The Sugar Leaf

Insights from across the cannabis industry
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.
High Notes: Marijuana News Nuggets <br> Volume 1

High Notes: Marijuana 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 marijuana news. Here are five marijuana 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 marijuana 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.
First Impressions From California’s Commercial Cannabis Rollout

First Impressions From California’s Commercial Cannabis Rollout

California's commercial cannabis rollout was the big New Year's marijuana headline. How did it go, and what have we learned so far? Imagine, after many years of anticipation, you finally receive an invitation to that big party. You’ve been dressed up and ready to go for as long as you can remember. In the interim, you’ve been pregaming, or perhaps pre-celebrating. Then, hey — you discover this invite isn’t for tonight at all. It’s for next week. Is it time to celebrate, or time to just go about your business as usual? If some of the joy and magic of California’s rollout of commercial adult-use cannabis sales feels muted, and more like a somewhat-momentous, mostly functional trip to the store, it’s partially due to this pattern of long, drawn-out anticipation and irregular, somewhat anticlimactic fulfillment. %related-post-1% The first sales of recreational marijuana in California were Jan. 1 — four years after people lined up in the freezing cold and snow in Colorado in order to be the first-first — but this was a limited-engagement fete. Sales weren’t at every dispensary, and not in every city. Though a few San Francisco dispensaries went live on Jan. 6 after sales began in Berkeley and Oakland across the Bay, Los Angeles is still dark. Now, one-by-one, a few more “grand openings” are trickling out, as soon as dispensaries receive the green light from state bureaucrats and print out the permit. How many “first day” parties can you possibly expect to greet with the same enthusiasm? As it turns out—quite a few. Legal marijuana is really popular — and cannabis consumers don’t care about being up early, or first in line You hate to fuel a stereotype, but…legal marijuana consumers are either relaxed enough to feel no sense of urgency, or they have plenty to do in the morning before hitting the dispensary. Or perhaps, as the Sacramento Bee opined, after capital-era dispensaries opened their doors to a few die-hards and some crickets, “Californians are too cool to line up for weed.” As usual, the truth is somewhere in between. While “hundreds” lined up outside Oakland’s Harborside in the predawn dark and cold on Jan. 1, in San Francisco, just a handful of people were queued up outside The Green Cross and The Apothecarium when they opened at 8 and 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, respectively. But then — more came. And more. And more. By lunchtime, lines were stretching longer and longer. At Green Cross, “85 percent” of visitors were new customers. All this long, drawn-out exposition has translated into less need to “be the first,” but there’s no denying legal cannabis is a popular draw. In a state that’s been saturated with marijuana for decades, in a marketplace some feared was already full — “everybody who needs or wants weed already has some” was a common line — there’s still ample room for excitement and novelty. That exhale you just heard was a sigh of relief from entrepreneurs. Legal marijuana is really, really, really expensive. Maybe too expensive There’s just no getting around it. Legal commercial-grade California cannabis is not cheap — just as business leaders and analyst warned us. On Jan. 1, one fellow forked over $100 for four-and-half grams, a price point that could have brought home a half-ounce less than a month prior at The Emerald Cup. %related-post-2% Such is the cost of going legit. State and local sales taxes, excises taxes, and cultivation taxes add an estimated 40 percent to the cost of legal marijuana. This means $70 eighths and $500 ounces — before sales tax — are common sights, even as California is supposedly drowning in a biblical oversupply. (Not all of that cannabis is ready for the legitimate market, you see.) The fear is that legal cannabis will price low-income people, especially sick patients, out of the legal market and drive them back to “their guy” on the street. That may happen, but be honest: Most of us would rather pay more for the convenience and assurance of going to a store rather than deal with all that. Everybody is going to try to make money off of this — everybody Hustlers built what we’ve come to know as modern-day California. Their legacy is still with us. The Gold Rush-era companies still in business made their first mint marketing gear to minors. Their spirit is alive if not eye-rollingly stale in Jack-in-the-Box’s very creative $4.20 “Munchie Meals,” a promotion hatched with Snoop Dogg’s Merry Jane lifestyle brand. Other big corporate types that may have disavowed or eschewed any connection to scary, illegal cannabis will follow suit in their quest to make an ancillary buck off of California’s estimated $7 billion pot market. Isn’t it funny how quickly something can be mainstreamed when there’s money involved? O.G.s will note, accurately, that weed hucksterism isn’t exactly new — it’s just migrating from cheap Venice Beach kitsch to slick Madison Avenue machines. We are drowning in plastic When sales went live on Jan. 1, a bevy of new rules went into effect along with them. Among them is a requirement for all cannabis to be put into a child-proof container. Dispensaries already had stocks of glass jars, pill bottles, plastic bags, and other containers ready to go — how do you lock those up, exactly? The “solution” has been to put everything into an opaque, “child-proof,” harder-than-normal to open plastic bag — and we mean everything, from single-serving edibles and modest grams to large purchases. %related-post-3% Times like these are when California regrettably descends into self-parody. We can see the logic of keeping edibles away from children, but as many others have noted, alcohol and cigarettes aren’t held to the same standards — and raw marijuana, remember, has very little THC. Dispensaries and brands are working on integrating child-proofness into their supply chains, but until then, be prepared for this polyethylene silliness.   This is prologue. Everything is moving fast, and everything could change again A few days after legal sales began Jan. 1, a Sacramento-based cannabis compliance company committed a legendary self-own, advertising a party that did not comply with state law. But really, they should be forgiven. Life (and rules) are coming out fast and hard. The state managed to come up with “emergency” regulations only six weeks before the big day. If you didn’t like them, good for you: non-emergency rules will be “finalized” sometime in the next few months. Anyone expecting that to be the final-final is fooling themselves. Haggling over taxes, regulations, packaging, testing will take years. Speaking of testing: Cannabis purity requirements haven’t even come into effect yet, and won’t until the summer! In other words, the market has a few disruptions yet to come, and those are the ones we know about. To return to the metaphor and bash it to bits, this party is still barely in the cocktail and hors d'oeuvres stage.  
Cannabis In 2018: Starting The New Year With A Bang

Cannabis In 2018: Starting The New Year With A Bang

We kicked off the new year with a lot of celebrating, some interesting new projects, and a cannabis smoke session on live national TV. But there was also some intriguing news, which might impact states where cannabis is legal. Here’s a little recap of the whirlwind-like first few days of cannabis in 2018. California goes recreationally legal People in California didn’t only celebrate the beginning of a new year, but also the legalization of recreational cannabis. Sounds like a great New Year’s party! After Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada, California finally joined the recreational club on January 1. All adults (21 and over) can now buy cannabis and cannabis-based products in dispensaries across the state where municipalities permit recreational cannabis sales.  CNN celebrated cannabis on New Year’s Eve...on live national TV CNN reporter Randi Kaye seemed to have a great night while waiting on 2018 to arrive. In Colorado, recreational cannabis can be bought legally, and that’s where the cannabis party took place, on live TV. Even though we’re not really used to seeing people smoke on TV, it was a great way to show that the effects of cannabis are laughter and great fun! Jack in the Box shows it knows the perfect cannabis complement The fast food chain partnered with the website Merry Jane to create a fun promotion which will (unfortunately) only last a week, from January 18 to January 25. The “Merry Munchie Meal” sounds to be the perfect snack for when you’re enjoying a nice joint. Tacos, mini churros, crispy chicken strips, a side composed of curly fries and onion rings, and of course a drink is all you’ll need to kill the munchies. And who knows, maybe other fast food chains or even local restaurants will get inspired by this. Mike Tyson gets in on canna-tourism Mike Tyson has recently started working on a new cannabis project: the “Tyson Ranch.” The 40-acre cannabis-themed resort will have cultivation facilities, a hydro-feed plant and supply store, a factory for edibles, extraction facilities and “glamping” campgrounds and cabins. He hopes his new project will help with medical research on cannabis, as well as give jobs to former armed forces veterans. So basically this place could create new jobs, as well as provide an awesome vacation — that’s a win/win in our book. Record scraaaaaaatch — thanks to Jeff Sessions The first week of the year, unfortunately, also started with some stressful news when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he “will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law,” by rolling back the Cole Memo, an Obama-era directive that helped pave the way for the growth of the legal cannabis industry in the United States. It’s yet to be seen how much Sessions’ move will impact the industry, but our fingers are crossed for the best. The story of cannabis in 2018 will largely hinge on the downstream impact of this move.  Following cannabis in 2018 will likely be a wild ride. And if the first week of the year is any indicator of what's to come, we should all buckle up.
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.
Symphony Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 1

Symphony Music For Marijuana
Volume 1

Symphony Music For Marijuana, Volume 1 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 symphony 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, Symphony 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 (technically not symphony music, but that's okay). 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 the next installment of Symphony 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.
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.
Cannabis In A Commodity Market

Cannabis In A Commodity Market

Corn and cannabis: They're both agricultural commodities, but they experience very different market circumstances. What's the difference, and what does that mean for cannabis growers? Take a trip across the United States and you will be bluntly confronted with a major reality: this nation is all cornfields, from sea to shining sea. Understanding the law of supply and demand, and the effects on the cannabis market, one would assume that with such massive production of corn, prices should be rock bottom. They are low, but they aren’t bottoming out and never will, under currently policy. Corn as a commodity provides the perfect insight as to what cannabis should and shouldn’t look like in a future commodity market. %related-post-1% So, what exactly is an agricultural commodity? Let’s break it down. First, a “commodity” is defined as a “raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold; such as copper or coffee.” The markets for copper and coffee are different however. Copper, like oil or gold, is supplied by the earth itself. She isn’t making more of it fast enough for us either, making those resources “finite” or naturally limited by the amount already in existence. Prices for agricultural commodities like coffee fluctuate from harvest to harvest. If coffee prices rise, more farmers joining the market can bring them down. If prices fall too low for coffee, less farmers will be incentivized to grow it. U.S. farmers now produce 32 percent of the world’s corn supply. Corn did not make its way to every corner of America because demand was increasing exponentially, but because the federal government subsidizes production. The reason for this is because governments around the world subsidize the production of agricultural commodities to ensure the stability of food supplies. Farming is tricky business. No matter how dedicated a farmer is or how good his or her produce is, unpredictable weather and uncontrollable external supply production could drop prices so low the farmer goes out of business entirely and stops producing. In order to ensure farmers keep farming their crops year-over-year, despite fluctuating prices, the government pays some farmers of agricultural commodities to ensure they profit enough to keep planting. Corn as a commodity in the United States By definition, however, to be a “commodity” corn needs to be the building block of something else. With Americans growing more corn than they can eat, they have to use it for other purposes. Corn is a food that humans eat as-is, but most of the corn planted in the United States is not meant for eating. According to Scientific American, about 36 percent of U.S. corn harvests are fed to livestock, another 40 percent is converted to ethanol. Much of the rest (about 20 percent) is exported. The remaining few percent are mostly converted straight into high fructose corn syrup and used to sweeten sodas and processed foods (which has a host of negative consequences). According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 95 percent of livestock accustomed to eating grass are being fed with corn (which also has some pretty negative consequences). %related-post-2% How is cannabis different, as a commodity, than corn? Cannabis is not corn. As an agricultural commodity, it is closer to coffee or wine grapes. Why? A diverse market of buyers that demand uniqueness and quality. While the price of cannabis, coffee and grapes are also set by supply and demand, quality and genetics also affect prices. Typical commodity markets rely on standardization, but agriculture isn’t naturally standardized. Like humans, plants and every other living biological organism on the planet, plant genetics vary from seed to seed just like human genetics vary from sibling to sibling. Plants, like humans, are constantly evolving and never standardized. That is, unless you clone them. Cloned plants are standardized and grown en masse, converting them into an easier-to-define commodity. This process is referred to as “monocropping.” Bananas are a great example; every yellow Cavendish banana you eat is a clone of every other yellow banana you have eaten. Most banana consumers know no other bananas and do not demand genetic diversity, allowing producers to tightly control and concentrate the market. Clone me not (as much): Cannabis diversity is prized Cannabis, however, is prized as a raw good, and connoisseurs seek out new and rare varieties. The raw produce can be converted into oils, foods and other byproducts, but there is a large and thriving clientele that has come to prize the crop specifically for its genetic diversity. Grapes, coffee and cannabis can be monocropped, mass-produced and priced like a commodity. There will be a low-priced market for the raw produce, but ultimately the cheap stuff will get converted into byproducts. This low-priced market easily exists side-by-side with a connoisseur’s market that values the unique genetics in different varieties of the plant and will pay a premium for these different varieties when great growers coax out their best qualities. So, while there will always be a market for cheap, bulk, Folger’s coffee, it doesn’t take away from the market for small batch, special blends and roasts, which are purchased at a premium. %related-post-3% If you are a grower, especially one who doesn’t plan to specialize in higher-cost higher-value specialized cannabis flowers, it is time to understand how you fit (or don’t) in the commodity market, or you might find yourself outside of it. In the future, there will be more ways for the cannabis farmer to insulate themselves from commodity pricing, such as cash cropping and forward marketing (that’s how Iowa corn farmers do it). But, as long as cannabis remains federally illegal, it is not possible to utilize these strategies. Unlike other commodities, cannabis isn’t sold on one singular market, because it isn’t exactly legal yet. As we move past state-by-state legalization and towards (hopefully) federal decriminalization, descheduling and a commercially regulated industry, cannabis will increasingly be priced by the laws of supply and demand in a commodity market. Best to prepare now.
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.
The Biggest Marijuana Policy Influencers Of 2018

The Biggest Marijuana Policy Influencers Of 2018

Will there be banking? Will there be research? Or raids? These shot-callers will influence marijuana policy in 2018 the most. If 2016 was a year of great, watershed moments in marijuana policy reform — and it was — 2017 was a year of boring, yet more substantive achievement. It was also a year when the power of the minority (read: prohibitionists), and all their arbitrary, contrarian, and obstructionist tyranny, was proven beyond a doubt. %related-post-1% As we explain, this bodes both ill and well for the future. It’s only after voters elect to legalize cannabis for all adults or to allow medical marijuana that the work can be put in — you know, the work to actually provide weed to sick people or all people over 21. Take a look at Maine or Massachusetts, where voters legalized recreational cannabis on the same day they did in California and Nevada, and you’ll see what we mean. As you read this, over-the-counter marijuana sales are happening in Las Vegas. It matters not if you read this at 3AM, since dispensaries there are open 24 hours. In California, retail recreational cannabis stores open(ed) January 1. In the northeast, retail dispensaries will open for business a year after they did in Nevada, at the earliest — and that would be an accelerated deadline we’ll hit if we’re lucky. What’s taking so long, and who’s not getting it done? In the case of those two states, it’s lawmakers and elected executives. Blinded by his zeal to block the voters’ will, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has all but laid his body down on the railroad tracks to block commercial marijuana, and if somebody convinced him that legalization was a tangible entity, like a boulder or a train, he quite possibly would. In 2018, voters will almost certainly have the opportunity to legalize cannabis in more states, chief among them Michigan — but just like in 2017, the real work, the real action around advancing marijuana policy will come later, in governor’s offices, legislative chambers, and on bureaucrats’ desks. A few people wield an inordinate amount of power and can accelerate or obstruct. Who are these people, and what will they do? The Californians As chief of California’s still-new Bureau of Cannabis Control, no one person in the state has more sway over the marijuana industry than Lori Ajax. The regulations promulgated by Ajax and other top California bureaucrats will dictate the size and the shape of the world’s biggest single marijuana market. However: If we wanted to be pedantic, since Ajax answers to Gov. Jerry Brown and serves at his pleasure, technically Brown has more power, and can tell Ajax what to do. %related-post-2% Indeed, indications are that Brown’s office, and possibly the governor himself, is steering the ship, and influencing key world-shaping decisions like California Department of Food and Agriculture’s choice to allow cannabis cultivation operations of unlimited size. But let’s hop off this tangent. The point is that California has an opportunity, now, to decide who’s let in to the industry, who can be big, and how they do business. Emergency regulations released in November will almost certainly be altered between now and the spring. Some California lawmakers are already demanding changes. What they come up with will be foundational, throughout the nation. As much as they might deny it, other states have a California obsession. Onerous medical-marijuana rules that make it very difficult to obtain marijuana were passed in other states in response to what was seen as a “too permissive” atmosphere in the Golden State. The Money Machine It’s a sad fact if you believe in the grassroots, and it’s a convenient one if you have a large bank account. Either way, it’s a demonstrated truth that legalization happens only in the presence of money. Taking California as a convenient, nation-state-sized example again: Legalization initiative Prop. 64 happened only after tech mogul Sean Parker contributed millions of dollars — and Parker’s involvement followed billionaire investor and alt-right bete noire George Soros’s longtime involvement with the Drug Policy Alliance. Their choices of what kind of ballot initiatives to fund directly determines what kind of legalization efforts voters have to choose from. And where money comes, more money follows. Look: Constellation Brands, the multinational mega-brewer, invested in the (Canadian) cannabis industry, and Colorado-based MillerCoors may do the same. If it does, expect other major corporations to follow. On the flip side of this is the negative money. Who will fund the anti-legalization campaigns — and how much will they spend? With an assist from pharmaceutical companies like Insys, which markets a product containing fentanyl (and is also working on a synthetic marijuana product), Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s dump-truck loads of cash helped defeat Arizona’s legalization measure. It’s never a bad time to be a billionaire in America, and it’s even better now. You get a tax cut, and we plebes are subject to your investment whims as always, whether it’s in legalization, stopping legalization, or profiting from it. %related-post-3% The Thought Leaders In response to the opiate crisis, some state lawmakers are allowing the spouses and friends of drug-overdose victims to be charged with murder. Sounds a bit over-the-top, but that’s what happens when drug-induced homicide laws are put on the books. Exposing the callous and heartless efforts like this is one of the aforementioned Drug Policy Alliance’s achievements, and a demonstration of how organizations like DPA, NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, and many others can steer the conversation and change minds with cogent arguments based on data — data like the facts weighed by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, when it declared early in 2017 that cannabis does in fact have medical value. Such findings belie claims that neither science nor medicine has anything good to say about cannabis. Quite the opposite. Speaking of opposites: On the other end of the spectrum from the likes of DPA and MPP are entities like Project SAM, the intellectual basis (such as it is) for drug prohibition. Run by a former Office of National Drug Control Policy staffer, Project SAM has worked overtime to find any reason to convince the Justice Department to crack down on cannabis. Sometimes the reasons don’t add up, but if it’s what certain people want to hear, it matters not if it’s intellectually dishonest misdirection. The Washingtonians About those certain people. A central point of 2018 is that so much is still unclear, because it’s unclear who will be making key decisions. Look at the roster, and its many empty holes. We have no drug czar. We have no full-time, non-interim head of the DEA. We have an acting director of the Department of Health and Human Services. So much of the agenda is set by the feds, and so many of the feds who make these decisions are temporary replacements or still on the way. %related-post-4% As for people who are at work, VA Secretary David Shulkin could, with a dictum, change veterans’ access to cannabis, as Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angell has argued. In this way, he has more sway than a committee head in Congress blocking debate on key bills. National Institutes on Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow also deserves more credit as an influencer on cannabis policy than she receives. Under her tenure, NIDA has updated its website several times — in rational and fact-based ways. Because of this, anti-marijuana forces have had to resort to eccentrics in order to find any kind of “rational” argument — which is why Attorney General Jeff Sessions was welcoming into his office zealots like Robert DuPont, Richard Nixon’s drug czar and the hardest of hardline true believers, who has argued that cannabis’ Schedule 1 classification (and its “official status” as more dangerous than fentanyl) is rational and cool. Which brings us to… The Big, Loud, Online President Much attention has rightly been focused on Sessions and what he will and won’t do on the cannabis question. One theory why he hasn’t done anything yet is that he’s unsure where he stands with his boss — and it’s his boss, the man with the unquenchable appetite for Diet Cokes, Fox News, and sharp-elbowed tweets, who will also appoint a drug czar, a health secretary, a DEA head, and ergo influence so much more of American marijuana policy. Sessions will likely do nothing earth-shattering until the Trump-Russia imbroglio is resolved. Does Donald Trump want Sessions to start a drug crackdown? Sure, whatever, as long as it will fill rally halls and make for good content on Fox and Friends. If it doesn’t, then who cares? All of us, of course, who are captive as always to the moods and whims of a famously moody, grudge-bearing man.
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!
Marijuana Prices Are Plummeting: What Does It Mean?

