The Sugar Leaf

Insights from across the cannabis industry
How Higher Education Is Deliberately Blocking Marijuana Legalization 
How Higher Education Is Deliberately Blocking Marijuana Legalization 
State-funded universities follow state law — except when it comes to cannabis. This means real consequences for students. It need not be so. As it will almost surely be until every federal lawmaker admits that the nation’s experiment with marijuana prohibition didn’t quite work out, Election Day 2018 delivered yet another green wave. On Nov. 6, voters in Michigan approved Proposal 1, which legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over, by a 56 to 44 percent margin. Elsewhere, medical marijuana won in nearby Missouri and in Mormon-controlled, deep-red Utah. As the experience of every other state to embark on the marijuana legalization path shows, it will be quite a while before cannabis is available in Michigan stores (to those of us without a medical-marijuana recommendation, at least; Detroit is replete with medical cannabis dispensaries and looks likely to remain so).  That is, nothing will change overnight except for fewer grandmothers with arthritis spending nights in cold jail cells. But if the administrators at state-funded Michigan State University have anything to do with it, nothing will change at all — not now, and not in the future.  Less than a week after the voters whose largess helps pay to keep the lights on at the Big Ten conference’s sixth-largest football stadium, Michigan State officials put out a statement: Marijuana legalization does not apply on campus. Here’s the statement, via Click On Detroit, but TL;DR: According to Michigan State, Michigan state law does not apply on Michigan State's campus. Got it? “We would like to remind everyone that this new state law will not change policies prohibiting the use or possession of marijuana on any property owned or managed by MSU, and by MSU’s faculty, staff, or students on any MSU property or during off-campus MSU business or events,” the administrators wrote.  “Marijuana use remains illegal and fully criminalized according to federal law, and MSU is subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989," the statement continued. "In addition, the MSU Drug and Alcohol Policy prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and use of controlled substances, illicit drugs, and alcohol on property governed by the Board of Trustees and at any site where university work is performed.” %related-post-1% As the Detroit Free Press reported, other colleges across the state followed Larry Nassar's erstwhile employer and issued similar voter-vetoes.  “Our campus policies comply with federal law,” Central Michigan University President Bob Davies wrote in a memo to students. Defying Davies carries severe consequences: He warned of outright dismissal from school should they defy his will by exercising newfound rights under state law. How can they do this? How can a public entity determine, unilaterally, that public rules don’t quite apply to them and that they’ll choose to follow some other code instead? The short answer is because they can — and everyone else is doing it.  As Inside Higher Ed reported, college campuses in Colorado, California, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, and everywhere else marijuana has been legalized have declared themselves marijuana legalization-free zones. The slightly longer answer is that universities receive federal funding and thus have to follow federal law, under federal drug-free acts cited by MSU.  These are the same laws that employers often cite when justifying failing to hire or outright firing employees or potential hires for using cannabis. But as recent case law has found, workplaces do have to provide "reasonable accommodations" to sick people with medical-marijuana recommendations, federal drug-free laws be damned. Yet that’s the line of reasoning offered by Michigan State, and it’s one that local marijuana activists are accepting at face value — although, as Insider High Ed also noted, there is no known case of a college campus losing federal funding for choosing to be “lax” — that is, obey state law — on marijuana. %related-post-2% “You can’t sue the school for following federal law,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of Michigan NORML, in an interview with the Free Press. “And federal guidelines clearly prohibit this.” Except that might not be entirely true. Let’s look at some other state entities that also receive federal funding. Police departments are a good example. Local police departments apply for and receive federal funding in the form of grants, and often take advantage of federal money to pay for equipment. And local police departments enforce… local law, which — in states like California, Colorado, and now Michigan — says that marijuana is legal for adults 21 and over. To date, not a single police department has reported losing federal funding because it did what it is chartered to do — that is, follow state law. Airports may provide a clearer example for universities to follow, should they so choose. Denver International Airport has declared itself a marijuana-free zone. Other airports have not — and in either case, if a passenger boarding a flight is found to have any quantity of marijuana, regular procedure for Transportation Security Administration officials is to call local law enforcement. Not the feds, not the military, not the Space Force. Why are colleges different? Legally, they aren’t, really. Like airports, they are state-chartered institutions, funded primarily by a state. Someone caught breaking the law on a college campus may be subject to arrest by either campus or local police—in either case, law enforcement chartered by a state entity or government. If arrested, they will be tried in state court. If convicted of a serious enough offense, they will go to a state prison. See the pattern here? Of course you do. So do the colleges, which is why they are choosing to fall back on federal law to justify their retrograde and anachronistic policies — which are in turn causing students real harm. %related-post-3% Contrary to the university's statements, federal law does not rule on campus. Campus cops can’t send a pot-smoking student to federal stir or a campus jail any more than they can get a local cop or prosecutor in a marijuana legalization state to imprison them for an act that is no longer a crime. But they can punish a student with consequences that are.   They can eject them from campus housing. They can take away their student loans, their work-study stipend — and they can kick them out of school. In other words, they can seriously derail a young adult’s life — for following state law, remember, and engaging in behavior that is empirically safer than consuming alcohol, that other college ritual.  And that — for reasons that are spurious and utterly dishonest — is something that colleges appear totally fine with. Reserving the right to fuck up a college kid’s life for smoking a joint is apparently within a university’s rights. There’s a distinction here any freshman philosophy student would grasp: It is their prerogative. It has not been proven that it is a university’s essential, compulsory duty.  It is possible that these hard-line stances are merely preemptive cover-your-ass moves university presidents feel they need to take to keep the feds away. That may be so. In which case, this is merely a demonstration of moral cowardice rather than draconian evil. Neither is much to be proud of.  
What’s the “Next Emerald Triangle”? Nobody Knows (Yet)
What’s the “Next Emerald Triangle”? Nobody Knows (Yet)
Is the next center of marijuana production in California former flower farms in Monterrey County, is it hoop-houses enjoying ocean breezes in Santa Barbara — or is it neither? Prior to marijuana legalization, one line of frequently repeated conventional wisdom in certain cannabis circles was that once prohibition ended, The End Times would soon follow. Once commercial cannabis became a thing and Big Something — big ag, big tobacco, big pot, big whatever — became involved, it was lights-out for the “Emerald Triangle,” the remote, redwood-forested counties of far northern California where mom-and-pop farms nestled on mountaintops and tucked behind river bends had provided the country with cannabis, and collected a neat profit in the process. Either Philip Morris was already plotting with Monsanto and George Soros to buy up all of Humboldt County and patent the marijuana plant in the process — a conspiracy theory that you can still hear repeated today in some version, and in earnest — thus “stealing” the plant, or Big Marijuana would quickly figure out the futility of trying to supply Los Angeles’ marijuana demand with farms located on treacherous, one-lane roads an eight-hour drive away, and go to where land and labor were cheapest. In California, that means the land in least demand, which means the desert or the agricultural communities of the Central Valley, where cannabis would become a complement to the oceans of pistachios, almonds, stone-fruits, and other commodities produced by industrial agriculture. %related-post-1% Some version of this doomsday scenario figured in the minds of the old-school hard-line marijuana activists and first-and-second generation Emerald Triangle growers who found common ground with the police and prosecutors who had harried them for decades when they came out in opposition to legalization. It was a compelling thesis, and there was some credible evidence — wholesale marijuana prices were indeed dropping and some of those farms were going out of business, and some old growers who could still make the nut financially were left out on technicalities, after they found that their unconventional arrangements disqualified them for state permits — but these arguments suffered from a few flaws. First, beside the fact that such an enterprise was completely impractical, there was never any credible evidence that tobacco companies, Soros, Monsanto, or any combination of the three were plotting a land-grab of remote, hard-to-access, harder-to-develop-into-industrial agriculture former timber land in Trinity County. Marijuana grows well here thanks to an agreeable climate but it was planted as a practical matter, to hide it from the authorities; if you are the authorities, why would you go to the trouble of hiding? Second, the thing about cheap land in California is that it is cheap for a reason. There isn’t a lot of water, and summers are long and hot — too long and too hot for cannabis plants, who, like humans, appreciate warmth but aren’t too keen on being baked to death. Massive marijuana farms have yet to spring up in the Central Valley, and where marijuana has been heralded as an economic savior in the otherwise moribund deserts— in a former prison in Coalinga, in unused warehouse space in the Mojave — it has yet to prove itself a profitable or viable enterprise. A much likelier scenario is exactly what’s been emerging over the last year and a half: marijuana as an alternative or a supplement to wine grapes or ornamental flowers, which turns out, thrive in similar atmospheric conditions like those found in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties. The Washington Post’s recent filing from the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, where marijuana is touted as a “high-value commodity that could help reinvigorate” a fading “agricultural tradition” details both the growth and the limitations of this idea in action. %related-post-2% Central California between Santa Barbara and Monterey to the north has the highest concentration of licensed marijuana producers in the state, according to the newspaper. But even that only amounts to 330 acres in total in Santa Barbara — a “tiny fraction” compared to the seas of land under cultivation for wine grapes. At one point, according to one estimate, there were roughly 55,000 marijuana cultivators of various sizes in the Emerald Triangle, meaning if Santa Barbara wants to be the next best home for cannabis cultivation, there needs to be an extended period of growth, and proof that it can be sustained. The truth is that everybody is still figuring out exactly what will work — and nobody can say with certainty what that will be. It’s becoming increasingly clear that what works with wine does work to an extent with cannabis — that is, there is something in the terroir, in the land and in the air, that determines how cannabis flowers affect the human brain and body. Which is to say it may matter very much exactly where a cannabis flower is grown, in the same way that it matters extremely to the market and to the palette if a grape comes from Napa County, or just a few hillsides away in Solano County. And there are considerations far more earthly to consider. There’s the market, and there are margins. While marijuana is an estimated $4 billion-a-year industry in California, according to figures quoted by the Post, what those $4 billions will eventually buy is far from certain — will it be high-end flower, mid-range pre-rolls packaged like cigarettes, oil cartridges harvest from huge warehouses in the desert? It could also be that the impractical Central Valley could become lucrative if local governments make it so. Many marijuana companies are still “jurisdiction shopping,” in the words of the Post, looking for the best combination of low taxes and low-enough labor costs that work for the bottom line. That works in most agricultural industries, but only so far. Wine is an object lesson yet again. You can’t grow a Napa cabernet in the mountains or in the desert, because that is not Napa. Cannabis may not be quite as picky — especially with indoor growing — but indoor growing is costly, and the cannabis plant is a more fickle mistress than some growers realize. It has yet to be proven beyond doubt that massive, mold, and pest-resistance high-quality cannabis can be grown reliably at scale. Like a snow globe just snatched from the shelf and given a furious shake, the image of large-scale marijuana farming is hazy and unclear and has yet to coalesce and to settle. As a result, the Emerald Triangle is still with us — and the “next” one may be the one we know now, albeit in evolved form.
Inside the Mormon Medical Marijuana Caravan
Inside the Mormon Medical Marijuana Caravan
“The Latter Day Saints are coming like crazy to my door, it’s like this huge caravan coming back and forth from Utah… The Saints are coming down, these Saints with little broken halos because they are breaking the law,” said Angela Harris. Harris is a Las Vegas-based herbalist, medical cannabis advocate, mother of nine, and lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She discovered cannabis through her work as an herbalist and has dedicated much of the last four years to educating the conservative Mormon community about it. Thanks to her advocacy and experience — as well as the Church’s strong interconnected network — LDS stake presidents and bishops have been sending a steady stream of people to her to help guide them through administering medical cannabis legally in Nevada. Utah patients have continually found her through Church networks and made their way unsolicited to Harris seeking help and guidance. Meanwhile, legislators in Utah are working diligently and quickly to undo a voter-backed medical cannabis ballot initiative that passed earlier this month. Harris understands the hesitancy in the community, she herself was completely anti-cannabis until she started to learn more about it and how it became illegal in the first place. In 2015, she advocated for medical cannabis at the state capital in Salt Lake City with patients who had caravanned to her home in Nevada. She has been watching the debate over medical cannabis in Utah unfold around the Proposition 2 campaign and the legislature’s current attempts to replace the new medical cannabis law with a program so restrictive it might not work. She wants them to take into account all the suffering Utahns currently smuggling or using on trips to nearby states to craft a workable policy. “The [Utah legislature is] misinformed to think that this is not going on. [The patients] are dying. For some people they want to save their life more than they don’t want to break the law. For a Latter-day Saint that is huge, that is a big deal, it is part of who we are — believing that we obey the laws of the land. It is disturbing to watch this. These are medical refugees seeking asylum from the prejudices of their church,” said Harris. “These are all Saints, our own members." %related-post-1% Harris is referring to the 12th article in the LDS Articles of Faith, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Simply put, it is a core belief of the LDS faith to “follow the law of the land,” and so many LDS patients in Utah are either abstaining from getting relief using it, even if they want to, or actively traveling to states where it is legal to use it, or even just try it. In states where medical cannabis is legal, many LDS patients are using cannabis with the blessings of their bishops or other Church leaders. Harris says that it is time for LDS Utah patients to stop being sent to Las Vegas, aka “Sin City,” or other nearby Nevada cities to seek relief from medical cannabis. She says some of the people she has met will leave their homes, families, and work duties to “lock themselves in hotel rooms” for weeks to use legally in attempts to get better. “You have to change these laws so they don’t have to come down here,” she said. “Let them get out of pain! Let them get out of pain! That is the thing, no one has died from it and teen use has gone down. So ok, let’s go!” Harris is referring to the policy currently being created in Salt Lake. After a multi-year struggle, advocates succeeded in putting medical cannabis on the 2018 midterm ballot in Utah, where it passed despite well-funded opposition, including from the Church itself. Now the lame duck Utah legislature plans to replace the medical cannabis bill voters approved, Proposition 2, in a special session with a legislative bill that will restrict access and potentially be non-functioning. Lawsuits are already pending. %related-post-2% On December 3, the Utah legislature will hold the special session amid protests and patient opposition. Among the changes in the replacement bill are quite a few points that butt up against federal law; doctors will “prescribe” (not recommend) specific dosages of cannabis, most private business will be eliminated and cannabis will be distributed through local departments of health via a state-run “central fill pharmacy.” Much of the idea is to treat cannabis like a pharmaceutical drug, although it is not one and cannot legally, under federal law, be treated as such. Patients in Utah are demanding a program in line with the nearby states they are currently smuggling from. As an herbalist, Harris believes cannabis should be left to the realm of herbalism not pharmaceutical medicine. Harris has been following the negotiations and how they have been influenced by big business and is worried the new law will do nothing to stem the tide of patients being sent to her door for legal guidance in Nevada. “The recommendations the Utah Medical Association are making are asinine, to say the least,” she said. Under the proposed replacement legislation, autoimmune diseases and gastrointestinal disorders not diagnosed as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis were removed. Patients must “fail” two alternate delivery methods (such as orally consumed oils and tinctures) in order to be allowed to access raw flower for vaporization. Raw flower would be sold in blister packs. Further, because of the nature and unaccounted for costs of the state-run central fill pharmacy proposed under the legislation, the program may be non-functional by the 2021 deadline. %related-post-3% Patient groups such as the Epilepsy Association of Utah and Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) were kept out of negotiations and have vocally opposed the replacement legislation. Referring to an analysis done by Americans for Safe Access of the first draft of the replacement legislation that determined the program would be non-functional, these groups have advocated heavily against it. “TRUCE believes that if the legislature’s goal here really is for patients to have proper safe access to medical cannabis, Utah patients deserve at least a passing grade,” said Christine Stenquist, executive director of TRUCE. “My biggest concern is that this replacement bill was born in fear and designed to fail. More concessions were made to the financially incentivized opposition to safe access. Under this replacement legislation Utah’s sick are treated as ‘criminals until proven patients.’ It is important that when crafting a quality program that is patient-centric, we call on experts from the field for guidance. Utah is moving forward with cannabis policy and should create meaningful legislation rather than public messaging stunts.” Harris hopes that better information and compassion for human suffering will inform better policy making in Salt Lake. "I feel like angels are weeping. This is wrong to do to people who are clearly suffering. It's an ugly situation — ugly because because we can't help these suffering Saints up in Utah. We tried to change the law so now the only choice for relief is to break the law and risk losing there Church memberships," Harris concluded.
Legalization Update: Asia
Legalization Update: Asia
While Asia is probably not the first place you think of when you think of marijuana legalization — and with good reason — things might be starting to change. Some Asian countries have a reputation for handing out severe punishments — ranging from fines to prison times to the death penalty — for the consumption of possession of weed. Despite that strict history, some Asian countries are starting to consider varying levels of legalization. Newsweek recently took a look at the progress toward legalization across Asia. Here’s a quick rundown of their findings: • While nothing is official yet, medical marijuana might soon become legal in Thailand. Early in November, the country’s National Legislative Assembly sent a proposed amendment to the Thailand’s Health Ministry, which would “reclassify marijuana as medicinally legal and regulate its possession and distribution.” • The death penalty might soon be abolished for drug charges in Malaysia. Legalization is still a long way away, but this is an important step, nonetheless. Ministers in the nation are also talking about decriminalizing medical marijuana. • The South Korean government is considering allowing the importation of CBD products, which is sure to be great news for people who could benefit from CBD treatments. • China and Japan now allow research into the benefits of cannabis — research that could lead to the legalization of medical marijuana. • The government of Sri Lanka has announced that cannabis could be legally used for Ayurvedic practices. The country might also start exporting medical marijuana. • According to an Amsterdam-based think tank, “Nepal, Bhutan and India may also be open to legalizing medical cannabis.” What’s Next? While industry experts cite tax revenue as a key motivator in Asia’s eventual move toward legalization, marijuana laws across the region are expected to remain strict for the time being. For now, only medical marijuana is considered for legalization in some countries. Recreational use seems out of the question. Until something changes, laws will remain very strict and high sentences will continued to be handed out. According to a reminder tweeted out by the Canadian government, custom officers in Singapore, for example, can request a drug test as soon as you enter the country.     Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau made it clear that consuming cannabis abroad would be a very bad idea, according to the Canadian tweet. “If you test positive for drugs,” the tweet continues, “you can be arrested and prosecuted, even if the drugs were consumed prior to your arrival in the country.” So, as you can see, even though laws will likely change sooner or later, it’s probably best to leave your weed at home — or stay away from cannabis for awhile — before your next trip to Asia. Stay tuned to The Sugar Leaf for updates.
Support for Legalization Hits a New High — Again
Support for Legalization Hits a New High — Again
Earlier this year, we told you that public support for legal weed had not reached its peak. And we were right. According to a new poll released by Gallup, public support for marijuana legalization has reached yet another high. The poll, released in October, shows that 66% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. This marks the third year in a row that public support has hit a new record. Public support for legalization was a mere 12% in 1969, and has grown significantly during this decade. While support among 18- to 34-year-olds has now reached 78%, it’s not just younger adults who want to see marijuana legalized. Last year, 50% of respondents age 55 and older thought pot should be legalized. This year, that number shot up to 59%. This age group has seen the biggest increase in support in the last few years. Influence on lawmakers? Public support has increased rapidly in the last few years. At the same time, many states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This is likely not a coincidence. If there’s no public support, a state likely won’t legalize weed. But a large group of supporters could be enough to sway lawmakers to propose a ballot. As long as the public continues to show their support, it’s likely that more and more states will legalize weed — even in parts of the country that have been more resistant to legalization than others. In 2009-2010, for example, public support was lower in the South and Midwest than in the East and West. In the Midwest, only 40% said that marijuana should be made legal. In the South, the number was only one percentage point higher. In 2017-2018, support has become way more consistent nationwide, with 65% in favor in the Midwest, South, and West, and 67% supporting legalization in the East. This increase could continue the streak of good news for the industry, leading lawmakers in the Midwest and South to rethink their stance on legalization — as well as efforts by cannabis companies to push their expansion efforts towards other parts of the U.S. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
The Inexact Science of Cannabis and Pregnancy
The Inexact Science of Cannabis and Pregnancy
While little scientific research exists about cannabis' effects on pregnancy, breastfeeding, and babies, one thing is certain: more and more mothers are using it. Why? There is plenty of conjecture about cannabis use during pregnancy but very little fact. Despite women using cannabis for millennia during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, doctors and government officials have become increasingly wary of the topic. Some cite flawed studies to prove it is dangerous to the development and growth of offspring, but from a truly scientific point of view, medical professionals have very little knowledge on how cannabis use during this critical time affects real human babies. Either way, more and more women are doing it. One doctor has at least set out to understand what can be gleaned from the studies and to highlight the flaws in research available to medical professionals on the topic. Dr. Laura Borgelt, PharmD, FCCP, BCFS recently presented her findings at the third Marijuana for Medical Professionals conference in Denver, which provides continuing medical education credits to doctors nationwide. Borgelt also surveyed how dispensaries responded to calls from pregnant mothers and found major flaws in both the response from the research and medical community as well as the cannabis industry. She says she decided to embark on these studies with the University of Denver because she identified the major gap between medical knowledge and patient practice. One day during a consultation with a pregnant mother and medical resident she says the question of whether it was safe to consume cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding clearly highlighted the need for the work. “The resident told the patient that was completely fine. I sat there in my chair thinking to myself, ‘I am pretty sure that is wrong, but I don’t know if it is right,’” Borgelt said. %related-post-1% She points out that while the information on pregnancy and child development is light and inconclusive, there is even less research to work from on breastfeeding and lactation. She also notes a major flaw in the research; almost all of it refers specifically to the cannabinoid THC, leaving yet another gap in the study on CBD, other cannabinoids, and whole plant cannabis. As in most knowledge gaps in cannabis, there is also a large gap between medical research and the practice of how humans actually interact with cannabis and its chemical constituents. Although Dr. Borgelt’s research has left more questions opened than answered, she says for now the safest option is to avoid cannabis use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. “Medical cannabis has this benefit and risk that needs to be considered at all times in every patient, no matter how and when they are using it,” Borgelt said. Despite what the medical profession has to say on the topic, 15 to 28 percent of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in and out of legal states are using cannabis. With so much uncertainty, why are they risking it? The Information Gap In Borgelt’s literary review, she sorted through hundreds of studies on pregnancy and breastfeeding with the goal of determining if there is an effect on fetal development due to cannabis use. “This migration, development and formation (of a human fetus) is astonishingly complex,” she said. “We know the endocannabinoid system is critical in development and neuroprotection.” She notes that there are higher numbers of CB1 receptors in the fetal brain than the adult brain. CB1 receptors are receptors in the nervous system that interact with cannabis and endogenous cannabinoids produced by the human body. The higher presence of receptors means the effects of cannabinoids would be more potent on a developing fetus or child than an adult. Borgelt says there is a potential that because THC could disrupt and interfere with proper cell signaling during the development of these neurotransmitter systems there could be an effect on fetal development. However, there is still no definitive current research that could prove or disprove this. As far as birth defects – the results of fetal development having been disrupted – there isn’t substantial evidence of this either. Borgelt says this speaks to the types of trials conducted and their limitations and points out that a lack of conclusive evidence is positive. “It is good news to me that this is not a thalidomide tragedy,” Borgelt says. But she says the literature does point, but not prove, to the possibility that cannabis could affect mental development, which would not become apparent until adolescent and teenage years, noting the human brain does not stop developing until the age of 25. Again, however, the studies don’t sufficiently confirm the theory. “We have found there is no substantial evidence, but there is moderate evidence, for attention problems, decreased IQ scores in young children, decreased cognition and growth,” Borgelt said. %related-post-2% But as Dr. Rachel Knox pointed out during a question and answer session with Borgelt at Marijuana for Medical Professionals, none of the research available accounts for other “confounding factors” or potential causes or contributors to the measured condition. All of the potential problems Borgelt mentioned could be attributed to other known causes such as socioeconomic status, other mental health problems, nutrition and access to healthcare and/or education. “We see those confounders as very closely related to all the possible problems you are listing in the teen years. I bring it up because populations who use it [in pregnancy and breastfeeding] are usually from a lower socioeconomic status,” Dr. Knox said. Dr. Borgelt agreed with Dr. Knox and added that these studies were flawed because they didn’t account for these other confounding factors. As for the effects of cannabis use during breastfeeding, Dr. Borgelt acknowledges even less is known with the available studies. Human breastmilk contains endogenous (produced within the body) cannabinoids, which can account for the sleepy “high” babies get after a meal. While these natural cannabinoids in breastmilk are safe, Dr. Borgelt warns that very little is known about phytocannabinoids in breast milk. “We have no information, or very, very little information. What we can say is THC readily passes into the breastmilk and there are numerous studies to confirm that. Chronic users will have up to eight times more THC in the breastmilk than in the plasma,” she said. “It is about the potency and the impact being higher and longer. When I have patients that ask about that, I will fully acknowledge our body makes its own endocannabinoids, but the exogenous are far more potent and last longer on receptor sites than what our body does normally which can influence the way the cell functions and develops. Why Women Use Cannabis During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding “It is hard to convince a mom (not to use cannabis) when she is puking six times a day,” says Borgelt. One of the primary reasons women use cannabis in pregnancy is for immediate relief of nausea. Women who are more comfortable with medical use of cannabis are more likely to view cannabis use as safer than pharmaceutical drugs that could be prescribed to women in pregnancy. There is a historical precedent for cannabis use in pregnancy. Cannabis has been used by midwives and herbalists to treat pain during menstruation and child birth and pain, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia in pregnant women for millennia. American and English doctors as late as the 19th century would recommend cannabis to mothers to induce and hasten childbirth. Although there are thousands of years of human experience with cannabis use during reproduction, very little formal study can point to any absolutes about effects. %related-post-3% In the 1990s, Dr. Melanie Dreher, currently the Dean of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and previously the Dean of Nursing at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, conducted a series of studies that are considered the most thorough studies of cannabis use in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. She followed mothers in rural Jamaica already regularly using real cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the development of their children over time. She found in 1994, “the (cannabis) exposed neonates showed better physiological stability and required less examiner facilitation to reach organized states. The neonates of heavy-marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers.” One thing is certain, women have and will continue to use cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Real longitudinal studies that account for a host of confounding factors like other substance use, nutrition, genetic conditions, wellness and socioeconomic status are necessary to prove if there are negative side effects to development or growth of human offspring. Right now, those studies don’t really exist and no definitive statements can be made. While Borgelt encourages doctors to err on the side of caution, she acknowledges these flaws in research and suggests doctors keep an open mind so that doctors can get honest dialogue with their patients. “I want to encourage you to continue to have the conversations with these women,” she said.
The Birth of the Marijuana Megastore?
The Birth of the Marijuana Megastore?
Finding a place to consume cannabis in Las Vegas can be a bit of a gamble, but a new state-of-the-art dispensary is likely to make Sin City weed shoppers feel like they’ve hit the pot jackpot. While Cannabis is legal in Las Vegas, finding a place to use it is another story. Consuming weed in a public place or car is illegal, as is smoking it in your hotel, unless you have the explicit permission of the owner — which none have reportedly granted as of the time of this writing. The only option for using pot in Las Vegas is knowing — or finding someone — who will let you smoke your weed or eat your edibles on their private property. But while finding a place in Vegas to take a hit can be a bit of a drag, shopping for weed there is not. The city is now home to Planet 13, a new dispensary that sells flowers, edibles, and concentrates. Planet 13 is just like any other dispensary in the country except that it is absolutely enormous. According to CannabisDispensaryMag.com, the first phase of the store, which has already opened, includes 40,000 square feet, with more than 16,500 square feet of cannabis retail space. When all phases are completed, the mega-store will total 112,000 square feet — more than enough to handle thousands of customers daily. The Next Big Thing? Conveniently located near the famed Las Vegas Strip, Planet 13 is more than just a dispensary — it’s built to be a complete experience, from the moment you see the building until you leave. Upon entering, you’ll see 15-foot-tall LED lotus flowers on the roof of the building — flowers that you can actually control. There’s also an interactive floor, an aerial orb show, and interactive laser art. You could easily forget you’re actually there to buy some weed. Planet 13 is amazing, but it’s safe to say similar stores wouldn’t work everywhere. The LED lights, outdoor water feature, interactive floor, and other experiences are, of course, perfect for Las Vegas, but would likely be a little much for smaller cities or towns. And, of course, there’s still that pesky issue of legalization to deal with. But, hey, next time you're in Vegas, be sure to check out Planet 13. And we wish you best of luck in trying to find a place to enjoy your stash once you do.
How Sandwich Bags Can Land You In Jail (If You Have the Wrong Local Police Force)
How Sandwich Bags Can Land You In Jail (If You Have the Wrong Local Police Force)
Marijuana legalization’s surge in public support and the warm embrace with which elected officials — including the most conservative members of Congress — are greeting broader drug-policy reform has done little to lessen the peril facing users of cannabis and other recreational drugs across the United States. The sad case of Patrick Beadle, the Portland, Oregon resident sentenced to eight years in prison for driving through Mississippi with medical marijuana he obtained legally, illustrates how far most places have to go on cannabis. But this more general danger — from agents of the state, wielding lethal force — also extends to people who don’t use recreational drugs. In case you were in need of an illustration, please consider the case of the sandwich bags, digital scale, and mystery “paperwork” that Little Rock police seized at Roderick Talley’s apartment. Talley is a 31-year-old barber. As The Washington Post’s Radley Balko described in a recent column, Talley was sleeping on the couch of his Little Rock apartment when he was awakened by a deafening roar — and the door of his apartment itself, blown off its hinges and on top of him. In through the open portal swarmed four SWAT officers in full tactical gear, fingers on the trigger of their assault weapons, the weapons pointed square at Talley. %related-post-1% The cops were there, they wrote in an affidavit justifying a search warrant approved by a judge prior to this no-knock raid, to look for the cocaine Talley had allegedly been selling, according to the confidential police informant whose anonymous — and, evidently, wholly unreliable — tip triggered the raid. But as Balko writes, the subsequent search of Talley’s apartment and car turned up exactly zero cocaine. They did find a “green leafy substance” that police claimed was marijuana. They also found plastic bags and three digital scales, though Talley claimed to own only one, and it was broken. Talley was nonetheless put in handcuffs and taken to county jail on suspicion of committing a misdemeanor — possession of marijuana. The bags and the scales were also seized, and accounted for additional charges, along with mystery “paperwork” listed in a post-raid police report. Exactly what that paperwork is, Talley isn’t sure: it’s still in police custody, after prosecutors declined to charge him but reserved the right to file charges later. (Police also boasted to Talley’s distressed and disbelieving neighbors, alarmed by the blast that shook them awake that morning, that they’d “taken out your local drug dealer,” a shock tactic that surely played into Talley’s landlord’s decision to evict him, despite no conviction or even a charge.) No Knock, No Accountability To any rational outside observer, what happened to Talley — a no-knock raid, using explosives and assault weapons, all over drugs that weren’t even there, resulting in criminal charges stemming from items found in any typical kitchen — should be absurd and outrageous enough. To defense attorneys and retired law enforcement, they are much worse. They are violations of the Fourth Amendment that also jeopardize the health and safety of the public. And yet, they have happened dozens and dozens of times, to dozens and dozens of other people like Talley. Balko reviewed more than 100 “drug busts” conducted by Little Rock police over the past two years, and found that the majority of them turned up absolutely nothing — no drugs, and none of the marked police money given to informants to buy it. “In 35 of the 105 no-knock raids,” Balko reported, “the police only had probable cause to search for marijuana. In eight others, they found only marijuana despite obtaining a search warrant for harder drugs.” Eighty-four of the suspects who were targeted in the 105 raids are black. The city is 42 percent black and 46 percent white. And 101 of the raids were “no-knock raids.” In 20 of the raids, police found nothing. In many more, police found “residue,” or “powder,” or a “leafy substance,” or “pills” or a “pill bottle” — in other words, they found something, just not what they swore under oath to a judge they would find. %related-post-2% Rather than admit the obvious — the raid was a dangerous and costly failure — police charge the recipients of these botched raids with misdemeanor crimes. Sometimes, the occupants of the raided homes are evicted, or charged by their landlords for the damage caused by police. And then they do it again — and again and again. Another individual, a registered legal gun owner, had his weapon seized, was charged for it, and was evicted from his apartment. “None had received an apology, compensation or an offer to repair the door,” Balko writes. The problem — for police — is that they also appeared to have lied. Repeatedly, and increasingly. Police told a judge that they’d had an informant buy cocaine from Talley, and that they’d received a positive ID from their informant after casing Talley’s apartment. We know that is all untrue, because Talley set up a video security system outside his apartment following a few thefts (which were never solved by police). And that video footage contradicts the account to which police swore in their affidavit signed off by a judge. To date, that has not resulted in any punishment for the police or compensation for Talley, who waged a one-man campaign for many months, obtaining public records and using social media to spread the news of his case. How many people like Talley are set up without the exculpatory power of a home security system? In how many other cities is there a SWAT team happy to stage raids suitable for cartel kingpins for a few scraps of weed? The answers are obvious and depressing, and illustrate the broader truth: For all the progress made in America, we’re still at the beginning.
Why Marijuana Businesses Should Market More to Women
Why Marijuana Businesses Should Market More to Women
Dispensaries have always targeted men. If they want to beat the competition, however, they need to market to women, too. For a long time, most people thought that only “stoners” used weed — stoners who were also primarily men. But with an increasing number of states legalizing the recreational use of marijuana — and public support for legalization continuing to rise — a longtime truth has become more widely recognized: Women like weed, too. While everyone is different — and some women likely smoke more weed than the average man — there are some generally recognized differences between male and female pot consumption. Men, for example, typically prefer high-potency weed, which allows them to get high quickly, while women often want to be more discreet — especially when they feel like they could be judged by others for using weed. As a result, women are more likely to be interested in products like lotions with CBD, low-THC buds, edibles, and vape pens. Not surprisingly, marijuana-related businesses have noticed these differences, with weed marketing strategies looking more and more like those of beauty products. While men typically want products that are quick and easy to use — like 2-in-1 shampoos/shower gels — women generally like to handpick their shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels. Following this lead, dispensaries have spearheaded a so-called “pinkification” of weed featuring female-friendly packaging, vape pens, and weed-infused beauty products. By appealing more directly to women, dispensaries will likely not only increase their bottom lines, but they could also be playing a significant part in the normalization of weed. Over time, women picking up kids from play dates will feel as comfortable talking to each other about their favorite weed-infused products as they will talking about the weather.
MMJ May Help Those Suffering from Crohn’s Disease
MMJ May Help Those Suffering from Crohn’s Disease
Over the years, researchers have discovered the power of marijuana to help people suffering from myriad health conditions. Add Crohn’s disease to the list. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of this disease can be very incapacitating for patients, sometimes stopping them from holding down jobs or having a social life — or both. According to a new study, however, cannabis could offer relief to patients dealing with this frustrating condition. As Grizzle.com reports, an Israeli team of gastroenterology specialists conducted a study on 46 patients. Some were given cannabis oil, others a placebo. The study showed that those taking cannabis oil saw “a significant reduction” in their Crohn’s symptoms. The study comes two years after another study, which indicated that cannabis could prove to be effective “therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.” Crohn’s is but one of many health conditions that could be treated with cannabis. Marijuana has been shown to reduce the number of epileptic episodes — especially among children. It can also be used to reduce pain, which is appealing for multiple sclerosis or arthritis patients. It can also relieve nausea in chemotherapy patients. As far as Crohn’s is concerned, however, there is one caveat. While it might seem that Crohn’s patients saw relief from their symptoms due to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties, the latest study shows otherwise — meaning that more testing is needed, testing that might show that marijuana has even more healing properties that haven’t been discovered yet. Of course, each time a study shows that marijuana could cure a disease — or, at the very least, alleviate its symptoms — more people rally for legalization. Not only could cannabis help people with Crohn’s, but testing of cannabis for its potential to help people with Crohn’s and other diseases could drive lawmakers to further expand legalization.
Why Are Scientists Growing Weed in Space?
Why Are Scientists Growing Weed in Space?
While there are plenty of weird places to grow weed, outer space now tops our list. Kentucky-based Space Tengo specializes in special boxes that can be used on the International Space Station (ISS). Cannabis and hemp cultivators Atalo Holdings and Anavii Market — also based in Kentucky — decided to partner with Space Tengo to send some ganja plants to a galaxy far, far away. The microwave-sized boxes are actually clean room laboratories that will be used by ISS scientists to grow and observe the plants. According to Kris Kimel, co-founder and chairman of Space Tango, there are now two of those small laboratories on the ISS. So, what can we learn from weed grown in outer space? Growing weed in a low-gravity environment sounds like fun, but is it useful? According to pharmacy professor Joe Chappell of the University of Kentucky, it is. He explains that plants have a genetic reservoir they can use in “stressful” situations — a reservoir they can use to adapt to their environment and survive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGYo8kbzeKs Chappell told MerryJane.com that “understanding how plants react in an environment where the traditional stress of gravity is removed can provide new insights into how adaptations come about and how researchers might take advantage of such changes for the discovery of new characteristics, traits, biomedical applications, and efficacy.” In short, by growing weed in space, researchers may discover new ways to use cannabis to treat certain illnesses. Despite the potential of interplanetary pot, don’t expect to find any “space weed” in your local dispensary just yet. The goal is to see how the plant reacts to this low-gravity environment, and how that could be useful for humankind. Kimel says that “each time a new type of physics platform has been successfully harnessed, such as electromagnetism, it has led to the exponential growth of new knowledge, benefits to humankind, and capital formation.” Whether this will also be the case for the cannabis grown in space is still uncertain.
In Legalizing Medical Marijuana, the UK Is Putting Patients First
In Legalizing Medical Marijuana, the UK Is Putting Patients First
England's legalization of medical marijuana has been a predictable process, with at least one minor-sounding — yet very significant — deviation. On November 1, medical cannabis becomes legal in the United Kingdom. This is a technically true statement. But still, and mostly because this is marijuana… it’s still just sort of. There will be no flood of pain patients, cancer sufferers, and everyone else for whom medical marijuana can bring relief to dispensaries and clinics. This is because there will be no dispensaries or cannabis-recommending doctor’s clinics, of the kind seen in the United States or in Canada, where medical cannabis, government-approved and lab-tested, is legally available through the mail. A Patient-driven Process Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s long-expected order, issued earlier this month following high drama at Heathrow Airport, where Javid’s officers seized cannabis oil belonging to an epileptic boy, reschedules “cannabis-based products for medical use.” Nothing more, and nothing less. Exactly what those products will be, when they will become available, for whom and how easily — and how expensive — all remains to be seen. All those very important details will be hammered out over the next year, with exact answers to be determined. That’s all very standard sausage-making, and it will all sound familiar to anyone involved with or following similar processes as they’ve played out recently in Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, and other U.S. states where medical marijuana has slowly but surely become legally available to those who need it. It will also sound familiar in Canada and Australia, two former British Commonwealth countries that have also moved more quickly. But there is at least one minor-sounding yet very significant deviation from this otherwise predictable script. According to activists involved with the process, it’s medical-marijuana patients — and not pharmaceutical companies, or entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs — who are driving the process. The big guys (and girls, but mostly guys) with the big money are trying to get into the meetings with policymakers and members of Parliament — and so far, they’re getting shut out. %related-post-1% Steve Moore is a veteran political campaigner and strategist who briefly led the “Big Society” effort hatched by former Conservative prime minister David Cameron. He now serves on the strategic council of VolteFace, a combination think tank-content platform advocating for a science and reason-based reform of British drug policy (and organized the scene and subsequent media storm following the Home Office’s confiscation of the Canadian cannabis oil brought into the UK by Charlotte Caldwell for the use of her son). In an interview with Leafly (with this writer, full disclosure), Moore mentioned how many calls he’d been fielding from business-minded types from the U.S. and Canada, suddenly fully aware that the biggest new potential market for their products and their expertise was in the UK — which, with 66 million people, is almost 50 percent larger than Canada, for more than a few months the biggest deal in the global marijuana game leading up to nationwide legalization on October 17. All those entrepreneurs, the founders and the funders, want to be seated at the literal and metaphorical table, when members of the government and Parliament sit down with stakeholders and figure out how to get cannabis to the public. And they’re shut out! To the big money players, “the answer is, ‘You’re not invited’,” Moore told Leafly. “It’s the patients. There is a desire to make sure that patients get in first before the industry.’” Avoiding a State-sanctioned Monopoly To understand how significant this is — beyond a stark procedural departure — consider medical marijuana’s functionality in other jurisdictions that have taken different approaches. It is a literal apples-to-oranges comparison, but for the sake of discussion, let’s look at Florida. At one-third the population of the United Kingdom, Florida is nonetheless an enormous market for cannabis, with an aging population that includes a significant number of military veterans. There, medical marijuana was approved by voters, but then dictated by lawmakers in consultation with health-department officials. (It should not go unsaid that those health officials work for Gov. Rick Scott, himself a healthcare-industrial complex tycoon). The result? A ban on marijuana that could be smoked. A ban on home cultivation, forcing patients to go to capitalized companies for access to a plant. So few licensed dispensaries and cultivators that it equated to a state-sanctioned monopoly. A byzantine permitting process that gave preferential treatment to farms that had once grown citrus fruits. Some of these restrictions have been overturned by the courts, but the fact that the courts had to be involved at all should be proof enough that the laws were imperfect and unworkable. It should surprise nobody that the imperfections were put there by someone other than the patients for whom the laws were intended. %related-post-2% The UK may yet change course and make the wrong moves. They would do so if they listened to pain doctors in charge of prescribing pharmaceutical alternatives to cannabis, which — according to the literature, is effective for pain. Earlier this month, doctors “from almost every [pain] specialist clinic in the country” sent a letter to the London Times claiming that legalizing medical cannabis will lead to an “opiate-style crisis of addiction and crime.” In their letter, the doctors say that there is “little evidence [cannabis] works for chronic pain,” and that making marijuana available via a doctor’s approval rather than the black market “puts patients at the risk of mental health problems.” It is safe to say that not a single medical cannabis patient was consulted in the crafting of that letter. But it’s also easy to see what medical marijuana access would look like in the United Kingdom if current patients weren’t consulted. It would look like what they currently “enjoy” today. It would be bad. And so far, that’s not the route the UK is headed.
