legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. But there is one catch: even if the Army is accepting those who’ve consumed cannabis in the past, those fresh recruits must swear off future use. Here’s Maj. Gen. Snow again: “The big thing we’re looking for is a pattern of misconduct where they’re going to have a problem with authority. Smoking marijuana in an isolated incident as a teenager is not a pattern of misconduct.” It certainly is not. The U.S. military still strikes a troublesome stance on marijuana, especially when it comes to veteran PTSD treatment options, but at least this is a step in the right direction.
Oregon Marijuana Sales Tax Disbursement Begins
Oregon Marijuana Sales Tax Disbursement Begins
So far, legal Oregon marijuana sales have exceeded expectations. And there is no shortage of statistics pointing to those successes, which show Oregon marijuana sales nipping at the heels of Colorado’s enviable numbers while outpacing Washington receipts. Rejoice, friends. What’s more — and surely cause for added joy to many good people across the Beaver State — is that tax revenue collected off 2016 Oregon marijuana sales is now being disbursed to qualifying groups. How much money, you ask? Try $85 million on for size. Yes, that’s a mega-sized piggy bank’s worth. In total, the state collected over $108 million in 2016 marijuana taxes, but after administrative and regulatory startup costs were stripped out, that left roughly $85 million to be distributed. So where does all that tax money from Oregon marijuana sales go? Good question. Here’s a percentage breakdown of where the tax revenue must go by law: 40 percent — Common School Fund 20 percent — Mental health, drug and alcohol treatment programs 15 percent — Oregon State Police 10 percent — Cities (law enforcement) 10 percent — Counties (law enforcement) 5   percent — Oregon Health Authority And here’s how those percentages translate into real dollars based on the $85 million of tax revenue: $34 million — state school fund $17 million — mental health, alcoholism and drug services account $17 million — Oregon cities and counties (law enforcement) $12 million — Oregon State Police $4 million   — Oregon Health Authority Anthony Johnson, the primary ballot petitioner to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon said, “I am glad to hear that the revenue is finally being distributed. This is what the voters intended. It shows that legalizing and regulating cannabis can help generate revenue for important governmental services.” No doubt other states will take note of how Oregon marijuana sales tax revenues can help shore up budget needs. Especially states with budget shortfalls. 
Marijuana Industry Needs Black Entrepreneurship
Marijuana Industry Needs Black Entrepreneurship
Legal cannabis opportunities in the U.S. are exploding and the marijuana industry needs black entrepreneurship to be an integral part of the trend. More Americans support legalization than at any time in the nation’s history. Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, and eight states now allow adults to use pot for recreational purposes. The legal marijuana industry brought in $6.7 billion last year, and is projected to reach $50 billion by 2026. And while more and more budding bud entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity to make huge profits in the industry, one segment of our society — African Americans — is struggling to get its collective foot in the industry door. %related-post-1% If the marijuana industry needs black entrepreneurship, what's the problem? According to a 2016 investigation by Buzzfeed, less than 1 percent of the nation’s dispensaries are owned by African Americans. This dearth of minority ownership, researchers and industry experts say, is due to myriad obstacles not faced by other owners. First, most states block people with a criminal record from entering the marijuana industry. Since black men are six times as likely as white men to be convicted of a crime and incarcerated, that means they are six times less likely to become pot entrepreneurs. Second, substantial economic barriers from state to state block African Americans looking to enter the industry. Not only are there very few licenses issued in some states, but the associated application fees, license fees, and startup fees can be cost prohibitive. Applicants in some states also have to pay six-figure deposits and, in states like Pennsylvania, provide proof of $2 million in funding, with at least $500,000 in the bank. While those who don’t have access to that kind of cash might turn to banks to help fund the launch of other kinds of businesses, the fact that pot is still illegal at the federal level means than banks are unwilling to give out loans to those looking to enter the marijuana industry. Industry experts say these high investment requirements unfairly benefit politically connected individuals, who are typically wealthy and white. "Marijuana legalization without racial justice risks being an extension of white privilege," says Bill Piper, a lobbyist for Drug Policy Alliance. Another big factor is African Americans’ disinterest in getting involved in a business selling a drug that has played a pivotal role in the targeting and incarceration of their family and community members. The Trump administration’s renewed focus on the War on Drugs — spearheaded by prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions — has only increased those apprehensions. %related-post-2% So, if the marijuana industry needs black entrepreneurship, what's being done? While the lack of African American entrepreneurs in marijuana industry is disappointing, new initiatives by various states and municipalities are contributing to positive change. Here a few examples: Massachusetts’ marijuana law now requires access to ownership be given to members of communities criminalized and economically crippled during the War on Drugs In February, Washington, D.C. removed its ban on felons convicted of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana from entering the industry. Portland, Oregon is the first city in the nation to vote to direct part of its cannabis tax revenue toward reinvestments into communities of color. Los Angeles and San Francisco are pursuing similar policies. The city council of Oakland, California recently voted to reserve half of all new marijuana business permits for people with drug arrests on their records or who lived in neighborhoods with a significant number of pot arrests. Ohio now mandates that 15 percent of new marijuana licenses to be issued to minorities. Florida is reserving one of its future cultivation licenses for a member of the state’s Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association. While these pockets of progress are encouraging, it’s too soon to gauge their effectiveness. Hopefully, they will be successful and influence other municipalities to follow suit. Stay tuned to The Sugar Leaf for future updates regarding this matter.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 1
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 1
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 1 While the legal marijuana industry is making great strides each day, there are still some folks out there who are giving responsible users and producers a bad name — or who are, at the very least, making us laugh. In this first installment of a new series called Weird Weed Headlines, we’ve collected a few examples of the world of weed at its weirdest. Enjoy… %related-post-1% Smuggled Ford Tough If you’ve even bought a vehicle from Ford, you’ve probably considered options like a sunroof, leather interior, or zero percent financing. Well, this summer, qualified buyers almost had an opportunity to take advantage of another incentive: free weed. Not once, not twice, but three different times, marijuana from Mexico was found smuggled in shipments of new Fords. In May, 22 new Ford Fusions in Minnesota were found with their spare tires removed and replaced with more than 50 pounds each — or a total of $1.4 million worth — of pot. A few weeks later, another $1 million worth of weed was found in Fusions at dealerships in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Then, less than two weeks after that, another 277 pounds of marijuana was discovered in railroad cars used to ship vehicles from Mexico to metro Detroit. Ford is working with the FBI and customs officials to find the smugglers, and while nobody has been arrested, the company has been able to confirm that the weed wasn’t packed at its plants or internal shipping yards. Their only conclusion is that someone is intercepting the shipments somewhere else along the way and packing them full of weed — someone, apparently, with a whole lot of weed and enough cash not to care about losing a bunch of either. %related-post-2% A Mountain High Enough Climbing a mountain can deliver a pretty big high. Smoking weed while doing so, on the other hand, can be a pretty big mistake. In September, four men climbed England’s highest mountain, got high, and then found themselves unable to walk. Cumbria police were called at around 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday night after the group got stuck atop a 3,210-foot peak. Officers, working with a mountain rescue team, brought them down to safety at 9:45. While none of the men were ultimately arrested, they were subject to a little ribbing via the police force’s Facebook page. “Persons phoning Cumbria police because they are stuck on a mountain, after taking cannabis,” wrote a police spokesperson. “Now having to deploy [mountain] rescue, air support and ambulance to rescue them. Words fail us ...” Words fail us, too. %related-post-3% A Top Drawer Response At roughly 11:20 p.m. on June 20, a police officer in Port St. Lucie, Florida noticed a “suspicious vehicle/parking violation” involving a Chevrolet Silverado. Upon pulling up to the vehicle, the officer smelled marijuana. Both the driver and the passenger were found to have pot and taken into custody. Prior to the arrest, the officer extracted a bag of weed from the passenger’s “groin area.” According to the police report, the passenger claimed that “he didn't know the cannabis was on him because he recently changed underpants.” The suspect didn’t elaborate on whom the underpants belonged to. And, frankly, we don’t really want to know. His story is already pretty much perfect as it is for Weird Weed Headlines. %related-post-4% Please Give the Man His Bong *In a Jerry Seinfeld voice* — What's the deal with pot and underwear these days? A Canadian man claims that police wrongfully arrested him for possession of marijuana last October. He says they seized his bong and weed, and he wants them back. And how does he plead his case? By standing outside the courthouse wearing nothing but shoes, socks, and — yes — a pair of tiny green underwear. The man, Jeffrey Shaver, says he smokes pot to treat his anxiety, depression, and back pain. The arrest in which his stash and bong were seized happened at a nearby hospital. "I was having a panic attack and I was brought there and I had an issue with the vending machine and I was charged with trespassing and causing a disturbance by yelling," he said. "They asked me to leave. Police arrested me and searched me." Shaver says that while most of the people who pass by him are supportive, one pedestrian suggested he put on some pants. Yeah, man. Please do. Stay tuned, another installment of Weird Weed Headlines will be out soon. 
5 Electronic Acts You Should Know (And Smoke To)
5 Electronic Acts You Should Know (And Smoke To)
There are electronic acts for every mood — whether you’re chilling on the porch or partying hard with some glow sticks. The broad spectrum of styles and tempos means you can almost always find the ideal soundtrack to your smoke session. The possibilities are virtually endless! Check out a few of our favorite electronic acts. They represent a fairly diverse cross section of the EDM (electronic dance music) world.  Don't see an album from one of your favorite electronic acts on here? Don't worry. We've got more suggestions coming later.  Black Sands by Bonobo Simon Green — aka Bonobo — is a producer and DJ who has been active on the scene since 2001. His music runs the gamut from single-person performances to a full-band backing, as was featured on his 2010 album Black Sands. The instrumentation and arrangements are a feast for anyone’s ears. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Panorama Pacifico by the Satin Jackets Satin Jackets is the moniker of Tim Bernhardt. Offering chilled dance tracks, Satin Jackets is tailor-made for group gatherings. Pop this album on, pack up the bowl, and have fun! " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Entroducing… by DJ Shadow DJ Shadow is a hip-hop production legend. His first album, Entroducing…, released in 1996, was produced using just a drum machine and two turntables. This album is a total crowd pleaser offering up classic cuts and break beats for lovers of all musical genres. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> RR7349 by SURVIVE Best known for their work on the Stranger Things theme, SURVIVE are another old school production group. Influenced by horror film scores of the 1980s, the group’s members orchestrate all of their songs using vintage synthesizers. This group is perfect for a mellower evening. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Last Glow by Kartell

 French producer Kartell is no stranger to the DJ scene. Mentioned in the same company as artists like KAYTRANADA, Kartell can build a groove with the best of them. Shifting from moody to straight up dance tracks and back, Kartell always delivers a solid, fun groove.

 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">
Higher Than The Andes: Will Peru Legalize Marijuana?
Higher Than The Andes: Will Peru Legalize Marijuana?
Note: Since the original publication of this article, the Peruvian congress voted to legalize — 68 votes for, and only five votes against — medical marijuana, and Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed the bill into law.  While North America might be far outpacing Latin America when it comes to legal marijuana, sentiment and policy across Latin America is slowly but surely trending toward legalization. Some form of legalization exists — or is right around the corner — in Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina. Now, many are wondering: Will Peru legalize marijuana next? The development stems from the police raid of a makeshift cannabis lab in February. The lab was run by mothers attempting to use the drug to treat their sick children, and the raid has sparked considerable public outcry and legislative efforts to legalize medical cannabis. %related-post-1% President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski initially proposed the legislation upon learning about the mothers’ plight. Peru’s Congressional Committee on National Defense approved a bill to legalize the drug, which will now go before the full Peruvian Congress for debate. Congressman Alberto de Belaunde says, if approved, the legislation would legalize the production and importation of cannabis oil for the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. De Balaunde says that since a formal text of the initiative has yet to be released to the public, it is unclear whether smoking cannabis will also be allowed. According to IPSOS (an opinion research firm), 65 percent of Peruvians now favor the legalization of medicinal marijuana — a number that is considerably greater than the rest of the region, and could lead to an affirmative answer to the question: Will Peru legalize marijuana? A recent study by the International Journal of Drug Policy shows that more than 40 percent of respondents in some parts of the region support legalization, while other, more conservative areas are seeing far less support. Even in those areas where there is support for legalization, there is a gap between support for medical marijuana and support for legalizing the drug for recreational use. Peru mirrors that trend, as only 13 percent of Peruvians are in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult use. That said, Peru’s path toward legislation mirrors similar momentum elsewhere in the region: %related-post-2% In 2013, Uruguay became the first nation in the world to legalize the consumption, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. The nation’s recreational users and medical patients can now grow marijuana at home or visit their local pharmacies for up to 40 grams of cannabis a month from local pharmacies. Marijuana was approved for medicinal use by Argentina’s legislature in March. Mexico’s Senate passed a medical marijuana bill last December, which is now pending approval from the lower house. The personal possession and use of pot in Costa Rica is no longer considered a crime, and those growing marijuana for personal use are not subject to any criminal or economic penalties. Both Chile and Colombia have legalized medical marijuana in recent years. Colombia is also getting ready to roll out a crop substitution program that would help farmers of illegal coca crops cultivate legal marijuana instead. So, will Peru legalize marijuana next? We could find out by the end of 2017.
7 Heady Jam Band Albums Tailor Made For Toking
7 Heady Jam Band Albums Tailor Made For Toking
Amazing jam band albums can sweep you up in a melody, shoot you out into space, and reel you right back down to reality — the perfect aural accompaniment to a joint-, bowl-, or vape-load of your favorite strain. Live versions of songs and albums are, of course, our preference, but here are seven starter picks for must-listen jam band albums (live and studio). Cornell 5/8/77 by The Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead are the OG jam band, and this release is just one in a long line of amazing live sets. How can you not love a 16-minute-long version of “Dancing in the Streets”? " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Space Wrangler by Widespread Panic Another in the jam band pantheon, Widespread Panic injected southern soul into the genre. Space Wrangler and the track “Driving Song” became instant fan favorites. Give it a spin and find out why. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Nashville Sessions by Leftover Salmon Bluegrass and jam music go together like peanut butter and jelly. Leftover Salmon mastered this particular brand of mashup, delivering a live record that is equal parts knee slapper and sky gazer. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Big Boat by Phish Outside of The Grateful Dead, Phish may just be the most well-known jam band on the planet. We may catch some flak for including a studio album — Big Boat — over a record of live cuts, but the studio version of “Blaze On” is 4:20. Come on. That’s a no-brainer. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Warts and All, Volume 1 by moe. The live version of “Nebraska” on this album is like a mental trip to Cornhusker State on a beautiful sunny day. Close your eyes and you can see the sun shining through the fields. “Nebraska’s so flat that I don’t care” indeed.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Otherwise Law-Abiding Citizens, by The Disco Biscuits “Portal to an Empty Head” is basically a summary of a really crazy trip. It doesn’t get any jammier than that. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Sweet Oblivious Antidote, by Perpetual Groove Perpetual Groove lives up to their name on this album. Catching you in a mellow groove and not letting go — barrel rolling through movement after movement and teasing your ears the entire way. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">
Women In Marijuana: The Good. The Bad. The Potential.
Women In Marijuana: The Good. The Bad. The Potential.
While the number of women in senior business leadership roles around the world hasn’t improved much in the last decade, there are increased opportunities for women in marijuana — though there is plenty of room to grow. According to a recent report by Grant Thornton, the percentage of women in senior business leadership roles across the globe is a mere 25 percent. This represents an increase of one percent since 2016, and just six percent in the last 13 years. %related-post-1% The highest areas of progress for women, according to Forbes, can be found in education and social services, where they comprise 41 percent of upper management. They also have slightly more success in the hospitality (33 percent) and food and beverage (27 percent) industries. In areas like technology, manufacturing, and transport (19 percent each), construction and real estate (18 percent), and mining and quarrying (12 percent), women have the smallest presence in leadership. The percentage of women in marijuana leadership positions is encouraging Not only are more and more women using marijuana these days, they also make up, on average, a higher percentage of leadership in the cannabis industry than women in other industries. According to a recent study, women hold 36 percent of executive positions in the marijuana industry — the third highest percentage among all industries in the nation. Female executives hold 28 percent of the leadership roles in investments and 33 percent of the leadership roles in wholesale cultivation. They also comprise a growing number of executives in ancillary technology or products (35 percent), medical and recreational retailing (38 percent), and ancillary services (40 percent). Women hold nearly half (48 percent) of the leadership roles in processing and infusion, and a whopping 63 percent of those holding executive positions in cannabis testing labs are women. %related-post-2% The legal cannabis industry is a brand new one, and it’s launching at a time when equal pay and equal opportunity are at the forefront of more minds than at, perhaps, any time in history. The current climate likely plays a significant role in the fact that, as industry experts point out, women have more opportunity to climb the ladder in the cannabis industry — and are climbing that ladder faster — than women in virtually every other industry. With that said, however, there is still much room for improvement. But there is still much ground to be gained for women in marijuana As Entrepreneur notes, women in the cannabis industry are subject to some of the same “glass ceiling” issues they face elsewhere. Fewer than half of executive roles at two-thirds of cannabis businesses are held by women, and 25 percent of companies have no women working in management. There are no women among 36 percent of cannabis investors and firms, and in Canada, a mere 5 percent of board members at publicly traded marijuana companies are female. What’s contributing the lack of women in these areas? A few things, say industry experts. Some insiders argue a stigma surrounding the industry is causing talented people to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Others point out that top cannabis executives typically hail from male-dominated areas such as venture capital, investment banking, and mining. "In the startup and finance sectors you've got this bro vibe going on," says Lisa Campbell, co-founder of a business incubator for women in the cannabis industry. "We find that it is kind of an old boys' club in a way, even though it's a very new industry." %related-post-3% There is a unique opportunity for women in marijuana fields to get in on the ground floor of an emerging industry instead of having to struggle to move up within an existing one. Incubators like Campbell’s are among several groups and organizations that are helping women navigate the obstacles to leadership — and even entrepreneurship — in the cannabis industry. Programs to cultivate females leaders in marijuana LIV Advisors, which specializes in mentoring cannabis startups, interviews women in the industry on its podcast, and has published numerous videos on cannabis business formation, development, and taxes. The group regularly hosts meetups, and held a conference in Los Angeles in July featuring panel discussions on helping women in the cannabis industry become more assertive, get funding, negotiate sales, navigate legal issues, and succeed in the industry. Women Grow, a national not-for-profit group founded in Denver in 2014, helps women become influencers in the cannabis industry. The Cannabist calls the organization’s annual summit “part TED Talk, part networking mixers and part reunion for women and equality-minded men working toward the legalization and commercialization of marijuana.” Chanda Macias, head of the Women Grow’s D.C. chapter and owner of a dispensary, told attendees at this year’s event that cultivating diversity in the marijuana business is vital. “We are the leaders – the minority leaders – in cannabis, and we make cannabis look good,” she said.
Smoke Along With These 7 Classic Hip-Hop Hits
Smoke Along With These 7 Classic Hip-Hop Hits
From the west coast to the east, hip-hop and weed have gone hand in hand since the art form’s inception. There are plenty of artists — and even more songs — proclaiming the virtues and joys of Mary Jane. From Cypress Hill to Dr. Dre and, of course, Snoop Dogg, a list of weed-loving hip-hop artists is a virtual hall of fame. These may not all be about weed specifically, but here are some of our favorite classic hip-hop hits for your next smoke session. “I Got 5 on It” by Luniz ft. Michael Marshall Every seasoned stoner has been there — you want to buy a sack, but you don’t have quite enough cash on your own. The solution? Go in on a bag with your buddies. This jam from Luniz is a celebration of the good times you can have even when your flow is low. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” by OutKast OutKast is southern rap — plain and simple. This track is a thick chronic cloud on a humid summer night in Atlanta for your ears. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg THE classic west coast party anthem. Whether you’re smokin’ indo, or you’ve just got your mind on your money, Snoop’s got you covered. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “This D.J.” by Warren G A classic hip-hop cut from Warren G’s incredible "Regulate…G Funk Era," this track is so, so smooth. There’s nothing better to blast while your Pioneer speakers bump and you smoke on a pound. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. We’ve repped the west coast, now it’s time for the east. The quintessential neighborhood-kid-proves-everyone-wrong-and-takes-over-the-rap-game track, this song put Biggie on the map and made him a household name. It’s still a perfect track to kick back and blaze to. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest Yes you can. Q-Tip has a smoother flow than just about any other rapper on the planet. His mellow delivery mixed with Phife Dawg’s gruff delivery and a dash of a Lou Reed sample all adds up to one amazing song. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “So What’cha Want?” by the Beastie Boys The original party rappers came correct when they released this track. Everyone — literally everyone — can recognize that opening keyboard line. Toss in the psychedelic music video and the entire experience is taken to another level. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">
The Average Marijuana Smoker Is Pretty Tame
The Average Marijuana Smoker Is Pretty Tame
Let’s be honest, one of the leading stereotypes of the average marijuana smoker isn’t that flattering. Ask someone to close their eyes and tell you what they envision when they hear those words — marijuana smoker — and there's a strong chance they'll paint a verbal picture of some squinty eyed party bro whose major contributions to society revolve around frat parties, frisbee and hacky sack skills, and some acoustic guitar riffing. %related-post-1% Alas, friends, that’s sadly what we’re up against image-wise in many places across the country. And until we’re able to show that it’s not just those stoner dudes who regularly consume cannabis (nothing against the stoner dudes — we freaking love stoner dudes!), we’ll be fighting an uphill PR battle. That’s the bad news. But there is some heartening news developing on the messaging front to combat those old stoner stereotypes. More frequently, survey and poll results are coming out showing that there is much more to the marijuana smoker (and general consumer) base than once was thought. Our friends over at Eaze recently released customer survey data revealing — among other factoids — that 51 percent of their patrons hold a college or postgraduate degree, 91 percent of them hold down full-time employment, and 49 percent have a household income of at least $75,000 per year (that’ over $15,000 more than the 2016 national average, fyi). The picture painted by those Eaze statistics is that many marijuana smokers are more highbrow than some stereotypes suggest. What’s more, a survey recently conducted in Colorado shows that — again, contrary to popular misconceptions — your typical marijuana smoker typically doesn’t partake to par-tay. Really. %related-post-2% A group called Consumer Research Around Cannabis (CRAC) polled more than 1,200 marijuana consumers in and around Denver, Colorado, on why they use marijuana. Here’s what they found: 47.2 percent said they use cannabis to fall asleep 45.7 percent claim they use cannabis to stem anxiety and/or depression 47.2 percent reported they use cannabis to fight pain So, what about users embodying the old stoner stereotypes? Well, they’re not as numerous as you might think. Only 28.5 percent said they used marijuana to have a good time (read: partying), while just 32.8 percent used it to get “creative” or deep in thought (yeah, deep thoughts, man). As unexciting as such findings sound, they might actually be good for the cannabis industry. Why? For the industry to reach its full potential, the old stigmas associated with marijuana need to be dismantled, and the more the substance is shown to be a help with widespread everyday (read: normal) circumstances, the better its appeal might be to those who continue to view it ithrough an age old lens. Time will tell, but it just might be that tame is good for the cannabis world.
420: What Does It Really Mean, Anyway?
420: What Does It Really Mean, Anyway?
April 20 (aka, 420 — read: four-twenty) is the biggest day of the year for pot sales — by far. According to data from MJ Freeway, the average marijuana retailer sells $24,142 worth of weed that day. That’s 97 percent more than any other day of the year. In 2003, when the California Legislature codified a medical marijuana law passed by voters, the bill got the name SB 420 due to, it’s widely assumed, the tongue-in-cheek efforts of a staffer in an assembly member’s office. %related-post-1% The day is celebrated during annual “smoke-outs” on college campuses, and by pot lovers elsewhere across the globe. But how, exactly, did April 20 become “weed day”? The most popular 420 myths The myths are numerous. As Mother Jones notes, some believe the name came from the disputed belief that there are 420 chemicals in marijuana. Others says it’s because 420 was California's police radio code for pot. Still others say 4/20 is Bob Marley’s birthday, or because in Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” — the song in which he sings, “Everyone must get stoned” — the number 12 multiplied by 35 is 420. While 420 does have some musical roots, those roots can be traced back to the Grateful Dead, not Marley or Dylan. So what’s the real story behind 420? Here’s the account, according to a 2010 Huffington Post piece: In 1971, five high school athlete buddies in Marin County, Calif., came up with a ritual for getting high. Every day at 4:20pm — when practice was over — the group would meet at a wall next to a statue of Louis Pasteur outside their school. The group dubbed themselves “The Waldos” because they hung out near the wall. %related-post-2% “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis, and we eventually dropped the Louis,” Steve Capper, one of The Waldos, told the Huffington Post. “I could say to one of my friends, I’d go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’ It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it,” Steve says. “Our teachers didn’t know what we were talking about. Our parents didn’t know what we were talking about.” The Waldos had heard that a Coast Guard member planted cannabis plants in the nearby Point Reyes Forest — plants the serviceman could no longer take care of. Armed with a “treasure map” provided by, some in the group say, the plant’s owner himself, at least once a week the group would pile into a car, smoke weed, and search for the elusive plant (is this starting to sound like The Goonies?). They never found the weed, but a couple of them would later find themselves in the company of the Grateful Dead. The father of one of the Waldos managed the Dead’s real estate. The older brother of another was friends with Dead bassist Phil Lesh. “There was a place called Winterland (Ballroom), and we’d always be backstage running around or on stage and, of course, we’re using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’ So it started spreading through that community,” Capper told the Huffington Post. %related-post-3% By 1990, the phrase was a staple at Dead shows. Before a concert in Oakland, former Waldo Steven Bloom saw it referenced on a flyer given to him by a hippie. The flyer told the history of 420, referencing the Waldos of San Rafael. What was once a reference to time had morphed into a holiday. “Now, there’s something even more grand than getting baked at 4:20,” the flyer read. “We’re talking about the day of celebration, the real time to get high, the grand master of all holidays: 4/20 or April 20th.” Bloom, then a reporter for High Times, sent it to the magazine. “High Times” published a story about the history of the word, and the rest is, well, 420 history.  
5 Great Reggae Jams For Your Next Smoke Session
5 Great Reggae Jams For Your Next Smoke Session
Few musical genres go hand-in-hand with toking quite like reggae. Bob Marley is practically synonymous with weed, and his songs have been smoking anthems for decades. Toss in a few other classic names like Peter Tosh and Burning Spear, and you could be set with mellow vibes for hours. There’s a whole wide world of great reggae jams out there, so we put together a list of some solid — and one that's a little surprising — reggae tunes to serve you well the next time you blaze up. So, pack a bowl, hit play, and let us know what you think. “Out Deh” by Chronixx 24-year-old Jamar McNaughton, better known as Chronixx, has been a mainstay of the modern reggae scene since 2012. He’s worked with American rapper Joey BadAss, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and featured on a mixtape curated by Major Lazer. With a résumé like that, it’s hard to say Chronixx is an unknown. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Oh Jah Jah” by Eddie Murphy Oh yes. That Eddie Murphy. Dr. Doolittle himself released a relatively overlooked reggae tune in 2015. And a ton of people missed out because the song is actually really good. It’s got all the classic trademarks of most great reggae jams: chugging rhythm, driving drum and bass, and powerful vocals. Fire it up and enjoy. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Welcome to Jamrock” by Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley The youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Stephen is an embodiment of the Jamaican spirit. Sharing the name of his 2006 Grammy-winning album, “Welcome to Jamrock” is an ode to Marley’s Jamaican home and the duality of the nation’s reputation as a tourist locale and the reality of crime and poverty. Ultimately Marley calls for unity for the Jamaican people, much like his father did. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Smoke the Weed” by Snoop Lion ft. Collie Buddz Surprise! Snoop Dogg loves weed. But in 2012, Snoop claimed to a born again Rastafari, transitioning from rap to reggae under the name Snoop Lion. Either way, Snoop is still at home on rap or reggae beats. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> “Rock Stone” by Stephen Marley ft. Capleton and Sizzla Another of legend Bob Marley’s sons, Stephen composes and produces many of his own songs, giving them a bit of grit. Featuring Capleton and Sizzla, this song is modern reggae firing on all cylinders. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">
Fighting Underage Marijuana Use: Oregon Program Promising
Fighting Underage Marijuana Use: Oregon Program Promising
In 2014, when Oregon voters approved of Ballot Measure 91, giving a thumbs up to recreational marijuana sales and consumption, many wondered (worried, really) about how younger Oregonians would be impacted. Naturally, voices were raised encouraging the state that they needed to invest in fighting underage marijuana use. In response to this concern, the Oregon Legislature steered $3.9 million to the Oregon Public Health Division’s (OHA-PHD) budget, as they direct the state’s efforts in fighting underage marijuana use. With that investment the OHA-PHD unveiled a pilot program called “Stay True to You” to combat teen and young adult cannabis consumption. And, as the pilot program has drawn to its conclusion, some indicators signal its success. %related-post-1% How were the resources spent? Of the $3.9 million allocated to the OHA-PHD, roughly $2.28 million was dedicated to a media campaign, nearly $550,000 was directed to the coordination of the program, evaluation of pilot cost $250,000, and the balance was paid to a communications firm to design and implement the Stay True to You campaign and its complementing "Talk With Them" program that was aimed at parents and mentors of youth and young adults. The campaigns were pushed out across numerous media channels, including television, radio (traditional and subscription-based), social media, billboards, mall signage, and more. Stay True to You had a primary internet anchor in its website, StayTrueToYou.org. 82 percent of program participants in the pilot counties (Clackamas, Jackson, Josephine, Multnomah, and Washington) reported “frequent exposure” — at least weekly — with media connected to the campaign. What was the messaging? The program took a dual-pronged messaging approach. For teens and young adults, the focus of the conversation revolved around scientifically based warnings regarding how cannabis use can harm younger individuals. As for parents and mentors, they were encouraged to engage those in their care or realm of influence, to help them make good decisions (read: abstain until they’re of age) when it comes to marijuana use. %related-post-2% How successful was the program at fighting underage marijuana use? While intent to use percentages did not change significantly, a summary produced by the OHA-PHD shows that “the campaign had a positive effect on youth and young adults’ perceptions of the social norms around youth marijuana use and knowledge of the legal consequences of marijuana use before age 21” years of age. Pilot program recommendations for the future The authors of the Stay True to You report have made 5 recommendations based on the pilot program findings. They are: Provide support in every community in Oregon to youth, young adults, and parents Require marijuana businesses to disclose their expenditure on marketing and promotion Establish a maximum size and number for signs at retail marijuana stores Prohibit the sale of flavored cannabis products Protect local control
Marijuana Black Market Thriving After Legalization. Why?