Marijuana Prices Are Plummeting: What Does It Mean?

Marijuana prices per pound are steadily falling. As cannabis becomes a legally produced and traded crop, it is becoming an agricultural commodity, and like other agricultural commodities, wholesale prices have rippling effects for producers and consumers. So, why are marijuana prices dropping, and what does it all mean? Legalization Drives Down Prices in the Long Run In a typical agricultural commodity market, prices are determined by the simple economic law of “supply and demand.” Prices are set by the total amount all producers make available for sale coupled with the total demand of all buyers. Lower supply and higher demand results in higher prices because the commodity in question is rare and desired.  Higher supply and lower demand results in lower prices because there is an overabundance of the commodity. %related-post-1% When the price of a commodity is low, the buyer holds the power over the producers and the market is referred to as “a buyer’s market.” When the price of a commodity is high, the seller holds all the power over the buyers and that market is called “a seller’s market.” Cannabis has traditionally been bought, sold and priced in a “seller’s market. Before the current “Green Rush” the vast majority of would-be growers avoided the market altogether for fear of losing everything and spending their lives in prison if caught. The risk factor involved in setting a farming operation up and selling an illegal substance discouraged farmers from producing and allowed the market to maintain high prices. I am here to tell you it is time to stop basing your revenue projections off those artificially high prices. Those days are slipping away, despite inaction from the federal government. As western states began to pass medical cannabis legislation, bringing more growers out into the open and encouraging more to join in, local prices started to steadily decline. Under current federal policies (the Ogden and Cole Memos), states are allowed to produce and sell cannabis in-state per their state laws but are required to keep that supply within state limits. Of course, that is impossible. Since when have borders prevented suppliers from meeting demand for anything? Well, never. It’s why prohibition never worked in the first place; demand incentivizes supply. %related-post-2% In the medical era, when legal prices in legal states even for top shelf cannabis started to come down, prices in states without robust markets spiked up. A grower growing for the semi-legal “gray markets” out west were presented two markets’ worth of demand to meet; legal and illegal. Shortly before legalization laws started passing, growers who supplied illegal demand could make between $3,000 and $5,000 a pound if they were willing to illegally shuttle their product to the East Coast or Midwest, or sell it to local legal markets for about half that price. Those higher export prices coupled with laws that allowed growing in the open brought even more Green Rush growers out West, drastically increasing supply. Legal sales to customers over the age of 21 in fives states (and counting) has only served to pile onto the supply glut. Now, thanks to legalization, supply has begun to outweigh demand in both markets, and marijuana prices are plunging as a result. So Prices are Plunging — Is That a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? Well, that depends on who you are and where your interests lie. Some state medical and recreational sales schemes have engineered scarcity in the market or levied such high taxes on product that prices remain artificially higher than the law of supply and demand would dictate. California, for example, has set such high tax rates on growers and consumers that prices could spike to up to 70 percent higher than pre-legalization prices in and fuel the already massive black market. In medical states back east, like Florida, Illinois and Ohio, oligopoly markets have the same effect on prices by forcing the power into the seller’s hands. %related-post-3% Attempts to artificially inflate legal prices will have the effect of fueling the black market. Black market suppliers often are providing higher quality marijuana at better prices than state programs, and supplying that illegal demand has forced the prices down even in legal markets. Going into 2018, and the rollout of California’s legal sales, a lot of farmers and investors are worried about the price of pot. Small farmers who relied on raw cannabis buds alone for their livelihoods are being forced to scale up or get out. Investors are increasingly finding out that despite their sky-high projections, farming a semi-legal agricultural commodity is a “boom and bust” business that takes foresight, passion, dedication and the wherewithal to sustain long-term market fluctuations. So are falling marijuana prices a bad thing or a good thing? If you are a seller, it’s absolutely not a good thing. But if you are a buyer, those prices absolutely are. But as cannabis becomes a legal commodity and is being priced as such, pricing will have to radically change to reflect that variations of not just quantity, but quality, in the market.
Crystal Ball: Five Recurring Marijuana Issues In 2018

Crystal Ball: Five Recurring Marijuana Issues In 2018

As 2017 draws to a close, it's time to cast an eye forward to 2018 and predict which marijuana issues we'll be hearing about frequently.  There isn't much new under the sun in the cannabis reform movement. Namely: It should be legal, but it isn't. Should be easy to agree on what to do, but it's not. And as you'll read in our preview of 2018, you should be prepared for discourse that devolves into dispute merely on the size and shape of the negotiating table. %related-post-1% Here are 5 major marijuana issues to watch next year. Medical Marijuana Legalization That Isn’t Merely Symbolic Statistics are great for fooling yourself. You could look at how many states allow medical cannabis and believe that sick people all over the country are easily and safely able to access their preferred medicine. You would be wrong. Medical cannabis programs are not created equal. Both California and Texas “have medical cannabis laws” on the books, in the strictly literal sense — but in Texas, what cannabis there is can be prescribed by one of only eight doctors statewide, and only to someone with intractable epilepsy who has tried at least two other treatments with no success. Marijuana is already illegal. Passing symbolic medical-cannabis access laws that leave the black market as the most reliable and reasonable source of medicine defeats the purpose. If cannabis is going to be legal — and the honest argument to keep it classified as a more deadly and less medically useful alternative to Oxycodone has yet to be made — then it needs to be LEGAL, and not accessible only after navigating an epic Crusades-level quest for healing. If a legalization law arises that’s overly restrictive, or if a medical cannabis bill is introduced that won’t result in anyone obtaining cannabis, then it may be time to take a pause, or a pass, and wait for a better option. Advances in (or at Least Fewer Barriers Towards) Research As a general rule, when something is unlawful, a series of barriers, literal and metaphorical, arise around that thing. That thing becomes harder to obtain. You can’t find that thing in stores. The less corporeal and more mythical that thing becomes, the harder it is to discuss and to know much about it. "What do you know about that thing?" "Well, I’ve never seen it myself, but I hear tell…" You see? This is how rumors start. %related-post-2% Now, cannabis isn’t exactly the Sasquatch, but it would seem clear that marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance creates serious difficulties for anyone — a researcher, say — desiring to discover more about it. In case it was unclear, or up to debate, researching cannabis can indeed be “extremely onerous,” as Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told Congress. NIH would love to research the connection between legal cannabis and a drop in opiate use, Collins informed a Senate committee, but… well, this whole Controlled Substances Act thing. Even when scientists do, at last, win a hard-fought struggle for research, they can’t always do much with it. The federal government’s official supply of research-grade cannabis is weak and moldy stuff bearing little resemblance to dispensary-grade cannabis. How much longer can this broken status quo continue, especially in the light of recent findings like the World Health Organization’s, that cannabidiol, or CBD, does in fact have health benefits; and mounting pressure from the medical community to allow for more research on marijuana, on people and on pets? Fixing this gaping hole in logic and our knowledge will take a long time — it will require reforming medical school curricula as well as federal law — but there will be more calls for progress, and quickly, in 2018. Banking Reform If you’re in the marijuana industry, you know full well how difficult it is to make payroll, pay the taxman, and set aside enough liquid assets in your operating fund to keep the lights on — because all of that routine business must be conducted without the ease and security of that modern-day innovation, a “bank account.” Cannabis is a cash-only affair, but it’s not that marijuana businesses can’t bank. It’s that banks won’t have them. In 2014, the Obama Administration released guidelines that offered cannabis operations a path to the bank teller line, as long as they were following state law. But since marijuana is still federally illegal, most banks — like, all banks — have elected to stay away rather than absorb a modicum of risk. If you listen to banks, which have for years taken deposits from drug-trafficking organizations and war criminals, doing business with a cannabis dispensary could expose them to a money-laundering or racketeering charge. %related-post-3% Lawmakers in Washington have recognized this absurd state of affairs. But a few weeks before Congress set about the greatest transfer of wealth (aka tax “reform”) in modern American history, Republican leadership blocked debate on legislation that would have allowed marijuana businesses to use banks. Note that, and note it well: They didn’t vote against allowing cannabis retailers, cultivators, and other participants in the billion-dollar legal marijuana trade to use banks — they voted against talking about it. As recreational retail sales begin in California and continue to steadily increase in Colorado and everywhere else marijuana is sold, calls to fix this risky and inefficient method of conducting business will only increase. 2018 might be the year of the checking account. Marijuana Tax Reform Separate but related are the additional hoops marijuana outfits must leap and squeeze through during their annual exercise with the taxman — and the price the marijuana industry must also pay in order to fund the Trump tax cuts. There was brief hope that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) would throw a bone to cannabis entrepreneurs with the Republican tax-cut bill, and include a provision reforming Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code. A cocaine cowboys-era effort to make life harder for the real-life antagonists of Miami Vice, 280E prevents drug sellers from claiming luxury items like yachts and platinum-plated guns on their taxes. It also prevents dispensaries and cultivation operations from claiming common cost-of-doing-business expenses, forcing them to pay an effective tax rate of as much as 70 percent, according to Forbes. %related-post-4% However, at the last moment, Gardner experienced a change of heart and did not offer the 280E reform to his colleagues for a vote — possibly because fixing dispensaries’ tax bills, and drawing a distinction between them and El Chapo’s empire would cost $5 billion. So that’s where the year will end: A tax bill, meant to create jobs and stimulate the economy, will not do anything to relieve pressure on a rapidly expanding segment of the economy, which is creating jobs. This will absolutely be an issue in 2018. The Battle for Facts Here’s our early frontrunner for person (or thing) of the year, in the year 2018: Truth, as in, “What’s real — and what’s not?” Real, accurate data is reportedly a popular thing — everybody wants data! — and yet when we have it, the squabbling begins. Better to seek counsel from trusted sources who won’t challenge your narrative. Just look at the trend in teen marijuana use in Colorado following legalization: Exhibit A, click here. Exhibit B, click here. Here we have two sources, debating a similar release of data, drawing widely divergent conclusions. Seems like youth use of marijuana has declined since legalization, if you believe the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham. But that federal data cited by Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s Kevin Sabet shows that youth weed use has remained constant since the 1990s, which means, as he said, that it’s going up… wait, what? As the country’s ongoing struggles with recognizing reliable information reveal, confirmation bias is a potent cocktail. All the data in the world won’t matter if otherwise sensible human beings act on their motive to deny and obfuscate. Convincing the unwilling of the truth of what’s right in front of them may be the most formidable challenge yet. And there you have them. Five marijuana issues we'll all be hearing plenty about in 2018. 
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 this week, 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.
Canadian Marijuana Laws: Will Everyone Be Ready?

Canadian Marijuana Laws: Will Everyone Be Ready?

Cannabis legalization isn’t a hot topic only in the U.S. — just look north of the border. Medical cannabis is currently legal across Canada, and nation-wide recreational legislation is currently working its way to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desk. Because the rollout of Canadian marijuana laws could influence the United States at some point, it’s worth paying attention to how things progress up north. Canada will soon be legalizing cannabis for adults — will everyone be ready? On July 1, 2018, full adult-use cannabis legalization will likely go into effect in Canada. But is everyone ready for this change to Canadian marijuana laws? Perhaps not. First of all, when new regulations regarding a certain product or substance go into place, regulators and law enforcement must be well trained on those rules. It’s essential they know exactly what’s legal and what’s not, but also how to detect possible infractions. %related-post-1% According to several sources, police chiefs don’t believe law enforcement will be ready for legalization in July 2018. At the same time, some members of the medical community — namely psychiatrists — are also worried about the rush the government seems to have. Police chiefs as well as several psychiatrists fear an increase in impaired driving. The proposed law would allow people above the age of 18 to purchase and consume cannabis, and four plants per household would be allowed for personal use. That said, Canada’s individual provinces will be allowed to change several aspects of the law, such as raising the minimum consumer age. Those provinces also get to make decisions regarding distribution and sales within their own borders. The upshot of this will likely be the implementation of different rules in every province; a hodgepodge of Canadian marijuana laws; some more restrictive than others. Some examples: In Manitoba, it’s likely that cannabis will not be allowed to be sold in the same stores as alcohol. Alberta announced a system in which private businesses will be allowed to sell cannabis in dedicated stores in which no tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceuticals will be sold. New Brunswick will probably create a maximum of 20 government-run stores in which advertising nor window displays will be allowed. Having all these laws finalized and synced by mid-summer will take loads of work and coordination. Apprehensions and possible solutions According to a recent poll by researchers of the Dalhousie University in Halifax, about 68 percent of Canadians are in favor of cannabis legalization. Yet at the same time, many are given pause by the rapid pace at which the matter is progressing. %related-post-2% To address apprehensions, the Canadian government recently announced a new investment of $36.4 million (over the next five years), in addition to the earlier announced $9.6 million for education and awareness campaigns. Not only youth, but also pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as people with mental illnesses will be educated about the possible risks of cannabis consumption, according to the Canadian government. To that point, Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor said: We are tackling the issue of cannabis use with long-term investments in our education and awareness efforts. We want to make sure all Canadians, particularly our young adults and youth, understand the health and safety risks of cannabis. These efforts also aim to equip parents and teachers with tools to have meaningful discussions with young Canadians about the risks of cannabis use. Public- vs. private-owned dispensaries As mentioned earlier, Canada’s provinces will have some influence on the regulations they’ll apply. One of the most significant examples is the ownership of the dispensaries. Will they be public-owned (by a province’s government) or private-owned? Now that we’re getting closer to the end of 2017, and to the legalization launch date as well, provinces are starting to reveal pieces of their plans. Even though some provinces seemed to have figured much of it out, others seem to be struggling to find the best way to do things. Many entrepreneurs want to see provinces allow private-owned dispensaries. But for now, it seems like many of them will be sidelined, and local governments will take control of the sales. Ontario for example, will most likely let the Ontario Liquor Control Board run the stores. Manitoba, however, might allow private stores to sell cannabis, but the province will act as the wholesaler. %related-post-3% Over in Saskatchewan, the government there is apparently leaning toward a model in which dispensaries will be private-owned. Newfoundland is expected to follow a model similar to Saskatchewan’s. While offering an opportunity to entrepreneurs, the province will avoid being forced to cover many of the costs of selling cannabis, such as renting stores and hiring staff. Since there are only about 344,000 adults in Newfoundland, offloading overhead costs could be a big plus for the province, which will, of course, benefit entrepreneurs ready to invest in the market. What about the online sales and delivery? Online sales shouldn’t be forgotten, and will probably be very lucrative since consumers are used to buying all sorts of stuff online. But like the public- vs. private-owned dispensary debate, online sales opportunities could possibly exist in the same province-by-province rules scenario. E-commerce sites in some provinces could be owned and operated by the government while private entrepreneurs might manage those matters elsewhere. What this means is the buying process in Saskatchewan might look very different than in, say, Quebec, both in person and online All these Canadian marijuana laws are, of course, changing almost daily. Don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye on it for you.
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.
Why (And How) States Are Minting Marijuana Millionaires