Legalization Update: Germany
Legalization Update: Germany
While Germany has made some progress as far as cannabis legalization is concerned, the number of Germans who can legally obtain the drug is rather limited, as are the chances that that number will increase any time soon. Germany legalized medical marijuana in 2017, but as in most European countries where the drug has been legalized, it is only available patients who are seriously ill — though it’s unclear what this means, exactly. And while the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Germany, possessing a small amount is, in most cases, tolerated — though the limit of this “small amount” varies throughout the country. Berlin, for example, is known for its party scene. There are “hidden” clubs, secret parties, and a crazy amount of bars. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for a fun weekend in Europe, or looking to buy weed. It’s rather easy to buy cannabis in Berlin, and law enforcement is, of course, fully aware of this. While having 10 to 15 grams of cannabis on you shouldn’t get you in much trouble in Berlin, In other parts of the country, the limit is much lower. As we’ve mentioned, however, cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in Germany, so the cops can still arrest you if they feel like it, no matter how much weed you’re carrying. Getting — or getting away with — marijuana may be technically possible in Germany, but growing it is not. If a company wants to grow medical cannabis in Germany, they have to apply for a license with the cannabis agency of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. The agency has yet to grant any licenses, however, leaving Germany to import all of its cannabis from the Netherlands and Canada. According(https://mjbizdaily.com/blistering-growth-german-medical-cannabis-market/) to MJBizDaily.com, the nation imported 520 kilograms of medical marijuana from Canada in 2017 alone. The Likelihood of Legalization Many of Germany’s political parties, such as the Left Party, the FDP, and the Green Party, appear to favor legalization. The parties want the government to legalize marijuana for private consumption in order to “protect adult consumers from a product laced with other harmful chemicals.” Legalizing it could also be a way to prevent minors from buying marijuana, which will be a challenge as Germany has a thriving black market. Despite this political support, Germany’s other political parties are strongly opposed to legalization, making it impossible for the nation to pass any new laws — for now. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Why Legal Weed Is Shaking the Stoner Stereotype
Why Legal Weed Is Shaking the Stoner Stereotype
America’s recreational and medicinal pot business is now worth billions. But there’s a troubling stereotype that continues to weigh down the industry: the lazy, unmotivated, worshipers of the “wake and bake” themselves — the stoners. But how is this stereotype affecting legit businesses and what can companies do to break free? In movies and on television, it seems every ensemble cast features some sort of lovable stoner. Chill, but lacking in motivation and general wherewithal, we all know the type. But now that weed is legal in some capacity in 30 states, the idea of the video game-loving, fast-food devouring stoner is proving bad for business. Dispelling the Stigma Across the country, marijuana companies are seeking out new and creative ways to shake off the stoner stereotype and present cannabis as the ticket to pain relief and recreation for people of all walks of life. For some companies, this comes across in more effective branding and marketing techniques — leveraging billboards and ads portraying nurses, doctors, grandparents, and more as responsible cannabis users instead of stoners. Other brands have set their sights on product design to add a more refined air to their weed products — ridding packaging of pot leaves in favor of sleek, modern designs. These techniques have already shown some benefit, but the naysayers remain, arguing that these marketing tactics merely gloss over marijuana’s darker side. What’s Next? Thanks in large part to decades of criminalization, cannabis still has a reputation of the drug of choice for characters on the fringes of society, especially in movies and on television. Cheech and Chong brought the house down with their THC-infused brand of humor but didn’t really do any favors for low-key users aiming to avoid the stoner stereotype. Fast forward a few decades, and TV shows and movies are starting to show pot users in a more realistic light. There’s less of an emphasis on smokers glued to their couches eating junk food, and a more down-to-earth representation of cannabis users enjoying pot for practical or medical reasons, from chronic pain to anxiety and beyond. As the image of the half-baked, goofy stoner are replaced with real-world representations of weed users, the tide of common opinion is sure to change.
Can Pot Prevent Performance Anxiety?
Can Pot Prevent Performance Anxiety?
According to some studies, as much as 75% of people on Earth are afraid of public speaking. If you count yourself as part of this statistic — fear not! Cannabis may help make your next performance a total breeze. You’ve tried imaging the audience in their underwear. Controlled breathing techniques haven’t helped. And your big speech is only a few hours away. Sure, you could freak out. Or you could enjoy a little cannabis and knock it out of the park. That’s right. According to a recent study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, using cannabis prior to public speaking can reduce performance anxiety, as well as symptoms of daily, general anxiety.   Understanding the Experiment Designed to identify a link between CBD and the body’s anxiety response, the recent Brazilian study focused on physical anxiety markers — like high blood pressure — in a simulated public speaking setting. Participants were given 150mg, 300mg, or 600mg, and a placebo at random and then asked to give a 4-minute speech. Doctors assessed anxiety markers before, during, and after the speeches, and the findings were promising. Participants who received a 300mg CBD dose showed lower anxiety levels compared to those who received the placebo. Embracing the Benefits Based on these recent findings, people struggling with anxiety may have a truly effective option for managing symptoms. In the United States, that means roughly 18.1% of the population could get valuable relief from anxiety. And, yes, it may make your next presentation more bearable, too. All jokes aside, studies like this one are proving tremendously valuable in further identifying the medical benefits of cannabis. As more applications are identified, more work may be done to legalize medicinal cannabis across the country. We can’t speak for everyone, but we definitely don’t see that as a bad thing.
Mexico Gets Closer to Legalizing Recreational Weed
Mexico Gets Closer to Legalizing Recreational Weed
It’s been a year since medical marijuana became legal in Mexico. Recreational weed might not be too far behind. All cannabis was illegal in Mexico until June 2017 when president Enrique Peña Nieto signed legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana. Low-THC, high-CBD medication is now available for patients with a prescription. It’s also possible for them to grow their own medical marijuana at home. Recreational cannabis consumption is still prohibited, however. There are several ways to initiate the legalization of marijuana. In the United States, states have put it up for a vote, leaving it up to the residents to decide. Lawmakers can also create new acts of law, allowing the (medical) use of marijuana. In Mexico, however, several lawsuits have been filed over the last few years, as MerryJane.com points out, “arguing against the constitutionality of prohibition.” The rulings of the court allowed some people to consume marijuana, but not the whole country. Five consistent rulings by the Mexican Supreme court are necessary before the judgment can be applied to all residents. Three rulings have been issued so far, which will likely put some pressure on the government. When will it be legal? While the people of Mexico will probably have to wait until at least 2019 to see some real change, things are moving quickly. Many politicians are in favor of recreational legalization, and it’s likely that more lawsuits will be filed. According to The Mazatlan Post, Verónica Juárez Piña, the vice-coordinator of the PRD — a political party — proposed an initiative for the decriminalization of recreational cannabis due to dangers associated with prohibition, including cartels, long prison sentences for users, violence and deaths. Many resources have to be allocated to the war against drugs — resources that could be put to better use if marijuana became legal.
Can Cannabis Help You Sleep?
Can Cannabis Help You Sleep?
Even the best scientists have difficulty fully understanding sleep. But with the benefits of medical marijuana becoming more widely known worldwide, an increasing number are citing the benefits of using cannabis as a sleeping aid. If you’ve ever used high-THC marijuana, you’ve probably noticed that it can make you sleepy. Whether that sleepiness is good or bad for you in the long run is unclear, however.   Many people struggle with chronic pain that keeps them awake at night. Others simply have difficulty relaxing and clearing their minds before falling asleep. As Forbes reports, Americans are expected to spend $52 billion on sleep aids — up from $14 billion in 2015. Sleep aids are huge potential market, and one that an increasing number of cannabis brands will likely explore. Zzz Natural is one such brand. Founded earlier this year, the company produces disposable vape pens that use “sleep-inducing terpenes and botanical extracts” to help people get the rest they need. While more research still needs to be done, experts are increasingly citing cannabis’ effectiveness as a sleep aid. Smoking THC before bed can help relieve and usher in the ZZZ’s, while the analgesic properties of CBD can soothe pain that keeps people awake. It appears that using CBD also reduces the amount of REM sleep, basically meaning users will dream less. This could be good news for people suffering from nightmares (due to PTSD, for instance). As Healthline.com points out, using CBD could mean that “you’ll spend more time in a ‘deep sleep’ state.” While this could be beneficial — as it helps your body to restore and rest — REM sleep is also very important, meaning that artificially reducing it, could have negative consequences on your health. Because little is known about the long-term use of cannabis as a sleeping aid, it’s wise to talk to a physician before using it. If you do begin using cannabis as a sleep aid, talk to your doctor regularly about the results, and jot down anything that could be considered a side effect.
How Oklahoma Ended Up with One of the Nation’s Best Medical Marijuana Laws
How Oklahoma Ended Up with One of the Nation’s Best Medical Marijuana Laws
With the spread of cannabis east of the Rockies and into the most conservative parts of America, legislators have worked to cripple the intent of these laws, limit the industry to millionaires and billionaires, and restrict access so much that most patients have largely remained criminals even in legal medical marijuana states. Usually, the people who fight the lawmakers on crippling regulations in these states lose and the legislators mostly always win. But when medical marijuana finally made its way to Oklahoma, the law fought the people, and the people won. If you weren’t paying attention, you may have missed this small conservative state passing and enacting one of the best medical cannabis laws in the country; shortly after its passage citizens were able to see doctors and become patients, grow up to six plants at home, get a production, processor or dispenser license for as little as $2,500 and a lease agreement, and consume their medical cannabis in public wherever tobacco is consumed. After covering cannabis issues nationwide, I was shocked by what I saw on a recent visit to Tulsa. Legal Washington State doesn’t have home cultivation rights. Legal Oregon and Colorado are currently fighting for the right to consume socially. Legal California has added so many layers of bureaucracy to get into the legal market that most producers never moved onto it. Did I mention Oklahoma has reciprocity? This was not lost on me when I lit up and smoked a joint in a cigarette-friendly Tulsa bar thanks to my California physician recommending it for my Crohn’s Disease. As my new Sooner State friends and I socialized around a pool table, I learned that this victory in Oklahoma had little to do with money and everything to do with the hard work and dedication of the on-the-ground activists who fought for the law. The Long Journey to the Ballot Oklahomans for Health (OFH) sponsored the petition to bring State Question 788, Oklahoma’s medical cannabis law, to the 2016 presidential election ballot. Thanks to the obstruction of then-attorney general Scott Pruitt, the initiative was not certified or titled by the state appropriately or on time, leading to a lengthy court battle that kept it off the ballot. On March 27, 2017, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oklahomans for Health, but they had already lost their shot at being on a high voter-turnout presidential ticket. In January 2018, Governor Mary Fallin scheduled the SQ 788 vote to what was expected to be the lowest possible turnout ticket; the June 2018 midterm primary election. The primary election on June 26, 2018 had one of the highest voter turnouts in Oklahoma state history, exceeding the turnouts on both the 2016 presidential primary and the 2014 gubernatorial election. Despite a flood of money that came from big corporations to oppose the bill, just over $1 million to proponents’ measly $30,000, SQ 788 earned 507,582 thousand votes, 57%, and passed into law. %related-post-1% The Oklahoma State Department of Health, tasked with implementing SQ 788, released a draft of proposed rules on July 8, 2018 that would have, essentially, crippled the intent of the law. Under the rules all smokable cannabis would be banned, pharmacists would be required to be present in dispensaries as part of the approval process and dispensaries would be limited to just 50. It would force all women of childbearing age to obtain a pregnancy test before being granted safe access. “The Oklahoma State Department of Health has enacted law that undermines one of the most participated-in elections in state history and silences the voice of Oklahomans across this state,” wrote state representative Jason Lowe in a press release in July. “Today’s decision is an affront to democracy and an insult to the law-abiding citizens that showed up to vote for this initiative.” Proponents sued the governor and state officials saying they were crippling the intent of the legislation, and Gov. Fallin was forced to sign into law rules that upheld the will of the voters-- removing these added provisions-- on August 6, 2018. Getting Out the Vote Since 2015, an all patient and volunteer force of over 800 Oklahomans in over 50 of the states 77 counties registered people to vote and passed out educational literature. They raised money through car washes, or pulled from their own limited funds. A new group, Green the Vote, was formed to support the petitions being run by Oklahomans for Health. Isaac Caviness, former president of Green the Vote and owner of Tulsa’s HempRx low-THC cannabis dispensary, has two cots set up in the back of his store. During the petition drive, he converted it into a 24-hour petition signing and voter registration hub and purchased the cots so volunteers could take breaks to rest. Green the Vote, as well as Oklahomans for Health, were able to register tens of thousands of Oklahomans to vote for SQ 788, some for the very first time. Their all-volunteer efforts played an essential role in the SQ 788 victory. Today, Caviness’s store, like many other “CBD dispensaries” around the state, is making preparations to become a whole plant dispensary and is already selling CBD flower and other medical cannabis goods under 1% THC by weight. %related-post-2% This summer, Green the Vote almost put two additional state questions before voters in the November election, which would have amended the medical program and made Oklahoma an adult-use legalization state. They came close, but just around 7,000 signatures shy of the 124,000 signature requirement to qualify this November. SQ 797 would have legalized marijuana in Oklahoma for adult use and added a tax that would largely fund public education. SQ 796 would have overrode SQ 788 but made it more difficult for the legislature to make changes to the law, capped license fees and added a list of qualifying conditions for medical. Caviness believes that a constitutional amendment for adult use in 2020 is necessary to protect the over 1,500 licenses that have already been issued since the summer. “I believe that is the best route to go to protect all of these commercial businesses that are blooming right now, but it would take all of these commercial businesses to step up and to fund a petition so we can truly hire experts to come in here and get it done and not be having to do it off of the backs of patients and volunteers here in Oklahoma,” he said. “We would be very successful with that and it would be the sledgehammer we need to keep the lawmakers from running amok with the regulations.” The Trail Ahead While most of Oklahoma’s activists aren’t too concerned that the law and safe access will be impeded in the spring when the legislature meets, Dr. Brandon Bailey isn’t as optimistic. “I think it is gonna cause a lot of problems… we are a very conservative state by nature,” Dr. Bailey says. Dr. Bailey is 36 years old and is active duty in the Army National Guard, as well as a husband, father, and MMA fighter. He spent the first five months of this year in Northeastern Afghanistan before returning home to the Tulsa area just prior to the vote on SQ 788. He has a full schedule; in the early mornings he spends time with his hospice patients before working in his private clinic, Evolved Health and Wellness in Broken Arrow, from 9 to 5. Afterwards, he goes straight to the hospital to treat his patients there until after midnight. On the weekends he takes care of his military duties. Still, he is seeing and writing over 50 cannabis recommendations a day and traveling to the farthest and most remote parts of the state to make sure all Oklahomans have access. He does free and discounted recommendations for the severely disabled and military veterans. “My hope is to try and get as many patients into the system now,” he says. He feels that if he can register a large patient population before the legislature meets, he can show how it has worked for so many conditions and prevent them from further limiting access. “I think the biggest issue we are going to run into is the new guidelines that will come into play around February, I suspect they will be limiting conditions,” Dr. Bailey said.
Can You Really Fly with Weed?
Can You Really Fly with Weed?
You can now walk through Los Angeles International Airport with a small amount of weed. But what if you want to fly with it? According to a new policy, LAX will now allow people over 21 to carry up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and up to 8 grams of concentrated marijuana on them when they visit the airport. Bringing that weed onto a plane is another story. LAX’s new policy is limited to the areas of the airport supervised by the city. As soon as you pass through a Transportation Security Administration area, you’re under federal law, making all possession of marijuana illegal. With that said, looking for weed isn’t the TSA’s top priority. According to their website, the agency’s screening procedures “are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.” As a result, they won’t automatically search for marijuana. However, if they suspect you of carrying pot or any other illegal drug, they will conduct a more thorough search. And if TSA screeners find weed in your luggage or your pockets, they’ll likely call in the local police department. It’s then up to them to decide whether they want to go any further with it or not. Keep in mind that this policy only applies to LAX. There are more than 500 other airports in the U.S. that serve commercial flights, so even if you do make it onto a flight at LAX with your weed safely tucked in your pockets or stored in your luggage, the rules at the airport where you’ll be landing will likely be much more strict. Some airports — especially in foreign countries — conduct random searches of arriving passengers. Some even employ drug-sniffing dogs who can find your stash as soon as you get off the plane. Bottom line: Whether you’re departing or arriving, if you’re caught with weed at the airport — especially overseas — you’ll not only risk missing your flight, you’ll also risk being taken to jail. Until the laws everywhere are more clear and more lenient, we can’t recommend flying with weed.
Why Are More Millennials Choosing Weed Over Booze?
Why Are More Millennials Choosing Weed Over Booze?
As more and more states are legalizing marijuana for recreational use, more and more millennials are opting for weed over alcohol. But why? Drinking — especially binge drinking — can come with a lot of consequences: Doing stupid stuff you’ll definitely regret later, forgetting what you did the evening before, being hungover, spending hours feeling sick the next morning, potentially hurting (or worse) others, and more. Jena, a 27-year-old woman who recently switched from alcohol to weed, told Marketwatch that she saves a lot of money by ditching the alcohol. All of those factors, coupled with increased access to legal weed, is driving many millennials to cut back on the bottle in favor of bud. In October 2017, Forbes reported that “millennials are blamed for falling beer sales in the U.S.” Those who still wish to drink are increasingly turning to craft beer, cocktails, and wine instead of cheap beer. Many prefer having a nice time with friends over getting drunk, and weed can give them that high. Weed is also seen as much safer than alcohol by many people — especially millennials. According to a recent poll published in The Tylt, 87.6 percent of respondents said that alcohol is dangerous. Only 12.4% said that “pot is poison.” In response to these perceptions and usage habits among millennials, the beverage industry continues to roll out CBD or THC-infused (alcohol-free) beers and other products in order regain lost sales and protect future ones. And if millennials can have this much of an effect on a long-established industry, their potential influence on continued marijuana legalization efforts should be overlooked, either. So, smoking weed at parties instead of drinking alcohol is cheaper, allows you to really enjoy yourself, won’t give you extra calories, and won’t leave feeling ashamed or sick the next morning. Seems like a good alternative, doesn’t it?
Legalization Update: South Africa
Legalization Update: South Africa
Marijuana is now legal for private use in South Africa. Buying it there, however, is another story. It is no longer illegal to possess or use marijuana in South Africa if you’re an adult and you keep it and/or use it in a private place. You can even grow some weed for your private use. The South African government long resisted legalizing cannabis, arguing that it is “harmful” to people’s health. But when three users brought a case arguing that the ban on cannabis “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres,” the highest court in the country ruled that private consumption shouldn’t be illegal. But while possessing or using your own weed is no longer a criminal offense, consuming it in public is still illegal, as is selling it, which means that South America will bypass significant potential tax revenue. Will weed be further legalized? For now, this is unlikely. The government still has two years to amend the current law on cannabis consumption, so any further changes might take some time. But the Dagga Party — ‘Dagga’ is the South African word for marijuana — will continue to lobby for further legalization. In the meantime, as 420 Intel explains, law enforcement will have to “determine whether or not a person is growing or possesses the plant for personal use or is using it to sell.” So, if you happen to visit South Africa, it will be near impossible to obtain legal weed. Your only option might be to make some friends who offer to let you smoke some of their homegrown stash. But even that could be dicey. Since it’s still illegal to sell or otherwise supply marijuana in South Africa, police might not take to kindly to such a gift and arrest both you and your new friends.
Dixiecannabis: The South Is Embracing Medical Marijuana
Dixiecannabis: The South Is Embracing Medical Marijuana
In a distant and ancient past, the South — that deep-red Bible Belt, so solidly Republican Trump country that it took until this year for a Democratic Senate candidate in Texas to actually campaign — was a place where liberals were welcome. The South where the Democratic Party — John F. Kennedy’s Democratic Party — raised its presidents, where the brokers of compromise between coastal city-slickers and heartland farmers learned their trade. This historical reality feels so remote now, in an internet-fueled age of partisan divides so deep they may as well be blood feuds (and they may be sometime soon), that it may as well be a creation myth. Just to add to the air of surreality, it appears there is possibly just one issue that unites America: North and South, East and West, conservative and liberal, we all like marijuana. And this includes in the conservative South, where both medical cannabis and recreational marijuana legalization efforts are real things. The canna-federate states? Following the successful lead of Arkansas, which legalized medical marijuana in November 2016, a group calling itself Medical Marijuana 2020 is collecting signatures in Mississippi, where it hopes to convince voters to do the same in two years’ time. This is no outlier. In South Carolina, the cradle of secession, voters support legalizing cannabis outright by a nearly two-to one margin. Louisiana — which was arguably a purple state before Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans and the state’s demographics — a state lawmaker-approved medical cannabis program is slowly but surely taking shape. (As for New Orleans itself, it’s now a regular, can’t-miss stop on the medical marijuana business conference circuit.) Tennessee’s major cities, Memphis and Nashville, both decriminalized cannabis possession before state lawmakers exercised a power move and undid their efforts. That lead to two other state lawmakers, both Republicans, introducing a medical-marijuana legalization bill with a cheeky acronym: The Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act, or TRUMP Act. In Texas, where Ted Cruz faces a very credible challenge from a Democrat who wants to legalize marijuana outright, the state Republican Party officially added legalizing medical marijuana to their official state platform. And while it can be debated exactly how “South” Florida truly is — a state with so many snowbirds from the northeast won’t quite be mistaken for the land of Faulkner — medical cannabis’s strong support in some of the most conservative Congressional districts in the country shows that whatever frontiers there may have been for drug-policy reform are falling. But Mississippi is special — they’re going far, fast. If it is successful, Mississippi would have a more permissive medical-marijuana system than New York State. There would be no cap on the number of dispensaries, and patients would be able to qualify for cannabis if suffering from any one of a list of more than 12 medical conditions — including chronic pain, autism, and opiate addiction as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer. In this way, anyone with an affliction for which cannabis gives relief would be able to secure access — again, something that is not a guarantee in blue states where cannabis is theoretically legal, like Minnesota. Compassion or cash As Mississippi Today recently pointed out, the list of Medical Marijuana 2020’s backers read like the attendance list at a Christian Coalition fundraiser: ministers, four Republican lawmakers, and the leaders of the state’s two most prominent conservative advocacy groups. State Rep. Joel Bomgar, a Republican and a member of the organization’s steering committee, believes in the compassionate angle. “Everyone knows someone who could have benefited from medical marijuana or is benefiting in another state,” he told Marijuana Business Daily. But where compassion falls short, you can always rely on old-school conservative values. “I think it’s an example of liberty and freedom,” said Jon Pritchett, president of a conservative Mississippi-based think tank, in comments to Mississippi Today. “From an ideological standpoint, I’m not a big proponent of, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, the government telling me what should go in my mouth any more than what should come out of my mouth.” There may be another factor at play: money. As Marijuana Business Daily points out, Mississippi’s proposal is extremely business-friendly. Cash or compassion, the cannabis question is compelling some Mississippi lawmakers to go as far as to trust government. As per Mississippi Today: Rep. Dana Criswell, R-Olive Branch, said he supports legalizing medical marijuana but wrestles with reconciling his views on promoting individual liberty with reducing government regulation. “I have struggled with this issue both politically and personally because there is this idea that we’re creating some more government here in order to (pass) this, and that really bothers me. And I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this with some of the others on the steering committee because I have tried to consistently vote against anything that creates more government,” Criswell said. “But there’s such a negative connotation with marijuana that this is the only way I think this can happen… So I’m accepting some government control although it keeps me awake at night.” Southern comfort level It should be mentioned that for now, medical marijuana is as far as Southerners are willing to go — and they’re perfectly at ease with the government telling them they can’t smoke weed if they’re not sick. In Arkansas, the greenest state in Dixie, the state attorney general has six times rejected a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana. And Mississippi has a long way to go before discovering its chill. Mississippi is the state where Patrick Beadle, a 46-year-old musician and practicing Rastafarian from Oregon caught with 2.8 pounds of marijuana during a 2017 traffic stop, faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted by 12 white jurors in 25 minutes following a July trial. (The county sheriff’s department that stopped him has since been sued by the ACLU for allegedly targeting black motorists.) Still, there’s no denying the progress made to date — and there’s no disputing in what direction the trend’s moving. Like kudzu, cannabis is taking over the south.
Why Are Concentrates Growing So Quickly?
Why Are Concentrates Growing So Quickly?
A new report calls concentrates the “hottest product category in cannabis.” Why is this market booming and will it keep growing? Cannabis concentrates are obtained through extraction of the cannabis plant. The most desirable compounds are “saved,” whereas all excess material is removed. Depending on the parts of the plant that are used, the concentrate could contain either THC or CBD, or both. As we’ve discussed previously, one of the most well known concentrates is hash. The resin 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. Why such growth? One of the possible reasons for the growth of the concentrates market is that new users find concentrates more comfortable to use. While legalization has led to more and more people being willing to try marijuana for the first time, smoking dried flowers might not appeal to those who’ve never smoked before. Concentrates might seem like a healthier alternative. When you use concentrates, you don’t inhale smoke, thus saving your lungs. Concentrates can be vaporized with a vaporizer or “dabbed,” and can also be used to make edibles. Not only is a brownie is healthier than a joint, it’s also much more discreet. This difference is also very appealing to entrepreneurs. Selling only flowers means attracting only customers who smoke, while selling different types of concentrates means attracting a wider range (see: more) customers. According to BDS Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $2.9 billion on concentrates this year. By 2022, the firm says, that number is expected to hit $8.4 billion and nearly match the $8.5 billion in flower sales forecast for that year. Are concentrates the next big thing for cannabis investors and entrepreneurs? It sure is looking that way.
Welcome Back to the Most Pot-friendly Pro Sport
Welcome Back to the Most Pot-friendly Pro Sport
The National Hockey League hit the ice for another season this week. And many of its players are hitting more that that. The next few weeks are going to be very big in Canada, as the nation welcomes the return of its national pastime: regular-season NHL hockey. Lest you think this is a lazy cliché or that hockey is somehow not actually a very big deal in Canada, consider: 1.2 million Canadians over the age of 15 play hockey. (The percentage of living humans not of school age who play gridiron football, the most popular spectator sport in America, is so small as to be statistically insignificant.) Pro sports are spectator sports. And oh, do Canadians watch. As per a 2010 survey, eighty percent of the country — more than 28 million people — take in at least one NHL game a week. Put in context, hockey is three times more popular than organized religion in Canada; hockey probably qualifies as the nation’s official organized religion. Yes, it’s a stereotype, but it is most certainly a thing. Exactly two weeks after pucks drop, at the stroke of midnight on October 17, recreational marijuana becomes officially legal in Canada. While cannabis is not quite as popular as ice hockey in Canada — according to a 2017 poll, 18 percent of Canadians copped to using cannabis, though since people are still reticent to tell a pollster about their drug habits, the real figure is likely higher — there is some excitement. Marijuana stores are weighing whether to open up at midnight, though it appears the first sales will occur online. These two events aren’t directly related, but there is significant overlap. As there should be: The NHL is easily the most marijuana-friendly pro sports league in North America. The Most Lenient League If you want to play professional sports while bent on recreational drugs — or merely get a little toasted after games or before practice — you should learn how to skate. Among the major organizations for top-level corporate-sponsored athletic competition in North America, the National Hockey League has possibly the most lenient attitude toward drug use. NHL players are drug-tested for steroids and other “banned substances,” a long list of unrelated chemicals that includes cannabis. But unlike other leagues, and unlike steroids, there are no consequences for a positive test for cannabis. In rare cases, a player found to have excessive levels of something in his body is referred to treatment. (Since every drug aside from cannabis is water soluble, and thus expelled from the body within hours of last use, you can see why the players might prefer the current arrangement.) Thus, the NHL’s testing is purely informative data used to assess whether this drug-testing system should be changed. (And thus far, it has not.) Though there are a few notable outliers, hockey players have thus far reacted to this unparalleled freedom by smoking weed — and lots of it. In a 2017 interview he gave with MacLeans, one of Canada’s most prominent public-affairs magazines, former NHL enforcer Riley Cote estimated that about half the league’s players are regular users of cannabis. Some of them use once a week, some of them smoke every day. “At least half of those guys consumed, and a fraction of those guys consumed regularly. Like, every day,” he told the magazine. “And that number is probably higher.” A High Level of Performance Cote isn’t necessarily the most reliable narrator. He is the founder of Athletes for Care, a non-profit that’s advocating for even more permissive drug policies in sports including hockey. And he isn’t presenting data, merely an educated anecdote. To that, we’ll add our own — one that tracks with Cote’s claim. This author attended a college with a Division I hockey program. (In fact, he attended two such institutions, which is useful for plausible deniability.) At one of them, members of the hockey team, some of whom went on to play professionally, were frequent visitors to my dorm room — where they would buy weed from my roommate. I remember being annoyed by this at the time. A lifetime of drug-war propaganda had taken its toll — and prevented me from asking the obvious question: “If top-level athletes are using cannabis and still performing at a high level… maybe there’s something good about cannabis?” The answer is that yes, there is. While it’s not yet clear if cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties work quickly enough to help athletes recover, cannabis absolutely soothes muscles otherwise afflicted with delayed-onset muscle soreness, according to researchers. Much more important than that, possibly, is marijuana’s ability to aid sleep. Both the brain and the body require sleep in order to function and to repair themselves. And NHL players are religious nappers. The official pregame nap routine involves a plateful of pasta and one to two hours of snoozing. What sleep aids players choose is their business, but one can assume. There is no quantifying taste. Not everyone enjoys marijuana, not everyone wants to watch hockey. But whether spectator or participant, cannabis and hockey complement each other quite nicely. And now in at least one corner of the globe, the two are now officially sanctioned activities. It will be a few more years yet before major marijuana companies sponsor NHL teams — something for which the U.S. and its insane cannabis policies can be blamed. In freer corners of the continent, however, cannabis and hockey can continue to peacefully coexist, and enjoy a new era of freedom.
Could Robots Take Over the Cannabis Industry?
Could Robots Take Over the Cannabis Industry?
Robots are replacing human workers in many industries. After all, robots don’t get sick, they’re always on time, and they’re cheaper in the long run. But can they grow weed or roll joints? With wholesale cannabis prices dropping and labor costs going up, hiring people to manually trim plants could be a thing of past. That’s where robots come in. According to Jon Gowa, the CEO and founder of Bloom Automations, we could see robotic arms with scissors rolling filling grow houses all over the country. “We’re looking at robots that could use cameras (to) actually look at the cannabis and understand each different plant,” says Gowa. The hand-rolled joint could be on its way out, too. Rolling a nice joint is easy to do for experienced rollers, but there’s no one as fast as a Dutch-made robot which can roll 100 joints in three minutes. With recreational cannabis becoming legal in more places every year, these robots might come in handy for big dispensaries, especially during the tourist season. Is It All About the Money? Investors want companies to be cost efficient in order to get a nice return on their investment. In the long run, robots are cheaper and more reliable than many human workers, so it’s not a surprise that the cannabis industry, in which (almost) everything from planting to harvesting is still done by hand, might be undergoing some “modernization” — or even “robotization” — down the road. With that said, smart and sophisticated robots will be needed to replace cannabis workers. Growing marijuana isn’t easy. It takes a lot of knowledge and skill. As a result, you shouldn’t be too worried about losing you job in the cannabis industry. For now.
Blazing Away Again in Margaritaville?
Blazing Away Again in Margaritaville?
It was only a matter of time, right? Eventually Jimmy Buffett had to get into the cannabis game. Parrotheads of the world rejoice — your favorite pirate has finally taken the plunge. Jimmy Buffett has been virtually synonymous with flip flops, cheeseburgers, margaritas, and just about anything tropical for decades. While his song lyrics often point to rum and tequila as Buffett’s preferred form of relaxation, the writer and entrepreneur has actually been a vocal advocate for medicinal marijuana for quite some time. And because he lives in Palm Beach, Florida, he played a key role in the state’s vote to decriminalize weed. Here Comes the Coral Reefer While it might be easy to think Buffett is jumping into cannabis for his harder-partying fans, you’d actually be mistaken. Buffett’s never shied away from his love for herb, but it’s actually the medicinal benefits of pot that piqued Buffett’s interest. And that’s why he’s chosen to partner with Suterra, an Atlanta-based cannabis company that operates ten dispensaries in Florida. According to spokesman for Buffet’s Coral Reefer brand, Buffett considered partner with several cannabis companies before settling on Suterra. This decision was made in large part because the company focuses primarily on the health benefits of pot instead of recreation. The Coral Reefer line of products will focus on providing pain relief, improving appetite, and managing symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Where to Buy Now, let’s answer the next big question. Where and when can you buy Buffett products? Sunterra has an extensive network of dispensaries in Florida, including Miami Beach, Jacksonville, and Pensacola. The future is unclear as to whether or not the products will be sold outside of the Sunshine State. As for when the products will go on sale — come Monday. OK, just kidding. If you live in Florida, you can expect to see Coral Reefer Products hit shelves in Spring 2019. If you’re one of the 160,000 Florida residents with your medical recommendation, we’d love to get your take on Coral Reefer. Keep your eyes peeled and drop us a line once you give it a shot!
The Cosmetics Industry Gets a Cannabis Infusion
The Cosmetics Industry Gets a Cannabis Infusion
The cosmetics industry is always changing to keep up with their buyers’ demands. And, lately, the industry is moving to keep up with the public’s demand for products made with cannabis. Legendary cosmetics brand Estée Lauder recently launched a face mask infused with hemp oil. The product is available under the name “Origin,” and is available on Sephora’s website. But Estée Lauder isn’t the only brand seeing the potential benefits of using hemp oil in their products. Many other (smaller) companies have also decided to take a shot at this new type of cosmetics industry. Dixie Elixirs, The Wonder Seed, Foria… While you may have never heard of these brands, they might become just as popular as Estée Lauder one day. The benefits of canna-cosmetics Cannabis-infused cosmetics are essentially the same cannabis-infused topicals — like creams, lotions, and serums — you’re already familiar with. Some products contain CBD, while others only hemp oil without any CBD or THC. Estée Lauder’s Origin line, for instance, will only be produced with hemp. While many industry experts say that CBD can help alleviate pain when applied to the skin in the form of an infused topical, there simply isn’t enough scientific research to say this is 100 percent accurate. The product might work for some people, but not necessarily everybody. Products containing hemp oil have a completely different effect. Hemp oil is obtained from the seeds of the plant, whereas CBD oil is extracted from the flowers. Hemp oil can serve as an effective moisturizer without clogging the pores. The omega-6 fatty acids it contains have anti-inflammatory properties, and its anti-aging properties could be especially for the cosmetics industry, which is always looking for new ways to help consumers look younger. Legal challenges Manufacturers of CBD-infused cosmetic products face some important legal challenges. Chief among them is the CBD’s federal classification as a Schedule I drug, which will likely make it difficult for manufacturers to ship products from the factory to retail shelves across state lines. For example, earlier this year, Forbes profiled Lord Jones, a small brand that producers cannabis-infused body lotions and other cosmetics, and which “employs a team of lawyers to ensure they don’t have to tussle with the DEA over a moisturizer.” The struggles of Lord Jones illustrate why it could be awhile before more consumers use products like CBD-infused face cream as part of their morning routine.
Why Is New York City Arresting Fewer Pot Smokers?
Why Is New York City Arresting Fewer Pot Smokers?
Marijuana is illegal in New York, and while smoking pot in the Big Apple can get you arrested, a change in policy is letting more and more people smoke weed worry-free. The shift in policy can be traced to the amount of paperwork police officers have to complete following arrests. In 2017, for example, roughly 19,000 people were arrested in New York City for marijuana possession or smoking. The reduction in the number of arrests is expected to save officers thousands of hours of paperwork — hours that can then be used on other cases. Many pot smokers who would have been arrested before the policy will be issued summonses instead. Others — especially those with outstanding warrants, those who are on parole or probation, or anyone who is considered violent — could still be arrested. Driving while high will also get you arrested, as will failing to show identification. Could New York soon legalize weed? Not only is New York cutting back on the number of pot-related arrests, but Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is apparently “working on a process to seal the records of thousands of people with marijuana-related convictions,” thus providing these residents with a better chance of finding jobs or housing. After the policy change on marijuana arrests, this could be a second step toward legalization of recreational marijuana in New York. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has also said a few things that makes us believe that New York might be taking steps towards legalizing weed. He said that “the situation on marijuana is changing,” that details must be worked out, and that a full program must be created. While he didn’t openly voice his support for legalization, it’s clear that he’s at least thinking about it. In addition, the state’s Health Department issued a report with arguments for and against legalization, concluding that New York “should have a regulated market.” Despite the positive progress, it important to note that smoking marijuana in New York is still technically illegal, and we can recommend it’s use while there.
Big Tech Takes Strong Stance Against Cannabis
Big Tech Takes Strong Stance Against Cannabis
There was a time when YouTube was the go-to resource for questions about cannabis, product reviews, and more. But now, marijuana-related videos seem to be disappearing without reason. So, the question remains: Why is this content being banned? The boom of legal and recreational cannabis signaled an opportunity for entrepreneurs of all types. One of the most notable groups, however, has been content producers and marketers, namely YouTubers and social media activists and personalities. These are the people who explore new products, investigate newer cannabis technologies, answer questions common among novice cannabis users, and much more. For many of these channels and outlets, content views quickly surpassed one million impressions — a great sign for anyone in the social media business. But all of a sudden, channels were suspended and content removed without cause. Searching for a Reason Social media giant Facebook and tech powerhouse Google both have strong rules banning cannabis advertising. What exactly constitutes advertising, however, seems to be fairly open to interpretation. Facebook has stated that their advertising review consists of a combination of human and algorithm assessment, and the results seem to be clear — if it appears you are trying to actively sell cannabis, your content will be outlawed. On YouTube, however, content review seems to be murky. Cannabis accounts are being removed entirely immediately and without cause. For many business owners, this represents the total loss of an online presence and the hard work taken to build significant followings. What makes these account suspensions even more frustrating is that the content standards seems to be applied randomly and inconsistently. A Matter of Money While it may not be easy to agree with Facebook and Google’s approach to cannabis advertising, there at least appears to be a method to it: Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, so if your content is trying to sell cannabis, you’re out of luck. A possible explanation for YouTube’s deals with the almighty dollar. YouTube can’t make ad revenue off of cannabis videos. Many major corporations feel their brands are misrepresented when played before, during, or after a cannabis-related video, so they don’t pay for the ads. It may not come as a surprise that ad revenue is guiding YouTube’s stance on marijuana, but whether this approach holds up will become apparent over time.
Under the Microscope: Cannabis and Gun Owners
Under the Microscope: Cannabis and Gun Owners
More and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, which is a blessing for medical patients who rely on cannabis to manage their symptoms. But the federal government still holds a strong line on drug and firearm possession, which has put medical cannabis users right in the crosshairs. In June, Oklahoma became one of the latest states to decriminalize medical marijuana. While medical cannabis patients in the state likely rejoiced, those patients who also own guns may have been left scratching their heads. The reason? Under federal law and the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, it is illegal for an individual to possess marijuana — legally or illegally — and a firearm at the same time. In the case of decriminalized and medical marijuana, state jurisdiction is overruled by federal law. So, naturally, many cannabis patients across the country who owned guns before state laws changed are concerned they could be arrested. Is It Fair? Despite the obvious anxiety of possible arrest, the gist of the entire gun/cannabis debate centers on individual rights. Which governing body takes precedent? Currently the federal government is banning gun ownership for those with legally prescribed medical marijuana cards, leading many gun owners in these states to cry foul. The question of safety is obvious, but for many, the risks of marijuana users owning guns do not present the same risk as alcohol consumers. And with bars in some states allowing gun owners to open carry their firearms, the frustration felt by cannabis users can be understood. A Change Is Gonna Come As more states choose to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana, more and more pressure will be placed on the federal government, especially in terms of its interpretation of age-old laws. In the era of safe, recreational weed, laws must be revised and reinterpreted to better serve their intended purposes of keeping U.S. citizens safe. Until then, the debate will rage on, with people from coast to coast rushing to the defense of both sides. Unfortunately, legislative change takes actual acts of congress, so it may be a while before any actual federal laws adapt to these modern times. Until then, what say you? Do you think guns and weed are fine in responsible hands or a threat to public safety?
The Future of Canna-tourism
The Future of Canna-tourism
While you might think of cities like Amsterdam when you think of canna-tourism, the United States is quickly becoming a very popular (and very welcoming) vacation spot for the marijuana-minded. Cannabis-friendly accommodations — where you can legally smoke either on a balcony or inside your room — are popping up all across the U.S. There are even places where you don’t have to bring your own bong, as the room comes fully equipped. “Puff and paint” events are also becoming very popular for those looking to discover the power of some good pot on their creativity. Want to enjoy beautiful landscapes while smoking a legal joint? Head to Colorado, where, according to Forbes, cannabis tourism has grown 51 percent since recreational use became legal in 2014. California is the place to be if you want to go on a wine and weed tour. You only have to get on a bus enjoy the wine and marijuana tastings in the different destinations you’ll visit. Planning Your Trip While you're free to select a destination, book your own accommodations, find places to smoke, and buy your own marijuana, planning a custom cannabis vacation can be a bit of a challenge. Because consumption isn’t allowed in public in most states, it can be difficult to find a private place to use your recently bought products. An easier option is an organized vacation. You’ll be with your own little group of other cannabis enthusiasts. Together, you might discover new strains, new products (infused beers, lotions, etc.), grow facilities, dispensaries, and much more. Tourism entrepreneurs are getting very creative when it comes to creating such trips. What about a weed-filled wellness retreat for women with yoga and spa treatments to make you ultra relaxed? Or perhaps a bus tour with like-minded people in order to visit grow facilities and taste new strains? Like the cannabis industry itself, expect canna-tourism options to only grow.