Marijuana Black Market Thriving After Legalization. Why?
It has never been easier for Americans to legally buy weed than it is right now. While for years a cannabis consumer’s only options were to grow it themselves or buy it on the marijuana black market, today 205 million Americans live in states where weed is now legally available for either medicinal or recreational use. This current trend toward legalization is certainly encouraging. More people than ever before are able to buy marijuana without fear of arrest. The trouble is, however, another 120 million Americans live in one of 21 states where marijuana is still illegal. If you want to buy pot in one of those states, you have to get it on the black market — a market that is thriving, and one that will continue to thrive until marijuana is legal across the nation. %related-post-1% In theory, the legalization and regulation of marijuana should bring the industry out into the open, where cannabis can be taxed and the marijuana black market essentially shuts down. Marijuana is still illegal in nearly half of the U.S. states, though, and smugglers are using the disjointed, hodgepodge nature of laws to their advantage. In Oregon, for example, state police estimate that legal marijuana accounts for just 30 percent of Oregon’s total marijuana market. Consumers in Oregon aren’t buying anywhere close to all the pot that the state’s growers produce, so much of the excess — between 132 tons and 900 tons — is likely being sold illegally out of state. This practice is called “diversion,” and, as Cannabis Now explains, it’s the inevitable result of market forces where marijuana is illegal. Weed can be grown in Oregon and wind up in Detroit. Or be snuck out of California and be up for sale in Memphis. The potential profits are simply too irresistible. For example, a pound of pot that fetches $2,000 in Colorado could fetch three times as much in a city on the East Coast. According to Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, criminals are buying houses in her state where they can grow pot, then harvesting the plant and shipping it elsewhere. Law enforcement officials in California say that foreign cartels have largely given up smuggling pot across the border, and are instead growing thousands of plants in the open on public lands in the state. Not only do the cartels no longer have to worry about getting past border security, but if their crops are discovered, they only face misdemeanor charges. %related-post-2% Black market sellers can also see profits even if they never send their product across state lines. In legal states, their weed is often cheaper than the weed sold in stores because they don’t have to pay overhead in the form of employee salaries and taxes. Not surprisingly, legal pot businesses can often struggle to compete. Pot is still technically illegal at the federal level, and while President Trump has given no indication that his administration will crack down on the marijuana industry, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has informed the nation’s governors that he is monitoring the illegal flow of weed across state borders. Sessions says that the diversion issue could lead to states violating the Cole Memo, the non-binding, Obama-era policy that gives legal marijuana states legal protection against federal prosecution. Despite his threats, Sessions appears to be fighting a losing battle. Not only do an increasing number of Americans think marijuana use should be legal in the U.S., but the number of people in his own political party who support legalization is now higher than the number of those who don’t. Making marijuana more difficult to get is not the answer. As long as there are pockets of prohibition across the U.S., there will be incentive for marijuana black market sales. Make pot legal everywhere, and that market goes away almost entirely. As the USA today noted, “sure, some people still make moonshine, but the vast majority of us buy legally made — and taxed — alcohol.”
Marijuana Shops: The 5 Busiest Dispensary Days
Marijuana Shops: The 5 Busiest Dispensary Days
As the legal marijuana industry continues to grow, more and more cannabis consumers are making routine purchases the same way they would buy wine or alcohol. If you’re one of those repeat customers, there are some rules of thumb to avoid getting stuck in line behind fellow consumers at marijuana shops. Best days and times of the week to buy cannabis %related-post-1% If you’re wanting to swing by one of your favorite local marijuana shops to buy some weed, go on Sunday or Monday or when it’s cold and/or rainy outside. Or before 11 a.m. Those are typically the slowest times at your choice dispensary. However, if you can’t make it at those times, at least try not to go after 5 p.m. Or on Friday. Chances are, it’ll be too busy. Thursdays and Saturdays can be pretty busy, too — especially if the weather’s nice and warm. When it comes to busy days to buy pot, there are a few days throughout the year that are busier than others. Busiest days of the year at marijuana shops These were the top five busiest days at marijuana shops in 2016, according to the folks at MJ Freeway: Known as “Weed Day,” 4/20 — or April 20th — was the biggest day of the year for cannabis sales in 2016. Sales on this day were 97% higher than any other day of the year. A close second was December 31. What better way is there to ring in the New Year than by burning one down? %related-post-2% On July 1, the Friday before the Fourth or July, countless cannabis connoisseurs picked up some pot along with their hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks. No end-of-summer celebration is complete without a trip to the neighborhood weed shop on the Friday before Labor Day.   Given the amount of family drama that can happen when families get together, it’s perhaps no surprise that November 23 — the day before Thanksgiving — made this list. Did you know? While some people assume that 4/20 is the police radio code for marijuana, the number of chemical compounds in cannabis, or Bob Marley’s birthday, the number was actually the result of a treasure hunt. Here’s more about the hazy history of 4/20.
Marijuana Delivery: What The Industry Is Learning
Marijuana Delivery: What The Industry Is Learning
According to a new report, legal cannabis sales in California are projected to hit $2.8 billion next year, and reach $6.6 billion by 2025. And who’s driving those sales? Millennials. Not only does the report give us a clearer picture of who is jumping at the chance to buy legal weed, but it also provides a glimpse of how marijuana delivery purchases made online are impacting the cannabis industry.   The study, prepared by cannabis analytics company New Frontier Data in conjunction with online marijuana delivery marketplace Green Rush, outlines product trends, market growth, and consumer demographic numbers — numbers showing that millennials account for a whopping 80% of all online cannabis sales.
 %related-post-1% Increased access to legal weed, as well as millennials’ embrace of technology and increased preference for pot over alcohol, have all combined to drive those sales. And while that growth in cannabis sales shows no sign of slowing down, the report predicts retail prices to decline over the long term, especially if more producers are granted licenses or if larger producers enter the market.  
 Here Are Some More of the Study’s Findings: Cannabis flower products top online cannabis sales, representing 70% of products sold via greenRush.com. Cannabis concentrate represents 22% of online cannabis sales through the site, with its market share predicted to grow year-over-year as consumers increasingly move toward non-flower and liquid vaporization products. Smaller product package sizes dominate marijuana delivery sales, as consumers prefer the flexibility of purchasing smaller quantities, but more frequently. As the report indicates, specific demographic and product segments are the main drivers of demand and “will have a major impact on product packaging, brands, new service providers, and backing-investors entering the space” nationwide. %related-post-2% “Significant changes are already underway in California for medical cannabis and adult use laws, which we see will have major implications for the cannabis industry, including e-commerce and delivery services in the state,” Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data, said. “As the largest state in the country — and the largest potential market for cannabis products — the implications for the growth of the industry because of California’s adult use market cannot be overstated.”
Marijuana Friendly Hotels: Why Are They So Hard To Find?
Marijuana Friendly Hotels: Why Are They So Hard To Find?
People love to travel. And people love marijuana. Yet, despite increased access to legal marijuana both in the United States and abroad, pot-loving tourists often struggle to find places to toke while they take in the sights. So why is it so hard to find marijuana friendly hotels? In the past five years, eight U.S. states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. Those states are home to popular tourist destinations like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, and Boston. (Washington, D.C., has voted to legalize it, as well.) %related-post-1% The current situation in Nevada is typical of the other states on the list. While tourists in Nevada are welcome to purchase pot, they aren’t permitted to smoke it anywhere other than their private residences. Since tourist folks are only visiting the state — and don’t have homes there — they find themselves in a bit of a cannabis consumption conundrum. Despite the fact that tourists can (and do) buy a lot of marijuana in Las Vegas, they can’t smoke it there. They can’t smoke it in hotels. They can’t smoke it in rental cars. Casinos won’t allow them to smoke it because the substance is still illegal as the federal level, and they’d risk losing their gambling licenses. And lighting up on the street can result in a $600 fine. Given all that, what do tourists do? Well, as NPR reports, some buy edibles or dabble in scentless vaping pens. Others take their purchases back home with them. Some just decide to take their chances and break the law. It’s difficult to find marijuana friendly hotels while you travel because local travel bureaus and other promoters are hesitant to even mention — let alone promote — marijuana tourism. As Travel Weekly points out, many bureaus are partially funded by the federal government, which, again, still bans legal marijuana sales. Pot tourism also conflicts with the corporate cultures of many hotel chains. Even hotels in Denver and Seattle — cities with the longest histories of pot-friendliness in the nation — rarely promote rooms that can be used for pot smoking or publicize whether they allow guests to smoke on site. %related-post-2% Also affecting cannabis tourism is the fact that cannabis is illegal to consume in any public place in the nation, plus the fact that all cannabis sales have to be done in cash because banks won’t do business with the pot industry because — you guessed it — it’s still illegal at the federal level. Also complicating things is the fact that nobody is quite sure which direction federal marijuana law will take under President Trump’s notoriously prohibitionist attorney general, Jeff Sessions. But, good news! The smoke is beginning to clear a little bit around marijuana friendly hotels: Though none have opened yet, voters in Denver approved a plan for social consumption lounges — “Amsterdam-like places where people can smoke, eat, vape or otherwise ingest marijuana without breaking state law,” as one industry expert describes them. (A similar bill was proposed, but failed, in Nevada in the last legislative session.) Several members of the Oregon Legislature sought to create “cannabis cafes” and bed and breakfast-type “cannabis hotels,” though they saw two bills rejected by the state’s anti-smoking crowd, who cited Oregon’s “Indoor Clean Air Act.” “They see ‘smoke is smoke is smoke,’” laments Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer. A company called American Green is buying a deserted California mining town, and plans to create the country’s first pot-themed resort town. While the company has yet to face any major legal hurdles, it’s also revealed few details about the planned development. %related-post-3% While these near victories might be frustrating, thankfully you don’t have to wait for bills to pass or building projects to be completed in order to plan your next pot-themed trip. You just need to do a little digging. While not an official filter on Airbnb, you can find a handful a cannabis-friendly listings if you do a quick Google search of the city you plan to visit. Also, sites like The Travel Joint and Bud and Breakfast maintain up-to-date databases of 420-friendly destinations. Would you like to browse a short list of some of the best? Check out this list of marijuana friendly hotels and other lodging options put together by the fine folks at Leafly.
Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug? More Like An Exit Drug
Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug? More Like An Exit Drug
The bad news is that some people still ask this question: Is marijuana a gateway drug? The good news is that the marijuana-as-a-gateway myth has been chipped away at over the years. The better news is that a new line of thought is emerging: Marijuana may actually be an “exit drug” for those addicted to hard substances. Where We Stand Today While President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis wants to expand medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, the commission — which is chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, “a notorious anti-cannabis hardliner,” according to Leafly — doesn’t include cannabis on its list of drugs that can actually help people addicted to opioids. %related-post-1% And as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions tells it, the drug shouldn’t be on that list because using marijuana to combat opioid dependency is merely trading “one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.” Given Sessions’ hardline stance on legalization, his comments here should be no surprise. They should also not detract, however, from an irrefutable fact: Cannabis is helping to save the lives of people addicted to opioids. Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? Let's Flip That Question Upside Down While marijuana has long been labelled a gateway drug, studies show that alcohol and nicotine — and not pot — are the most common drugs first abused by those who move on to harder and more dangerous substances. Opioids are one of those substances, but, instead of encouraging people to dabble in opioids, marijuana can actually help people overcome them. Some 2.6 million Americans (roughly the equivalent to the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Washington D.C., and Alaska) deal with some sort of opioid addiction. While marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance limits its ability to be studied by researchers — likely contributing to the continued and widespread debate about its true medicinal benefits — there is increasing evidence highlighting marijuana’s effectiveness as an exit drug. Marijuana as an Exit Drug According to a recent study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, cited by Leafly, 90 percent of post-operative patients who used medical cannabis during their recoveries believed that it helped to alleviate their pain, while 81 percent believed it cut down on how much opioid pain medication they wound up using. %related-post-2% More importantly, a 2014 study found that states with legal medical marijuana saw 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdose compared to states where the drug is illegal. Leafly also cited qualitative data that illustrates cannabis’ effectiveness as an exit drug for drug rehab patients, military veterans, and everyday people going through recovery. According to an American Society of Addiction report, 33,091 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2015. That’s 91 deaths every day. And the numbers are growing. (By the way, how many Americans died from cannabis overdoses in 2015 or 2016? None.) A Straightforward Argument When it comes to describing marijuana’s usefulness as an exit drug, Joe Schrank, the co-founder of a California-based recovery center, perhaps says it best: “We’re trading drugs that will kill people for a drug that will not kill people.” While Sessions, Trump, Christie, and others are free to push for hardline policies that limit — or eliminate — Americans’ access to medical marijuana, public sentiment trends toward legalization. Until they can make a more compelling argument than Schrank, it will continue to do so. So, is marijuana a gateway drug? Hardly. To the contrary, it can help get people off harder substances. And it won't be long (hopefully) until that question is no longer posed. 
Will Marijuana Vaping Displace Flower Products?
Will Marijuana Vaping Displace Flower Products?
Do you know what’s great? Living in a country where (legal) marijuana is becoming easier and easier to get. You know what’s not so great? Having to break up your own weed and roll your own joints. That’s why other methods of consumption are becoming popular, like marijuana vaping. But is the popularity of vaping going to displace flower? There are numerous solutions to the age-old problem Learning how to roll a good joint can be a challenge for the novice, and even if you can roll a good one, having to do so before you can take a puff can be, well, a drag. Looking to bypass the hassles long associated with prepping pot, an increasing number of users are turning to easier and faster ways to get high. %related-post-1% Edible marijuana, for example, allows users to eat cannabis in safe doses, while pre-rolled joints make marijuana as easy to consume as a traditional cigarette. While both are growing in popularity, however, neither can match the popularity of cannabis oil vaping. Marijuana vaping growing in popularity In states where marijuana is legal, cannabis vaping allows users to purchase cannabis concentrate in small glass containers that can be screwed into inexpensive, rechargeable vape pens. The cartridges cost as low as $30, depending on how much concentrate they contain, can be carried in your pocket, and don’t produce the same smoke and smell emitted from standard, flower marijuana. The cartridges also allow users to monitor their usage, which, as Merry Jane notes, has likely played a huge role in the product’s popularity. And just how popular is cannabis vaping? According to BDS Analytics, concentrated cannabis sales are growing by leaps and bounds in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. In recent years, Washington has seen its growth rate for concentrates increase by 194 percent. Oregon’s has grown by 105 percent, and even Colorado, which has a more established recreational system, has seen cartridge sales jump by 57 percent. In the nation’s largest marijuana market, California, marijuana delivery service Eaze reports that cartridges accounted for nearly a quarter of all cannabis sales in 2016. Compared to 2015, the company saw their annual sales for cannabis concentrate explode by 400%. %related-post-2% Is there a market ceiling for marijuana vaping? Despite their popularity, cartridge sales still trail plant pot sales by a pretty wide margin. There are still some questions, too, regarding the exact content of the cartridges, as well as their supposed status as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco. But, as Business Insider notes, with legal cannabis regulation and implementation not kicking in until January 2018 in many states, the popularity and sales of these affordable, fast, and easy-to-use disposable cartridges will likely only continue to grow.
How Legal Marijuana Shapes Real Estate Trends
How Legal Marijuana Shapes Real Estate Trends
We're not making this up. Legal marijuana is proving to be a (positive) force in shaping real estate trends. We'll explain. While the growth of legal marijuana has been fueled, in large part, by the plant's ability to help an ever-growing number of people deal with a wide variety of health conditions, the list of benefits that legal pot provides does not end there. In addition to its medicinal qualities, legal marijuana has helped slow down drug trafficking, reduce drug-related crime, and generate considerable tax revenue that cities and states have used to fund public health programs, anti-opioid treatments, student scholarships, the rebuilding of public schools, and more. Legal marijuana’s economic impact has extended to real estate trends, as well. %related-post-1% As the New York Times examined, the more than two dozen states that have legalized pot have seen a boom in the number of factories, warehouses, self-storage facilities, strip malls and other commercial properties that have been repurposed for the cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana plants and products. While no one knows exactly how long the current marijuana real estate boom will last, this increased demand for commercial space means that, for now, landlords and property owners are charging those in the marijuana business well above market value for their properties. And they're normally getting their asking price. According to National Real Estate Investor, the biggest jump in property prices can be found in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use — states like Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, California, and Colorado. In Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, for example — two cities in Orange County, California — the marijuana industry has caused industrial property values to nearly double in the past 12 months. There are also some neighborhoods in the country’s unofficial legal pot capital of Denver, Colorado, where the average asking lease price for warehouse space rose by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2015. As the Times points out, the demand for retail space is just as hot. As of 2015, there were roughly 200 marijuana stores in Denver — five times the number of stand-alone Starbucks stores — occupying properties from high-end storefronts to shuttered gas stations. Landlords typically charge two to three times market rates for these spaces. %related-post-2% “It’s a tax these guys are used to paying because it’s still federally illegal,” Brian Vicente, a partner at a Denver law firm that specializes in marijuana issues, told the Times. Marijuana producers put up with the high prices because they don’t really have a choice. Federal law blocks interstate commerce, which means pot must be grown in the same state where it’s sold. As result, not only do growers have to absorb high property costs, but they also have to spend huge sums of money to retrofit old warehouses in order to properly cultivate cannabis. Those costs include huge water and electricity bills, as well as the implementation of climate controls and much-needed privacy and security measures. Marijuana growers who want to cultivate their crops outdoors face an additional maze of zoning and land use issues, stifling regulations, and pushback from other, more “traditional” farmers.  While there are more questions than answers about the future of the legal marijuana industry, growers and retailers are going full force right now because the opportunity for profits is simply too good to pass up — even with the considerable overhead. Changes may be coming later on, but for now legal marijuana is certainly a positive influencer on real estate trends.
Tennessee Medical Marijuana. So, You're Saying There's A Chance?
Tennessee Medical Marijuana. So, You're Saying There's A Chance?
During Tennessee’s last legislative session, a bill that would have made Tennessee medical marijuana legal failed because, as one of its sponsors chided, the Senate was “scared” of passing it. That fear might be subsiding, however, as legislative leaders have announced that a special joint committee of the Tennessee General Assembly will be studying the possibility of legalizing the drug for medical use. Last session’s unsuccessful bill, was co-sponsored by State Sen. Steve Dickerson, a Nashville physician, and State Rep. Jeremy Faison, a lawmaker from the state’s mountainous eastern region who has travelled to Colorado multiple times to research medical marijuana. The Faison-Dickerson bill would have set clear guidelines for who could obtain a prescription for Tennessee medical marijuana, as well as place a strict limit on the number of growers in the state. %related-post-1% The bill also would have allowed marijuana to be prescribed for those suffering from cancer, HIV/ADS, ALS, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and seizures. Revenues generated from the legalized pot sales would be split up among various state departments and groups, including K-12 education, law enforcement agencies for use In “drug training,” and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for “drug intervention.” Dickerson was moved to tout legal Tennessee medical marijuana as a way to fight the state's opioid epidemic after a study found that there are more prescriptions written for opioids written in Tennessee than there are Tennesseans. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, who is running for governor, also cites the drug’s ability to combat opioid abuse as a reason why she is now “open” to legal medical cannabis in the state. Her sister, a resident of Colorado, was prescribed opioid painkillers after hurting her back in yoga class. She called Harwell and said she had to stop taking them because she had “no doubt” that she would become addicted to them. Harwell’s sister then switched to cannabis mixed with coconut oil, and took it for four or five days until the pain was gone. %related-post-2% Harwell, along with Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, have appointed members to the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Medical Cannabis, which will be co-chaired by Dickerson and Faison. While the pair thought last the bill introduced last session had the votes to pass the House, it was blocked by the Senate. "The Senate, bless their heart, are just scared to death of their voters," Faison said after taking the bill off-notice. As J.R. Lind points out on Patch, the senate block was a surprise to Faison and Dickerson since they, and many observers, thought the bill would pass due to the state’s growing opioid epidemic, the fact that the state had already given a thumbs-up to cannabis oil for medical use, and because the bill was being pushed by two Republicans. During one committee meeting, Faison noted the ideological shift regarding medical marijuana, citing a Tennessee for Conservative Action poll that showed 52 percent of respondents — who he called "hardcore tea party Republicans" — supported medical marijuana. Perhaps the new joint committee will produce similar revelations. Like a supportive Senate, for example.
Marijuana Dispensary Etiquette: Your First Visit
Marijuana Dispensary Etiquette: Your First Visit
Cannabis legalization has introduced people of all ages to the health benefits of medicinal marijuana and the joys of recreational use. Even better, visiting a marijuana dispensary makes it possible to find specific strains to give you control over how you feel. From stress and anxiety management to chronic pain relief or just simple relaxation, there’s a bud or edible for everyone. But for the first-time user, or someone visiting from a state where marijuana isn’t legal, visiting a marijuana dispensary can be a little stressful. What do you need to take with you? What is it like to buy in a dispensary? We hear you, and we’re here to help with some valuable pointers. %related-post-1% Do your homework If you’re a little nervous about your first visit to a marijuana dispensary, walking in blind isn’t going to do you any favors. Take some time and research dispensaries in your area and see what other people have to say. User reviews can provide valuable insight into key characteristics, including staff friendliness, product quality, and price range. Once you find a dispensary you like, check their website and familiarize yourself with their products or any special requirements they may have. As you’re researching dispensaries, it’s also a great idea to do some basic research on strains. Are you buying for a medical reason or just for a nice, easy high? Think about how you want to feel so you can be informed when you head out to make your purchase. Another important point to consider is how you want to consume your cannabis. Not wild about smoking? Research some edibles. There’s quite literally something for everyone, but finding the right fit depends on what you prefer. No one wants to be that guy or gal staring blankly at a menu and forcing others to wait — so put in a little work ahead of time. Be prepared As you’re doing your research, a few things will become clear. First of all, most legal dispensaries are cash-only. There may be a few exceptions, but you should always be prepared to pay in cash. Also, bud and edibles can add up quickly, so make sure you bring enough to cover your entire purchase, or be prepared to use an onsite ATM. %related-post-2% Regardless of the dispensary you visit, you’ll be required to present your state-issued identification. Just like buying alcohol, be prepared to be carded. It’s the law, so have your ID ready and roll with it. Show some patience At many dispensaries, once your ID is checked, you are given a number and told to wait until it is called. So, grab your number, have a seat, and wait your turn. It’s that simple. More often than not, you don’t have to wait too long. And, more importantly, showing a little patience can go a long way with staff members at the dispensary. There’s always that one person who complains about their wait time, so don’t be that person. If anything, your wait will give you a little more time to do some research. So, kick back, relax, and get ready for your first buying experience. Ask questions Once your number is called, you can head into the shop. For a first timer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of products. If you’re not used to it, simply seeing so much marijuana in one place at one time can put a silly grin on your face. Once the initial shock and awe subsides, have a look around and ask a few questions. Now, this doesn’t mean you have free reign to play 20 questions with every budtender in the dispensary, but it’s ok to ask questions and get a little advice. Budtenders are in the industry for a reason — they love cannabis and helping other people enjoy it as much as they do. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or you’re having trouble deciding what to buy, simply ask. %related-post-3% Budtenders know their products, so if you’re having trouble finding something or are unsure if something is right for you, ask for some pointers. They’ll be happy to help, but don’t feel pressured to follow all of their suggestions. Remember, it’s your choice! Have fun If you’ve never been to a marijuana dispensary, it’s easy to overthink things. Don’t get carried away, and remember that the whole point is to have fun. Simply walking into a dispensary can be a little bit of sensory overload, and that’s ok. Relax, enjoy the experience, and try something new. After a few visits, you’ll be a pro.
Legalizing Marijuana Is Step One. Then What?
Legalizing Marijuana Is Step One. Then What?
The current global trend toward legalizing marijuana is a great thing. Increased access to legal marijuana can help slow drug trafficking, reduce drug-related crime, help people deal with illness, and boost economies around the world. Those are the goals, anyway. While increased legalization is great, it’s only one factor contributing to the expanding marijuana market. Legislators and citizens might happen to agree that legalizing marijuana is a good thing, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll agree on much else — or anything else, for that matter — when it comes to details like pricing, taxation, distribution, possession limits, or enforcement. Both sides love to haggle about those things, and the longer they do, the longer the positive effects of increased legalization are delayed. Take Massachusetts, for example. %related-post-1% Massachusetts making a slow go with marijuana details As USA Today reports, after a long period of “red tape, delays and legislative infighting as Massachusetts lawmakers fiddled with the state’s cannabis legalization plan,” adults in Massachusetts will finally be able to buy, sell, and smoke pot legally in July of next year. Well, in theory they will. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has filled the final five slots on the state’s Cannabis Advisory Board, the board that will be responsible for helping to oversee the state’s recreational marijuana industry. The 25-person advisory board is made up of five appointees each from the governor, attorney general, and state treasurer, as well as 10 additional members with expertise specific to the marijuana industry. The board will work in conjunction with a five-member Cannabis Control Commission to help the Commission develop regulations and oversee marijuana production and trade in the state. How well will they work together? Who knows. If the board and commission take as long to iron out all the details regarding implementation as lawmakers took to pass legalization measures in the first place, July 2018 will wind up being more of a joke than a realistic street date for those looking to buy marijuana. And things are starting to look dicey north of the border, too. %related-post-2% Will Canada be canna-ready by mid-2018? Canadians are supposed to be able to legally buy marijuana by this time next year, but, as The Globe and Mail reports, few have any idea what the country’s new recreational pot industry will actually look like. While Canada’s proposed federal Cannabis Act designates that government as being ultimately responsible for all aspects of the country’s marijuana trade, the finer implementation and regulatory details of the legislation are very much up in the air.    According to noted Queen’s University economist Allan Gregory, the legislation contains no rules for creating “a fair and orderly market.” As a result, Health Canada will be tasked with creating that framework, and while the agency is adept at regulating medicines and overseeing food safety measures, it’s not quite as well versed in implementing large-scale commerce efforts. Not only is it unknown how much medical cannabis producers can grow, some would-be producers have been denied licenses with little explanation as to why. Even if grow limits and licensing requirements were set in stone, however, some provinces say they will be unable to set up retail distribution networks in before the scheduled launch date. On top of all that, Canadians are widely divided on where marijuana should be sold — in a government outlet, pharmacy, or someplace else — as well as whether the legal age to buy pot should be 18 or 21. %related-post-3% Mexico's murky marijuana legalization For all of the roadblocks legalization faces in the United States and Canada, however, progress is happening even more slowly south of the border. While you can now buy pot in drug stores in Uruguay, that accessibility is not the norm for the rest of Latin America. As Minnesota Public Radio reports, spurred by tens of thousands of deaths in its war against drug traffickers, Mexico, for example, is taking steps — very, very slow steps — to legalizing marijuana (medically first). While marijuana cultivation and consumption was once banned in Mexico, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that the ban violated fundamental human rights. Later, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke at the United Nations about the nation’s bloody fight against drug traffickers, and in June, he approved a law calling on the country’s Health Ministry to devise rules for the use of medical marijuana. Despite the president’s long-term optimism, however, given Mexico’s prohibitionist, tough-on-crime past, experts say that, for now, his efforts will likely result in little more than increased access to hemp oil. Until then, many of those who need medical marijuana will likely risk going to the black market to get it.  And everyone in Mexico will continue to go about their lives in the middle of drug war. Legalizing marijuana is a great step forward. But as we can see, there are usually many more steps needed. 