Why (And How) States Are Minting Marijuana Millionaires

Strict permitting in new medical marijuana states is bad for consumers, but great for the lucky few who become state-ordained marijuana millionaires. Anyone with a combination of money and interest in marijuana has been staring for months at the state of Ohio, where more than 185 groups of entrepreneurs have staked fortunes and their futures on the outcome of a process beyond their control. %related-post-1% This sounds like bad business. Worse — it sounds like straight-up gambling, like stuffing all of your investors’ cash into a slot machine, crossing your fingers, and pulling the handle, leaving the path towards perfidy or fortune up to the one-armed bandit — until you consider that their wager is banking on the promise of government-guaranteed munificence: Membership in an official marijuana millionaires oligopoly. The Ohio model The national bellwether, the decider of presidential contests, Ohio has also been a point of national obsession in cannabis circles since it decided to serve as judge, jury, and award presenter in a high-stakes game of “Who wants to be a guaranteed marijuana millionaire?” You may channel David Byrne for a second and wonder how we got here. It’s like this: Scared straight by the threat of marijuana-friendly voters going too far with a ballot initiative, Ohio lawmakers took the unusual step of legalizing medical marijuana through the legislative process in 2016. (Most states do not do this.) Going that route allowed the state to go slow — the first medical-marijuana dispensaries won’t open for business until September 2018 — and for state authorities to choose the cannabis industry’s entrants carefully, from a large pool of contestants, the best of whom would be selected based on their appearance on paper and granted a license. %related-post-2% Carefully … and selectively. Under the “strictly regulated” medical-marijuana plan Gov. John Kasich signed into law — the same John Kasich who’s dealing with an apocalyptic opiate crisis and believes cannabis has no role in pain management — licenses to grow cannabis will be rarer in Ohio than Jim Harbaugh sympathizers. A total of only 24 licenses to cultivate marijuana throughout the state of Ohio will be issued under the current scheme. And even these chosen few won’t have to worry about competition. Permits are all regional. No more than two dozen companies will receive the right to service a select and discrete portion of a population of more than 11 million. Like loyal feudal lords receiving bounteous fiefdoms from the king, each best-sounding company would be given the right to cultivate for a specific region, without fear or worry of trouble from an unexpected quarter. Winner(s) take all Befitting the high-roller table at Caesar’s Palace, this was a high-stakes game not everyone was invited to play. Non-refundable application fees cost as much as $20,000 — plus the time, energy, and lawyers and consultants required to put the application together. (Just like a casino, the house already won big.) For the winners, that ante will pay itself back many times over. Business publications noted that the competition for the chance at entering a “multi-million dollar industry” was fierce. That only tells part of the story. This wasn’t competition — that’s something that happens on the free market. This was pre-competition, a political and popularity contest, in order to enter a controlled market without much competition. The first 14 winners were announced on Nov. 3. Eleven companies won licensing; one company won the right to grow cannabis exclusively in three regions. They’ll now have nine months to get up and running. %related-post-3% Ohio officials insist the process wasn’t rigged. And they may be right — companies were selected based on how their proposals met certain criteria, a process anyone who’s bid for a public contract would recognize. But not unlike the two-man energy company briefly tasked with rebuilding hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, all these companies have something in common: They’ve never done this before. And unless they commit some terrible crime or fail miserably at delivering their goods, they’ll have plenty of runway. Hard to worry too much about a good product when all the other producers are relegated to the black market. Florida's license stranglehold  There is some precedent. In most of the states legalizing medical marijuana in the past decade, authorities have strictly limited the number of permits awarded to some arbitrary number. The results are predictable to anyone familiar with how artificially constricted markets work. Think housing in California. 900-square foot bungalows aren’t going for a $1 million because of the view. Scarcity means speculators are going wild, man. As of August, Florida’s estimated $1 billion medical-marijuana market was controlled by only seven moguls. Realizing what it had done — enriched private enterprise through public action, textbook regulatory capture — the state hurried to add a few more licenses, but not before the artificially scarce marijuana licenses were valued at $200 million each, according to the investment in one made by a Canadian marijuana giant. Let’s be frank: Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, the Florida company in which Canadian company Aphria made that significant investment, did not have $200 million worth of fungible “stuff” on hand. It did not have $200 million worth of real estate, property, or patents. That was an option bet, a calculated risk based on the company having a giant slice of legal business all to itself thanks to government regulation. %related-post-4% And this is the same roadmap Ohio is following. And in Pennsylvania, where the same script is playing out as if it was rehearsed. And Arkansas, where permits to grow will be limited to five. Why do states follow this model? By now, you, a reasonable and sane person, is probably asking, “Why?? What purpose does strictly limited permitting serve?” The answer is one you know by heart. It’s reefer madness, my dear. Most states approaching weed with great trepidation, only after caving to the will of voters — not because they want to, but because they have to. You could blame Jeff Sessions and the feds, but this was going on when Hillary Clinton staffers were still ordering office furniture for the State Department jobs they were sure were theirs. No, this is because Americans might love the idea of weed, but maybe not so much in practice. They fear it. They don’t understand it — and they think that by limiting it while still allowing it, they check all the boxes. Enough weed to help sick people, not too much weed to let in “an unsavory element.” It’s great policy, if you’re one of the lucky few to win a permit. Less great if you’re a patient stuck with all the consumer choice of a town where the only retail option is a Wal-Mart. In that way, this monopoly-creating approach to weed is very familiar. 
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.
What’s Up With Orrin Hatch’s Marijuana Conversion?

What’s Up With Orrin Hatch’s Marijuana Conversion?

From opponent to ally. Behind the Utah Republican’s seemingly bizarre marijuana conversion. Orrin Hatch is the Republican Party’s senior statesman in the U.S. Senate. At a venerable 83 years old, Hatch has been in the Senate since 1977. His lawmaking career has spanned almost half of his long life. It began before more than half of Americans living today were born, and it’s been spent in the true and faithful pursuit of core conservative values. Before his marijuana conversion, Hatch was an anti-marijuana hardliner As befits someone who came to power when the Republican Party was applying Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy, for most of his four decades on Capitol Hill, Hatch has also been a staunch supporter of the drug war, and all its racist, harmful, authoritarian multitudes. %related-post-1% After California voters approved medical marijuana way back in 1996, Hatch, as a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was quick to deploy Bill Clinton’s own drug dogs as interference. Marijuana is “more cancer-causing than tobacco,” he said at the time. It’s no accident it took many more years before widespread access to cannabis was a reality. But now it appears Sen. Hatch is singing a new tune on marijuana. Whistling a new tune on marijuana What can we say, except that the age of 83 is apparently a fine time for a reinvention. Orrin Hatch, staunch Republican. Orrin Hatch, Trump guy. And Orrin Hatch, voice for medical marijuana in the U.S. Senate. In September, Hatch introduced legislation in the Senate that would lift current draconian restrictions on medical-cannabis research — and used no less than eight exhausted puns in the accompanying press release. He is quite the humorist, said his spokesman — who in all likelihood wrote the release — in an interview with CNN (though the lighthearted tone taken with a serious issue led some cannabis advocates to question his sincerity). And last month, Hatch managed to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his old Senate colleague, to admit that there should be more than one single source of government-approved marijuana for medical research. %related-post-2% What has happened? What snapped in Hatch’s brain? There are two ways of looking at this metamorphosis: As a cynic, or as a pragmatist. A cynic's take on this marijuana conversion The cynic would step back, look at the record — and note Hatch’s continued opposition to legalized recreational marijuana — and declare that Hatch is merely evolving with the times. Utah is close to legalizing medical marijuana, and may have done so already were it not for classic obstructionism at the state legislature. A majority of Republicans, and 61 percent of all Americans, support marijuana legalization. And support for medical marijuana is an overwhelming 83 percent. Any halfwit can look at the polls, realize how the tides have turned, and adapt accordingly. What a courageous opportunist — and if he’s serious about this, why isn’t he out there criticizing Jeff Sessions from the right, not just on the Justice Department’s obstructing cannabis research, but on Sessions’ scaremongering campaign against state-legal cannabis, a clear-cut violation of conservative principles? That would be helpful. (Most marijuana-friendly mainstream Democrats deserve no laurels, either: They, too, waited until public opinion had safely swung in weed’s favor before making the jump.) But what about a pragmatic view? Now, enter the pragmatist, whose memory is too short to bear grudges and who is happy to see any progress from any corner, no matter how slight. The pragmatist will say that anyone holding pro-legalization views in the 1990s was a wild and crazy outlier, a ranting hermit fresh in from 40 days in the desert — and that Hatch has had twenty years to listen to science and to hear testimonials from cannabis patients, more than enough data for him, a reasonable person, to change his views. %related-post-3% The pragmatist will note that Hatch is merely following a trend set by other Republicans holding office. The co-sponsor of a (failed, but still symbolically important) bill to reschedule marijuana’s classification in the Controlled Substances Act was Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who represents one of the most conservative districts in the country. At the polls last November, cannabis won more votes than Donald Trump. Gaetz can see this. Hatch is seeing it. It’s long overdue and it’s still not quite enough, but Hatch’s evolution is of a piece. The pragmatist would look at all this and predict, rightly, that it will only be a matter of time before a bill rescheduling cannabis (and, after that, legalizing it outright) crosses the desk of the president of the United States. Only the cynic would cross his arms, frown, and ask — however righteously — what took so long.
Yes, Botanical Marijuana Is Medicine

Yes, Botanical Marijuana Is Medicine

Yes, botanical marijuana is medicine. Treating it otherwise will harm those who need it most. Northern California and Oregon are home to the vast majority of the nation’s small cannabis farms. These early breeders and cultivators were responsible for the genetically diverse cannabis varieties that have largely re-shaped the public’s view of this incredible plant and forced its slow march towards what it truly needs to thrive as the most useful crop in the 21st century: decriminalization and descheduling. How is medicine defined? If medical marijuana is defined to exist only as extractions in cartel-like markets, whole communities around the nation lose out on the economic benefits a robust and competitive cannabis market with lower barriers to entry for small businesses can provide. Further, because the FDA approval process favors a specific yet unproven drug ideology, pharmacologicalism —  which, dictates standardized single compound substances are medical and variable plants are not — patients will suffer the most if farm-to-patient cannabis falls victim to big business. %related-post-1% By the government’s definition, a substance is not “medicine” unless it passes clinical trials and is proven “safe and effective” by the FDA. Plants are likely to never be defined as “medicine” or “medical” by the government’s current standards, which require standardization. Plants grown from seed, like humans and all other living organisms, are not standardized nor do they ever have singular “active ingredients” like synthetic drugs. The human response to genetically diverse cultivars of all plants are a result of many active compounds working in synergy with one another, not in isolation. Many plants are beneficial to human life but they will never be FDA-approved medicines because there is no FDA approval process for food or other agricultural products that vary genetically. The government simply does not define variable agricultural products as medicine. Botanical compound blends and standardization Yet, humans still seek out plants and plant-byproducts to relieve the symptoms of everything from pain to social anxiety. Crops like coffee and tea are grown for their varying flavor and effects but also the caffeine they contain. The alertness that results from drinking a cup of one of these popular and widely variable beverages could also be obtained by taking a caffeine pill, yet people tend to prefer the botanical versions. Why? The varying flavor and effects of coffee varieties are the result of over 1,000 active compounds working in synergy with one another. Teas can contain up to 30,000, chocolate 300 and cannabis nearly 500. Every deliciously different variety of these three crops will, if not grown from clone, be genetically unique and carry its own blend of active compounds, and therefore different flavors and effects. %related-post-2% While industrialized cannabis medicines require standardization, patients derive more of a benefit from genetically diverse cannabis markets. Like other living organisms, the final product after harvest varies by both nature and nurture. Nature is the plant’s genetics, which are unique to every single seed. Nurture are the conditions in which the plant is grown and the care it receives, if any. This plant is different every time a new seed is planted by a new farmer or simply falls from its parent into the dirt and germinates, but that doesn’t change its general safety profile, which is higher than coffee. Further, unlike standardized drugs, the variable compounds in different varieties are much more difficult to grow a tolerance to, meaning patients can try different varieties or methods of ingestion to address their unique problems, rather than increase the dose the way they would have to with opiates and other standardized pharmaceutical drugs. Will past lessons influence the future? When California passed Proposition 215 in 1996, the nation’s first medical marijuana law by voter initiative, it solidified the rights of citizens to use, possess and cultivate this plant should a doctor believe a person’s use is medical. Prop 215 has been widely criticized by legislators and cannabis opponents in other states because it created a “wild west” market full of stoners faking illness to get legal access to cannabis. %related-post-3% The legislation’s co-author, Dennis Peron, who was originally motivated by getting safe access to people dying of AIDS, has famously defended Prop 215 and has continually opposed the regulations of “full legalization” bills because he says they perpetuate government overreach. According to Peron, all use is medical because if a person uses cannabis in place of a more deadly substance for mental or physical relief, like over-the-counter medications, prescriptions drugs, sugar and processed foods or even just to replace alcohol consumption, they are making a choice that is technically safer for their body. He is, of course, correct. Under new legalization schemes, however, states with systems that perpetuate botanical cannabis as medicine are being reshaped. By the end of next year, both California and Oregon will have mostly eliminated their botanical medical cannabis markets in favor of lucrative “recreational” markets and pharmaceutical cannabis products. It’s unfortunate because not only do patients deserve both choice and access to genetically diverse botanical marijuana, but the cannabis industry can provide tremendous opportunities on Main Street if the wealth isn’t entirely concentrated on Wall Street first.
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.
Massachusetts Marijuana Spoils And The Little Red Hen

Massachusetts Marijuana Spoils And The Little Red Hen

Denying Massachusetts marijuana sales-tax revenue to communities that ban legal cannabis sales is only fair. Which, is why it probably won’t happen — and wouldn’t exactly work, even if it did. Parables aimed at children aren’t generally accepted as valid bases for systems of governance or the rationale behind key decisions affecting millions of people. (When choosing intellectual foundations, here in America we rely on morality tales aimed at adults.) Yet in the push in Massachusetts to deny marijuana sales-tax proceeds to the more than 100 cities and towns that have chosen to ban recreational cannabis sales, the lesson of the Little Red Hen is happily (and seriously) repeated. %related-post-1% Why should places that at almost every turn have tried to halt marijuana legalization in its tracks — and, failing that, attempting the same blockade of legal marijuana commerce — enjoy any of its proceeds? Massachusetts’s plan to divide the legalization spoils currently looks like this: There’s a 17 percent “effective tax” on commercial pot, according to the Boston Globe. State sales taxes go to the state and are absorbed into the general budget. Not so with the two local cuts. Three percent of retail sales and 3 percent of a locally-based marijuana company’s revenue stay with a local government, provided they afford a place for legitimate weed businesses. This provides some incentive to allow marijuana firms to operate in your community. But some Boston-area cannabis activists and entrepreneurs want to go even further and deny marijuana-related money to places that deny a place for commercial marijuana. They plan to introduce legislation in January that would (somehow, in some as-yet undefined; little key details like this are just that, crucial details) reduce each weed-banning localities’ share of state-collected Massachusetts marijuana sales taxes. As logic goes, it’s hard to beat. (That’s the simple brilliance of schoolyard philosophy at work.) It’s only fair. It’s hard to find a reason why parties who share none of the supposed burden and perform none of the work should enjoy the same benefits as those that do. “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” is in fact the earliest working political theory in English-speaking America. %related-post-2% But as analogies go, it’s not perfect. First, nowhere in the Red Hen’s patient efforts to convince the other farm animals to join in and assist in her bread-baking labors was she met with outright sabotage or well-organized and well-funded anti-bread campaigns — only to be asked for a slice of toast from someone heretofore gluten-averse as soon as she opened the oven door. In her world, her obstacles are merely sloth and greed, not hostility. Cannabis enjoyed no such casual indifference. Only 52 percent of Massachusetts voters backed Question 4, the ballot initiative that legalized recreational cannabis for all adults 21 and over in the state last November. Opponents included nearly all of the state’s political establishment, including Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. So desperate were the state’s deciders to beat legalization that they were happy to lie, and lie wildly and irresponsibly: House Speaker Robert DeLeo once claimed that there was a clear link between casual marijuana use and opiate dependency, despite clear scientific evidence that cannabis availability reduces opiate abuse and overdose deaths. It didn’t work, and it doesn’t matter. These same fellows now get to figure out how to spend an extra $150 million a year, the estimated sales-tax haul by 2020 from the Massachusetts marijuana market. And these are some the same fellows who will be asked to approve a plan in the Legislature to deny their areas tax money if those same areas also banned marijuana. What lawmaker would do that? That’s one clear problem to overcome. Another is logistical: Sifting through the state budget, figuring out how much each area is "owed" solely from Massachusetts marijuana money, then reducing each area's payout accordingly. Yet another is that there’s no precedent for this, anywhere. %related-post-3% Advocates point to Oregon and California as examples of places where localities pay a price for banning weed. Baked into those states’ legalization laws are provisions denying some money gleaned from legalization from locales that strongarm marijuana businesses — emphasis on “some.” In Oregon, most of the proceeds from legalization are earmarked for schools, who get the cash no matter what local leaders choose to do. The rest — less than $8 million a year, or $3 per person — isn't much to make a difference. In California, cities and counties that ban marijuana businesses are ineligible for some grant funding — but they will still enjoy funding from state sales taxes. And these are also grants that are specifically meant to help “implement” legalization — meaning, unlike the Red Hen's neighbors in the barnyard, California cities without a single cannabis retail outlet will still get to pay their cops and pave their roads with the money from places with a booming weed retail sector. What there is precedent for, as the Globe noted, is similar inequality. Take the state Lottery. Tickets for the lottery, a key source of state funding, are disproportionately sold in poor and working-class areas. Yet when it comes time to divide up the proceeds, they’re divided “equally,” meaning richer areas take in more than their people put in. (These richer areas, with their higher property taxes, also enjoy better schools and ritzier civic improvements.) It’s not fair. But that’s simply how it works. That’s the way it is: The brutal logic of resignation to life’s slings and arrows learned in the workplace, replacing the utopian ideals of youth. Unless the Massachusetts marijuana-legalization law is drastically rewritten as to direct the majority of money to localities and not to the state, this is how it will be. To do that would require prying money from some of the same hands that tried to prevent that money from appearing in the first place. That sounds fair — but that’s not the principle driving most lawmaking in America.
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.
As Legalization Spreads, Medical Marijuana Farms Disappear

As Legalization Spreads, Medical Marijuana Farms Disappear

As more states legalize the “recreational” use of cannabis, the definition of medical marijuana is changing, and, as the definition changes, many of the pioneering small farms who started the industry are finding themselves going the way of the dinosaurs. But, is the disappearance of medical marijuana farms really in the best interest of the patient or big business? How is the phrase medical marijuana defined? What exactly makes marijuana “medicine”? That’s a tricky question, one with varying answers depending on who is asked. Ask a sick person and they will tell you that any food or substance that provides relief of symptoms without doing physical harm is therapeutic, a necessity and “medicine.” Unfortunately, sick people don’t get to define “medicine,” the government does, and as pharmaceutical cannabis products like GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex inch closer to FDA-approval, the rush is on to make competitive government approved “medicines” and transition the botanical cannabis market from farm-to-patient to a highly-taxed highly-regulated “recreational” market. %related-post-1% These definitions matter most for small growers and patients, because ultimately they define who can supply cannabis for medical purposes and who can economically benefit as laws continue to change across the United States and abroad. While western states that pioneered the industry have traditionally favored a free-er market of small farms, businesses and collectives, in midwestern and eastern states, medical marijuana markets are becoming highly exclusive clubs for the very wealthy and well-connected. Who gets to grow medical marijuana? Many newer state laws (like Florida and New York) are being shaped from the onset as oligopolies, which are cartel-like markets where there are only a handful of competitors controlling the entire supply. Many of these state laws favor extracted products over raw cannabis flowers and also call for vertical integration, meaning these lucky few license holders have the exclusive right to grow, process and distribute the entire supply. Forced flower extraction into standardized products and a limited market of early producers gives these companies a head start on making their own Epidiolex-like drugs that could potentially become lucrative FDA approved medicines. And, should cannabis be moved from Schedule I to II federally, these oligopoly-market license holders will be in line for some serious cash-ins when they go public and begin to formally merge across state lines to supply the national medical market. %related-post-2% Of course, the exercise wouldn’t be worth the cost of FDA approval if pharmaceuticalized cannabis products must compete with genetically diverse botanical cannabis as medicine, which can be grown at home but never standardized like traditional “medicines.” Unfortunately for the small growers that supplied the earliest medical cannabis markets, they no longer can call their crops “medicine” or “medical marijuana” once the FDA defines it first, and they already are. The first medical marijuana farms In the early days of medical marijuana, most state governments declined to regulate. In California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, legislation passed by citizens through ballot initiative was more rights-based than commerce based, thoroughly acknowledging first that the criminalization of this useful plant was a fallacy to begin with. It was also an unspoken but acknowledged reality that hundreds of thousands of farmers on the west coast have been supplying the demand for this illegal plant since the early days of prohibition, and giving them a path to a legal market was just as important as patients getting product. The result was a highly competitive and diverse cannabis economy that flourished in the gray area between state and federal law. These small medical marijuana farms were allowed to grow anywhere from six to 99 plants per patient, as long as they provided said patients with the medicine they needed, free of cost. Starting with California’s S.B. 420 in 2004, these growers could sell the excess of what they grew for patients to locally-regulated dispensaries at a profit. In this way, the broader market for medical marijuana (whether or not the government deemed their use “medical”) subsidized the heavier use of the chronic and fatally ill. %related-post-3% Just as the botanical medical marijuana markets are being eliminated by the legal definition of “medicine,” they are being shrunk by the legal definition of “patient” too. One of the biggest criticisms of California’s medical marijuana law, Proposition 215, was that it allowed medical cannabis for any condition which a doctor chose to recommend it for, meaning “anybody who wants it can get it.” Not only was that part of the intention of the law, but it is scientifically valid as educated use of cannabis is technically safer than most over-the-counter drugs, processed foods, refined white sugar, tobacco, alcohol or the vast majority of prescription drugs. What happens next to medical marijuana farms? So, what exactly is the difference between medical and recreational marijuana? The plant itself is the same, regardless of the reason a person chooses to interact with it, but as the United States gets closer to nationalized medical marijuana, the answer is shaping up to be the difference between a factory and a farm. And, besides the harm to small growers and patients,  if most cannabis production is standardized and concentrated, what effect does that have on the future of the plant itself?
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
World Anti-Doping Agency Finally Greenlights CBD