Trump’s Cannabis Chaos Is Just Good Business
Trump’s Cannabis Chaos Is Just Good Business
President Trump is giving Americans a lot of mixed signals on cannabis. While the heightened anxieties and ramped up regulation tends to be bad for patients and small businesses in legal states, it is excellent for Wall Street investors. And, with one of these many investors likely being Trump himself, it is time for the cannabis industry and movement to stop running scared and start calling out this for-profit hypocrisy that is benefitting only Wall Street financiers and state governments at the expense of the people who are already the most victimized by the War on Drugs. The anxiety-inducing news of a secret anti-cannabis campaign brewing from within the White House drew out strong statements from both the industry and members of Congress. “President Trump is flailing on marijuana policy, sometimes saying the states should decide, while also allowing the Attorney General and other prohibition supporters in his purview to run amok. If the White House is actually spreading misinformation about marijuana to undercut states’ rights, it’s appalling but not out of the ordinary for President Trump and his gang of prohibition supporters,” U.S. Representative from Colorado Jared Polis said in a statement. And in the midst of all this, there is a storm brewing for the West Coast’s cannabis industry that could result in a lot of growers going back to the illegal market, lots of business closures, lots of cheap acquisitions by Canadian companies and an economic collapse in the traditional cannabis growing regions that relied on these community sustaining businesses. Thanks to a nationally legal medical cannabis market since 2013, Wall Street investors have been lining up through Canada’s stock exchanges to carve up America’s weed market before federal law changes stateside and these companies can get on exchanges in New York. Cannabis Collusion While early West Coast markets were truly “free and fair” in that there was zero regulation and a lot of innovation, in the more conservative parts of America the industry has been so over regulated that only a tiny amount of the wealthiest business owners can get in. Take for example the nation’s second and third most populous states, New York and Florida, which also happen to be the primary residences of President Trump and many of his pot-loving friends like Roger Stone and former campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio (whose son was once a prominent hashmaker for Terra Tech Corp (TRTC). %related-post-1% Both states started with just five vertically-integrated licenses that function more like cartels than a straight up oligopoly. And what is the difference between a cartel and an oligopoly? Simply put, collusion. While the word “monopoly” gets thrown around a lot, true monopolies rarely exist in the United States because most of the time they are illegal. What we have instead are “oligopolies”, where most of our markets are owned and controlled by just a handful of small players who compete against one another. While all oligopolies aren’t cartels, all cartels are oligopolies. The difference is that in an oligopoly the players are true competitors, in a cartel they have the ability to work together to price fix. By making the licenses rare, expensive and complicated, the same large corporate money that profited from prohibition is effectively already divvying up market shares east of the Rocky Mountains before there is a chance for natural competition from small businesses and home cultivators. West of the Rockies, the cottage industry that arose over 20 years of free medical markets is going to find that it is time to sink or swim. With over-regulation and oversupply in post-legalization California and Oregon, illegal market farmers will continue to provide work for law enforcement and small businesses will be forced to take buyouts if they are unable to sell product at below-cost rates. A Non-traditional Profit Maker Today in the nation’s largest cannabis-producing region, Oregon and Northern California, wholesale cannabis prices are bottoming out just as light deprivation and outdoor farmers are preparing to harvest their crops and further balloon the in-state legal supply gluts. Canadian corporations like Canopy Growth, which recently received a $4 billion investment from alcohol giant Constellation Brands financed by Merrill Lynch (one of the culprits of the 2007 economic crash), can afford to undercut small farmers and devour market share through this harvest season, and every year after. The price of bud, for years, has not been priced like a traditional agricultural commodity because it has only been sold on high-risk illegal markets. If national cannabis policy reflected science and reality, the whole plant would be de-scheduled, decriminalized, and the states would be left to regulate commercial markets. But if that were the case, these Wall Street investors wouldn’t be betting so big. %related-post-2%   All levels of government and the politicians that comprise them benefit from choosing to regulate out small local business owners in favor of deep-pocketed donors with big investment opportunities. Simultaneously, all levels of government are continuing to pump up anti-cannabis lies and propaganda to maintain the criminal element. A great example of this is U.S. Representative from Orange County, California, Dana Rohrabacher, co-author of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prohibited the federal government from using federal law enforcement funds to go after state-licensed and legal medical cannabis businesses. Rohrabacher is both a staunch ally of President Trump and The Kremlin. He also happens to share a significant campaign finance resource, Dominion Capital, with Terra Tech Corp. (TRTC), a publicly-traded multi-state cannabis company with close ties to President Trump’s campaign. (Dominion also has some bizarre ties to Russian money). A crackdown on California or Oregon’s illegal in-state market — whose producers are constrained by only in-state demand — would certainly benefit investors in a stock like Terra Tech, which operates one of its Blum dispensaries within Rohrabacher’s district. So is President Trump invested? This is as of yet unconfirmed. But, as Trump is the only president in modern history not only to not divest from his business interests while in office but also not to disclose his tax returns, his close ties to people who are clearly invested in the industry point to the strong possibility. More importantly, if Trump were invested in Terra Tech, or other larger publicly-traded Canadian corporations, he would certainly be setting himself up to profit amid the chaos and illegal market crackdowns. Who could blame him? That’s just how business is done in America.
Don't Bring Weed Home from Canada
Don't Bring Weed Home from Canada
With cannabis becoming legal in Canada, you might be thinking about bringing some extra souvenirs home from your next vacation. Well, let’s just say that’s a really bad idea. Bringing weed from Canada into the United States — even if it’s legal in the border state you’re crossing into — is still illegal under federal law, as is transporting (even a small amount) of cannabis across state lines anywhere within the U.S. When driving from Canada into the U.S., it’s best to ditch the weed before crossing the border. If you want to buy some pot, you might want to stop instead in the border states of Vermont, Washington, or Maine, where recreational weed is legal. Vermont While recreational marijuana was legalized in the Green Mountain State in July 2018, as a tourist, you might have some trouble finding a legal place to get high. Smoking is only allowed in “individual dwellings,” and forbidden in parks, on the sidewalk, or in any public place is forbidden. If you want to visit Lake Champlain, for example, leave your weed at home. The lake is under federal rule, so using any form of cannabis is strictly forbidden. And not only are you forbidden from lighting up while driving through the state, but so is anybody riding in the car. Even if you do find a place to smoke, it’s probably going to be difficult to actually buy weed. For now, there’s no regulated marijuana market in the state. So unless you know someone there who grows weed, and wants to give you some (yes, as a gift in order to be legal), and invites you to their (or friend’s) house, you might be out of luck. Washington In Washington, you can easily buy cannabis in a dispensary. But beware: You aren’t allowed to consume or open any products in view of the general public. While consuming an edible in your hotel room is allowed, smoking weed in your hotel room is only allowed if smoking normal cigarettes is allowed, as well. Maine With the state’s retail marijuana stores not likely to open until 2019, getting recreational weed in Maine can be a little tricky. While residents can legally grow their your own marijuana, they aren’t allowed to sell it. Gifting it is legal, however, so if you want some weed in Maine, it looks like you’re going to have to make some friends.
Florida’s Bad Marijuana Law Is Costing Them Time and Money. And Other States Should Learn from This
Florida’s Bad Marijuana Law Is Costing Them Time and Money. And Other States Should Learn from This
Florida's restrictive marijuana laws make for bad public policy, and even worse legal precedent. Florida is a vast place with a diverse population (only a visible minority of whom misbehave in meme-worthy fashion). This disparity is reflected in the state’s choices for its next governor: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Bernie Sanders-endorsed black man who wants to abolish ICE; and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the hard-right, Trump-approved member of the Freedom Caucus, who managed to racebait and redbait in the same ugly swoop. Florida has swamps and orange groves and tropical islands, a few dense cities, suburban sprawl, and rustic living (and more swamps). But one value a large majority of Floridians have in common is that medical marijuana is good. More than 71 percent of voters approved Amendment 2 in 2016, which legalized medical cannabis for sick people. It’s a good thing they like it, because it’s costing them — and it’s not their fault. For much of the last 18 months, Florida elected officials, beginning with Gov. Rick Scott (a for-profit healthcare mogul) and Attorney General Pam Bondi have been doing their utmost to give Floridians what they don’t want — and at great expense of time, effort, and treasure. In this way, Florida is providing an object lesson for other states, should they deign to learn from it. A Baked-in Monopoly Marijuana supporters went to the ballot only after the Florida Legislature — a “group dominated by fear-mongering, fun-hating conservatives,” as the Miami New Times put it — declined to do its job and make a workable marijuana law that provided affordable and relatively easy access to cannabis for sick people. This was something every poll revealed that a large majority of Floridians wanted. After the landslide victory, it was a desire nobody could honestly deny. But denial is a powerful thing. After losing in this way at the ballot box, Florida lawmakers created yet another restrictive system with a baked-in monopoly. Under rules approved in 2017 (and only then under duress), Florida marijuana patients weren’t allowed to grow their own cannabis, nor purchase smokeable flower, and had to purchase what product they could acquire from a short list of big growers. In short, Floridians were handed one of the most restrictive medical-marijuana laws in the United States. They did not like this, so they went to the courts — where they’ve won, again and again. In a series of lawsuits throughout the year, a series of judges have ruled in marijuana-patients’ favor, striking down bans in home-grow, giving patients the explicit right to smoke cannabis — the most popular way the drug is consumed — and eliminating Legislature-gifted monopolies on who can grow and sell the drug. Marijuana may soon be a business worth as much as $1 billion in Florida, but with an artificially limited marketplace, lawmakers created a high-profit scenario before a single seed was planted. One Florida company flipped its coveted license for $53 million. Florida put “profits over patients, essentially, and [are] allowing corporate America to stamp out any competition,” one patient advocate told the New Times, shortly after one legal challenge was filed. %related-post-1% That may be, but more to the point, Florida lawmakers can’t pass laws that contradict the state constitution. In failing to pass a workable law and “forcing” voters to go to the ballot, they have now lost the legal ability to take away any rights the ballot initiative granted. “Just as no person is above the law, the legislature must heed the constitutional rights Floridians placed in the Constitution in 2016," wrote Leon County circuit Judge Karen Gievers, in striking down the ban on smoked marijuana in May. “The conflicting, overreaching 2017 statute, while presumably adopted in good faith and with good intentions, cannot be allowed to overrule the authority of the people to protect rights in the Constitution.” Gievers was generous. Florida authorities are unmoved. The result is a very expensive rudimentary civics lesson that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. Following these losses, Attorney General Bondi, following direction from Scott, has appealed to the state Supreme Court. This intransigence has so far cost Florida taxpayers $2 million in legal fees, nearly all of which has gone to a single law firm, Florida Politics reported. With appeals pending at the state’s highest court, this saga — and flow of dollars away from Florida voters’ pockets — will continue for at least the rest of the year. “Florida is certainly not unique when it comes to challenges, but I suspect it’s the most litigation we’ve seen around the country,’’ Karen O’Keefe, the director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s a shame. They’re probably just throwing away more money while chilling the will of the voters who voted for this faithfully.” All this was predicted well in advance. One state lawmaker, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg, predicted that such clamps on the marketplace would lead to lawsuits. "There are a lot of people who thought medical marijuana would be available in a certain manner when they voted, and it hasn’t turned out that way,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I wouldn’t blame them if they felt like this was some kind of bait-and-switch.” No Obvious Winner Such hustles typically have a clear winner. Generally, the winner is the one running the hustle — the rest of us are the marks. In Florida, it’s not immediately clear who’s winning, aside from the private lawyers pocketing easy money defending a bad law. But it’s obvious who’s losing: Florida people, from the Keys to Tallahassee. Some good may come from this, if only other states get the message. Some are: In Pennsylvania, state regulators lifted their own restriction on smokeable marijuana after discovering how much easier and cheaper it is to give people simple cannabis access. And this ordeal looks set to end as soon as Florida voters elected a new governor: Both DeSantis and Gillum have vowed to at minimum “fully implement medical marijuana.” In the meantime, Florida men and women will continue to have their interests undermined by the people elected to serve them.
Donald Trump’s Trade Enemies are China and Canada. That’s Bad For Marijuana
Donald Trump’s Trade Enemies are China and Canada. That’s Bad For Marijuana
As the president fumes and pouts, the cannabis industry is set to pay a price — now, and into the future. Despite appointing an antebellum drug warrior with Ronald Reagan values as the nation’s top law-enforcement official and elevating other hardcore anti-marijuana conservatives to key positions, on aggregate so far, President Donald Trump has been seen mostly as marijuana-neutral. In June, the president said he’d likely support a bill introduced by Senate Democrats that would let states set their own marijuana policies. This friendly gesture stood in “stark contrast,” the New York Times observed, to earlier in the year, when the president watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions eviscerate some Obama-era protections without making a peep. In turn, states have continued to push forward with marijuana reform, and the domestic marijuana industry has continued to grow unabated. This period of prosperity amid “benevolent neglect” may soon change — and change quickly, and for the worst — and in a most Trumpian way: By carelessness, neglect, and accident. Likely Cannabis-industry Casualties The worse it gets for Trump and members of his inner circle caught in multiple corruption probes, or the worse Republican prospects appear in the midterm elections — and with a growing roster of Trump confidants taking guilty pleas or granted immunity to testify, while Republican lawmakers in Texas appear vulnerable to Democratic challengers, neither look very good — the more likely the president is to escalate his trade war with China, analysts recently told CNBC. Though American cannabis companies still cannot extend beyond state borders except illegally or as part of licensing deals, legal marijuana is a global business, and was so well before the first exports of Canadian cannabis oil reached Europe. This is because cannabis is a consumer business. Cannabis is replete with consumer products and accessories: vaporizers, rolling trays, glassware. %related-post-1% Cannabis is also reliant on industrial equipment — grow lights, plastic sheeting, packaging. And marijuana products produced overseas are likely collateral damage in such a spat. Recently, with talks between Trump administration and Chinese trade officials at an impasse, the two countries imposed yet another round of punitive tariffs on goods flowing in both directions. Some of these products are extraneous, but others are indispensable. More to the point, most of the above are often sourced from China. Thus, key components that allow cannabis to be cultivated and consumes are likely casualties in any Donald Trump trade war. Specifically, “vapor product devices,” including “batteries” and “pre-filled pods and cartridges” — the integral parts of the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis — sourced from China have been singled out for higher tariffs, marijuana executives testified at an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hearing earlier this summer. Vaporizer products represented 25 percent of marijuana sales in Colorado in 2017. Since the raw materials needed to manufacture these products must be imported anyway, rising tariffs on Chinese imports that would render these products unavailable or more expensive would cut sales, thereby hurting state tax revenue while also not bringing back jobs to American shores. And so, while effects have yet to be felt in the American marijuana industry, as industry figures told Marijuana Business Daily, the future bodes ill. The Wrong Trend at the Wrong Time A few days after new tariffs were imposed on goods flowing between China and the United States in both directions, Trump brushed off the possibility of renewed talks with Chinese trade officials. “It’s just not the right time to talk right now, to be honest with China,” the president said. “It’s too one-sided for too many years and too many decades, and so it’s not the right time to talk.” If this continues, vaporizer cartridges and components will become more expensive. Marijuana grow equipment may also become more expensive. As production costs rise, so will consumer costs. Considering an estimated 20 percent of marijuana consumers are staying on the black market in part because of rising costs, this is the wrong trend at the wrong time. There is strong evidence to support the contention that Trump does not or cannot understand how global trade works, but is instead motivated out of something — personal animus, probably, though just as easily by acid reflux or something he saw on TV most recently — to settle unknown scores. %related-post-2% This is probably the best explanation for why, even as he squares up with China, Trump is simultaneously taking aim at Canada, the current worldwide leader in marijuana exports and investment. Trump recently announced a “new” North American trade agreement that is missing Canada. It’s not yet clear if the president can actually craft a trade deal that excludes the country of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who Trump appears to loathe. Tariffs between the U.S. and Canada will stay the same, and U.S. trade representatives sounded hopeful that the president’s desire to banish Canada from his sandbox could just be ignored. And the recent huge investments in Canada’s marijuana industry made by liquor giants have little to do with cross-border trade — and won’t, until the U.S. changes its federal marijuana policy to allow for international trade like Canada’s Still, such bellicosity, coupled with official hostility towards marijuana, will not encourage investors or entrepreneurs, including the U.S. cannabis brands courting investors from Canada, and the international firms like alcohol giant Constellation Brands sinking even bigger sums into Canadian marijuana companies. The Increased Cost of Doing Canna-business Trump says, repeatedly, that he seeks only fairness and the redress from decades of bad deals. How these deals are bad, exactly, he has yet to articulate. What he is doing is isolating America not only from its most trusted trade partners — the Chinese and U.S. economies are so intertwined they may as well be an ourobouros — but also signaling that the U.S. is better off alone, by itself. That is bad news for any cannabis firm in American with a 10-year plan that includes attempting what Canadian firms are doing now, and supplying the world with weed. More and more products necessary to the cannabis industry are also designed overseas. If tariff fights are escalated to intellectual property rights or other restrictions on requisite components, it will also increase the cost of doing business. Simply put, Trump’s ongoing trade tantrum means nothing good for the American worker, and rising costs and increased headaches for the American marijuana industry — all while firms north of the border have a head start on cornering the global market, a lead the American government has handed them. If, a generation from now, the costly marijuana products available in stores are stamped with red maple leaves instead of the red-white-and-blue, you will know who to blame.
Could CBD Help Treat the Symptoms of Psychosis?
Could CBD Help Treat the Symptoms of Psychosis?
While long-term cannabis use has been long been thought to lead to psychosis, a new study shows that CBD might actually help combat symptoms of this condition. Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD doesn’t make you feel high like you would after consuming the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and when taken alone, it can provide a wide range of health benefits. According to a new study, treatment of psychosis could soon be added to that list. People dealing with psychotic disorders often have difficulty thinking normally and perceiving reality, and can also suffer from hallucinations. These psychoses can significantly alter their ability to have normal relationships, maintain employment, or otherwise function normally from day to day. A New Psychosis Prognosis? While some researchers say that cannabis taken in large doses can be a risk factor for psychosis in some users, it’s unclear whether cannabis can trigger the condition on its own if no other risk factors are present. Researchers also aren’t sure how much THC someone needs to consume during their lifetime to be at risk for psychosis. On the flip side, a study by researchers at King’s College London shows that CBD might be a useful treatment for mental health conditions like psychosis. For the study, a group of patients with schizophrenia received 1000 mg of CBD every day for six weeks. Another group received a placebo every day for six weeks. Both groups continued taking their existing antipsychotic medication, and after the six weeks, the group receiving CBD “had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms, and were more likely to have been rated as improved and as not severely unwell by the treating clinician.” According to King’s College London, antipsychotic drugs “are often only partially effective, and can be associated with serious side effects.” CBD, with no known side effects, might be a good alternative for those reluctant to take “normal” medication, or for those who can’t take handle their antipsychotic treatments because the side effects are too difficult to live with. The lead author of the study calls the initial findings are promising, and says the next step is to carry out larger trials to “assess the effectiveness of CBD in other types of patients.”
European Legalization Update: Italy
European Legalization Update: Italy
If you’re planning to travel to Italy to buy some legal recreational weed, you should probably lower your expectations. While you can technically buy buds in Italy, actually using them is another story. In Italy, hemp flowers with less than 0.2 percent of THC are sold in little jars. But if you think it’s legal to smoke (or eat) them, you’d be wrong. So why would you buy some hemp flowers in a cute little jar? To put on a shelf as a decoration, perhaps? Yes, actually. According to The New York Times, these cute little jars are marketed as “collectors’ items.” So… Do more Italians have complete bud collections at home just to look at, or do they secretly smoke these “collectors’ items”? Let’s just say the latter is more plausible. The Legislative Void A long time ago, there was a huge industrial hemp industry in Italy. The crop was mainly used to create fabric. Unfortunately, the industry had a hard time staying alive, and in 2016, Italy decided to revive the industrial hemp industry. By doing so, however, they created a legislative void. While the law limits buds to no more more than 0.2% of THC — buds that you can’t smoke or ingest them in any way — the law says nothing about selling or buying the marijuana flowers. This has led to many stores opening up and selling this “cannabis light.” The MMJ Void Medical marijuana has been legal for quite some time in Italy, but there’s a problem: The Italian military’s Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence is the only legal medical marijuana producer in the country. And while it might seem like the agency is trying to increase production every year, it simply can’t keep up with the demand. In an attempt to provide patients with their medicine, Italy imports medical marijuana from the Netherlands and Canada. However, according to La Stampa, since even the country’s importation efforts aren’t enough to meet demand, many patients are seeking out illegal street dealers or growing their own. Not only does Italy’s legal MMJ have a long way to go before it’s on par with other countries’, but there is no indication that the country is even considering legalization of recreational weed. So, for now, weed-loving visitors will instead be forced to forego getting high and take in the Colosseum and enjoy some cannolis, instead.
Why Pot Users Are Having Trouble Finding Pot Jobs
Why Pot Users Are Having Trouble Finding Pot Jobs
If you’re thinking that you’d easily be able to parlay your experience as a marijuana user into a great and lucrative job in the budding legal bud industry, think again. Despite growing public support for marijuana legalization and the growth of the legal marijuana industry — thanks, in large part, to users who’ve contributed to the growing destigmatization of the drug — applicants who have a history of pot use are often rejected when they apply for jobs at cultivation facilities, dispensaries, and other pot-related businesses. As Forbes reported, Florida’s fledgling medical marijuana industry needs cultivators, budtenders, and other employees, but is having to reject nearly nine out of 10 applicants due to state law that dictates that all legal weed employees be free of felonies. Florida law requires all medical marijuana employees to undergo criminal background checks, and while it is technically possible for a job applicant with a misdemeanor for marijuana possession to be permitted to cultivate and sell cannabis in the legal weed industry, applicants who grew and sold weed before legalization can be automatically backlisted from employment within the current industry. As a result, some industry recruiters are advising applicants to exercise discretion to during the interview process. “For a lot of people at the entry level, they say they want to get into this industry because of a passion for cannabis,” James Yagielo, founder of Miami-based medical marijuana recruiting firm HempStaff, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We usually tell them they should avoid bringing up any illegal activity regarding cannabis in an interview…Sometimes you can get by with a low-level, misdemeanor possession charge, but not always.” The good news? If you are a pot user — and actually do get hired by a pot firm — the rules are a bit more relaxed. For example, as Civilized points out, a recent study in Colorado shows that nearly two-thirds of cannabis employees have come to work high at least once in the past month, while 45 percent say they get high on the job. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates to this story. We imagine there will be many…  
Where Does President Trump Really Stand on Legal Weed?
Where Does President Trump Really Stand on Legal Weed?
President Trump has given mixed messages on his views toward legal marijuana since the campaign trail. And a new report from BuzzFeed News only muddies the waters. While President Trump called recreational pot “bad” on the campaign trail, he also pledged to respect the rights of states that have legalized marijuana. So far, he’s lived up to that pledge. His pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, would eradicate pot from the planet if he could, and the president has done a decent job of keeping him at bay — despite Sessions’ rolling back of the pot-protecting, Obama-era Cole Memo. But while the president said in June that he supported new legislation in Congress that would protect state marijuana legalization — further stiff-arming Sessions and the Justice Department — documents obtained by BuzzFeed show that the White House has put together a sort of “smear squad” designed, as 420 Intel puts it, “to counteract positive marijuana messages and identify problems with state legalization initiatives." %related-post-1% As BuzzFeed News has uncovered, the White House has quietly assembled a committee of federal agencies tasked with combatting “public support for marijuana” and casting “state legalization measures in a negative light,” while also painting pot “as a national threat.” In a memo, the group — dubbed the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee — raised concerns that "the narrative around marijuana is unfairly biased in favor of the drug,” and last month directed leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration and more than a dozen other federal agencies to submit data illustrating the “most significant negative trends" related to cannabis use and legalization efforts. Among those trends cited are the potentially negative ramifications of under-regulated use and the sale of high-potency pot products. Responding to the report, Justin Strekal, Political Director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Forbes the administration’s anti-pot campaign represents “the death rattles of marijuana prohibition." The magazine also outlined how legal marijuana industry insiders and advocates have repeatedly (and rightly) pointed out that the data supporting cannabis legalization can pretty much stand on its at this point. %related-post-2% No matter what smaller, questionable issues the committee brings up, those issues will pale in comparison to the growing mountain of data showing legal weed’s considerable (and growing) power to help people deal with various health issues, reduce crime, and generate tax revenue and jobs. So, in light of this new development, where does President Trump really stand on legal weed? That question can perhaps best be answered by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. ”President Trump is flailing on marijuana policy, sometimes saying the states should decide, while also allowing the Attorney General and other prohibition supporters in his purview to run amuck,” the Democrat who is also running for governor said in a statement. “If the White House is actually spreading misinformation about marijuana to undercut states’ rights, it’s appalling but not out of the ordinary for President Trump and his gang of prohibition supporters.”
No, Legal Pot Has Not Led to an Increase in Hard Drug Use
No, Legal Pot Has Not Led to an Increase in Hard Drug Use
The prohibitionist crowd often warns that increased access to legal marijuana would lead to increased use of harder drugs. A recent study disagrees. For years, those who’ve opposed marijuana legalization have repeatedly predicted that legal marijuana use will cause increases in crime, traffic accidents, and marijuana use among youth. Those predictions haven’t panned out, and, according to a recent study, neither have warnings that legal marijuana will spur an increase in the use of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. The study, conducted by data analysis company LiveStories, pokes further holes in the so-called “gateway drug” theory by illustrating that hard drug use has not increased in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and other states where recreational marijuana is legal. While the study found that cannabis has (unsurprisingly) increased significantly in the wake of recreational legalization, it also found that binge drinking levels in legal cannabis states has stayed roughly the same and that tobacco use nationwide has decreased. Respondents’ legal concerns kept some from admitting to cocaine use, but researchers were able to gather reliable data showing that cocaine use in Colorado, for example, dropped between 2011 and 2016. The LiveStories report also jives were other recent studies that show that opioid deaths in legal pot states have remained low compared to the national average. Legal states have also seen a high level of educational enrollment, with Colorado having the nation’s second highest percentage of citizens with a college-level education or higher. While the legal marijuana industry can always benefit from more research, the LiveStories study does a good job of moving the needle in the right direction.
The Whys (and Why Nots) of Weed in the Workplace
The Whys (and Why Nots) of Weed in the Workplace
Companies that operate in areas where medical marijuana is legal should be proactive in reviewing their drug policies. Should they allow the possession and/or consumption of cannabis during work? Could cannabis possibly increase workplace safety? According to a recent study, legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a “19.5% reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers ages 25-44.” While more research is needed to confirm, the reduction might be due to people replacing their alcohol or prescription drugs with marijuana. If someone needs medical marijuana to function better — to experience less pain, for example — using the drug during work can be a big benefit for the company. Someone who isn’t in pain will be much more focused, thus decreasing the chance of getting hurt. CBD doesn’t cause side effects, which makes it less likely employers will forbid employees from using it while on the job. Of course, if someone uses a high amount of THC as a medical treatment, the high produced by the drug will likely impede their work. Not only that, but becoming less vigilant is, of course, also very dangerous. Weed-friendly Jobs If you’re a recreational weed user, there are some jobs that might be just right for you. First of all, many people with creative jobs — musicians, writers, artists, fashion designers, etc. — use cannabis to get the juices flowing. If you get extra creative after a smoking session, you might want to consider one of these careers. Becoming a pastry chef is also a nice option. If you like inventing new recipes, why not use cannabis as an ingredient and create some great edibles? If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, you might even be able to start your own business. Weed Users Need Not Apply Weed users, especially those who regularly consume THC, should NOT consider jobs that require precision, sharp reflexes, or an emphasis on safety. These jobs include: • Driver (public transportation, delivery, etc.) • Heavy machinery operator • Surgeon • Construction worker …and many, many more. Note: CBD products won’t get you high, meaning it’s possible to consume those in much more situations than THC products. Yet, it’s important to note that a company policy might state that CBD products are also forbidden during work.
Where Are All the Dispensaries in Hawaii?
Where Are All the Dispensaries in Hawaii?
Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for quite some time. So why is it nearly impossible to find a dispensary in the Aloha State? Act 228, which allows patients with medical marijuana cards to buy, possess, and use the drug for medicinal purposes was signed into law by Hawaii’s Governor Ben Cayetano in 2000. Fifteen years later, another act was signed into law in order to create a medical marijuana dispensary system. It clearly states that many patients (nearly 13,000) “lack the ability to grow their own supply of medical marijuana… As a result, a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana is urgently needed by qualifying patients in the State.’ Despite state law, Hawaii’s lack of dispensaries makes it nearly impossible for many medical marijuana patients to buy their medicine. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the biggest struggle seems to lie in getting a permit, and obeying to all the current safety laws. For example, there must be an adequate water supply for firefighting, finding spot with the right supply isn’t easy. According to the Atlantic, Aloha Green, a dispensary in Honolulu, has apparently printed out all of the legislation and hung it on the wall so they won’t forget any tiny detail. For example, selling paraphernalia is not an option, and the buds can’t be touched by the client. Another non-negligible fact is that they have to grow their own product. Perhaps there would be more dispensaries if state laws were a bit less rigid. The Effect on MMJ Patients MMJ patients in Hawaii can grow their own cannabis or designate a caretaker to do it for them. But, as stated above, this is not always an option. Often, the problem is a lack of space or a physical limitation keeping someone from cultivating. The only option for thousands of people is to get their cannabis at a dispensary. But unlike many other states, these haven’t opened on every corner in the Aloha State. Getting the drug from another state isn’t an option, since transporting it across state lines is a federal crime. The only option is finding a caretaker who can cultivate cannabis, or find a dispensary somewhere in the state. According to High Times, starting next year, Hawaii will allow visitors (in some cases) to buy medical marijuana in Hawaii during their stay. Strict rules will apply, and a temporary card will cost $45 (plus a $4.50 processing fee). In order for this to work, there must be enough dispensaries on the state’s islands to handle demand. This leads us to think that the state is working on the issue. Who knows, maybe the pressure from thousands of tourists will push them to help cannabis entrepreneurs in the state.
Beer’s Continued Move to Bud
Beer’s Continued Move to Bud
While the availability of legal marijuana has caused some short-term drops in beer sales, the nation’s biggest breweries continue to play the long game, seeing legal weed as an opportunity and not the enemy. Plants, edibles, oils, and other delivery methods continue to dominate the legal marijuana market, but cannabis-infused beverages like coffee, tea, and (especially) beer are continuing to gain market share.   As we’ve discussed previously, some of the nation’s biggest breweries have seen significant drops in sales as more and more Americans are, apparently, substituting pot for beer. Constellation Brands, the country’s third-largest beer company, acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth in order to co-develop THC-infused beverages. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is also trying to gain its part in the cannabis world, by teaming up with The Hydropothecary Corporation. And the list continues to grow… Heineken: A New Pot-market Player While some breweries are seeing short-term losses, more and more eyeing longer-term opportunities to hop from hops and barley into the canna-business. Heineken is the biggest among them. The Dutch company created in 1864 recently launched a new type of “beer.” This version doesn’t contain any alcohol, but is instead infused with cannabis. For now, there are two versions of the beverage. One contains 10 mg of THC, the other 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD. Each variety costs $8 a can. For now, you have to be lucky enough live nearby one of the dispensaries in California where the beverage is sold. But if sales go well, we could see availability expand across the country. Will These Beverages Replace “Normal” Beers? It’s highly unlikely these cannabis-infused beers will replace classic, alcohol-based beers. Infused beverages While it might fun to buy one every once in a while, getting 50 cans for a party will be too pricey for almost everyone. Perhaps cannabis-infused beer will become the next glass of wine after a stressful day.   Just not in Canada. Even though the recreational use of cannabis will soon be legal in Canada, consuming infused beverages or edibles will not. While these products might be legalized in 2019, nothing is set in stone. If our friends to the north want to try a bud-infused beer, they’ll have to come visit us.
Vermont Goes Green-er
Vermont Goes Green-er
Here at The Sugar Leaf, nothing makes us quite as happy as another state legalizing recreational weed. Now that Vermont has joined the growing list of “green” states, what does it mean for residents in the Green Mountain State?   This just in — Vermont has become the latest state to legalize recreational weed! Now that we’ve taken a moment to celebrate, let’s get down to brass tacks. No two legalization processes are the same, so how does Vermont’s approach to legal cannabis differ from other states? A Personal Matter As with many other states, the key elements of Vermont’s approach to legalization refer specifically to how much weed a person may possess or grow. In Vermont, each person over age 21 may legally possess up to an ounce of weed and six pot plants, two mature, and four immature plants. Cannabis grown at home must be shielded from public view, and any weed harvested from personal plants will not count toward the ounce maximum as long as it is stored on-site and indoors. In order to grow plants at home, written permission from the property owner is required. Don’t Fight the Law Employers in Vermont are treating recreational weed the same way they treat alcohol consumption. Just as with alcohol, employees may not show up to work under the influence and consuming cannabis in a moving vehicle will result in arrest. Additionally, possessing more than the allowed one ounce or six plants may result in a fine or six months in jail. More serious penalties may be levied for individuals older than 21 who purchase cannabis for minors, starting with two years jail time and a $2,000 fine. A Bright Future Now that we’ve covered most of the legal aspects of legalization, here’s the fun part: Dispensaries are already starting to pop up across Vermont. The bill for legalization just went into effect on July 1, and it seems the state is already welcoming it’s latest foray into legal weed.
The Fastest-growing Legal Weed Jobs
The Fastest-growing Legal Weed Jobs
The positive results produced by the legal cannabis industry’s rapid growth are numerous. At the top of the list are the generation of considerable tax revenue, a drop in drug trafficking and drug-related crime, and the scores of people who can now better deal with numerous health conditions. The growth of the legal weed industry has also created a steady stream of new job opportunities. Here’s a look at some of the fastest-growing ones: Budtender To run a quality dispensary, a budtender must know everything about the strains that are sold. This is even more important when a medical marijuana patient needs to find a good strain. Therefore, skilled budtenders are in very high demand. According to USA Today, in Ohio, for example, 56 licensed dispensaries are looking to hire budtenders. Pastry Chef Pastry chefs who like to invent new, cannabis-infused recipes can find their spot in the fast-growing cannabis industry. According to Civilized, an edibles chef can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 per year. And if you open your own restaurant with a cannabis-rich menu, you could earn much more. Dispensary Store Manager Not only use extensive knowledge about the cannabis industry necessary for this job, but you must be very strict when it comes to state laws, which doesn’t make it an easy job. The fact that universities in the United States, as well as Canada, are now creating specialized courses and degrees for future managers, is a good indicator that many of these jobs will likely be created in the near future. Marijuana Grow Master Cannabis is now being mass produced, and doing that requires quite some training and skills. Northern Michigan University has launched training programs and majors for future marijuana growers. There’s a four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree, for example, but also classes like organic chemistry, biology, biostatistics, and more, that can be key if you choose to pursue this canna-career option. Cannabis Consultant Here’s one you probably didn’t think about. These consultants advise entrepreneurs and new growers on how to grow, sell, and market marijuana the right way. With many entrepreneurs seizing the opportunity to get into this industry and make a lot of money — without actually knowing a lot about weed — these consultants can put a big price tag on their advice. Honorable mention: The number of social media and marketing consultants are growing in numerous industries, and the legal weed industry is proving to be no exception.
Are West Coast Cannabis Farmers Too Big to Fail?
Are West Coast Cannabis Farmers Too Big to Fail?
Two new, complementary studies about legalization in Oregon and California paint the picture of just how absurd the conflict between federal prohibition and state laws has become. Oregon has a huge supply glut going into the fall harvest season, which is likely to force out a lot of small businesses that can’t survive the limited demand and low prices. California’s black market is thriving amid a similar supply glut, over-taxation, and complicated layers of regulation and bureaucracy. Both states' illegal markets are likely to be met by law enforcement.   “It’s desperately important that we end federal prohibition, that we allow export. Northern California, like Southern Oregon, is deeply dependent on the fact that those small farms have supported thousands of families and whole communities,” Adam Smith of the Craft Cannabis Alliance warned in late 2017. “And there is a very good chance, in California in particular, that [regulations] just wipe that out. If the export market was available right now, those farms would have a chance through branding themselves nationally and internationally as ‘Real California Cannabis,’ which is a product of an authentic, generations-old Northern California cannabis culture.” Informally, cannabis has been keeping small communities between Portland and San Francisco afloat for generations. The impending decline coming for this region exists in stark contrast with the billions of dollars of investment flowing through publicly traded Canadian corporations. If these communities fail, what happens to the state and national economies? Why aren’t American Main Street cannabis farmers being considered as Too Big to Fail? Oregon’s Glut The Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association meets monthly in downtown Portland and is a great place to hear what Oregon’s farmers have on their mind. At the last meeting in late July, there was a lot of anxiety about the nearly 1 million pound surplus in the state supply, only slightly lower than it was when alarm bells started ringing in February. As the fall harvest season approaches, that number could swell, plunging already rock-bottom prices even lower and forcing small businesses to merge, get acquired, or drop out of the market. In some Portland-area dispensaries, mid-grade dabs and hashes are down to anywhere between $10 to $20 a gram retail and down to $3 to $4 a gram for flower. Part of the problem is what Oregon did right. Unlike neighboring Washington and California, Oregon has a system with lower barriers to market entry, no market caps, and comparably low tax rates. According to MJBizDaily, Oregon has one cannabis producer license per 19 consumers and there is so much supply that wholesale rates of indoor flower are now as low as $300 a pound. %related-post-1% With harvest around the corner, the state has imposed new complicated rules in an effort to preempt federal enforcement. “Part of this is optics and that we need to make the system that we regulate as well-regulated as possible so that it withstands the scrutiny of federal authorities who are focused on this issue,” Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokesperson Mark Pettinger told Cannabis Business Times. “It’s our belief that if we focus as much as we can on tightening down and limiting the leaks from the legal market that we regulate, that will enable law enforcement to better concentrate and better focus on illegal activity or diversion.” Of course, the glut is great for Oregon consumers, but the smallest businesses are the most vulnerable to unsustainable prices. In Oregon, other craft agricultural and community based businesses thrive and drive significant tourism to the region annually. Without the opportunity to export product, however, the market could increasingly become oligopolistic. It’s a pretty free market, but not a very fair one. California’s Cannabis Cash Cow California legalization has been seen as the biggest prize on the map for corporate speculators since the narrow failure of Proposition 19 in 2010. And, the market may prove to be incredibly lucrative for international investors who can lose money for a few years, but it may be devastating to communities in the Northern third of the state. The rollout of legalization in California has been anything but smooth, and with layers of costly regulations heaped on the grower, the vast majority of California’s heritage farmers who make it to the legal market could drop out after this year’s harvest. Thanks to a combination of light deprivation farming and large scale outdoor natural light operations, the tsunami of bud that is about to hit the market is just starting to develop offshore. Both state’s situations, of course, perpetuate a criminal element that is profitable to law enforcement and private prisons. Both state’s situations pave the way for small companies to fold into big ones with outside money. Both state’s situations may usher in a national economic crisis as a generations-deep industry is extracted away, legally. %related-post-2% This year, Craft Cannabis Alliance executive director Adam Smith is ramping up the warning and pushing for interstate compacts that allow Oregon and California farmers to export to other states now, before the feds make a move. He sees this as agreements between exporter states and conservative medical states with restrictive cultivation programs that limit the market, and therefore quality medicine to patients. “These states are in real trouble until they can export… It is a huge problem and there is no way any of this will stabilize. Everyone is complaining about overage and diversion [to the illegal market] here. You are not going to deal with that flow into the illicit market unless there is an incentive to get a license. The only thing to do about that is open up markets,” Smith says. Smith, a native New Yorker, points to legislators in New York and New Jersey working to create in-state production industries “larger than Oregon’s, from scratch, next door to each other” to meet the sizable demand in both of these densely populated states. He says that from an industry standpoint, he doesn’t see a point in investing large amounts of money to create more production industries in places where it will not be competitive in a future national market. “The only reason not to allow export between legal states is to maintain the friction of prohibition,” Smith says. He says that maintaining the friction of prohibition could lead to “economic devastation” for in-state investors and small businesses that have “mortgaged houses, spent their life savings, and gone all in for this industry.” %related-post-3% “We are in a position where the whole thing is on the verge of collapse and the only ones who will survive are those with deep pockets from outside the state,” he says. “All these [small Oregon and California] communities will have people suffering economic devastation. In any other industry we would have political leadership yelling and screaming about supporting this in a rational way. We have to address it. We cannot talk about oversupply or illicit markets or the economic potential of this industry or the economic collapse that could happen without talking about export. It changes the dynamics on all sides of this that is positive.” Smith says that the locally owned industry is too big to sit back and watch fail and the solution is in creating market opportunities for farmers who are trying to be legal but can’t survive the in-state prices bottoming out. “[The West Coast cannabis economy] should be too big for our political leaders to allow it to fail,” Smith concludes.
Could Cryptocurrency Signal a New Era of Cannabis Banking?
Could Cryptocurrency Signal a New Era of Cannabis Banking?
It seems like the ups and downs of cryptocurrency have been grabbing headlines for months. While the unpredictability of this new, decentralized currency has prompted many to be skeptical, Bitcoin and the like have piqued the interest of cannabis business owners worldwide. Without getting into all the technical details, cryptocurrencies are peer-to-peer virtual money. That means no bank has to approve transactions between people. And the blockchain technology upon which cryptocurrencies are built is inherently secure. Sure, you can’t physically pull a bitcoin or other cryptocurrency out of your pocket to pay for something at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. There are more than 1,000 different cryptocurrencies active worldwide and — as of December 2018 — their collective value totaled more than $500 billion. The number of currencies available may continue to grow, but the gist remains crypto represents a secure — albeit unpredictable — way to invest and exchange money. Taking Canna-banking to the Next Level So, what can crypto do for the cannabis industry? Understanding the benefits of virtual currency for the growing business of bud starts with investigating the barriers traditional banks present to legal cannabis companies. Traditional banks bring along traditional standards and regulations. More specifically, they have hundreds of years of regulatory standards written to prevent money laundering and fraud. For cannabis business owners, any transaction related to marijuana must be identified as a suspicious activity — even in states where cannabis is legal — and a separate set of reports has to be filed when tax revenue is deposited in a state’s bank account. It’s confusing and, long story short, it means the IRS tends to flag decriminalized states as potential money launderers. Looking at blockchain technology, which is totally secure, could show the validity of marijuana transactions at the state level, thus preventing any unnecessary red flags for fraud. While still in very early stages, blockchain and cryptocurrency could be the next big step toward legitimizing cannabis banking at the state and federal level.