What To Do With The Overabundance Of California Marijuana?
What To Do With The Overabundance Of California Marijuana?
While there are still 21 U.S. states without legalized marijuana in some form, there are others, like California, where pot is not only legal, but where residents have access to way more marijuana than they can actually consume. It’s true, there may actually be too much California marijuana. California was already one of the nation’s biggest pot producers when it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Last November, residents in the Golden State voted to approve the legal sale and possession of an ounce of pot for recreational use, and now, with growers seizing the opportunity to make some bank in the booming business, the supply of California marijuana far outweighs demand. %related-post-1% According to CBS13 in Sacramento, California produces between 14 and 16 million tons of marijuana annually — some 12.5 million to 14 million more tons than it needs. At a panel discussion held by the Sacramento Press Club in July, Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, said that state-licensed growers “are going to have to scale back” their marijuana surplus. “We are on a painful downsizing curve,” he said. While recreational sales of California marijuana will be legal as of January 1, 2018, lawmakers are still discussing the number and scope of new regulations that will accompany the new sales. As the Oregon Cannabis Connection points out, things like license limits, plant and canopy limits, and enforcement actions are still up in the air — items that lawmakers must reconcile in order to maximize trade of the state’s legal and taxable marijuana while, at the same time, shrinking the unregulated market. Balancing the scales won’t be easy. Current federal law bans interstate trade of cannabis, and California law will ban the export of pot after January 1. At that point, Allen says, growers will have to make a choice. They can get a license and face pressure to reduce their crops — as well as face stiff competition from other legal growers with similar surpluses — or they can try (like some are already doing) to operate without a license by selling cannabis to buyers in other states via the illegal black market. They could just decide to quit, too. %related-post-2% Allen says those growing and selling pot illegally will face prosecution sooner or later. Instead, he says, he would love to see state and local governments across the nation license and open shops for growers to sell California’s surplus pot, and, indeed, those discussions are happening. Dr. Aseem Sappal, a dean at Oakland’s Oaksterdam University, also laments the fact that growers could face prosecution. “Nobody wants to operate under the radar,” says Dr. Sappal. “They want to do this legally. They want to say, ‘Hey, look, what I’m doing is okay.’” Students at Oaksterdam study marijuana, and Dr. Sappal predicts that growers in the legal market will come up with myriad ways to sell the state’s surplus. One of those ways could be to convert cannabis into oil. Dr. Sappal says that roughly 75 pounds of marijuana — which is a sizeable portion — can produce roughly 5 liters of oil. The fact that a lot of pot is needed to “make a little oil,” he says, creates a “very good avenue” to use up the surplus. The new regulations will be decided by January 1. Until then, Californians should smoke ‘em (and vape ‘em, and eat ‘em, and drink ‘em, and bake stuff with ‘em) if they got ‘em.
This Is How Briteside Delivery Works
This Is How Briteside Delivery Works
So you want to know how Briteside delivery works, right? Well, you’ve come to the right place. But first things first, let us all pause for a moment to reflect on the wonder that is legal cannabis. It really is amazing, isn’t it? And though we still have a long way to go in our fight for further legalization and decriminalization, we stand in a fairly remarkable place today considering where we’ve come from. %related-post-1% What’s more, not only can we (in some states) freely purchase and consume cannabis, we can even (in some places) order cannabis online have it delivered to our homes. Which, is why you’re reading this now. Okay, okay. Now back to explaining how Briteside delivery works. Briteside partners with your favorite local dispensaries The key to understanding how Briteside delivery works is knowing that all the products we offer come from your favorite local dispensaries. It’s true. Each of our partner dispensaries has their own page on our site where they regularly update which products they have in stock. When you visit the Briteside website, the inventory you see listed is the same inventory you’d find if you walked into your favorite dispensary. The main difference being that you can peruse the menu from the comfort of your couch, your bed, your office chair, your pool float, your...well, you get the point. Gone are the days of driving to the dispensary only to find out your preferred products aren’t available. We can recommend products or your can choose on your own If you know exactly what products you want, great. You can head over to our “Shop Now” page and select those items to go in your cart. However, if you need a little help deciding, you can sort through our menu by product category (flower, edibles, topicals, etc), strain type, or the desired mood you want to enjoy during your cannabis experience. Once you’ve filtered down the menu to your liking, you can choose the right products for you and put them in your cart. %related-post-2% Tell us when and where to deliver your cannabis products Once you’ve filled up your cart with your favorite cannabis products, you tell us when and where to deliver them, so long as you live in an area where cannabis delivery is permitted. You can even opt for in-store pickup if you want. As of now, Briteside operates on a cash on delivery (COD) basis. What that means is you don’t have to pay until your online order has been delivered to your residence. And don’t forget, Briteside can only deliver cannabis to the person that ordered it. So if you made the order, we can only deliver it to you personally. To get started, visit our “Shop Now” page. But if you still have questions about Briteside, head over to our FAQ page or our "What Is Briteside, Anyway?" post.  *If you live in a Briteside market that does not allow residential delivery, it’s all good. You can still make your order through our site, and then pick it up at your favorite dispensary. We’ll have it waiting on you.
Could Medical Marijuana Be A Cure For Our Opioid Crisis?
Could Medical Marijuana Be A Cure For Our Opioid Crisis?
"It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis." — Donald Trump, August 10, 2017 The legal marijuana industry — and the medical marijuana industry, specifically — is exploding, and it’s not difficult to see why. Despite the fact that the drug’s illegality at the federal level limits its ability to be used by researchers in large, well-designed studies, a considerable (and increasing) number of people are using cannabis to find relief from an increasing number of diseases and medical conditions.  Cannabis can reportedly serve as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients, reduce nausea and vomiting for those going through chemotherapy, and provide relief from an array of symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions. However, the one benefit of medical marijuana that might be getting the most attention — and the one that is perhaps doing the most to change the minds of previously prohibitionist politicians and others — is the drug’s ability to make a serious dent in the nation’s current opioid crisis. %related-post-1% Opioid Crisis a “National Emergency” According to government data, 33,000 of the 52,000 overdose deaths nationwide in 2015 were the result of the use of opioids like heroin and fentanyl. President Trump has declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency,” and his administration is drafting paperwork that would pave the way for a national response to the epidemic similar to that of the response to natural disasters. Six states have also declared emergencies because of the epidemic – declarations that have helped states receive federal grants for treatment services and improved reporting of overdoses, and that have also helped expand access to naloxone, a medication that can revive overdose victims. As important as it is to be able to revive people who’ve overdosed, however, it’s more important to prevent those overdoses from happening in the first place. Medical marijuana can make a difference in this area, and, as research shows, those most at risk for opioid addiction are more than willing to give it a shot. Swapping opioids for Medical Marijuana A recent survey of 3,000 medical cannabis patients found that almost all of them say they could significantly reduce their dependence on opioids by adding adding cannabis to their treatment regimens, and a vast majority would prefer to use cannabis over the prescription pills they currently take. The study, conducted by the University of California Berkeley and medical cannabis site HelloMD.com, found that 97% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that consuming cannabis could help them decrease their use of opioid painkillers. Almost as many (92%) said they agreed or strongly agreed when asked if they preferred cannabis to treat their medical conditions. Also notable was the fact that 81% agreed or strongly agreed that taking cannabis by itself was more effective than taking it with either opioids or non-opioid-based pain medication. %related-post-2% “Patients have been telling us for decades that this practice is producing better outcomes than the use of opioid-based medications,” says Amanda Reiman, one of the researchers who led the study. “It’s past time for the medical profession to get over their reefer madness and start working with the medical cannabis movement and industry to slow down the destruction being caused by the over prescribing and overuse of opioids.” When it Becomes Personal, Perspectives Change Medical professionals aren’t the only group who’ve needlessly kept medical marijuana out of the hands of those who could use it the most. Politicians, too, have had a sort of reefer madness of their own. But things are starting to change. Three years ago, when South Carolina lawmakers passed strict legislation allowing patients with severe epilepsy, or their caregivers, to legally possess the drug, Marine veteran and South Carolina Rep. Eric Bedingfield voted against the measure. Later, however, after his son’s six-year battle with opioid addiction ended with a overdose, Bedingfield reconsidered his stance and co-sponsored medical cannabis legislation. He is now optimistic that medical marijuana can replace opioid painkillers, helping curb an epidemic he's seen destroy families of all economic levels — including his own. "My mindset has changed from somebody who looked down on it as a negative substance to saying, 'This has benefits,'" Bedingfield said recently. When it comes to health benefits, saving lives is a pretty big one.
The Smuggle Is Real

: Weird Marijuana Trafficking Attempts
The Smuggle Is Real

: Weird Marijuana Trafficking Attempts
While we’re seeing continued progress when it comes to legalized marijuana, as long as pot is not completely legal, we will also continue to see people come up with creative ways to smuggle the drug past border agents, customs officials, and law enforcement. So what are some of the weirdest marijuana trafficking attempts? Here are some accounts that definitely caught our attention. %related-post-1% Two delivery drivers were arrested after smuggling more than £750,000 (that's roughly $970,000 in the U.S.) of cannabis into Britain by hiding it in rolling pins and packets of Turkish Delight, and then delivering the packages to fake addresses. The plan was ultimately foiled when border agents discovered one of the fake packages in a post office. Eventually, a National Crime Agency Investigation found that, between June 2015 and July 2016, the delivery drivers created false records for 57 deliveries on the Parcel Force system. The drivers were eventually sentenced to jail terms of two years and two years and four months in jail, respectively. The scheme mirrors similar plots in which smugglers have attempted to bring pot into the United States in a wide variety of product containers, including coffee cans, potato chip bags, and jars of peanut butter. But the marijuana trafficking creativity doesn’t end there. Here are some other examples of smugglers’ efforts to sneak weed into the country: %related-post-2% Customs officials once found a sizable amount weed in the shape of a decorative donkey. A 19-year-old man pretending to be disabled was once caught with at the U.S.-Mexico border with a wheelchair stuffed with marijuana. A New York man was once arrested at a bus station for smuggling two grams of pot (as well as a half-gram of cocaine and LSD) inside — get this — a stuffed animal wearing a D.A.R.E. T-shirt. (In case you don’t know, D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program designed in the 1980s to educate young people about staying away from drugs, gangs, and violence.) Smugglers have used T-shirt cannons to shoot pot-filled canisters 500 feet over the border into California. Go long! Mexican police once confiscated an improvised cannon made of PVC pipe that mounted to the back of a pickup truck. Each shot of the cannon was used to hurl 13kg worth of marijuana packets across a border fence. Go long(er)! Speaking of hurling marijuana, National Guard troops have seized numerous weed-firing catapults over the years. %related-post-3% More than $1 million in pot was smuggled from Mexico into the U.S. in Mexican-made Ford Fusion sedans. Who wants a test drive? In 2010 alone, 288 aircraft were caught smuggling pot into the U.S. from Mexico. Last year, a pilot confessed to using his skydiving planes to deliver nearly a ton of pot to buyers in Texas and Minnesota.

 But what are the best marijuana trafficking schemes? Well, chances are we don’t know — because they probably haven’t been caught yet. Seriously though, a hat-tip to law enforcement for doing their jobs. And kudos to the smugglers, as well, for the humorous reminder of the need for marijuana reform.
3 Reasons You Should Order Cannabis Online
3 Reasons You Should Order Cannabis Online
If you’d told cannabis consumers a decade ago that they’d be able to order cannabis online in just a few short years, your statement would likely be met with one of two responses: A hi-five or a skeptical “yeah right” look of disbelief. But here we are, friends. It’s 2017, and in a handful of states you can have cannabis delivered to your doorstep. What a time to be alive! %related-post-1% And while it’s pretty tough to replicate the enjoyable experience of visiting a top-tier dispensary and holding a conversation with a knowledgeable budtender — the sommeliers of spliff — it’s also really nice having someone deliver your favorite cannabis product to your residence. With that in mind, here are three reasons you should order cannabis online and have it handed to you on your front porch. And if this list whets your cannabis appetite, try making a Briteside delivery order.  No long lines Even if you’re a “people person,” your preferred environment for interacting with other humans probably isn’t waiting in a (sometimes long) line at a store. If we’re wrong about you in this regard, ignore this bullet point, but we’re just going to assume you prefer face-to-face interaction as opposed to staring-at-the-back-of-a-stranger’s-head “interaction.” You can stay in your PJs Okay, technically you can wear your jam-jams to a dispensary (we’re not hating on that). But on the chance you subscribe to fashion-based social norms, going out in public requires something like jeans and a t-shirt, at least. Sometimes, though, you don’t want peel out of your fleece pajama pants and abandon your Netflix binge to drive to the dispensary. In moments like those, a cannabis hand-off at your door is probably preferable. Keeps your schedule simple Like your daily schedule isn’t hectic enough already — throwing in an extra errand to pick up cannabis sometimes doesn’t make for an easy addition to your adulting checklist. For shame! If you’re up to your eyeballs in chores and errands and other pressing matters, just order cannabis online and have someone bring it to you so you can keep knocking out your other responsibilities. %related-post-2% And remember, when you do order cannabis online, order with Briteside. We partner with the best local dispensaries to bring your favorite products directly to you. It’s that simple. Have questions about Briteside? That's a-ok. Either head over to our FAQ page or give our "What Is Briteside, Anyway?" post a read. *We would be remiss if we didn't include this one caveat: In order for Briteside to deliver cannabis to your residence, you must live in an area where cannabis delivery is permitted. That said, if you do live in a Briteside market where delivery is not (yet!) permitted, you can still order cannabis online and pick up your Briteside order at your favorite dispensary. 
Canadian Cannabis Shortage A Real Possibility
Canadian Cannabis Shortage A Real Possibility
During the 2015 election campaign, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party pledged to “legalise, regulate, and restrict access” to marijuana in order to keep drugs "out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals." Trudeau followed through on that promise in April, introducing legislation to open up Canadian cannabis laws, legalizing the retail marijuana market by 2018. The legislation, which closely follows recommendations laid out in a federal task force report late last year, would allow anyone over the age of 18 to carry up to 30 grams of dried or fresh marijuana, and let consumers buy or grow as many as four marijuana plants at home. Canada’s provinces will take the lead on controlling the price, as well as setting up sales, distribution, and enforcement systems. Other items, like taxation, have yet to be determined. Also unclear is where all the pot is going to come from. While Trudeau is aiming for the legislation to take effect by this time next year, there might not be a big enough supply of Canadian cannabis to meet demand. %related-post-1% A cannabis shortage? According to Health Canada, the number of Canadians registered to use medical marijuana rose to almost 130,000 in March of this year — double what it was just a year ago — and that number continues to increase every month. The medical marijuana market is growing so quickly, in part because more insurance companies are now covering the drug, says Greg Engel, chief executive officer of Organigram Holdings Inc., one of Canada’s few large marijuana producers. Engel says Organigram and the country’s other leading producers are already struggling to keep up with the existing demand for medical marijuana, and will have an even tougher time keeping up when the adult recreation market starts next summer. “There are the top six or seven companies, that we’re one of, that are doubling, tripling, if not quadrupling production,” he says. “But there’s new companies coming into the space as well, in anticipation. The challenge is they may not be ready when the market starts.” Potential fixes to a possible canna-shortage Health Canada pledged last month to speed up its approval process for applicants seeking a license to grow marijuana. And while the agency has sped up approvals, it still takes up to a year for a new producer to ramp up production and reach the marketplace, says Cam Mingay, a senior partner at Cassels Brock who follows the marijuana industry. “I don’t know what anyone can do about it — you can’t force the plants to grow faster,” he said, adding that any companies whose licenses are approved likely couldn’t be in production “in any meaningful capacity” until the end of 2018. Back in April, federal ministers reiterated that the ultimate goal of the legalization is to shrink or kill completely the black market for marijuana. If demand for legal pot continues to outpace production, however, or if the tax incentives are unbalanced, the black market could take over Canada’s marijuana trade — regardless of the legislation. %related-post-2% Worst case shortage scenario According to Jason Zandberg, an analyst at PI Financial, companies are still trying to ramp up their facilities and production, and initial sales will likely take place online and by mail, as it wouldn’t be possible for producers to stock all of the government dispensaries across Canada. Zandberg says everything would have to go “perfectly” for producers to meet the projected demand — something that is not likely to happen. “There will be a shortage initially,” he says. “My concerns are that if that is used as an excuse to push the date of recreational legalization back, there’s a danger that it slips into the next election cycle and doesn’t actually happen.” Let’s hope the Canadian cannabis shortage only lasts a short time.
Marijuana Recipes (The Basics): Cannabis Butter And Brownies
Marijuana Recipes (The Basics): Cannabis Butter And Brownies
Edibles represent a whole new world of cannabis enjoyment for experienced smokers and rookies alike. While your local dispensary may offer a broad range of delectable baked goods, nothing is quite as satisfying as homemade treats made right in your kitchen. But if you’ve never cooked with cannabis before, getting started can be a little intimidating. Lucky for you, we’re here to offer some quick, delicious, and effective recipes. Let’s start with two of the most fundamental marijuana recipes: cannabutter and brownies. Quick and easy cannabutter Cannabis butter is a staple in any culinarily inclined stoner’s kitchen since it can be used in countless other marijuana recipes. There are plenty of cannabutter recipes out there, but we put together a simple, flower-based, tried-and-true standard to help you get started. What you’ll need: Medium saucepan Wooden spatula Spoon Metal strainer Airtight container Marijuana grinder Ingredients: ¼ ounce finely ground cannabis of your choice ½ or one stick of unsalted butter %related-post-1% Steps: Add butter to medium saucepan and melt over low heat. Add ground cannabis to butter slowly, while stirring to combine. Simmer cannabis/butter combination over low heat for 45 minutes. Look for small bubbles to start forming on surface of the butter as it continues to simmer. Strain butter into airtight container to remove ground up cannabis. Use a spoon to press down on cannabis butter in strainer to make sure you extract all the butter. Incorporate the butter in your favorite recipes. Beginner’s cannabis brownies There are tons of brownie recipes out there and the options for experimentation seem to be, quite literally, endless. Once you get this intro recipe under your belt, you’ll be off to the races putting you own twist on the classic treat. What you’ll need: Medium saucepan Small bowl Large bowl Whisk 8-inch square cake pan Ingredients: 7 ½ tablespoons  or regular unsalted butter 1 ½ teaspoons cannabutter 6 ounces dark chocolate (60-70% cacao) 1 cup flour ½ teaspoon baking powder 2 large eggs at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon salt %related-post-2% Steps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan and set aside. Combine butter and cannabutter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add in chocolate and stir until smooth. Once combined, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a small bowl. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until fluffy. Add chocolate and butter mixture and combine. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into greased cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top crust is shiny. Let brownies cool for 20 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and enjoy while warm! (nibble slowly at first if you’re new to edibles) Leftover brownies should keep in an airtight container for one week at room temperature. Yield: 12 servings of 5-10mg each. Time to Experiment One of the best things about cooking with cannabis is all the delicious food you can cook. Give these intro recipes a few spins and then you can move on to more advanced techniques, including more involved butter recipes, savory dishes, and even entire meals. Can you imagine entertaining your friends with a cannabis dinner party? We can, we have, and it’s awesome. And one more thing — be careful when ingesting cannabis. Start slowly and give the cannabis time to take effect. Eating cannabis is a much more intense experience than vaping, so it’s best to ease into it!
Marijuana Microdosing: What Is It?
Marijuana Microdosing: What Is It?
Before he died in 2008, Dr. Albert Hoffman — the Swiss scientist who created LSD — long touted the ingestion of small doses of LSD in order to boost its therapeutic value. In the years since Hoffman’s passing, “microdosing” has expanded to psilocybin mushrooms and, boosted by increased legalization, marijuana. But what is marijuana microdosing? The Benefits of Marijuana Microdosing Taking a microdose means consuming the lowest possible amount of that drug while still experiencing noticeable effect. Microdosing of psychedelics has been used to boost users’ productivity and inspiration, as well as to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health conditions. Marijuana microdosing is proving to be even more useful, treating the same conditions as the microdosing of psychedelics, in addition to chronic pain, inflammation, and indigestion, among others, while also boosting some users’ creativity, concentration, moods, spiritual awareness, workouts, and even yoga sessions. %related-post-1% While the benefits of marijuana microdosing can vary from person to person, the effects are fairly universal. The practice gives users the maximum benefit from a minimum amount of THC, without the user becoming stoned, lethargic, paranoid, or experiencing any other negative side effects. Users report feeling more relaxed, more energetic, and/or more focused — like they are sort of high, but not quite. This unique and powerful combination of benefits and effects makes microdosing marijuana a very appealing medicating option for people from virtually every walk of life. How to Get Marijuana Microdosing Right Of course, as with any substance, finding the proper microdose for each person can take some trial and error. Not only do users need to find the correct minimum dose, but they also need to find the right method(s) to deliver it. The three leading delivery methods are ingesting, smoking, and vaping cannabis. While each has its pros and cons, as the folks at MerryJane.com point out, finding the perfect regimen might mean incorporating all three. Consider These Recommendations %related-post-2% Ingestion Not only is ingesting cannabis tinctures, tablets and edibles arguably the easiest way to medicate, it also provides a longer and (sometimes) more therapeutic dose. Eating cannabis edibles also allows you to ingest the drug discreetly and precisely without creating or inhaling harsh smoke. Try a square of infused chocolate or add some cannabis extract to your coffee. There are also tablet options, and you can place a tincture dropper under your tongue. You can even make your own treats with an herbal infuser. Vaping Vaping has never been easier or more discreet thanks to the numerous convenient, portable, and stylish handheld devices currently on the market. Vaping allows you to accurately adjust your microdose, conserve your stash, and avoid harmful carcinogens while you learn about the various beneficial compounds and their corresponding vaporization points.

 Smoking Smoking marijuana is easily the most difficult way to control your dosage. A single hit from a joint can contain as much as 10 milligrams of THC, which can quickly overwhelm someone with a low tolerance. If you are intent on smoking, use a small transparent glass pipe instead. The pipe will allow you to see the smoke fill up the chamber. Just take a tiny puff and leave the rest behind until you figure out what amount works best for you. Even with a glass pipe, however, smoking will burn through your product rather quickly. Plus, smoking isn’t the cleanest delivery method if you are microdosing for health reasons. %related-post-3% Whichever methods you choose, be patient. Finding the right balance and dosage can take some time. For more information on microdosing, click here to read the Third Wave’s “Essential Guide to Microdosing with Marijuana.”
Best Marijuana Strains For Getting Active
Best Marijuana Strains For Getting Active
There’s a common misperception that people who enjoy cannabis are lazy couch potatoes. Sure, some heavy tokes of a stout indica might leave you glued to the sofa — they don’t call it “in-da-couch” for no reason — but sativas and hybrids can be great supplements to an active lifestyle. From cycling to hiking to yoga, or even just doing some light yard work, a little cannabis can make your active lifestyle more enjoyable. Here’s a look at some of the best marijuana strains to keep you moving. Harlequin First up on our list is a sativa-heavy strain called Harlequin. The interesting thing about Harlequin is that it is low in THC and high in CBD, which is great for people who don’t react well to THC. Super THC-heavy strains can cause anxiety and paranoia for some users, effectively canceling out the benefits of smoking bud. %related-post-1% With Harlequin, however, low THC levels offer reduced psychoactive effects and a big jolt of energy. Often used for treating pain, Harlequin will keep you clear headed, alert, and ready to power through a workout. Green Crack Next on our list of the best marijuana strains for getting active is one that everyone knows and (probably) loves, Green Crack. Another sativa-dominant strain, Green Crack is renowned for the clear, focused head high it delivers. Even better, it tastes great. Tangy citrus and fruit flavors — think lime and mango — hit first and leave an earthy, grassy aftertaste. Green crack is fantastic for reducing fatigue to get you up and moving quickly. Starting your day with a puff of this awesome sativa will have you knocking out your work out  — and the rest of your to-do list — in no time. Durban Poison Durban Poison is a straight up sativa with a reputation for providing clear-headed, long-lasting highs. Ideal for staying creative or just getting a lot done, Durban Poison provides the perfect kick of energy. Blending sweet and spicy aromas, this strain is also known for smelling and tasting great. Offering up one of the cleanest pure head highs around, Durban Poison is the perfect toke before hitting the trail for a hike or any other outdoor activity. The strain’s resiny buds also make it an excellent choice for extractions, delivering tasty, effective concentrates convenient for any day trip. %related-post-2% AK-47 AK-47 is a sativa-heavy hybrid that packs a huge THC punch. Compared to other strains on our list, AK offers up a heady high with a more pronounced body buzz. The strain offers a sour nose and an intense earthy taste that may vary from person to person. Given its long-lasting mental and physical effects, AK-47 is the optimal choice for long distance or duration activities and for recovering post-workout. Although the head high offered up by this strain makes it a great choice pre-workout, its physical effects can soothe aching joints and muscles to keep you in the game longer. What’s in a strain? This list is by no means comprehensive, and you have likely noticed a little bit of a pattern with our choices — they are all straight sativa or sativa-dominant hybrids. Compared to indica strains, sativas provide a more uplifting, cerebral feeling that encourages physical activity. If you’re looking to branch out from our list, continue to look for strains that are offer head highs, and chat with your budtender to make sure you’re getting the right strain for chosen activity. You can also find a strain that’s perfect for you by perusing Briteside’s "Shop Now" menu. Be sure to take a gander.
What Is Briteside, Anyway? We're Glad You Asked
What Is Briteside, Anyway? We're Glad You Asked
It seems that as the cannabis industry and the laws that govern it evolve at lightspeed, new businesses enter the marketplace every other (or every single?) day. We hope that continues to be the case, as cannabis consumers — whether they be of the medical or adult use variety — are long overdue in having the ability to enjoy the best cannabis products whenever, and wherever, they choose. At Briteside, we hope this trend continues because our aim...wait...you’re probably wondering something like "um, but what is Briteside?” right about now, aren’t you? Good question. We're glad you asked. What is Briteside? It's your best option for ordering cannabis online The good news is that you now have the ability to purchase and consume cannabis without worry if you live in a state that has seen the light. Hurray for that! %related-post-1% However, thanks to a mishmash of laws and regulations, the experience is not as simple or straightforward as enjoying your favorite craft beer or beauty products. While we don’t have a magic wand to rid the cannabis industry of its confusion and complexity overnight, Briteside is here to help make it easier for you to order cannabis online. That's right, you can order your favorite cannabis products from your favorite local dispensaries online and a Briteside delivery courier will deliver it to your door. Why does Briteside partner with local dispensaries? At Briteside, we believe your local dispensaries deserve all the help they can get. These shops are typically owned and operated by good, knowledgeable people who have a desire to supply cannabis consumers with the best products they possibly can. And we want to help them, as well as the consumers they serve. Every Briteside partner dispensary has its own page on the the Briteside website where they can list their in-stock inventory. This gives consumers the chance to scan an active menu from their home, or office, or...wherever, really. %related-post-2% No more standing in line at the dispensary only to find out a particular item is out of stock. Shoppers can then order their products online, and either pick them up at the dispensary, or — where available — Briteside will deliver them to their residence. Really, Briteside will deliver cannabis to your door. Give Briteside a try Whether you opt for in-store pickup, or you prefer cannabis delivery, give Briteside a try. We’d love to help you get your favorite products from your favorite local dispensary. Oh, and stay tuned. The answer to the question "What is Briteside?" will get much longer in the very near future. (How's that for a teaser?) If you have more questions about Briteside, be sure to head over to our FAQ page. 