World Anti-Doping Agency Finally Greenlights CBD

On September 29, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for the coming year, 2018. As always, the new list will take effect on January 1. This gives athletes and anti-doping organizations three months to learn about the changes, and adapt to them. According to WADA’s website, a substance or method must meet two of the three following criteria to be on the prohibited list: 1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance 2. It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athletes; or 3. It violates the spirit of sport. %related-post-1% What’s the difference between the 2017 and 2018 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods? Besides some name changes and revised definitions, some substances have been removed while other have been added. The thing that might interest The Sugar Leaf readers is this line: “Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited." But don’t start jumping in the air right away. Even though CBD has been removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list, THC is still on it. And let’s not forget that some CBD extracts also contain varying concentrations of THC. It's a small, yet profound step, in the right direction. Enough of one that the optimist might hope in a couple of years THC will no longer be on the prohibited substances list either. Go ahead, cross your fingers.  What changes for athletes now that the use of CBD is allowed? Now that CBD is no longer on the prohibited substances list, athletes will be allowed to use CBD products in and out of competition after January 1, 2018. They must be careful not to use any products that contain THC, since it’s going to be prohibited for at least another year. CBD might help a lot of athletes to alleviate pain from injuries in a more natural way. Strong painkillers often come with negative side effects, whereas cannabidiol doesn’t. Moreover, it might help them to sleep better, which decreases their recovery time, without possibly less sleep medication.  %related-post-2% In the United States, CBD is still illegal under federal law. Several states allow it (for medical use), as well as some other countries. Even though the World Anti-Doping Agency won’t exclude athletes if they use the substance, it might be impossible to get it legally depending on where they live. What will happen in the future? We can’t be sure about what will be on the 2019 list, but it’s likely CBD won’t be added again. Of course, studies will be done all year, and might indicate CBD does influence the performance of athletes. If that happens, there is a chance the WADA will reconsider its decision. For now, athletes can enjoy CBD products without being afraid of testing positive on doping tests and missing competitions because of it. Not everybody will be happy Of course there’re still people against the use of CBD in sports. The substance allows athletes to heal faster, and feel less pain from long lasting injuries. Because of this, athletes using CBD, some might argue, have an advantage over their competitors. But others say that having a cup of coffee full of caffeine before a competition will also improve your performance, so...we'll keep our eye on this development. 
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)

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. 
If We Truly Value Them, Give Veterans Marijuana Access

If We Truly Value Them, Give Veterans Marijuana Access

Giving veterans marijuana access should be an easy, commonsense move, right? Everyone supports the troops. Of course they do. To say otherwise is anathema for anyone in public office. In all but the most progressive jurisdictions on in the U.S., criticizing the military — including questioning the mission, or, far worse, the conduct of service personnel — is a form of political hari-kari. Look at Bernie Sanders. Vehemently and proudly anti-war, the most successful left-leaning presidential candidate in most voters’ lifetimes nonetheless supports the notion of a “robust military” at the ready at all times. But do we really fully support the troops, specifically veterans, in the U.S.A? %related-post-1% If we did, we wouldn’t have warehoused soldiers and Marines maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a rat-and-cockroach infested slum located an Uber ride away from the halls of Congress — and that scandal at Walter Reed Hospital wouldn’t have been followed within a decade with yet another criminal embarrassment at the Veterans Health Administration. If we did care about the veterans and wanted to support them — all 2.3 million women and men who went overseas to pursue missions that are still incomplete almost two decades later — we’d listen to them and to the American Legion, arguably the most conservative veterans’ organization in the county, and give veterans marijuana priviledges. As many as one in five veterans of the country’s two 21st-century wars have post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 360,000 have some form of serious brain injury. Add them to the veterans of Vietnam and the “small-scale” conflicts of the 1980s and 1990s, and by sheer numbers alone, you have what should be a national health emergency. Stories of veterans using marijuana in some form instead of a shopping list’s worth of pharmaceuticals — some of which are habit-forming, others of which have terrible side effects, yet others which just don’t work — are everywhere. There seem to be more cannabis organizations founded by and designed for military veterans every day. %related-post-2% And yet here are House leaders, killing proposals to allow VA doctors to prescribe cannabis to veterans without so much as a vote. And here’s the VA, doing what it can to block one of the most significant marijuana-related research projects in existence, what would be a groundbreaking study into cannabis’s value in treating PTSD, were it allowed to go forward. As a result, there are military veterans breaking the law, risking imprisonment and treated like cartel-level criminals solely because they took matters into their own hands in order to go through a day or two without chronic pain and psychological torment. It should be a simple thing to give military veterans marijuana. They really don’t ask for much, just what everyone asks for: decent health care, decent job opportunities, to be remembered and cared for rather than forgotten after their service expires. Giving them that much is supposed to be the deal. It’s the civilians who have a hard time fulfilling their end of the bargain. Good things happen when we actually support the troops. The GI Bill is considered to be one of the single most successful policies to emerge from the federal government. Opportunities for education and home ownership afforded to returnees from World War II and Korea laid the groundwork for a new middle class that lasted for at least a generation. Bad things happen when we don’t: homelessness, suicides, never-ending wars. The good news is that this can’t go on forever. There is simply no way that elected officials can say with a straight face that they’re pro-military and deny combat veterans marijuana access without suffering real consequences themselves. %related-post-3% This time around, if we give vets some agency and pay attention, we’ll see the first steps towards ending the war on drugs. Wounded vets using cannabis to heal their wartime scars are crucial to nationwide efforts to legalize marijuana. Once Congress finally eases marijuana restrictions, it will absolutely be in no small part thanks to the vets. It’s already breaking that way. States with ridiculously limited medical-marijuana programs are being shamed into adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions — and others are proving wise enough not to impose such pointless and harmful restrictions in the first place. As has been demonstrated time and again, medical cannabis is the first step. Once people accept the plant as a legitimate wellness tool, decades of anti-pot propaganda starts to dissipate. Look at Florida, where more than 70 percent of voters approved medical marijuana, and where one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress is now a champion of medical pot. Maybe he’s doing it solely out of political expediency. It doesn’t matter, though. The worm is still turning. Conservative states including Tennessee aren’t so conservative when it comes to cannabis policy. Cities like Nashville have already pushed municipal decriminalization efforts. Within two hours’ drive is Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home to the 101st Airborne Division. You can bet that everyone on base knows that weed will help them through their lives once they’re discharged. And they'll act on it, whether legal or not. Patriotism as politics cuts both ways. Vets vote. And vets spur lawmakers into action. When marijuana is legalized in your area, when medical cannabis becomes acceptable for you to use, make sure you thank a vet.
Dispensary 101: 5 Questions A Cannabis Dispensary Must Answer

Dispensary 101: 5 Questions A Cannabis Dispensary Must Answer

Whenever you visit a dispensary, consider it Dispensary 101 that the establishment is staffed by knowledgeable budtenders.  Think about it, the butcher, the baker, the teenager putting the new iPhone through its paces for you at the Apple store — they’re there out of their own self-interest, yes (for motives, there is nothing like pure financial survival), but they’re also there to tell you everything you need to know about the goods they’re selling to you. Of course they are. Imagine the salesperson at the used car lot incapable of rattling off all the features, real and imagined, on the “new-to-you” selection of the day. Worse, picture the pharmacist without a clear grasp of the side effects of your new medication or who neglected to run a drug-interaction check seeing the sum effect of everything in your medicine cabinet (a real thing, and spectacularly dangerous if overlooked). %related-post-1% All this is to say that we enter into our commercial relationships with basic expectations. You come in with money, and the merchant comes with some fluency with their products. If their grasp on their wares is shaky or tenuous, something is wrong. And if they’re not keeping up their end of the bargain, you should take yourself and your money elsewhere. This is the standard to which anyone selling legal cannabis should be held. Yet, at times it’s a standard that goes unmet at cannabis retail outlets. Oftentimes, this is due to the blinding speed with which most transactions are conducted. There’s simply too much to take in — too many strains, too many OGs. You don’t know where to begin — and there are people in line behind you! Take a breath and relax. You, the consumer, are in charge. You can avoid the attendant unpleasant evening of unexpected, uncomfortable highness, or dropping a grip on a cannabis product that just isn’t good for you by posing to your budtender a few very basic, very reasonable queries. If they can’t or won’t provide you with this fundamental information, you should feel confident in running far, far away — and not coming back until the dispensary’s management employs qualified staff, or until he or she provides necessary training. So, with that, here are five Dispensary 101 questions every budtender should be able to answer — five questions you should feel comfortable posing: %related-post-2% “What is this?” Might as well begin at the beginning. What, indeed, is Silverback Gorilla Haze OG, other than the word salad of the day arbitrarily slapped on what could possibly be an otherwise average batch of pot? Without any kind of agreed-upon genetic standards for what differentiates an SFV OG from a Tahoe OG — and no guarantee (yet) that a famous name was applied to a strain with no relationship or even resemblance to it whatsoever — the consumer has the right to ask what the hell it is the budtender is selling. The budtender should be able to tell you this plant’s lineage — if it came from a well-known seed bank and what known strains served as its parents. They should also be able to tell you who grew it — was it in-house, or was it cultivated by a well-known producer? — and how (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, organically, veganic standards, etc). If they don’t know, that’s not good. This means they won’t have a real clue as to this next point, which is... “What will this do to me?” This is a vital Dispensary question. It's hard to answer definitively, but you should be able to walk away with a rough idea. Here is where nuance comes into play. Cannabis isn’t entirely like wine, where quality and scarcity of grapes and vintages is subordinate to the drinker’s palate and preference in determining whether the pour is “good,” but they’re analogous enough in some respects. The budtender should absolutely know the strain’s THC and CBD content — and in some states, they’ll have testing results far more detailed than that. They should also know the strain’s basic terpene profile (more on that later). Armed with all this, they should have a general idea of what the strain will do. At the same time, the customer should be able to tell the budtender what they want — pain relief, a joyous morning, a good night’s sleep — and also alert them to their tolerance and experience levels. %related-post-3% In return, the budtender should be aware that the old-school “indica-sativa” binary is by now far exploded — everything is hopelessly hybridized — but should also be able to respond with a suggested strain (or three) if the customer says they want a “60-40 hybrid with mindful calming effects that won’t put me into a stupor.” Finding exactly what you want will require some give-and-take and some foreknowledge on your part, but if the budtender can’t rattle off some of these basics about what’s in that jar — good for daytime, good for sleep, good for pain, etc. — you shouldn’t feel compelled to buy it. “Who does your testing — and can I see the results?” Question royalty, the key point, the heart of the matter. This is how you determine whether the product is safe or not. Cleanliness and product safety is a real problem in the marijuana industry. Most states have mandatory, state-regulated testing. Others — including California, at least until January 2018 — do not. What’s left is a libertarian’s dream, a safety inspector’s nightmare — a wild west of sorts. Even when there are safety regulations in place, cannabis tainted with pesticides, mold, or other nastiness makes its way onto the market. Testing data should be basic information the budtender knows by heart. If you haven’t heard of the testing company, whip out your iPhone and look it up. “Can I smell it/can I take a peek?” Let’s say the budtender is able to rattle off a whole shopping-list’s worth of terpenes. Do you know what they are and what they do? You probably don’t — and that’s not a character flaw. This is all very new information. One way to find out for yourself is to take a deep sniff and see how your mind and body reacts. Did you like it? Did it relax or excite — or repel you? The terpene content is a fine indicator of the strain’s final effects. %related-post-4% In the event that the dispensary is selling you buds in an opaque container, you should also demand a visual inspection. Many flaws in cannabis are plainly visible — and getting a peek at the buds’ size, shape, and density will give you an idea if you’re paying top-shelf prices for mid-grade reefer. Many dispensaries these days have pre-packaged eighths. The “let me smell it” rule still applies. They should be able to open them up and give you an olfactory taste. If they won’t, take your money somewhere else. “How long has this been sitting around? When did this come in?” This is not the equivalent of asking the sushi chef if the fish is fresh. In that case, you’ll insult them if the fish is fresh — because it’s supposed to be — and if it isn’t, do you think you’ll get a straight answer? At the marijuana dispensary, the budtenders will know if something’s been on the shelf so long that it’s drying out — and if something has been lying around long enough to dry out, it’s also losing cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavor. It won't be as effective and it simply won't be as pleasant to consume, whether you're vaping, smoking, or turning it into oil for edibles. Cannabis is a flower, an agricultural product — and flowers don't keep forever. Of course, if the producer did a bad job curing, it won't make much difference how long the flower has been sitting around. But at least you asked this, and the other, Dispensary 101 questions.
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.

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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.
Senior Citizens And Marijuana: A Political Powerhouse?

Senior Citizens And Marijuana: A Political Powerhouse?

Yes, senior citizens and marijuana could easily form a political powerhouse. Here's how.  If it impacts me directly, it's important politically Adam Smith was not a cynic. He was a realist. "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest,” wrote the modern era’s first economist wrote in Wealth of Nations. Aside from providing the general, unlearned public with rudimentary bromides to deploy over dinner and in barrooms — if anyone knows anything about economics, they will know this principle of self-first survival, or maybe the “invisible hand” of the free market — Smith also delivered a fundamental political lesson. The question all voters ask, and the one all supplicants for their votes must answer is: What’s in it for me? %related-post-1% Appeals to reason, justice, or emotion will find their effectiveness limited at property lines. In other words: A foreign war or a public good is an abstract thing, an innocuous thing, until it affects your taxes or your home values — and then watch it become a Matter of Great Import. In order to do the right thing, a voter must believe it is the right thing for herself. When it comes to voting, senior citizens call the shots This can be a challenging equation to balance at the ballot box. It’s Millennials who will (someday) inherit the world from the Baby Boomers (eventually) — yet it’s the Baby Boomers who are shaping the future by turning out to vote and selecting choice-makers for us. With this in mind, they can help us move toward a more verdant future by voting to legalize marijuana. And they should. Senior citizens and marijuana make for a great match. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Until now, voters over 50 have been the reliable bulwark against marijuana legalization. According to Gallup, there’s wide majority support for marijuana legalization across all generations, with one exception: That’s right, voters over 55. You can probably thank senior citizens for marijuana legalization’s loss in Arizona, the lone failure on Election Day last year. This is ironic, considering senior citizens have been for some time the fastest-growing demographic among marijuana users. There’s decades of propaganda to unlearn, sure. But then again, people around the age of 60 or 65 or older were the people who made cannabis a central part of the American counterculture. Senior citizens and marijuana have been cozying up According to one survey, marijuana use among Americans 65 and older has increased by 250 percent. Data like this isn’t the most reliable — a survey’s value relies on people telling the truth, and since people lie to their doctors about how much alcohol they drink, and it’s legal, how honest are they about drug use? — but at least some of the smart money is following it. %related-post-2% Marijuana companies are converging on senior centers and retirement homes to find new customers. Since aging includes some of the very ailments medical marijuana is most effective at treating — among them sleep issues, chronic pain, and wasting syndromes associated with cancer — the appeal is obvious. The pitch makes perfect sense. Here’s something that’s relatively benign, available in formats that require no smoking — thus, no negative health impacts — with limited side effects, and profound medical value. And, yes, the fountain of youth potential. As mentioned above, initial results from a study conducted on mice revealed that THC may reverse or at least slow the cognitive decline associated with aging. Would you like to enjoy — and remember — those golden years? Of course you do. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> It’s no accident that medical marijuana was overwhelmingly approved in Florida, land of of the snowbirds and Sun Belt retirees. Until now, much of the taboo and reluctance to embrace cannabis has been about “the children.” This, too, is ironic: It’s been kids, stricken with intractable epilepsy and other illnesses medicine is helpless to heal, that have convinced state lawmakers in red areas like Georgia and Texas to allow sick people to access high CBD, low THC oil. When senior citizens and marijuana come to terms, prohibition will end You’ll notice that no matter who is in office, no presidential administration and no Congress have been able to raid Social Security or gut Medicare. In addition to owning property and significant wealth, seniors also wield significant political power. If seniors collectively realized tomorrow that cannabis was good for them, Congress would end marijuana prohibition within a year. You can bet on that.
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.
The Worst-Ever Marijuana Editorial Is Lame Clickbait