Georgia (the Country) Legalizes Marijuana
Georgia (the Country) Legalizes Marijuana
Georgia, the country northeast of Turkey — not the state north of Florida — has made some significant changes to its cannabis legislation. At the end of July, it became legal to consume marijuana in Georgia in most situations. But don’t start writing your business plan for a European coffee shop just yet. Georgia still has some stuff to figure out. No More Administrative Penalties Per a report by OC Media, the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled at the end of July that the “consumption of cannabis is an action protected by the right to a person’s free development.” This means that, according to the nation’s four senior judges, punishing someone for consuming cannabis is against article 16 of the country’s constitution. This ruling made the consumption of cannabis legal, freeing users from the risk of fines or other penalties. What’s Been Legalized? While marijuana consumption has been legalized in Georgia, cultivation and sales have not. Entrepreneurs seeing the opportunity to open a dispensary or coffee shop might have to wait a bit longer. Also, it’s still possible to get a fine in certain situations, like when a third person can be put at risk by the consumer. This includes smoking inside a school or on a bus, for example. Why Has Consumption Become Legal? In November 2017, the Constitutional Court reduced the punishment for possession to either a fine of no more than $200 or a few months of “corrective work.” This ruling came after non-parliamentary opposition party Girchi claimed that it was “unconstitutional to criminally prosecute people for consuming cannabis.” The same party, Girchi, filed another suit in order to put a stop to all types of punishment for marijuana consumption, even the $200 fine or the months of corrective work. This suit resulted in the Constitutional Court’s recent legalizing consumption. What’s the Next Step? The Constitutional Court can’t create a policy for the cultivation and sales of marijuana. As a result, it’s the role of Georgia’s government to draft new laws and regulations that will allow people to obtain marijuana from safe suppliers. As long as cultivation remains illegal in Georgia, it’s impossible to guarantee the safety of the product available to consumers — thus posing a public health risk. Legalizing all the necessary steps, from cultivation to consumption, would allow more quality control and more consumer safety.
The Latest on Pot Detection Devices
The Latest on Pot Detection Devices
While (medical) marijuana is legal in many states, driving while stoned is not. To test if someone is under the influence of a drug other than alcohol, many devices have been developed and tested. Some have failed, while others appear to be effective. It goes without saying that drugged driving is very dangerous and (rightly) illegal. But did you know that until not so long ago, law enforcement agents had to take you into custody in order to test you for marijuana? Spurred by law enforcement’s need to detect and analyze the amount of THC in someone’s system in minutes, several companies have entered the race to come up with the world’s first reliable marijuana detection device.   Testing Troubles Testing for alcohol impairment has been very easy for a long time, but catching someone who’s high is a bit more tedious. Officers have to look for signs of drug use by simple observation. As you can imagine, checking if someone can stand on one leg isn’t as effective as using a professionally developed device. Last year, a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlined the difficulties in developing a trustworthy device to detect THC. While detecting recent THC consumption is rather easy, detecting impairment is something completely different. According to the NHTSA, some studies “have attempted to estimate the risk of driving after marijuana use, but these remain inconclusive in terms of predicting real-world crash risk.” While there’s a correlation between the amount of alcohol in someone’s breath and the degree of impairment, there’s no such correlation for THC. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a debate about the actual effectiveness of these devices. The Latest Models • CBD isn’t psychoactive, but THC is. That’s why new marijuana breathalyzers focus on the presence of THC, as well as other drugs such as cocaine. Oakland-based Hound Labs wants to “make testing for marijuana as easy as testing for alcohol.” Drivers woul blow into the device, and the disposable cartridge would analyze their breath. A positive result for THC would mean the driver used marijuana in the last two hours. • In Canada, a saliva test has been developed and is currently waiting for approval from the nation’s Justice Department, according to the National Post. One key advantage of the test is that is can detect THC for up to six hours after consumption. While these devices are mainly being developed for law enforcement to use during traffic stops, they could also be useful at the workplace. Construction workers, bus drivers, and people handling heavy machinery can be a great risk to themselves and others if they are high on any type of drug during their work. As we've mentioned previously, an effective breathalyzer (or similar) device could be the legal marijuana industry’s best friend. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Smoked Marijuana Is Medical Marijuana, and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise
Smoked Marijuana Is Medical Marijuana, and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise
Starting August 1, a “new” product went on sale at medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania: medical marijuana. For the first time since sales of medical cannabis began earlier this year, Pennsylvania’s 30,000 (and counting) medical marijuana patients can now legally obtain what PennLive.com referred to as “dry leaf forms of medical marijuana,” or what the rest of us might call cannabis flower, or herb or weed or just plain old cannabis. 
Before then, the only cannabis that was legal to be sold in Pennsylvania was processed — in topical oils, in edibles taken orally, in capsules, creams, or other products that had no chance of being used “recreationally.” Thwarting anyone who might want to “abuse” medical-marijuana law in order to simply get high was Pennsylvania lawmakers’ stated motive when they banned cannabis flower. But when sales began in March, dispensaries were so overwhelmed with demand — and so low on processed product, which is more difficult and more expensive to produce than the dried flowers of the female cannabis sativa plant — that regulators reversed themselves and legalized “smokable marijuana.” This is a good thing for the state’s medical cannabis patients, who now have a better chance of actually accessing cannabis in its cheapest and most effective form. 
Which means Pennsylvania is currently getting things half right. The State(s) of Legalization 
Of the 29 states where medical cannabis is legal, only Minnesota bans cannabis flower outright. A handful of states — including New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania — still sell cannabis flower with the understanding that it is not for smoking. That’s right: if you smoke cannabis flower sold in dispensaries in Florida or in Pennsylvania, you are breaking the law. For now, the simplest, cheapest, and most popular form of a drug that has therapeutic value is still not entirely acceptable. This is a ridiculous state of affairs. It is also untenable, as Pennsylvania’s quick reversal and an ongoing struggle in Florida to give up the charade and legalized smoked cannabis is demonstrating. People are going to smoke weed regardless of the law — might as well pass a law that recognizes this, rather than pretending. And while convincing doctors to embrace smoked cannabis as a healthy practice may be a difficult lift, there is also no honest or scientific medical reason to declare smoked cannabis an unacceptable risk. %related-post-1% The word “smoking” conjures visions of lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Just so: Smoking tobacco is a terribly unhealthy practice and the leading cause of premature death in the United States, and for as long as anyone alive can remember, to “smoke” or to be a “smoker” was synonymous with tobacco. Thus, it is perhaps understandable that “smoking” marijuana would trigger a similar knee-jerk. But this is no longer our reality. You can be a cannabis smoker and never touch tobacco. In fact, to do so may be beneficial: The only longitudinal study to examine the effect of marijuana smoking on long-term lung health found no link between cannabis use and lung issues like COPD or lung cancer. Indeed, according to UCLA researcher Donald Taskin’s landmark study, moderate use of cannabis might actually lead to increased lung capacity. You will hear otherwise, but consider this: Most of the studies cited by health officials and others that do declare cannabis smoking a health hazard come from Europe. This is significant. In Europe, the most common form of cannabis consumption is in concert with tobacco. This is not how we do in the United States. So that’s the data. Tobacco kills lots of people, cannabis kills nobody — even when smoked. It’s past time to admit this, yet old conditioning dies hard. (Not long ago, I was hanging out with a friend, a medical doctor. I offered him a hit of a joint, but he declined. “I want to healthier,” he explained, as he lit a cigarette. Yes, people like this exist. This really happened.) About the best you can hope for from a medical professional was the honesty displayed by Harvard Medical School’s Peter Grinspoon. “It is not recommended (at least by doctors) that people smoke it,” he wrote on HMS’s medical-marijuana explainer page. “Though, interestingly,” he noted, “it hasn’t been linked to lung cancer in the studies I’ve seen.” %related-post-2% This is not to say that vaporizing is not a healthier option (though it absolutely depends on what you are vaporizing; any benefit to not inhaling butane and burnt plant material may be lost if you’re sucking on a PCB stick laden with accelerants), or that someone with preexisting lung issues should find an alternative method of using cannabis. This is to say that cannabis and tobacco do not belong in the same bucket. 
To pretend that smoking one is like smoking the other is dishonest. It is not unlike eating a toxic mushroom versus a chanterelle bought at Whole Foods. Yes, they are both “mushrooms,” and they are both “eaten.” But it is there that the similarities end. A child could grasp this concept, yet there are lawmakers and medical professionals who continue to fail to make the same distinction with cannabis. No Weed, No Laughing Matter In sum: People smoke weed. They always have, and they always will. There is no real reason to pretend otherwise. It does not benefit public health to prohibit people with medical cannabis recommendations from smoking their medicine. Indeed, to do so only creates financial and logistical barriers — it makes obtaining and using medicine more difficult. Get it right: It makes medicine and ergo healing less accessible. In this way, banning smoked marijuana not only violates common sense, it also does real avoidable harm. This is slowly permeating the public knowledge. In Florida, patients and patient advocates will see a challenge to that state’s ban on smoking marijuana head to the state Supreme Court. Despite losing in a lower court, the state and the state’s health department are currently continuing to argue that the 71 percent of state voters who approved medical marijuana in November 2016 didn’t knowingly legalize marijuana in its most common and most recognizable form. It would be a joke if real patients weren’t suffering in the meantime.
Why Do Marijuana Shortages Keep Happening Every Time Marijuana Is Legalized?
Why Do Marijuana Shortages Keep Happening Every Time Marijuana Is Legalized?
Whether it's a reluctant industry or incompetent regulators, one thing is certain: we're not so great at this. Vallejo, California shares an area code with most of the Emerald Triangle, where, even today, with erratic licensing squeezing small producers out of the burgeoning market, an awful lot of high-quality cannabis is grown, processed, sold, and smoked. It was and is the Wine Country of weed, the Loire Valley of terpenes, California’s cannabis basket. That is to say, it should go without saying that the 707 has not and is not about to run out of marijuana anytime soon. Thus, for those adult cannabis consumers looking to exercise their still-new rights to purchase some legal marijuana — and at the start of the seventh month of licensed and regulated retail sales — a dispensary with little legal cannabis to sell and lots of bare shelf space is an incongruity, a very dumb and very obvious cosmic joke. %related-post-1% Amid such bounty, the rare brands that passed the test were selling for $70 an eighth or more, prices not seen outside of real supply shortages in the black market days. Within a few weeks, the industry had recovered, at least partially. More than 70 brands had figured it out (with an untold number of smaller outfits giving up). For buyers, it was a brief hiccup, soon to be forgotten. But a hiccup at all, in a state with the country's oldest pre-established industry and consumer base, is a clear sign something isn’t working. Someone had blundered, which would be bad enough, if it weren’t for the fact that scenes like this played out all over the state — in just the way experts and observers had been predicting and fearing for months. “A Hard Reset”
 New California state regulations around marijuana purity, testing, and packaging went into effect July 1. And from seed to sale, the industry just wasn’t quite ready. For the last few weeks of June, dispensaries held emergency fire sales to get rid of noncompliant product — flower that hadn’t been tested, edibles in the wrong packaging, dubious oil of unknown potency from mysterious sources. According to a survey of anonymous dispensary owners conducted by a Mendocino County couple who own a topical cannabis brand, in some cases, tens of thousand of dollars’ worth of product or more had to be discarded. The marijuana industry had a “hard reset,” as Leafly termed it. The industry knew this was happening, and when — knew all about it for months, and yet still couldn’t manage without a disruption big enough to jolt consumers. Suppliers are due some of the blame. They’d been overproducing for years, and if they could not or would not meet the standards that they knew would eventually apply to them. Then again, these are commodity farmers, and ones who don’t enjoy government guarantees or subsidies, like most everyone else plying the land in California. They are at the mercy of the market, and with everyone else growing as much as they could while rules were lax, the market was flooded. But in other cases, government came down too hard. New testing rules — including one requirement banning the sale of marijuana deemed “too wet” — put some manufacturers out entirely, and left cannabis users and patients to scramble for what they could find back on the underground market. There, they found a significant number of fellow customers they might have recognized at old medical dispensaries, before a tax burden of 35 percent or more, depending on jurisdiction, shooed them away from retail outlets before they opened. %related-post-2% Why were brands and dispensaries seemingly caught off guard? They might simply not have been able to move so far so fast. So did regulators do enough to help them? And if so, why do they keep repeating the same mistakes seen around the country? Is this… normal? This also says something deeply ironic about marijuana legalization: Sometimes, from both sides, consumer and producer, things were easier and cheaper in the old gray-market days. This is admittedly a myopic view. The outlook for people formerly incarcerated or with criminal records for marijuana ruining career or benefits prospects has certainly improved, significantly. The New Norm of Reform With few exceptions, interrupts like this have become a feature of marijuana policy reform. In Nevada last summer, it happened when supply outstripped actual demand. In Pennsylvania earlier this year, where medical marijuana was so popular and dispensaries stretched so thin that it prompted the end of a state ban on cheaper, easier-to-use smokeable marijuana (even though patients are clearly instructed that their cannabis flower is "not for smoking). And in Massachusetts, where voters legalized recreational marijuana on the same night as Californians, recreational buyers are still waiting to hear when sales will start. They will, once regulators get around to approving an independent testing lab — but they also might not, as localities throughout the state, given the power of choice whether or not to allow a commercial marijuana industry inside town limits, have opted to become the cannabis equivalent of dry counties. Good thing bootleggers never prosper, and in marijuana producing areas that suddenly have trouble selling marijuana, there is no strong financial incentive to break the law. %related-post-3% With transition from black-market to legal or somewhat-legal in every state where the experiment is tried, it’s clear that regulators and policymakers aren’t quick to learn lessons from other states. Meanwhile, states that have mature recreational marijuana markets are back in a very familiar and predictable pickle: They’re full. Epic oversupply situations are causing prices to fall to historic lows in Washington and in Oregon. Cycling between feast and famine, with enough uncertainty to make the faint-of-heart or low-of-funding consider other work. Famine, in a time of plenty. To err is human, and to suffer shortages and interruptions is the penalty all emerging marijuana markets must apparently pay.
How Legal Weed Can Help the Homeless
How Legal Weed Can Help the Homeless
Homelessness is on the rise in the United States. Can marijuana tax revenue help reverse the trend? Last year, the nation’s homeless population increased for the first time since 2010. One city, Aurora, Colorado, is helping its homeless via the use of marijuana tax revenue. Colorado uses marijuana tax revenue to fund schools, infrastructure projects, and drug education programs. Aurora has added homelessness to that list. The original $3 million program was launched in 2016, with the initial $1.5 million given that year to not-for-profit homeless organizations throughout the city. The rest was allocated to the 2017 and 2018 budgets. And the initiative doesn’t stop in Aurora. In 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a budget bill to provide assistance across the state. The bill provides $15.3 million from the state’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund “to provide permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing assistance for individuals with behavioral health needs, and for individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.” “By providing stable housing, which includes rental assistance and supportive services,” the bill continues, “we expect to reduce incarceration, hospitalization, and homelessness for many of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens.” According to progrss.com, Denver will most likely subsidize “the building or preservation of income-restricted apartments and other housing units in the next five years, from 3,000 units to 6,400.” The hope is that this funding will help more people afford an apartment or house — and stay off the streets. Colorado’s transparency and dedication to making a difference is admirable. While it’s too early to measure the exact impact of these initiatives, early indications are positive. Not only will they provide help to those who need it, but they could also positively influence public opinion — and public policy — regarding legalization nationwide.
Why Is Medical Marijuana Struggling in Recreational States?
Why Is Medical Marijuana Struggling in Recreational States?
The number of medical marijuana patients in recreational states is spiraling down. Why is this happening, and will MMJ programs survive the struggle? Medical marijuana patient counts in Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon have been decreasing since the legalization of recreational marijuana. While it took nearly two years for the drop to happen in Colorado, the drop was almost immediate in Oregon and Nevada. According to mjbizdaily.com, there has been a 42 percent drop in patient counts in Oregon since the beginning of recreational sales. In Nevada, patient counts decreased by 32 percent and in Colorado by 22 percent. What’s Causing the Drop? Simply put, access to recreational weed has never been so easy. Because people with medical marijuana cards have access to the exact same products, there is little stopping them from buying like recreational users. Also, while taxes on medical marijuana are often lower than those on recreational marijuana, doctor visits and card renewals all carry costs, often making it cheaper for patients to stop renewing their medical cards. Moreover, some people no longer want to be on file as medical marijuana users. Having a card means you have a file somewhere in a database. If you want to stay anonymous, or don’t want anyone to know what illness you have, it might be better to buy like a recreational user. Will MMJ Programs Disappear in Recreational States? Despite the drop-off, it’s highly unlikely the medical marijuana programs will end up disappearing completely. Someone with a MMJ card still has several benefits. For instance, you’re less likely to get in trouble at work if you have to prove that marijuana is one of your medications. Also, minors can use cannabis with parental consent if they have a medical marijuana card. Without it, they won’t even be allowed into a dispensary.
Dispelling Weed Myths
Dispelling Weed Myths
Myths about marijuana have existed forever, and have only intensified since legalization.   While some myths vanished rather quickly, others have persisted. Let’s dispel some of them. “Legalization leads to addiction.” There is no evidence that new users of marijuana have become addicted to it or to any other drug. While studies show that marijuana consumption has indeed increased after legalization, that increase has taken place among adults, not teens. It should also be noted that use among teens in Colorado has actually declined in the years after legalization. “Marijuana is a gateway drug.” This one is still popular today, especially in anti-drug programs for teens. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this myth. In fact, nothing proves that cannabis consumers end up using other (illegal) drugs. While it’s true that many people who use hard drugs also smoke cannabis, they don’t use hard drugs because they use cannabis, but for other reasons. “Medical marijuana is a joke.” This myth is rather easy to dispel. Many researchers, as well as patients, continue to prove the benefits of medical marijuana. Repeated cases of medical marijuana helping children with seizures, for example, have gone a long way toward convincing people that cannabis can actually be used as a medicine. “You can overdose on weed.” Yes, using too much weed can cause anxiety, vomiting, and dizziness. And, yes, driving or handling heavy machinery while high can cause serious injuries, or worse. But you can’t die from an overdose of weed. According to the National Cancer Institute, you can’t die from a cannabis overdose because “cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration.” “Cannabis users will be a big financial drain on society.” Instead of draining budgets, tax revenue from legal (medical) marijuana sales have actually helped states to increase their bottom lines. Most of this revenue has benefited schools, health programs, and educational programs about, among other things, illegal drugs.
Do You Know These New Slang Terms for Marijuana?
Do You Know These New Slang Terms for Marijuana?
Weed, cannabis, marijuana, pot… These are a few of the words we use at Briteside — and you’d probably recognize several more. As if those weren’t enough, the Drug Enforcement Administration adds to the list each year in order to help law enforcement spot people involved in the illegal drug trade. This year, the agency has added more than 50 new slang terms to the list. Let’s take a look at some of them. Some of the terms on the DEA's list — shared recently by Marijuana Moment — make sense. When you hear “Laughing Grass,” for example, you get what people are talking about. “Crazy Weed” and “Giggle Weed” elicit similar responses. Maybe it’s because recreational marijuana became legal in California this year — we can’t be sure — but it looks like someone was inspired by the ballot measure that made medical marijuana legal in California in 1996. Now, “Prop 215” is on the list, too. Inspired by the Munchies? It seems like marijuana really enhances your creative skills, because some of these names are just too weird to understand how someone came up with them. We’re just speculating, but the following terms might have been “invented” during some serious munchies sessions: “Broccoli,” “Cheese,” “Parsley,” “Cabbage.” These don’t sound like something smokeable, do they? But on the other hand, can you really be craving cabbage when you’re high? It Gets Weirder Other slang terms that might be completely new to you include “Shoes,” My Brother,” “Tex-Mex,” “Green Mercedes Benz,” “Mowing the Lawn,” “Chernobyl,” and “Young Girls.” This last one might cause some serious confusion — or suspicion by law enforcement — when buying your marijuana. Maybe you should just stick to cannabis or weed, just to be safe. Will any of these new slang terms replace any of the more popular names for weed? Probably not. But they are entertaining.
Not Quite Legal: Canada’s New Cannabis Regulations
Not Quite Legal: Canada’s New Cannabis Regulations
Recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Canada, but it isn't quite the legalization advocates have long fought for. In November 2017, Parliament passed the Cannabis Act (C-45) to fully legalize cannabis for all uses in the country. When it goes into effect October 17, it will make Canada the second nation in the world to do so, after Uruguay. Legalization coming to Canada is bittersweet (or even just plain bitter) for the small-scale businesses and activists that have worked to pave the way for this moment and are now getting shut out of the legal industry. Because Canada already has had a publicly-traded and federally legal medical marijuana market since 2013, it is on course to dominate the global marijuana trade at the expense of locally owned small businesses everywhere. From Compassionate Use to Capitalist Use In 2001, Canada became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana for medical use. Like similar legislation passed in California five years earlier, patients could grow their own or designate another grower to do it for them. In this way, Canada’s “designated growers,” or “DG’s,” had a similar rise in early medical markets to “collectives” and “caregivers” that were directly serving patients in the U.S. Canada’s road to legalization has mirrored that of its southern neighbors’ in many ways, but with one notable exception; sweeping federal medical legislation paved the way for Canada to corporatize the industry while maintaining a criminal element and securing domination in the global marijuana trade. In 2013, influenced by the momentum generated by the recent passage of legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington, the Conservative government under then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). The MMPR replaced the smaller-scale DG’s, often criticized as being a front for organized crime, with large-scale corporate Licensed Producers (LPs). Because LPs have been legal cannabis producers nationwide in Canada since 2013, they have been public entities for just as long. When Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau was challenging Harper in the 2015 elections, he vowed to legalize marijuana nationwide “right away” if elected. In 2016, the Liberal government began discussing plans to carry out the campaign promise and, in November 2017, approved C-45, set to go into effect October 17. %related-post-1% Because LP’s will now be serving an adult use market the size of California, there has been a rush of mergers and acquisitions in Canada and the U.S. as global investors seek to stake their claim on these foundational global markets. State-legal companies profiting from the sale of cannabis have been unable to make the leap to Wall Street in the U.S. and many have joined forces or sold out entirely to Canadian LPs with Wall Street ambitions when federal law changes stateside. In February of this year, Toronto-based Cronos Group (CRON) became the first Canadian corporation to be listed on the NASDAQ, marking a milestone for Wall Street. Cronos also has research holdings in Israel and makes pharmaceutical cannabis products, an industry that has been brewing in Canada since the MMPR and the looming FDA approval of GW Pharmaceuticals Epidiolex in the U.S. market. In March, Cronos acquired California-based MedMen, a billion-dollar company with a corner on the Los Angeles market, now the largest adult use marijuana market in the world. Cronos plans to roll out the MedMen brand in Canada when C-45 goes into effect. Until recently, Cronos has boasted that it had the largest marijuana cultivation facility in the world at 315,000 square feet. In February, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED) announced an over 1 million square foot facility in British Columbia. Other competitors may seek to top that ahead of the October roll out as well. In the meantime, patients have suffered from lack of access to DG’s, and small businesses have been shut out of the legal market, meaning the multi-generation growers in places like British Columbia will remain outlaws after legalization takes effect and will potentially face stiffer penalties than before if caught. Not Legal Enough The grassroots activists who paved the way for the Canada’s C-45 aren’t exactly thrilled. Just as in the United States, medical or adult use cannabis legislation has often come at a big cost to the small businesses and compassion communities that drove the issue into the mainstream. “Cannabis legalization should be about civil liberties, not about making big money on the stock market,” says well-known Canadian activist Jodie Emery. Emery was speaking to Global News Canada from a 420 celebration this year in Vancouver, British Columbia, about why the work isn’t done and they will still be practicing peaceful protest next 420. “420 will definitely be a protest as long as there is still stigma and discrimination against people for cannabis. Even if the federal government legalizes it, their legislation actually introduces tougher penalties, so everything that happens here today will still be illegal next year. That’s why we have to keep protesting,” Emery said. Canadian legalization does not take place until October 17, and not a minute before. In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear that, right now, there is no plan to retroactively remove marijuana offenses and there will be no stop to arrests and prosecutions until legal sales begin this fall. %related-post-2% “We recognize that anyone who is currently purchasing marijuana is participating in illegal activity that is funding criminal organizations and street gangs. Once the law is changed, we will, of course, reflect on fairness in a way that is responsible going forward, and therefore we do not want to encourage in any way people to engage in that behavior until the law is changed,” Trudeau told reporters at a press conference in January. Globe and Mail columnist Andre Picard echos activist Jodie Emery’s sentiments, “Canada is taking a much more convoluted and outdated approach [than some American states].” Picard points out that the current Controlled Drugs and Substances act only lists eight cannabis-related offenses, while C-45 will have 45, “and many penalties will be far stiffer.” But he warns most importantly about the new “illicit cannabis” classification. “The new law will also create something called ‘illicit cannabis’ – covering all products that are not purchased in a provincially-regulated store, or grown legally. If you distribute "illicit cannabis" to a minor, i.e. share a joint with a teenager or sell them a bit of pot, you could face a $15,000 fine and 18 months in prison for a summary offence and up to 14 years in prison for an indictable offence. By comparison, selling liquor to a minor will land you a maximum fine of $10,000 in most provinces,” Picard writes. He says it is especially problematic in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where “they are creating a state-run monopoly.” And therein lies the rub. Canada isn’t decriminalizing and de-scheduling cannabis, it is regulating a commercial market while retaining the right to arrest people. It’s the same model as adult use legalization in the United States, and while possessing legally produced cannabis will be legal, this isn’t the legalization advocates have fought for.
Medical Marijuana Update: Luxembourg
Medical Marijuana Update: Luxembourg
While the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Luxembourg, the use of medical marijuana is now legal — but only for a few patients. Luxembourg allowed the sales of Sativex for multiple sclerosis patients back in 2012. It took the government until the end of 2017, however, to announce plans for a pilot project, and roughly seven more months for the nation’s Chamber of Deputies to agree to a bill legalizing medical marijuana — barely. The new law, passed June 28, makes the use of medical marijuana legal for patients with chronic pain, nausea as a result of chemotherapy, or multiple sclerosis causing muscle spasms. Everyone else — like epilepsy patients, for example — will have to wait. Even if patients are legally allowed use medical marijuana, getting their hands on it might prove difficult. The drug will only be available at a few Luxembourg hospital pharmacies, which will likely make it difficult for some patients to acquire their medicine — especially if they are too sick to travel far. In order to supply these pharmacies, hospitals in will order cannabis from Canada. %related-post-1% Dr. Jean Colombera, who was investigated for allegedly prescribing cannabis-based drugs in Luxembourg in 2012, and who supports wider legalization of medical marijuana in the country, says the current law is too conservative. “I have the impression it will only be used for people whose illnesses are too advanced… For me it should be used well before they reach this stage,” he told Delano. “Cannabis medicines can be used to treat a far larger number of illnesses…for example, if you’ve problems sleeping or depression or pain.” The doctor is correct: Many other patients could, indeed, benefit from medical cannabis. And thankfully for them, the law will be reviewed in two years, at which point other health conditions might be added to the list. Elsewhere in Europe While frustrating, Luxembourg’s slow pace toward legalization mirrors the rest of Europe. The Netherlands and Switzerland have legalized medical cannabis, and make it easy for patients to get their medicine, but France only allows a few patients to use Marinol, and raw forms of marijuana are strictly prohibited. Other countries, like Romania, authorize marijuana for medical purposes, but patients can run into a few obstacles in getting their drugs — likely because researchers and entrepreneurs aren’t interested in serving them. Bulgaria, Slovakia, and the Baltic countries don’t allow any form of medical cannabis, whether it be in raw form or a synthetic substitute. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Is Big Tech at Odds with Legal Weed?
Is Big Tech at Odds with Legal Weed?
Companies like Google and PayPal often grab headlines for their forward-thinking innovations and technology. But when it comes to weed, the big guys aren’t as friendly as you might expect. Big tech companies have a reputation for pioneering new technologies and evolving the ways we lead our everyday lives. Given how engrained technology is at home, work, or play, it can sometimes be easy to forget that these companies have a pretty significant influence over what we do or don’t see. In the case of legal weed, heavy tech hitters Google and PayPal have taken a relatively unexpected stance — they have become more strict on companies selling ancillary pot products, such as pipes, vaporizers, and bongs. Why Can’t We Be Friends? While at face value, it may seem like Google and PayPal are cracking down on pot-related products specifically, these restrictions are actually the byproduct of policies intended to limit underage access to harmful content. Based on these policies, Google has made it almost impossible for vape, bong, and pipe companies to advertise through their AdWords service, while PayPal has brought e-commerce to a screeching halt. For online retailers, or smaller brick and mortar retailers with online presences, finding ways to advertise products can mean success or failure. Right now, many of these companies are looking to social media to grow their customer bases. Looking Ahead The cannabis industry will continue to boom with expected profits reaching $57 billion by 2027. With the amount of money projected to roll in, it will be interesting to see if the big tech companies continue their hard-line stance on cannabis-related products. After all, more lenient guidelines for these goods could represent significant revenue opportunities. One thing is for certain: Only time will tell how these policies will adapt to the growing legal weed industry. Just as we have seen on a local level, recreational cannabis has caused both businesses and government organizations to rethink how they handle weed. And big tech won’t be any different.
The Commercial (and Legal?) Influence of Marijuana Influencers
The Commercial (and Legal?) Influence of Marijuana Influencers
With an increasing number of brands across virtually every industry expanding beyond traditional advertising these days, the use of social media influencers has become increasingly prevalent. And the legal marijuana industry is no exception. Federal law makes launching advertising campaigns for cannabis a real struggle. Even in states where weed is legal, it can be tough to find ways to advertise your company without running into legal obstacles. This is one of the reasons why celebrity influencers are becoming a bigger and bigger thing when it comes to marketing marijuana. %related-post-1% Leafs By Snoop is a good example of how a celebrity can create a (long-lasting) buzz for a company. In 2016, large Canadian cannabis producer Tweed partnered with Snoop Dogg to provide Canada with high-end cannabis. The partnership went further than a couple of Instagram posts. The new business partners worked together to select and market high-quality strains, thus increasing their chances of long-term success. And theirs hasn’t been the only such partnership. As Forbes notes, cannabis products such as Tommy Chong’s “Chong’s Choice” and Willie Nelson’s “Willie’s Reserve” see boosts in sales when their celebrity namesakes tweet or post about their products — messages that hundreds of thousands of fans inhale with enthusiasm. %related-post-2% A little less well-known — but no less effective — social media marijuana influencer is Dabbing Granny. More than 750,000 people follow the senior citizen for her hilarious Instagram posts, proving that people of all ages, backgrounds, or careers can become important influencers for cannabis companies. Can Influencers Influence Lawmakers? As more and more people get more and more used to seeing celebrities talk about, promote, and use cannabis on their social media profiles, public support for full marijuana legalization will only continue increase. And who knows? Perhaps more lawmakers will be influenced by that public support — or those same influencers.
Medical Marijuana Update: England
Medical Marijuana Update: England
While England’s medical marijuana laws are very strict — and will probably remain that way for the time being — change could be just around the corner. Right now, British police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 (about US$ 119) to anyone found with cannabis. While English law doesn’t recognize cannabis as having any therapeutic value — meaning all cannabis use is seen as recreational — Sativex can be prescribed and used in some cases. Most commonly used by multiple sclerosis patients, Sativex contains non-synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabis in any other form is currently (and strictly) prohibited in England. But a recent incident involving a 12-year-old boy could spur change very soon. The boy, who had been featured in British newspapers after he travelled to the United States to obtain CBD to treat his severe epilepsy, had his CBD seized by airport authorities upon returning to England. as a result, the boy suffered severe seizures which required him to be hospitalized. This is only one of many stories of (young) patients in Great Britain who could benefit from medical marijuana to treat medical conditions or alleviate associated symptoms. Time for Change Later this month (July 2018), doctors in Great Britain will be allowed to order medical marijuana for their patients in exceptional cases. The rules will remain very strict, as there must be “exceptional clinical need” — though it’s still not clear what will, or will not be, considered as exceptional clinical need. All we know is that the doctor must be able to proof that the patient can not be helped by any other form of medication. Despite the positive developments, however, doctors ordering cannabis would have to accept “full responsibility for risks and liability.” Also, as medical marijuana will be something new in England, many doctors will likely lack training and knowledge about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. As a result, it might become hard for patients to find physicians willing to take the risk of being held responsible in case something goes wrong. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Medical Marijuana Is Not Dead (and We Can’t Let It Die)
Medical Marijuana Is Not Dead (and We Can’t Let It Die)
There is a creeping contention that legalization has made medical marijuana less important or less relevant. None of this is true. In Colorado, America’s first home for marijuana legalization and possibly one of the most permissive atmospheres for marijuana on the planet, medical cannabis is having a tough time. In June, shunning the desires of parents with autistic children camped outside his office, Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill passed by the state Legislature that would have added autism to the list of conditions qualifying someone for legal medical cannabis access. As with nearly every other condition for which marijuana has been shown to provide relief, the proof that cannabis can “treat” autism is almost entirely anecdotal. There are clinical trials underway in Israel, and pushes to fund similar studies in the United States. Still, what literature there is in America does note several instances where cannabis products seemed to improve symptoms. Medical cannabis can easily be stuck forever in circular logic — if it’s not researched, it’s “not medical,” but if it’s not legal, it can’t be researched. Bad Presidential Precedent Recognizing the faulty thought pattern inherent to the situation — plus repeated insistence from parents, who went ahead and gave their children cannabis out of desperation, that it in fact works — doctors in other states like New Jersey have signaled their approval to allow people with Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and other brain afflictions not unlike autism to have cannabis as an available treatment option. This is an ongoing issue in a delicate balance. As Leafly reported, only five states allow autistic people to legally access full-plant cannabis medications — and Colorado will not be added to that list anytime soon. Citing “concerns” from the “medical community” — which includes some mainstream doctors who have opposed medical marijuana at nearly every turn — Hickenlooper also echoed his own obvious reservations towards marijuana. “If we sign that bill we end up, without question, in some way encouraging more young people to look at this as an antidote for their problems,” he said, according to The Denver Post. %related-post-1% Hickenlooper has presidential aspirations, and some see his continuing reluctance to embrace cannabis — he opposed marijuana legalization way back in 2012, you may recall, and was telling reporters as recently as 2014 that legalization was “reckless,” and that if he “could wave a magic wand” and make it go away, he could — as a way to shore up his law-and-order credentials with on-the-fence moderates and conservatives. But in the meantime, he is causing problems for medical cannabis’s continued existence and its necessary progress in the mainstream medical community — which is still in the very early stages, let’s not forget! — and is setting bad precedent other elected officials who would prefer cannabis remain illegal in any context (or, barring that, very hard to obtain) will almost certainly follow. An Over-the-counter Counterargument Only 93,000 people in Colorado are registered marijuana patients. This should not be interpreted to mean that medical marijuana is not popular or does not exist — just that most people for whom cannabis provides relief would just as soon not bother with a doctor’s visit before a trip to the dispensary. Anyone who buys basic medical supplies can surely understand this — just as they can surely understand why it’s silly to require a physician’s note before a purchase of Advil or over-the-counter cough medication, and that the fact that a doctor’s review was not necessary is somehow sign that the cold or headache tonics are somehow “not medical.” Yet that’s the argument you often hear, that somehow medical marijuana is going away or losing its grip. This may be true in terms of overall sales, but that cannot then be distorted to prop up bunk arguments that medical cannabis is “going away” or in any other way invalid. %related-post-2% Marijuana legalization sounds great for anyone involved in marijuana, but it’s not a given. Far from it: In Washington, cannabis patients were left scrambling for supply and emptying their wallets when they could find it thanks to the state’s legalization bill, which was slanted heavily towards regulating an adult-use market. Fair enough — legalization is good, and in most cases, it should be regulated — but it cannot be at the expense or hindrance of medical. The good news is that most voters in most places get this. Look at Oklahoma, where, according to former state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Colorado’s legalization was causing untold problems. There, voters just approved what the Washington Post called “one of the most progressive” medical-cannabis laws in the country! That’s good! But, as Hickenlooper’s attitude in a marijuana-friendly place shows, it’s far from a given. Medical cannabis is real, necessary, and important. We need to remember that, and remind everyone else who can’t or won’t.
Legalization: Just What The Economy Ordered?
Legalization: Just What The Economy Ordered?
There are plenty of reasons why people want to legalize weed. And there of plenty of reasons why people want cannabis to remain criminalized. The reality, however, is that there are several distinct — and rather obvious— economic benefits of legalizing weed. These benefits are already noticeable in states that have already legalized recreation cannabis, like Colorado and Oregon. Let’s jump in and take a look at some of the most compelling economic reasons to legalize weed. Revenue, Revenue, Revenue We’ll start by stating this point plainly. Based on recent estimates, legalizing marijuana in the United States could raise more than $131 billion in tax revenue. Yes, billion. This data was compiled by an organization called New Frontier Data that specializes in vetting and analyzing unbiased data in the cannabis industry. Although tax rates are always subject to change, but clearly the data shows the government could benefit from billions of dollars they are currently completely missing out on. An Eye On Employment In states where cannabis is legalized, one of the biggest benefits has come in the form of reduced unemployment rates. For example, Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012. As of 2015, the state’s newest industry had generated $2.4 billion in economic activity and a whopping 18,000 new full-time jobs. From farmers and trimmers to dispensary staff and budtenders, legalization means more jobs for people handling and selling weed — and that’s just the people directly handling cannabis. One of the added benefits of legalized cannabis is the industries and businesses that pop up to support the farms and needs of retail organizations, including insurance and technology firms. Lower Law Enforcement Costs It's no secret that the war on drugs has been costly and less than effective. With prisons across the country facing overcrowding and federal marijuana enforcement costing more than $3 billion a year according to the American Civil Liberties Union, decriminalizing weed could drastically reduce government spending, not including court costs. What are your thoughts on legalization? Let us know.
Should You Buy Marijuana from a “Real” #PermitPatty?
Should You Buy Marijuana from a “Real” #PermitPatty?
Unlicensed marijuana producers and sellers haven’t gone away, even in areas with a regulated market, leading to a decision: Shun them or continue to patronize? In most cases, you shouldn’t have a problem with continuing to buy from “your guy.” Lost in the outrage over “Permit Patty,” the white owner of a San Francisco-based medical marijuana tincture company who called the police on an 8-year-old black girl for selling bottled water, was the inherent irony of the situation. Not too long before Treatwell Health CEO Alison Ettel destroyed her brand and her career in the nascent cannabis industry with her ill-advised phone call, she was in a nearly identical position: making and selling cannabis products without any government regulation or approval. And though Ettel has since announced her departure from the company — which may not yet survive after a slew of California dispensaries announced they had severed ties with the disgraced brand — you could make an argument that Treatwell still isn’t fully permitted. Though Treatwell does have a pair of manufacturing permits from the state of California, according to records, medical cannabis is still not officially approved for use on animals — the target market for most of Treatwell’s products. The arrangement nonetheless (until lately) had generated nothing but positive press for the company. It’s “kind of like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Etttel explained to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015.
 %related-post-1% The saga illustrates an ongoing concern within the marijuana industry. Not “should you call the cops on black people not committing crimes” — you should really, really, not ever do that, in case it weren’t blindingly obvious — but to what standards the cannabis industry should be held, and what standards marijuana consumers should demand. And the answer — and whether you, the marijuana user, should turn your back on “black-market” cannabis forever, and only demand regulated product from now until forever — is not as easy or as obvious as you may think. The Permit Problem Nearly everywhere cannabis is sold, sellers and manufacturers need a permit from some kind of licensing authority. That seems reasonable, given cannabis is a psychoactive drug with the potential to cause some harm (even though, by almost every metric, the benefits far outweigh any problems). But not every cannabis maker can qualify for a permit. They might be making edibles in a kitchen that’s not zoned for commercial use. They might be growing cannabis on a hillside that was graded incorrectly or is too close to a watershed. They might not be able to afford a permit. They could be the nice old hippie couple next door. They could be your friend from school. They could be your kids’ friends. There is a nearly endless list of possible permutations of a basic situation: Someone operating in good faith, doing things “the right way” with good intentions as well as good business practices and ethics, but for the lack of an official piece of paper attesting to the fact. Such cannabis is by default “black market,” even if the name conjures up the wrong connotations and is so broad as to capture pesticide-contaminated weed grown by stone-cold criminals in the same bucket as the edibles baked by your weird aunt in the same imperfect bucket. Further confusing the situation is the fact that such cannabis may be the only or the best available cannabis, even in an otherwise regulated market. In California, the tax toll at licensed dispensaries is so high that cannabis users — many of whom are low-income sick or disabled people, let’s not forget — have turned to underground sales out of sheer necessity. %related-post-2% So there it is. Maybe it’s “your guy” you’ve been buying from since forever. Maybe it’s someone you met at a sesh, or — hell — maybe you’re just buying an edible at the music festival. Should you? And either way, is it a problem? The simplest answer seems to be some version of “not necessarily — and the black market could, in fact, be mostly okay — but more information and context is needed.” A Question of Fairness One of the great consumer benefits offered by marijuana legalization is a continuous supply of lab-tested, regulator-approved product. Prior to legalization, contamination from toxins like pesticides even in established markets like California were endemic. But that’s no guarantee — in both Canada and in Colorado, even after pesticides were limited or banned outright from cannabis, they appeared in products sold on the legal market. 
In a way, this is a question of ideology. In another, it’s fairness. Cannabis was banned by the government for so long — what’s it to them that someone’s now exercising a right no libertarian would deny them? Why should the government be able to intrude into the affairs of the same people it sought to jail for decades — and if “Big Pot” backed by venture capital has a creeping monopoly, shouldn’t “the little guy” get a shot, in the same way that you can sell tomatoes from your garden at a farmer’s market or — dare we say — lemonade or water on a street corner? At the same time, if other producers go through an oft-laborious process and do everything “right,” why should shirkers be tolerated? And how can consumers, who may very well be very sick, be given a guarantee without the government’s stamp of approval? 
It’s hard to see the harm posed to anyone by selling water without a permit. A bottle of water is not a bag of weed, but there is an honest analogy to be made. Is the unlicensed cannabis product safe? Is the producer taking care of the environment—and is it the best or even just the preferred product available to the consumer? It may seem odd for a blog on a delivery company’s website to argue this, but given the totality of the circumstances, the black-market may be the best option, no matter what other blithely unaware Permit Pattys may say.
Wide World Of Weed: Estonia Edition
Wide World Of Weed: Estonia Edition
It’s tough to say what Estonia is most known for, but the Estonian town of Kanepi is doing its canna-best to put the country on the map for marijuana. We’ve seen time and again that if you leave a decision in the hands of the Internet, you’re playing with fire. Boaty McBoatface, ring any bells? How about the 2012 Chuck Norris pedestrian bridge fiasco? You’d think civic organizations would eventually learn that if you leave certain decisions in the hands of the people, they will never fail to amaze you with their creativity or sense of humor. The latest in a long line of naming mishaps comes from the tiny Northern European country Estonia. What’s In A Sign? Located in the southeastern part of Estonia, Kanepi is home to approximately 5,000 people. When the town decided to hold a vote for a new symbol earlier this year, oddly enough, more than 12,000 people voted for a cannabis leaf. Following the election, the familiar seven-pointed leaf we all know and love was officially adopted as the town symbol. Despite some pushback, the Kanepi’s town council defended their decision as very democratic, and we tend to agree. So what if more than twice the town’s population voted? A Deeper Meaning As it turns out, Kanepi didn’t earn its pot leaf icon by chance. Kanep just so happens to be the Estonian word for cannabis. And according to locals, the cannabis leaf has been the area’s legendary symbol for more than 150 years, since it was made into rope and clothing in the area. Although weed is still illegal in Estonia, possession usually results in only a fine. For people across the European Union, however, Kanepi’s decision to use the pot leaf is seen as increasing tolerance for cannabis. That’s why even though it seems pretty insignificant and more than a little silly, this little Estonian town is putting itself on the map by changing attitudes toward pot. How would you feel if your town changed its symbol to a pot leaf? Cool or no?