Uruguay's Marijuana Legalization: South American Standard-Bearer
Uruguay's Marijuana Legalization: South American Standard-Bearer
While the United States and numerous other countries across the globe are rethinking the fight against marijuana, none has done more than Uruguay — yes, Uruguay — to legalize the production and sale of recreational marijuana. But before you plan a tourist trip to enjoy the benefits of Uruguay's marijuana legalization, there are a few things you should know. A beacon of stability Despite past periods of economic and political upheaval, Uruguay has become a beacon of stability. Known for its affluence, advanced education, social security systems, low crime, and liberal social laws, the country also has one of the highest per capita incomes — and lowest levels of inequality — in the region. Uruguay has parlayed fairly high taxes on industry into the first welfare state in Latin America, and its economy has been bolstered by robust offshore banking activity and a growing tourist industry. That economy will now also be further bolstered by the marijuana trade. %related-post-1% Inspired by state-based legalization in the United States and other governments’ soul searching when it comes to the war on drugs, Uruguay is now the first nation in the world where the production and sale of recreational marijuana is fully legal. As the New York Times reports, supporters of the move say Uruguay’s stability, economic well-being, and progress makes it a model for what future drug policy in the region — and the rest of the world — could look like. “This follows from increasing momentum by leaders in Latin America in calling for alternatives to the war on drugs,” said Hannah Hetzer, an analyst at the pro-decriminalization Drug Policy Alliance. “What’s so important about this is it takes a debate about the need for alternatives and provides an actual proposal for an actual policy.” Uruguay's marijuana legalization happened in stages The path toward state-controlled production and sale of pot In Uruguay hasn’t been a slam dunk, however. It took years to roll out. One of the main architects of the new legislation was Sebastián Sabini, a young lawmaker and occasional pot smoker, who introduced a bill back in 2011 shortly after being elected to Congress. Sabini said the law was needed because Uruguay’s poorest citizens bore the brunt of the country’s drug policies. Uruguay’s then-President, former guerrilla leader and political prisoner Jose Mujica, agreed with Sabini’s assessment, and pushed for legalization as a way to help those unfairly punished and, more importantly to him, to combat drug traffickers. “Worse than drug addiction is drug trafficking,” Mujica said in a 2014 interview with a Spanish news network. The people agreed, and voted to pass Uruguay's marijuana legalization in stages. %related-post-2% First, after the law was passed in December 2013, users could register with the government for permission to grow up to six plants in their homes for personal use. “Clubs” of as many as 45 people could also operate grow houses with up to 99 plants for their members’ personal use. Seeking to allow but not promote marijuana use, the government also decided to partner with pharmacies — which already have medication safety and disbursement control measures in place — to coordinate commercial sales of the drug. Before you plan a canna-trip to enjoy Uruguay's marijuana legalization, read this: Today, if you want to buy marijuana at a pharmacy in Uruguay, you must first register with the government and the scan your fingerprints at the counter. There are also strict quotas in place to limit how much you can buy. Oh, and if you’re not a Uruguayan citizen or legal permanent resident, you can’t buy or grow any at all. While that certainly is a buzzkill for the marijuana tourism business, Uruguay’s laws could present a blueprint for nation’s weighing their own legalization implementation stances and strategies. For example, Uruguay not only limits how much pot consumers can buy in a week, but it also makes sure to aggressively undercut the prices charged by dealers on the black market. Marijuana advertising is also banned, and a percentage of all sales In Uruguay are directed toward addiction treatment programs and public awareness campaigns warning about the risks of drug use. While government officials want to prevent Uruguay from become a worldwide mecca for pot users, global marijuana advocates should bow down to that country for its legalization efforts.
Marijuana Advocates: 5 Celebrity Cannabis Supporters
Marijuana Advocates: 5 Celebrity Cannabis Supporters
From medical benefits to stimulating the creative juices or just getting a little relaxation, there are plenty of reasons to support marijuana legalization. While we Average Joes tend to speak out for cannabis reform in friendly debates or — hopefully — at the polls, celebrities have tremendous opportunities to air their thoughts and opinions to change public opinion on weed. Here’s a rundown of some of the most outspoken celebrity marijuana advocates. Willie Nelson How could we not put this guy at the top of our marijuana advocates list? Willie Nelson is the OG celebrity pot crusader. Open and honest about his run-ins with the law, as well as his love of weed, Willie was pulling for legalization before it was cool — or even seemingly possible. Willie has used his celebrity to help support the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), even serving as co-chair for its advisory board. Ever the savvy businessman, Willie also founded his company Willie’s Reserve — his endorsed line of flower and edible products — and committed the company to pursuing social justice and changing marijuana laws. %related-post-1% Seth Rogen Seth Rogen is the quintessential movie stoner. From Knocked Up to Pineapple Express, it seems like his characters always have a joint in hand or a bong nearby. But Rogen’s love of bud goes deeper than his on-screen personas. Always outspoken, Rogen has often discussed the creative benefits of weed, especially in his career as a screenwriter. Beyond that, however, he has never pulled any punches speaking out on pot laws. Named NORML’s 2007 Stoner of the Year, Rogen continues to use his name and celebrity to help change public opinion on cannabis. Morgan Freeman Some celebrities might speak out on the recreational joys of smoking pot, and while Morgan Freeman might jump on that bandwagon, he tends to focus on the medical benefits of smoking weed. A fibromyalgia sufferer, Freeman has often talked to the press about how cannabis is the only thing that can control his chronic pain and other symptoms. For Freeman, it’s not all about getting high either — he continually voices support of using cannabis to control seizures, especially in kids. %related-post-2% Snoop Dogg Ok, ok. It might be a tossup between Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg for the most notable celebrity stoner, but this isn’t exactly a competition. Most importantly, Snoop has never been one to hide his love of weed. Founder of his own medical and recreational cannabis company, Leafs by Snoop, Snoop has committed himself to reforming marijuana laws across the country. Keeping his finger on the pulse of the legalization crusade, Snoop has never shied away from an opportunity to express his support for law reform and has become a leading innovator and savvy businessman in the industry. Sarah Silverman Back in 2014, Sarah Silverman walked the red carpet at the Emmys with her trusty J-pen vaporizer in hand. Publicity stunt or not, Silverman put weed tech firmly in the spotlight. In her red carpet interview, Silverman pulled no punches talking about her favorite way to get high — and that was just the beginning. Silverman has gone on to speak openly about cannabis, often in support of legal reform or, famously, to share stories about getting stoned with her parents. Either way, Silverman always blends her comments with her signature sense of humor, making her commentary as entertaining as it is meaningful to nationwide reform efforts.
How Marijuana Taxes Benefit Society
How Marijuana Taxes Benefit Society
While the availability of legal marijuana isn’t quite on par with, say, the availability of alcohol, cigarettes, or pharmaceutical drugs, things are certainly trending in a positive direction. And as legalization spreads, monies collected through marijuana taxes will benefit more people. As we’ve previously mentioned, medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, and adults in eight states can now use pot for recreational purposes. Three out of four adults believe states should have the power to establish their own marijuana laws, and only 14 percent think the Justice Department should bypass state legislation in order to enforce federal laws and prosecute marijuana laws. %related-post-1% Part of pot’s path toward increased legalization in the U.S. is the result of strong advocacy efforts, especially regarding the drug’s ability to help people suffering from a wide variety of health conditions. An even bigger factor, arguably, is marijuana’s ability to generate money — and lots of it. While America is the global leader when it comes to growing legal marijuana, producing the highest quality marijuana, and having the largest market for marijuana, we are being outpaced by other countries when it comes to research, science, and trade. As CNBC points out, numerous countries around the world are using a top-down approach of legalizing pot at the federal level, as opposed to our state-by-state, bottom-up model. Canada, for example, has already launched a federal medicinal marijuana program, and will launch a full recreational program in 2018. Right now, our neighbors to the north have the world’s second largest market for marijuana at $500 million. When their recreational program is launched, that number that will grow to an estimated $618 million in 2018 and $22 billion by 2020. Elsewhere, the Dutch government generates more than $600 million in marijuana taxes annually from its coffee shops, and Spain, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Colombia, South Africa, and Israel each see varying levels of pot profits each year. England would rake in an estimated £1 billion in new taxes if it legalized pot, and while the U.S. market for marijuana was $7.9 billion in 2016 — and will likely hit $21 billion by 2020 — it could be astronomically higher if both medical and recreational legalization were to spread nationwide. And with the tax revenues, jobs, and projects marijuana is already funding, it will likely be only a matter of time before even the most anti-pot lawmakers see the light about letting people light up. %related-post-2% Consider These Numbers: Marijuana taxes netted Colorado more than $105 for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and more than a half billion dollars since 2014. These funds go largely toward public health programs, housing for at-risk residents, student scholarships, anti-opioid treatment, and the rebuilding of crumbling public schools. The cannabis industry contributes a total annual economic of more than $1.2 billion in Oregon. An estimated 12,500 pot-related jobs have been created there with cumulative annual wages of $315 million. When recreational marijuana is finally available for purchase in Massachusetts in 2018, it could be subject to as much as a 28 percent tax, with a portion of that tax revenue going to fund substance abuse treatment. Legalizing recreational marijuana could help the deficit-plagued state of Connecticut pay down its debt, as well as fund its pension obligations and health-care expenses. It’s already common knowledge that legalizing marijuana can help to slow down drug trafficking, reduce drug-related crime, and help people deal with illness. But as the above figures indicate, it can take our economy to new highs, as well.
Epilepsy And Cannabis (A Story): Correlation Or A Fluke?
Epilepsy And Cannabis (A Story): Correlation Or A Fluke?
Is there a healing link between epilepsy and cannabis? Here's one story exploring that possibility.  A friend of mine mentioned that her boyfriend had wrecked his car during a seizure, and that spurred a subsequent conversation, during which I found out that the seizures came after he had stopped smoking marijuana. So of course, I had to get the story straight from the source.  *Note: The name “Andrew” used in this article is an alias, as it is about an individual who resides in a state where cannabis is not legal for medical or recreational purposes. His identity has been withheld at his request due to the illegal nature of his cannabis usage. Here’s what I learned. %related-post-1% When he was in college, Andrew wrecked his bike and fractured his skull. (Sidenote: Wear a helmet!) He suffered a subdural hematoma, which is a bleed on surface of the brain classified as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). During and after his recovery, Andrew smoked marijuana fairly regularly. Fast-forward a couple of years. Andrew graduated from college and got a job a couple hours away from his hometown. “I felt like I was on top of the world,” he says. “I had this great job, I bought a new car. Things were going really well for me.” And then Andrew got busted with the largest amount of marijuana he’d ever even had in his possession. He owned up to everything as soon as an officer who pulled him over addressed the smell of weed in the car, and was ultimately placed on probation for a misdemeanor offense. As a requisite of his probation, Andrew underwent routine urine tests for 6 months. In other words, no smoking. About three months into the probationary period, Andrew experienced his first seizure. “I guess the first one was when I woke up in the floor one morning, and I had knocked over my nightstand,” he says. “I thought it was strange, but I didn’t think too much of it. Ultimately, the reason I went to the doctor was just to get established with a primary care physician.” %related-post-2% It was during this routine visit that the “rolling out of bed” story came up. The nurse practitioner he was seeing considered it a red flag and referred him to a neurologist. The neurologist recommended an EEG (electroencephalogram), which is used to determine whether or not there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Andrew says that test only took about 20 minutes, and shortly thereafter, he learned that he had experienced several small seizures during the test. “Around that same time, while I was waiting on the test results, I had a car accident while driving to work one morning,” Andrew says. “I just drove off the road into a ditch and rolled my car because I had a seizure while I was driving. I was flown to the hospital and had a compression fracture in three or four vertebrae in my back. That’s when it was like, ‘We really gotta figure this out.’” The timing of these events meant that Andrew was recovering from a broken back and trying out epilepsy medications simultaneously. The first seizure medication he took was called Keppra, and he says it made him extremely emotional. “I thought I was just having a bad time because I broke my back in a car accident and wasn’t able to drive,” Andrew says. “But I started to realize it was the medication. I cried a bunch one day, I was very irritable, prone to shouting. So I got off that one.” Andrew tried a couple other medications, and those caused him to break out in rashes. %related-post-3% After trying out about five different medications in all, he’s now taking one called BRIVIACT, which he says is working well. He noted that it’s typically used as a supplementary medication, but he’s using it as his primary form of treatment. So how does this all add up? According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one in five individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury will experience a seizure. While he notes that he can’t quantify his suspicion, Andrew says he has wondered if the TBI he experienced during his bike accident in college caused the seizures he experienced later on. He also hypothesizes that smoking marijuana afterward was preventing the onset of epileptic symptoms. Andrew says he’s currently not smoking, simply because his neurologist advised against it and the gravity of the situation is immense. However, he says that he wishes there was a clear line that could be drawn between the use of cannabis products and the reduction of seizures. “I like to think that marijuana was keeping me from having seizures, but I am barely educated in that realm,” Andrew says. “I just wish that there were opportunities to have real seizure patients use quality cannabis products while connected to an EEG machine to find out how that really affects you. I’d really like to know what the correlation between epilepsy and marijuana is.” Disclaimer: This article is not intended to suggest that epilepsy patients should attempt to self-medicate with cannabis products. Speak to your healthcare provider before altering any treatment plan. Have a story you’d like to share? The Sugar Leaf would love to tell it. Contact us at editor@brtside.com
Marijuana Joint Rolling 101: Back To The Basics
Marijuana Joint Rolling 101: Back To The Basics
In a world increasingly dominated by bongs, bowls, dabs, and vapes, marijuana joints still hold a special place in the hearts of stoners worldwide. There’s just something ceremonial and engaging about rolling and lighting up a marijuana joint, then passing it between some of your closest friends. It can draw people together, often creating a backdrop for a great bonding experience. But, of course, this all depends on knowing how to roll a joint. Some might argue that rolling a joint is more art than science, but we’re pretty confident that anyone can learn to roll, so we’ve put together this handy tutorial covering the basics. Watch This Helpful Video and Follow the Directions Below " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Gather Your Supplies Before you start rolling, it’s important to make sure you’ve gathered up all the necessary supplies. Here’s a quick hit list: Cannabis of your choice — about half a gram will do Rolling papers — natural, undyed papers are preferable Filter tips or a thin index card for the crutch A cannabis grinder Grind the Herb Whether you’re rolling a marijuana joint or packing a bowl, a grinder is one of the best investments you can make. Grinders break buds down into manageable shake without getting your hands messy, meaning the weed will pack better and, in this case, stick to your rolling paper. Plus, grinders make sure your shake is uniform, which will help your joint burn more evenly. %related-post-1% Grinders are pretty straightforward to use. Just pick a few buds off of their stems, load up the side with the grinder teeth, and give it a few spins — 5 to 10 rotations should do the trick. Then, simply shake the ground weed out of the grinder and you’re all set. Create Your Crutch A crutch or filter tip serves two key purposes. First it gives your joint a little more shape and structure for a longer lasting smoke. Second, it keeps the end from getting soggy after you start smoking. A crutch isn’t absolutely necessary, but using one can make for a better smoking experience. Take a filter tip or thin piece of cardboard and make a few alternating folds on one end. Then simply roll the crutch until it’s as thick as you want your joint to be. Start Packing Take a rolling paper and hold it with the glue/gum strip up. Place your crutch in the left-hand side of the paper (or right-hand side — whatever feels better, really) and start packing in your cannabis. Evenly distribute the weed along the length of the paper and use your fingers to add some shape to your joint. Be sure not to over pack the joint or you’ll run the risk of tearing your paper. %related-post-2% Once you’ve put all of the cannabis in the paper, it’s time to pack it into its final shape. Pinch the paper together around the weed and crutch and slowly start rolling it back and forth. You’ll feel the cannabis start to pack down around your crutch. Do this a few times and be sure to avoid packing your joint too tight, as this will restrict airflow. Get Your Roll On Start with the crutch end of your joint and tuck the unglued side of the rolling paper snugly into the glue side. Starting with the crutch side will serve as a guide for the rest of the joint. As you work your way down the joint, add a little moisture to the glue strip to secure it. Continue all the way down the joint until the entire glue strip is secured. Your joint is almost complete, but there’s one final step. Pack the open end of the joint to make sure it lights evenly. Use a pen or some other pointy object to pack down the weed and secure the tip with a twist. Once you’re ready, light up and enjoy! If at First You Don’t Succeed… Patience is key when learning to roll a joint. It may take a few tries, but stick with it. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be rolling like a pro in no time. Then you can start experimenting with different types of joints. The possibilities are endless.
Are Taxes On Nevada Marijuana Too High?
Are Taxes On Nevada Marijuana Too High?
Nevada marijuana advocates have been fighting for legalization in their state for nearly 20 years, and less than eight months after Nevadans voted to legalize the substance, dozens of stores across the state have finally begun selling recreational marijuana legally. However, while the people lined up outside the state’s dispensaries were dancing in the streets on July 1, the high taxes and overreaching regulations Nevada officials have imposed, alongside the more permissive legislation, will possibly help preserve the same black market for pot they’ve been fighting for decades. Nevadans first voted to legalize medical marijuana use in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the Nevada Legislature voted to allow regulated access to medical cannabis. After the state’s first medical dispensaries opened in the summer of 2015, Nevadans then voted to allow recreational marijuana use for anyone over the age of 21 by approving Question 2 on the state’s ballot last November. %related-post-1% With the vote, the state joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., in allowing marijuana to be legally purchased for recreational use. Nevadans 21 and older can now possess up to an ounce of marijuana or as much as one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis concentrate. And while state officials waited until eleventh hour to finally comply with the legislation, Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, made the first purchase of recreational Nevada marijuana at midnight on July 1. Segerblom, who pushed for legal medical marijuana dispensaries that would be eventually allowed to sell the drug for recreational use, purchased some Segerblom Haze, a variety pot named after him. A steady stream of ecstatic consumers followed him to the register. “You don’t have to hide in the corner anymore and feel bad about it,” Pam Mateo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal as she left the dispensary with her purchase at around 1:30 a.m. Local ordinances required dispensaries to close between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., but when doors opened again a few hours later, people once again stood in long lines — this time, in triple-digit heat — to make their pot purchases. Greg Fuller, 32, of Charlotte, North Carolina, couldn’t get over the fact that he was really about to legally buy Nevada marijuana. “It’s just so weird,” Fuller said. “You don’t go to the store and buy weed. This is a hell of an experience.” A hell of an experience, indeed. As Reason points out, however, the limited number of allowed retailers and super-high taxes people are paying to get high will possibly push many customers back to the easier and cheaper black market once the initial buzz wears off. Federal marijuana laws, as well as Nevada’s zoning and state casino regulations, are conservative and strict. Dispensaries can’t open anywhere near a casino, which means the Las Vegas Strip is off-limits. As CNN reports, the 12 or so dispensaries that parallel to the strip are several blocks away and nowhere in sight. So, not only are they sort of a pain to get to, but (at least for now) the lines are really long. %related-post-2% Even if customers think going through the hassle of lining up at a tucked-away dispensary is worth it — did we mention home delivery is illegal, too? — the taxes they will pay once they get there might change their minds. The high taxes pot buyers face in Colorado and Washington has kept the black markets in thriving in those states, and the same might be expected for Nevada marijuana. According to the Las Vegas Sun, state retailers generated $3 million in sales during the first four days that Nevadans could legally purchase pot. Per the report, those sales generated $500,000 in taxes for state. As Reason calculates, however, the state actually raked in much more: “Allowing for rounding, that only accounts for about 15 percent of sales — which is the state excise tax on the first wholesale sale. Nevada also imposes a 10 percent retail excise tax on recreational sales, and then adds in sales tax, which varies from just under 7 percent to over 8 percent according to where you are. Let's call the total tax take about 32 percent of legal recreational marijuana sales. That's a really high tax rate to impose on any industry — especially one that was thriving (albeit illegally) and entirely untaxed less than two weeks ago.” Will Nevada learn from Colorado and Washington and adjust its regulations, or are the new regulations simply a money grab? Nevada is expected to generate $60 million in tax revenue in the next two years. While lowering the taxes on pot — as well permitting more dispensaries and allowing home delivery — would cut into Nevada’s tax receipts, it would also go a long way toward dismantling the black market for pot in the Silver State. The next few months (or years?) will determine whether Nevada’s lawmakers are really serious about legal marijuana, or if they’re just blowing smoke.  
Positive Marijuana Tests Can Still Be A Fireable Offense
Positive Marijuana Tests Can Still Be A Fireable Offense
What a time to be alive. More Americans than ever approve pro-marijuana policy changes — 64 percent in a recent Gallup poll — and new states are joining the legalization wave at an unprecedented pace. However, all that green mojo aside, even if you live in a state where cannabis enjoys legal status, you can still be fired for a positive marijuana test. Bummer. Why Can You Be Fired If Pot Is Legal and You’re Not High? According to Will Patterson in the the Portland Mercury (Oregon) “Ask A Pot Lawyer” column, “discriminating against cannabis consumers, even medical marijuana users, is perfectly acceptable.” And why is that? %related-post-1% He explains that “because cannabis remains detectable in the body for a while after use, there is no generally accepted technology available to test for impairment.” So essentially, if cannabis is in your system there’s no way to know if you’re high of not, so many employers err on the side of precaution. Which, from the employer standpoint makes plenty of sense. Few employers aware that one of their, say, welders has THC in their system would think “yeah, let’s put em’ out on the shop floor today with all that heavy equipment.” Or a taxi driver. Or a pilot. Or a medical professional. “Scalpel, please.” Better safe than sorry seems to be the popular line of thinking when it comes to positive marijuana results. And then there’s this: “employers that either contract with or receive funds from the federal government are required to enforce strict zero-tolerance drug policies under the Drug-Free Workplace Act.” Can You Challenge a Workplace Termination In Court? Sure. This is America after all, and we love going to court. Still, the odds at winning a favorable decision as an employee are slim. Writing for Bloomberg BNA’s Labor and Employment blog, Erin Perugini tells that “an employee facing disciplinary action for marijuana-related conduct might seek protection under state law, but there are not a great number of cases falling in favor of employees, and courts consistently side with the employer in cases of termination.” Citing two attorneys familiar with pot-related employment cases, Perugini says that courts tend to view the matter through the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. %related-post-2% Yet, like most things marijuana, circumstances can be different state-by-state. For instance, in one Colorado Supreme Court case, while “Colorado law prohibits employers from firing workers for engaging in lawful activities outside of work, the court said off-duty use of medical marijuana didn’t qualify for protection because such use, while legal in Colorado, is prohibited under federal law.” But over in Arizona, state law protects medical marijuana cardholders who have positive marijuana results, so long as they consumed the product outside of work. The whole matter can be confusing for both employers and employees. As one of the lawyers in Perugini’s article put it, “until the tension between federal and state law is addressed, some of these questions will remain unanswered.” In the meantime, let’s just say it’s better to pass that marijuana screen.
Florida Medical Marijuana Now Protected By State Law
Florida Medical Marijuana Now Protected By State Law
Florida medical marijuana advocates received great news recently, as Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill that establishes how patients can qualify and receive cannabis under an amendment to the state’s constitution. Back in November 2016, 71 percent of Florida voters approved the amendment, which allows Florida medical marijuana patients to purchase either low-TCH cannabis or full-strength medical marijuana to treat chronic pain related to one of 10 qualifying conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Despite voting against the amendment, Scott eventually agreed to sign the bill. And while he issued no statement upon signing it, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, Scott voiced his support for the bill just a few weeks ago. “The constitutional amendment was passed overwhelmingly, and I’m glad the House and Senate were able to come together for a bill that makes sense for our state,” he said. %related-post-1% Per the new law, patients suffering from qualifying conditions can be prescribed marijuana by a doctor. Those doctors, however, must complete two hours of training before they can be certified by the state to authorize such prescriptions. Florida also plans to set up a registry of eligible patients, which doctors will be required to cross-reference before prescribing the drug. In addition to granting patients access to medical marijuana, the new legislation also allows them to use cannabis pills, edibles, oils, and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval. It will also allow 10 new companies to become licensed as growers by October 2017, capping the statewide total at 17. (There are seven companies already in operation.) Each license holder is allowed to operate a maximum of 25 dispensaries, and each additional batch of 100,000 new eligible patients will trigger the release of an additional license. Not all legalization advocates are exactly thrilled with the new law, however, as many say it comes with overly restrictive rules. For example, prominent Tampa businessman Joe Redner plans to file a lawsuit because the new law prohibits people from growing their own plants. John Morgan, a trial lawyer from Orlando who funded the the amendment’s campaign, has filed a lawsuit because the new law bans the smoking of marijuana. %related-post-2% As the Huffington Post points out, the opposition to smoking brought up during the legislative process centered on questionable research around lung disease and cancer, and comments alluding to it being “an unhealthy habit.” However, the real reason smoking was banned — the HuffPo surmises — is that it’s simply easier to determine if a patient is using a high-THC product by noticing if they are smoking it. Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith has publicly recommended that Florida be sued over the smoking ban, and while Morgan plans to move forward with such a lawsuit, he recognizes that some progress is, indeed, still progress. “It’s not perfect,” he told the Miami Herald. “I’m going to sue for the smoking, but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July.’’ For now, Florida medical marijuana advocates can take heart that the matter is moving in the right direction. 
Cannabis For Seizures Suffered By Children
Cannabis For Seizures Suffered By Children
Cannabis for seizures? The anecdotal evidence is piling up. And in the case of children, such successes are helping rally public sentiment for legislative change.  Stories of the cannabis plant’s effects on children with epilepsy are perhaps some of the most remarkable pieces of anecdotal evidence in support of legalization. There’s the story of Charlotte Figi, reported by CNN in August of 2013, who began having grand mal seizures at 3 months old. An otherwise healthy baby whose blood tests, EEGs, MRIs, and other medical tests returned nothing but perfectly normal results, Charlotte continued having seizures after that first episode, despite medical professionals’ assumptions that Charlotte would grow out of it. Instead, the seizures increased in intensity and regularity. %related-post-1% It wasn’t until Charlotte was 2 ½ that a neurologist in Colorado diagnosed her with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, which is responsible for a variety of complications, including prolonged and frequent seizures, as well as behavioral and developmental delays, among others. When Charlotte was 5 years old and suffering from 300 grand mal seizures per week, her parents reached a breaking point. Feeling as though they’d exhausted all other options, the Figis decided to give cannabidiol (CBD) oil a try. Charlotte’s mother Paige admits that she previously opposed the use of medical cannabis but felt as though it was her family’s last resort. Within the first hour of administering the first dose of CBD oil, Charlotte’s seizures stopped. At the time of the CNN report, Charlotte was 6 years old and having only one or two seizures per month. Then there’s Sam Vogelstein, whose father wrote an article for Wired.com recounting the struggles of their epilepsy journey — both figurative and literal, as his wife traveled 5,350 miles with their 12-year-old son to try high-quality CBD in pill form in the UK. Living in a legal state, the Vogelsteins originally purchased CBD oil products from dispensaries in California. However, in having the products lab tested, they found that the ratios of CBD to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, or the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes users feel high) often differed significantly from the product’s label. For instance, one product claiming a 10:1 ratio was actually 20:1, while another was 3:1. %related-post-2% The trip to the UK came from the family’s desperation to find a pharmaceutical-grade option. Similar to the Charlotte Figi story, Sam’s response to the CBD pills he took during the two weeks of the trial was undeniable. And after overcoming a number of roadblocks and shelling about $120,000 in expenses (not including the cost of travel), the family was able to import the CBD medication, Epidiolex, into the states. CBD and Epilepsy in Children Today In late May of this year, The New England Journal of Medicine published the findings of a double-blind study that tested both children and young adults with Dravet Syndrome. During the course of the study, one group of participants received a placebo, while the other received a CBD solution. According to a CNN.com report of the study’s findings, “the decrease in the frequency of convulsive seizures — which involves a loss of consciousness, stiffened muscles and jerking movements — was 23 percentage points greater than the decrease in seizures among children taking a placebo.” The Epilepsy Foundation reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed some epilepsy centers to prescribe Epediolex, the medication that worked well for Sam Vogelstein in the story above. The organization also notes that any CBD product is a Schedule I substance, making it illegal to ship across state lines. However, CBD products have been legalized in some states where medical and recreational cannabis are otherwise not legal. If you are interested in using cannabis for seizures or finding CBD products, check into your local regulations first.