The Worst-Ever Marijuana Editorial Is Lame Clickbait

“Marijuana devastated Colorado. Don’t legalize it nationally,” is the linkbaity headline of a recent marijuana editorial, published on Aug. 7 in USA Today. The faulty marijuana editorial was penned in apparent response to Sen. Cory Booker’s proposal to legalize marijuana via Congress. The piece puzzled many, including some Coloradans. Isn’t Denver booming? Aren’t marijuana sales taxes funding college scholarships and allowing towns to build new civic centers? Didn’t Colorado just top more than $1.3 billion in legal marijuana sales? Aren’t there 18,000 new jobs in Colorado thanks to the marijuana industry?  Subsequently reprinted in parent company Gannett’s other properties from Detroit to Nashville, and elsewhere in the U.S., the item has gone bona fide viral, with more than 106,000 Facebook shares within a few days’ time. This was the screed anti-legalization sympathizers have been waiting for. Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the organization that benefited from pharmaceutical industry cash to defeat that state’s legalization measure last fall, and Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the anti-marijuana advocacy group chaired by a former staffer in the Office for National Drug Control Policy, all responded with predictable cheers. As they should, since the marijuana editorial parroted many of the same cherrypicked data points they’ve been repeating for months, which form the intellectual foundation (such as it is) for supporting marijuana prohibition. The author of this hot content is one Jeff Hunt. Hunt is the vice president of public policy at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, where Hunt chairs the “Centennial Institute,” the school’s official think tank. What Sen. Booker is proposing to do, Hunt writes, is to visit upon the entire United States the ravages that marijuana legalization has wreaked on Colorado since voters legalized the drug in 2012. %related-post-1% The carnage includes the highest marijuana use rate among youth in the U.S.; an increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths and emergency room visits; an increase in marijuana-related arrests, particularly of black and Latino youth; and no perceptible benefit in the way of jobs or sales taxes. “We’ve seen the effects in our neighborhoods in Colorado, and this is nothing we wish upon the nation,” Hunt summarizes. It’s another “sad moment in our nation’s embrace of a drug that will have generational consequences.” Hunt’s marijuana editorial points are lifted straight from what’s become the Bible for marijuana prohibitionists: A 2016 report from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The nation’s many HIDTAs, remember, are part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which itself is prohibited by Congress from advocating for marijuana legalization. Hmm. That smells like a bias. In this case, the bias comes at the expense of…well, everything. As Forbes and Reason.com columnist Jacob Sullum has pointed out, HIDTA reports overwhelm the reader with charts and data that make legalization look like an apocalypse — and bury caveats needed to accurately interpret the data, such as “inferences concerning trends…should not be made” and “that does not necessarily prove that marijuana was the cause of the incident,” deep in tiny footnotes. According to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the HIDTA report presents “incomplete and unreliable data,” which — along with its institutional bias — is why it’s become the document of choice for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his fellow travelers. Hunt also produces a quote from Harry Bull, the superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District: “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana,” says Bull, who has been seeding this soundbite in the media since at least early 2016. %related-post-2% Like Hunt, Bull is being disingenuous in several ways. Several reviews have found that marijuana use among teens in Colorado has either remained flat or dropped since legalization. And under state law, the first $40 million worth of marijuana sales taxes go to capital improvements in impoverished and rural school districts. Cherry Creek School District is in Arapahoe County, which encompasses Aurora, Littleton, and other well-off communities in suburbs east of Denver. Fewer than six percent of people there live below the poverty line, so Cherry Creek doesn’t qualify as impoverished. At all. But what do other commentators without institutional biases think? “Our conclusion is that state marijuana legalizations have had minimal effect on marijuana use and related outcomes,” wrote scholars from the libertarian Cato Institute — the think tank funded by one of the Koch Brothers — in their review of legalization’s impacts published last fall. “The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents.” Thing is, Hunt has been banging this exact same drum for months — using almost the exact same language. “The legalization of marijuana has devastated Colorado,” Hunt wrote in a January 11 Facebook post, in which he went on to repeat (verbatim) all the greatest hits from the HIDTA report. Apparently, Hunt waited until Booker introduced his legislation, and then used that as his news hook when shopping his op-ed around to anyone who would published it. Among the hopeful homes was Denver’s alt-weekly, Westword. Westword declined Hunt’s offer, and instead published a response: “Dear USA Today: Marijuana Hasn't Devastated Colorado,” the paper wrote. (The paper sought Hunt’s input, but for some reason, Hunt was nowhere to be found.) So why did USA Today take a bite at this stale old garbageburger? The short answer, judging by other recent contributions, is that they’ll publish almost anything if it generates web traffic. Most of the comments on Hunt’s marijuana editorial — and on his Facebook page — repeat many of the same facts we’ve asserted above. It’s not honest. It’s not convincing. It’s not even fresh or interesting. It’s just an inflammatory polemic! But you clicked on it, whether it was to ponder or to vent. We all did. We’ve all been played — you, me, USA Today, and Jeff Hunt.
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.
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.
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.
Beach Themed Marijuana Vacations: A Possibility Soon?

Beach Themed Marijuana Vacations: A Possibility Soon?

Island paradises are popular vacation spots with mainlanders for a reason — because, well, they’re paradise. Why else would pasty-looking people flock to them? But there’s a glaring omission from the all-inclusive's list of earthly delights: Legal cannabis. So where to go for beach themed marijuana vacations? Make no mistake: Weed can be found everywhere fruit-based cocktails with paper umbrellas are served without irony. Whether or not you’ll be able to find some is another issue. Until this month, when Las Vegas turned on the green light at its recreational cannabis stores, over-the-counter cannabis tourism was a privilege reserved for places that enjoy cold, rain, and snow, like Denver, Seattle, Portland, even Anchorage. Out on the islands, the drug war has died a slow death. %related-post-1% But since most of the expensive island getaway destinations also happen to be stone broke, there’s a strong push to reform marijuana laws from elected leaders as well as the hoi polloi. But like the mainland, progress can be measured in island time. This also applies on American soil. Here are the best candidates for an irie island experience. Jamaica The most obvious choice for marijuana vacations is the island synonymous worldwide with cannabis culture. But not only isn’t there a legal dab bar in Montego, Jamaicans don’t even get to enjoy official Bob Marley-branded marijuana — which is produced and sold in legal states on the American mainland. But since the island needs money from something other than tourism and export-based agriculture like coffee, Jamaica is keen to cash in on the wave of marijuana business sweeping the mainland. The island is not the least bit apologetic about looking to marijuana to provide another excuse for tourists to get off the cruise ship, or as an anchor for wellness-seeking ecotourists. Jamaica decriminalized possession of two ounces or less in 2015, and has talked about allowing tourists to load up on local herb at the airport. Sounds nice, until you keep in mind that while Jamaicans enjoy medical cannabis in theory, it’s taken until 2017 for outfits wishing to cultivate government-approved ganja to be issued permits. In the meantime, demand is met by a still-thriving black market. And since laws are far, far more relaxed than they were in the not-so-recent past, a ganja-seeker can afford to be choosy with the sketchy strangers who appear offering drugs. Puerto Rico The hard times in America are hardest in Puerto Rico, where the local government owes mainland banks $72 million and where as many as half of working-age people are out of a job. Puerto Ricans are American citizens but can’t vote in presidential elections, and get no votes in Congress — and their raw deal extends to cannabis, still a target for the DEA and FBI, which absolutely have local offices on the island. %related-post-2% Even so, Puerto Rico’s sovereign government has pushed forward with medical marijuana, handing out a license to almost anyone with the permit fees. Yet a few years on, fewer than 4,000 of the island’s 3.5 million people have signed up as patients. And these select few who managed to navigate a bottlenecked approval process have had terrific difficulty actually accessing any cannabis. Growers have had difficulty producing adequate supply, and when the same government publishes tweets comparing using cannabis to “smoking LSD,” as Puerto Rico’s Senate did earlier this year, the atmosphere isn’t exactly welcoming. But things are looking up. In July, Gov. Ricardo Rossello signed an updated medical-marijuana bill, and stated at the same time that there’s “absolutely” support in the legislature for legalization. Can the industry adjust? Will San Juan have a Calle Verde? Maybe, but for now, if sun-filled marijuana vacations are what you’re after, you’re probably better off going to Vegas. Hawaii The most obvious place for palm trees and coconuts to serve as a backdrop for swaying fields of green is America’s most remote state. Hawaii has had medical marijuana for years, after all — but it’s also been years that patients, of which there are fewer than 16,000, have been waiting for dispensaries to open up. Sales were supposed to begin in 2016, but as of July 2017, the state was still a ways away from approving labs and dispensaries to open their doors. And despite relaxed island vibes — everyone in the legislature wears Hawaiian shirts to work! — there’s a decidedly conservative bent to drug-policy reform. Relaxed marijuana laws struggle to get past the committee stage. The best method for a Hawaiian vacation involving pakalolo is probably to bring your own from the mainland, as the natives still suffer through punitive pot laws. %related-post-3% Florida (Mainland and Keys) Key West is closer to Havana than it is to Miami — but it’s also still in Florida, which is a good thing for anyone wanting to visit Hemingway’s house with a joint stashed in a pocket. Florida is a red state, but it’s quite possibly the most marijuana-friendly red state. After a large majority of Florida voters approved medical marijuana last fall, deep-pocketed dispensaries are opening for business in places like Tampa. To add dispensaries to the mix in liberal, LGBT-friendly places like Key West is a no-brainer. For now, there are only delivery services, but as the rest of the state opens up to the cannabis industry, storefront dispensaries will follow — and from there, it’s only a matter of time before full legalization hits the ballot. If we had to bet on a warm-water destination to master the art of letting adults buy marijuana first, we might put money on Florida.  Beach themed marijuana vacations make almost too much sense. Let's hope they become a (legal) reality soon. 
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 And Car Wrecks: Does Legalization Make An Impact?

Marijuana And Car Wrecks: Does Legalization Make An Impact?

Recently, a study published by the Highway Loss Data Institute tried to link marijuana and car wrecks. The study examined the number of collision claims in the western states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington where marijuana is legal for recreational adult use. The ultimate goal of the report seemed to be to show that an increase in the number of collision claims can be attributed to legalization. Yet since its publication, many have questioned the authority of the report. What the study says about marijuana and car wrecks "The combined-state analysis shows that the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana have experienced more crashes," says Matt Moore, senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). %related-post-1% Colorado apparently had the biggest increase in claim frequency when compared with the different control states. When combined, the three states of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington had about 3% more collision claims than the control states — Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The study was reported across numerous American and international media outlets. If car wrecks totals have increased, at least fatalities haven't The American Public Health Association (APHA) published a study in the American Journal of Public Health, exploring a nuance overlooked by the HDLI study, which linked marijuana and car wrecks overall. The conclusion of their study is that “three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization. Future studies over a longer time remain warranted.” Notice the “fatality rates” nuance. The APHA findings were focused on the severity of crashes, not their overall number. Pushback to the HLDI study The HLDI study made quite a bit of noise, and many industry watchers wondered how to interpret its results. In a truly scientific study, the entire methodology of testing and analysis are explained, and different possible explanations are given for the obtained results. Just take a look at the study published by the HLDI, and you’ll notice that it isn’t clear how they obtained such results. The study conducted by the American Public Health Association seems much more plausible, even for the untrained eye. Sure, there might be a correlation between the year in which recreational cannabis use was legalized and the number of insurance claims for collisions, but that doesn’t prove cannabis causes more accidents. Causation and correlation are not one in the same. It’s important to understand the difference between correlation and causation. Especially because it appears the HLDI work might lead lawmakers and voters to believe that correlation is enough to influence cannabis-related legislation. %related-post-2% Correlation is a mutual relation between two or more things. Here’s an example: When temperatures rise, ice cream sales rise. But imagine, if crime rates also rise when it gets hotter outside, does that mean that ice cream causes people to become criminals because violence and ice cream consumption increase at the same time? No, because there’s no causation. So, if the number of people sending in a claim to their insurance company after a collision rises, does that mean it’s because their state legalized the recreational use of cannabis? It might be, but it isn’t necessarily the case. After a correlation has been found, much more analysis must be done to see if there’s causation or not. A lot of other things might cause an increase in collision claims. Who knows, maybe people work longer hours, and it’s the fatigue that causes them to react slower than usual, and hit another car. It doesn’t seem like the HDLI studied these kind of possible causes. This makes the study less trustworthy, and more opinionated. It’s easy to look for a correlation between two things if you want to show your opinion on a subject. It’s a lot harder to prove causation between them in order to prove your point. So, is there a link between marijuana and car wrecks? If the statistics presented by HLDI are correct, then yes, there is a correlation. However, we agree with a growing number of voices that more scientific study needs to be conducted before drawing a straight line between the two (aka causation).
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.
Marijuana Effects On Dogs And Other Pets

Marijuana Effects On Dogs And Other Pets

Medical cannabis appears to be a helpful solution for many people suffering various ailments. But what about your pets? What are marijuana effects on dogs and cats, and how do those effects differ from traditional pharmaceuticals? Those are tricky questions, and as always when it comes to medical cannabis, opinions often clash. The laws concerning medical cannabis apply only to human beings. A veterinarian isn’t allowed to prescribe cannabis as a treatment for your pet. The main reason for this is the lack of scientific research and testing on the subject, which has yet to prove whether cannabis is definitively safe or beneficial for pets. Dogs have cannabinoid receptors just like human beings, which means that, in theory, it’s possible they react similarly to cannabis. Only without proper research, we’re unable to say how their bodies actually react to cannabis, and if it would truly help manage their pain or illnesses.   %related-post-1% Hemp products for pets As you might have noticed, cannabis products are available for your pets online and even in some local grocery and pet stores. Such products are made with hemp, which isn’t the plant used for smoking. Hemp contains very little THC, and federal law requires that industrial hemp contain less than 0.3% of THC by dry weight. Hemp appears to have medical properties because of the CBD it contains. Because you can’t get high from hemp, and because it’s also used in goods like the ecologically friendly clothes, it’s subject to different regulations than THC-heavy cannabis products. According to an article published on AmericanVeterinarian.com, cannabis products, some even containing THC, are beneficial for dogs. Owners have witnessed positive effects on their dogs, who reportedly seem to be in less pain, and appear happier. But we still don’t know anything about the longterm effects, or what would happen if a dog receives too many drops of hemp oil. To that point, the article includes this disclaimer: “the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has no formal position regarding the veterinary use of medical marijuana but does agree that more studies are needed.” Can you trust these hemp products? Since products made from hemp are legal, they can be readily purchased and consumed. But before doing so, you must think about the fact that they don’t undergo the same testing as pharmaceuticals do. Also, dosing may be difficult since the lack of proper research and testing makes nailing down product benefits a bit of a guessing game. Moreover, in 2015 the FDA sent warning letters to some manufacturers of hemp supplements for dogs because of their marketing practices. Some manufacturers marketed their products as being safe and 100% effective, but without rigorous testing such claims may not necessarily be true. It turned out that some products that were tested by officials didn’t even contain CBD, which means they weren’t of any advertised use. %related-post-2% According to some pet owners and veterinarians, hemp can be used to treat or ease the pain from sprains, torn ligaments, bone breaks and other ailments. It might be possible to reduce the dosage of pharmaceutical drugs by giving some hemp to your dog (though we recommend consulting with your veterinarian first). Also, the CBD may help ease the side effects of the drugs. Of course every dog or cat will react differently to hemp products. And it might be unsafe to reduce the dosage of the prescribed drugs, risking to cause greater harm to your pet. A study, issued in 2016 by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University, details why people buy hemp products for their dogs and cats, and what their observation about the effects is. For example, more than 38% of the people who answered the survey indicated that hemp helped ease their dog’s pain. When it comes to the side effects for dogs, sedation seems to be the biggest one, with over 19% of the respondents indicating it as a significant effect. A little warning THC-laden cannabis is unsafe for dogs and other pets. So if you have a stash of smokable products, edibles, or other cannabis products at home, make sure your pets cannot reach them. Poison control centers often receive reports of pets eating their owner’s cannabis stash. This can induce, among other things, vomiting, muscle twitching, incontinence, low or high heart rate, trouble breathing and unconsciousness. It’s incredibly important to take your dog the the veterinarian immediately if s/he ate something containing THC, even if you don’t see any signs of intoxication.
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. 
Legalizing Marijuana: Signs Your State Is The Next To Go Green

Legalizing Marijuana: Signs Your State Is The Next To Go Green

Democracy is a loud, divisive, and ponderous task. This is true when the parties involved mostly agree. Undoing a lifetime’s worth of failed policy — even a vastly unpopular policy that benefits only a privileged few, to wit: marijuana prohibition — is a titanic undertaking, akin to melting a glacier with a hair dryer. But legalizing marijuana is something legislatures have been tinkering on for some time. With how quickly Americans’ attitudes have shifted on drug policy, it’s easy to forget how long and torturous a path the movement to allow adults to use cannabis without fear of arrest has trod. Remember: California voters rejected legalizing marijuana recreationally in 2010 — after medical cannabis production and sales had been legal for more than a decade. It took another seven years (and three other states going first) before the state at last legalized in November 2016. Do you have that kind of patience? Thankfully, it won’t be required. If anything like the following is going on in your state, legalizing marijuana will likely come much sooner than seven years. %related-post-1% You already have medical marijuana You gotta walk before you can run, you gotta hum before you can sing — and you have to have CBD oil available to kids with epilepsy, former NFL players with head trauma, and senior citizens with chronic pain before you can walk into a dispensary and cop a handful of pre-rolled joints. Every state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over has had medical marijuana in place first — and in most cases for a very long time. In Oregon, medical preceded legalization by 14 years; in Maine, it was 17 years. And it shouldn’t be some mythical, “medical marijuana in name only” situation where only hemp-derived CBD oil is allowed or where dispensaries are as rare as unicorns. In both Maine and Massachusetts, where legalization passed by the smallest margins in November, retail storefront dispensaries had been open for a few years. Ask any monorail salesman: There’s nothing like a real-life demonstration to win over the unwilling. Medical cannabis sales normalizes the concept of incorporating the drug into society, and provides tangible proof of the benefits. This bodes well for Michigan, where dispensaries have been in operation for several years, patients have been able to grow their medicine at home, and the Marijuana Policy Project is currently organizing and fundraising for a ballot initiative. Decriminalization is happening A good first step towards allowing something is ending the practice of punishing it severely. Most medical marijuana measures have been preceded by decriminalization, where cannabis possession, once a misdemeanor crime punishable by arrest and incarceration, becomes a violation akin to a traffic ticket, punishable by only a fine. This is another example of social conditioning: it’s hard to convince people to start collecting taxes on conduct that’s still criminal, but it’s a much easier sell to regulate and tax when cops grow so bored with writing tickets for a relatively harmless activity that they stop bothering. And this is happening all over… albeit slowly. Embarrassed by arrest statistics so spectacularly biased it’s a wonder they didn’t earn a statue in New Orleans, pragmatic lawmakers and law-enforcement officers in Houston and Nashville moved to decriminalize possession — though in Nashville’s case, the good turn was undone by state lawmakers, who recognized the first step towards legalizing marijuana when they saw it. %related-post-2% You’re broke Necessity is the mother of invention, desperate times call for desperate measures — pick your pablum: it applies to the dire straits Illinois finds itself in. The state is an apocalyptic $9 billion in the red, a budget deficit so bad it makes California’s subprime crisis-era fiscal hole look like a molehill. Residents are fleeing, and a political impasse means no new tax money is coming anytime soon. It’s no accident that Democratic lawmakers in Springfield are now floating the idea of legalizing marijuana as a ready and easy moneymaking solution. Together, Colorado and Washington collected about $455 million in tax revenue from the sale of cannabis. Together, the two states have a smaller population than Illinois, which could net as much as $700 million with regulated and taxed cannabis sales. Cannabis cash has allowed one Colorado town to pave its streets and build a new city hall and civic auditorium. Marijuana revenue won’t solve longstanding systemic problems like population imbalances (hi, Baby Boomers) or high fixed costs like healthcare, but it’s an untapped source of revenue. There aren’t too many of those around. There won’t likely be any bailouts from Washington in the Trump era, and with hard-up citizens unlikely to volunteer to pay more income or property taxes, turning a black-market economy into something that can fund schools, roads, and public-employee pensions is one of the only remaining cards yet to the played. Lawmakers are finally doing their jobs If our elected representatives were truly interested in working for us, cannabis would have been legal a long time ago. More than 90 percent of Americans support medical marijuana; more than 60 percent of all Americans believe recreational marijuana should be legalized. Cannabis is more popular than Donald Trump, and has better-attended inauguration parties. Yet, to date, legalization has only come through the citizens’ initiative. You can blame special interests, you can blame political deadlock — either way, lawmakers aren’t doing their jobs and making laws the people want. In Florida’s case, lawmakers took forever to do the job they were constitutionally bound to do, simply because that job involved weed. %related-post-3% So if notoriously risk-averse politicians are willing to publicly say it’s time for legalizing marijuana, it’s probably well past time. And judging by the reaction state lawmakers in New Jersey are triggering from human roadblock Gov. Chris Christie with their proposal to legalize cannabis in the state, it won’t be long before a Legislature votes to legalize. This follows a similar formula as above: first medical, then legal, and a host of state houses have already passed medical cannabis and successfully convinced the governor (most of whom in America are Republicans) to affix his (most are men) to the bill. And even setbacks like Vermont’s, where the governor declined to sign a just-passed legalization bill, came with the caveat that the only problem was the details, not legalization itself. The real progress, however, would come if Congress called one of the more than a dozen cannabis-related bills introduced this session for a committee hearing. Once that happens, legalization will be imminent everywhere in the country. Take heart: It’s already inevitable.
The Marijuana Industry Must Overcome These 4 Issues