Cannabis Banking Bill Shot Down By Senate
Cannabis Banking Bill Shot Down By Senate
The surging legal marijuana industry could really benefit from traditional access to the banking industry. Unfortunately, the Senate disagrees. Americans’ support for marijuana legalization has never been higher. More than half of U.S. states legally allow cannabis in some form, and the nation’s current $6.7 billion cannabis industry is projected to balloon to $21 billion just three years from now. Despite this unprecedented momentum, however, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, which has forced those in the legal marijuana industry to deal almost entirely in cash. Introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, an amendment attached to a federal finance bill would have given the industry with access to banking services, but it was shot down by a U.S. Senate Appropriations committee on June 21 by a vote of 21-10. A parallel amendment failed in the House the week before. As we’ve outlined previously, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, banks that do business with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In 2014, the Obama Administration issued revised guidelines that loosened the restrictions somewhat, but virtually all banks kept their distance, still fearful of serving canna-businesses. The amendment introduced by Merkley would have protected banks and other financial institutions from legal concerns, but the Senate panel’s no vote keeps both banks and state-legal pot businesses in legal and financial limbo. Until positive legislation is passed, buying — and selling — legal cannabis will be needlessly complicated, and legal marijuana businesses will remain prime targets for violent criminals.   “The real losers from this action are our communities, who will remain less safe because of the cash that remains on the streets instead of in the bank,” Kenneth Berke, co-founder of cannabis payment and banking technology company PayQwick, told Marijuana Business Daily. “With so much of the country in favor of legal cannabis, it’s mind-boggling that our elected representatives remain unwilling to pass desperately needed legislation.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
A Stoner’s Summer Vacation Hit List
A Stoner’s Summer Vacation Hit List
It’s summertime, which means it’s prime season for a vacation. If you’re looking for a cannabis excursion, there are plenty of amazing places to see and legally enjoy cannabis. Let’s take a look at our top destinations for a canna-holiday. Denver, Colorado Everyone knows that Denver is the Mecca of cannabis culture in the United States. The city has been on the leading edge of the industry since the earliest days of decriminalization and legalization in the states. Surrounded by plenty of natural beauty and one of the country’s best outdoor music venues — Red Rocks — Denver is the ideal destination for cannabis lovers who crave time camping or hitting a trail. Seattle, Washington Seattle was one of the pioneers of legal cannabis. Surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the Emerald City is a stoner’s dream. Cannabis can be easily found, there are tons of landmarks to check out, and hiking trails abound. Plus, you can always catch a Seattle Sounders game. Or, at the very least, you’ll be able to hear the fans chanting from a few miles away! Washington, D.C. Summer vacay is the perfect time to head to our nation’s capital to take in some history. Home of more museums than you can count, D.C. is an amazing blend of culture, education, and fun. Although D.C.’s pot policy isn’t as liberal as Colorado or Washington, there are plenty of dispensaries where you can stock up before hitting the Smithsonian or our favorite, The International Spy Museum. Negril, Jamaica Jamaica and ganja go hand in hand. They’re pretty much synonymous. So, what could be a better summer vacay spot than Bob Marley’s homeland? Jamaica may not have the infrastructure of dispensaries that you’d find in the states, but buying and carrying bud shouldn’t be a problem. Snag a sack and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Jamaica isn’t the only ideal beach destination for a summer getaway. Costa Rica has decriminalized cannabis, and just so happens to be home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Central and South America. Toss in the rainforest exploration, vibrant nightlife, and surfing, and you’ve got one heck of a trip booked. Got a favorite summer vacation spot? Let us know your favorites in the comments!
What the FDA Approval of Epidiolex Means for the Medical Marijuana Market
What the FDA Approval of Epidiolex Means for the Medical Marijuana Market
Could the blatant contradictions of federal drug policies that categorize the cannabis plant as dangerous — but now consider the plant's most active compounds as safe — spur lasting change in federal cannabis policy? Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved GW Pharmaceuticals’s Epidiolex (Cannabidiol), ushering in a new and controversial era of cannabis medicine. Unlike prior pharmaceutical drugs based on synthesized compounds in cannabis, Epidiolex is a standardized plant extract designed to deliver a consistent dose of the sought-after “no-high” cannabinoid CBD. Epidiolex has not yet been scheduled, but has been approved for use in rare treatment-resistant epilepsy diagnoses such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In a press release announcing the approval, GW says it expects to be scheduled and available for prescription within 90 days. It is possible that in the future it could be prescribed for off-label use. The cost is still to be determined. “These patients deserve and will soon have access to a cannabinoid medicine that has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, manufactured to assure quality and consistency, and available by prescription under a physician’s care,” Justin Gover, GW’s Chief Executive Officer said in the press statement. A Long-Awaited Approval This approval has been both anticipated and feared in the cannabis community. The anticipators include the epilepsy community — especially those in states where medical cannabis is illegal — as well as investors and speculators, who have been hyping GW’s stock as the approval has loomed on the horizon. The fearful include activists and West Coast patient communities that see the approval of these drugs as the true end of state compassion programs. The decision also further highlights the federal government’s hypocritical cannabis policy, which views the whole cannabis plant as Schedule I with no accepted medical use yet has now approved a single plant derivative as medically efficacious. While much of the justification to prohibit cannabis has been the presence of the high-inducing THC, synthetic THC has actually been an FDA-approved Schedule III drug since 1985. The blatant contradictions of a policy that categorizes the plant as dangerous and its most active compounds, THC and CBD, as safe is already being used by advocates to push for federal change in cannabis policy. In a pre-emptive statement, the FDA immediately rebutted that claim and used the opportunity instead to stress the importance of clinical trials on isolated compounds saying: “This product approval demonstrates that advancing sound scientific research to investigate ingredients derived from marijuana can lead to important therapies. … This is an important medical advance. But it’s also important to note that this is not an approval of marijuana or all of its components. This is the approval of one specific CBD medication for a specific use. And it was based on well-controlled clinical trials evaluating the use of this compound in the treatment of a specific condition. Moreover, this is a purified form of CBD. It’s being delivered to patients in a reliable dosage form and through reproducible route of delivery to ensure that patients derive the anticipated benefits. This is how sound medical science is advanced. … It’s a path that is available to other product developers who want to bring forth marijuana-derived products through appropriate drug development programs.” The cannabis plant, even when it contains high amounts of THC, is non-toxic and non-lethal. Educated use is incredibly safe and the worst side effect of uneducated or naive use is anxiety and paranoia. As far as deaths or long-term health damage, cannabis is safer than alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, food additives, and most over-the-counter and prescription medications. Further, researchers have already determined that genetically diverse botanical cannabis markets (such as those in Colorado or on the West Coast) provide better options for patients because of “the entourage effect” and how the plant works in the human body. %related-post-1% Some commercial and home growers may be worrying about how this may impact them growing high-CBD varietals. While GW Pharmaceuticals holds a host of controversial patents on cannabinoid medicines, many farmers are not expressing concern, but those worried about plant patenting are saying now is a good time to protect common use genetics. “The more big pharmaceutical companies that we see coming on to the scene and the more patents that they hold, the harder it will be for everyone else,” says Beth Schecter. Schecter is the executive director of the non-profit Open Cannabis Project, which is currently working to open-source cannabis varietal data to prevent predatory patenting that would threaten genetics farmers are already growing. She says the OCP is sequencing botanical varieties, so extracts and pharmaceutical isolates like Epidiolex fall outside the realm of what they are covering, but more of the industry should be working to open source data before the impending wave of drugs that will follow this approval. She also points to the unfair nature of the foreign research that allowed GW Pharmaceuticals to be the first. In the United States, FDA drug approval costs anywhere from $500 million to billions of dollars. Naturally, only the best-financed firms can afford to research, develop, and market new drugs. In the U.S., in order to study cannabis, researchers must obtain the raw bud to study from the government itself. The government’s bud, grown on a single farm on the University of Mississippi, contains less than a third of the THC content found commercially in legal markets and is notoriously bad. Last year, researchers looking to study cannabis for the treatment of PTSD in war veterans were sent moldy samples to work with, stalling the project. GW Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, is located in Great Britain and enjoys government support and the exclusive legal right to grow large warehouses of botanical high quality cannabis to conduct its research and development. “[Epidiolex] was not subject to U.S. regulation in terms of testing and was able to do better testing than people in the U.S.,” Schecter says. What Does This Mean for the Market? Questions are mounting about the ramifications of the approval on the national CBD market. For Realm of Caring, the company that rode the biggest wave of demand for its high-CBD variety “Charlotte’s Web” after it was featured on CNN in 2013, the approval of Epidiolex is a good thing, but they stress that it is not the same as botanical cannabis. “Many of you ask us what we think about this news,” the company wrote on its social media pages. “We are happy that families will have a pharmaceutical option. History has been made with the first cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical in the U.S. The administration of a whole plant botanical extract is very different than the protocols for an isolated CBD. We look forward to continuing to serve the community as we always have! This means more options for families who don’t have any!” %related-post-2% The stories of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy that emerged in 2013 as a result of the CNN special generated an insatiable demand for “no-high medical marijuana” not just for epileptics, but for patients around the country still uncomfortable with the social stigmas of marijuana use but desperate to try it. Because of confusion and loopholes in federal law, international companies and unregulated small producers have capitalized on the demand for CBD medicines by selling “hemp-derived” CBD products. While there is no technical difference between “hemp” and “marijuana” because they refer to different uses of the same cannabis plant, “hemp” is legally classified as less than 0.3% THC allowing these companies to market their products as “legal.” Not all CBD stakeholders are as positive as Realm of Caring, however. Longtime federal hemp lobbyist Ben Droz told HEMP Magazine, “The federal government could increase enforcement against CBD companies not approved by the FDA, which is to say, everyone besides GW Pharmaceuticals.” The generic name of Epidiolex is simply “cannabidiol.” Whether or not having FDA-approved CBD will spur a crackdown on state-legal producers in medical and legal marijuana markets or ramp up crackdowns on underground producers remains to be seen. The DEA has previously reinforced that CBD is, in fact, not legal federally, but so far they have not cracked down on licensed and regulated producers in medical, recreational, and CBD-only states. They have busted up unregulated oil producers, but not to the extent that it has even made a dent in the supplies of oils being marketed as “hemp CBD” still making their way to consumers around the nation. Ideology, Not Science It’s important to note that the federal government’s policies here are ideological, not scientific, in nature. Much of the current approach to drugs and medicine in the U.S. is still rooted in an ideological belief in “good” and “bad” substances, with little regard to science and actual practical use. Richard DeGrandpre labeled this ideology as “pharmacologicalism” in his book, The Cult of Pharmocology: How America Became the World’s Most Troubled Drug Culture. “Technically speaking, pharmacologicalism, like racism, is an ideological system rooted in a set of assumptions that, although false and exaggerated, govern a whole range of perceptions, understanding and actions,” DeGrandpre writes. The idea that a single plant compound that has been tested in isolation is safer than a natural plant compound taken in the way other plants are consumed is an unproven theory, but one that remains incredibly profitable for pharmaceutical companies and the greater healthcare-industrial complex at large.
Inside the Last Opposition to Legal Cannabis: Lessons from Mormon Church Investments
Inside the Last Opposition to Legal Cannabis: Lessons from Mormon Church Investments
While 94 percent of Americans support access to medical cannabis, it remains a crime for any reason in 31 states and at the federal level. These numbers are beyond baffling considering traditionally conservative states like Utah, Missouri, and Oklahoma actually support in-state medical cannabis programs but are still having to beg for money and mercy to change the law and decriminalize their use. What is holding these states back? Publicly, the influential opposition has maintained its hold on these 31 states by inflaming the culture war between conservative and liberal ideologies. But with 94 percent of Americans actually agreeing on medical cannabis, the endless culture wars are simply “good business” — a distraction from the true incentive the powerful minority opposition to this issue has to suppress it. (Let that be a lesson from the world of cannabis to all American politics!) From late 2013 through mid-2015, I lived in Salt Lake City and commuted to work for a cannabis magazine in Berkeley, in my home state of California. During that time, Utah became the first state in the nation to pass a CBD-only medical cannabis law. I worked with local activists to promote whole-plant legislation, which would eventually make it to the Senate floor in January 2015; former Senator Mark Madsen’s S.B. 259. Despite the Mormon-led movement towards medical cannabis pushing the issue to critical mass, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) worked behind the scenes then to kill the bill and would do it two more times in the state legislature. %related-post-1% Last year, activists took the base of Madsen’s bill and announced they would be running it as a ballot initiative in the 2018 midterms. It qualified for the November ballot on April 20 and support for the issue is now hovering between 70 and 80 percent in most state polls. In May, the Mormon Church declared its opposition in conjunction with a paid campaign led by the Utah Medical Association with support from DEA-affiliated law enforcement groups to approach signers of the initiative petition and ask them to remove their signature. This attempt was unsuccessful. It's About Money What exactly was motivating them to put so much money and energy into preventing the chronic and fatally ill access to non-toxic botanical cannabis plant? As a patient myself, I want to believe they are motivated by ignorance because it excuses the fact that they are pushing for people like me to suffer needlessly. But, for years, I (and others) have hypothesized that the LDS Church may have significant financial holdings in pharmaceutical companies threatened by legalized cannabis and that may be what truly motivates their opposition. It looks like the financial incentive is now fact, not speculation. Late last month the website MormonLeaks.com released documents detailing $32 billion in private stock investments owned by the LDS Church. I combed through this list and made some startling discoveries. Beyond the fact that you couldn’t boycott this tax-exempt church if you tried (they have holdings in everything from World Wrestling Entertainment to Google, Amazon, and Facebook), the major takeaway is that these finances paint a real clear picture about why the Church has worked to block access to botanical cannabis; it’s just business. I found that not only does the Church have nearly $2 billion tied up in pharmaceutical companies and specifically all the major ones producing and profiting from synthetic cannabinoid drugs, which represented about $1.2 billion in total investment, but the Church’s portfolios also rely heavily on these drugs in other ways; they own stock in health insurance companies that are reimbursed by Medicare when they prescribe these drugs, they own stock in companies that make medical equipment that delivers these drugs and they own stock in companies that research and market these drugs. They also own stock in major opiate manufacturers, companies that make opiate addiction treatment drugs and for-profit drug rehabs specializing in opiate addiction. %related-post-2% Here are just a few takeaways about the Church-led opposition in Utah, but this list should serve as a reference for activists and politicians in the rest of the states where cannabis is illegal so that they can also uncover the motivations of their opposition. The main takeaway? None of these shenanigans will end — and therefore no patient or consumer will be safe — until the federal government fully decriminalizes all interactions with the cannabis plant and removes it entirely from the Controlled Substances Act. We, as American citizens, must declare that WE are “too big to fail,” not banks, pharmaceutical companies, and private prisons. 1. Abbot Laboratories and AbbVie, $242,632,247.90 The LDS Church owns 263,553 shares of AbbVie (ABBV) and 3,463,432 shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT), currently worth $25,717,501.74 and $216,914,746.16, respectively. Amid the “medical marijuana” buzz coming out of the gay community in San Francisco in the 1980s — at the height of the AIDS epidemic — Abbott Laboratories developed a standardized drug made from a synthesized version of what was thought at the time to be the only “active ingredient” in cannabis: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Dronabinol, aka Marinol. Marinol is pure synthetic THC suspended in sesame oil and was FDA-approved as a Schedule III drug in 1985 that causes side effects that don’t occur with botanical cannabis use and ultimately led to the discovery of the entourage effect. It is regularly prescribed to children and adults and considered safe to drive on after the user develops a tolerance. Of course, the irony in this is that the existence of THC — a Schedule III drug — is what is used to justify the Schedule I status of the cannabis plant as well as the continued over-regulation of high-THC producing cannabis in states where it is legal. Abbott Laboratories currently owns the rights to the drug Dexabinol (originally developed by Solvay Pharmaceuticals), which is also a synthetic cannabinoid drug. AbbVie is a spin-off independent company of Abbott Laboratories and is the current manufacturer of Marinol. AbbVie’s real cash cow, however, is a drug called Humira. Humira is among the most profitable drugs in world history and makes tens of billions a year in net profits. Humira was first prescribed to treat Crohn’s Disease (which I have) but has since (like its sister drug Remicade) been prescribed for a whole host of autoimmune- and inflammation-based chronic conditions, like arthritis. As cannabis and diet therapy continues to show more and more promise for people like me, they become a major threat to the bottom lines of companies like Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie. Oh yeah, and drugs like Humira and Remicade work by suppressing the immune system, meaning users are plagued with infections, their chances of cancer increase over time it, and side effects can become unbearable. (I say this from first-hand experience.) 2. Cara Therapeutics, $1,654,404.36 The LDS Church owns 98,126 shares of Cara Therapeutics (CARA), which at current valuation is worth $1,654,404.36. While $1.6 million is nothing to balk at, it is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the Church’s other more significant holdings. However, Cara is a notable investment because the company focuses on pain medications and specifically medications made of synthetic cannabinoids or those targeting the endocannabinoid system. 3. Celgene, $333,529,156.88 The LDS Church owns 4,310,276 shares of Celgene (CELG), which has partnered with Abide Therapeutics to develop synthetic cannabinoid medicines for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The Church is likely one of Celgene’s largest shareholders. 4. CoreCivic Inc, $6,626,308 CoreCivic Inc. is not a pharmaceutical company, but the largest for-profit privately held prison corporation in the world. Formerly known as Corrections Corporations of America, this powerful industry has lobbied the federal government to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and has seen its value soar along with the American population of incarcerated persons. It is a relevant addition to any list like this because it shows a direct profit incentive in lobbying to keep cannabis a crime at the federal level. 5. Endo International plc, Gilead Sciences, Inc., GlaxoSmithKilne plc & Johnson & Johnson, $574,060,653.92 The LDS Church owns 89,400 shares of Endo International (ENDP, worth $793,872), 1,398,859 shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD, worth $99,724,658.11), 45,800 shares of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, worth $1,884,212) and 3,846,187 shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, worth 471,657,911.81). Notably, Johnson & Johnson has invested in an entire firm to study and develop FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs. All of these companies hold patents to study or develop cannabinoid drugs, many are already in the process. 6. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, $102,068 The LDS Church owns 3,800 shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) valued at just $102,068. This is a notable inclusion for a couple reasons; this is “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s company and they are the producers of Cesamet, a commonly prescribed synthetic cannabinoid med.
The Stoner’s Guide to 2018 Summer Blockbusters
The Stoner’s Guide to 2018 Summer Blockbusters
Summertime is the season for barbecues, lounging by the lake or the pool, and — of course — blockbuster movies. From the early days of Jaws to Independence Day and today’s big budget films, here’s a list of our most anticipated Summer 2018 movies to help you beat the heat. Solo: A Star Wars Story We love Star Wars. We also love Donald Glover. Put them together and it’s a no-brainer. Audiences worldwide have been looking forward to this movie for months. And even though it’s already out in theaters, we had to include it on our list. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom The original Jurassic Park has been on our list of favorite films for a long time. Every installment — no matter how ridiculous the story lines get — will always grab our attention. There’s just something about seeing giant dinosaurs on the big screen. Hereditary What would summer be without a good scary movie? If creepy movies are your thing, Hereditary is a must-see. Just watch the trailer. Seriously. If it doesn’t send chills down your spine, you need to check your pulse. Ant-Man and the Wasp Marvel has single-handedly released some of 2018’s best action movies. Next in lineup is Ant-Man and the Wasp, and we’re pretty stoked. Ant Man is one of the most lovable heroes in the Marvel Universe. Despite his best efforts, he just can’t get things right on his own. Luckily, he has a sidekick in the next installment. Sicario 2: Soldado Following up on the 2015 masterpiece Sicario, Sicario 2: Soldado catches up with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro shortly after the president adds drug cartels to the list of international terrorists. All bets are off as the pair “get dirty” to take down cartel leaders and start a war with everyone. The Incredibles 2 We couldn’t make a summer movie list without including this film. The Parrs won our hearts back in 2004 and we're excited to see where the family goes next with Helen’s full-time job fighting crime. And Jack-Jack has laser eyes. Come on. What movies are you excited about this summer? Let us know!
Must-Spin Albums: May 2018
Must-Spin Albums: May 2018
It’s been a minute since we checked in with our favorite album releases. Luckily for us, the first wave of summer music releases started hitting shelves in May. Here’s a rundown of our favorites. Load up your playlists or grab them on wax and get spinning! Indie: Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts Hailing from Denton, Texas, Parquet Courts’ brand of stoner indie rock is a ton of fun. From 2012’s Light Up Gold to their latest release, the band has focused on high energy, relatable jams. Wide Awake! covers a lot of ground in its 13 tracks from surf jams to straightforward rock. Cue it up. You won’t be disappointed. Electronic: Singularity by Jon Hopkins Jon Hopkins is a genius. His electronic music reaches virtually unparalleled levels of virtuosity. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, you’ll dig his stuff. We thought his music couldn’t get better than 2013’s Immunity, but Singularity may have proved us wrong. Pop: 7 by Beach House Beach House’s lush brand of synth pop has been a crowd pleaser for years. 7 definitely seems like a return to form for the Baltimore-based band. Noticeably darer than previous releases, 7 feels more personal, yet still approachable. Hit the vape, start the album, and float away. Rap/Hip Hop: Daytona by Pusha T Pusha T is an OG. From his roots as a drug dealer in Virginia Beach to his work with Clipse and his partnership with Pharrell, he’s seen rap trends come and go. Now president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music, Pusha is helping pave the way in hip-hop. And he kept us waiting long enough for his new album. And calling it an album is a little generous. It feels more like an EP, but it’s all killer and no filler. Rock: Good Thing by Leon Bridges Now, we realize that classifying Leon Bridges as rock may be a bit of a misnomer. He’s soulful, for sure, and his voice shreds. And anyhow, rock is an attitude. And Bridges delivers that in spades. Did we miss your favorite May release? Let us know!
A Beginner’s Guide to Topicals
A Beginner’s Guide to Topicals
As the legal marijuana industry has grown, so has the number of delivery methods available to those looking to use the drug to get relief from various health conditions. Among the most useful and discreet delivery methods is topical marijuana. A full cannabis extract of activated cannabinoids, topical marijuana is essentially a thick oil which is applied externally and absorbed by the skin to provide targeted relief for numerous conditions, including muscle soreness, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, eczema, minor burns, and chapped skin. Topicals are commonly available as lotions, ointments, sprays, and salves, and can typically be applied multiple times. This topical use of cannabinoids allows them to absorbed directly into a localized area for a quicker and more focused benefit. People suffering from conditions like psoriasis or arthritis can use topicals for pain relief without having to rely on opioids or other pills that often come with bad side effects. And while some topicals are infused with THC, they won’t get you high, allowing you to think clearly and maintain full brain function while using them. Another benefit of using topicals is that they can provide you with relief from pain without getting questions or dirty looks from others. Because you are simply applying a cream to your skin, and not smoking, people will be less likely to notice or criticize you. Choosing and Using Just like with edibles and buds, the most challenging part of using topicals is choosing one that works for you. Not all topicals work for everyone, but once you’ve found one that does, it’s pretty easy to use. Start by cleaning and drying your skin. (A quick rinse will be enough.) Then, apply some of your topical to the area and massage it into your skin. It’s as simple as that. (Note: Don’t apply a cannabis-infused topical to damaged skin or near your eyes, nose, mouth, or intimate areas. And don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands after applying the topical. Also, be sure to wash your hands with soap before doing anything else.) When the topical is completely absorbed into your skin, you can go on with your day. If you don’t feel the effects immediately, wait a bit. It can take some time before you feel relief. A second application might be necessary after a few hours. Always listen to your body, and be patient.
No, Public Support for Legal Weed Has Not Reached Its Peak
No, Public Support for Legal Weed Has Not Reached Its Peak
A recent survey suggests public support for marijuana legalization has hit its peak — and has even started to drop. Virtually every other poll disagrees. Between April 2017 and April 2018, CBS News polled 1000 adults to see where they stood on the topic of marijuana legalization. The study found that 59 percent of those surveyed were in favor of it — two percentage points lower than a similar survey conducted by CBS News last year. The study might be cause for alarm for many within the legal marijuana industry if it weren’t for a couple of factors. For one, the study had a margin of error of roughly 4 percent, which is greater than the supposed drop-off. And second, and more importantly, virtually every other recent survey on the topic has had opposite results. %related-post-1% At the Motley Fool notes, recent polls from Gallup, Pew Research Center, and Fox News show that support for legalization among Americans continues to rise. Gallup, for example, found that between 1995 — the year before California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis for compassionate-use patients — and last year, legalization among America jumped from 25 percent to 64 percent. But What About a Drop? Not only is public support for marijuana on the rise, but there is no reason to think it will decrease any time soon. For starters, while 28 percent of Americans (according to the CBS poll) think cannabis is just as dangerous as other drugs, the more studies researchers publish that illustrate the safety of cannabis, the more peoples’ minds will change. More minds will also be changed as more information is published about the myriad medical benefits of the drug. Money is a big motivator, too. As we’ve mentioned time and time again, the tax revenue generated by legal weed has resulted in millions and millions of dollars for new schools, special programs for people in need, renewed infrastructures, and much, much more. These benefits show that legal weed can benefit those who don’t even use it, and will likely boost public support for the drug even more.
Study: 1 in 3 Non-Users Would Consider Trying Marijuana
Study: 1 in 3 Non-Users Would Consider Trying Marijuana
The availability of legal marijuana is growing. So is the number of non-users willing to try it. Back in February, the research firm PSB Research partnered with Civilized.life to conduct a study that explored “views on cannabis, cannabis usage, and habits and behaviors of both consumers and non-consumers to better understand the lifestyle of modern cannabis consumers.” Among the key findings of the study was that the number of those who’ve never tried marijuana — but are interested in trying it — is on the rise. During last year’s edition of the study, 20 percent of non-using Americans said they would try cannabis. In this year’s study, that number had risen to 31 percent. Why the Rise? When the study was conducted last year, there were fewer states where the use of medical and/or recreational marijuana was legal. It’s entirely possible that residents of states where pot was illegal answered “no” to the question “would you ever consider using cannabis?” simply because they would never consider doing anything illegal. If their states legalized cannabis after last year’s survey, they may have been swayed to answer “yes” this time around. Why Are Non-Consumers Now Curious About Using Marijuana? Again, we can only speculate, because everyone has their own reasons. One plausible answer, however, is that legal weed is simply something new and exciting. It’s getting good press these days, which naturally makes people curious, and when they want to learn more about it, it’s easy to find reliable information.   What Does This Mean for the Industry? If even a small percentage of non-consumers become regular medical or recreational users, there could be a very noticeable increase in sales. What About Other Countries? In the Netherlands, for example, cannabis has been tolerated (but not legalized) for quite some time. After interviewing some people who’ve grown up in the Netherlands, we found that non-consumers aren’t all that curious about — or even really interested in trying — weed. Most young people walk by coffee shops (where weed use is openly tolerated) without giving it a second thought. Maybe it’s because they’re used to it being tolerated, or because it isn’t “cool” since it doesn’t provide the same risky thrill found by using other illegal drugs.
How to Sell the World Health Organization on Marijuana — And Why It Matters
How to Sell the World Health Organization on Marijuana — And Why It Matters
For cannabis companies, access to the world export market is the difference between success and wild, untold-of Wolf Of Wall Street-level success. Several years into the legalization era, marijuana remains the world’s most popular illegal drug, a status cannabis enjoys for two obvious reasons: It is popular all around the world, and all around the world, it remains illegal. The reasons why are — almost — just as obvious. Marijuana is popular because it is useful and enjoyable all while being relatively inexpensive and benign. Look at that: a plant with healing qualities and (almost) no hangover. There is no comparison. Yet it remains illegal because — among other reasons — it has taken until now for authorities the world round to admit to those four qualities despite ample data points. But lo, even that is changing, as the World Health Organization is demonstrating — although change is happening at a glacial bureaucratic pace that will almost surely prove too slow for frustrated cannabis entrepreneurs, who meanwhile are desperately seeking access to the final frontier, the Holy Grail of cannabis businesses, the difference between a weed unicorn and a mere “successful company”: access to the international export market. STATE OF THE MARKET At the moment, prohibitionist states have more in common with western European countries. This is because international law resembles American federal law, insofar as whenever an international treaty — such as the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — mentions marijuana, marijuana is classified as a banned narcotic that poses a threat to the health and welfare of the people. That same UN treaty repeatedly mentions cannabis in the same breath as cocaine and heroin — two drugs that have killed many people, compared to a grand total of zero deaths attributable to cannabis “overdose” since the dawn of human history, so clearly, the UN’s attitude on weed is due for a reboot. The WHO realizes this, and its official stance on cannabis is in the process of review — and, one expects, revision. %related-post-1% As Marijuana Moment reported, ahead of a public meeting scheduled for early June, the WHO’s “Expert Committee on Drug Dependence” released some initial “evidentiary findings” about the drug. These findings are what you would expect, in that the committee recognized what most of us already know. As we restated above, cannabis has killed nobody, and has medical benefits for sufferers of pain and cancer or AIDS-related wasting syndrome. The WHO acknowledged this, while also bemoaning the dearth of clinical trials and longitudinal studies — which is what happens when you ban a substance while also making it extremely difficult, time-consuming, and ultimately a waste of time for scientists to study it. Those keeping score at home will note that so far, the WHO’s take on weed — realized after the organization solicited worldwide comment on the drug — is almost identical to the National Academies of Sciences’s review, released in January 2017. WHO IS DRIVING POT POLICY? With such well-accepted and well-known facts trickling out of the world order’s health experts at a snail’s pace — the weed version of Chinese water torture — it is little wonder, then, that the WHO’s findings have already been oversold by the overzealous or the unscrupulous. Some of them have been claiming since last December — when another WHO committee found that CBD, or cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, was nonpsychoactive — that the WHO has declared medical marijuana viable and safe, which it has not. It bears mentioning that the UN treaty on cannabis has never dictated national policy — at least not directly. It wasn’t the UN that compelled Richard Nixon to sign the Controlled Substances Act into law — and the UN didn’t do anything to stop or penalize Canada from legalizing recreational marijuana, or shipping it to eager patients and researchers in Germany, Australia, Croatia, and a handful of other countries. To put it another way: The UN is behind the times on drug-control policy. The lag is so bad that member countries have decided it’s better to buck the international order and pursue their own drug-policy reform, even if it violates the very treaties to which they are held — in theory, at least legally. But here’s the main thing: The UN has also demonstrated that it’s not interested in enforcing those international treaties. Its main enforcer, the muscle using threats of economic penury as its carrot and stick, was the United States—a country whose states are making an open mockery of its official policy. %related-post-2% Would a change in the United Nations’s attitude towards marijuana shift the US federal government’s attitudes? Could it, when uber-isolationist and renown UN-hater John Bolton is feeding Donald Trump policy advice? Probably not — but here, at least, is where the US matters less than the UN. The WHO is due to deliver policy recommendations to the UN secretary-general. There does not appear to be any way, scientifically or politically, that the WHO could justify the status quo — and the UN’s current secretary general, António Guterres, is the former prime minister of Portugal, where the drug (and all others) were successfully decriminalized. If cannabis comes before Guterres, it seems almost certain he will approve a weakening of the UN’s current draconian approach. That will accelerate countries’ already swift embrace of cannabis. That will be great for Canadian companies on the export market — and that, in turn, will compel American firms sick of having their country hobble their growth to demand a change in kind. That, more so than the cosmopolitan eggheads at the WHO, will trigger an update in US policy. But it has to start somewhere — and if those same eggheads finally come around to embracing weed, you know where things are headed.
Can Cannabis Keep Your Brain Healthy?
Can Cannabis Keep Your Brain Healthy?
From star athletes struggling with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy to soldiers struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the countless Americas struggling with chronic stress, brain health is constantly top of mind. Thanks to new research, however, some scientists believe cannabis may be the key to keeping our brains healthy — especially after significant trauma. Approximately 2 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. With these injuries come a long list of cognitive and behavioral challenges that can be extremely stressful and detrimental to continued overall health.  In fact, the number of Americans living with TBI-related disabilities number as high 5.3 million. Despite these overwhelming numbers, researchers believe they have found a link between THC and CBD and recovery from significant TBIs. When administered shortly after a brain injury, THC has shown to jump start natural processes in the brain that protect brain cells and preserve cognitive abilities. How Cannabis Helps Administered before or after a TBI, THC, and CBD protect the brain by kickstarting the natural process the brain uses to minimize injury. When administered anywhere from one to seven days prior to an injury or one to three days following an injury, THC and CBD have shown to bolster the brain’s biochemical response to traumatic injury. Even more interesting is that the amount of cannabis found to help retain cognitive function is only a fraction of the amount found in a typical joint. Studies have also shown that CBD may be even more effective at reducing and minimizing the lasting effects of brain injuries. For younger patients or those who prefer to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD holds plenty of promise. What Are The Consequences? While the research is still on very preliminary stages, the parallels between cannabis and brain health are certainly promising. As more health professionals look to cannabis — especially CBD — as a safe, effective daily health supplement, the applications and benefits may prove life changing for many people worldwide. Do you see yourself toking into old age? If so, why? Let us know!
Seniors: The Next Cannabis Boom?
Seniors: The Next Cannabis Boom?
A recent study shows that 64% of Americans support legalized marijuana. While younger smokers and tokers certainly account for their fair share of those polled, a surprising finding stands out — seniors are the fastest-growing cannabis user demographic. Senior citizens are typically identified as anyone over age 65. At first glance, that may not sound like the ideal weed demographic, but recent surveys have found that older Americans — especially those who toked earlier in their lives — are rediscovering their love for bud. Industry leaders believe many older Americans stopped smoking due to the threat of legal trouble and the stigma surrounding cannabis use. Now that many states are decriminalizing and legalizing weed, however, seniors are giving green another shot. A Matter Of Preference One factor contributing to the increased number of older adults enjoying cannabis is the sheer number of ways to consume it, as well as the ability to get repeatable, predictable highs. Whether smoking, vaping, or eating, seniors are not looking for the most potent strains on the market, but are rather interested in smaller doses which are becoming more readily (and legally) available. Interestingly enough, for a generation that grew up rolling joints, smoking cannabis doesn’t appear be the preferred delivery method for seniors. For many, the thought of ingesting smoke seems detrimental to health. Instead, many seniors are turning to vape pens. In some dispensaries, vape sales represent 25% of total sales. What The Doctor Ordered Perhaps the most compelling reason seniors are looking to cannabis is for their health. And we’re not just talking THC, either. As research continues into the therapeutic applications of CBD, cannabis products of all types are being explored by aging Americans. Cannabis research has shown tremendous potential for herb to ease symptoms of chronic pain and other age-associated conditions. As more seniors look past the stigma associated with cannabis, many may find relief from troublesome conditions they struggle with daily. Do you see yourself toking into old age? If so, why? Let us know!
Why Jim Belushi Is Weed’s Latest Celebrity Advocate
Why Jim Belushi Is Weed’s Latest Celebrity Advocate
Yeah, Jim Belushi. John’s brother. We didn’t see it coming, either. The latest to join the celebrity stoner hall of fame and sit among Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Seth Rogen is none other than Jim Belushi. The According to Jim, K-9, and Jingle All the Way star has not only been outspoken in his support of legal weed, he has sponsored events at his mansion in Los Angeles to support cannabis entrepreneurs and investors. So, how did Belushi get involved? Diving Into The Industry Belushi’s involvement in cannabis may seem a little random, but the reality is he’s no stranger to the industry. He owns a cannabis farm in Oregon, he launched a line of dispensaries this year, and has plans to release branded pot later in 2018. That said, Belushi’s work has not merely focused on his own ventures. Partnering with Green Table Global, a networking group dedicated to matching investors with cannabis entrepreneurs, Belushi hosted an after party during the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference. The institute itself is focused on powerful ideas with the potential to greatly impact public health and economic wellbeing. During the party, six cannabis companies pitched to potential investors, while keynote speakers explained the potential of recreational cannabis. Getting Vocal We’ve already established that Belushi’s commitment to cannabis goes beyond playing party host. But recently, he has continued to put his money where his mouth is — even if that means going to jail. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Belushi was quoted saying, “I believe in this medicine. I’m a celebrity. I could be arrested immediately — and I want to be, by the way, because I want to send the message out that this takes opioids off the street.” Belushi has hit on an interesting point — cannabis as a means to help manage our nation’s opioid crisis. If he continues to be this outspoken, there’s no telling how far Belushi may go. It will be interesting to see the waves he — and his products — make in the industry. How do you feel about Jim Belushi’s stance on weed?
Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?
Just How Big Is the Weed Industry?
News headlines nationwide have been touting the canna-boom. Cannabis dispensaries and production facilities seem to be popping up everywhere medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal. But in light of these reports, just how big is the retail marijuana market? The legal cannabis boom has certainly grabbed a lot of headlines over the past year. Until recently, however, hard data comparing the size and growth of retail pot had been rather hard to come by. Thanks to the Annual Marijuana Business Factbook, however, that is changing. The leading resource for trends, facts, and figures in recreational cannabis, the factbook is 300 pages of forecasts, benchmarks, and statistics covering the nation’s fastest growing industry. What The Numbers Say The U.S. retail cannabis market is valued at about $55 billion total — including illicit sales. When comparing the market to other industries, it’s actually easier to look at year-over-year growth as a sign of overall market share. Representing roughly $5.8-6.6 billion in revenue, medical cannabis overtook some other noteworthy industries in 2017.   Last year, retail cannabis sales overshadowed both Oreos ($0.7 billion), the tattoo industry ($1.5 billion), and the organic produce industry ($4.8 billion). These statistics alone may be a little surprising, but what’s more noteworthy is that legal cannabis now has Netflix (annual revenue of $6.6 billion) and McDonald’s (annual revenue of $8 billion) clearly in its sights. On the heels of California’s legalization of recreational weed, the retail cannabis market is primed to surpass these numbers in 2018. A Matter Of Time Looking at 2018 is only part of the upside of the cannabis industry. For the next 4 years, the industry is poised for 200% growth. Continued decriminalization means a significant portion of the $55 billion legal and illegal cannabis market may become more legit. If so, retail cannabis will be rubbing shoulders with major tobacco ($80.3 billion) and beer ($111 billion). Although a significant number of factors are in flux — for example, the number of states legalizing weed — the future of retail cannabis sure seems promising.
Are Workplaces Becoming More Weed-Friendly?
Are Workplaces Becoming More Weed-Friendly?
Mandatory drug tests were once the name of the game for anyone looking for a job in corporate America. But as popular opinion towards weed is changing, are big companies keeping pace? Marijuana and employment are two words that haven’t always gone hand in hand. As the legal weed business has expanded, however, more jobs have become available in dispensaries and at grow operations. This, however, isn’t the only impact legal weed has made on the job market. In some industries, marijuana drug screenings have actually come to be seen as unnecessary barriers to employment. As the need for workers has increased, companies across the country removing cannabis from pre-employment drug screenings. Leading The Way It may come as no surprise that the industries dropping cannabis from pre-employment drug screenings are those with the largest staff shortages. Companies in hospitality, shipping, and assembly are all facing significant shortages of capable staff. Dropping cannabis from pre-screening opens up a large base of potential employees. Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is the latest in a long line of companies to change their tune on weed testing. Even in the highly regulated world of casinos, Caesar’s was struggling to fill vital spots on the casino floor and in other areas of the hotel. By updating their drug testing policy, Caesar’s has been able to increase the number of qualified candidates while working to ensure workers are not under the influence while at work. Look To The Future Although current trends may show companies taking a more lenient stance on marijuana screening, that doesn’t necessarily mean the trend will hold. Currently, employers in the nine states — and District of Columbia — where weed is legal, are most likely to drop testing. Much of this is due to the sheer number of jobs available in these areas. In Colorado, for example, the tourism and resort industry mean jobs can be found virtually year round. As unemployment trends continue to ebb and flow, however, we will have to wait and see if states continue to be lenient on screening for weed. How do you feel about drug screening for weed? Let us know!
Pondering The Rise Of The Pot-Using Parent
Pondering The Rise Of The Pot-Using Parent
As the number of people with access to legal marijuana continues to grow, so is the number of people who are using it. And the number of parents using marijuana is growing as fast as any other demographic. While Hollywood often regularly portrays positive examples of “wine moms” — moms who drink wine responsibly on a regular basis — the idea of parents using marijuana around their kids is still a complicated and often taboo concept. But with more and more parents now using cannabis the same way others consume wine, society is grappling with what is — and isn’t — appropriate as far as weed use by parents is concerned. Why, How, and When Parents Use Weed A study by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University  revealed that, in 2002, roughly 4.9 percent of parents with children living at home used cannabis. By 2015, that number had reached nearly 6.8 percent. The percentage of parents who don’t smoke cigarettes, but use cannabis, had also risen during this time period, as well. The reasons that parents use weed mirror those of many other people without kids. Parents use cannabis to help them deal with numerous illnesses and health conditions. They use it because they like it. And they use it to help them cope with stress, whether that stress is due to work, raising kids, or a little of both. Those concerned about parents using weed aren’t focused so much on parents using it as they are when and how they do. And their concerns aren’t completely unfounded. Secondhand smoke from any kind of cigarette can be harmful to kids, which is many parents opt to smoke outside or when there kids are not around. Others bypass marijuana cigarettes completely and opt for cleaner and more discrete options like vaporizers, concentrated cannabis extract (or dabs), topicals, or edibles. Also, it goes without saying that there's no excuse for being stoned while you're supposed to be watching your kids or, worse, while you're driving them somewhere. Mitigating the Risks Of course, the most responsible pot-using parents still face risks. For example, given the fact that marijuana is still completely illegal in many places — and the fact that the concept of parents using weed is still very much taboo in the eyes of many — pot-using parents run the risk of being reported to law enforcement or other government agencies by disapproving neighbors, coworkers, community members, and others. Also, in the case of emergency, different forms of the drug can impede parents’ judgement and reaction times, or, at the very least, compromise their ability to drive. Without quick and easy access to a neighbor, family member, cab, or Uber, a trip to the emergency room, for example, could be dangerously delayed. Changing the Perception There’s no way around it: It’s going to take time for society at large to view pot-using parents as normal. In the meantime, naysayers might be interested in a Civilized.life study cited by Elizabeth Enochs of Leafly.com which points out that adults who use cannabis aren’t simply more likely to be employed than non-consumers, they’re more likely to hold supervisory roles at work. They might also be interested to know, as Elizabeth also notes, that adult cannabis users are also more likely to be homeowners with children, according to the Pew Research Center. Are parents who use pot simply looking to create the next generation of pot users? Derek Riedle, the founder and publisher of Civilized, an outspoken cannabis consumer, and the father of two young boys, does a pretty good job of summing up the likely view of many of his pot-using parental peers. “I’m not trying to grow young men who will become adult cannabis users,” he told Leafly. “But if they choose to do that, I want them to feel free to do so in a responsible way, so I’m empowering them with knowledge.”