Roger Stone: Is He Marijuana Legalization’s Trump Card?
Roger Stone: Is He Marijuana Legalization’s Trump Card?
Longtime political power player and Donald Trump associate Roger Stone most recently made headlines when it was announced he would be testifying before the House Intelligence Committee about his knowledge regarding any contacts between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. Stone, who had wanted a public hearing, told Politico that he relishes the opportunity to appear during the closed hearing so he can rebut Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s “serial lies” that he had any advanced knowledge of WikiLeaks’ hacking of Podesta’s emails. While Stone’s testimony isn’t likely to reveal any bombshells, it will be taking place just days before the deadline Attorney General Jeff Sessions set for a Justice Department task force to review the nation’s marijuana policies. Stone has been very critical of Sessions’ apparent desire to “turn back the clock to the 70s” when it comes to marijuana legislation, and has launched (with cannabis supporter John Morgan) the United States Cannabis Coalition with the goal of, among other things, urging President Trump to stick to his campaign promises to leave the question of legalization to the states. %related-post-1% Stone’s stance on legalization is a curious shift for the lifelong Republican operative. Roger Stone urged Trump to launch his political career and launched the pro-Trump super-PAC, the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness. Before that he helped Ronald Reagan get elected after being mentored by Richard Nixon, the original driving force behind the nation’s current war on drugs. Despite his rigid beginnings, Stone says he is now “a libertarian convert” when it comes to legalization and has been speaking out in favor of it for years. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states, and eight states now allow adults to use pot for recreational purposes. According a Survey USA poll cited by the Washington Times, three out of four adults believe states should have the power to establish their own marijuana laws, and only 14 percent think the Justice Department should bypass state legislation in order to enforce federal laws and prosecute marijuana laws. As the Times also points out, Trump said on the campaign trail that states should establish their own marijuana laws, and White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said in February that legalization “is a states’ rights issue.” Stone wants to see tide toward wider legalization continue, and plans to hold Trump’s feet to the fire for his statements regardless of Sessions’ seemingly opposing goals. “Attorney General Sessions has threatened to reverse the Cole Memorandum and I think people who depend on cannabis for medical relief would no longer have access and we would reinvigorate the cartels,” Stone recently told Forbes. “That would, in turn, bankrupt a number of states who are getting millions of dollars in revenues from the legal sales and cause the loss of jobs.” %related-post-2% While Stone’s coalition will do some lobbying, he says its main purpose is protecting legalization in the states where marijuana is already legal, remove the drug from its excessive Schedule 1 status, and push for additional funding for unbiased research into pot’s potential medical benefits. Even if Sessions does try to move things in the other direction, Roger Stone says, he believes that Congress would vote to bypass Sessions and legalize marijuana anyway. And while it’s unclear how closely (or recently) Stone has talked to Trump about the issue, he plans to join forces with anyone who will help him to keep his word. "I am going to be working with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, progressives and libertarians, liberals, and conservatives to persuade the president to keep his campaign pledge, and to remind the president that he took a strong and forthright position on this issue in the election," Stone said at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo. Does Stone have a chance of getting through to the president? He thinks so. “He’s interested in what works. He’s a pragmatist,” Stone said of President Trump in the Washington Times. “I think nothing is out of the question.” We’ll see. Roger Stone has to get through his testimony first.
Legal Medical Marijuana Hard For Many To Obtain
Legal Medical Marijuana Hard For Many To Obtain
Praise be! Your state allows legal medical marijuana. Now the beneficial effects of America’s most helpful, yet illegal, plant can be enjoyed by patients sorely needing it. Or, at least that’s what you’ve been hoping would be the case, in some places, for quite some time. The fact of the matter is that even when states make medical marijuana legal, that’s often the first step in what can be a painfully long process of many...many...many steps. Not to mention a bundle of, what might seem to be, counterintuitive rules prohibiting worthy patients from getting their hands on high quality medication. Circumstances vary by state, but here are four examples of states that have passed canna-friendly legislation that are yet to yield patient-friendly results. %related-post-1% Hawaii Just four years after California allowed legal medical marijuana, their neighbors wayyyyy to the west followed suit. Actually, what Hawaii did was a first in America — they were the first to legalize marijuana through the bill-to-law process, rather than through a ballot initiative as did California. 17 years later, though, it’s no easy task for patients to access their canna-meds. Just how hard? In the nearly two decades since legal medical marijuana became a thing in Hawaii, not a single dispensary has opened on the islands. Get that? Zero. Zilch. The problem, explained by Motherboard, is that Hawaii originally allowed “medical use of marijuana for registered patients, (but) it didn't specify where these patients were supposed to get their supply.” It wasn’t until 2015 — a decade and half later — that “the state passed a law opening the door for a small number of licensed dispensaries to open up shop.” At the time this was written, two massive hurdles still existed. While the state granted eight licenses to marijuana companies, in true bureaucratic fashion Hawaii has been taking quite some time identifying and guiding each piece of the required business structures. To boot, the state requires each license holder to manage the entire seed-to-sale process, which is extremely expensive — especially for companies trying to acquire funding in an industry that is still federally barred. Cobbling together the necessary capital can be extremely time-consuming. Ohio In early June 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill permitting legal medical marijuana. But as Cleveland.com notes, “patients still can't buy legal marijuana here, and doctors can't become certified to recommend it. No licenses have been awarded to marijuana cultivators, processors, testing labs or dispensaries.” Woof! That doesn’t seem to bode well for patients. However, state officials have long-told of a two-year process to get the legal medical marijuana program off the ground. And according to Ohio watchers, the state appears to be on track to meet that timeline. When it launches, Ohio will boast up to 24 licensed growers, 40 processors that will turn marijuana flowers into various derived products like oils, edibles, and patches, and 60 dispensaries. While they wait to legally purchase marijuana, the state has created a stopgap for patients in the form of an “affirmative defense letter,” a form physicians can issue to a patient “intended to allow patients to use medical marijuana without being prosecuted for possession.” %related-post-2% New York In the case of the Empire State, though many celebrated the expansion of New York’s legal medical marijuana program to include sufferers of chronic pain — many who are elderly — the state’s online registration process has been problematic. In an OZY article, Nick Fouriezos writes that “while more access came as a needed salve for many ailments, it also served as a new twist on the old story of health care disparities between urban and rural communities.” Compounding that divide is the fact that the number of doctors who will actually “certify” a patient to get on the legal marijuana registry dwindles substantially outside the bigger cities. As Fouriezos tells it, there are some 400 such doctors in New York City alone, but outside the metropolitan areas, patients “with chronic pain sometimes drive two and a half to three hours to get certified.” Georgia The Peach State has some of the tightest medical marijuana restrictions in the country, though the Georgia program was recently expanded to cover patients of AIDS, Alzheimer’s, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. Essentially, qualified patients can possess cannabis oil containing no more than 5 percent THC. But here’s the catch: they can’t purchase it or make it. For that matter it can’t be sold either. So, you might wonder, how does a patient get their hands on their medicine? Enter the strange story of Georgia State Rep. Allen Peake, on whose front porch magically appears a shipment of cannabis oil once a month. Peak then distributes the oil to approved patients, free of charge. One of the patients that Rep. Peake delivers to told the Associated Press, “It shouldn’t be this way. You shouldn’t be meeting at a gas station or a Target parking lot to get medicine to somebody. You should be going to the place where it is produced and tested to get it dispensed to you in a regulated manner, but this is what we’re forced to do.” We agree. Legal medical marijuana laws are a work in progress in the United States, but as advocates will tell you, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, for the sake of patients, we get there sooner than later.
Cannabis: An Alternative Tourette's Treatment?
Cannabis: An Alternative Tourette's Treatment?
Note: This article is about an individual who uses cannabis as a Tourette's treatment, but who resides in a state where cannabis is not legal for medical or recreational purposes. His identity has been withheld at his request due to the present illegal nature of his cannabis usage. The name “Aaron” used in this article is an alias. “When did you first start noticing your tics, or did you always have them?” I asked, while also admitting that I didn’t know a lot about Tourette’s or Tourette's treatment options, for that matter. “I think I was around 9,” Aaron said. “None of my tics were really severe, but I would squint my eyes or clear my throat… It was enough to be annoying.” “You say it was ‘annoying.’ Do you mean to yourself, your classmates, your teachers?... All of the above?” I ask. He laughs. “All of the above.” %related-post-1% Aaron is a friend of mine, in his early 30s. He’s a really congenial guy with a good job and a cute house and a dog. And in all honesty, I didn’t know he had Tourette’s until it came up in a conversation I had with his wife (who, I should note, is also delightful). When Aaron started experiencing tics as a kid, he says he always knew that something was up. He credits his mom for realizing it, too, and not just blowing his behaviors off as “nervous habits.” “I saw a handful of doctors and psychiatrists, and a lot of them just called my tics ‘nervous habits,’” he said. “It took about 6 years, from the time I was 9 until I was 14, before somebody finally said, ‘You know, I think this is a form of Tourette’s.’” So What Does That Mean? According to the National Institutes of Health, Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder whose sufferers experience repetitive, “involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.” It was discovered by its namesake, Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, in 1885. The condition affects races equally, but males are three to four times more likely to experience symptoms of Tourette’s than females. In many cases, people with Tourette’s display symptoms of other behavioral or neurological disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression. Because many people with Tourette’s experience more dramatic tics when they are anxious or stressed, their behaviors tend to work in a sort of perpetual motion, a tic exacerbating stress and stress exacerbating the tic. This was the case for Aaron. Medicated There’s no Tourette’s treatment silver bullet, but medications may be prescribed with the hope that they will minimize symptoms. “When I got older, my tics were still visibly noticeable and really hard to control, and kids started to ask questions or make fun,” Aaron said. “That led to more stress, which just compounded everything and made the tics worse.” Some days, Aaron would clear his throat so much that it would get sore or blink so many times that his eyes would turn red. “You can only play that off as allergies so many times. Kids are jerks, you know,” he laughs. So doctors prescribed medications. %related-post-2% Aaron explains that there were times that he was taking five or six prescription medications every day. Adderall to focus. Kolonopin for sleep. Anti-anxiety meds for stress. Muscle relaxers to suppress the tics. “Sometimes you’d read a label on one of these medications and think, ‘Wow, this is an antipsychotic…’ There was one that even messed with my blood pressure,” he said. Some of the medications took the edge off for a while but became ineffective after a year or two. And even when the medications helped with Aaron’s tics and stress, the side effects outweighed the benefits. “I would wake up feeling drunk,” he said. “Really, what it all boils down to is that I wasn’t using most of these drugs for their intended purpose.” Finding Freedom in Cannabis At this point in our conversation, I asked Aaron the big Tourette's treatment question: “So, when did you realize cannabis made a difference in your symptoms?” Aaron says he tried marijuana in his late teens if it was around. His story was very much the same as most people you hear about trying weed when a friend pulls out a bowl or a joint at a party. He never smoked heavily or regularly, and it was actually friends who noticed the positive effects first. “I’d never smoked often enough to really notice a difference until I lived with a couple of guys who smoked pretty regularly,” Aaron said. “We weren’t smoking all day or anything, but it turned into my evening wind-down routine, and we all started noticing that the tics weren’t as severe.” %related-post-3% Around the same time, Aaron was losing his parents’ insurance and realized the medications he’d been taking for so long would be much more expensive without the cushy plan he’d been used to growing up. So that was that: He quit the meds. (Note: If you are taking prescription medications for anxiety, depression, or other medical conditions, we are absolutely not suggesting that you try this “cold turkey” method. Our story source even said he found out after-the-fact that quitting one of his meds too quickly could have caused him to suffer from seizures. Fortunately, he didn’t — but this is not medically advised. Talk to a medical professional before changing course on any prescriptions.) The Rest of the Story Aaron hasn’t taken a prescription medication for 6 or 7 years. He smokes a puff or two most nights and says his tics have subsided. Aaron also noted that he sleeps better than ever and doesn’t wake up feeling groggy.  “At the end of the day, I just hate that I have to keep this quiet and that there’s still a stigma attached to it,” Aaron said. “When you see the kinds of things it’s helping—like keeping kids from having seizures and stopping tremors in people with Parkinson’s—the evidence is there. Something has to be done.” Have a story you’d like to share? The Sugar Leaf would love to tell it. Contact us at editor@brtside.com
Proposed Marijuana Legislation Would Boost Pot’s Progress
Proposed Marijuana Legislation Would Boost Pot’s Progress
While the short-term future of marijuana legislation might be subject to the whims of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pot’s long-term progress will ultimately be decided by the people. For the first time in the nation’s history, the number of Republicans who support legalization (45 percent) is bigger than the number of those who don’t (42 percent). And even if Republicans disagree with legalization in principle, more than half (54 percent) don’t think the government’s current efforts to enforce marijuana laws are worth the cost. So far, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia allow medical use of marijuana, and if a new medical marijuana legislation bill filed in the U.S. House and Senate is successful, the nation’s laws will be even closer to matching the will of its people. %related-post-1% In June, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives introduced comprehensive medical marijuana legislation that would block the federal government from interfering with medical marijuana activity legal at the state level, permit Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis, remove cannabidiol from the Controlled Substances Act, and expand research on marijuana. Initial sponsors of the bill are: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rand Paul (R-KY), Al Franken (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The House version will have similar bipartisan backing. The legislation is similar to legislation that garnered considerable support in both chambers last Congress. In order to build on that support, this new version drops earlier provisions that would have rescheduled cannabis and helped marijuana-based businesses gain access to banks — provisions that are currently addressed by separate pending bills. “A majority of states now have comprehensive medical marijuana laws on the books, and a supermajority of Americans support letting patients access cannabis without fear of arrest,” said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, in a statement addressing the proposal. “It’s well past time for Congress to modernize federal law so that people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and PTSD don’t have to worry about Jeff Sessions sending in the DEA to arrest them or their suppliers. The diverse group of lawmakers behind this new legislation shows that medical cannabis is an issue of compassion, not partisan politics.” If the legislation is enacted, lawsuits like one filed recently in Kentucky would be unnecessary. %related-post-2% According to the suit, Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana violates state constitutional privacy protections. As the suit rightly points out, more than half of the states in the nation allow patients suffering from chronic pain and other conditions to use medical marijuana as an alternative to "often dangerous and addictive" prescription drugs. It is also touches on the effectiveness of marijuana in helping people overcome opioid addiction. There are protections in place that keep the Department of Justice from using taxpayer dollars to block the sale of medical marijuana. And while it might remain to be seen if bans like Kentucky’s will remain in place, Sessions wrote a letter to congressional leaders in May asking Congress to remove the protections that block him from using money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. While Congress hasn’t granted his wish, the fact that he made such a request, coupled with the July 27 deadline he set for a Justice Department task force to review the country’s marijuana policies, would seem to indicate that the battle over legalization is far from over. Hopefully, the lawmakers who are promoting the latest bill are up for the fight.  
Marijuana Jobs: So You Want To Work With Weed?
Marijuana Jobs: So You Want To Work With Weed?
Are you interested in scoring a job in the legal marijuana industry? Seriously, who isn't? And let’s be real, the industry is exploding, affording job opportunities for people from all walks of life. Whether you’re an enthusiast looking to get more hands-on with your favorite herb, or you’re just looking to shake up your 9-to-5, there are plenty of marijuana jobs out there that will help you get your foot in the door to the larger industry. Dispensary Customer Service/Receptionist Cannabis dispensaries offer quite a few opportunities for entry level employment. The great thing about customer service and reception jobs is that they serve as great introductions to the industry. Customer service pros may not be hands on with actual product, but they get firsthand exposure to the ins and outs of running a dispensary. Couple that with face-to-face interaction with customers, and taking and assisting with orders, and you’ve set yourself on a path for any number of marijuana jobs. %related-post-1% Budtender Budtenders are product experts that help customers find just the right herb or product. These pros are excellent listeners and customer service experts and they know every product inside and out. From a customer’s perspective, an informed and helpful budtender can make all the difference in a dispensary experience. Budtenders typically undergo pretty involved training programs and are expected to represent their products to the fullest. If you want to learn all there is about cannabis products and their effects, a budtender gig is just the ticket. Budtending can also be a great springboard into product development and a host of more involved marijuana jobs. Trimmer There are no two ways about it — trimming is all about production. If hands-on experience with cannabis flowers is more your speed, look no further than a trimming position. The work can become physically demanding over time, but it arguably provides the most direct knowledge of specific marijuana strains. Trimming might get repetitive, but if you can handle working on a single task for a few hours at a time, this can be well paying job that opens up a ton of opportunities. Good trimming skills plus a great personality and you’re set for a long, happy career in cannabis. Marijuana Delivery Not without a little controversy, and not available everywhere, marijuana delivery is booming regardless. Another customer-service oriented position, cannabis delivery requires a great attitude and punctuality. Delivery specialists have a tremendous amount of responsibility to cannabis patients, especially if those consumers are unable to travel to pick up medicine on their own. There may not be “delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” guarantees, but delivery drivers have to be reliable and trustworthy. These guys and gals are frontline brand ambassadors and are treated as such. Put in the time and hard work and it will definitely pay off, maybe with a dispensary management position. Before you know it, you could be on the fast track to not just a job, but a career in cannabis. %related-post-2% Cannabis Tourism It really is a shame, but marijuana still isn’t legal in every state. We know — shocker. But there’s a silver lining. Tourism has exploded in states where weed is legal, and that means more marijuana jobs. Marijuana tourism blends customer service, recreation, and travel all into one exciting vocation. Tour guides are responsible for creating and coordinating packages and activities that highlight the vast amenities states like Colorado and Oregon have to offer. These folks help forge strong partnerships will local restaurants and breweries and truly get to experience the joys of sharing legal cannabis with people from around the world. We can think of worse ways to earn a living. 
A Word to the Wise… Now the not-so-good news. Word has gotten out that the weed business is booming. This means that there are literally hundreds of applicants for every entry level job that opens up. If you’re really serious about working in the industry, take some time to think about what job you want and work hard on getting your résumé together. Yeah, it’s weed and pretty much everyone you encounter will be laid back, but it’s still business. Ok, ok. We can’t end on a downer note, so here’s a little more good news. There are a TON of cannabis job boards out there. In addition to listing jobs, they also offer some great advice on landing your dream weed gig. So check ‘em out and start applying!
The Right Gets Right on Marijuana Legalization
The Right Gets Right on Marijuana Legalization
Marijuana legalization is gaining favorable steam on across America's political right. Will it continue? Noted conservative commenter, author, and blogger Michelle Malkin made headlines recently when she penned an article describing why she — once a strong supporter of the government’s war on drugs — now supports medical marijuana legalization. While marijuana legislation still has a long way to go in the United States, stories like Malkin’s, as well as the overall shift in Republicans’ views toward the drug, offer a clue as to the future of marijuana legalization in this country. Canna-support grows on the Right As Vice recently pointed out, Republicans might not be the first group you think of when it comes to those openly supporting legalization, but according to new research by YouGov, the number of GOP members who support it is now higher than the number of those who don’t. While only 28 percent of Republicans were in favor of legalization in January 2014, the latest YouGov poll shows that 45 percent now support it, compared to 42 percent who are opposed — a shift that’s unprecedented in U.S. history. Even more Republicans — 54 percent — think the government’s efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they’re worth.   *Since this article first published, a new Gallup poll showed a majority (for the first time ever) of Republicans favor legalization. How has this shift happened? %related-post-1% Medical success stories are changing minds In Malkin’s case, a neurologist suggested that she try cannabidiol oil to treat her daughter’s epilepsy. CBD, one of hundreds of chemical components found in cannabis plants, is non-hallucinogenic and nonaddictive, and was far more effective in helping Malkin’s daughter than other medications she had been prescribed previously. There was a catch, however. “This doctor had other young patients who used CBD oil with positive results, but she could not directly prescribe it because of her hospital affiliation,” says Malkin. “So we did our own independent research, talked to a Colorado Springs family whose son had great success using CBD to treat his Crohn's disease symptoms, consulted with other medical professionals and friends — and entered a whole new world.” Malkin found two doctors who signed off on her daughter’s application for a medical marijuana card. With that, her daughter became one of more than 360 children under 18 years of age to join Colorado's medical marijuana registry in 2015. She says “it flies in the face of current science to classify CBD oil as a Schedule I drug, as the feds did at the end of 2016.” She also thinks it makes no sense to block access to CBD if some patients and doctors believe that the benefits of using THC therapeutically outweigh the potential harm. “Our experience showed us the importance of increasing therapeutic choices in the marketplace for all families — and trusting doctors and patients to figure out what works best,” she says. Cannabis as a weapon to combat the opioid epidemic But Malkin isn’t the only notable conservative who’s has a change of heart concerning marijuana legalization. Three years ago, South Carolina lawmakers passed strict legislation allowing patients with severe epilepsy, or their caregivers, to legally possess CBD. Marine veteran and South Carolina Rep. Eric Bedingfield voted against it. %related-post-2% Later, however, after his eldest son’s six-year battle with opioid addiction ended with a overdose, Bedingfield changed course and co-sponsored medical cannabis legislation. He is now optimistic that medical marijuana can replace opioid painkillers, helping curb an epidemic he's seen destroy families of all economic levels — including his own. "My mindset has changed from somebody who looked down on it as a negative substance to saying, 'This has benefits,'" Bedingfield said recently. Unlikely D.C. cannabis advocates Also recognizing marijuana’s benefits is Bedingfield’s fellow South Carolinian, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham has been one of the biggest backers of the CARERS Act — aka the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act of 2015 — which, if passed, would do a number of things, including reclassifying marijuana to maximize its medical value, allow banks to handle money from legal marijuana businesses, and prevent the government from interfering with state-legal medical marijuana programs. “I am open-minded to the idea that the plant may have medical attributes that could help people,” Graham told Politico. “I’m convinced that we should, as a nation, research the medical applications of the marijuana plant. It could be life-changing. I just want to do it in a scientific way…and the current system doesn't allow for the research that we need.” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has also become a canna-advocate as 2017 progressed.  If Lindsay Graham and Orrin Hatch, both stalwart conservatives, think further research into medical marijuana is needed, it can be safely assumed that real change is around the corner. As Malkin says, “Let the scientists lead. Limited government is the best medicine.” Marijuana legalization is gaining new friends...fast.
Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?
Why Does Weed Make You Hungry?
While there isn’t a significant amount of scientific research surrounding the medicinal effects of cannabis, there’s a great body of knowledge out there that comes solely from user experience. And when considering the side effects we hear about consistently — in movies, in the media, and even in the medical space — one in particular comes to mind: that insatiable case of the munchies. So, why does weed make you hungry?  Let's explore.  %related-post-1% Not only do we know about “the munchies” from their prevalence in the overarching conversation about cannabis, both for recreational and medical use, but it’s also actually one of the few processes that’s been monitored in formal research. Findings from a neurobiologist at the Yale University School of Medicine shed light on the science behind the hunger. Munchies 101 The study, by researcher Tamas Horvath, tells us that marijuana makes you hungry in a couple of ways. First, there’s the reaction that takes place in the area of your brain that causes you to feel hungry or full. This sensation of being hungry or full is controlled by cannabinoids, lipids naturally produced in the brain. Similar to these natural cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, a cannabinoid found in marijuana) reacts with the cannabinoid system and confuses the body’s ability to tell you it’s full. Essentially, when cannabis is smoked or ingested, the THC triggers users to feel hungry, even if they’ve just eaten. In addition to preventing one from feeling full, studies have shown that THC sends the olfactory receptors, which are responsible for taste and smell, into hyperdrive. When one’s senses of taste and smell are intensified, so is the enjoyment of eating. In other words, if you thought that pizza you had for dinner last night was incredible, just imagine eating it after taking a puff or two. Using the munchies to your advantage It’s no secret that cannabis is known for making users crave junk food — just think, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is an entire movie about two stoners who just really want some soggy, square-shaped burgers. %related-post-2% But for many folks who are moderate users or self-medicating for specific purposes, the munchies may prove to be a real struggle. Instead of wondering "why does weed make you hungry?," these people may instead be thinking "how do you control the munchies?" Here are a few steps to consider before toking if you’re trying to maintain a healthy (less gut-bomby) lifestyle: Time your meals appropriately: One of the few things we know about the effects of marijuana use in a pretty definitive way is that it’s probably going to make you hungry, regardless of whether or not you have just eaten a meal. So if you plan to smoke or use an edible, try and time it before you eat. If you’re not able to time an entire meal around your plan to use a cannabis product, plan a snack and see item 2 below. Keep your favorite healthy foods available: Maybe you use cannabis to sleep and you don’t want a huge meal right before bed. Healthy snacks can do the trick! Do you love guacamole? Maybe you have a sweet tooth and would prefer a smoothie. Go ahead and whip up a batch of one of your favorite snacks before you partake in using a cannabis product. That way, it’s at the ready when your mind starts to wander to that juicy cheeseburger. After all, what we do know is that no matter what you’re eating, cannabis will intensify the flavor. In other words: As long as it’s a food you enjoy already, you’re definitely going to love it when the THC kicks in. Explore a variety of strains: Certain strains of cannabis are less likely to cause the munchies than others, and there are some that even have appetite suppressant qualities. However, the specific effects can vary from person to person, so it’s important to test out a variety of strains to see how exactly they’ll work for you. But, first things first. Before wondering "why does weed make you hungry?," you've got to get ahold of some top quality cannabis. And we know exactly where you can find some (wink, wink). 
What Is CBD Oil Used For? Here Are 3 Popular Uses
What Is CBD Oil Used For? Here Are 3 Popular Uses
Before answering the question "What is CBD Oil Used For?" we first have to answer the question, “What is CBD?” CBD is short for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It’s most commonly recognized for its ability to provide a wide range of health benefits to users without causing any psychoactive effects (in other words, it won’t get you high). Like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that is responsible for making users feel high), CBD’s effects come from its reaction with the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally in the body and play a role in regulating a variety of functions, such as sleep cycles, appetite, mood, and more. %related-post-1% According to the National Institutes of Health, the cannabis plant contains more than 60 cannabinoid compounds. The levels of each cannabinoid found in a particular plant will vary from strain to strain, but low-THC, high-CBD strains are readily available in areas where medical cannabis is legal. Additionally, many companies have begun to extract specific compounds from cannabis plants, thereby achieving greater control of how a particular product will affect a user. CBD oil is one type of these extracted products. It’s an oil extracted from a cannabis plant that contains high levels of cannabidiol. Because of CBD’s reputation for delivering many of the medicinal effects cannabis supporters have been touting for years without any psychoactivity, the extract is being studied both in formal research and anecdotally by individuals looking for alternative treatments for a variety of ailments. Got that? Okay, now let's get to the question "What is CBD oil used for?" Uses for CBD Preventing seizures: Some of the most widely shared stories in favor of medical cannabis legalization are those about individuals who find relief from seizures in cannabis products. Because of stories like the one we recently shared recently about CBD oil for children with epilepsy formal research into developing pharmaceutical-grade CBD products is already underway. One company, GW Pharmaceuticals in the UK, has developed a 99 percent pure CBD product called Epidiolex, which according to the Epilepsy Foundation, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in some epilepsy centers in the United States. %related-post-2% Stress and anxiety (in people and pets!): CBD has been reported to reduce stress and anxiety in both humans and animals by boosting serotonin and restoring neurons in the area of the brain that controls mood, memory, and other important functions. Because many prescription medications for anxiety disorders lead to undesirable side effects, such as fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and weight gain, CBD may be an appealing alternative. Minimizing inflammation: The inflammatory response can be triggered by any number of things — autoimmune diseases, medications, allergies. And it’s that inflammation that causes people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Chron’s disease to suffer from pain and discomfort associated with their particular disease. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may be a solution for individuals suffering from any number of conditions that prompt the inflammatory response. Finding CBD products Regulations around CBD are confusing to say the least. Even in some states where cannabis is neither medically nor recreationally legal, CBD products can be sold. Check your local regulations to find out of CBD products are available in your state.