The Marijuana Industry Must Overcome These 4 Issues

Cannabis' comparisons to Silicon Valley are only apt if we note that unlike smartphones, there's still a long way to go before we achieve saturation. To do that, the marijuana industry needs some changes, only some of which it can implement itself. For all the endless hype — the earned media prevaricating between open-mouthed fawning and hand-wringing, the disruptive attention from investors, and the caterwauling from police and prohibitionists petrified of a world with new rules — it’s important to remember that marijuana is still a fringe pursuit. Cannabis enjoys favorable comparisons to Silicon Valley, sure. As the only other industry to appear in our lives as if overnight, technology is a convenient measuring stick. It’s also hyperbolic wishful thinking to compare the two in apples-to-apples style. %related-post-1% Consider: more than two-thirds of Americans, and 86 percent of adult Millennials, own smartphones, still the vehicle of choice for any venture that touches tech. Compare that to the number of Americans who smoke weed. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the nation’s monthly marijuana users number only 22.2 million — or fewer than ten percent of the population. Thus far, the meteoric growth of a legalizing industry segueing from the black market to government regulations has protected this willful overselling from painful exposure, but the razzle-dazzle of the marijuana industry likely won’t last forever. Let’s assume that’s low, and that participants in a government-run survey are less than forthcoming about their drug habits. Another recent survey pegs the number of “regular” users of marijuana — that is, people who use cannabis at least once or twice a month — at 35 million, or slightly more than ten percent of the population. That’s better, but not exactly the kind of market estimate to make a venture capitalists’ heart sing. Imagine a world where only ten percent of us had an iPhone — and we only used it every other weekend, after the kids were safe in bed. Apple would be a cute little company with an interesting booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), not a global juggernaut. But there is a favorable comparison to be made to consumer electronics. Unlike smartphones, cannabis is far from achieving saturation — there is still room to grow. Over half of cannabis consumers are Millennials, and men outnumber women almost two-to-one. This means women and all people over 40 are new frontiers for the marijuana industry. There hasn’t been opportunity like this since Uber set sights on China. But in order for cannabis to take advantage, and to avoid stumbling like Uber has in China, weed will have to break free from some major hindrances. Here are four of the biggest hurdles cannabis needs to jump in order to maximize its market presence: Cannabis is Over-Reliant on Super-frequent Users If the cannabis industry relied on the 35 million people who smoked just once or twice a month, there would be mass layoffs at dispensaries. For now, a relatively small percentage of heavy users are keeping the marijuana industry afloat. %related-post-2% According to data crunched by Colorado’s Department of Revenue, 50 percent of marijuana users use fewer than five times a month — and account for less than 3.5 percent of sales. Meanwhile, another roughly 22 percent of users who consume daily account for nearly 70 percent of all sales.   The “average” marijuana user is a 37-year-old male who spends about $100 a month on flower, but in reality, a few Millennials are coming in to spend hundreds of dollars a week. What the cannabis industry needs, then, are more people from all walks of life, who spend just a little more, who have figured out a way to weave cannabis into their lives, if not daily, at least every other day. Cannabis Still Has an Image Problem There aren’t enough positive representations of marijuana use and users for most of us to stand up and say, “Yes, I smoke weed, and I’m a good person.” Seth Rogen, this is partially your fault. Weed already has white males (studies show this). But there still aren’t very many role models for the demographics where cannabis has growth potential: women, people of color, people over 60. Much of this has to do with how society has “rewarded” these people: with visits from Child Protective Services, with trips to jail, with misinformation and propaganda. There is still ample room for a respected mainstream voice to start saying what we know to be true: weed is a relatively benign substance, a safer alternative to alcohol, and an even safer substitute for habit-forming pharmaceuticals like opiates. Former NFL players like Jake Plummer taking non-psychoactive cannabis oil for post-concussion syndrome is a start, as is Whoopi Goldberg’s line of non-psychoactive, beauty product-like offerings geared towards women. But cannabis-infused bath salts and marijuana-based “romantic aids” aren’t going to matter if people can’t see themselves using them. What weed really needs is a celebrity endorser with wide appeal like Ivanka Trump, although preferably without the overseas sweatshops. Marijuana Needs to Become Boring Smartphones are ubiquitous because they are simple. Look: a touchscreen! Look: icons! A few apps, and you’re set for life. If an iPhone and iOS are the standards of our day (and they are), cannabis is still a PC running MS-DOS. Even experienced users are overwhelmed by the size of the average dispensary menu, with brand-new strain names every week, and budtenders who have the task the size of a sommelier’s, but with the training and expectations of someone working a beer-and-shot dive. What is all this? What will it do? You don't know, exactly? Imagine sales patter like that at a car dealership. %related-post-3% Cannabis needs to figure out a way to become less ritualized and more boring if it wants to capture a Walgreen’s-sized market. Being able to sell in a simpler, standard setting without ID checkpoints and security guards isn’t something the industry can grant itself, but it can absolutely work on standardized products with predictable, consistent dosing and stupid-obvious, idiot-proof directions and results. The customer experience at many dispensaries is in need of enhancement, if not a total overhaul, if the untapped women-and-Boomer segments are going to feel welcome. Marijuana Use is Still a Risk Smoking weed won’t kill you — unless you’re an immunocompromised AIDS or cancer patient using weed tainted with fungus — but it can absolutely rob you of your ability to earn a living...and more. That’s not weed’s fault. It’s society’s, which is neither welcoming nor friendly, even in the legalization age. Employers have the right to fire a worker for smoking weed — and that’s in the states where adult-use cannabis is legal. And if you’re a parent, drug use is still a serious risk, particularly if you’re involved in a custody battle. Weed can lose you your job and your kids. If you go to any marijuana industry conference, you’ll hear stuffed shirts in suits prattling on about advocacy and education. They may sound like hectoring bores repeating catchphrases — and they may be — but they’re right. If the marijuana industry was longsighted enough, it would be dedicating much of its profits towards advocacy and education efforts to countermand the decades of brainwashing for which we have DARE to thank.
Should You Talk About Marijuana Use At Work?

Should You Talk About Marijuana Use At Work?

Discuss marijuana use at work? Why not, right? After all, Americans may not live to work, but we absolutely live at work. Americans spend an average of almost nine hours a day on work or “work-related activities,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Working more than you sleep is the rule: Forty percent of us reported to Gallup working well over 40 hours a week. We will see more of our coworkers than we’ll see of our friends, families, life partners — a fair number of whom entered our lives via the workplace, because where else are you going to meet someone? — and whatever children we produce. Such familiarity makes it tempting to treat the workplace with total honesty. Why not share with your cubicle-mates on Monday morning the exact details of what happened over the weekend — they were probably there anyway! %related-post-1% Here’s a good reason: If it’s talking about your marijuana use, it can get you fired. Legal or not, medical or not, cannabis users are not a protected class in America. State and federal “Drug-Free Workplace” acts have given employers the explicit right to fire employees for illegal drug use. And, as courts have upheld, this means marijuana use is still a fireable offense, even in states where cannabis consumption is legal for adults 21 and over. Some are lucky enough to be in-demand skilled workers, where employers will turn a blind eye to reprehensible behavior as well as relatively benign recreational marijuana use. The rest, however, have to weigh our options very carefully when judging to come out of the “cannabis closet” — and how to comport ourselves when we do. The first and most obvious consideration to weigh is whether being outre with marijuana use will get you fired. For people working in “public-safety” positions with regular contact with the public, such as bus driver, police officer, and anyone working with heavy machinery, drug tests aren’t just a not-so-subtle means of social control, allowing employers a convenient excuse to discard a qualified worker they just don’t want — they’re part of the job. While we’d love for cops to publicly declare themselves to be secret stoners, they would quite probably soon no longer be cops — and can do us all more good by remaining on the force than being off it. Likewise with workers in other positions. Until American groks the fact that cannabis metabolites stay in the body for days or weeks after use — and until we’re as comfortable with the notion of an airline pilot getting stoned on the weekends as we are with them flying 300 people through the air at 30,000 feet with a brutal hangover — it’s best to stay at least anonymous. %related-post-2% As important as cannabis freedom is, economic freedom is more important. Supporting cannabis use is simply not worth the risk of losing a good career. You’re better protecting your economic power and supporting legalization in other ways — like among your friends and family. At the same time, when the subject comes up in the workplace it’s perfectly appropriate to be an educated advocate and voice your support for legalization. You can correct the record and point out that dispensaries don’t cause crime and that legalization hasn’t led to more kids using marijuana. You could even add the qualifier, “If I could, I absolutely would!” For the rest of us, it’s a measure of judging the workplace atmosphere and, when we decide to be public about smoking pot, behaving as a combination model citizen, advocate, and ambassador — who has a keen sense of both timing and decorum. If you’re the boss, some of these rules fly out the window — because you make the rules — but the responsibility to create an example of positive, beneficial cannabis use is all the greater. Likewise, if you live in a legal state like California or Colorado, the risk is significantly lower than if you’re in Texas or Tennessee. There’s a trade-off in that, though — you’re much more valuable as a stoner role model at work in the Deep South, but you also have more to lose. Behavior modeling is a very big deal. Recounting, in meticulous and graphic detail, the length and breadth of last weekend’s alcohol use, down to the last drop of Jager and the last blurry visions of the bathroom floor, is juvenile, tedious — and a possible sign of destructive behavior requiring professional intervention. %related-post-3% Even though excessive marijuana use is by all indications a healthier behavior than binge drinking, this doesn’t make it actually healthy. Nobody really wants to hear how lit you were, dude, or how many globs you slammed in an evening’s time. This is high school-level banter and has no place in the workplace, or in the life of a healthy and productive adult, whether it’s on social media, Slack, or whispered furtively in the elevator. But! If someone asks you what you did on Friday, and you got stoned and watched a movie, or you were able to function properly because cannabis solved your chronic pain or ADHD, then you should feel empowered to say so. You will also have to be prepared for some unfair treatment. There is absolutely a double standard at play here. Snapchatting cocktails at sunset and Instagramming beers hoisted at the ballpark is typical Millennial behavior. Nobody will snicker and assume you start every morning with a Bloody Mary if they know you drink. If you’re a high performer on the sales team and you are a marijuana user, it’ll be easier and more conducive to openness than if you’re barely getting to work on time or on probation yet again. And whether or not your job allows you to consume cannabis on your off-hours, you can be an advocate for others. If you have a family member whose life was positively impacted by medical marijuana, rejoice! Be glad! And share the love.
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.
Marijuana Colors: What Do Different Cannabis Colors Represent?

Marijuana Colors: What Do Different Cannabis Colors Represent?

Let’s say you have two plates of food in front of you. One contains foods of dull, brownish colors, and the other contains brightly colored foods — greens, yellows and reds. If you had to choose between the two, which one would you pick? Probably the vibrant one, right? Because people are easily seduced by color, we like our food to look fresh and beautiful (read: colorful). The same goes for our marijuana. Maybe it’s subconscious, but when you choose your cannabis, bright marijuana colors will likely influence your purchase. If you visit a dispensary, or have different strains at home, take a moment to take a good up-close look to see all the marijuana colors on the various buds. Different strains of cannabis will have different colors. But what about these colors? Do they influence the taste, or even the potency of your product? %related-post-1% The role of phytochemicals Every cannabis plant contains different biological compounds, and one of them is called anthocyanin, a pigment. Depending on the plant’s pH, anthocyanin gives a blue or purple color to the flower. Sometimes it promotes a red hue, though red seems to be rare when it comes to cannabis. So, your anthocyanin-containing bud could be blue, purple or even red, depending on the particular pH level of the plant. While a cannabis plant is growing, it’s mostly green. Experienced growers can tell if a plant is healthy or not by the hue of green. This color is a result of the presence of chlorophyll. As you might remember from your years in school, chlorophyll is essential in photosynthesis, which allows a plant to grow by absorbing energy from light. Chlorophyll deficiencies in a plant, as well as air temperature and other various environmental conditions in which the cannabis grows, can make the flowers change color too. The precise factors influencing a plant to change color are still up for debate, but various deficiencies — like shortages in zinc, magnesium, and calcium — might be the cause. It’s also possible that when the temperature drops, the color of the plants will change because they sense a change in season. The same happens to the leaves of tree during fall. pH levels also play a major role in the change of colors. %related-post-2% Which phytochemicals can be found in your marijuana? Blue and purple → Anthocyanin White and cream → Anthoxanthin Yellow and orange → Carotenoids Green → Chlorophyll Red → Lycopene What about the potency of your marijuana? Some will say that bold-colored strains are more potent than others. Others will say that the color of a bud has nothing to do with its potency or its taste. It might be all about bag appeal. Bright colors are more attractive, more luxurious to the eye. Perhaps those colors alone will have you feeling good even before consuming such a beautiful product. But of more substance, according to a study published in 2004, “anthocyanin isolates may provide protection from DNA cleavage, estrogenic activity [...], enzyme inhibition, [and] anti-inflammatory activity.” This means that the anthocyanins could possibly act as healthy antioxidants. Only it hasn’t been proven smoking cannabis of a certain color, which contains these anthocyanins, gives you the benefits of a strong antioxidant. The verdict is still out on that one. So, what’s the best way to know you’re getting the best cannabis product, regardless of the marijuana colors? If you want to be sure about the potency of a bud, make sure it contains enough cannabinoids. This is the only way to be a 100% sure your product is potent.
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 Great Medbox Marijuana Hustle

The Great Medbox Marijuana Hustle

Are you familiar with Medbox, arguably the most substantial marijuana hustle to date? If not, here’s how the hustle went down. It is worth remembering now, with legal marijuana attracting serious interest from serious venture capitalists — all of whom, if they’re honest, want as much as they can get out of the billions of dollars the legal American marijuana market is worth — that the first “billionaire” to emerge from the sector sold no marijuana at all. Instead, Vincent Mehidzadeh, the CEO of a California-based company called Medbox, was in the business of vending machines — vending machines designed to dispense marijuana. But he didn’t sell very many of these. Not nearly enough to become a paper billionaire. Instead, he sold stock in his company — and when nobody was buying that, he went into the “business” of buying his own stock. The sales were enough to give his company the appearance of profitability. The marijuana industry’s first unicorn was a fraud. %related-post-1% You could say the vending machines were an idea before its time. Older Millennials will still remember cigarette vending machines — some of us may even remember stuffing a few quarters in the slot, pulling the handle, and trying to sneak out of the Elks Hall with a pack of Camels. So why not weed? The simple answer — true way back in 2010, when Mehidzadeh founded the company, and true in 2017 — is that cannabis is not sold like cigarettes. Vending machines are built for convenience, and the way America has approached legalized marijuana, it will be a long, long time before an enterprising underage kid is able to pull an Elks Hall-esque cannabis caper — and when s/he does, it will cause a scandal. You could also say it was a bad idea. Successful companies tend to build products people need now, rather than ones that might be useful later. The only place a Medbox unit could be placed was inside a medical-marijuana dispensary — and though the fast-food industry is playing around with fully automized restaurants, this isn’t marijuana’s model. By Mehidzadeh’s own admission, Medbox had moved fewer than 100 units by the time Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012. Shortly after that, Medbox was a multi-billion-dollar company, America’s first weed unicorn. And as CEO and the chief shareholder, Mehidzadeh’s stake in the firm was $2 billion. Demand for vending machines hadn’t materialized out of nowhere; by early 2014, Medbox had sold no more than 130 units. But in those wild, confused, and heady days when recreational marijuana was first legal, Medbox had an enormous competitive advantage: It was one of the few publicly traded cannabis-related companies. The company did exist, and it did have products — and at $3 a share, it was accessible to the general public. And since Medbox didn’t deal directly in the plant — which, conventional wisdom had it, was the danger zone — it would be seen as a “safe” harbor for capital. %related-post-2% For the day-trader, for the institutional investor, for the person with money in the bank and the certainty that marijuana was the next big thing, Medbox checked all the boxes. Never mind that the company was traded on the “over-the-counter” market, the “pink sheets,” where companies’ financial statements are not subject to Securities and Exchange Commission scrutiny (and where “pump-and-dump” penny-stock schemes lurk). Before long, shares in the company spiked from $3, to $98, then to a dot-com 1.0-worth $242. It was an incredible success. Many rags to riches stories like this follow a predictable arc. There’s the struggle, there’s the meteoric rise to glory, and then (unfortunately for many) the crash back down to earth. Lesson learned, humility earned, everybody goes home wiser. At first, Medbox obeyed the script. Once the hype wore off, once Medbox had more shares on the market than anyone would buy, the bubble popped. Shares that traded for over $200 were by 2014 soon shuffling around for pennies. The company failed, but not before Mehidzadeh cashed out enough to buy prime real estate in a tony Los Angeles suburb. Around the same time, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission started warning investors about marijuana-related stocks. They were sketchy, the SEC said. They didn’t play by the rules. They made stuff up. Throughout it all, Mehdizadeh maintained an impeccable facade, and demonstrated a level of hubris that would shame Johnny Hooker. He set up as a consultant with another publicly-traded firm. He self-published a book sharing what he’d learned during his wild ride, but he also self-edited out the good parts. As the SEC alleged earlier this spring, from the very beginning, what revenue Medbox reported, including its stupendous growth in value post-legalization, was fueled by stock purchases made by a second company Mehdizadeh set up. Those sales were then reported as Medbox revenue. Apparently profitable, the company’s value went up — allowing stockholders, Mehdizadeh included, to sell shares and pocket real money. %related-post-3% “[T]he only thing we are really good at is public company publicity and stock awareness,” Mehdizadeh texted an associate during the scheme, according to the SEC. “We get an A+ for creating revenue off sheer will but that won’t continue.” It didn’t. A few years into the scheme, Medbox published “new” financials for the period beginning in 2012. The reported revenue suddenly vanished. Medbox’s board members and shareholders turned on one another. This was not Mehdizadeh’s first scheme. As a lengthy 2013 profile piece by the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation revealed, prior to entering the marijuana sector, Mehdizadeh pleaded no contest to posing as an attorney, giving legal advice to immigrants, and agreed to pay authorities in Los Angeles $450,000. In March, Mehdizadeh agreed to pay $12.3 million to settle the fraud allegations filed against him by the SEC for the Medbox scheme, by far the greatest hustle yet pulled in the American marijuana game. But he’s not done. On June 13, Mehdizadeh filed suit against his former lawyer, in an attempt to shift some of the blame for the ruse onto him. So, the saga of the Medbox marijuana hustle continues on. 
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.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?