Five Bad States For Medical Marijuana
Five Bad States For Medical Marijuana
Despite the unprecedented progress the legal marijuana industry has seen in recent years, some U.S. states are still refusing to fully legalize weed — even for medical consumption. As we’ve outlined previously, medical cannabis creates jobs, generates tax revenue, shrinks the black market, and reduces crime. It’s biggest benefit, however, is the relief it provides to millions of people suffering from numerous medical conditions. Unfortunately, while numerous states have legalized medical marijuana in recent years, others remain unswayed.   Here are five of the worst states to live in if you need medical marijuana to help treat an illness or medical condition: Indiana Indiana might just be the worst state to live in if you need medical marijuana, as only a few patients with epilepsy are allowed to use CBD oil — and this minuscule bit of access didn’t go into effect until 2017, long after other states acknowledged the benefits of medical marijuana. While Indiana lawmaker voted to study the issue of legalizing weed earlier this year, the state is a long way away from doing so — if it ever does. Georgia Georgia has a confusing policy when it comes to medical marijuana. While they recently expanded their list of qualifying conditions, there’s a problem: The state doesn’t have a distribution system. Patients who need medical marijuana are forced to find the drug on their own — which is hard to do when, again, the production and sale of medical cannabis is illegal. Mississippi Lawmakers in Mississippi have little interest in even talking about legalization, and only patients suffering from severe epilepsy are allowed to use medical marijuana. Alabama The Alabama Medical Marijuana law gives legal protection to patients with severe illnesses and conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, cerebral palsy, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you need medical cannabis containing a high level of THC, you probably  shouldn’t be living in Alabama. Wyoming Wyoming has very strict laws when it comes to cannabis. While a 2015 law allows the very limited use of CBD oil, medical marijuana is illegal and pretty much impossible to obtain. The Wyoming Medical Marijuana Initiative, which would have legalized the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana for medical purposes, failed to make this year’s ballot just as it did in 2016. (Dis)honorable Mentions The list doesn’t stop there. Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Kentucky are also behind the times when it comes to medical marijuana legalization. Medical marijuana patients in each of these states continue to struggle to get the medicine they need, and the chances of recreational pot being made legal any time soon is pretty much out of the question.
Can Legal Pot Reduce Recreational Drinking?
Can Legal Pot Reduce Recreational Drinking?
In February, Molson Coors released a statement considering legal weed a “significant risk” to the beer industry. A few months later, has there been a definitive impact on drinking habits in states with legal recreational pot? Let’s take a look. Headquartered in Denver and Montreal, Molson Coors was the first big beer company to speak out on the worries of competition from recreational weed sales. In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, officials wrote: “Although the ultimate impact is currently unknown, the emergence of legal cannabis in certain U.S. states and Canada may result in a shift of discretionary income away from our products or a change in consumer preferences away from beer. As a result, a shift in consumer preferences away from our products or beer or a decline in the consumption of our products could result in a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.” The Battle For Budget The filing by Molson Coors hits on a very interesting point — are recreational drinkers more likely to be recreational marijuana users? If so, how will competition for disposable income impact the liquor and beer industry? Thanks to data from the State of Oregon, we’ve gotten a brief glimpse. Looking at two groups of cities in Oregon — those with an operating recreational dispensary and those which had none — from Summer 2016 to Summer 2017, researchers found interesting trends in hard liquor sales. In cities with a dispensary, liquor sales grew by 4.17 percent, while sales grew by 5.86 percent in cities without a dispensary. A Look Ahead The results from the Oregon study need to be taken with a grain of salt due the limited availability of data and the focus on head liquor sales. Even still, the findings point to the potential for legal weed to disrupt existing beer, wine, and spirits sales across the country. Only time will tell if this trend will continue, but it will definitely be interesting to see as the recreational weed market continues to grow. Given the choice, would you rather spend your money on weed or beer? Let us know!
Which States Are Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana This Year?
Which States Are Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana This Year?
California started 2018 by legalizing recreational weed, and a few states might follow its lead before year's end. For those wanting or needing legal marijuana, times have never been better. Recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. More Americans — including, for the first time, a majority of Republicans — support legalization than ever before, and a growing number of lawmakers are coming around to the idea of legalization. Lawmakers support legal weed for a variety of reasons. Many cite the drug’s ability to help people coping with myriad illnesses. Others cite the revenue it can generate for rehabilitation programs, schools, roads, and other community projects. Still more support for all of the above. Despite this forward progress on pot, however, marijuana in all forms is still illegal in more than 20 states. But hat number could soon change. Let's take a look at three states that might be legalizing weed sometime this year: Michigan Medical marijuana is already legal in Michigan, which is often considered as a first step towards legalization of recreational weed. This could be the case for Michigan because, at the end of 2018, legalization of recreational marijuana will be put on the ballot. More than 365,000 signatures have been gathered to get the initiative on there. How many more are willing to make weed legal? Oklahoma Marijuana in all forms is currently illegal in the Sooner State. Only the use of medical cannabis with a very low level of THC is currently allowed. On June 26, however, Oklahomans will vote on Oklahoma State Question 788, referred to as the Medical Cannabis Initiative. If Question 788 passes, stronger strains of medical marijuana — weed containing high levels of THC, and not only CBD — would become legal.   New Jersey While New Jersey legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2010, only 18,000 people are currently using the drug as there are only five authorized dispensaries in the state. The state’s new governor, Phil Murphy, has not only moved to expand the state’s medical marijuana program, but he says he’d also like to see recreational weed legalized and taxed by the end of the year. The only question is whether he can overcome polls that show a lack of public support, as well as members of his own Democratic party, who don’t see eye to eye on the matter of legalization.
Pot Lands In Pro Sports
Pot Lands In Pro Sports
Beer ads, fast food restaurants, candy companies — the list of major sports sponsors goes on. For legal weed brands, however, landing a sports sponsorship seemed like a pipe dream until one team set the precedent. Nevada legalized the purchase of recreational cannabis in July 2017. Although they weren’t the first to make such a move, Las Vegas is now grabbing headlines for breaking ground of a different kind with legal weed. The city is now home to the first sports team sponsored by a cannabis dispensary. Let There Be Lights If you had one guess as to the first sport to tout a legal cannabis sponsor, which would you pick? Football? Nope. Baseball? Yeah, right. NASCAR? Dream on. The answer? Soccer. The first team in U. S. history to be sponsored by a cannabis brand is none other than the Las Vegas Lights — a professional soccer team that competes in the United Soccer League (USL). The USL is the second tier of professional soccer in the United States, sitting right below nationally recognized Major League Soccer. Sponsoring the Las Vegas Lights is a 16,000-square-foot dispensary called NuWu Cannabis Marketplace. Complete with a drive-thru, the dispensary is expected to begin selling Lights-branded products. In return, NuWu ads will be found across the Lights’ Cashman Field, as well as at public events featuring players. Getting Down To Business Brand visibility for both team and dispensary is just one aspect of this winning deal. All adults 21 and older who visit NuWu with a Lights ticket stub will receive 10 percent off any purchase. The dispensary itself is also run by the Paiute Tribe and the dispensary itself is located on tribal lands. For both parties, the co-branding is viewed as an opportunity to bring new attention to Las Vegas, breathe new life into the city and shed light on the positive side of legal weed. “This is the right time and the right market to do this, and we’re not going to hide. We think this will be part of the destigmatization of this substance and business, “ said Brett Lashbrook, Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Lights. Is there a team you’d love to see your favorite dispensary sponsor? Drop us line and hit us with your ideas!
Early Facebook Backer, Snoop Dogg Partner With Pot Startup
Early Facebook Backer, Snoop Dogg Partner With Pot Startup
Snoop Dogg is an established name in legal weed. Tiger Global, on the hand, not so much. Now, the two are partnering to help a weed startup. Tiger Global may not be a household name, but chances are you’re familiar with more than one of their investment companies. Founded by Charles P. Coleman III in New York City in 2001, Tiger Global was an early investor in some of the world’s most popular social media and streaming services, including Facebook and Spotify. Teaming up with Snoop Dogg’s venture capital firm, Casa Verde Capital, Tiger Global contributed to a $17 million series A investment for marijuana tech company Green Bits. Higher Tech Green Bits is one of the leading cannabis tech startups in the country. Offering a seamless point-of-sale system that incorporates state compliance standards, business growth best practices, customer satisfaction features, and operations guidance. The company currently operates in 11 states and has processed as much as $2 billion in annual retail pot sales. Available in 800 retailers in the United States, Green Bits has drawn numerous comparisons to the point-of-sale system Square, which revolutionized retail sales and the ability to make mobile devices sales ready. Impacting The Industry Although much may not be known about Tiger Global outside of the business in which they have invested, jumping into the cannabis world is pretty telling move for the notoriously private group. Partnering with Casa Verde indicates a growing trend of traditional VC groups branching out into the world of retail pot. Many industry pundits point to Tiger’s investment as the first by an institutional VC into the marijuana market. Boasting 38 exits among its portfolio of startup businesses, Tiger Global has a proven track record of building businesses to the point of major success or lucrative exits. With the cannabis industry still in its relative infancy, this move could prove a watershed moment for other startups and the potential for other major players to test the waters with legal weed. For green businesses, the future is certainly looking bright.
Why The Fentanyl Crisis Could Be The Best – And The Worst – Development For Marijuana Legalization
Why The Fentanyl Crisis Could Be The Best – And The Worst – Development For Marijuana Legalization
America’s fatal overdose apocalypse is opening minds to cannabis — and resurrecting the absolute worst and most punitive drug-war attitudes. Last month, as most of the internet-connected world was witnessing Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg alternately charm, dodge, and bamboozle Congress, another hearing was underway nearby — one that could potentially affect more people more strongly. The Hearing You Didn't Hear About Less splashy and less shareable than a semi-investigation into social media’s toxic effect on our democracy, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Defeating Fentanyl,” the synthetic opioid blamed for the steep increase in fatal opiate overdoses over the last few years of the crisis, was arguably more important for some of the very places Zuckerberg had taken pains to visit during his carefully choreographed tour of America the preceding year. It was certainly more immediately relevant. While it is no longer possible to claim that, unlike prescription opiates, “at least Facebook hasn’t gotten anyone killed,” surely it’s true that fentanyl kills more Americans than are killed by likes and shares — even shares of patently false or inflammatory hate speech. Fatal drug overdoses eclipsed the 60,000 mark in 2016, with the rate of overdoses due to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids doubling. It was a counterfeit pain pill laced with fentanyl — fentanyl easily obtained over the internet from black-market supplies — that killed Prince, and tens of thousands. %related-post-1% The take that “drug overdoses are bad” is neither fresh nor hot. Nor is the observation that the drug overdose crisis is, in a perverse, overly optimistic way, good for marijuana legalization. Because, so far, a drug-induced apocalypse has helped inspire long-overdue drug policy reform. An Unfortunate Path to Reform Opiate dependency is now a qualifying condition for a medical cannabis recommendation. Mainstream researchers state, plainly, that marijuana can be effective in treating chronic pain, the condition for which opiates are most often prescribed — and this basic link is also being made by policymakers, who are more open than ever to considering medical marijuana, thanks in no small part to other research that found, hey, states where a non-addictive, mostly benign alternative like cannabis is available see fewer opiate overdoses and fewer opiate deaths! Not every researcher agrees — a few, writing in a recent issue of Addiction, made a bizarre analogy to ice-cream sandwiches and drownings, two unrelated things, to argue that two drugs used to treat pain are also not related — but it seems clear that the zeitgeist has been altered. Marijuana legalization is more popular than ever. Medical marijuana's acceptance is near universal. Would this have happened without a drug-overdose crisis? You can hope, but we live in a world with one, and it's hard to separate the two phenomenon. %related-post-2% Change, and a reorientation of ideas, often requires chaos, or disorientation — and it’s hard to imagine a more chaotic, disorienting phenomenon than pharmaceutical companies’ eagerness to flood economically depressed areas of the United States with addictive, life-altering, potentially deadly medication. For these reasons, you can claim to have found some good in the fentanyl crisis and not be seen as ghoulish or foolish. But there is also ample reason to worry, well beyond the health and welfare of the opiate user next door — which, following a freak accident or unfortunate turn of health, could soon be you, as the opiate crisis is also stirring some of the worst and most beastly impulses unleashed by the drug war. A Fatal Flood In December 2016, following an award-winning report from the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette Mail that showed how pharma companies flooded the state with hundreds of millions of opiate-based pain pills, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN that the only solution was a new “war on drugs.” Egged on by President Donald Trump, who has openly admired Rodrigo Duterte, the cheerfully murderous president of the Philippines, where police and political gangs conduct open extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users, U.S. lawmakers are openly considering the death penalty for fentanyl providers (despite having “drug-induced homicide” laws on the books since the 1980s, to no appreciable positive effect). Opiates have even inspired American law-enforcement agencies to cut videos in which they dress and behave like… well, you be the judge. There have been some measured approaches in Congress. A bipartisan push to fund both more treatment and more sensitive equipment to aid law enforcement’s ability to intercept fentanyl shipments is a good example of carrot and stick together, in reasonable proportions. But too much of what little the Trump Administration has done to confront the situation is punitive in nature, emphasizing policing and punishment over treatment — or reasonable alternatives, an approach drug-policy reform advocates know as “harm reduction.” Indeed, the central cause of the April 11 hearing was a bill Republicans are pushing that would lower the amount of fentanyl necessary to trigger a mandatory minimum sentence. The ideological divide on this — between whether the solution is stricter punishments or something else — is sadly and predictably partisan. If the last 50 years and counting of the war on drugs has demonstrated anything, it’s that filling prisons and courtrooms with drug offenders doesn’t do much to stop drug users. Meanwhile, the albeit limited research on opiate use and marijuana as an alternative for pain management at the least strongly suggests that cannabis is a viable alternative. State legislatures, voters, and some federal lawmakers grasp this. But if old-school, lock-em-up attitudes also reemerge thanks to fentanyl, the disaster will be compounded.
The State Of Marijuana Legalization In Europe
The State Of Marijuana Legalization In Europe
We focus much of our attention on the state of marijuana legalization in the United States. But how are things progressing in Europe? European countries can’t seem to agree on policy when it comes to marijuana legalization. Some have decriminalized the drug, while others are looking to prosecute every user they can get their hands on. Here’s a quick overview of the state of cannabis legalization across the pond. The Netherlands The Netherlands is known for, among other things, coffee shops where you can buy and consume weed and edibles. While cannabis is still technically illegal in this country, the government has decided to tolerate coffee shops, which must submit to a set of strict regulations. Buying or selling weed on the street can still get you in trouble with the police, however. Not only that, but growing and transporting cannabis (with a few exceptions) is also illegal, which means that all the steps necessary to stock coffee shops with weed could get you arrested. France If you don’t want to get arrested, don’t buy or smoke weed in France. While there is never-ending debate in France about making marijuana legal, it’s not likely to happen any time soon, as too many people are still opposed to it. In the meantime, street dealers, trafficking, and grow houses remain a big (and needless) drain on French law enforcement. As for medical marijuana, it’s still very hard to get a prescription, and only a few synthetic cannabis drugs are allowed for medical use. Germany Germany legalized medical marijuana in 2017. And while Berlin is known for its party scene and easy access to illegal drugs — and while Many Germans, including the Association of German Criminal Officers, would love to see recreational cannabis legalized, as well — there is no indication that this is close to happening. While possession of small amounts of weed for personal use isn’t criminally prosecuted, we can’t encourage you to use cannabis in Germany. %related-post-1% Switzerland Obtaining CBD-dominant cannabis (with less than one percent THC) in Switzerland is rather easy. Switzerland is also considering legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Studies and pilot programs are now allowed, which means legalization is likely getting closer. For now, however, it remains illegal to consume recreational cannabis, although possession of 10 grams or less has been decriminalized. Public consumption will get you a fine, so be careful. Ireland Ireland has strict laws when it comes to cannabis consumption. While some politicians are rallying for legalization — or at least the decriminalization of the possession of a few grams — recreational use remains illegal. You can get arrested for possession even if you only have a couple of grams on you, and trafficking and possession with intent to sell will get you put in front of a judge in criminal court. Medical use is allowed in some cases, but special approval is mandatory, and rather hard to obtain. %related-post-2% The United Kingdom While support for decriminalization is growing in the United Kingdom, possession of marijuana can still get you in a lot of trouble. Obtaining medical marijuana can be a hassle, too, as only the synthetic cannabinoid Nabilone and the cannabis-based medicine Sativex are licensed for medical use. The UK’s marijuana laws are among the strictest in the European Union, though things could change after Brexit has been completed, as the government will no longer have to follow the European Union’s directives. Scandinavian Countries Scandinavian countries are well known for their healthy lifestyle and good education system, but Sweden prohibits medical marijuana from being prescribed. If you happen to be there on vacation, avoid buying or using weed — even a small amount — as law enforcement is aggressive with its prosecution efforts. Cannabis isn’t legal in Denmark, either. But in Copenhagen it’s possible to find weed quiet easily in the Christiana section of Copenhagen. Essentially a small town, Christiana has a history of squatters and street dealing, and it’s still possible to buy weed there today without any hassle, as the cops seldom visit. Use at your own risk, however, as cannabis is still technically illegal there. Portugal Portugal likes to do things differently. In 2000, they decided to decriminalize individual possession and consumption of cannabis, as well as a handful of other drugs. The results have been positive, making Portugal an example for other European countries.
Not Just Beer: Other Cannabis-Infused Beverage Options
Not Just Beer: Other Cannabis-Infused Beverage Options
Several major breweries are hopping from hops and barley to bud. But the list of new, THC-infused beverage options isn’t limited to beer. The cannabis-infused beverage biz is booming. Many people are looking for alternative ways to consume cannabis, and beverages have quickly joined edibles, oils, and tinctures among the most popular alternative pot products. While cannabis-infused beer may be getting a lot of headlines these days, these other beverage options can also hey you get high or help you feel better: Cannabis-infused Coffee and Tea Drinking a cup of tea in the morning or after work can be very relaxing, and now it can be even more so. You can buy tea infused with THC or CBD. These teas can be used as a way to fall asleep easier — or without pain — and can also be used to get your creative juices flowing at work. If you need some extra creativity or brain power during the day, you can also try a cannabis-infused coffee. The combination of THC and caffeine will leave you feel energized and creative, but also relaxed. No more stressing out at the beginning of a busy day at work. (We don’t recommend drinking it before bed, however.) Cannabis-infused Soda Today, even a soda can get you high. Different brands are available, offering a wide range of indica-, sativa- and hybrid-infused beverages. There’s a can or bottle for every taste and need: If you need help falling asleep, for example, pop open one with indica. Dissolvable THC Packets This might sound odd to some of you — or perhaps the best invention ever to others — but you can now add a packet of 10 mg purified THC to any drink of your choice. This flavor-free powder will allow you to discreetly enjoy a cannabis-infused beverage.   Note: If you think cannabis-infused drinks won’t get you high or relieve you of your symptoms, think again. Most contain between 10 and 40 mg of THC, and just one drink is enough for most people to feel the effects. Also, some drinks contain more than 200 mg of THC. This is too much for a first-time user or someone with low tolerance. Start with 10 mg, and work your way up.
Kung Fu Grip Drops Their Most Gripping Release Yet
Kung Fu Grip Drops Their Most Gripping Release Yet
Take a journey with the ever-evolving duo turned trio on their latest project, filled with their most mature concepts and freshest beats yet. Seattle based duo Kung Foo Grip, comprised of Eff Is H and Greg Scott, have steadily been building a reputation as consistent creatives, delivering an array of sounds across multiple projects. For their official debut released this past February on all digital platforms and pressed on limited run baby blue vinyl by Seattle Based Crane City Music, they have partnered with renowned producer Keyboard Kid to share their most cohesive project to date. They stepped onto the scene while still in high school and built a reputation as dedicated practitioners of a classic hip hop sound. As they grew up they never let their love of traditional hip hop stylings interfere with the development of their art. 2KFG is a journey through their minds, soundtracked by one of Seattle’s best modern producers. Here, Keyboard Kid makes a bold statement with his beats, delivering a perfect mixture of the popular sounds in rap today but backed by the heavy boom bap drums hip hop classicists will always crave. He provides the perfect canvas for Eff is H and Scott to tell their tales. As staples of today's ever-evolving Seattle hip-hop scene, they pull on their years of cred to collaborate with those on their level and give space to a few young up-and-comers, as well. Nacho Picasso delivers a typical goonish verse on “Risin’” in his trademark flow, sounding as on point as he ever has. On “BMZ” Mr. Nicenice and 2Cup Slim show up and out over crunchy synthesized sounds — perhaps one of the most inorganic beats on the project and tailored for a turn up rarely seen in the Seattle scene. %related-post-1% While the previously mentioned tracks content fits squarely in the drug-obsessed culture of current rap trends, Kung Foo Grip goes deeper than most, with 2KFG addressing life’s pitfalls and the struggles that can make it real easy to just want to get high and forget all the pain. The duo has always embraced the concept of “Indigo Children," and here we are treated to their ability to walk a line that few others can. Kung Foo Grip is a product of this crazy world and their navigation of its waves should be lauded — this is music that speaks to multiple facets of life, embraces the diversity, and has fun even through the struggles.
Marijuana Legalization’s Federalism Problem
Marijuana Legalization’s Federalism Problem
The law is the law — except when it isn’t. And very often, it is not. This is a good way to explain how marijuana legalization works in the United States. This isn’t a value judgment about you. It’s a recognition of exceptions created around you. If you are reading this on a device, or using a piece of software — and you are doing both — you are party to a contract. Chances are good that the terms of this agreement, to which you are bound, are unknown to you. 
So often do end-user license agreements go unread—and so often do their terms conflict with basic consumer-protection laws — that the contracts technology users routinely agree to with a simple click, and no review, constitute what some experts have called a “parallel legal system.” 
 In other words, the law is the law — except when it isn’t. And very often, it is not. This is a good way to explain how marijuana legalization works in the United States — and why cannabis remains a black market commodity in much of the 29 states in which some form of the drug is legal. Ripping Up Your Rights 
There’s wide recognition now that longstanding American drug policy is bad. Weakening harsh drug laws and moving to regulate and tax cannabis — capturing revenue for the public that would otherwise go to the black market — is proving to be winning public policy. But across the country, from coast to coast, in states where the law provides for legal cannabis access, governments are creating exceptions. 
Municipal and county lawmakers are passing strict laws banning commercial cannabis activity, or regulating personal rights meant to be guaranteed to all citizens so strictly that they cannot be enjoyed. %related-post-1% 
In a real way, this is worse than the end-use license agreement hustle. What local governments are doing is taking a contract you voted for — a binding voter-approved ballot initiative — and then ripping it up. 
In California, where 57 percent of voters approved recreational marijuana legalization in November 2016, having cannabis delivered to your home — in the same way you can have a carton of cigarettes or a case of whiskey dispatched to your door — is strictly prohibited in 75 percent of the state, according to a recent review from the state Legislature. 
This is because the Adult Use of Marijuana Act grants broad powers to local governments to regulate commercial marijuana activity — or, if they chose to, ban it outright. But even the minimum personal freedoms granted by marijuana legalization are restricted, or restricted away entirely. An Untenable Situation 
If a locality chooses to outlaw marijuana stores, citizens are still guaranteed cannabis access through a personal allowance of six plants grown at home. Yet in nearly 15 percent of the state’s more than 300 cities, citizens are required to obtain a permit before they can grow. In some cases, they are required to submit detailed site-plan drawings, submit to police inspections, and pay permit fees of $1,400 or more, according to the Orange County Register. Instead of embracing an industry that will sell more than $1 billion worth of product in its first year of existence, more than 65 percent of cities in the state have elected to ban it. This led the newspaper to ask the question: “Are some cities trying to regulate away Prop 64?”’ 
As far as state lawmakers are concerned, the answer is absolutely yes. This is partially why the California Legislature is pushing a bill, SB 1302, that would make it clear that local governments’ powers to regulate cannabis does not extend to banning delivery services. Bill sponsors state outright that “local bans on delivery substantially undermine” many of the goals of legalization. But to see these undone, and to change state law to allow citizens to enjoy it, they’ll have to beat opposition from powerful law-enforcement lobbies. %related-post-2% 
Other states could learn from this untenable situation, and create some minimum guarantees for cannabis access. Doing so would fulfill legalization’s main goals of ending criminal activity around the world’s most popular illicit substance. It’s hard to find an argument in favor of keeping cannabis legal. 
But the situation in California, often considered one of the friendliest climes for commercial marijuana activity in the country, demonstrates that marijuana legalization can remain an abstraction even after a big win at the ballot. It’s also typical. An “Entry Fee” for Basic Freedoms? 
Across the country, local governments are moving to create local carve-outs, or declare outright that cannabis friendly state laws end at city limits. In some cases, local governments aren’t even waiting for marijuana legalization to pass before passing bans. 
 Try to imagine an analog in which basic rights and freedoms can be exercised only after rigorous inspections or an “entry fee.” Surely liberals and libertarians alike would bristle at the idea of a police inspection or onerous fee levied on a would-be home brewer. Examples of similar limits that come to mind are poll taxes and other nefarious “exceptions” to democratic rights — a banned practice that’s enjoying a comeback. %related-post-3% 
This situation was in many ways predictable. Legalization ballot initiatives were deliberately written in such a way to grant local authorities broad powers — seen as a necessary move without which legalization wouldn’t have had any support from leery mayors, city councils, and hostile sheriffs or police departments. 
But this also shows the dangers of involving enemies to the negotiating table. Clearly, at least some local governments have approached legalization “regulation” in bad faith, using it as a cover to continue prohibition. This could be merely a temporary reaction, the expected resistance to changing entrenched policy. But it is also a clear sign that a successful legalization initiative is only the beginning — and that it will take years of work post-legalization for a regulated commercial cannabis industry to replace the black market.
Study: Marijuana Legalization Linked To A Drop In Violent Crime
Study: Marijuana Legalization Linked To A Drop In Violent Crime
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly claimed that marijuana legalization drives violent crime. A new study finds that, yet again, Sessions’ claims are unfounded. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy and recently published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, focuses on a two-year window (2013 and 2014) when recreational marijuana was legal in Washington, but still illegal next door in Oregon. During that period, researchers studied a variety of data on violent crime rates and substance abuse in 11 counties in Washington and 10 in Oregon. Instead of an increase in crime, as Sessions would have likely predicted, researchers found that the legalization of recreational marijuana was linked to a 15 to 30 percent decrease in the number of reported rapes, as well as a 10 to 20 percent decrease in the number of thefts. %related-post-1% As Herb reports, researchers concluded that legalization itself “reduces the likelihood of [cannabis users and growers] engaging in violent activities.” They concluded that it also reduces the chances that people growing and selling marijuana will be involved in gang activity, and added that legal, regulated marijuana markets free up police to focus on other crimes. Researchers also found that access to legal weed caused residents in states where pot is legal significantly reduce their binge consumption of “violence-inducing” substances like alcohol and cocaine. Sessions has frequently echoed the concerns of the Attorney General of Nebraska, Doug Peterson, who has claimed that Colorado’s legal marijuana market has led to increased crime in neighboring Nebraska. In 2014, Nebraska brought a case before the Supreme Court, claiming damages caused by Colorado’s legal weed market. The court dismissed the case, however, and, as Herb notes, Sessions’ claims were debunked by Snopes, which found very little evidence that legal weed boosted violent crime in either Colorado or its neighboring states. Not only does the study in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization also debunk Sessions’ claims, but it also mirrors a 2016 study, which found that legal medical cannabis had “no negative spillover effects” and resulted in significant decreases in violent crime across 11 western states.
Why Cannabis Strains Don’t Really Exist
Why Cannabis Strains Don’t Really Exist
Distinct varieties of cannabis do exist. Just not in the way we want to believe. In 2008, the marijuana industry and cannabis movement threw their weight behind Barack Obama in his historic campaign to become president of the United States. “Yes We Cannabis” posters were a prominent sight at industry events that year, and a popular strain called Obama Kush was flying off the shelves in San Francisco Bay Area dispensaries. I couldn’t help myself, I purchased my own bag of Obama Kush, but mostly so I could save the packaging. It was unprecedented: how often do you get to buy a bag of weed that is also a statement of support for a candidate who (we thought at the time) would end federal prohibition? The answer? Any time someone decides to sell it to you. Today, if a grower thinks their Blue Dream could command a higher price, they could simply decide to rename it say, “Trump Troll Trainwreck,” and watch it fly off shelves. (And no, the irony is not lost on me that the Trump administration could be pushed into truly ending prohibition). Trump Troll Trainwreck is about as real as the majority of strains the cannabis plant is marketed as (despite me just making it up) because strain names are not scientific fact. Whatever name is given to the buds in the bag, that’s what they become. Trying to understand strains by their given names confuses the matter more — that would be like trying to understand human populations by using their given names rather than genetics or regional cultures. %related-post-1% It’s not to say distinct varieties don’t exist, just not in the way we want to believe, and a lot of the same stuff goes by a lot of different names. Sometimes, as genetic testing in the Phylos Bioscience galaxy shows, samples by the same strain name are genetically distant from one another. Some “clonal groups” go by a ton of different names in different places for the exact same cut. The names in relation to the genetics themselves are a mess due to decades of underground breeding, illegal markets, and our current Green Rush hype. The human family tree is similarly a mess because we humans also are somewhat all related to one another. First names mean nothing at all, except perhaps as a cultural signifier. Last names are changeable by adoption, marriage or legal will. Names have been changed when immigrants adapt to new cultures, such as almost all of those that resettled to the United States over the last century. Names are a useless way to study populations of humans, plants, or anything else. By studying various populations in relation to their DNA, humans are just starting to translate and understand it. Cannabis genomic sequencing, similarly, has just begun, though various groups are now doing it, and making their data public domain to prevent patenting of common use genetics via the Open Cannabis Project. We are just now beginning to understand cannabis genomic populations, but we will never fully sort this mess out because we will continue to brand our buds with fun names despite maybe never knowing true DNA, thanks to a thriving underground grow culture, prohibition-charged black market, and marketing efficacy. But if strain names mean nothing, how does one predict the effects of a variety before they buy it? Packaging And Experiencing Don’t judge a book by its cover. A ton of people choose their weed at a dispensary by reading the names or by simply choosing whatever has the highest THC content. The most accurate way of understanding the effects is by the bud’s chemotype: or complete profile of naturally occurring compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. We don’t even know what all of these compounds are or what they do or how they work synergistically yet, but we do know that all of them taken together are what create the specific effects in that specific plant. This concept of whole-plant versus isolates probably goes beyond cannabis to all plant-derived drugs and is explained by “the entourage effect.” We also know those available plant compounds are altered by processing or method of ingestion and can be different at different times of day or different parts of the grow cycle. Two clones of the same plant experiencing different environments and lifestyles — or different farmers — can produce somewhat different chemotypes. The point being that with plants, and nature in general, there is no such thing as “standard.” %related-post-2% The effects of a plant on the human body are never exactly the same. Plants — like humans and every other biological organism — are never ever standard the way pharmaceutical drugs created by humans in labs are. Every harvested plant is a combination of two highly variable things: nature and nurture. So the best way to choose a variety? While knowing the THC, CBD, and other significant cannabinoid ratios is helpful, let your nose guide you. Cannabinoids act like the fuel, but terpenes (the smell) act like the steering wheel, and have a large influence on what sort of high you can expect. Biology Is Not Chemistry While those smells might tell you what you should expect, other people may feel different from the same exact thing. Just like the cannabis plant, a living biological organism, we are genetically variant, unique, and ever-evolving human beings who respond to different cannabis cultivars in different ways. When something comes from nature, it is designed by DNA. DNA contains the potential for what an embryo (or seed) can become, but it is not fate. Each living thing has its own unique genetic code as well as its unique life experiences that make them what they are at that moment in time (nature vs. nurture). Living organisms are not static things, they change over time and when they reproduce, they make 100 percent unique blends of DNA for the new organism to grow from. This means every seed, like every human baby, is 100 percent genetically unique. %related-post-3% With pharmaceutical drugs, standardization is everything. Pharmaceuticals come in consistent dosages of consistent isolated or combined compounds. For the most part, it is easier to become tolerant to compounds when prescribed in a pharmaceutical format. For instance, when using a pharmaceutical opiate for pain relief, over time the user will become tolerant to their initial dosage and will eventually need increasingly larger doses in order to achieve the same pain relieving effects. With cannabis, using a different variety, or blending varieties, is often more effective than increasing dosage. It at least makes me wonder if natural botanical opium poppies, from which the opiate compound was stolen and isolated, could be less addictive than opiate pharmaceuticals due to their ever-changing array of complete plant compounds? We don’t actually know, because we have never tested the theory. A strain is nothing but a name, a cultivar is the unique harvested bud in front of you that is a combination of its nature and its nurture. Every unique thing must be treated uniquely. The Perfect Strain There are a lot of ways to distinguish the genetic families in this plant other than using the word “strain”. Some people choose to use varieties or varietals, which is a great way of referring to the genetically distinct families within the cannabis genome. Others tend to refer to them as a “cultivar,” taking into account the plant’s genotype (DNA), it’s chemotype (its unique blend of compounds) and its phenotype (what it looks like) and recognizing the bud as the final finished product of both its parents and its caregivers. As far as ascribing too much meaning to any of this, we just don’t have enough information yet. Phylos and other genome mappers have discovered distinct families, such as Haze, that truly exist, but because Haze is such a large family with lots of breeding, inbreeding, cloning, and crossing into other family lines, it's hard to draw too many conclusions that are accurate to the entire Haze family other than their shared DNA — and DNA is a language we humans are just learning how to translate on all living things. %related-post-4% Herbalism is not pharmacologicalism, and there is no right strain, variety, or cultivar for anyone or anything. Humanity is not pharmacologicalism, we all sleep different, eat different, metabolize different, and prefer difference. The only way to find out what works for you is to understand what you can with what science is available and then try it yourself and see what happens. One day, if research is no longer incentivized by the sale of for-profit drugs, we might be able to make some more accurate predictions about the effects of all sorts of plants humans use therapeutically. Until that time, we must stop looking at this plant like a pill. A lot of the hype around cannabis strains is based in the idea of finding “the best” or the perfectly matched cultivar to treat specific diagnoses. Pharmaceutical companies are pouring a ton of money into this concept, as are botanical cannabis companies. What we need is a greater study of herbalism — understanding plant synergies — in order to truly guide educated use by empowered human patients. If we truly wish to understand the cannabis plant, we must let nature guide us, and nature is not standard.
Oregon Update: Is Too Much Weed A Bad Thing?
Oregon Update: Is Too Much Weed A Bad Thing?
Since legalizing recreational cannabis, Oregon has seen an influx of dispensaries and cannabis production companies. With all that bud, is it possible that there is such a thing as too much green? As soon as recreational marijuana hit Oregon in 2015, all bets were off. New farmers, dispensaries, head shops, and more seemingly appeared overnight. And that could only be a good thing, right? Not so fast. One statistic sums up the not-so-silver lining of the canna-boom in the Beaver State: In all of 2017, Oregonians consumed roughly 340,000 pounds of weed by smoking, vaping, eating, or otherwise. As of February 2018, more than 1 million pounds — yes, you read that correctly — has been logged in the state’s database. What does this 750,000-ish pound surplus mean for the industry? The answer is great for consumers but could mean trouble for business owners. Boom And Bust In the early days of recreational cannabis sales in Oregon, it was unheard for the price of a gram of flower to drop below $8. At such a competitive price point, there was no need to drop any lower. As stock and the sheer amount of available bud in the state continued to grow however, a $4/gram sticker price is quickly becoming the new norm. And it’s not just smaller consumer sales that are suffering. As the Willamette Week reports, wholesale weed prices fell from $1,500 per pound in the summer of 2017 to $700 the following October. With so much product and lagging sales, many businesses have resorted to laying off employees and, ultimately, closing their doors. The latter is complicated by the fact that, because of marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule 1 narcotic, these businesses are unable to declare bankruptcy. A Reasonable Solution Oregon is currently a cannabis consumer’s paradise and a canna-business owner’s nightmare. And there’s a lot to be learned from how things got this way. First, increased regulation isn’t exactly the best solution. Currently, large dispensary chains are buying up smaller mom-and-pop business, despite bargain basement prices. While this may be a harsh reality for small business owners, the industry itself is still relatively secure. Second, more people need to smoke weed. It sounds simple, but one of the easiest ways to stem this tide is to encourage more people to smoke. And this isn’t just in Oregon. As more states legalize and decriminalize, Oregon has a huge opportunity to export its new cash crop. The future could be quite bright.
New Studies Show Cannabis Could Combat The Opioid Crisis
New Studies Show Cannabis Could Combat The Opioid Crisis
America has a real problem with opioids. Two new studies show that medical cannabis could be a real solution. Regardless of what you think of President Trump, when he called the nation’s opioid crisis a “national emergency,” he was completely right. As the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board points out, the misuse of and addiction to opioids — including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016 — the same number of opioid-related deaths predicted for this year. That number works out to more than 250,000 deaths over the past decade or 115 deaths each day. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is urging “health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose,” to learn how to use the highly effective anti-overdose drug naloxone and keep it “within reach.” It’s Science But while the use of naxalone, which is carried by many first responders, can certainly save lives, new research indicates that medical marijuana can reduce greatly patients’ need for opiates altogether. Two papers published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data and found that after states legalized medical cannabis, both the number of opioid prescriptions and daily opioids dropped dramatically. As Scientific American notes, this new research mirrors a 2014 study that showed that states that had legalized medical marijuana saw nearly 25 percent fewer deaths due to opioid overdoses. %related-post-1% According to the Union-Tribune, there are two key takeaways from the new studies. First, the new studies appear to back up another JAMA report from November that showed that emergency room patients in New York City reported roughly the same amount of pain relief whether they received over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol, prescription drugs like Percocet or Vicodin, or Tylenol No. 3. The study showed that not only are addictive drugs readily available in emergency room settings, but that they are prescribed too often, which is playing a significant role in the current opioid epidemic. The study also showed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are doing away with opioids in favor of non-addictive medical marijuana. While it’s unclear whether patients or doctors are leading the shift, a recent survey of 3,000 medical cannabis patients found that almost all of them say they could significantly reduce their dependence on opioids by adding cannabis to their treatment regimens, with a vast majority saying they would prefer to use cannabis over the prescription pills they currently take. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the Justice Department seeks a “rational” marijuana policy. Wanting to save lives is pretty rational.
Could Switzerland Become A Major European Pot Player?
Could Switzerland Become A Major European Pot Player?
Switzerland isn’t a European Union member, which creates a great opportunity to set rules that differ from other European countries. If the Swiss play their cards right, they could become a major player in the European cannabis industry. While cannabis producers aren’t allowed to export their medical cannabis, several politicians are fighting for change. Exporting medical marijuana would be a huge deal for the Swiss economy. Because European Union members can’t set their own rules, Switzerland would likely be the lone European nation exporting marijuana, giving the country a significant advantage. CBD Products in Switzerland In 2011, Switzerland legalized the sale of cannabis with no more than 1 percent THC — a percentage that won’t get you high. This means that all products contain a high percentage of CBD. According to KannaSwiss, a legal cannabis producer, sales of CBD products have risen quickly the last few years. It’s also rather easy to buy CBD products in Switzerland. The number of registered companies manufacturing or selling CBD has exploded. In January 2017, there were five. At the end of the same year, the country counted as many as 410 such companies. CBD products are now available in every local pharmacy, as well as in dispensaries. A New Amsterdam? The Netherlands is home to coffee shops where you can buy cannabis just like you would order a cup of coffee. Several cities are looking to launch pilot programs to test a similar coffee shop system in which THC strains would be allowed. If the programs are approved, Switzerland could begin attracting another type of tourist. A Possible Setback Recreational cannabis consumption is still illegal in neighboring countries like France. If you’re tested positive for driving under the influence of marijuana, you could go to prison for up to two years and be fined as much as $5,572. Since marijuana can be detected in your system long after you’ve used it, French tourists might want to avoid the risk of smoking during their Swiss vacation and just drive home instead.
How Brewers Are Shifting to Bud
How Brewers Are Shifting to Bud
Reports of major tobacco companies moving in on the rapidly growing legal cannabis game have swirled for years. But while these reports have slightly stalled, THC-infused products are nearing release from another industry — big beer. Rumors of major tobacco companies playing the long game of legalized weed have circulated for years. While the market has yet to see Marlboro Greens or any of the like, major beer companies are actually taking significant strides toward THC-infused beer. Leading The Way Heading the charge of cannabis brews is none other than Keith Villa, the founder of Blue Moon beer. Villa led the company for more than 30 years, specializing in European-style wheat beers, but eventually stepped away to start his own beverage company, Ceria. Based in Colorado — of course — Ceria isn’t the first company looking to infuse beer with cannabis. Many brands have taken on the challenge. The key difference, however, is that previous companies have infused their suds with CBD. Unlike these predecessors, Villa is going for a headier brew mixed up with straight THC. %related-post-1% According to Villa, CBD beer certainly has health benefits, but doesn’t provide the recreational buzz most drinkers would prefer. “CBD is not the component that most consumers look for,” Ceria said in an interview with Brewbound. “It certainly has its merits…But the THC is what gives people that buzz, which is similar to the alcohol buzz that people get from beer, spirits and wine. A lot of consumers of cannabis look for that buzz.” A Note on Safety Now, before anyone jumps on a soapbox about the dangers of mixing alcohol and bud — which can make you pretty ill if you overdo it — there’s one more point to consider. Ceria’s THC brew will actually be non-alcoholic. Instead of increasing the chances of over-indulging, Villa’s beer will simply offer a different type of buzz for beer lovers. %related-post-2% While details including release date are still developing, one thing’s for sure — Ceria’s beer buzz with cost more than your average six pack. “It’s going to be more expensive than beer, but it will be an affordable luxury for those people who want to have an alternative to alcoholic beer,” adds Villa.