Oregon Marijuana Sales Projected To Climb Rapidly
Oregon Marijuana Sales Projected To Climb Rapidly
While the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis is waiting on a bill (SB 845) to become law, which would give them recreational marijuana forecasting responsibilities for the state, they’ve plodded ahead and issued their first official future-gazing cannabis report. Casting an eye forward, lead economist Josh Lehner has made predictions for Oregon marijuana sales and associated tax revenue. Long story short, a Colorado-like boom (likely) looms First things first, forecasting is not an exact science. So while many signs point to an Oregon marijuana sales boom, it’s not guaranteed (we’ll get into reasons for that in a bit). %related-post-1% But caution aside, there looks to be much opportunity for sizable industry growth across the state — enough for the treasury to pocket upwards of $156 million in marijuana taxes in the next two years. Looking to Washington and Colorado for cues (both have a two-year head start on Oregon marijuana sales), Lehner anticipates similar positive trending. He argues that “as the market matures...the coming few years will see strong growth as the product becomes more widely available, more socially acceptable, and more black and gray market sales are realized in the legal market.” In transaction totals, Lehner notes that Oregon marijuana sales surpassed Washington’s in its first year, resembling more closely Colorado’s totals when adjusting for population differences between those states. And if Oregon can enjoy a Colorado-like marijuana boom, that will yield numerous downstream benefits. 4 factors leading to impressive Oregon marijuana sales trends Lehner says Oregon marijuana sales numbers were so striking because: Oregonians consume more cannabis than do Washingtonians, when adjusting for population discrepancies. This is probably because... Washington taxes marijuana at a higher rate than Oregon does. Lower taxes decrease final sale costs, which likely encourages additional Beaver State consumer purchases. The “cross-border effect,” wherein “Oregon had somewhat of a built-in customer base who were used to purchasing in the legal market” across the line in Washington. A testament to this is the fact that southwest Washington counties experienced a near 40 percent drop in sales once Oregon sales commenced. Oregon has enough dispensaries to keep a closer, though not quite in lockstep, pace with consumer demand. %related-post-2% Possible bumps in the road? Ok, so getting back to the disclaimer from earlier, there are a few cautionary factors Lehner suggests could keep the marijuana boom from, well, booming as much. The first has to do with supply limitations that would prohibit consumers from purchasing as much product as they’d like. Lehnen points to regulatory hurdles as the leading possible factor in this regard, as overburdensome rules could slow growers and marijuana processors from obtaining valuable licenses. The second has little to do with Oregon itself. Rather, it’s Washington D.C. Lehner stresses that he doesn't feel a federal crackdown is highly likely, but he does warn that if one did happen it would wreck all rosy forecasting. These possibilities aside, the future of Oregon marijuana sales looks good.
Questions Surround Sessions’ Marijuana Task Force
Questions Surround Sessions’ Marijuana Task Force
The Department of Justice’s new marijuana task force is supposed to submit a list of federal marijuana policy recommendations to Attorney General Jeff Sessions by July 27. Will the marijuana task force recommend bolstering the nation’s continued, gradual move toward increased legalization? Or will the committee push for a reversal of existing legalization instead? Nobody except those involved knows for sure. And they’re not talking. A super secret task force Not only is little known about the inner workings — or even the identities of the members — of the task force, but also unclear is how closely the committee’s recommendations will echo the wishes of Sessions and how much Sessions will push for policies that closely match his own views. %related-post-1% The closest we can come to predicting pot’s legal future is by taking a look at what Sessions has already said (and done) regarding the matter, and by listening to those closest to Sessions’ ear. Sessions’ take on Holder’s marijuana memo In 2013, former Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. sought to reform America’s prisons via simple changes to the way drug cases were prosecuted. He issued a memo — called the Cole Memo — aimed at preventing decades-long prison terms for people who were arrested with a small amount of drugs and weren’t dangerous, hard-core, and habitual criminals. Holder rolled back the default position of the harshest possible jail term in all drug cases, while keeping the option available in cases involving, say, defendants who were devoted to a life of crime as part of a large-scale drug trafficking organization, cartel, or gang. As we mentioned previously, Sessions recently issued a memo overturning Holder’s sweeping reform, directing federal prosecutors instead to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties. Despite overturning the Cole Memo, Sessions told Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in April the memo wasn’t “too far from good policy,” and also reportedly told the governor, “You haven’t seen us cracking down, have you?” when Hicklenloper asked him about his master plan. Still, Sessions’ dislike for marijuana is no secret. He says that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” %related-post-2% And, according U.S. News and World Report, Sessions discounts the benefits of medical marijuana, as well as research equating legal access with less opioid abuse. A copy of one of Sessions’ prepared speeches labeled marijuana use a "life-wrecking dependency" that's "only slightly less awful" than heroin addiction. A couple of months later, the attorney general said there was "too much legalization talk and not enough prevention talk." Past that, there hasn’t been much talk from Sessions. So what will Sessions end up doing? Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, says “it’s difficult to ascertain any clear information” about the inner workings of the task force and its related subcommittee. Members of the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading legalization advocacy group, also say they’ve had no contact with the subcommittee. And when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., a proponent of marijuana reform and a member of the newly formed Cannabis Caucus, approached Sessions for a sit down, the attorney general refused to meet with him. “So far, [Sessions'] comments have not indicated a lot of willingness to work together toward common ground,” says West. So, what do we know? We know that more Americans think marijuana use should be legal in the U.S. We know that state-legal cannabis businesses took in roughly $6.7 billion in sales last year, employs tens of thousands of people, and generates millions of dollars in taxes. And we know that Attorney General Sessions could make all of that progress go up in a puff of smoke. We’ll see what happens.
Marijuana and Wine: 4 Pairings Made In Heaven
Marijuana and Wine: 4 Pairings Made In Heaven
Wine pairs well with all kinds of foods. Chocolate? Totally. Cheese? Of course. But pairing marijuana and wine? You better believe it.   The art of wine pairing is all about how the wine and food interact, softening or highlighting different notes and flavors you may not recognize otherwise. If you’ve ever followed a hearty bite of steak with a healthy swig of cabernet, you know exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s a taste sensation. Fortunately for us all, pairing marijuana and wine offers a similar experience. Indeed, entrepreneurs are already exploring the perfect match. The tastiest notes of your favorite weed strains can be amplified for more enjoyment or subdued to reveal new tastes to enjoy by tossing a little wine in the mix. And vice versa. Starting with a few basic combinations, marijuana and wine pairings can open up an entire world of fun mixing and matching. Can you imagine a blind tasting party with wine and weed? Sign us up! %related-post-1% Ways to pair marijuana and wine Just as with a wine and food pairing, the main thing you want to look for when lining up a side-by-side weed and wine tasting is complimentary flavors. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg (er, tastebud?). With hundreds of strains and a multitude of wines to pair them with, the options for pairings are seemingly limitless. To get the most out of your tasting experience, there are two key principles to keep in mind: Pairing by Flavor Cannabis strains are often characterized by the terpenes — naturally occurring, fragrant oils — they contain. Many of these oils are also found in fruits, herbs, and flowers, hence why some strains have descriptive names — Mango Kush, Strawberry Cough, etc. Great pairings enhance these flavors, as well as highlighting other notes. For a beginner, sticking with weed strains that have specific names, especially fruits, can be a great starting point to learn pairing basics. Pairing by Effect/Feeling Just as complimentary flavors exist between wine and marijuana strains, a great pairing takes into account the physical effects of both. Deep red wines tend to make you relax and a little drowsy. Toss in a couple tokes from a heavier-hitting indica strain, and it’ll be nap time before you know it. Start out with wines and strains that you know or, if you’re heading to a dispensary, ask the budtender to make sure you’ve got a good combo planned. %related-post-2% 4 suggested marijuana and wine pairings Now that you understand the basics, it’s time for the fun part. To help you get started with your pairing experience, we’ve put together a list of four of our favorite combinations. Give them a shot, come up with a few pairings of your own, and be sure to let us know your thoughts! Dry White and Amnesia Haze Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio run the gamut from peppery to sweet and citrusy. Pairing with a more herbal strain, like Amnesia Haze, will bring out notes of pine and oak for more complex tasting experience. Light Red and Blackberry Kush Pinot noir and grenache are characterized by bright berry flavors and a touch of sweetness. Blackberry Kush is notorious for its rich flavor and lemony aftertaste that pairs well with the mild sweetness of light red wines. Rosé and Dutch Treat White zinfandel and other rosés are typically rather sweet. Dutch Treat offers intense fruit smells, with a pinch of pine and eucalyptus, making for a balanced match. Dark Reds and Sage N Sour Cabernet sauvignon and syrah are bold reds that pack a ton of flavors like dark berries, tobacco, and even leather. Sage N Sour — a hybrid of Sour Diesel and the SAGE hybrid — is known to carry the subtle aroma of its namesake herb. Providing a euphoric, happy high, this strain will even out the punch of a hefty red. A note on moderation Trust us, we don’t want to be total buzzkills, but we’d be a little remiss if we didn’t mention one key point: Alcohol can amplify the effects of weed. Nothing will slam the brakes on a good time faster than overdoing it mixing the wine and weed. Take it slow and stick to smaller wine samples and tokes to ensure a good time for all involved.
California Marijuana Laws And “Sanctuary State” Status
California Marijuana Laws And “Sanctuary State” Status
When compared with the rest of the U.S., California marijuana laws are some of the most progressive in the country. In 1996 the state legalized medical marijuana, and 20 years later voters approved recreational sales and consumption by a margin of roughly 56 percent to 44 percent. Golden State legislators are trendsetting once again with California marijuana laws by passing a “marijuana sanctuary state” bill. What do you mean, “sanctuary state”? The phrase “sanctuary state” is a play on the expression “sanctuary city,” which is often used when discussing immigration policy. In that context, a sanctuary city is one that has passed municipal ordinances preventing local government and law enforcement from aiding federal authorities in their attempts at implementing national immigration rules.   %related-post-1% Similarly, a sanctuary state is one that abstains — on a much larger scale — from assisting the federal government on a particular issue. In this circumstance, the California Assembly prefers to not help their federal counterparts when it comes to cannabis since California marijuana laws and federal marijuana laws are vastly incongruent. What’s in the bill and why was it drafted? In short, the bill (AB-1578) prohibits any state or local agency from assisting any federal agency’s attempts to implement federal marijuana laws that are incompatible with California marijuana laws. Only a signed court order from a judge can alter that. Here’s a passage from the bill itself: This bill would prohibit a state or local agency, as defined, from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized or allowed under state or local law in the State of California and from transferring an individual to federal law enforcement or detaining an individual at the request of federal law enforcement or federal authorities for marijuana- or cannabis-related conduct that is legal under state or local law. According to the Associated Press, AB-1578 was introduced by Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles “amid uncertainty surrounding how President Donald Trump’s administration will deal with states that have legalized marijuana.” What’s next for AB-1578? The bill now heads to the state Senate and its Public Safety Committee for further consideration and intensified scrutiny. If it clears those hurdles, then Gov. Jerry Brown can sign it into law.
Marijuana Businesses And Innovation Driven By Increased Investment
Marijuana Businesses And Innovation Driven By Increased Investment
You’ve heard the analogy: the marijuana industry as the modern incarnation of the famed 19th century California Gold Rush. While there are considerable differences between the two, it’s true there are some similarities. Namely, a boatload of dollars being poured into the respective industries in hopes of collecting a healthy ROI in (relatively) short order. And thanks to a recent spike in such investments, marijuana businesses and cannabis-related innovation are benefitting greatly. One day, two announcements, $200 million A perfect example highlighting the uptick in marijuana investments was the $200 million pledged in a single day (May 23, 2017) by two different investors. Marijuana Business Daily (MJBizDaily) noted “the combined $200 million is among the largest amounts of planned cannabis investments disclosed in a single day.” That’s not hard to believe since, as Minyanville reports, “in 2014, 59 cannabis companies raised a combined $104.5 million.” %related-post-1% For the non-math majors out there, that means nearly double the 2014 total was raised in a single day just three years later.   The first $100 million was announced by StarGreen Capital, an arm of the Beverly Hills real estate firm, StarPoint Properties. MJBizDaily says the group wants to inject cash into “a range of marijuana companies, focusing initially on cultivators, manufacturers and retailers.” StarPoint has its strategic partnership eyes out for professional entrepreneurs, “anything with a real estate component” according MJBizDaily, and “is interested in both new and established companies.” The second $100 million announcement came from the other side of the U.S., by Florida attorney John Morgan, who has a lengthy background as a medical marijuana advocate. Until recently, Morgan claimed he wouldn’t invest in the cannabis industry, drawing a strict line between his activism and business interests. But his late-May announcement represents a pivot, one that could have him setting his sights on licensed business acquisitions, says MJBizDaily. Investment powers innovation As more dollars like these make their way into the legal cannabis space, they’ll power innovation by young marijuana businesses. Though the $200 million announced on May 23 seems to be earmarked primarily for cultivation, distribution, and real estate, other investments are stimulating new products and services that will better the industry on the whole. The same week the dual 9-digit investments were announced, a well-regarded Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Benchmark Capital, broke word that they’d led an $8.1 million fundraising round backing the development of a new cannabis breathalyzer by Hound Labs. The device, currently undergoing clinical trials in at San Francisco General Hospital, will be marketed heavily toward law enforcement agencies and companies in the drug testing industry. %related-post-2% But the Valley, a long-tenured hotbed of innovation, doesn’t have the market completely cornered on fresh, industry benefitting technologies. Just look to Oregon where marijuana businesses are booming with new monies fueling their efforts — between $60-$80 million raised in the six months preceding May 2017 alone. One of two “for instances” is Phylos Bioscience, a company who, as an Oregon Public Broadcasting writeup put it, “for a few hundred dollars, will outline the genetic profile of any cannabis plant you bring them.” This enables farmers to be sure they’re not trampling on pre-existing intellectual property. And then there’s Oregon CBD, a business founded by two brothers to grow the American hemp market by developing strains that will flourish in any number of climates. Traditional startup events now stage-sharing with cannabis Almost every mid-sized and larger metropolitan area celebrates their entrepreneurial culture with some sort of annual startup week. These celebrations usually include networking events, keynote and panel addresses, workshops, pitch competitions and/or demo events. Many such weeks were born with a strong tech focus, but a few are now carving out space for — or being infiltrated by — young marijuana businesses and marijuana business ideas. Case in point, Canopy, a venture fund and business accelerator in the legal cannabis realm, used the first day of Boulder Startup Week 2017 to feature its own demo day. Ten fledgling businesses presented concepts ranging from cannabis product packaging solutions to automated plant harvesters to marijuana-focused social media platforms. Cannabis has become such a normalized topic in some locales that even aspiring elected officials are openly addressing matters related to the industry. In Detroit, mayoral candidate Ingrid LaFleur participated in one Detroit Startup Week panel discussion titled, “Politics, Diversity and Advocacy in Cannabis,” and hosted a second event called “The Cannabis Conversation: How the Cannabis Industry Benefits Detroit.” %related-post-3% But will the U.S. win the cannabis innovation game? In most industries, the United States is viewed as an innovation leader. In the cannabis space, though, the complexities of laws — the plant is federally illegal and individual states maintain their own rules related to it — prohibits the natural maturation of the industry. Not so north of the border. Canada, while the United States drags its feet, permits medical marijuana nationwide and is moving quickly towards ending recreational prohibition — most expect this to be achieved by July 2018. And while cannabis consumers rejoice in this, streamlined pro-marijuana national laws also encourage increased investment while eliminating barriers keeping marijuana businesses from growing and innovating. What does that mean? According to The Globe and Mail, “it means that Canadian marijuana-industry players, and those that can establish themselves as such, have a unique opportunity to pull ahead of their competitors in the international marketplace.” Does that mean Canada will outpace the U.S. in the long run? Only time will tell, but they’re certainly getting a significant head start out of the gates even as American dollars are being pumped into the market at an unparalleled clip.
Connecticut Marijuana Legalization: Will It Happen Soon?
Connecticut Marijuana Legalization: Will It Happen Soon?
Will Connecticut marijuana legalization happen soon? To answer that, perhaps a different question should be posed first.  What does the wealthiest state in the nation do when it has trouble paying its bills and it has exhausted its supply of rich people to tax? It considers other ways — including legalizing and taxing marijuana — to make up the shortfall. A $400 million budget shortfall After two decades of healthy fiscal growth, Connecticut predicts that its income tax revenue will drop by roughly $400 million in fiscal 2017 — its first drop since the recession. As the Wall Street Journal reports, about $200 million of the drop was connected to a drop in fortunes among the state’s top 100 earners who typically contribute a huge percentage of the state’s revenue. Many of the top earners work for hedge funds, which are going through a downturn of their own. Not only that, but President Trump, who campaigned on promises to lower taxes, wants to repeal a state tax deduction, which would greatly affect both high-income earners, as well as states looking to tax them more. %related-post-1% Taxing the rich (more) not an option Not only does this news do nothing to reverse a budget crisis that’s caused all three major ratings firms to downgrade Connecticut’s credit rating, but even Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration concedes that, after two failed tries, the state simply can’t increase taxes on the wealthy yet again to try to get back in the black. “You can’t go back to that well again,” says Kevin Sullivan, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services. “The idea that there is yet another significant amount, in terms of long-term stability, to get out of that portion of the population is just not true.” While Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the nation according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a recent report issued by Standard & Poors includes the state among seven at risk for severe fiscal problems despite the broader economy’s “gathering momentum.” In a recent downgrade, Moody’s Investors Service highlighted the state’s shrinking population since 2013 as a key contributor to Connecticut’s lagging housing market and poor job numbers. Increases in the state’s pension obligations, health-care expenses, and debt services are expected to lead to a $5.1 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years. So, how can Connecticut turn things around? %related-post-2% How about a canna-tax fix? Well, while the state’s lawmakers have proposed building at least one more casino, adding highway tolls, and seeking additional concessions from state employees, House and Senate Democrats’ idea to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana has sparked a great deal of buzz. Though the idea hasn’t gone very far in past legislative sessions, the state’s current deficit-plagued budget could lead to serious progress when it comes to legalization. According to a report in the Miami Herald, Connecticut State Democrats’ estimate that legalizing the sale of marijuana could generate $60 million in this fiscal year, and another $180 million in the next. Lawmakers cite the obvious opportunity the legislation provides to regulate — and deliver considerable tax revenue from — a currently illegal industry. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, a Democrat, said the idea was presented in order to to “leave a lot of options on the table" to consider when it comes to finalizing a budget deal. Roadblocks to legalization in the Constitution State As much sense as legalization might make, however, hurdles remain. For starters, it’s unclear whether there’s enough support in the Connecticut General Assembly for such a move. Similar bills generated underwhelming support earlier this year, and not only is Molloy not a fan of the idea, but he also questions the projected revenue numbers. "There's no immediate amount of money to be had," he charges, citing Massachusetts, where residents can now legally possess, use, and grow small amounts of pot, but where there also won’t be any retail shops to tax until the middle of next year. Stay tuned for future updates on the state of the Constitution State.
Marijuana Documentaries: 6 Must-Watch Weed Movies
Marijuana Documentaries: 6 Must-Watch Weed Movies
People love marijuana for a lot of reasons — mainly because it makes you feel good. But another thing we love about weed is there is so much to learn. From the history behind the powerful plant to the nuances of the booming legal weed industry, medicinal applications, and philosophical conversations around the future of decriminalization, pot is one of the most compelling topics out there. Naturally, that means the subject makes for great marijuana documentaries. And thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, a whole world of knowledge (and controversy) is at your fingertips. So load up a bowl, fill up your queue, kick up your feet, and start watching some of our favorite marijuana documentaries. Super High Me (2007) This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned Doug Benson on The Sugar Leaf. The guy loves weed and isn’t afraid to let anyone know. In his documentary, Super High Me, Benson gives a head nod to documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me). While Spurlock’s film tackled the weighty topic of fast food and health — he ate nothing but burgers, fries, and the like for 30 days — Benson turns the lens on weed. Following a 30-day body cleanse, Benson lights up for 30 days straight to see how it affects his health. It may not be the most intellectually stimulating of marijuana documentaries, but Benson does a great job of entertaining and presenting compelling information. American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny (2013) America’s drug laws are a constant inspiration for debate. American Drug War 2 hit this subject head on. Starting with the story of 2-year-old boy whose life was saved thanks to his parents illegally injecting his feeding tube with cannabis, filmmaker Kevin Booth levels his sights on some of the unintended victims of our country’s war on drugs — children. Booth covers everything from cartel recruiting in Mexico to drug use in the U.S. foster care system and the implications of political policy. If you’ve ever questioned the true motives of our nation’s war on drugs, the questions Booth raises and the points he drives home will be right up your alley. Weed Series (2013, 2014, 2015) Directed by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Weed is a three-part documentary series outlining the history of marijuana prohibition, the stigma created by the war on drugs, the medical benefits of marijuana, and the votes for legalization across the country. What makes the documentary series even more thought-provoking is the fact that prior to filming, Dr. Gupta himself was a medicinal marijuana critic who denounced the perceived health benefits of pot. With part 4 of the series expected later this year (2017), catch up with the early episodes now so you can dive in when the next installment hits TV screens nationwide. 420: The Documentary (2013) You don’t have to be a stoner to know what 420 means. Growing out of the urban legend that high school students would meet and toke up at 4:20 pm each day, the number has grown to symbolize a daily and yearly (April 20th) celebration of weed. Each year, millions of people worldwide gather to smoke and enjoy fellowship as part of the celebration. 420: The Documentary dives deeper into the hypocrisy of marijuana possession arrests that occur during the terms of political leaders who have admitted to smoking pot in their youth. The film highlights arrests and even murders have arisen from the stringent laws enacted by politicians who, surprisingly enough, come to regret their actions. This should be on everyone's marijuana documentaries to-watch list.  The Culture High (2014) Featuring interviews with famous stoners Joe Rogan, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and more, The Culture High explores both sides of the marijuana criminalization debate. Directed by Brett Harvey, the film runs the gamut of opinions and beliefs about the harms and benefits of legal weed. Bolstered by a look into the political history of the U.S. that helped shape our country’s current stance on weed, The Culture High makes for compelling viewing. Reefer Madness (1936) Ok, ok. So we may be getting a little loose with our interpretation of “documentary,” but Reefer Madness deserves a spot on our list. Originally released in 1936, the film epitomizes marijuana misinformation. Can someone really go criminally insane from smoking weed? According to Reefer Madness, they can. More importantly, however, the film is evidence of the propaganda campaign that shaped public perception around marijuana criminalization that led to the stigma we are all know. The film is almost required viewing to understand the public and political obstacles that are still present today in the fight for legalization.
Sessions Brings Back Mandatory Marijuana Minimum Sentences
Sessions Brings Back Mandatory Marijuana Minimum Sentences
While President Trump campaigned as “the law-and-order candidate,” his ubiquitous, tough-on-crime rhetoric was surprisingly lacking in details. But actions can, as the saying goes, speak louder than words, and it’s not what President Trump has said since being elected, but rather what he’s done — namely picking Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general — that has  proven the biggest indicator of what his criminal justice policy will ultimately look like. And giving pause to all cannabis advocates, Sessions is bringing back mandatory marijuana minimum sentences.  Jeff Sessions reverses Obama-era prosecution guidelines As we’ve mentioned before, Candidate Trump repeatedly vowed that, if elected, he would defer to states’ rights on the issue of marijuana. Attorney General Sessions, however, is clearly moving in a more aggressive direction. Sessions has set a July 27 deadline for a Justice Department task force to review the country’s marijuana policies, and while it’s unclear what actions, if any, he plans to take in regards to medical marijuana, Sessions recently issued a memo overturning the sweeping criminal charging policy reform of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., directing federal prosecutors instead to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties. %related-post-1% In 2013, Holder issued a memo intended to reform America’s prisons via simple changes to the way drug cases were prosecuted. His goal was to prevent decades-long prison terms for people who were arrested with a small amount of drugs and weren’t dangerous, hard-core, and habitual criminals. Recognizing that the details of two different cases can be drastically unique, Holder rolled back the default position of the harshest possible jail term in all drug cases, while keeping the option available in cases involving, say, defendants who were devoted to a life of crime as part of a large-scale drug trafficking organization, cartel, or gang. Sessions’ memo removes that distinction. Now, like prior to the Holder memo, someone arrested with even a tiny quantity of pot could receive a life sentence if they already have two previous drug convictions of any kind.  Yes, that means mandatory marijuana minimum sentences could send someone to prison for life — a one-size-fits-all punishment that doesn't fit the crime.  One-size-fits-all sentencing “By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences,” Sessions wrote. Bypassing individualized consideration of circumstances in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach that matches sentencing guidelines “affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency,” he wrote. While prosecutors can still decide that a particular case doesn’t warrant a severe sentence, the memo states, an Assistant Attorney General or their U.S. Attorney must approve the more lenient sentence in writing. Prosecutors could make those calls themselves under the Obama Administration. Prosecutors are now also directed to follow federal guidelines of sentencing — which can exceed mandatory minimums — unless they get permission from a supervisor to seek a lesser sentence. %related-post-2% 
“There will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted,” the memo states. “In that case, prosecutors should carefully consider whether an exception may be justified.” Tougher sentences, increased prison populations 
The Holder memo isn’t the only directive that Sessions has reversed. The new policy will likely spur more federal prosecutions, as well as an increase in the federal prison population. And Sessions seemed to anticipate the boost in conviction, reversing a directive in February from previous deputy attorney general Sally Yates for the Justice Department to halt the use of private prisons to house federal inmates. Although the memo is disappointing, it isn’t all that shocking. Sessions is a very active soldier in the war on drugs whose views have remained unchanged despite the nation’s increased move toward more lenient marijuana legislation. As a senator, he regularly pushed back against bipartisan Congressional efforts to pass sentencing reforms that would serve to unify the views of the two administrations, and he even hinted that he would reverse Holder’s sentencing directives during his confirmation hearings. The discrepancies related to marijuana legislation are already considerable, and the Sessions memo does nothing to close the gap.
Marijuana Industry Booming. 2017 Could Hit $6 Billion In Sales
Marijuana Industry Booming. 2017 Could Hit $6 Billion In Sales
The legal marijuana industry is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, according to the 2017 Marijuana Business Factbook recently published by Marijuana Business Daily. 2016, a banner year for the marijuana industry When it was all said and done, the legal American marijuana industry hauled in an estimated $4 billion to $4.5 billion in 2016. That represents a jump of more than 30 percent over 2015 sales of medical and recreational marijuana in the United States. Business Insider put those sales numbers in perspective, telling that the marijuana industry outpaced “Viagra and Cialis, paid music streaming services, tequila, and Girl Scout cookies” in 2016. That’s a lot of Thin Mints. %related-post-1% What’s more, if the legal marijuana industry continues at its current clip, it will likely sprint past frozen pizza and ice cream sales soon. More record-breaking in 2017? Even on the low end, if projections are correct, 2017 will far surpass 2016 in the total amount of legal marijuana sales. The Factbook puts its estimate between $5.1 billion and $6.1 billion for the year. Casting an eye toward 2021, the legal marijuana industry could get as high as $17.1 billion thanks to recreational market additions such as California and Nevada. Legacy legal markets will continue to grow in their own right this year, says the Factbook, and Nevada’s July recreational launch will probably boost overall sales numbers sharply. This growth comes despite lingering uncertainty about how the Donald Trump administration will treat the marijuana industry. Additional marijuana industry trends Paul Ausick over at 24/7 Wall Street parsed out some additional findings from the Factbook. Of them, he notes: Investment deals in the industry are growing bigger, happening more frequently, and are larger in scope than before. 2017 could see more capital enter the market than ever before...combined. The cultivation portion of the market is getting saturated, especially in long-tenured legal states. This trend will likely push wholesale prices downward. Profits are longer in the making across the marijuana industry: “a year ago 70 percent of retailers said they broke even or made a profit in their first year of operation. That number fell to 55 percent in this year’s survey.”