When consuming cannabis, the immediate effects are typically felt for only a handful of hours, but this doesn’t mean your body is THC-free shortly thereafter. Drug testing shows that days or even weeks later, THC can still be detected in your urine or hair. And it's no shocker that one of the highest cannabis-related online search phrases is: how long does marijuana stay in your system? Literally, tens of thousands of people search that exact question on a monthly basis. No doubt, many of those asking are wondering if they might be able to pass an upcoming drug screen. The most typical answer? 30 days after consuming a THC product. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The amount of time THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is measurable in your body is called the detection window, and the amount of time that window stays open depends on many different factors. So, what are those determining factors in answering the question, "how long does marijuana stay in your system?"  %related-post-1% Types of possible drug tests THC can be detected in blood, saliva, sweat, your breath, hair and of course urine, which is the most frequently tested body matter. When you’re subject to a blood test and haven’t consumed cannabis for the last few days, you won’t have to worry, because it’s very likely the THC levels have dropped enough to give a negative result. Even when you get a negative result on a blood test, other methods might be used to determine if you recently consumed cannabis. A hair test, for instance, appears to have the longest detection window. To understand why, you have to understand how your body stores THC. When THC enters the body, metabolites (which are byproducts of cannabinoids) are stored in your fat reserves. It can take quite some time for your body to get rid of all traces of cannabis usage. The metabolite most tests hunt for — including urine and hair tests — is THC-COOH. When this metabolite is found in your hair, this doesn’t necessarily mean you smoked very recently, since it’s detectable for up to 90 days. This means that you might still test positive, even though the effects of the cannabis have worn off weeks or even months before and you feel completely clean. Urine tests also screen for the above mentioned metabolite. In most cases, the cutoff is 50 ng/mL. This means that if there’s more than 50ng of THC-COOH per mL, the test will be positive. Depending on the company that tests you, the cutoff can be higher or lower. The lower the cutoff, the longer you will test positive after ceasing to consume cannabis. %related-post-2% Other factors influencing the "how long does marijuana stay in your system" detection window Besides the type of test, other factors can shorten or lengthen the detection window. It varies between someone who is a regular user, and someone who only smoked once. It appears that if you only smoked once, it’s plausible you’ll test negative on a urine test after only a few days. This period is a bit longer for people who smoke often. As we’ve noted in other articles on The Sugar Leaf, the effects of cannabis vary from person to person. The same goes for the amount of time THC stays in one’s body. This makes it impossible to tell precisely how long you will test positive after consuming cannabis. Several studies have been completed regarding the amount of time THC is detectable in urine. One of these studies dates back to the 1980s. During this study, chronic users stopped smoking for four weeks in order to see how long it took for their bodies to eliminate the THC. Within 25 days, all urine tests came back negative, although most participants had negative test results before that. This proves that it takes a different amount of time for everyone to get his or her fist negative. But beware, it doesn’t prove that you will test negative after 25 days also, because your body is unique. When you don’t drink enough water, your urine will be more concentrated, which means that there will me more THC-COOH is your sample. A test might give a false positive in this case. It’s important to always hydrate enough, but be careful, because if you drink too much before a test your sample is going to be too diluted, and the test might be rejected. What about CBD? Urine tests are designed to detect THC metabolites, not CBD. But if your CBD-infused product also contains a small amount of THC, you could test positive, even though you didn’t feel the effects of the cannabinoid. As you can see, there's no easy answer to the question, "how long does marijuana stay in your system?" So to be safe, if you have a screening coming up, play it safe and push the pause button on your cannabis consumption.  A painful proposition, we agree. 
Cannabis Plants: Much More Than Just Leaves

Cannabis Plants: Much More Than Just Leaves

Cannabis plants are composed of different parts, each having a certain purpose. It’s interesting to understand which part of the plant you smoke, which part is used to make concentrates, and what the resin on the buds is made of. Male, female and hermaphrodite cannabis plants Cannabis plants can be male, female or hermaphrodite — meaning that they’re both male and female. The cannabis you consume comes from a female plant. Only the females produce the resin-secreting flowers which can be trimmed down to buds. These buds contain cannabinoids, which provide the fun effects we’re familiar with. Male plants pollinate the females, but aren’t consumed. Cannabis growers typically create clones of their plants in order to preserve their genetic identity. This allows them to control cannabis production, while anticipating future sales. %related-post-1% The different parts of the plant Stem — The stem is long and skinny, and holds a fair amount of fan leaves. As with most plants and flowers, the stem stores and transports nutrients extracted from the soil to the flowers and leaves. The place where a small branch (holding leaves) grows from the stem is called a node. Fan leaves — The fan leaves turn the energy from the sun into energy for the plant, thanks to photosynthesis. Of course this also works with lamps, when growing cannabis indoors. These leaves have become a well known unofficial symbol of the cannabis culture, which is recognized all over the world. Sugar leaves (our namesake!) — The small leaves that grow in the flower are called sugar leaves. They can be trimmed and used for cannabis edibles. Cola — The cola is a cluster of flowers growing very close together at the top of a female cannabis plant. Calyxes — The calyxes grow under the small leaves of cannabis buds. They’re nodules shaped like a tear, which secrete cannabinoids through small glands. Pistils — The orange hairs you see come from the calyxes, and are called pistils. When a male plant secretes pollen, these little hairs are here to collect it. The color of the pistils changes while the plant is growing toward maturation. The taste of the cannabis buds isn’t influenced by these pistils, neither is their potency. Trichomes — The leaves, stems and calyxes all contain translucent glands which secrete trichome. The trichomes form the crystal resin blanket on your cannabis buds. Even though they’re small, they serve an important cause. Foremost, they protect the plant. But they also ooze terpenes and cannabinoids. Seeds — The seeds of cannabis plants are found in the calyxes. They can be used to grow new plants. %related-post-2% What the different parts are used for besides smoking Cannabis seed oil — The oil extracted from these seeds is used in food and beauty products. It appears that the oil is good for the skin and hair. It also contains healthy amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Such products don’t contain THC or other cannabinoids. Concentrates — When a cannabis product is produced through an extraction process, it’s called a concentrate. Depending on the parts of the plant that are used, the concentrate could contain either THC or CBD, or both. One of the most well known concentrates is hash. The resin, formed by the trichomes, is compressed in order to make this smokable product. It’s possible for growers to breed cannabis strains with a high trichome production, with the goal to make hash. Butane Hash Oil is also a cannabis concentrate, known as BHO. Butane is used to extract cannabinoids from the plant. The THC content of BHO can be as high as 80%, making it very useful for pain relief. Tinctures — Tinctures are alcohol-based extracts, made with the flowers of the plant. They’re very popular among users looking for a non-smoking way to medicate with cannabis. Only a few drops are often enough to relieve someone of his or her symptoms or pain. One of the advantages of tinctures is that they are fairly easy to dose. Also, it’s possible to add a few drops to your drink or food, if you don’t want to put it under your tongue. Edibles — Things such as cannabis infused butter or gummies can be made with dried sugar leaves, which are trimmed before selling the smokable buds. It, of course, would be a shame to let them go to waste!
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.
A Marijuana Caregiver: What Do They Do?

A Marijuana Caregiver: What Do They Do?

Since medical marijuana is legal in many states across the U.S., new industry professions are cropping up. Here’s one job title that piqued our interest recently: medical marijuana caregiver. So who are these people, and how do they care for patients? What’s a medical marijuana caregiver? The state of Michigan offers a good example with their definition of a marijuana caregiver. In the Great Lakes State, a marijuana “primary caregiver” or “caregiver” is defined as the following: a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana. %related-post-1% To be a marijuana caregiver in Michigan comes with some additional requirements, though, such as not being convicted of any felony within the past 10 years, and never being convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs or felony related to an assaultive crime. What does a medical marijuana caregiver do? A caregiver adapts the services provided to the needs of the patient. For example, in some locales a caregiver can assist a patient who wants to grow their own plants. Not everybody knows how to get started, where to buy soils or seeds, or how to grow and harvest, so this is when a marijuana caregiver is of great service. Over the course of several weeks or months, such a caregiver can help a patient find the right strain, set up their grow site, and then grow, harvest, and cure their medical marijuana. Medical marijuana caregivers might also be able to grow plants themselves for their patients. In this case, the caregiver’s grow site must follow state laws concerning, among other things, the number of plants grown, transportation, and security and residential zoning. But that’s not all. Caregivers can also teach patients appropriate dosing procedures and how to make edibles, tinctures, creams and other marijuana-based products. Too, they can drive the patient to the doctor, help with grocery shopping, and much more. %related-post-2% Medical marijuana caregivers in Maine show how the profession is evolving When Maine allowed the use of medical marijuana, patients basically had two choices. They had to grow their own plants, or ask a family member designated as caregiver to do it for them. Up until 2009, the state of Maine allowed caregivers to have only one patient. But inn 2009, the law was changed, allowing caregivers to serve up to five patients. It quickly became a larger scaled industry, especially with the rise of the number of people seeking medical marijuana treatment. In 2013, another amendment to the law allowed caregivers to hire an employee. The industry further expanded, and the state of Maine now has around 3,000 marijuana caregivers, according to Portland Press Herald. The future of the profession It’s hard to say how the industry of medical marijuana caregivers will evolve during the next few years. Dispensaries and recreational use laws could compete with smaller caregiver businesses. And much will depend on legislative amendments, which could change the number of plants a marijuana caregiver can maintain, as well as how many patients they can serve. If you’re interested in becoming a medical marijuana caregiver, the best first step is to research your specific state’s rules and regulations.
Do Drugged Driving Devices Work?

Do Drugged Driving Devices Work?

Law enforcement officers are trained to detect signs of impairment after pulling a driver over. A big problem, though, is that these signs are most often related to alcohol use, not to the consumption of other substances, like cannabis. Since everyone’s body reacts differently to the consumption of cannabis, it might be difficult for officers to determine on the spot if someone is intoxicated. That's why new drugged driving detection devices are being developed.  When driving, how much THC is too much? Many states haven’t put a legal limit on how much THC you are allowed to have in your system before getting behind the wheel. Also, it appears that lawmakers are having trouble determining the proper threshold marking drugged driving. Too, it doesn’t help that current testing methods are still very controversial. That’s why new methods and devices are being tested, especially now that many states have legalized medical and recreational cannabis use. %related-post-1% Soon, you might be stopped by police not only to do a regular breathalyzer alcohol test, but also to be subject to an immediate test for THC levels in your saliva or breath (fun, right?). Up until now, THC levels were measured by drawing blood. The problem is that this psychoactive component of cannabis can stay in your system for up to 30 days after consumption. According to critics of this method, THC presence in your blood does not automatically prove intoxication and impairment. Moreover, it would be impossible for someone to know exactly when there are no more traces of THC in his or her blood. This means you could get in trouble for having THC metabolites in your blood, even though you haven’t consumed any cannabis products for almost four weeks — and that’s not cool. Saliva tests Different companies are working on so-called drugged driving devices. One of these devices is a little machine which measures active THC levels in your saliva, after swabbing ones mouth for about 10 seconds with a plastic swab stick. The logic behind this approach is that you will only have THC in your saliva if you’ve consumed cannabis in the hours before the test. The device will immediately show how many (if any) nanograms of THC the subject has in their saliva. Of course, for this to mean anything, lawmakers must decide on legal limits when it comes to impairment, with the necessary consequences for people who transgress these limits. The cost of the saliva testing device A saliva testing device by Alere Toxicology costs almost $6,000. States, counties, and municipalities might consider this investment because the device doesn’t only test for the presence of active THC, but also for cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines and several other drugs. Also, it might save law enforcement officers a lot of time and money, because blood testing won’t be needed as often anymore. %related-post-2% Breathalyzers for cannabis Hound Labs is another company working on a THC-detecting device. The startup is currently making a breathalyzer which measures THC levels. The driver must breathe into the device, and a single use cartridge will detect and measure the amount of THC. The completion of clinical trials is still necessary before the product will be launched in order to test its accuracy and efficiency. Like the saliva testing method, this device would be sold to law enforcement and possibly companies needing drug testing devices. The cost of the breathalyzer A breathalyzer will cost between $600 and $1,000. The device uses individual cartridges for each test, which cost about $15 per piece. The price of this breathalyzer is about the same as the one for similar devices used for alcohol testing. Upcoming research and development The California Highway Patrol will get $3 million each year, for four years, to do research on testing protocols for drugged driving. We can expect some non-invasive new methods like the ones mentioned above. It’s likely that other states are already working on, or will be in the near future, better ways to test for impairment. Like with alcohol, once legal thresholds are instated, the government could for example create educational programs to teach young people about the consequences of cannabis consumption, as they currently do with alcohol.
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.
Tips For A First Time Cannabis Consumer

Tips For A First Time Cannabis Consumer

Using cannabis for the first time can be a tricky endeavor. For starters, you might not know which specific cannabis product to consume or how to actually consume it. Also, there’s a chance you’ve heard stories about people getting anxious or paranoid after getting high, and well, that might just stop you from trying it out yourself. But don’t worry, if you follow these first time cannabis consumer tips you’ll likely have a great first time experience! What Strains to Use The first choice you have to make is whether you want to get super high or simply feel nice and relaxed as a first time cannabis consumer. If you feel like getting high, you should be careful when choosing your strain. If your product contains a high percentage of THC and you inhale enough of it to send smoke signals, you might suffer from paranoia and an overall bad feeling after smoking for the first time. %related-post-1% Here’s a good rule of thumb: ease into your usage. Start with just one hit of a strain with a low percentage of THC. Notice how your body reacts to it, and see if you can take two hits the next time. Also, do some research to discover the difference between Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains to see which main category you might prefer. The Sugar Leaf has a marijuana strains post that will help you brush up. How to Consume Smoking, vaporizing, eating edibles, applying topicals, and more; there is no shortage of consumption methods for a first time cannabis consumer. When smoking cannabis you can easily control how much you use. Just one hit will probably be enough for the first time, so pass the joint or bowl on to your friends and enjoy your first high. But be careful, smoking can cause a burning sensation in your throat if you inhale too much at once. Take tiny puffs, or you can try vaporizing. Vaporizing tends to be easier on your throat, so it doesn’t give you that uncomfortable feeling. Portable vaporizer pens are the way to go if you want to start with small doses. Edibles are often a good choice for beginners. Just make sure that you know how much active compound your product contains, and its recommended portion amount. This means that it’s smarter to buy a labeled edible, than to bake something yourself. %related-post-2% The brownie is of course a classic. But don’t eat the whole thing by yourself. Start with one bite. If after a couple of hours you feel like the effects aren’t strong enough, you can always take that second bite. Be aware that it might take some time for your edible to kick in — up to an hour or two in some circumstances — so don’t start chewing on the rest of that brownie if you don’t feel anything after a few minutes. When it comes to non-smoking medical use, topicals are often ideal. These balms and lotions are infused with cannabis and are applied directly onto the skin. You won’t get high from these products, and they’re very discreet to use. Still, you should start by applying just a small amount, especially the first time. When and Where Using cannabis for the first time should be a comfortable and pleasant experience, so share it with some of your best friends! Make sure you don’t have any appointments, meetings, work or important social events for the next day. As a first time cannabis consumer, you’ll want to get your body acclimated to the short- and long-term effects of the product. Once you understand how your body reacts to it, you can work your consumption into your regularly planned week. That first time, though, be sure to have some buffer time built in. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need quiet some sleep after your first taste of cannabis, so organize the evening at your home. Sit down on a comfy couch, put on some music and enjoy. %related-post-3% How to Prepare Besides clearing your schedule and creating a relaxing atmosphere at your home, you should buy some supplies. Make sure you have enough water, and preferably drink a couple of glasses before you try out your cannabis. Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages the first time. Just keep on drinking that water so you won’t feel dehydrated the next morning. Snacks are also very important, especially because you don’t want to take your car to buy food when you’re high (that’s a BIG no-no). Buy some frozen pizzas or other snacks, or something healthier if you prefer, before you start. Start Slowly This cannot be stressed enough, the most important thing is to start slowly. Let your body get used to cannabis products. Don’t overdo it, and don’t try and act cool by smoking a whole joint the first time. Be prepared and you’ll have a great first time experience. But if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped, don’t worry, just try again next time.
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 Myths: Alternative Facts And How To React