California’s Chalice Festival Makes Canna-history
California’s Chalice Festival Makes Canna-history
The state of California made history when it legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, 2018. While the new law made it legal to purchase and possess recreational cannabis, it has had little effect on the state’s many music festivals. Cali-based cannabis lovers rejoiced as the calendar turned over to 2018 and recreational weed was made totally legal. While businesses flooded into the new market, there was one notable exception for cannabis vendors: music festivals. While California is home to some of the most popular music festivals on the planet, namely Coachella, on-site cannabis sales and even possession have been prohibited at 2018 festivals to this point. These festivals still play host to glassblowers and other paraphernalia vendors, but actual bud purchases continue to be a big no-no. Well, at least until July. Changing The Game Scheduled to take place July 13-15 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, Chalice Festival is the first Cali music festival to allow on-site weed purchases. With crowds expected to top 45,000, Chalice Festival has the potential to revolutionize festival culture, seamlessly blending legal canna-business with arts and music. “This year’s Chalice will make history in several ways,” explains event founder Doug Dracup. “We’ve always been a leader, and we plan to lead by example at Chalice 2018. We know all eyes will be on us, and we have no doubt that we will set the bar for the future of legal cannabis and its relationship with music and arts festivals.” A Lineup for the Record Books A groundbreaking festival like Chalice demands an all-star lineup of musical acts. And this year’s event certainly delivers. From world-class party DJ Bassnectar to hip-hop MVPs Ludacris, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and The Pharcyde, Chalice planners have put together a lineup sure to please anyone. Chalice Festival is apparently setting the bar pretty high for music festivals nationwide — especially those in legalized states — and it will be interesting to see what effect the festival has on other events in the state. Either way, it’s a big win for weed lovers in the Golden State.
Why John Boehner Changed His Views on Marijuana Legalization
Why John Boehner Changed His Views on Marijuana Legalization
Let’s face it: If Attorney General Jeff Sessions had his wish, there would be no such thing as marijuana legalization in the United States. And while former House Speaker John Boehner held a similar view just a few years ago, times have changed. It feels weird to say this, but former House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company with cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensing operations in 11 U.S. states. Boehner’s about-face is turning heads, as the former House speaker says he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization nine years ago. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” Boehner told Bloomberg. “I find myself in that same position.” From Speaker to Spokesman Boehner, who says he has never tried pot, says he changed his position on marijuana after being convinced about its potential to help veterans and after watching cannabis help a close friend suffering from back pain. He also says he’s long been troubled by problems within the U.S. criminal justice system. “When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head,” he says. “We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.” Boehner is being joined on Acreage Holdings board by former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. Neither has made a financial investment in the company, though Held says he has considered it. For now, Boehner says, they will be focused on providing Acreage with advice on how to deal with the “murky legal issues and political issues” that come with working with federal and state governments. Saying No to the Nanny State As Bloomberg notes, Boehner and Weld say the debate over legalization hinges on a discussion of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives states the freedom to act as they see fit. “If some states don’t want marijuana to be legal, that’s their prerogative,” Weld says. “But that shouldn’t be dictated by the nanny state in Washington.” %related-post-1% Sessions’ dislike of pot — as well as his desire to ramp up the powers of the nanny state by rolling back Obama-era protections on legal marijuana — has done little to dissuade Boehner or Weld from getting involved with the industry. In fact, Boehner actually finds the move kind of funny. “When I saw the announcement, I almost chuckled to myself,” Boehner says, referring to the January reversal of the Cole Memo. “I don’t know why they decided to do this. It could be that the attorney general is trying to force the Congress to act.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
The Rise Of The Cannabis Consumption Club
The Rise Of The Cannabis Consumption Club
The lack of public places to consume cannabis is problematic, especially in cities where law-abiding tourists might want to enjoy some legal weed. That's where cannabis consumption clubs come in. Public cannabis consumption is still illegal in most states, even in states where buying recreational marijuana is allowed. Things might be staring to change, however, as Denver recently gave a license to a club called the Coffee Joint, where locals, as well as tourists, are welcome to vape, dab, or eat their cannabis products. About The Coffee Joint The first licensed social consumption club and coffee house, The Coffee Joint strives to offer a cozy place to consume cannabis, as well as educate the public about legal weed. Some rules do apply, though. While you can vape, dab, and consume your edibles by yourself or with your friends, smoking is prohibited because of the state’s indoor smoking ban. Also, while the coffee shop isn’t allowed to sell marijuana products, its co-owner manages the dispensary next door. Why is it important to have places like this? When you buy legal recreational weed, you need a place to use it, right? If you live nearby, you can just go home, but more options would be better, and a nice coffeehouse where you can gather with friends is one such appealing option. Where can tourists use cannabis? Tourists often have trouble finding places where they can consume their cannabis. In Las Vegas, for example, marijuana use is prohibited in hotels, on the streets, or in other public places. The only option is getting invited to someone’s home, but how often does that happen? It’s great that recreational cannabis is allowed in Las Vegas, but when it’s hard to find a place to use it, tourists might feel compelled to start using it illegally on the streets or in their hotel rooms. With access to licensed cannabis consumption clubs, they would have a safer and legal alternative where they could enjoy their weed. Why aren’t there more cannabis lounges or cafes? As USA Today reports, lawmakers are struggling to come up with rules that would allow people to consume cannabis in certain places without compromising other regulations like indoor smoking bans. Also, some fear that these lounges could create public safety problems, especially when people drive home after smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis. A lot has still to be figured out. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
How Marijuana Demonstrates The Weakness Of The UN
How Marijuana Demonstrates The Weakness Of The UN
It is possible to simultaneously reject John Bolton’s view of the world and to be rightly dismissive of the United Nations — though not for a reason to which America’s walrus-faced reactionary would be sympathetic.
 A reflexive though ultimately cynical nod towards the UN’s international order is how the United States helped scotch Canada’s efforts to decriminalize marijuana a lifetime ago, during President George W. Bush’s first term. Today, Canada’s flagrant dismissal of such scruples — and the resulting international trade in cannabis, in which it is the unquestioned leader — is yet another example of the low regard with which much of the world regards its supposed peacekeeper. For this, you can lay most of the blame at the foot of the United States, which is responsible for pushing its hard line on drugs to the rest of the world at a time when it was the dominant power — and which has never had much use for the UN except for as a rubber stamp, and one that it doesn’t always bother to get. %related-post-1% Borne out of the calamity of World War II — which itself was the result of previous internationalist failures — the UN’s main function has been to provide a semblance of international decorum. The UN dispenses a sort of global “conventional wisdom” (though one only rarely considered beyond a small coterie of think-tank eggheads and Foreign Policy subscribers) and provides a venue in which to air grievances. Not a court — that body, to which neither the US nor China are parties, is in The Hague — but a sort of agora of the world, where a wrongdoer can be identified and publicly denounced, provided they are are unpopular or isolated enough, or insufficiently wealthy. In other words: an international coffee klatch, enfeebled and farcical, replete with corruption. The Case For Revisiting Dusty Treaties This is a good starting point from which to consider the UN’s blanket prohibition on certain narcotic drugs — including cannabis, the world’s most popular illegal drug where it is illegal, and a real-life game of Monopoly where it is not. Three international treaties prohibit or restrict access to most drugs: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and 1988’s Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Like in the US’s Controlled Substances Act, exact restrictions on drugs depend on their categorization, or “scheduling.” Like the CSA, these international treaties classify cannabis as a “Schedule I” substance, meaning it is the most dangerous and subject to the tightest controls. According to the terms of the 1961 Single Convention, the world’s citizens agreed to work to end cannabis use worldwide by 1989. You could say that it didn’t quite work out, and that in itself would justify revisiting these dusty treaties. Yet in many countries, the passage of laws outlawing or restricting cannabis was justified in part by adherence to these treaties. And to this day, the Drug Enforcement Administration claims, with a straight face, that it must consider illegal non-psychoactive cannabis oil high in the compound CBD — a product derived entirely from hemp, which is legal to import into the US — because of these treaties. Meanwhile, Canada has become the global leader in medical cannabis. With the imprimatur from Canada’s federal government and its health ministry, 84 companies grow medical marijuana, several of which have received export licenses. By the end of this month, Canadian companies are expected to have exported some 528 kilograms of dried cannabis flower and 911 liters of marijuana oil. That’s about the annual output of a medium-sized marijuana farm in California, but the mere fact that Canada is shipping weed to Germany, Australia, and the Czech Republic was unthinkable not that long ago. A Conventional Lack Of Weed Wisdom If you were logical, you might assume that Canada’s global cannabis trade makes a mockery of the three UN agreements. It does, but it’s not nearly as problematic as Canada’s domestic marijuana policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize recreational marijuana, a vow that’s on track to be fulfilled this summer. Allowing cannabis for medical or research purposes is forgivable under the UN treaties. Allowing citizens to smoke weed for fun isn’t, leading those UN-Foreign Policy egghead types to fume and fulminate that by legalizing and taxing a popular drug that has never killed anyone, is safer than alcohol, and will be used all over the globe until the end of time regardless of what international law may say, Canada was on course for some kind of international reckoning. %related-post-2% “Canada cannot pick and choose which international laws to follow without encouraging other countries to do the same,” insisted Steven J Hoffman, a law professor and columnist at Vox. In a perfect world, Hoffman may have a point. In our world, the world in which the UN exists, member nations freely do as they please, all but daring the UN to do anything about it. The UN rarely ever does, and the world continues to turn. (In sharp contrast to the early 2000s, when Bush Administration officials made the absurd claim that Canadian marijuana decriminalization would destabilize the two countries’ border, one of the world’s safest and most boring, Trump Administration officials have barely acknowledged Trudeau’s plan. Not that the US is abrogating its self-appointed role as the world’s drug cop.) In 2009, Bolivia altered its constitution to allow for production of coca leaves, the raw material from which cocaine is manufactured. This violated the conventions, eggheads howled. About the worst the UN can do is subject scofflaws to a browbeating or a cold shoulder at the next meetup. “This can be embarrassing in international diplomatic circles,” observed Keith Humphreys, a Stanford University law professor and frequent commentator on drug policy, “but no nation has ever collapsed due to embarrassment.” And in Bolivia’s case, it didn’t even do that. Not that it should. Considering the UN, the protectorate of human rights and the environment, has on its Security Council nations with deplorable human rights records and has its headquarters in a country whose leadership includes climate-change deniers, marijuana is the least of its worries. But at the same time, its outmoded, antiquated stance on drugs is yet another example of how easily its dictates can be ignored without serious consequence.
The President Pledges to Protect Pot
The President Pledges to Protect Pot
President Trump has promised to protect the marijuana industry in states where the drug is currently legal, potentially putting an end to the legislative limbo set in motion by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent rolling back of the Obama-era Cole Memo. While on the campaign trail, presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to respect the rights of states that legalized marijuana. He also called recreational pot “bad,” however, seemingly implying that he’d be open to the idea of stiffer regulations. %related-post-1% While the legal marijuana industry has continued to boom since Trump took office, tensions within the industry increased further with Sessions’ decision in January to rescind the Obama-era policy of non-interference toward pot-friendly states. But while Sessions gave prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, he stopped short of directing them to do so. And now, President Trump appears willing to support legislation that would block them from even considering it. Some form of cannabis is now legal in 30 states, and more Americans — 64 percent — now support legalization than at any time in American history. Seemingly aware of the growing public support for cannabis, Trump recently pledged to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado that he would support a federalism-based legal solution that would protect the drug in states where it is legal. The pledge, which was verified by White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, came during a recent meeting between Gardner and Trump. Trump had previously singled out Colorado as having “some big problems” related to recreational weed, and those comments, coupled with Sessions’ actions in January — after Sessions had promised Gardner he would do nothing to interfere with the state’s legal weed market — prompted Gardner to make a deal with the president regarding the future of legal weed. %related-post-2% In exchange for the President Trump’s promise that he would protect pot-friendly states from federal interference, Gardner agree to lift his blockade on U.S. Department of Justice nominees — a move he made after Sessions’ move in January. Gardner was pleased with the deal. "President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all," he said in a statement. Legalization advocates are cautiously optimistic, as well. “We may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mason Tvert, who launched a 2012 ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, told the Associated Press. “This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado but throughout the country.” While Gardner plans to introduce bipartisan legislation that would block the federal government from interfering with state marijuana markets, there could still be cause for concern. As we reported previously, Trump has hinted at replacing the prohibitionist Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. If there’s anyone who’d like to crack down on legal weed more than Sessions, it’s him. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Which Celebrities Are Getting Into The Cannabis Game?
Which Celebrities Are Getting Into The Cannabis Game?
Celebrities are no strangers to the cannabis game. From familiar faces to former A-listers, celebs are making the move into legal cannabis for a multitude of reasons. Cannabis is still booming and is drawing investors of all industries anxious to cash in. Some of the most notable weed investors are celebrities who have developed a vested interested in marijuana. Whether through a lifelong love affair with herb or otherwise, it’s amazing to see who is investing, where, and why. Who And Why Now? Let’s start our discussion with the most familiar faces. The folks whose names pop in your head when you think of weed. That’s right — Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, and Snoop Dogg. Why are these guys getting in on the weed game? Well, it makes sense with their personal brands. These three guys have virtually been synonymous with smoking, so it’s only natural that they would release their products. Beyond some of the famous faces, there are celebs who are getting in on legal weed because of its health benefits. Whoopi Goldberg’s company, Whoopi & Maya, began in an effort to ease menstrual symptoms, while Melissa Etheridge’s Etheridge Farms offer cannabis products to treat cancer symptoms and arthritis. Finally, there is a group of celebrities that are investing in cannabis because it may have saved their lives — quite literally. In October 2015, Lamar Odom nearly died from a cocaine overdose. After recovering, Odom spoke out about medical cannabis and the key role it played in overcoming his cocaine addiction. Operating under the name Rich Soil Organics, Odom’s company is expected to launch in 2018. What Are The Obstacles? If you think a famous face is enough to sell cannabis, however, it’s time to think again. As legalization and decriminalization becomes more common, some countries are taking a harder stance on celeb-endorsed weed. Most notably, Canada has strict packaging guidelines that prevent Snoop Dogg from appearing in any ads for his products. If more countries follow Canada’s lead, it will be interesting to see just how much impact star power has on cannabis buyers. What are your thoughts on star power in the weed industry? Let us know!
2018’s Best Marijuana Storage Containers
2018’s Best Marijuana Storage Containers
Great bud is an investment, and no one wants to waste their money by letting their stash get stale. Let’s take a look at the best marijuana storage containers on the market designed to keep your weed in prime condition. Stale weed is no fun for anyone. It has less flavor, is less potent, and is just disappointing all around. The good news is that there is a whole host of new — and some tried and true — storage containers that will keep your buds looking and tasting fresh as a daisy. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites. The Mason Jar We’re kicking off our list with a classic. Mason jars are relatively inexpensive — around $20 for 12 brand new — and offer an air-tight seal, which is perfect for long-term weed storage. Also, you can find them at pretty much any thrift store, making them a very cost-effective option. The only knock against mason jars is that they aren’t light proof. So if you’re going with this option, make sure to store your stash in a cool, dark place. TightVac While not explicitly a cannabis accessory company, TightVac makes the perfect product for storing bud. These containers are super affordable, light proof, and offer air-tight sealing. Simply push a button and air is pushed out. At around $10 for ½ ounce container, they are a solid choice. Goodlife Cookies Stack If you consider yourself a cannabis connoisseur, this is the storage option for you. The Goodlife Cookie stack basically offers three storage options in one. If you like having multiple strains on hand, you can store them all side-by-side and quickly grab what you’re in the mood for. At $28, this option is a little on the pricey side, but worth it for keep you stash organized. Cannador This piece works just like a cigar humidor, using moisture to keep your herb in prime condition. It’s extremely effective and sharp looking, but at $150 it’s not the best choice for the budget conscious. Still, if you can handle the cost, there aren’t many better options on the market. SneakGuard The SneakGuyard is the best all-around storage container on the market. It’s smell proof, blocks out moisture and light, is air proof, and can be secured with a code. Add in built-in storage sections for various strains and a price point of $39.95 and the decision practically makes itself. Do you have a preferred method for storing your stash? Shoot us a line and let us know!
4/20: One Stoner’s Game Plan
4/20: One Stoner’s Game Plan
As if 4/20 wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, this year’s celebration happens to fall on a Friday. Get your pencils ready and let’s put together the perfect game plan for a world-class 4/20. The world’s biggest cannabis celebration is right around the corner, so now is the perfect time to put together a schedule of your favorite weed-related activities. Here are our suggestions: Step 1. Call in sick. Ok, ok... Technically, you could have taken care of this one ahead of time, but not all of us are planners, per se. Anyhow. First things first. Give your boss a ring and say you’re a little under the weather. It’s tough to celebrate from a desk, you know? Step 2. Go outside. One of our favorite cannabis activities is hitting a bowl and then hitting a trail. Since you got up early to call in anyhow, you might as well make the most of the morning by heading out into the great outdoors. Whether you go for a quick hike, take the dog for a walk, or go grab coffee in the park, you won’t regret starting your 4/20 this way. Step 3. Hit the dispensary. We can’t really imagine anything worse than running out of herb on 4/20. Make sure you’ve got enough stock by heading to your local dispensary. Or, better yet, get some bud delivered. Wink, wink. Give something new a shot and maybe find a new favorite strain or edible. Step 4. Veg out. Vegging out is a classic stoner activity. Naturally, you should schedule some time to lounge on the couch. Watch some Netflix, chill out to some good music, or just do whatever you want. There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate 4/20, so do what makes you happy! Side note: Super Troopers 2 opens on 4/20, so feel free to forgo a couch party for a trip to your local theater! Step 5. Catch some live music. Cities across the globe celebrate 4/20 in the best possible way: music festivals. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, chances are someone is hosting a 4/20 concert. From Bob Marley cover bands to Sublime and Grateful Dead-inspired groups, there are likely to be plenty of options, so head to your local watering hole and see who takes the stage! Step 6. Celebrate safely. Just because. Do you have a favorite way to spend 4/20? We’re all ears. Hit us with your suggestions!
2018: The Biggest 4/20 Yet?
2018: The Biggest 4/20 Yet?
4/20 is Black Friday for cannabis dispensaries. With California and Nevada dispensaries now in action, 2018’s annual celebration is looking like a record breaker. Shrouded in the mists of time, the origins of 4/20 have been cause for speculation for decades. A quick internet search, however, will give you the 4-11 on a group of teens from Marin County, Calif., credited with coining the term. Decades since the Waldos, as they affectionately referred to themselves, started toking outside their high school, 420 has become the biggest pot celebration on the planet. A Cause For Celebration Ever since 420 became a staple of stoner jargon, the date has been circled on calendars as a celebration of all things green and ganja-related. Even before Colorado legalized marijuana, The University of Colorado in Boulder was notorious for huge smoke-ins and weed celebrations each April. Now, Colorado is still ground zero for some of the largest 420 celebrations in the U.S. From Denver’s Mile High Festival to the Colorado 420 Fest in Colorado Springs, the state is home to hundreds of events. Not to be outdone, California and Arizona are fully embracing their legal weed status in 2018 with major events, including 4/20 Green Gala: Super Troopers Edition in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the SoCal Cannabis Cup — featuring Lil Wayne and Nas — in San Bernardino. A National Impact 420 is expected to leave much more than a cultural impact this year. Dispensaries across the country are preparing for record-breaking sales figures. With 4/20 falling on a Friday in 2018, experts are expecting sales to outperform the massive $45 million mark set by the 2017 celebration. That number represented a 20 percent growth over 2016 and an overall increase of 13 percent in consumer traffic, according to MJ Freeway, a leading cannabis industry data company. Nationwide, 4/20 is becoming a natural entry point for adults interested in learning more about cannabis. Many dispensaries and cannabis companies run significant discounts on their products, making some products and experiences more accessible to a broader audience. In addition to the growing financial impacts 420, opening up new consumer bases may prove pivotal in the growing trend of decriminalization.
The Challenges of Marijuana Marketing
The Challenges of Marijuana Marketing
While the legal weed industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, conflicting local, state, and federal regulations present unique roadblocks when it comes to marijuana marketing. As we may have already mentioned a few times, the legal marijuana market is exploding. Not only are more and more states moving to legalize cannabis, but countless budding bud businesses have sprouted up to provide pot — as well as new pot-related products and services — to the growing numbers of consumers who can now legally buy the drug. For all of its innovation and growth, however, the cannabis industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to digital marketing. %related-post-1% As Ad Week notes, Google, Facebook, and Instagram have all blocked marijuana companies from advertising on their platforms — even in states where marijuana is legal. “Operators like Facebook, Instagram are pulling accounts all the time or Facebook won’t even let you start advertising,” Cy Scott, CEO and co-founder of an analytics company that works with cannabis brands, told Ad Week. “It’s worse than alcohol or tobacco—you see beer commercials all the time [where] everyone looks like they’re having a good time and enjoying alcohol, but you don’t see that with cannabis.” While 30 states have legalized some form of marijuana, 20 have not. That disparity, coupled with the fact that marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level, has made allowing marijuana advertising — even in small amount — too politically risky for the likes of Google and Facebook. And that climate isn’t likely to change much until cannabis is legal everywhere. In order to maximize their opportunities for growth in the face of these unique obstacles, cannabis companies are taking a creative approach when it comes to marketing. With many cannabis companies steering away from digital ads, the folks at Search Engine Land recommend companies build cannabis marketing teams consisting of “the best SEO strategists, content marketers, email specialists and public relations (PR) managers available.” %related-post-2% Cura Cannabis Solutions’ e-commerce site features a referral program that uses MailChimp for managing email campaigns. The company also partners with publishers like Leafly, who offer reviews of dispensaries and specific strains of cannabis. Some retailers and dispensaries connect with new customers via in-store demonstration days. Others have promoted themselves with near-field communication, mobile payments, and text messaging campaigns. As industry experts note, the cannabis companies who can successfully navigate today’s complicated landscape will be at an advantage when more traditional advertising channels finally open up for the legal weed industry.
Would Pruitt Be Better Than Sessions For Cannabis?
Would Pruitt Be Better Than Sessions For Cannabis?
President Trump has hinted at replacing prohibitionist Attorney Jeff Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. But could Pruitt’s confirmation actually make the legal climate around the marijuana industry even more hostile for the nation’s growers, retailers, and users? As Marijuana Moment reports, President Trump’s desire to remove Sessions has to do with the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump believes the decision made him susceptible to scrutiny by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and, as Vanity Fair speculates it could cause Trump to remove Sessions in the wake of the recent dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Back in January, Politico reported that Pruitt told those close to him that he’d interested in the attorney general post. His record on pot, however, could make Sessions look like a legalization advocate by comparison. So, Who Is Scott Pruitt? While Sessions claims that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and overturned the Obama-era Cole Memo, Pruitt’s might actually have a more prohibitionist track record than Sessions. While serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt’s disdain for cannabis was on full display when he filed a federal lawsuit against marijuana policies of the neighboring Colorado. (The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided not to take the case.) In another case, Pruitt tried to rewrite the ballot title for an Oklahoma medical cannabis measure to make voters think it was actually a recreational initiative. Ultimately, advocates sued and the state Supreme Court overturned the attorney general’s changes, but Pruitt’s actions the delay caused the measure to be bumped from the 2016 general election ballot to this year’s primary at the end of June. Last year, as EPA administrator, Pruitt moved to block approval of pesticides for use on marijuana in states where it is legal, claiming that “any economic, social or environmental costs associated with pesticide use on cannabis would not be reasonable or justified in light of the fact that such use is in furtherance of an illegal act.” As of this time of this writing, Trump has avoided shaming Sessions publicly, and says that he isn’t considering replacing Sessions with Pruitt. Those close to the situation aren’t so sure, however, claiming that Trump’s criticism of Sessions behind closed doors is as aggressive as ever. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Who Will Lead International Cannabis Production?
Who Will Lead International Cannabis Production?
Which countries are poised to lead the globe in cannabis production? The answers may surprise you. While the United Kingdom maintains an aggressively prohibitionist stance on medical and recreational marijuana, a new United Nations study cited by Cannabis Now shows that Great Britain is the world’s biggest producer of legal cannabis. According to a new annual report issued by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a United Nations body, the UK produced 95 tons of legal cannabis in 2016 — more than double the amount it produced the previous year. That total accounted for roughly 45 percent of the global total. A Cannabis Now notes, Great Britain also exported 2.1 tons of legal weed — of 67.7 percent of the world total. Trailing Great Britain in the INCB report was Canada, which produced 80.7 tons of legal marijuana in 2016, followed by Portugal (21 tons), Israel (9.2 tons), and the Netherlands Chile (1.4 tons each). The Netherlands was the world’s second-biggest exporter of the crop — and a distant one at that — shipping out 16.4 percent of the global total. (The United States federal government did not submit any production data to the INCB.) The UK’s top total can be traced to the pharmaceutical industry. British drug firm GW Pharmaceuticals uses legal cannabis in the manufacturing of both Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment, and Sativex, a drug that treats muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. The production of Sativex accounts for most of the UK’s legal pot productions, and GW’s operations likely account for the bulk of country’s legal cannabis exports. As Cannabis Now notes, Sativex is shipped to corporate and university laboratories around the globe, instead of the retail medical market. While Colombia is also looking to be a major player in global marijuana production, Canada might be best poised to surpass Great Britain as the world’s greatest pot producer. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1991, and with the nation’s annual legal pot production only trailing the UK by a mere 15 tons, our neighbors to the north could soon be the next worldwide weed leader. As the Motley Fool explains, Canada appears to be on the verge of allowing recreational cannabis sales to adults in late summer or early fall, which has sent the nation’s growers angling to grab as much of Canada’s medical and recreational markets as they possibly can. Despite warnings from forecasters about the potential for severe oversupply, Canada’s pending legislation has prompted a flurry of organic expansion, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions, with four of the five largest marijuana acquisitions of all-time occurring within a four-month span. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Will Atlantic City Follow Las Vegas’ Lead On Weed?
Will Atlantic City Follow Las Vegas’ Lead On Weed?
While new Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam says legal marijuana could help boost New Jersey’s economy and increase tourism — especially along the Boardwalk — the legislative barrier between gaming and weed in Las Vegas casinos could cause Gilliam to reconsider his vision for economic revitalization. Four decades ago, Atlantic City, New Jersey, bet its economic future on casino gambling. But while gaming remains the city’s leading industry, a handful of casino closures have put hundreds of people out of work and done a number on the city’s tax base. Among the ideas to improve the city’s fiscal fortunes is the planned construction of a college campus in the city, as well as the renovation of one shuttered casino and a new owner for another. And if Gilliam and other legalization advocates get their way, pot could also play a key role in the area’s resurgence. As WHYY reports, the New Jersey Assembly recently held its first meeting to discuss whether marijuana should be legalized and sold in retail shops across the Garden State. While many towns have already begun debating whether to ban dispensaries, some, like Atlantic City, view cannabis as a way to boost their economies. %related-post-1% One of New Jersey biggest legalization advocates, Gilliam says he would like to see “adult entertainment districts” in Atlantic City, where visitors could enjoy restaurants, bars, spas, and marijuana. “I don’t have the appetite to just be a pusher of the product. I don’t want people to think that they should just come here, buy it and leave,” Gilliam told WHYY. “I want it to be…a destination, where folks can come here and enjoy it in a controlled area.” In an attempt to determine the feasibility of his idea, Gilliam recently visited Las Vegas to see firsthand how that city has mixed legal weed with its casinos and nightlife. And what he found was likely disappointing. Las Vegas casinos have not embraced legal cannabis in the same way the rest of Nevada has. While recreational pot has been legal in Nevada since last summer, users have been forced to use it in their homes. Nevada’s Gaming Policy Committee has voted to not allow direct relationships between the gaming industry and marijuana distributors, and while Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed an executive order requiring the cannabis industry and casino heads to discuss a way that casinos could host pot-themed conventions and trade shows, casinos are concerned that they could be charged with racketeering and/or money laundering due to the fact that cannabis use is still technically a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act. %related-post-2% As The Fresh Toast explains, pot’s illegal status at the federal level means the vast majority of banks won’t accept cash from canna-businesses for fear of losing their licenses. As a result, employees of cannabis companies convert their cash into chips, gamble a bit, then convert whats leftover into casino checks they can then deposit into a bank. While this practice is legal at the state level, it puts banks at risk for money laundering at the federal level. As of now, Vegas casinos are prohibited from housing marijuana smoking lounges. Financial deals between companies or marijuana providers are prohibited, as well. And while casinos can host conferences or conventions where members of the cannabis industry discuss business, companies are prohibited from bringing any cannabis products to those events. Despite what he learned during his visit to Las Vegas, Gilliam appears to be committed to the idea of creating pot-friendly areas in Atlantic City. Before that can even happen, however, New Jersey first needs to decide if it will even allow recreational marijuana. The odds are it could be awhile before that happens. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Will Lower Taxes Sideline Black Market Marijuana?
Will Lower Taxes Sideline Black Market Marijuana?
California’s historically high tax rates have, at times, driven people and businesses out of the state. Not surprisingly, the excessive taxes associated with the state’s burgeoning legal marijuana industry have driven a steady number of California’s cannabis consumers to the black market. Now, a couple of lawmakers want to do something about it. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November of 2016. And while adult-use weed is projected to bring in an additional $1 billion in California marijuana taxes, the additional taxes that come with it are also causing many pot buyers to buy their supplies from less-than-legal suppliers. As we’ve mentioned before, a Motley Fool report shows that California’s cannabis growers are subject to a state cultivation levy of $9.25 per ounce of cannabis flowers, or $2.75 per ounce of cannabis leaves. There is also a 15 percent excise tax added onto the final product. Both of those taxes are on top of the nation’s highest base sales tax rate of 7.5 percent, as well as local business taxes that range from 7.75 percent to 9.75 percent. According to Fitch Ratings, the total state, local, and other taxes can make the aggregate tax on weed more than 45 percent in some regions of California. In an attempt to bring some of California’s canna-biz out of the shadows, two state lawmakers have introduced a measure to lower the state’s cannabis tax rate. %related-post-1% As Marijuana Business Daily reports, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a Republican from Southern California, and Oakland Democrat Rob Bonta have co-sponsored an amendment to an existing bill, AB 3157, that would lower the cannabis tax rate for three years, which should lead to retailers charging less for legal products. Three other Democratic lawmakers helped to write the measure. The bill would drop the state excise tax on cannabis products from 15 percent to 11 percent for the next three years, as well as suspend the state’s cultivation tax. According to analysis by New Frontier cited in a news release from Lackey’s office, the measure would essentially cut the prices that consumers pay for medical and recreational cannabis products by roughly 9 percent. AB 3157 “reduces the tax burden on the licensed cannabis market during this transition period, keeping customers at licensed stores and helping ensure the regulated market survives and thrives,” Bonta said in the release. Stay tuned for the Sugar Leaf for updates on this and other pending legislation.
2018’s Best Bowls (So Far)
2018’s Best Bowls (So Far)
In the age of vapes and temperature-controlled devices, there’s still something special and nice about hitting a bowl. Bowls are arguably the most utilitarian device for enjoying herb. They’re portable, easy to share, and they’ll get you where you wanna go pretty quickly. What’s not to like? Better yet, bowl designs are continually improving, meaning they’re becoming more effective and fun to use. Here’s a look at our favorites for 2018 so far. Just remember to keep your bowls clean: Summerland Ceramics Fruit Fantasy Fine, we’ll admit it. We love basically everything Summerland Ceramics produces. And how could we not? From their incredible terra cotta bongs to amazing one hitters, all of their pieces are thoughtfully designed and fun. Perhaps none more so than the Fruit Fantasy bowl. Imagine the scenario — you’ve got herb, but nothing to smoke it out of. In a fit of desperation, you grab an apple and quickly make a bowl. This piece will remind you of those hard times without wasting fruit! Plus, it would look awesome sitting on a bookcase or desk. GRAV Sitter Sherlock Sherlock pipes are classic. The GRAV sitter may just be our favorite iteration of the design. Totally customizable, the Sherlock Sitter comes in a ton of colors. They look awesome and smoke so well. All of your friends will be asking where you got it. Just make sure none of them get sticky fingers! Sesh Supply Theseus Pipe x Bubbler Hybrid We know it’s not a traditional bowl, but this piece is too cool not to mention. The Theseus works as a standard bowl — and that’s all well and good. But what makes it really special is that it can also be used as a spill-proof bubbler, essentially making it two pipes in one. The versatility of the piece, along with its minimal design earned it a spot on our list. Got a favorite new or super reliable bowl? Drop us a line and tell us about your favorites!
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 7
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 7
We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a man was shocked when police arrested him with “nothing but a pound or a pound and a half” of pot, a school resource office was sadly misinformed about marijuana’s ability to grow breasts in men, and an elderly woman who called the cops to make sure she wasn’t growing too much weed. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ll be danged if we don’t pass them along. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 7. Enjoy… WORST BROTHER EVER A teenager from Racine, Wisconsin, tried to buy seven grams of pot using a fake $100 bill. Once the seller realized the money was fake, he chased the young man home. The seller confronted him, and “in order to pay off his drug debt,” the teenager gave the dealer his brother’s Xbox One, two controllers, and four games. When the teenager’s mother found out about at the incident, she gave her son the opportunity to return the weed to the dealer in return for the game system. But when they teenager wasn’t able to get it back, the teenager’s mother and boyfriend decided to call police. According to Fox 6, the mother told investigators that she not only wanted to prosecute her son in the case, but that she was also willing to testify against him in court. You go, mom. “SURE, OFFICERS, COME ON IN AND ARREST ME…” A New Jersey man was recently arrested for growing pot in his apartment after his girlfriend called police following an argument. According to NJ.com, officers responded to a 9-1-1 call of a domestic dispute. When they arrived at the apartment, they weren’t able to enter, but after putting their ears up to the door, they heard “sounds consistent with human cries.” %related-post-1% While they were at the door, they were met by Anthony J. Morcillo, who told them his girlfriend called 9-1-1 and was somewhere outside. When they couldn’t find her, they became concerned and asked to look inside the apartment. Morcillo then allowed the officers inside, where they immediately noticed the strong smell of weed, as well as numerous extension cords leading into a closet, where they ultimately found seven marijuana plants, 12 bags of medical marijuana candy, and marijuana-growing equipment. The woman, who was not inside the apartment, later told officers by phone that she left after calling 9-1-1. According to police, the cries they heard were from a dog in its cage. DON’T VOTE FOR BEN A Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat in Illinois, who gained notoriety after smoking weed in one of his own campaign ads, has been accused of abusing women and falsely referring to himself as an “Iraq veteran" and "former FBI agent." According to Fox News, Benjamin Thomas Wolf recently came under fire an ex-girlfriend told Politico that he had hit her, thrown her to the ground, and put his foot on her chest, as well as revealing her name and home address on social media — also known as “doxing.” Another ex-girlfriend says Wolf showed “abusive, escalating behavior” toward her, as well. His behavior led to him being banned from DePaul University, where the first woman is a student. %related-post-2% Not only does Wolf deny the allegations, he has also been defiant in the face of false claims about his military service that appear on his website. While Wolf has reportedly never served as a member of the armed forces, his website claims that he has been a diplomat in the Foreign Service under the State Department during the Iraq war. One of his tweets reportedly read: "Wolf served multiple terms in Africa and Iraq. Wolf for Congress." “People in the military get upset when I say I served in Iraq,” he told Politico. “The military doesn't have a patent on the word 'served,’” he told Politico, adding that a person doesn’t have to be in the military to call oneself a veteran. But that’s not all… In a recent news release, Wolf’s campaign also identified him as a “former FBI agent,” despite claims by an agency spokesperson that the candidate worked at the agency as “a non-special agent professional support employee” rather than as an agent. There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next round.
Top 5: Mile High 420 Festival
Top 5: Mile High 420 Festival
4/20 is right around the corner, and Denver is ground zero for the cannabis celebration. Here’s a look at the most anticipated events at this year’s Mile High 420 Festival. Denver has been home to 4/20 celebrations for years, and 2018 is no exception. This year, the Mile High City will be home to the Mile High 420 Festival — a celebration of anything and everything cannabis related. Let’s take a look at some of the event’s sure-fire headlining moments. Lil Wayne Weezy is one of our favorite rappers of all time, and we wouldn’t pass up any opportunity to see him live. Lil Wayne performing on the biggest cannabis holiday ever? That’s bucket list material right there. This set is sure to be fire. Do yourself a favor and get there early to grab a primo spot. District Edibles Local Stage Denver is known for plenty of amazing things: cannabis, beer, football, and more. But the city is also a hotbed for amazing local musicians. The District Edibles Local Stage will be highlighting some of the best and brightest from Denver over the course of the entire festival. Pop over to hear for yourself! The Wailers The Wailers are reggae heavyweights that deliver the perfect vibes for a day of celebrating weed. Scheduled to hit the stage in the middle of the festival, The Wailers will give you the perfect boost to keep you lifted straight into the evening. Lil Jon DJ Set YEAH! OK! All right, just kidding. But Lil Jon made his name rapping and living the pimp cup party dream. We can only imagine what one of his DJ sets is like. He’s sure to bring the heat, so fire it up and get moving! The Vendors What kind of festival would this be without amazing vendors? From food to glass pieces and handmade goods, we are really excited about scoping the goods and wares on sale at the Mile High 420 Festival. Getting some good grub and heading home with a unique souvenir is the perfect way to cap a day of celebrating. Are you heading to the Mile High 420 Festival? Give us a shout and let us know what you’re looking forward to!
The Best New Albums: March 2018
The Best New Albums: March 2018
The hits keep coming this year. Let’s take a look at the best music releases from March. We’re back at it with our monthly picks for the best albums! Get your playlists ready and enjoy! Indie: There’s a Riot Going On by Yo La Tengo Yo La Tengo have been making music for decades. And there’s just something about their music that feels comfortable. Their sound is always welcoming and familiar, but nuanced enough to provide unique experiences from album to album. Cozy up and let the calming vibes wash over you. Electronic: Le Kov by Gwenno Mysterious and a little dense, Gwenno’s latest album may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, you have to respect the atmospheres she creates on the record. Psychedelic and poppy, the compositions are absolutely gorgeous. You may not be able to sing along — the lyrics are all in Cornish — but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a spin. Pop: Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves You may know her as a country artist, but hands down, Kacey Musgraves just released the best pop album of the year. This record weaves in and out of genres, crossing from more traditional country ballads to electro-pop jams and back. Even if you don’t like country, you’ll love this album. Rap/Hip Hop: Rich As In Spirit by Rich Homie Quan Quan may not gain as much attention as some other sing-song style rappers, but that hasn’t kept him from releasing some classics. Rich As In Spirit offers up low-key production that serves to highlight Quan’s vocal abilities even more. Rich in hooks, this record is perfect for a chill hang. Rock: Jericho Sirens by Hot Snakes Comprised of former members of indie rock heavyweights Drive Like Jehu and Rocket From The Crypt, Jericho Snakes deliver high octane rock n’ roll. Put this album on, turn it up, and enjoy the ride. The album moves, blazing along riff after riff, providing a true sonic experience. Give our list a listen, then drop us a line and tell us your favorites! Oh, and if you liked this list be sure to listen to our selections for January and February.
How Far Will The Price Of Wholesale Cannabis Drop?
How Far Will The Price Of Wholesale Cannabis Drop?
While industry experts have a good idea why wholesale marijuana prices continue to drop, the drop could soon stop. According to a new report by cannabis industry analysts, the price of a pound of legal cannabis has been falling since the middle of 2016. The report by Cannabis Benchmarks, an independent price reporting agency, shows that the U.S. spot index for legal marijuana fell 13 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. A subsequent report by the agency found that marijuana prices had continued to dip slightly during the first month of 2018. The spot index, which averaged $1,789 per pound in 2016, opened 2017 at $1,562 per pound and closed the year at $1,436 — a decline of 6 percent. By January of this year, the price had fallen to $1,292 per pound. While the marijuana industry has been operating under a cloud of uncertainty in the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescinding of the Obama-era Cole Memo, analysts say that drop in wholesale marijuana prices has nothing to do with the perceived threat of federal interference, but rather simple supply and demand. As report author Adam Koh told The Cannabist, the spot price uncertainty of cannabis is in line with other commodities, though pot prices are more susceptible to factors such as politics, varying state guidelines, and natural disasters. While the overall drop in wholesale prices was primarily driven by significant overproduction in Oregon, most of the nation’s major Western marijuana markets — with the exception of Colorado — have seen decreases in their composite prices. As Koh adds, however, while the drop in prices has been steady, it has also been relatively calm. “While prices declined in (Colorado and Washington), they did so fairly gradually,” he told The Cannabist. “The landscape in those two markets is pretty settled on the whole, so you didn’t see a lot of abrupt regulatory changes like you’ve had in the past — no big overhaul of rules like what took place in the first couple of years of those markets. So businesses were just able to go about their day-to-day operations with less turbulence.” While the different markets across various states make predicting pot prices a bit of a challenge, Koh believes the continued lack of overall market turbulence will help the prices of pot to level off sooner than later. “I think we’re getting close (to the bottom),” he says. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
How A Marijuana “Expert” Stays Up To Speed — And How You Can, Too!
How A Marijuana “Expert” Stays Up To Speed — And How You Can, Too!