Americans Yielding Global Marijuana Market To Canada 
Americans Yielding Global Marijuana Market To Canada 
So, who wants first dibs on the global marijuana market? America? No. Great Britain? No. Mexico? Hmmmmmm, no again. Next to the Netherlands, the United States’ northern neighbor is the only country getting a leg up on the global marijuana market that could eventually be worth a whopping $200 billion annually. O Canada, indeed. Will the U.S. legalize soon? While some cannabis optimists see legalization looming closely on the horizon in the States — U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has hypothesized that legalization could happen in as soon as five years — there is no shortage of hurdles standing in the way. And even if legal sales and consumption becomes reality in every state, even the boldest cannabis advocates aren’t sure what the federal government’s exact actions on those matters will look like. %related-post-1% In an April 2017 Inc. article, Rep. Blumenauer said, “I've stated and I strongly believe in five years every state will be able to treat marijuana like it treats alcohol.” Get that? He speaks of “every state,” not the actual federal government. And even if the U.S. government adjusts its stance on cultivation and sales, that and import/export legislation are completely different matters altogether. Canada’s first-mover advantage Which is something Canada has already worked out, and is why they have what Vanmala Subramaniam referenced in a recent Vice News report as the “first-mover advantage.” As Subramaniam puts it, that’s “when a few key players in a particular industry gain an advantage because they entered into the marketplace first. These companies are able to establish strong brand recognition, shore up the best sources of funding, and build a loyal customer base simply because there aren’t any competitors in the way during their first few years of operation.” And as of now, only two countries export cannabis for medical use: Canada and The Netherlands. So what that means is the four Canadian cannabis companies that export medical product — Cronos Group, Canopy Growth Corporation, Aphria, and Tilray — have a massive head start, laying the groundwork for global marijuana domination. Additionally, even though not all the regulatory wrinkles have been ironed out yet, Canada will likely legalize recreational marijuana nationally by summer 2018.  Quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek in April, Canopy president Mark Zekulin stated, “the longer U.S. prohibition remains in place, the more dominant the Canadian companies will become.” It’s as simple as that.
Marijuana Businesses Might (Finally!) Get To Use Banks
Marijuana Businesses Might (Finally!) Get To Use Banks
As the number of states allowing some form of recreational or medicinal cannabis use continues to increase, so does the awkwardness of the legal situation facing marijuana businesses, as well as the banks attempting to serve them. A new bill co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives, however, would allow banks to serve marijuana businesses without fear of reprisal from the federal government. With no banking, mo money = mo problems There are currently 29 states and two U.S. territories that have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. Among that group, eight states and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational pot use by people over 21 years of age. That relaxed legislation has led to an influx of licensed and regulated marijuana businesses — businesses that lack traditional access to the banking industry. That lack of access hampers their ability to accept credit card payments, make deposits, or write checks for things like payroll and taxes. It also jeopardizes the safety of employees of those businesses — employees who are forced to transport mountains of cash and are potential targets for criminals in the know. %related-post-1% While more and more states are relaxing marijuana legislation, banks who services legitimate cannabis-related businesses can find themselves facing criminal charges and civil liability for “aiding and abetting” a federal crime and money laundering under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and the law enforcement guidelines left over from the Obama administration don’t do much to clear up the situation. Traditional banking access can (literally) save lives Citing the increasing need to align state and federal marijuana laws, U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Don Young (R-AK) have introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) — a bill that would allow financial institutions to service cannabis businesses without fear of penalties from the federal government. “With the majority of states now allowing for some form of recreational or medical marijuana, we have reached a tipping point on this issue and it’s time for Congress to act,” Perlmutter says. “Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels.” The bill, formerly known as the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act, was previously introduced in 2013 and 2015, but went nowhere. Perlmutter and the other sponsors are optimistic that the bill would now be received favorably by Congress, however, citing the trend toward legalization, as well as the need to maintain the safety of those working in the industry. (Perlmutter cited the death of Travis Mason, a security guard who was shot and killed during the attempted robbery of a marijuana dispensary in Colorado last June.) “There’s just too much danger in the buildup of cash,” Perlmutter recently told The Cannabist. James Brush, CEO and president of California-based Summit State Bank, says he is personally “glad that marijuana has been legalized.” “I see a bright future for it,” he says. As a bank executive, however, Brush is forced to take a different stance. %related-post-2% Decriminalizing basic banking services Because cannabis remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Brush and most other bankers refuse deposits of cannabis-related cash. Banks rely on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for depositor insurance, and if they accept the typically large amounts of cash that marijuana businesses generate, they are highly likely to appear on the radar of federal regulators looking to stop money laundering and other financial crimes. With that said, Brush told the North Bay Business Journal that he recognizes that some sort of legal resolution is needed to clear up the discrepancies. “What if you have a commercial building and there’s a grower in there? Do you bank that? What if you had a borrower who has a loan with you,” then that borrower switches course and enters the marijuana, he wonders. “That issue is going to be huge.” What’s next for the SAFE Banking Act? Until such legislation is legislation is resolved, the vast majority of marijuana-related businesses will continue to bring in more and more cash with no banks to bring it to. The SAFE Banking Act could be a step in the right direction. A companion bill is expected to be re-introduced later this legislative session in the Senate. Here’s a copy of the federal marijuana banking bill.
Booze And Cannabis May Not Be Big Competitors After All
Booze And Cannabis May Not Be Big Competitors After All
For some time, a popular line of reasoning has been that legalized cannabis will make a massive dent in the alcoholic beverage market with consumers swapping one product for another. It turns out, however, that booze and cannabis may actually be the new peanut butter and jelly, not the competitors we once thought they’d be. How much will cannabis bite out of the booze market? Okay, let’s start with a qualifier: Cannabis will likely take away some business from the over-21 beverage world in the U.S. According to New York consulting firm the Anderson Economic Group (who has been analyzing the Canadian market) marijuana, when fully legalized, will peel roughly $160 million away from the booze market north of the American border. %related-post-1% That may seem like a lot of money at first blush, but when considering the Canadian adult beverage sector is worth some $22.1 billion, it’s a mere sliver. The Canadian beer market in its own right, worth about $9.2 billion of the total booze sector, will experience just a $70 million drop thanks to marijuana. Much consumer spending overlay Another New York firm, Deloitte (author of an earlier study suggesting more substantial cross-industry competition), suggests the Canadian cannabis market could be worth well over $22 billion annually, similar to the value of alcoholic drinks. Considering that hulking number, however, the approximate $160 million stripped away from booze sales won’t fuel the immense cannabis market alone. Nor will it substantially undercut alcohol. It’s looking more like booze and cannabis are complementary products with much Venn diagram overlay. Earlier in 2017, Foursquare reported that around 4/20 (the widely observed marijuana celebration day) liquor stores experienced a 36 percent increase in foot traffic while pub attendance jumped 92 percent in American states with legalized recreational marijuana. Those numbers suggest cannabis consumers don’t silo their marijuana use away from their alcohol consumption. What’s more, in that same Foursquare report, nightlife spots enjoyed near double-digit attendance upticks. At this point, marijuana industry future-gazing is still comprised of much hypothesis. But, it may not be too much of a gamble to suggest that cannabis could actually be an economic stimulant for complementary industries, rather than cannibalizing them. The new PB&J? Time will tell.
Marijuana Music: Top Tunes For Toking
Marijuana Music: Top Tunes For Toking
No smoke session is complete without the perfect marijuana music. Fortunately for tokers everywhere, there’s a stoner band or song for just about every genre imaginable. From blazed-out rap and hip hop to sludgy, droning stoner metal, there are plenty of bands ready to profess their love and affection for sweet Mary Jane — either directly or just in the vibe they send out. To help you tune in and mellow out, here’s a marijuana music starter set full of some of the most ganja-loving musicians out there. So, load up your playlists, pop in your earbuds, and then tell us what you think in the comments! Cypress Hill It is impossible to create a list of weed-loving musicians without including Cypress Hill. Trust us, we tried. And every time we circle right back around to “Hits from the Bong.” Seriously, this song is literally about how great it is to smoke and get stoned, complete with instructions on how to hit a bong. Add that to the bong rip sounds effects and the Dusty Springfield, “Son of a Preacher Man” sample and you’ve got straight fire." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, and Nate Dogg, “The Next Episode” Sublime Listening to just about 30 seconds of any Sublime album is enough for anyone to tell that these guys just loved weed. Their sound is tailor made for house parties and joint passing. Not to mention song titles like, “Smoke Two Joints” and “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” These guys put stoner ska rock on the map." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Slightly Stoopid — any/all of it. Willie Nelson Stoner music’s great-great-(great?)-grandfather. He deserves a spot on every single list like this one. A born rebel who has never shied away from telling everyone he loves weed, Willie is endearing for countless reasons, one being that he’s country music’s most lovable stoner." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Sturgill Simpson, “Turtles All the Way Down” Black Sabbath Simply put, stoner metal didn’t exist before Black Sabbath. Built on the back of guitar riffs that you can just picture sliding out of a low-lit, smoke-filled room and into your ears, Sabbath created and owned the bluesy sludge — and blazing guitar solos — that would inspire generations of metal bands to come." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Sleep, “Dragonaut” Bob Marley Another marijuana music no-brainer. Some of Marley’s weed anthems may have been lightly coded (re: “Kaya"), but no one ever, EVER, doubted his passion for marijuana and its spiritual benefits. Bob Marley’s name is emblazoned across everything from rolling papers to incense, and pictures of holding a joint with a smile on his face can be found just about anywhere. Let’s face it, the man was the living embodiment of what everyone loves about weed — feeling great, connecting with people, and enjoying nature and music." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Peter Tosh, “Legalize It” The Grateful Dead One of the best things about smoking weed is where your mind goes after you take a hit. All the thoughts you may not have had otherwise and rabbit holes you may not have ventured down. You know, consciousness-expanding. The real stuff. Lighting up and listening to the Grateful Dead is like hearing one of those mental journeys take place. The Dead’s songs, especially live versions, start out structured enough, but then grow into dynamic jam sessions before settling back down." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: The Allman Brothers — any/all of it. George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic Yet another stoner jam pioneer, George Clinton blazed the trail of drugged-out funk that helped birth hip hop. Seldom seen on stage without a joint, Clinton understands better than most that nothing sets the tone for a party quite like a heavy smoke sesh. His music and reputation as a hall of fame stoner has inspired countless rappers, including Outkast’s own Big Boi making him a go-to collaborator for THC street cred." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Rick James, “Mary Jane’ Wiz Khalifa The guy walked the red carpet at the 2017 MET Gala with a joint in his mouth. What other marijuana music street cred do you need? Oh, maybe this:" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> See also: Kid Cudi, “Marijuana”
Marijuana For Sleep. Is It Right For You?
Marijuana For Sleep. Is It Right For You?
Have you ever considered marijuana for sleep? No? Well, does this situation ring a bell? Here’s the scene: It’s Wednesday at 9:45 p.m. You’re halfway through the work week, and it’s already been grueling. All you’ve been looking forward to all day is that sweet, sweet moment when your head hits the pillow and you drift off into a glorious dreamland of puppies and rainbows (if that’s your kind of thing). This earlier-than-normal bedtime is exactly what you need. You snuggle up in your freshly washed sheets and rest that pretty little head of yours on your favorite pillow, and... --Record scratch-- %related-post-1% Now it’s 11:45 p.m. You’re still awake. Why are you still awake? It’s a full two hours after you hopped into this comfy bed, and you’re still awake? You have to be up at 5:30 a.m. to get to a morning coffee meeting with a potential client, and if you don’t get to sleep soon, you might sleep through the three alarms you set. Wait, did you set the alarms? Yes, you know you set the alarms — you just checked. JUST. GO. TO SLEEP. “It’s not that easy!” you say to yourself. Wait — when did you start talking to yourself? Is this normal? Should you see a counselor? Maybe you should Google it. You pick up your phone. IT’S TWELVE THIRTY. IT’S ALREADY TOMORROW. JUST. GO. TO SLEEP! Sound familiar? You're not alone.  According to the American Sleep Association, insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, impacting 30 percent of adults from time to time and 10 percent of adults chronically. Its causes span the gamut. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports anxiety, nasal allergies, arthritis, back pain, medication side effects, and even poor nutritional habits as causes of insomnia. Some individuals may find relief from insomnia by treating the specific symptoms of the conditions causing their sleep deficit, but for others, sleep aids are necessary. Sleep aids come in both over-the-counter and prescription forms and are used by nearly 9 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perhaps the most common over-the-counter sleep aid is melatonin, which is a hormone produced naturally in the body to regulate one’s circadian rhythm. While melatonin may work well for many with sleep disorders, the NSF reports that “when scientists conduct tests to compare melatonin as a ‘sleeping pill’ to a placebo (sugar pill) most studies show no benefit of melatonin.” For those who do not experience a noticeable improvement in their sleeping habits while taking melatonin, stronger medications may be recommended. Prescription sleep aids including widely recognized brands such as Ambien and Lunesta are known for their ability to help insomniacs fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. But for some, these medications cause unpleasant side effects. Stories of everything from sleep eating to sleep shopping to sleep driving (yes, driving while asleep and having no recollection of said act) have been reported. So, where is the middle ground? %related-post-2% Enter: Cannabis. Yes, marijuana for sleep. For individuals suffering from sleep disorders who find over-the-counter options to be ineffective, while prescription options on the other end of the spectrum prove to be too powerful, cannabis may be the happy medium. With so many strains of cannabis, it’s important to note that not all varieties will have the same effect on sleep. In fact, certain types of cannabis may cause users to be more alert, so a little research or trial and error may be necessary prior to self medicating with cannabis for sleep. Indica is the strain most commonly recognized for its effectiveness in helping insomniacs get to sleep, but those who use marijuana for sleep may find that they feel groggy the following day. Although scientific research is limited, it is believed that cannabis can limit the time spent in the final sleep stage, rapid eye movement or “REM sleep.” The National Institutes of Health explains that REM is crucial to retaining information, meaning that not getting enough REM sleep can limit one’s ability to remember information they learned prior to falling asleep. So keep that in mind as you consider your options. Is cannabis right for you? Sleep disorders are not currently recognized as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. However, professionals in dispensaries in legal states can provide guidance in choosing a strain that has sedative effects. It may turn out that using marijuana for sleep is a good fit for you. Happy snoozing.
Cannabis Events For The Enthusiast’s Calendar
Cannabis Events For The Enthusiast’s Calendar
4/20 is the signature cannabis holiday, but there’s a whole world of festivals and cannabis events out there taking place year round. As more states continue to legalize recreational weed consumption, more and more celebrations are popping up. Not to mention international opportunities to travel, toke, and enjoy all things green. Check our hit list of cannabis festivals, then grab a travel guide and start planning your ultimate globe-trotting marijuana excursion. The High Times Cannabis Cup High Times is arguably the most recognizable name in the weed industry. So naturally, the Cannabis Cup is one of the most popular pot events in the world. Going on 30 plus years of celebrations, the Cannabis Cup is now a series of domestic and international trade shows and competitions. Featuring locations from California to Rhode Island and Jamaica to Amsterdam, the Cannabis Cup is the must-do event for recreational and medicinal marijuana connoisseurs. %related-post-1% Cannabis Liberation Day Marking its 9th annual celebration in 2017, Cannabis Liberation Day is the premier of all Amsterdam cannabis events. And what good would a list of weed festivals be without the Dutch hemp hub? Hosted in Flevopark — Amsterdam’s greenest park — Cannabis Liberation Day features a cannabis university, masterclasses, world-renowned keynote speakers, and amazing music. The 2017 event will feature a keynote speech from Ricardo Baca from The Cannabist. New York City Cannabis Film Festival Good smoke and good movies go together like peanut butter and jelly. Enter the New York City Cannabis Film Festival. In its third year, this day-long festival features a potent blend of educational and entertaining cannabis cinema to build bridges between the marijuana and film communities. The festival also serves as a venue for local businesses and educators to host workshops that encourage attendees to get involved in entrepreneurial and continued decriminalization efforts. The Four-Twenty Games Who says all stoners are lazy couch potatoes? The Four-Twenty Games exist almost solely to refute this misconception. Hosted in 8 cities across the western U.S., the games were established to illustrate that weed can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Each event is headline by a 4.20 mile fun run and live music alongside a beer tasting tent, reps from industry heavy hitters, and skating and biking events. Lace up your running shoes and help tackle this faulty stigma about recreational pot use and users! National Cannabis Festival The nation’s capital plays host to one of the biggest cannabis events in the U.S. — the National Cannabis Festival. Founded in 2015 by a entrepreneurs, business leaders, cannabis enthusiasts, and policy reform advocates, the festival is a gathering of pro-legalization supporters from across the country. In 2016, more than 5,000 attendees enjoyed a day-long concert headlined by De la Soul, presentations from congressmen, contests, yoga, and more. The hits will keep coming in the 2017 festival, as hip hop artists Talib Kweli and The Pharcyde head up the entertainment and Dr. Jill Stein is slated to speak. %related-post-2% Spannabis Amsterdam may be the most well-known European cannabis destination, but Spain is home to arguably the largest cannabis celebration on the continent. Hosted in Madrid and Barcelona, Spannabis is a huge gathering of vendors in two of the most beautiful cities on the planet. And get this—Barcelona alone has more than 200 legal weed dispensaries. Join up with more than 3,000 of your closest friends and keep your eyes peeled for the festival’s more than 200 exhibitors. Spannabis covers everything from cultivation techniques to up and coming technology, as well as the latest strains from Spain’s leading weed companies. The 2016 festival also featured The Gathering of Cannabis Women organized for female business leaders and entrepreneurs to promote gender equality in the legal marijuana industry. California Cannabis Business Expo Most cannabis events focus on fun (of course) and working to effect policy change in legislation. While these events go a long way in tightening global communities of cannabis enthusiasts, another type of festival — ahem, conference — is on the rise: the Cannabis Business Expo. In legalized states cannabis is, very clearly, a business. Naturally more opportunities to learn the tricks of the trade and the nuances of building a legal weed business are growing. The California Cannabis Business Expo is one such event. Founded in Denver in 2015 as the Marijuana Investor Summit and Business Expo, the event moved to California in 2016. The 2017 event in San Jose is sure to be a crash course in hot topics guiding the growing recreational and medicinal pot industry in the U.S.
Will Recreational Marijuana Cannibalize Medical Dispensaries?
Will Recreational Marijuana Cannibalize Medical Dispensaries?
The introduction of legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon was met with much celebration. However, two years since recreational sales began, one group may not be as excited as the rest of the state’s cannabis fans: owners of medical dispensaries. How many medical dispensaries have closed? As reported by Marijuana Business Daily, more than 200 medical dispensaries have either phased into the recreational space or closed completely since the beginning of 2017 when the state untethered the recreational market from the medical. %related-post-1% To meet the new Oregon state rules that went into effect as the calendar flipped to 2017, if they wanted to serve recreational cannabis consumers, medical dispensaries were required to obtain an additional recreational license. If they did not, the medical businesses could only sell their cannabis products to clients holding a state-issued medical marijuana card. Fewer medical cards, less medical business That’s where things have gotten dicey for medical dispensaries. The Oregon medical cards are only good for a single year at a time, and since late-2015 the number of card holders in Oregon has shrunk from 74,531 to 61,659 by March 2017 (possibly due to the ease of accessing high-quality cannabis products without a card). New medical card figures will be released in July, but even if they hold steady there is another reason medical dispensaries may be opting to join the recreational market. It’s the number 440,000: the estimated tally of in-state recreational consumers. Some quick calculator-punching shows that, based on those numbers, there are some 378,000 more recreational consumers in Oregon than medical. The allure of grabbing a piece of that market share has proved to much for some former and soon-to-be-former medical dispensary owners. Is there a silver lining for medical dispensaries? But Eli McVey of Marijuana Business Daily suggests that could be a benefit to those choosing to stay in the medical realm. He writes that “as long as patient counts don’t fall to unsustainable levels,” the “rec market is quickly becoming saturated,” which means “a dispensary could find more success catering to a much smaller customer base given the relative lack of competition.” So there is a possible silver lining to all this for medical dispensaries. That said, what-ifs abound in the Oregon medical marijuana market, and it will likely be another year or so until we have a clearer idea of how these two separate but complementary markets impact one another.
Marijuana Legalization Looking Up South Of The Border
Marijuana Legalization Looking Up South Of The Border
Add Mexico to the list of countries that are seeing the light when it comes to marijuana legalization. In a move driven, in equal parts, by the medicinal potential of marijuana and a pressing need to curb drug-related violence, Mexico's Lower House of Congress has passed a bill that legalizes the use of marijuana and cannabis for medical and scientific needs. What's in the new bill? Last year, the Mexican government started granting permits that allow some patients to import medicinal marijuana products. The country also decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and issued several permits for people to cultivate and possess pot for personal use. Those permits only apply to the individuals who applied for them, however, and not the entire country. %related-post-1% The new marijuana legalization bill would not only authorize cultivation of marijuana plants for medical and scientific purposes, but also makes legal the purchase, sale, import, and export of products with concentrations of 1 percent THC or less. The new legislation will also hopefully help reduce violence among drug cartels that has plagued Mexico for decades. According to Rep. Arturo Alvarez of the Green Party, the new legislation “is a step in the right direction of exploring new alternatives of regulated, legalized, and supervised use, and can open up a new front for authorities to combat addictions and the violence that arises from the illicit activities of drug growing, trafficking and consumption.” Awaiting the president's signature The legislation, which now classifies the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as "therapeutic,” passed easily by a vote of 374-7 with 11 abstentions, is expected to be signed into law by President Enrique Peña Nieto. As Reuters reports, Peña Nieto, once a vocal opponent of legalization efforts, has more recently called drug use a “public health problem,” and says that users should not be criminalized. Last year, he proposed a bill — now held up in Congress — that would permit Mexicans to carry upwards of an ounce of pot, and he says that Mexico and the United States should be unified in their marijuana legislation. While the two nations are still considerably far apart when it comes marijuana legalization, Mexico’s bill and recent rule-making in the U.S. have brought them closer together. %related-post-2% North American marijuana movement Last year, five states in the U.S. wound up legalizing medical cannabis, bringing the total number to 28. Also, the number of states where recreational marijuana is legal doubled from four to eight. A measure that would have made Arizona the ninth state failed by a mere 2 percent at the polls. As the Motley Fool notes, expanded access in the U.S., coupled with Canada’s healthy medical marijuana industry, boosted legal pot sales in North America to $6.9 billion — an increase of 34%. Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001 (with recreational legislation now being considered), support for nationwide legalization in the U.S. has never been higher, and Mexico appears to blazing a similar trail. If this trend continues, North America could soon serve as a model — and inspiration — for legalization across the globe.
Marijuana Facts And Football: NFL Brushup Time?
Marijuana Facts And Football: NFL Brushup Time?
Is Roger Goodell the Jeff Sessions of the National Football League? Opponents of his stance on cannabis might wonder about it, as many believe the marijuana facts (sorry, "facts") he’s been trotting out lately read like soundbites of a bygone era — similar to the "facts" the U.S. Attorney General frequently uses. The NFL’s painkiller overreliance It’s no shocker that many NFL and former-NFL players have sustained life-altering injuries playing the sport they love. While the rewards of a lengthy, injury-free career can be great, few players actually achieve that reality. Most have an experience quite the opposite. %related-post-1% As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, between 2008 and 2016 the average career of an NFL player (across all positions) decreased substantially, from 4.99 years to 2.66 years. Wide receivers now have the shortest careers of all, averaging less than 2 years and 3 months. A few players, like former New York Jet D'Brickashaw Ferguson, have simply walked away from the game before being subjected to serious injury. Not all are as fortunate as Ferguson, however. Many are forced out of the sport by career-ending injuries or, as is becoming more frequent, the accumulation of head trauma in the form of concussions. Whatever the debility, NFL and former-NFL players rack up on painkiller prescriptions. If claims in a current lawsuit — filed by some 1,800 former players against the league — are accurate, the NFL pushes massive amounts of painkillers on injured stars who are not “informed of the long-term health effects of taking controlled substances and prescription medications in the amounts given to them.” Just how many painkillers does the NFL distribute? According to a CNN report, “in calendar year 2012, on average...each team was prescribed 5,777 doses of anti-inflammatories and 2,270 doses of narcotics. Considering that each team has 53 players, that could amount to about 150 doses of drugs per player each year.” That’s an astonishing amount. And what’s the benefit? According to a 2014 opioid study, not much. Or as the Washington Post summarized, “there's little evidence of benefit for treating chronic pain with opioids, but a there is a real risk of harm.” You needn't be well-versed in marijuana facts to see that isn't a desired result. And marijuana is bad? Yet no matter the pleadings made by numerous NFL voices — including the likes of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — league bigwigs are sticking to the “marijuana is bad for you” line. Even when new research (much discussed in this Washington Post piece) is being published highlighting “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” %related-post-2% Don’t tell that to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, though. On ESPN in April, Goodell justified his, and the league’s, take on cannabis by saying it’s addictive and that he “want(s) to make sure that the negative consequences aren’t something...we’ll be held accountable for some years down the road.” It’s hard to read the “held accountable” part there and not see that as code for “be sued.” In a litigious society, it makes sense that liabilities are a chief concern. That said, opioids deliver well-demonstrated negative consequences. Much worse, it is believed at this point, than any cannabis side effects. This single datapoint comparison is telling enough, related to marijuana facts: 0 — the number of recorded cannabis overdose fatalities ever 20,101 — the number of prescription painkiller deaths in one year (2015) Goodell also noted that “smoking” marijuana can’t be healthy, though he failed to mention the vast array of cannabis-infused products players could use in substitution for inhaling flower smoke. Will the NFL ever budge on marijuana use? The jury is still deliberating the scientific benefit/risk ratio (What are the chances for addiction? What are the impacts on the brain? How exactly will this help players?) of marijuana used as a substitute for traditional pain medications. Many more hard marijuana facts are needed. But advocates of its use are growing less patient with the NFL’s approach. %related-post-3% The day after Goodell’s ESPN interview, retired NBA all star, Cliff Robinson remarked that “cannabis can help players that are battling brain injuries, chronic pain, and other conditions. But rather than work on a policy that is based on science and compassion for players, the Commissioner appears to want to continue to enforce a failed policy, and in the process, push players towards more harmful substances like opioid painkillers.” Time will tell how this argument shakes out — most likely by the time the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement is redrafted after the 2020 football season.
Legal Marijuana Still Flowing Into Black Market
Legal Marijuana Still Flowing Into Black Market
Even at a time when legal marijuana sales are exponentially growing, the cannabis black market continues to thrive. Recent news coverage in Colorado and Oregon offers insight as to why this is happening. Oregon "diversion" rates booming Quoted by a Central Oregon news outlet recently, one anonymous Oregon farmer said he continues cultivating and selling product on the black market because, “one can make considerably more money for the same product.” According to the farmer, who sells roughly 100 pounds of illegal marijuana annually, “we ship it out of state, where we get much more money.” It’s practice called “diversion.” %related-post-1% By his estimates, a single pound of marijuana can fetch prices between $4,000 and $7,000 once it has been shipped to a state where cannabis remains illegal. With black market marijuana delivering such a massive return on investment, some estimates insist that up to 80 percent of Oregon’s marijuana exits the state for the East Coast. Colorado's leaking "damaged" product  In Colorado, the METRC program — used to track legal marijuana in the state’s seed-to-sale system — shows “leakage” into the black market. And while regulators say it’s difficult to estimate just how much legal marijuana has flowed into the black market, they have levied more than $680,000 in fines to licensees who’ve violated state law. One of the more prevalent infractions is when growers report a selection of their cannabis as damaged or contaminated and then sell into the untaxed and unregulated bootlegging world. Tax rates and the black market But whereas most black market product to date tends to leave legal states to states where marijuana remains illegal, some Coloradans are worried increased marijuana taxes will encourage increased intrastate black market transactions. As reported by the Denver Post, the state’s most recent spending bill includes what would be a special sales tax increase on recreational transactions, from 10 percent to 15 percent. %related-post-2% According to the Tax Foundation, recreational marijuana in Colorado is already taxed at the second highest rate in the county. Here’s how The Denver Post broke those numbers down: “The state’s cannabis consumers pay the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax plus a special 10 percent marijuana sales tax. A 15 percent excise tax applied on wholesale transfers is baked into the cost of sale. Under the legislative proposal, the increase to the 15 percent special sales tax rate is paired with the elimination of the 2.9 percent regular sales tax. So the move amounts to a 2.1 percentage-point tax hike for consumers.” Consumer spending habits As wholesale and retail prices of legal marijuana fall, which in turn increases consumer purchasing power, the risk of increased tax rates turning buyers to the black market likely decreases. However, basic economic principles apply to every market and one consumer realty transcends every industry: consumers like a good deal and will seek out opportunities to stretch their dollars.