Marijuana Myths: Alternative Facts And How To React

I went to college an ignorant young man. I was convinced the people around me were going to die at any minute. Why? Marijuana myths.  I was decently well-read. I wasn’t an end-times religious cultist and I didn’t subscribe to a fluoride-chemtrails conspiracy theory. But like tens of millions of other Americans who grew up and went to school in the 1980s and 1990s, I was the victim of a combination of both. What I mean is that I was a product of the Just Say No-era anti-drug hysteria. I sat through D.A.R.E. class and watched endless propaganda-level PSAs. So I knew — beyond a shadow of a doubt, because I’d read it or heard it from some authoritative source out to save my soul and body — that if you smoked marijuana while also drinking alcohol, your liver would shut down. %related-post-1% Even in context, I should have recognized this particular gem of drug-war propaganda as absurd. College campuses across the country are not littered with corpses, and both Barack Obama and George W. Bush — drinkers who liked weed — survived to live in the White House. But I just couldn’t bring myself to partake, which demonstrates the extent to which misinformation and nonsense pervaded the public’s collective consciousness on drugs, even drugs as demonstrably benign as cannabis — and, despite reams of science patiently and rationally refuting such feeble claptrap, how easy it is to mislead. This is still happening now. America’s leaders, including the president’s Cabinet members, his marijuana-hating attorney general, and the man he assigned to solve the opiate crisis are still repeating exploded drug-war marijuana myths. And why not? It’s the age of alternative facts. You could blame Trump, or you could theorize that it’s the inevitable backlash to the enormous gains drug-policy reform has enjoyed over the past decade — with nearly every American agreeing (with science) that cannabis can be a medicine and a majority of citizens desiring an end to the drug war. But, really, this is what our government has been doing for almost half a century. You can break the cycle, though! You don’t need to be a slave to fake news. When you hear one of these bunk talking points, you can recognize it as such — and you can have a ready rejoinder. ALTERNATIVE FACT NO. 1 — Marijuana has no place treating the opiate crisis “I know it’s not recreational marijuana, not recreational use, but I don’t see a role for it in this at all.” – Ohio Gov. John Kasich, March 30, 2017. John Kasich, the moderate Republicans’ onetime hero, is sentencing his own constituents to death by adhering to age-old marijuana myths. In Ohio, drug overdoses are the most common cause of accidental death — having overcome vehicle accidents for that dubious honor over the past 15 years — and, shocker, nearly all drug overdoses are due to opiates. Not marijuana. As it happens, chronic pain is one of the most common health problems for which opiates are prescribed (the reason why and how 780 million prescription painkillers ended up in West Virginia alone) — and chronic pain is one of the few afflictions doctors and researchers agree conclusively that marijuana can treat. Even if weed didn’t treat chronic pain, its value in solving the opiate epidemic is clear: In the states where medical marijuana is available, opiate-related hospitalizations dropped by 23 percent, and opiate-related deaths dropped by more than 10 percent, according to a study published in May. The Just Say No-era propaganda material liked to call drugs a “deadly game.” This is true today, except it’s the rhetorical games politicians play. %related-post-2% ALTERNATIVE FACT NO. 2 — Marijuana legalization leads to more kids smoking weed “In the two year average... since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, youth past month marijuana use increased 20 percent compared to the two year average prior to legalization. Nationally youth past month marijuana use declined 4 percent during the same time.” Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” January 2016. “[Marijuana legalization] laws have had significant negative impacts on public health and safety, such as: Rising rates of pot use by minors...”—“Lessons Learned After 4 Years of Marijuana Legalization,” Project SAM, October 2016. If marijuana prohibition has a Bible in America — and it does — it’s the Rocky Mountain HIDTA’s report on marijuana legalization in Colorado, which was gleefully received by the country’s anti-marijuana advocates. Many lovers of marijuana myths can quote sections of this report by heart. “These adverse outcomes should not come as surprise to anyone,” DARE’s national website intoned. They are also, by textbook definition, alternative facts. Bear with me for a second as I get bureaucratic: The various high-intensity drug-trafficking areas around the country are under the purview of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And ONDCP, the office of the “drug czar,” is by Congressional fiat prohibited from supporting marijuana legalization — so it stands to reason that HIDTA would find any reason to oppose it, including cooking the books and the selective use of data. HIDTA based its findings on an annual questionnaire given to teens called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. HIDTA used data from 2013-2014 — before retail marijuana stores in Colorado and Washington had been open for a full year. The following year, after recreational cannabis became available in stores, that same survey showed a significant drop in youth marijuana use. Another study, this one looking at data crunched by the University of Michigan, showed no change in youth use rates in Colorado before and after legalization. A more recent study showed that the number of teens with marijuana in their systems seeking help at the E.R. increased four times — from under 200 cases to under 700 annual cases. That study, which perpetuates marijuana myths, stopped far short of saying legalization was the cause. The preponderance of data suggests that marijuana legalization has no widespread deleterious impact on kids. Any suggestion to the contrary must carry a massive caveat — and if it does not, it’s best assigned to the wastebasket of mendacious comments designed to misdirect. ALTERNATIVE FACT NO. 3 — Gateway theory “There is a big difference between that [medical marijuana] and recreational marijuana… And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Feb. 23, 2017. %related-post-3% “Taking the first puff on a joint is nothing more and nothing less than taking the first step on the road to becoming a hard drug addict.” Narconon. "Every study shows marijuana is a gateway drug. And every study shows it causes damage." New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Nov. 21, 2016. Donald Trump assigned the task of solving America’s opiate problem to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — an unsettling development for cannabis advocates. He loves marijuana myths, and as Christie recently boasted, no person has done more to “stand in the way” — his words! — of marijuana legalization in his state than him. For intellectual foundation, Christie repeatedly refers to gateway theory, one of the most often-debunked examples of junk science imaginable. But since it’s still out there, it must be addressed. For starters, any statement that begins with the canard “every study shows” must be immediately ignored, its issuer muzzled forever — because that’s not how scientific review works, at all. Here’s how the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (no friend to legalization!) handles the issue: “...the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.” As it is, about 9 percent of people who use marijuana become addicted — compared to 15 percent of alcohol users and 33 percent of tobacco smokers. Much more reliable predictors of hard drug use include factors like poverty and mental illness — you know, the factors alive in places hardest-hit by the opiate crisis. Places where marijuana is illegal. ALTERNATIVE FACT No. 4 — Marijuana is totally harmless Here’s a curveball for you. If you hear anyone declaring that cannabis is entirely benign, walk away, quickly — because it’s not. That line belongs on the "marijuana myths" list too. In fact, cannabis might have killed somebody. A few years ago, leukemia patients at the University of California, Davis Medical Center started developing severe lung infections. One patient died. Upon review, a rare fungus was found to be the cause. The patient had smoked marijuana — and upon further review, that rare fungus was found on marijuana sold in medical marijuana dispensaries in California. This is just one possibly connected death in the annals of time. “For the vast majority of cannabis users, this is not of great concern,” as researcher Dr. George Thompson told the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee. But we also cannot say with certainty that marijuana is always 100 percent safe — in the same way that you can’t say with certainty that a plate of potato salad left out overnight is safe. Forget for a second the studies suggesting that youth use leads to mental infirmities, and think about consumer protection. In California, the billions of dollars’ worth of marijuana sold every year is not subject to mandatory third-party testing, and won’t be until as far in the future as the end of 2018. In the states where cannabis is illegal — and thus the country’s favorite illicit drug — no products are tested for contaminants like mold, pesticides, or bacteria. The solution, of course, is to treat marijuana like any other consumer good and apply health and safety standards. Anything else is just nonsense...just like the continuation of marijuana myths. 
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% 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.
Cannabis Clubs: What Are They? Are They Legal?

Cannabis Clubs: What Are They? Are They Legal?

Cannabis clubs are social venues where adults are permitted to consume marijuana and marijuana-derived products openly. Plenty of lingering questions remain about whether states that have legalized recreational marijuana should regulate these establishments. In April 2017, Colorado lawmakers decided to drop plans to regulate marijuana clubs, possibly due to the uncertainty of how President Trump’s administration plans to prosecute those operating in the recreational marijuana industry. Social cannabis clubs are facing roadblocks across the United States, not only in Colorado. Several other states appear to be hesitant about regulating cannabis clubs, even though they, like Colorado, legalized recreational marijuana use. %related-post-1% A “legal gray area” The legal gray area in which Pot Luck Events — the only cannabis club in Anchorage, Alaska — has been operating has caused the club to receive cease and desist orders that can be read as “wait and see” directives. Director of the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, Erika McConnell, issued a media statement, saying, “obviously there is a great deal of interest in social consumption of marijuana, and the Marijuana Control Board is evaluating methods to allow this, within the bounds of Alaska statute and regulation.” While the situation could possible change to favor cannabis clubs in Alaska, as well as in other states over the next few years, a Pot Luck Events manager hasn’t give up hope yet on the future, saying  that “this is a retreat, not a surrender.” Popular arguments “for” and “against” In Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Clark County marijuana advisory panel put public marijuana lounges on the agenda of a meeting at the end of March 2017. Nothing has been decided yet, but there’s a proposition for a “pilot program that would let medical marijuana dispensaries test the idea of public consumption inside their shops.” The vision is to create an environment wherein all users can safely consume cannabis. This would lessen the burden on hotels where cannabis might not be welcome, as well as on law enforcement trying to stop people from smoking in public areas. The opinions of lawmakers don’t seem to be tied to partisanship. Some believe, like in Nevada’s case, that a social venue for cannabis consumers might be a solution to several potential problems, while others seem to prefer that people only consume privately in their homes. Another routine point of disagreement is related to the rules that would be applied to these cannabis clubs. Should they be allowed to sell marijuana on-site or should people bring their own? %related-post-2% Bring your own cannabis? The problem with a “bring your own cannabis” concept is that is could be more difficult to control the quantities and the quality of product brought inside an establishment. In a situation where people are only allowed to consume products bought on-site, however, authorities would likely have a much better understanding of what happens in each club, and be more comfortable with the quality of the products consumed. This way, not only consumers can be reassured, but also the local community. Neighbors might be prone to contest less if they know the authorities are supervising the cannabis club. The goal is, of course, to respect the rights of consumers, but also of non-consumers. When it comes to cannabis clubs, some ideas are more frequently debated than others. For instance, the creation of a taxi-like service to get people home, or back to their hotels, after consuming cannabis. It’s possible that when lawmakers start regulating these venues, this would become mandatory because public safety is an important issue. Of course the venues might also decide for themselves to create this type of service in order to protect their clients. A lot of ideas for regulation seem to exist, it will take some time until states decide to clearly regulate social cannabis clubs. One of the main arguments for regulating cannabis clubs is that without clear rules and guidelines, venues will most likely pop up illegally, possibly creating headaches for local citizens and law enforcement. There is also the argument that cannabis clubs will help keep people from consuming product in public.   Educational Opportunities The safe and controlled environment would allow for education on the use of marijuana products as well. Staff members could be given an important role when it comes to helping consumers pick their products. Edibles, for instance, can be difficult to dose appropriately for an inexperienced customer. They would benefit greatly from some good advice. But as is the case with almost everything in the cannabis industry, the jury is still out on the future of cannabis clubs.
Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History

Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History

With 23 states, as well as Guam and Washington, DC, already having passed medical marijuana laws—and more states pondering similarly relaxed stances — the demonization of the drug 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. 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 a decade later, however. 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 the drug — as well as the Mexicans who used it — for any number of serious crimes. Not only was marijuana possession now 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 and increased public and governmental outcry about marijuana. Spurred by spurious 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 drug, 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 US 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 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 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 for 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.  We'll keep you posted on legal developments related to marijuana. 
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.
What Is THC And How Does It Work?

What Is THC And How Does It Work?

It’s one of the more prevalent cannabis-related questions: What is THC? THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a cannabinoid. THC is well known, even though most people who have heard about it don’t know exactly what it does or how it works. Whether you’re new to the world of cannabis products, or an experienced consumer, it’s likely you immediately associate cannabis with THC. And you’re right, but there’s also more to the "What is THC?" story. Let’s start by answering the question... What are cannabinoids? A cannabinoid is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. There are many different cannabinoids, but THC and CBD (cannabidiol) are the best known. When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids enter your body and attach to CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the endocannabinoid system of your body. When this happens, the you begin feeling the effects of the cannabis, often including the “high.” The “high” is caused by THC, which is a psychoactive compound. CBD for example will not make you feel high. The effects of cannabinoids can be both physical and psychological, and their intensity will differ from person to person, depending on variables like one’s sensitivity and build-up tolerance. %related-post-1% Not all cannabis products contain (only) THC It’s important to understand that most strains contain both CBD, which doesn’t make you high, and THC. When buying a product, whether it’s smokable cannabis, an edible, or a topical, you must make sure you understand how much THC it contains. This will help you when choosing the moment of the day you consume your cannabis. Because THC gives you a euphoric high, it might be smart to avoid smoking right before an important meeting or job interview. But when you’re hanging out with friends at home and need some pain relief, THC is fine to use. What is THC's effect on the body in the short-term?  Now that we've answered the "What is THC?" question, we can discuss what it does. THC can have several short-term effects on consumers. Some of these effects are wanted, but others aren’t as much. The intensity depends mostly on what amount of THC your body is used to. Some of these effects are: • Relaxation • Pain relief • Energy • Hunger • Sedation • Drowsiness • Increased heart rate • Slowed perception of time • Anxiety • Dizziness • Laughter • Feeling heavy • Memory impairment • Red eyes THC has been the subject of many studies. The cannabinoid might offer benefits for people suffering from PTSD, nausea, migraines, appetite loss, ADHD, glaucoma, fibromyalgia or insomnia for instance. THC can cause hunger, which might be beneficial for people who have lost appetite. And the relaxing effect might be helpful for people suffering from insomnia. %related-post-2% There are, it should be mentioned, possible limits to the use of cannabis for some of these symptoms and conditions. Many ophthalmologists wonder if using cannabis to treat glaucoma is really the best long-term solution. According to some of these doctors, patients would have to smoke cannabis every few hours in order to keep a lower intraocular pressure (IOP). This means that during this treatment, you would even have to get up at night to consume cannabis. For such reasons, you should always consult your ophthalmologist before using medical cannabis to try and treat your glaucoma. When it comes to fibromyalgia, things are rather complicated as well. This condition is often misunderstood, and researchers still don’t know exactly what causes the chronic pain and other symptoms the patients suffer. Many testimonials suggest that medical cannabis helps fight the symptoms better than pharmaceutical medication. But everyone has a different type and amount of pain and other symptoms. Moreover, they can vary every single day, depending on the weather, the amount of stress, a lack of sleep. So it appears cannabis might be an option, although patients would need some time to find the right strain, or the right edible to alleviate their symptoms. A build-up tolerance for THC When you consume cannabis regularly for a prolonged period of time, your body builds up a tolerance. This basically means that you will need more to get the same effects. If you don’t want to consume more than you do now, several alternatives can be tested. For instance you could take a tolerance break or stop consuming cannabis for a set amount of time in order to achieve better effects once you start again. If this isn’t possible because you use cannabis as a treatment, try changing the times on which you consume. There are few silver bullets in the the medical space. However, cannabis is a helpful option for many ailments. The key is to develop an understanding of how it can best be used in your own unique experience.
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.  
Marijuana Strains: Differences In Sativa, Indica, And Hybrids

Marijuana Strains: Differences In Sativa, Indica, And Hybrids

Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid cannabis strains. You’ve probably come across these terms before, but do you know what they mean? More importantly, do you know the difference between them? If not, have no fear. This article will teach you all about these different types of marijuana strains. There are numerous differences between Indica and Sativa. For starters, the plants don’t grow naturally in the same climates, and they don’t look exactly similar. But most importantly for the cannabis consumer, both have very different effects and potential benefits. %related-post-1% First things first: taxonomical distinctions between the primary marijuana strains Indica strains are believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush mountains while Sativa plants have historically grown better in climates closer to the equator. Besides being shorter than Sativa plants, Indica strains are also bushier and they grow a little bit faster than Sativa. If you want to identify a marijuana plant, just take a look at the leaf shape. Indica have broad leaves, and Sativa’s are a bit more slender. But the prevalence of Hybrids can make the eyeball test tricky since they are a combination of both. When it comes to taste, Indica is known to have a sweet flavor, whereas Sativa is a little earthier. But taste will most certainly not be the major factor impacting your choice. It’s all about the benefits you get from using different types of cannabis. The effects and benefits of the different marijuana strains Let’s start with Indica strains. Smoking an Indica strain like Kush will have a relaxing, full-body effect. Most people will smoke this type of cannabis in the evening or right before going to bed. Because of the muscle relaxing and sleep-inducing effect, it can help you get to sleep at night if you suffer from insomnia or have trouble relaxing after a stressful day. Also, Indica can fight anxiety and is a helpful strain for pain relief. Topicals containing this type of cannabis might also be of interest because, as you might already be aware, smoking isn’t the only way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. New cream and lotion products are constantly hitting legal markets that only need to be applied to the painful area of your body for relief. %related-post-2% Sativa strains are best used during the daytime, thanks to their uplifting effects. Purple Haze, for example, benefits creativity and focus. Additionally, these strains can fight depression and fatigue. If you have trouble focussing because you’re tired, some Purple Haze or a similar product might just do the trick. If you need something uplifting during the day, and something to help you relax at night, you can use both strains at different times. That said, it’s recommended that you gradually figure out which type of cannabis you need at which time of the day. Keep in mind that the effects can last several hours. If you need to go to bed early, you might want to quit using Sativa after a certain time in the afternoon. What about hybrids? Another option is to use a Hybrid strain. Hybrids are strains that consists of both Indica and Sativa products. Because both have such different effects, Hybrids can help treat specific types of illnesses and other ailments. The medicinal effects of a Hybrid strain will depend on the percentage of Indica and Sativa it contains. There are 50/50 Hybrids, as well as Sativa-dominant or Indica-dominant ones. White Widow is probably the most famous example of a Hybrid strain, made popular by its prevalence on Dutch coffee shop menus. Consuming White Widow will provide the best benefits of Sativa and Indica: A relaxed vibe mixing with feelings of euphoria and happiness. Many people agree that this strain can help manage your pain, but will still allow you to function normally during the day. Sounds perfect, right?  
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 of the reasons for this is because of the absence of psychoactivity in CBD (as opposed to THC). This means that you will not get “high” after consuming a product containing CBD, as long as it doesn’t contain any (or a too much) THC. As you might have seen in documentaries or in the news, CBD is known especially for its positive effects on people who have seizures. Numerous children have been treated with small drops of CBD, and the results have typically been positive. The amount of seizures usually decreases, allowing the children and parents to have a less stressful and painful life. Since seizures can be caused by different conditions, the effects of this type of medication are not the same for every individual. But this is, of course, the case with almost all types of drugs and medication. In which other cases could CBD help? Besides helping reduce the amount of seizures in many cases, CBD appears to also have other medical benefits. This cannabinoid could be used to reduce nausea, combat inflammatory disorders, and also help manage anxiety and depression. Of course the effects vary from person to person, and the breadth and scope of CBD studies leave much to be desired, thanks in large part to its Schedule 1 classification by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). %related-post-2% Could cannabidiol help schizophrenia patients? According to some researchers, CBD could have antipsychotic properties, and could be an alternative to current antipsychotic medications. A study published in 2012 shows that people with schizophrenia, who were either treated with cannabidiol or amisulpride (an antipsychotic drug) all had comparable improvements during the trial. Moreover, amisulpride is associated with quite a few negative side effects, whereas the people treated with cannabidiol showed significantly fewer of these side effects. More studies should be conducted on CBD and psychosis. Does CBD have anti-anxiety properties? According to different studies performed on animals, certain amounts of CBD might actually help reduce anxiety in various situations. Some small studies on humans have been conducted recently, but in order to get scientific proof that this cannabinoid actually works in case of anxiety, more studies must take place. Many studies on the benefits of CBD Today, many studies have taken place to determine the full medical value of CBD. But more are needed. Scientists and researchers believe that cannabidiol might be able to help many people. And according to researchers, the key advantage of CBD, as mentioned earlier, is that you won’t get “high.” This is very important for many medical cannabis users, and especially for children. If you want to know more about the different studies that take place on cannabidiol, keep reading our blog. We will keep you updated.