Legal Marijuana Sales Continue Climbing
Legal Marijuana Sales Continue Climbing
Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke of “greater enforcement” when it comes to the marijuana industry. His remarks certainly caused plenty of hand-wringing by cannabis cultivators and consumers nationwide. But even in a time of federal uncertainty, legal marijuana sales numbers continue growing. The next great American industry Quoted in an April 2017 Yahoo! Finance article, Arcview Group — a cannabis industry funding matchmaker — CEO Troy Dayton proclaimed that “cannabis is the next great American industry.” He also said that federal meddling “may impact valuations of some companies, and it may affect who invests in those companies, but states will continue to give out licenses, and there will be a line of people outside those facilities looking to purchase” marijuana products. %related-post-1% Big receipts in the Centennial State Giving credence to Dayton’s claims, legal marijuana sales show few signs of slowing any time soon. Take, for example, Colorado, wherein March the state posted its tenth consecutive month of legal marijuana sales surpassing the $100 million mark. March's haul? $131.7 million. That's 48 percent more than March 2016. For the state, that means March 2017 alone padded the coffers with $22.9 million.  The previous month, February, were incredible as well. February receipts topped $126 million in the Centennial State. $86.4 million was recreational revenue, and the rest ($39.6 million) was for medical product. For perspective, February 2017 receipts were nearly 36 percent greater than February 2016, and the state collected about $17.5 million in taxes and fees for the one month alone. New records elsewhere But it’s not just a Colorado phenomenon. The Alaska Department of Revenue recently unveiled a March 2017 report showing the state has hit new highs of legal marijuana sales and production. Though not on par with Colorado retail numbers, Alaskans bought 225 pounds of flower and another 169 pounds of other parts of the cannabis plant. In all, those purchases contributed nearly a quarter million tax dollars to the state budget. And Oregon numbers for all of Q1 2017 show purchases hitting $101 million. That's 24% more than Q1 2016. %related-post-2% Lower wholesale costs, more consumption Back in Colorado, one of the most interesting nuances of their record-breaking sales numbers is the fact that they have been made against the backdrop of sinking wholesale marijuana prices. According to Cannabis Benchmarks, January 2017 wholesale prices in Colorado were 33 percent less than a year earlier. So how does Colorado keep its sales numbers high? Eli McVey of Marijuana Business Daily attributes it to two market forces: increased spending by existing users and new consumers making purchases. There could be other factors at play as well, but whatever they might be the end result is what appears to be a continued boom in legal marijuana sales.
Marijuana Jobs Poised For A Boom
Marijuana Jobs Poised For A Boom
As numerous industries decline in workforce numbers, the marijuana jobs market is poised for a boom. A multi-billion dollar market In 2016 the legal cannabis industry was worth roughly $7.2 billion, according to New Frontier Data, a Washington D.C. analytics firm. In their most recent annual report, New Frontier projects the cannabis industry to grow at a 17% annual rate. They also expect medical sales to increase from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion by 2020. But that’s just medical cannabis. Recreational totals will balloon as well, they say, from $2.6 billion to $11.2 billion during that same time. Tied to those sales forecasts, naturally, are marijuana jobs. %related-post-1% Marijuana jobs, jobs, jobs New Frontier isn’t shy about potential job-growth numbers, estimating that by 2020 the legal cannabis industry will create more than 250,000 American jobs — this only in states where marijuana is currently legal. As more states legalize cannabis, marijuana jobs projections will likely increase. And those jobs are desperately needed, especially when considering that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the manufacturing sector will lose 814,000 jobs, while utilities and government will shed 47,000 and 383,000 jobs respectively by 2024. According to Marijuana Business Daily there are between 100,00 and 150,000 legal marijuana jobs today. More jobs and good wages In Oregon alone, where both medical and recreational cannabis are legal, there are an estimated 12,500 marijuana jobs, according to Whitney Economics, an economic and management consulting provider. Those jobs contribute roughly $315 million in annual wages to workers across the state. The average wage of cannabis workers who actually touch the plant is $12.13 per hour. That’s 24% above Oregon’s minimum wage. Not too shabby for labor work. Just south of Oregon, in California, productive harvest trimmers make between $400 and $450 every workday, with the most exceptional trim laborers bringing in a $500 daily haul, according to farmers quoted in a 2017 ABC Radio story. As the industry normalizes, so too will employment needs, ranging from plant trimmers to budtenders (dispensary attendants), and traditional white collar jobs like accountants and marketing professionals.
Medical Marijuana Spending Outpaces Recreational
Medical Marijuana Spending Outpaces Recreational
Even in states where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, medical marijuana spending outpaces recreational receipts by a three-to-one margin. That’s according to a recent 400-page study released by New Frontier Data, a Washington D.C.-based analytics firm specializing in the cannabis industry. In The Cannabis Industry Annual Report: 2017 Legal Marijuana Outlook, New Frontier partnered with Baker Technologies, a CRM outfit, to examine some recent marijuana business trends in states such as California, Colorado and Oregon, while also making some predictions for the near to not-so-near future. %related-post-1% Why is this report important? Data analysis across the marijuana industry remains in its infancy, but as the legal landscape changes and capital flows into the space, experts insist that understanding studies like New Frontier’s are essential to cannabis business successes. "California offers the perfect example of why it is so important to understand trends in consumer behavior,” said New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer. “The state's legal industry is forecast to grow from $2.8 billion in 2017 to $5.6 billion in 2020. That spending will be increasingly directed at products and retailers who understand and serve the market's evolving tastes and preferences. The market is changing, and the most successful operators will be those who adapt most quickly to the change.” %related-post-2% Medical versus recreational spending Though medical marijuana versus recreational spending levels garnered most headline attention, the Annual Report is chock full of other helpful tidbits. For instance, while (in 2016) medical spends averaged $136 per transaction to a recreational average of $49 — helped by the fact that medical products tend to be pricier — medical users also shopped every 10 days as recreational consumers did so every 14 days. How do consumers, you know, consume product? New Frontier also shed light on a massively important insight into how consumers prefer to actually use marijuana. In the recreational market, demand for flower (smokable) products plunged from an 85 percent share in January 2016 to just 64 percent by the end of the year. On the medical side, it fell from 87 percent to 65 percent. If this trend holds steady, expect more investment in extraction methods and non-smokable product offerings. %related-post-3% The sky's the limit The Annual Report estimates medical marijuana sales will hit the $5.3 billion mark this year, which would be 67 percent of the entire legal cannabis market. By 2025 the medical sales total will pass the $13 billion threshold in today’s currently legal states. When new states join the legalization roster, that $13 billion number is expected to grow accordingly. As for recreational, the 2017 forecast is $2.6 billion in sales, and $10.9 billion by 2025. Tied to the marijuana boom, in the near and long term, is job creation. In one state alone, Oregon, New Frontier estimates that by 2020 legal cannabis will produce about 18,000 jobs. This number takes into account medical and recreational jobs, as well as those created by marijuana spinoff businesses. This year’s Annual Report demonstrates the resilience of an industry freeing itself from decades-long stigmatization. In the words of John Kagia, Executive Vice President of Industry Analytics for New Frontier, “These markets are growing very, very aggressively.”
The Faces Of Marijuana Legalization In The South
The Faces Of Marijuana Legalization In The South
During his campaign for president, Donald Trump repeatedly vowed that, if elected, he would respect states’ rights on the issue of marijuana legalization. However, President Trump’s choice for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has not only hinted that he’ll crack down on recreational pot use, but there are also serious questions regarding what actions he might take against medical marijuana, as well. While Attorney General Sessions has set a July 27 deadline for a Justice Department task force to review the country’s marijuana policies, the task force’s findings are likely to do little to stop the softening of attitudes about marijuana across the nation — especially among those in elected office. In fact, while private individuals and groups have been carrying the torch of legalization for years, legislators in the South are among some of the movement’s biggest faces. Here are a few of them: %related-post-1% TENNESSEE Marijuana legalization for recreational use might be years away in the Volunteer State, but medicinal marijuana could soon be legal in the state if State Rep. Jeremy Faison and State Sen. Steve Dickerson have anything to say about it. They are sponsoring legislation that would decriminalize the growing, manufacturing, dispensing, and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Supporting their efforts are Berlin Boyd, chairman of the Memphis City Council, and Terry Roland, chairman of the Shelby County Commission. Boyd calls the move “phenomenal,” and says “it's actually putting Tennessee in a position to be ahead of many other states that may follow." Roland, who says he didn’t support a local legalization ordinance because “it was hampering the efforts of the people in Nashville to try to get medicinal marijuana passed,” says he personally knows a cancer patient that “probably wouldn’t eat anything” without the help of medicinal marijuana. KENTUCKY Stores selling cannabidiol-rich products have been raided in Kentucky, and most of the state’s congressional members have been given poor ratings by NORML for their lack of support for any type of marijuana legislation. However, two Republicans, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, have been outspoken in their support of pro-marijuana legislation, and noted marijuana advocate and State Senator Perry Clark has been aggressively pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. While Clark’s Cannabis Freedom Act bill failed to pass in 2016, he has filed two new marijuana legalization bills, SB76 and SB57, which, if approved by lawmakers, could eventually be voted on by the people of Kentucky. %related-post-2% GEORGIA In 2015, Conservative Christian lawmaker, State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, presented a bill (later signed by Gov. Nathan Deal) that established the state’s medical cannabis program, which now allows more than 1,000 people with qualifying diagnoses to possess cannabis oil containing less than 5 percent THC. He also drafted drafted a bill (awaiting Gov. Deal’s signature) that would expand previous bill’s list of qualifying conditions. On top of that, Peake, who is the CEO of one of the nation’s largest franchise restaurant businesses, now helps to shepherd cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people in the state who, according to state law, are allowed to possess it, but who have no legal way of getting it.     Once a month, a box arrives filled with bottles of cannabis. Buying the cannabis directly would be illegal, so after he opens each box, Peake makes a significant donation — totaling roughly $100,000 each year — to a foundation in Colorado that supports medical cannabis research. Selling the oil would be illegal, too, so Peake gives it away, as there is no provision in the law prohibiting the gifting of cannabis oil. Peake says he doesn’t know who brings the oil into the state, and he doesn’t ask. And while he says he’ll never recover the money, he doesn’t care about that, either, as he says the satisfaction of helping people makes it all worthwhile. SOUTH CAROLINA Efforts to decriminalize marijuana in the Palmetto State date back to 2015, when Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort and House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, introduced legislation that sought to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. The pair had wanted to push for new legislation this year, but recognize that, despite definite progress on the issue, 2018 would be a better year to enact a new law. %related-post-3% At a recent news conference held by Compassionate SC, an advocacy group promoting medical marijuana legalization in the state, Davis said significant progress had been made during the 2017 session, and that even more will happen next year. “It’s a process that we’re in the middle of here,” he said. “And change doesn’t happen overnight. People’s preconceived notions of marijuana or cannabis are not changed overnight.” Rutherford’s words were even more blunt, as he believes it’s past time to change the law. “The FDA is moving too slow for those parents who have children that are suffering,” he said. “The FDA is moving too slow for those people who are suffering from cancer who are simply trying to have an appetite so that they can eat.” VIRGINIA Virginia might be lagging behind other states when it comes to legalization, but things are changing on multiple fronts. Jeff Fogel, an advocate for decriminalization who is currently running for Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney, has pledged that, if he is elected, he will not prosecute minor possession cases. In 2017, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a law ending automatic driver's license suspension for first-time offenders, and also signed a bill permitting pharmacies to produce low-THC cannabis oil for patients with epilepsy. And in February, Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana. "Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California," Garrett wrote in a statement. Also, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, who once opposed decriminalization, now says it is “absolutely crazy that we continue to lock people up for possession of a modest amount of marijuana.” Norment was instrumental in convincing the Virginia State Crime Commission to launch its current decriminalization study regarding recreational use, medicinal use, and what other states are doing to regulate marijuana. It's not secret that marijuana legalization landscape is ever-changing. The Sugar Leaf will keep you up to date on notable developments across the South and the rest of the country.
Marijuana Effects On Consumer Behaviors
Marijuana Effects On Consumer Behaviors
As the legal cannabis industry grows in the United States, so to does interest in how marijuana effects consumer behaviors. Both the recreational and medical use of the substance stimulates purchases of complementary goods, and in an age of data-driven product positioning the smart marketers of compatible goods and services need to know how to best tether their businesses to cannabis spending. Earlier in April the team at Foursquare, a phone app that delivers localized and personalized consumer recommendations to its users, offered some insights into this fast-developing retail world. How did they do it? By analyzing anonymized profile activity during the internationally celebrated 4/20 “holiday,” Foursquare was able to track some telling spending trends among cannabis users. %related-post-1% Fast-food and pub stops Some of the consumer marijuana effects could be expected. For instance, on April 20 marijuana dispensaries enjoyed a dramatic uptick in their bottom lines as their average business grew 76 percent on that day alone. And few would be surprised to learn that fast-food chain restaurants in general experienced a 20 percent jump in business, while visits to pizza establishments grew by 11 percent. Foursquare’s Sarah Spagnolo also noted that attendance at nightlife venues increased by 8 percent, liquor stores were trafficked 36 percent more, and that “pubs were up by a whopping 92 percent compared with the prior week.” So much for the stereotype of cannabis users being homebody couch potatoes. Social butterflies and thrill seekers In a Foursquare blog post, Spagnolo explained that “interestingly enough, nightlife spots in Oregon (which includes every type of bar, lounge, club and brewery) were unaffected” during a two-year study period between 2015 and 2016. "In fact, they experienced a 3% growth in year-over-year foot traffic, right on par with national nightlife industry trends.” Cannabis users are also, according to the research, a very active group. In the states where Foursquare conducted their study (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington), dispensary goers were more likely to visit ski resorts, climbing facilities, sports stadiums, and bike shops than the average Foursquare subscriber. %related-post-2% Millennials and baby boomers alike Marketers are always interested in the age of their customer profile. When it comes to dispensary visitors, though, all age brackets are well-represented. What’s more, the two age ranges with the strongest patronage percentages are at almost the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, Millennials and Baby Boomers. Take a look: 20-to-24 years old 14% 25-to-34 years old 32% 35-to-44 years old 21% 45-to-54 years old 10% 55 and older 23% Odd, ends, and takeaways It’s also worth noting that men and women had almost equal representation at dispensaries. Men made up 52 percent and women 48 percent of the customer base. And as for libation pairings, 4/20 revelers prefer draft beers, pale ales, IPAs, and “fancy cocktails.” Perhaps the biggest thing marketers and industry watchers must consider is that data collection around the marijuana effects on consumer behaviors is in its earliest stages. That said, Spagnolo urges the alcohol and nightlife industries to watch developing trends closely and be flexible to accommodate the evolving landscape. The same might be applied to restaurants and other industry sectors looking to piggyback on the cannabis boom.
Medical Marijuana Benefits: Stories Of Interest In 2017
Medical Marijuana Benefits: Stories Of Interest In 2017
While it’s well-known that medical marijuana benefits individuals in every life stage — from children with epilepsy to adults with chronic pain — the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. In other words, medical marijuana is lumped together with substances such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. (For some additional perspective, meth and cocaine are considered lesser Schedule II drugs, while Schedule III includes Tylenol with codeine and anabolic steroids.) And although cannabis has maintained its Schedule I classification since it was originally labeled in the 1970s, these stringent federal regulations haven’t kept medical professionals in the U.S. from exploring medical cannabis as a viable treatment option for a wide variety of ailments in children, adults, and the elderly. %related-post-1% Here are some of the more interesting stories we’ve heard related to medical marijuana benefits so far in 2017: Skin Cancer Treatment with Topical Oils: A recent article in the Baltimore City Paper explores the story of Laurie Gaddis, a self-proclaimed “medical marijuana refugee” who moved from Arizona to Colorado so that she could legally test a concoction of THC extracts in lotion form, as well as ingestible THC oil. And Gaddis says the treatment has worked: She was diagnosed in 2008 and has yet to undergo a single round of chemo or radiation therapy. Chipping Away at the Opioid Epidemic: Statistics about opioid use are staggering: 1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid,” a statistic that the CDC explains quadrupled between 2000 and 2015. 2. The National Institutes of Health reports that a baby is born every 25 minutes suffering from opioid withdrawal. 3. The CDC estimates that just 27 percent of people using prescription opioid medications are actually using their own prescription. The list goes on. But the future isn’t as dismal as it seems. A quick Google search about opioid abuse will return almost as many stories touting the benefits medical marijuana as a way to kick an oxycodone or hydrocodone habit. %related-post-2% One article in Baton Rouge’s The Advocate explores the battles of a former New Orleans police officer, Jerry Kaczmarek, who suffered injuries in the line of duty that ultimately led him into a years-long battle with prescription painkillers, which affected his health and placed significant strain on his personal relationships. When nothing else seemed to help, Kaczmarek turned to strains of cannabis that targeted his pain and eased withdrawal symptoms. No longer an opioid user, Kaczmarek says, “Cannabis saved my life.” Another recent piece by NORML, an organization working to reform marijuana laws,  focuses on the results of a formal research partnership between the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia in Canada, in which 32 percent of the study’s participants reported “using cannabis in lieu of opioids.” Minimizing the Symptoms of Dementia in Alzheimer’s Patients: Although federal regulations are proving to be a significant challenge, medical professionals at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies are exploring the benefits of medical cannabis in the treatment of Alzheimer's. Preliminary research demonstrates a positive correlation between medical cannabis and a reduction of plaque and inflammation in the brain. Additional small-scale studies from other organizations report that THC may offer benefits such as enhanced lucidity and a reduction in aggressive behaviors in individuals with Alzheimer’s. As of right now, it seems researchers have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. And if that’s any indication of what’s to come, it’s safe to say many more medical marijuana benefits will be uncovered.
Marijuana Podcasts: An Earworthy Top 5 List
Marijuana Podcasts: An Earworthy Top 5 List
Whether you’re on your daily commute or counting down the hours until quitting time at the office, podcasts are a great way to blend entertainment and information about virtually any topic, cannabis included. From legislation updates, strain reviews, and business tips to heady conversations and silly banter, this list of top 5 marijuana podcasts has something for everyone. So pop in your earbuds and get listening! And if you think we need to add some marijuana podcasts to our list, feel free to add your suggestion in the comments below. %related-post-1% The Cannabist Show Launched as an online, cannabis-centric offshoot of The Denver Post in 2013, The Cannabist quickly established itself as a primary resource for marijuana news, culture, product reviews, and much more. The first episode of The Cannabist Show podcast went live April 2015 featuring host and industry pro Ricardo Baca—the first full-time marijuana editor for a major American newspaper. With Baca at the helm, The Cannabist Show helped define and cover cannabis culture and introduce the world to some of the industry’s movers and shakers, both in legislation and entrepreneurship. Now hosted by The Cannabist contributor Jake Brown, The Cannabist Show continues to offer compelling interviews mixed with a healthy dose of wit and humor. Getting Doug with High Actor and comedian Doug Benson put himself on the pot-advocacy map with his 2007 documentary Super High Me. In 2013, Benson decided to take to the airwaves with his personal blend of pot journalism and Getting Doug with High was born. The show follows a simple formula: welcome celebrity guests, smoke with them, and then chat. It sounds pretty straightforward, but the mix of Benson’s humor with potent weed and entertaining celebs—past guests include Jack Black, Aubrey Plaza, and more—is about as entertaining as it gets. Regular segments on the show include High History, in which guests discuss the first time the ever smoked, Pot Topics that covers legalization and decriminalization across the US, and a quick-fire trivia round called Pot Quiz Hot Shot. And if video is more your style, you can also stream all of Doug’s shows over at Youtube. It's a "must" for any Top 5 marijuana podcasts list. %related-post-2% CannaInsider Cannabis means a lot of things to a lot of people. For many, it’s a lifestyle. For others, it’s vital medication. But more increasingly, marijuana is becoming a business opportunity. No matter what your views on the growing marijuana industry may be, seeing its advent and growth to this point is exciting and intriguing. That’s where CannaInsider comes in. Each episode features founder Matthew Kind discussing a relevant aspect of the growing marijuana market with an industry heavy hitter. Kind covers everything from disruptive market trends, product packaging tips, and dispensary best practices to up and coming technology designed for individual users, all  packed with perspectives from the people who are pushing the industry forward. CannaInsider is a go-to resource for what’s next in legal and medicinal marijuana business. The Russ Belville Show The self-proclaimed “chief debunking officer” over at weednews.co, “Radical” Russ Belville started his podcasting career in 2008 when he took over NORML’s Daily Audio Stash show. In the years since, Belville has hosted well over 1,500 podcast episodes and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. The host of his own show on cannabisradio.com, Belville claims to be “The Voice of the Marijuana Nation,” so it’s not surprising that legalization, decriminalization, and politics tend to be primary topics of his focus. Belville dives into the tiny details of up and coming pot legislation and seeks to keep listeners aware of how these changes may affect their lifestyles. Never one to pull any punches, Belville is all too willing to inject his signature rants into his episodes. It my not be for everyone, but Belville’s show hits the balance between news, opinion, and entertainment. %related-post-3% The Hash Production quality can be a make or break for many podcast listeners. For those with discerning ears and an interest in all things green, The Hash is likely their show of choice from this marijuana podcasts list. The Hash checks all of the boxes for a marijuana journalism outlet: news, culture, reviews, interviews, and so much more. Each episode not only seeks to be informative, but to tell the personal stories behind the industry and the people driving it forward. But what sets the show apart is its attention to detail. And you’d expect nothing less from a crew that includes seasoned cannabis journalists and former Cannabis Now editor David Downs. The Hash is equal parts education, entertainment, and lifestyle, and the results couldn’t be more engaging. Be sure to bookmark this site, because you’ll want to listen to every episode.
Marijuana's Public Support Still Rising
Marijuana's Public Support Still Rising
It’s clear. Fewer people than ever fear reefer, let alone reefer madness, as marijuana's public support has reached an all time high in a new opinion poll. A CBS News poll released this April reveals that a whopping 61 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal. That’s a five percentage point increase over the poll’s record breaking 2015 results. What’s more, 88 percent of survey respondents approve medical marijuana use. %related-post-1% Only a quickly diminishing 33 percent believed marijuana should remain illegal. The CBS News findings infer two growing trends related to marijuana's public support. The first is that marijuana, in general, is becoming less stigmatized as the years pass. Once widely viewed through a controversial lens, now the plant seems to have been normalized in the popular American mind. And second, folks are growing more appreciative of marijuana’s medical benefits, valuing it in a greater context than represented in old Cheech and Chong films.  61 percent support full legalization 88 percent support medical legalization 76 percent of millennial approve legalization 71 percent oppose federal interference in state marijuana laws 65 percent feel marijuana is the least dangerous "drug" But the recent results highlight more than just overall pot approval ratings. Additional findings Over 71 percent think the federal government should defer to state laws on marijuana matters. Politically speaking, opposition to federal interference is bipartisan (remember that word?), as self-identified Republicans (63 percent), Democrats (76 percent), and independents (72 percent) prefer Washington D.C. allow state legislatures take the lead on cannabis laws for now. Also, 65 percent of poll participants view marijuana as less dangerous than other drugs—notably, 53 percent see alcohol as a more harmful substance—while more than three-quarters see absolutely no connection between legalization and crime increase. %related-post-2% Historical trends Americans have changed their minds about marijuana dramatically over the past four decades. When CBS News first polled marijuana's public support in 1979, only 27 percent felt it should be legal. Yet it wasn’t until post-2010 that sentiments began their striking shift. In 2011, just six years ago, legalization enjoyed only 40 percent support. By 2013 that number snuck up to 45 percent, but it wasn’t until 2014 that a majority (51 percent) gave legal marijuana the thumbs-up. During the past three years, however, approval numbers have skyrocketed as more than three-fifths of Americans have made their peace with marijuana. Given that trending, it may come as no surprise that the age demographic least supportive of legalization is the 65-and-older bracket (37 percent), while Millennials are the most favorable (76 percent). The three age groups in between all approved legalization at, or above, the 60 percent threshold. CBS poll not an outlier CBS News polling is not alone showing marijuana favorability trends. A Gallup survey from October 2016 reflected a 60 percent approval rating for marijuana legalization, and a Pew poll from the same month had it pegged at 57 percent. Gallup’s marijuana poll extends back farther than the CBS version by a decade. In its first pot poll in 1969, Gallup recorded a mere 12 percent of Americans favoring legal weed. Throughout the 1980s and well into the 90s, pro-legalization sentiment could never quite clear the 30 percent plateau. But since opinions began turning, they have done so in a decided fashion. Since 1995, when a only a quarter of respondents gave the head nod to Gallup, approval numbers have climbed steadily with the exception of a handful of years. In the single year between 2012 and 2013, legalization favorability percentages increased as much as they did in the quarter century between 1980 and 2005. While the Donald Trump administration has yet to take a decisive marijuana stance, Americans seem to be sending a very clear signal: public support for marijuana is only going to become more resolute.  
Medical Cannabis For Crohn’s Disease
Medical Cannabis For Crohn’s Disease
Evidence is mounting highlighting benefits of cannabis for Crohn's disease patients and sufferers of other inflammatory bowel diseases. What is Crohn's disease? According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affect approximately 1.6 million Americans, and as many as 70,000 new diagnoses are made each year. For individuals suffering from Crohn’s and IBD, the symptoms are often debilitating: severe stomach cramps, chronic fatigue, diarrhea, fever — and in many cases, sufferers may not even be able to pinpoint all of the triggers of their flare-ups, meaning they are unable to identify (and avoid) foods and environmental factors that may exacerbate symptoms. Like other autoimmune disorders, the primary cause of discomfort for Crohn’s and IBD sufferers can be attributed at a basic level to inflammation — which in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to ulcers and a narrowing of the intestines called stricture. In many patients, these complications and others may lead to an inability to pass gas or stool, further worsening the pain and discomfort associated with their conditions. %related-post-1% Hope for relief Crohn’s disease was formally identified in the 1930s, and until recently, treatment options for Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases have been focused on relieving symptoms. Medications prescribed for Crohn’s include antibiotics, biologics, corticosteroids, and immunomodulators — and unfortunately, medications in each of these classes come with their own laundry lists of negative side effects. Acne, diarrhea, vomiting, upper respiratory infection, swelling, weight gain, headache, gas, hair loss — the list goes on. A quick glance at the “side effects” sections of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s IBD medications list sheds light on just how serious the negative impact of these medications can be. In recent years, however, researchers have discovered that cannabinoids may play a role in leveling out the body’s autoimmune response, thereby reducing inflammation in Crohn’s and IBD sufferers. Preliminary research indicates that chemicals in medical cannabis can react positively with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in minimizing the overactivity of the inflammatory response in Crohn’s and IBD sufferers. Favorable observational evidence  %related-post-2% Research to determine the specific correlation between medical marijuana and its impact on the inflammatory response is limited. Most studies have been completed on a very small scale or have never made it past the phase of testing results in laboratory mice. But despite the fact that federal regulations keeping cannabis locked into its role as a Schedule I drug have prevented testing on a larger scale, many states already identify Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases as qualifying conditions for access to medical cannabis. As IBD sufferers in cannabis-legal states find relief from their symptoms — some reporting such dramatically positive results as several years of remission from the symptoms of their disease — this observational evidence has proven to be convincing enough for other individuals searching for an alternative to traditional treatments. And although some medical professionals still caution the use of medical cannabis for Crohn’s and IBD due to its lack of clinical evidence, sufferers weighing the potential pros and cons in comparison to their existing medications seem to find the anecdotal stories of their peers as evidence enough to seek out medical cannabis as a viable treatment option. Cannabis for Crohn's: What’s next? As more states legalize medical cannabis and continue recognizing inflammatory bowel diseases as qualifying conditions, we anticipate that the number of people who try medical cannabis for Crohn's and other IBD relief  will only rise. And while anecdotal evidence isn’t a replacement for controlled research studies, there is something to be said for consistent similarities in individual results. The Sugar Leaf will continue following the latest stories in IBD and medical cannabis and keep our readers up to date.
What Is The Medical Value Of CBD?
What Is The Medical Value Of CBD?
As is the case with most things related to cannabis, the full medical value of CBD (cannabidiol) is to be determined. But we’ll get you caught up to speed on its current uses here, starting by answering the question, “What is CBD?” First thing’s first, what is CBD? CBD is one of the many cannabinoids, which are active compounds, found in cannabis. Some cannabinoids are psychoactive (like THC), and others aren’t (like CBD). Cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 in the endocannabinoid system receptors of your brain. The first ones are located within the nervous system, the brain and nerve endings. The second ones are located within the immune system. When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids attach themselves to the receptors, causing different physical and psychological effects. Every cannabinoid has a different effect on consumers. That’s why each strain of cannabis will make you feel different. It all depends on how much of each cannabinoid is present in your product, and also on how sensitive you are to these particular compounds. %related-post-1% What is the most popular medical value of CBD? CBD is often used to treat medical conditions. One