Becoming an insider is simple. You just dive in. Here’s how. Declaring oneself an expert is an invitation to be humbled — always, always will there be someone more learned than yourself; and if that’s not true today, just sit back and watch as you’re overtaken tomorrow — but yeah, okay, I admit it: I know a thing or two about weed. I write about marijuana. This is how I pay my bills, and have for many years now. It’s all true. The main reason I am able to do this is that I read about cannabis, incessantly — and I recognize those around me whose knowledge is broader, deeper, or (gasp) both. Thing is, you can do this, too. All of it. Anyone can, which is the beautiful, wonderful, and ultimately humbling thing about trading in knowledge. It is not magic. Nor is it the result of an accident of birth. Becoming an “expert” or “insider” comes from immersion. To do that, all you need is to dive in. Here’s how I’d suggest you begin. Start reading. How does your day begin? Mine starts with Google alerts. (It also ends that way, with some alerts in between, but you get the idea.) I have a few cannabis-related alerts that I’ve tailored to make sure I don’t miss something obscure from overseas for want of a difference in terms. Medical marijuana, regular-old marijuana, marijuana legalization, cannabis, medical cannabis… we’ve got them all. But because that’s not good enough, I’m also a newsletter subscriber. By far the gold standard is journalist Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment, a once-daily compendium of the day’s cannabis-related headlines. (And since he’s New York-based and I’m West Coast, he is forever three hours and an age ahead.) If you are in this racket, or you want to sound like you are, it is indispensable. (A necessary if obvious aside: Follow him on Twitter. Now.) Since it’s good to honor your influences, and since my therapist would probably encourage me to be upfront about other journalists I envy, I would encourage you to follow the work of Rolling Stone columnist and GQ contributor Amanda Chicago Lewis. %related-post-1% Another solid email newsletter is WeedWeek, and since it arrives but twice a fortnight, every Saturday morning, it can be good for perspective’s sake to see what news was still fit to print once the ink (digital or otherwise) had a chance to dry. And of all the daily news sources there are — and there are many — the one I never fail to visit at least twice a day (morning and night) is Marijuana Business Daily, the gold-standard for market happenings. Between these three and some web alerts plus whatever you have in your Feedly feed, you’ll be covered for day-to-day news aggregation. Start listening. Modern-day Cartesian logic dictates that you never truly exist until you have a podcast. (This is tragic, for it means that I, myself, am an ethereal being.) The beauty of podcasts, beyond their allowance for total passive consumption, is the depth with which a subject can be treated. Leafly News (where, disclosure, I am a contributor) has a weekly podcast that summarizes the news and also selects the outrage or development of the week for more in-depth treatment. I recognize nobody can listen to wonky nerds wonk-nerd out forever, so I turn to comedian Doug Benson’s interview-show-cast (available on various channels, including YouTube) as a refreshing palate-cleanser. Already a go-to news site for generalists, the Cannabist’s High Minded podcast is worthy for its depth and focus, but it hasn’t been updated in a while. Get on it, folks. Read, but more. Who was it that said those who didn’t know their history is doomed to repeat it? Nobody knows, unless they read books, and lots of them. Here are some cannabis-related books you should read, if you want to pretend you know anything about it — like how, exactly, did our society go from advertising marijuana confections in newspapers and having cannabis-derived tinctures on our pharmacy shelves, to none of the above, and then most of the above again? I didn’t have much of a clue until I read journalist Martin Lee’s Smoke Signals, for my money (and yours) the definitive social history of the drug. (Lee’s Project CBD is also a fine resource for anyone curious about the medical side of cannabis.) For a handy and soon-to-be well-thumbed guide to cannabinoids, the components of the plant, how they work and how they interact with the human body, the standard is researcher Michael Backes’s Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana. Released late last year, Emily Dufton’s Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall of Marijuana in America grants perspective by zeroing in on how legalization was undone a generation ago. %related-post-2% Now you can watch things. There’s nothing like the medium of film for indoctrination. But I mean the good kind! CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” series (see below) probably did more than any other media in the past few years to evangelize for medical cannabis. It’s not an accident that red states starting legalizing cannabis oil after Gupta publicized the plight of childhood epilepsy sufferers. I defy you to deny cannabis is medicine after giving it an honest watch. You could argue Gupta didn’t go far enough, especially when the less-slick but more in-depth “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” had been available since 2010. You might think it’s dated, and California’s Emerald Triangle most certainly gets the Hollywood treatment, but the over-dramatized Humboldt County does a decent job of explaining the rural marijuana-grower’s ethos, a mindset that lives today. And since it’s valuable to get a perspective outside of the US, Grassroots (something about that title) shows how much further other countries have to go towards the reality we enjoy today. Bonus for all the footage of Proposition 215 author and inspiration Dennis Peron. (Honorable mention: Rolling Papers, the 2015 documentary that followed the Denver Post’s marijuana editor “to see” if weed was a legitimate news subject.)
A Look At The Cannabis Movement In The UK
A Look At The Cannabis Movement In The UK
Despite being home to the world’s largest cannabis pharmaceutical manufacturer, or perhaps because of it, efforts in the United Kingdom to provide safe access to botanical cannabis for the chronic and terminally ill are stymied, at least for now. Local activist groups are divided on end goals, but are all closely watching a bill introduced in Parliament last October by Paul Flynn of the Labour Party. Flynn has been leading the charge alone and has faced considerable opposition from within his own party. Flynn has been outspoken about the hypocrisy he sees in the policy as he has struggled to even get his legislation debated in the House of Commons. He has voiced his frustrations about the lack of safe access for suffering citizens to the press, stating publicly, “I would urge them to break the law, because the law, in this case, is an ass.” Flynn’s bill would move the cannabis plant from Schedule I to Schedule II, an acknowledgement that it does, indeed, have medicinal value. “It is a simple matter, the law states that cannabis has no medical advantages, which is an absurdity and very bad science. Whereas, in other parts of the law, the government is actually growing cannabis and promoting its use in some forms, and not the most effective forms in my view,” Flynn said. Formally, No Accepted Medical Value In the UK, cannabis remains federally illegal and a Schedule I controlled drug with no accepted medical use. If this sounds familiar to Americans, that is because it is by design. In 1961, 186 nations (including both the United States and United Kingdom) signed an international treaty, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, that laid out plans to organize drugs by medicinal value, regulate them accordingly, and work together to ensure conformity of international laws. As a result, the U.S. filled its treaty obligations to create agreed-upon drug scheduling through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in the UK it was the United Kingdom Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. Inevitably, international scheduling and profit-driven research has tended to deem pharmaceutical patented medicines safer than the plants they are derived from. UK citizens caught simply possessing could be punished with fines and up to five years in prison. Producers and distributors face up to 14 years if charged. Even though prohibition is still the law of the land, arrests and incarceration for cannabis have declined by 33 and 48 percent, respectively, since 2010, and some local police jurisdictions have decided not to focus their resources on enforcing cannabis laws at all. There also happens to be a large network of cannabis social clubs that have created a safe access program and distribution scheme that is currently serving the demand for botanical cannabis. %related-post-1% One company, however, has the exclusive ability to produce cannabis medicines in the UK and is about to become the first FDA-approved pharmaceutical manufacturer of such medicines in the United States: GW Pharmaceuticals. GW Pharmaceuticals has two drugs approved for use in the UK and other parts of the world now, Sativex™ (nabiximols) and Epidiolex™ (cannabidiol). Unlike predecessor cannabinoid-drugs, like Marinol™ (dronabinol), a drug consisting solely of synthetic delta 9-THC (which was FDA-approved in the US in 1985), Epidiolex and Sativex are alcohol-based tinctures derived from whole botanical cannabis that utilize “the entourage effect” not found in isolates like Marinol. The impending approval of Epidiolex for treatment in drug-resistant epilepsy has hyped GW’s stock, which some believe could grow nearly 50 percent after the approval. On one hand, when the US starts approving drugs like Epidiolex and Sativex, activists can point to their approval as proof cannabis itself is safe, and that is essentially the argument Flynn is making with his bill now in UK Parliament. On the other hand, getting any drug through the approval processes to market and turning a profit can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and that money doesn’t come cheap. The very nature of proving cannabis is safe is also what may prevent the plant itself from decriminalization: research work is not charity nor is it government sponsored, it is a for-profit endeavor and GW Pharmaceuticals are not the only company looking to profit from the international demand for cannabis medicine. Investment groups in the UK, US and Canada have been clamoring to put their money into competing ventures. Many UK and US activists are distrustful of pharmaceutical-cannabis companies like GW because they feel the profit-incentive is in direct conflict with the social justice and human rights goals at the core of the medical cannabis movement. Flynn describes his goals as getting medicine to patients first, but also calling attention to the failure of cannabis prohibition as a whole and a call to follow the available science and learn from history. Flynn’s Effort Flynn introduced The Legislation of Cannabis for Medical Purposes Act (Bill 108) in October 2017. When the bill finally received a reading in Parliament this February, it was effectively filibustered by members of his own party and the second of three readings in the House of Commons was pushed to this June. Flynn attributes the opposition from within his own party to one thing: “cowardice.” Like the United States, the United Kingdom has a bicameral government. Legislation must be approved by both houses and the head of state before it becomes law. Unlike the US, not all of England’s Parliament are elected. The House of Commons (or, “house of commoners”) is democratically elected and functions much like the U.S. House of Representatives (except the live debates are way better television). Legislation either starts by citizen petition or is brought by a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons. Legislation must then be approved by the royally-appointed House of Lords (like the Senate) before being approved by the Queen. While there are currently about 10 parties represented in Parliament, the majority are either Conservatives (Tories) or Labour Party. %related-post-1% Flynn is a member of the Labour Party and has served as a member of Parliament since 1987 representing the Welsh constituency of Newport West. Flynn has a professional background in science, having worked for nearly 30 years as an industrial chemist, which he says is how he has come to the conclusion cannabis is safe and prohibition is the real problem. He says that beyond “killing people and wasting huge sums of money”, he is motivated to continue pushing cannabis law reform because the UK’s current policies are “especially cruel to those who suffer ailments that cannabis will treat He says that while he has some support among other Labour MPs, leadership has no desire to even give his bill a fair hearing. He doesn’t go as far as suggesting the government (or individual members) have a financial incentive to continue the criminalization of botanical cannabis while giving the green light to GW Pharmaceuticals to supply the world. He does, however, point to the fact that fellow MP Victoria Atkins is married to the general manager of British Sugar, Paul Kenward, who are the exclusive growers of cannabis for GW. Atkins, a Conservative, also happens to be the UK Drugs Minister and works directly under the Home Office (the UK equivalent of the DEA). British Sugar was historically a part of the British government and although they are a private company today, the close ties to Parliament remain. On a side note, here is an enlightening video of Victoria Atkins having a friendly public discussion with the United State’s “quarterback of the anti-legalization movement”, Kevin Sabet: https://youtu.be/xunngQDv9SQ Despite the uphill climb, Flynn, an octogenarian with no other political ambitions, says he will continue pushing forward with this issue because someone must take a stand against “politicians acting in blind denial of the facts and evidence.” In the UK, Parliament will consider for debate issues brought by citizens if a petition reaches 100,000 signatures for the issue. In 2015, a petition to fully legalize cannabis received 203,000 signatures, at the time the second-highest ever for a citizen petition. Parliament refused to debate it. The Elephant in the Room “In the UK, this money, this backing and this manipulation has really split the activist scene and caused a lot of distrust between a lot of people and a lot of organizations,” said Alistar Burrell. Burrell adds that most groups are suspecting the others of being more invested in “money and positioning” rather than simply changing a law together because they think it is wrong. Burrell, an IT professional by trade, also runs the Bristol cannabis social club, organized by the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC). The UKCSC operates similar to early US medical collectives and operate outside of the law. They are an organized network of regional clubs that bring cannabis consumers and growers together to “make sure everyone gets what they need”. For medical patients, they send product to a Spanish testing lab to screen for pesticides and measure potency. (No, he is not worried that Brexit will hinder this). Unlike the UPA, the UKCSC takes both a medical and social justice approach, advocating for decriminalization and a citizen’s right to grow their own. %related-post-3% He says enforcement of cannabis laws in the UK vary by region and police force, but in Bristol, a city of artists and musicians, police are no longer prioritizing cannabis crimes. While Burrell generally supports Flynn’s legislation, he acknowledges that even if it passed, the clubs would remain outside the law. He also feels it doesn’t have support in Parliament largely because of financial interests in companies like GW Pharmaceuticals. “I don’t trust any of of these guys because they are purely looking at the money to be made. The problem with big business is once you start spending money, you want that to come back again,” said Burrell. “It’s utterly fucked,” said Tom Lincoln, a London-based actor, cannabis patient and activist. “How should we wait months and months and months for the government to even decide they are going to hear this, and all the while we labor on under [a law that states cannabis has] no medical benefit and no one is licensed to sell it? Whereas, the big elephant in the room is GW Pharma.” Lincoln recently started volunteering with one of the more prominent cannabis groups, the United Patients Alliance (UPA), though he supports and works with activists across various groups. The UPA have a professionally-branded campaign and media presence, but do not promote the right to grow at home, eschew acts of civil disobedience and have taken a somewhat controversial stance of embracing GW Pharmaceuticals. The UPA is the most organized group supporting patients, but activists outside of it point to big business ties on the group’s board that they feel drive its motivations. In 2017, they added a new trustee and small-time donor, Gavin Sathianathan, CEO of Forma Holdings. Forma has a partnership with Oxford University to study and produce cannabinoid-medicines in much the same way as GW Pharmaceuticals. Forma, which has offices in London and Los Angeles, was formed and financed through partners at Kingsley Capital. Forma also has a separate fund, Anthos Ventures, which includes investments in most of the operations affiliated with California cannabis magnate Steve D’Angelo: Harborside Health Center, FLRish and The Arcview Group. Also under Anthos is Altai Brands, which include Dixie Elixirs and Foria cannabis lube. They maybe best remembered for the meat platter served on a mostly-nude model at an after party for the 2016 MJBizCon in Las Vegas. So, while the UK may be the world’s biggest producer of cannabis pharmaceuticals and among the biggest financiers of the global industry, consumers and patients are stuck outside Parliament begging for mercy. Pharmaceutical Extracts versus Botanical Access Despite being an untested theory, the theory of pharmacologicalism has prevailed in Western medicine. It goes like this: isolated or synthesized patentable plant compounds are safer than the plants they come from. It may sound crazy, but the entire drug scheduling and drug approval system used in the United States, the United Kingdom and hundreds of other countries, is based on this false but profitable premise. As this unproven ideology prevails, patients suffer. In speaking of his inspiration to bring about the schedule change in the UK, Paul Flynn points to the case of Alfie Dingley, an epileptic boy who suffers over 150 seizures daily. The Home Office has said they would consider allowing Dingley legal access to cannabis medicines, but have yet to make a decision. The Home Office has previously denied the Dingleys, and they may have to wait for the legal version, produced by GW, to be approved. Still, Flynn is pushing for the approach to follow the science. “There isn’t any rational reason left to deny cannabis is a medicine,” Flynn said.
New Colorado Study Shows How Marijuana Benefits The Economy
New Colorado Study Shows How Marijuana Benefits The Economy
Marijuana advocates have long touted the economic benefits of legalization. A new study helps their case. For years, thousands of residents of Pueblo, Colorado, enjoyed solid, middle-class jobs at the Colorado Fuel & Iron steel mill. When the mill left in the early 1980s, however, many Puebloans without high school or college degrees struggled to find work — struggles that lasted for 30 years. The Great Recession lingered far longer in Pueblo than elsewhere in Colorado. Unemployment rates stayed in the double digits in Pueblo through spring 2013, while the unemployment rate elsewhere in the state hovered just below 7 percent. However, as the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, preliminary data show that Pueblo’s unemployment rate had dropped to 4.9 percent. And as a new study from the Colorado State University-Pueblo Institute of Cannabis Research shows, the marijuana industry has been a key factor. The study, which is the first of its kind, finds that legal cannabis provides a net positive economic benefit to Pueblo County, even when additional costs associated with law enforcement and social services are taken into account. %related-post-1% The report indicates that the legal marijuana industry had an estimated economic impact of more than $58 million in 2016. The county also saw added related costs of roughly $23 million, leaving a positive net impact of more than $35 million. The report projects that figure to reach nearly $100 million by 2021. According to Chris Markuson, Pueblo County’s director of economic development and geographic information systems, the recreational marijuana industry’s explosive growth “literally saved” Pueblo’s construction community during the latter part of the Great Recession, accounting for more than half of the county’s construction-related revenue over the past three years. As the Gazette notes, taxes on legal cannabis have helped to fix up schools, parks, and roads, while generating $3.5 million in marijuana-related tax revenue and fees last year alone. On top of that, roughly $1,000 in scholarship money also will be available to each qualifying high school senior who graduates in Pueblo County and who attend either Pueblo Community College or Colorado State University-Pueblo. %related-post-2% Pueblo’s economy has long trailed that of Denver, Fort Collins, and the state’s numerous well-to-do mountain towns. Last November, after ballot measures were introduced put a halt to Pueblo’s growing cannabis industry, voters renewed their commitment to the industry. As a result, advocates say, the Steel City has become a sort of Napa Valley of Weed. “The rest of us have been getting ignored,” longtime Pueblo diner owner and cannabis advocate Jim Parco told the Gazette. “So when they legalized cannabis in 2014 and started taxing it, it changed the game. Now we have a chance.”
Outlaw Country: One Stoner’s Top 7
Outlaw Country: One Stoner’s Top 7
The golden age of country music operated more like a machine than an artistic industry — artists sang the songs the labels wanted them to and that was that. But when a few artists decided they wanted to start writing their own rules, outlaw country as born. Outlaw country is a rollercoaster. From hootin’ and hollerin’ songs about raisin’ hell to slow, heart-wrenching tales of lost love, here are some of our favorite acts known for playing by their own rules. Townes Van Zandt " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Townes never really fancied himself part of Nashville’s big-time country scene. He opted instead to forge his own path and make a name for himself. He did just that and recorded the best version of “Pancho & Lefty” along the way. Kris Kristofferson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> A quick glance at Kris Kristofferson’s Wikipedia page will show you what kind of badass he is. Helicopter pilot? Check. Army captain? Double check. Groundbreaking country music artist? You bet. Border Lord is his best. Sturgill Simpson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The modern torchbearer of outlaw country, Sturgill has publicly declared his disdain for the Country Music Awards and openly mocked the country music establishment. Listen to a few tracks, and you’ll know the future of outlaw country is in good hands. Jessi Colter " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Outlaw country is often seen as a man’s game, but Jessi Colter stands that notion on its head. Colter was a trailblazer in songwriting and production, paving the way for many of most famous female country acts around today. Waylon Jennings " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Waylon may be the OG outlaw. He basically invented the genre by taking no prisoners and made major-label creative control a possibility for country superstars. Willie Nelson " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Another artist who doesn’t need any introduction. Willie made his name by breaking the rules. From his love for fine cannabis to his pigtails, Willie has never given a damn what people thought about him, and his music’s been better because of it. Gram Parsons " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Not an outlaw per se, Gram Parsons was no stranger to the fast lifestyles of some of the other folks on our list. He developed his own brand of country music and never let a label dictate his sound or songwriting. Did we miss your favorite outlaw country artist? Let us know who it is and hit was with some tracks!
The Case Of Weedmaps And California
The Case Of Weedmaps And California
Weedmaps and California are in a jurisdictional tussle. What does it mean for the marijuana industry in the Golden State? On February 16, Lori Ajax of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control sent a cease and desist letter to Weedmaps, informing the online marijuana directory and search platform that it needs to stop running ads for unlicensed pot retailers. A few weeks later, Weedmaps responded, claiming the bureau lacks the authority to police who can advertise on the site. While the tussle could lead to disciplinary action for the site, it could also lead to clearer rules for canna-businesses. %related-post-1% In Ajax’s letter, she explained that Senate Bill 94 requires that ads for cannabis retailers must include a California license number showing they’re permitted by state and local authorities. The license number is also intended to ensure that, when all regulations are fully enacted later this year, all marijuana sold by a particular retailer has been tested for safety, properly labeled, and is otherwise in compliance. If Weedmaps doesn’t immediately drop ads for unlicensed businesses, Ajax says, the company could be subject to criminal and civil penalties, including civil fines for each illegal ad. While Weedmaps competitor Leafly.com announced that it was dropping ads for all unlicensed retailers as of March 1, Weedmaps denied Ajax’s request to cease and desist running such ads. Online advertising giant Weedmaps, which was founded in 2007 and has offices from Denver to Berlin, helps visitors locate dispensaries and browse their selections of cannabis. Its site and app use a Yelp-like system to rate cannabis retailers — many of which are unlicensed. As Marijuana Business Daily reports, the company responded to Ajax’s letter with a letter of its own, claiming that it is “not a Licensee subject to the Bureau’s purview,” and that he bureau is “putting the cart before the horse” by focusing on enforcement while the vast majority of existing canna-businesses are still unlicensed or in the process of obtaining permits. %related-post-2% While Weedmaps hasn’t publicly commented on its letter, company president Christopher Beals was defiant about the issue of unlicensed retailers during an interview in February. “The thing is, at the end of the day, we’re an information platform,” Beals said. “We’re showing the same information that Google and Yelp and Craigslist and 30 other websites are showing.” Beals went on to say that if states and cities really want to control the illegal market, they need to establish a solid regulatory framework and issue permits to enough licensed marijuana businesses to meet demand. “To sort of say, ‘Let’s pretend an illegal market doesn’t exist’ or that people can’t just type ‘dispensary’ into Google and find this information… isn’t really realistic,” he added. Lawyers close to the industry are split on the issue. %related-post-3% One attorney, Omar Figueroa, told Marijuana Business Daily that the bureau has jurisdiction over all “commercial cannabis activity” in the state, up to and including Weedmaps. He also says, however, that it’s unclear what that means in terms of disciplinary actions. Another attorney, Khurshid Khoja, says that, according to his reading of state law, the bureau only has legal jurisdiction over licensees, not ancillary businesses like websites that serve as advertising platforms. Khoja says that since the main punishment the bureau can impose is suspending or revoking licenses, its disciplinary procedures won’t apply to Weedmaps. While bureau spokesman Alex Traverso told the Orange County Register that there is “no immediate action planned” against Weedmaps, the company’s current strategy and defiance could be damaging its reputation among its California clients. “It’s not just the legal concerns that they have to consider. It’s goodwill among licensees,” Khoja told Marijuana Business Daily. %related-post-4% As Khoja explains, the bureau’s cease and desist letter was written at the request of current licensees, who are also customers of Weedmaps. In addition, Figueroa says, Weedmaps could be angering customers by charging licensed retailers thousands of dollars a month, while potentially charging unlicensed competitors far less. Some licensed retailers, he said, have already complained. “Weedmaps could also get sued by its advertisers who are licensed for unfair business practices,” Figueroa said. “California has pretty strong protections for that. There’s definitely a risk of that.”
5 Noteworthy Portland Cannabis Writers
5 Noteworthy Portland Cannabis Writers
Portland is home to some great cannabis writers. From covering the latest brands and industry trends to policy reporting, here are some of the best Portland cannabis writers. It’s always good to have a trusted advisor — someone you can turn to for perspective or advice. In the wide world of weed, we always look to some of our favorite writers for inspiration, education, and good, old fashioned fun. Portland cannabis writers happen to be some of the very best cannabis writers. Here are five you should know. Oh, and just because these writers are Portland-based, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be followed by wider audiences. %related-post-1% Angela Bacca We had to start the list with one of our own contributors! We are honored to have Angela Bacca as a regular contributor here at The Sugar Leaf. She has covered everything from cannabis politics and policy analysis to cannabusiness business trends — always offering a fresh perspective and balanced take regardless of the topic covered. If you want the inside track on the latest developments in legal cannabis, look no further than Angela’s work. Josh Jardine Resident cannabis journalist for The Portland Mercury, Josh Jardine covers it all. From politics to product reviews, no topic fall outside his purview. One of our personal favorite articles by Josh covered the tumultuous topic of cannabis and romance. Every article Josh writes bears his signature wit and sense of humor, making even the drier topics interesting. Martin Cizmar The former Arts and Culture editor for The Willamette Weekly, Martin Cizmar consistently produced great writing on the beer and cannabis industries. Over the course of his tenure, Martin left an indelible mark on cannabis journalism in Oregon. And, though he has moved on, to a different publication, we’ll always enjoy revisiting his WW work. %related-post-2% Laurie Wolf Referred to as the “Martha Stewart of marijuana edibles” by The New Yorker, Laurie Wolf’s recipes have appeared in High Times and Dope magazines, as well as countless other online outlets. Laurie’s recipes are so delicious and popular, that she founded Laurie + MaryJane to bring her edibles to the masses. Her recipes consistently inspire us to get in the kitchen. Lester Black Lester Black with the Portland Mercury takes a no-side-stepping approach to cannabis journalism. He’s a straight shooter in an industry where a frank perspective is appreciated. His product reviews and first-timer guides should be required reading for anyone new to cannabis. Of course there are other great Portland cannabis writers. Enough for more articles like this one in the future (yes, that’s a teaser).
Oregon Cannabis Vapes: 5 Brands To Know
Oregon Cannabis Vapes: 5 Brands To Know
Discreet and effective, vapes are quickly becoming a consumption method of choice for tokers everywhere. Here are a few Oregon cannabis vapes to keep in mind. Sometimes you may want to blaze up and not have to worry about sidelong glances. You know, feeling comfortable ripping a bowl or bong among friends. Other times, you want to roll as incognito as possible. For those situations, there’s nothing better than a trusty vape pen. Check out these brands for our go-to options for subtle toke sessions. %related-post-1% Quill If there’s one company that’s mastered a stylish, high-performing vape pen, it’s Quill. Based out of Portland, Quill manufactures a sleek pen that looks amazing and works like an absolute charm. The Quill is easily slipped into your pocket and makes travel a breeze. In fact, it looks more like a ball point pen then a vape. Evolvd Based in Eugene, Evolvd is notable for a few reasons. First, they have designed a sleek, stainless steel, leak-proof vape pen with their proprietary Capsl atomizer. Pretty awesome, right? It gets better. They’ve also mastered the development of strain-specific, “terpene-steeped” Atrisn extracts. Produced without harsh solvents, these extracts blend the best elements of popular cannabis strains — and the results taste amazing. Select Oil Select has championed the development of vape pens for cannabis users of all walks of life. From their phenomenal CBD disposable to the powerful Elite line, Select offers potency and flavor options for everyone. This range of products, coupled with a 7-step quality check process means Select vapes products consistently knock it out of the park. %related-post-2% Golden Xtracts Golden Xtracts is another vape company that pioneered the development of their own pen system. Called the Bliss cartridge, Golden’s design is completely plastic-free and provides clean, clear hits. They also offer a full range of extracts from small-batch Private Stash to Gold Label Reserve, Golden offers blends and single-strain options that are total crowd pleasers. Green Dragon Extracts Green Dragon specializes in extracts produced through a proprietary CO2 subcritical extraction system. The results are tasty, strain-specific vape cartridges that hit clean and provide astounding results. Do you have a favorite vape brand? Clue us in! Or head on over to our Shop Now page to browse our inventory of Oregon cannabis vapes.
Snoop Dogg’s Pot-Focused Venture Capital Firm Raises $45 Million
Snoop Dogg’s Pot-Focused Venture Capital Firm Raises $45 Million
Snoop Dogg, the legendary entertainer, entrepreneur, and marijuana advocate has always had his mind on his money. Now, his money is on marijuana. Snoop Dogg co-founded venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital in 2015 with the view that “the cannabis industry will be among the most compelling investment themes of our generation.” After recently raising $45 million its first round of capital funding, it seems the MC and mogul was on to something. %related-post-1% While Snoop — who’s listed by his real name, Calvin Broadus, on Casa Verde’s website — seldom passes up the opportunity to get his hands on some weed in his personal life, his firm is taking an arms-length approach when it comes to investing in legal marijuana. Instead of investing in dispensaries, farms, and other business that handle the plant, CVC is directing its dollars toward the “ancillary cannabis industry.” “We’re investing in the picks and shovels,” CVC managing partner Karan Wadhera recently told TechCrunch. Wadhera calls Snoop “among the most important cultural figures” in the legal marijuana biz, and says that his involvement “lends a lot of credibility and excitement” to CVC’s portfolio companies. While Snoop is hands-off on the investment process, Wadhera says Snoop is very involved with some the firm’s portfolio companies, most notably cannabis lifestyle site Merry Jane. “That’s content. That’s media. That’s Snoop’s bread and butter,” he says. %related-post-2% While much of the legal marijuana industry is focused on how to survive and thrive in the midst of the current uncertain legal climate, Wadhera and the team at CVC are decidedly optimistic about the industry’s long-term future. “The industry is fraught with a lot of temporary issues that people are trying to solve, including banking and payments, which are a problem because [cannabis is] still illegal under federal law,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re more interested in companies that are building functions for the long term because those short-term solutions won’t be relevant once we’re in a federally legal environment.” One such company is LeafLink, a e-commerce platform for cannabis dispensaries and CVC’s biggest investment to date. According to the company, LeafLink is designed for “cannabis brands and retailers who want to streamline the ordering process, simplify communication, and spend less time on busy work.” The platform has handled more than $180 million in transactions since 2016, and projects that its order volume will reach $500 million this year. As marijuana becomes legal in more states, Wadhera predicts, companies like LeadLink and firms like Casa Verde will be poised for growth. “We’re just getting started,” he says.
What We Don’t Know About Cannabis: A Conversation With Emma Chasen
What We Don’t Know About Cannabis: A Conversation With Emma Chasen
Key to the cannabis industry's maturation process is the filtering out of misinformation, replacing it with a science-based, factual appreciation for the plant. Emma Chasen is helping lead that charge.  Because of the nature of prohibition, we humans may have had a ton of interactions with the cannabis plant, yet we still know very little about how it works. As more state laws bring regulated commercial cannabis in some form or another to more places, there is a similar proliferation in bogus science-based claims, usually from the sales-end of the market. It is more important than ever that we understand the science behind our interactions with the plant because that understanding has the potential to change American research and healthcare for the better. It is in that spirit that Emma Chasen, a Portland, Oregon-based cannabis educator and consultant takes to her lesson plans: science will save us. And, the key to the saving grace of science is getting people to understand it. Chasen has developed a curriculum for both industry professionals and lay people seeking to understand how cannabis works and how to better predict and advise medical use with different varieties. As a cannabis science geek with ten years of independent science study myself, I was shocked by how much even I had to learn, but excited about how lucky I was to be getting the inside scoop from Chasen. She has a knack for taking complicated, dense scientific concepts and distilling them down into digestible lessons. Sitting in on a recent class she was teaching for the Sativa Science Club, I was in awe of just how informed she had taken her classroom full of newbies in a matter of weeks: they were easily grasping concepts and asking complex questions about topics most of the industry's “experts” still hardly understand. Chasen developed her groundbreaking curriculum last summer, after about two years as the director of education responsible for training budtenders at one of Portland’s most science and research based cannabis dispensaries, Farma. In 2015, about a year after completing her college degree, she moved cross-country from Rhode Island to Portland on a whim and landed at Farma. She had never even been to Oregon before but had found that she arrived at just the right place at the right time; Oregon’s adult use legalization had just gone into effect weeks before and there were plenty of jobs for someone with her background. %related-post-1% Chasen did not originally intend to get into cannabis science. In fact, as a pre-med student at Brown University, she opted to live in “substance-free housing” and considered herself “anti-drug.” After her first interaction with the cannabis plant, she became so fascinated by plant medicine that she ended up designing her own curriculum within Brown’s biology department to create a degree centered on ethnobotany and medicinal plant research. After graduating, she worked on an oncology research team through the university, which she hated because “it was billion dollar pharmaceutical trial after billion pharmaceutical trial.” Now, Chasen is blazing a trail for the mass education of the cannabis industry and movement stakeholders in hopes that it leads to better plant-human interactions, better science and better legislation. I sat down with Chasen over tea and, of course, some fresh cannabis buds, to talk about cannabis science and how to break through all the noise for a better cannabis future. ANGELA BACCA: What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about cannabis? EMMA CHASEN: The biggest one, that I have talked about a ton, is this Indica-Sativa myth. [That you can predict effects based on these distinctions, you can’t.] Whenever I teach a workshop I ask the question, “What does Indica and Sativa mean to you?” Without fail, everyone [answers], “Indica is in the couch, Sativa is energizing.” That’s really the biggest misconception around cannabis science. And then, the hemp-derived CBD versus cannabis-derived CBD conversation is also another big one where, although it’s not necessarily a misconception, people just have no idea how to navigate the CBD market and the CBD space given that there is “hemp CBD” and “cannabis CBD.” AB: The CBD market is really controversial — it is wildly unregulated or not regulated by any sort of science. What is your take on this? How should CBD be regulated? EC: The CBD market has huge potential, but with that potential, conniving business people will look at that and say, “Oh great, we could basically just sell hemp seed oil" — which doesn’t have a measurable potency or concentration of CBD — and so they will just sell hemp seed oil as cbd medicine. It is this snake oil elixir kinda thing, which is really unfortunate for people who are looking to buy CBD and have access to CBD medicine to treat seizures. That is the danger there, when companies try to capitalize on this market, which is a medicinal market, by basically just lying to people because there are no testing regulations there, both for potency and pesticides. You could be giving someone with a really compromised immune system or physiology a tincture that is dangerously high in pesticides, which really negates any of the medicinal value of the CBD potency. That is frustrating for me to see. It is also really exciting that the CBD market is growing and that people are becoming interested in that as an option. I feel like that is really the gateway to people feeling comfortable about cannabis, where we can change the conversation that prohibition and the anti-drug campaigns gave us. We need more research on it, definitely, but we have enough at least to be able to speak about it with people. The tricky thing is making sure they don't fall in the trap of “Oh CBD is awesome and I am just going to buy something on Amazon without thoroughly vetting it.” %related-post-2% AB: There are a lot of people on isolated CBD, do you have an opinion about CBD isolates? EC: I have an opinion about isolates, in general. The true medical efficacy that we see and the huge potential we see in cannabis to be able to help people manage their illnesses is because of the level of diversity in that range of secondary compounds that exist in the cannabis plant matrix. All of those compounds are working together synergistically to produce the overall effect. So, when you have an isolate — when you remove just one compound from that matrix — sure you may get some of the benefits, but you will also get side effects, more negative side effects. In the case of a CBD isolate, you may not get negative side effects, per se, (or, at least not as serious as pharmaceuticals, like death or suicide), but it will definitely not be as medically efficacious as it would be in combination with THC, terpenes, flavonoids and all the other compounds. AB: On that note, a lot of people swear by medicines like full extract oil (aka RSO) made from a lot of different varieties of cannabis, a “sausage,” if you will. In your curriculum, you describe how different compounds in cannabis bind to receptors in the human body through a “key and lock” analogy to regulate a variety of cell processes. Each of these compounds binds to different receptors in different ways to perform different functions, based on their shape. Would a multi-variety approach be more efficacious simply because there are so many more different shaped “keys” (medicinal compounds) hitting more “locks” (receptors)? EC: Absolutely. The more you are able to diversify the secondary compounds in your sauce, in your formula, the more efficacious it will be. Sourcing trim from a variety of different cultivars and doing a full extract process where it is lower heat, where you are really extracting out most of those secondary compounds in the [plant] matrix, will create a more medically efficacious experience. AB: You just used the word “cultivar,” and a lot of people tend to use the word “strain” when talking about varieties of cannabis. Do you have any opinions about the correct terminology and the weight we put on the “strain names” varieties are sold under? EC: “Strain” and “strain names” are vernacular that the cannabis industry has adopted, but if we are looking at the scientific definitions, they are not accurate. There are not actually strains of cannabis. What they should be called is “chemovar”... I should say chemovar, that is really where the research community is at right now. But, I think before we jump from “strain” to “chemovar” we need another word that makes sense to people that can be adopted into the vernacular. This is why I use “cultivar” because it is easier for people to understand. [Note: Chemovar refers to the plant’s “chemotype” which is far more accurate in predicting the effect of a bud on a human than the name it is being sold under. There are a few ways we classify the plant here. There is its “genotype”, or its DNA, it’s “chemotype” or the blend of chemical compounds it produces and its “phenotype” or the outward appearance and shape the plant takes as it grows. All of these things together can be referred to as a “cultivar”.] %related-post-3% As far as strain names, they are a great marketing tool. If I see something called, like, “Honey Banana,” I want to smell that because it elicits some type of “yummy” feeling. But, again when we start to prescribe consistency and predictability of an experience attached to a strain name, that is where we can get ourselves in trouble. Right now there is no predictability in strain names. If I gave you something and said “this is Honey Banana” and you took a clone of it and grew it, you might find yours smells a bit more lemony and you might start calling it something different, like “Lemon Pineapple.” You could totally do that and it would be fine. I know a lot of growers, very reputable growers, who will grow something and say, “You know, ‘Dog Shit’ isn’t really going to sell, so we are going to rename it something else that will sell better.” That’s fine, but it’s also why we can’t prescribe an experience or any sort of consistency to these strain names. That is doing yourself a disservice. Even if there was consistency in strain names, where a name actually did correlate to a specific genotype — the specific DNA of the cultivar — it doesn’t necessarily correspond with exact consistent levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. Someone who grows a “true” Blue Dream may come up with different results than another grower growing a clone from the exact same plant. I don’t think strain names should go away entirely, people like them. Instead, [we should identify the compounds, terpenes and cannabinoids that make a person feel a certain way]. Let’s use those details, that data to then go into a dispensary and choose something instead of just the name. AB: We know a lot about cannabinoids and terpenes, but not much about the third most prevalent class of compounds found in cannabis, the flavonoids. Flavonoids are also known to have their own medicinal qualities (they are antioxidants) although we know very little about them. Should we also be testing for flavonoids? EC: Definitely. I don’t know any lab that does though. We should definitely test for flavonoids. It can be done, it’s not being done yet — AB: Well, until we find out they are the “next hot molecule” in cannabis, like CBD. EC: Exactly! I believe there are 23 flavonoids identified in cannabis. All of them are found in other plants as well, except the two [unique to the cannabis plant], the cannaflavins. %related-post-4% AB: Knowing that, that these medicinal compounds are found in basically every other plant we consume, although it is not cost-effective, is there a scientific argument for testing other plants we consume the way we test cannabis? EC: There is an even bigger conversation with the pesticide testing situation [in cannabis] versus food. A lot of people were upset about the pesticide regulations that came out when we transitioned [to legalization]. They said, “Well we don’t test for pesticide this much in our food. These regulations are so much stricter than our food. Why do we have to test for more?” For me, I wonder why we aren’t testing more of our food for more pesticides. When you eat or combust pesticides, they can turn into very toxic compounds and it is just a different way we process it when it goes through our digestive system. A recent study testing cannabis flowers from California under Oregon’s testing regulations found 83 percent failed for a pesticide that turns to cyanide when heated. That’s insanity. AB: So, if through the process of taking a lighter to a contaminated bud to smoke it you ingest cyanide, couldn’t the same thing happen by throwing a pesticide-covered tomato into a hot pan? EC: Yes. Very true. AB: That’s terrifying. EC: Exactly! We really should be looking at cannabis as the model for how we treat everything else that goes into our body. AB: What do you see as the biggest frontier to cross in cannabis science today? EC: I am a big advocate of moving cannabis to a more nutraceutical model [supplements and foods that provide medical support], rather than an allopathic model [pharmaceutical]. The problem with that [allopathic] is the barrier to that kind of research being done. There is hardly any funding for looking at how natural plant compounds work together. Our entire research system is set up to extract one compound from the matrix, run a battery of tests on it and draw conclusions from it. Cannabis doesn't work that way because the efficacy lies in the diversity of compounds all working together synergistically. I would love to see research move in a way where we are able to study the synergistic interactions. That would be so much more beneficial than studying the compounds on their own and instead looking at how they interact together. I hope that is how we move forward in understanding and talking about cannabis, rather than isolates or pharmaceuticals derived from isolates.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 4
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 4
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 4: Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words We’re glad you’re back for more of our Classical Music for Marijuana series. And we hope you’ll humor us here, as we continue down the piano solo path. There’s just something about the anticipation of Spring that pairs so wonderfully with the thought-provoking sound of beautiful piano music. Last time, we treated your ears to the English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. Now we turn to another soothing collection of solo piano music, Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Felix Mendelssohn? Felix Mendelssohn was a highly regarded composer of the Romantic era. Born in Germany, Mendelssohn was celebrated for his wide-ranging composition genres, which included symphonies, concertos, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. While Mendelssohn’s own original pieces were widely celebrated, he was also known to have brought the works of Johann Sebastian Bach back into vogue. Of all his most notable feats, one of the most remarkable is the sheer amount of musical works Mendelssohn was responsible for in such a short amount of time, as his life was cut tragically short at the age of 38 (in 1847) by a series of strokes. About Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words Between 1829 and 1845, Mendelssohn wrote a series of 48 songs expressly for the piano. All told, there were eight volumes, each one consisting of six songs. In the early 19th century, the piano was becoming more attainable by middle class households, and (as it’s told) since his piano works were within the performance abilities of pianists of many skill levels, Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words became ever more popular. Quick listen There will never be a time we encourage anything other than listening to an entire collection, but if you need a sample to try out, start with Opus 30 Number 6 in F Sharp Minor (aka, “Gondolier’s Song”). " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We hope you fall in love with Songs Without Words as much as we have. And be sure to come back for Volume 5 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
College Cannabis Courses? Yes, They’re A Reality Now
College Cannabis Courses? Yes, They’re A Reality Now
Marijuana companies are hiring, a lot! The industry is growing quickly, and qualified workers are in high demand. Demand so high, now there are college cannabis courses. McGill University (Montreal, Canada) will soon be offering a diploma track for future marijuana growers and business managers in anticipation of nationwide recreational marijuana legalization. Some schools in the U.S. have also launched programs and college cannabis courses to teach the next generation of cannabis experts. %related-post-1% McGill University aims to train the canna-managers of tomorrow Every fast-growing industry needs a healthy supply of workers, and the same goes for the marijuana industry. New jobs are created every day, but in order to position oneself best to a company, one’s cannabis knowledge needs to be deeper than just a few quick Google searches. Simply knowing how to water a marijuana plant isn’t enough anymore. The Canadian university quickly jumped on the opportunity to create classes for future managers in the cannabis industry. Why? According to the Dean of Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Anja Geitmann, “this is a sector that applies very much to agriculture and in which tens of thousands of new jobs will be created in the coming years.” %related-post-2% The industry needs more qualified commercial-scale workers The number of dispensaries and wholesaling entities are booming, and will continue to do so. But the people who learned how to grow small quantities of cannabis aren’t necessarily fit to become managers of huge grow sites. That’s why trade schools and universities need to prepare students for management positions in the industry. Additional cannabis programs highlight industry mainstreaming McGill isn’t the first school to provide a cannabis industry diploma. Other schools have started training programs and majors, such as the Northern Michigan University. Can you imagine putting “certified cannabis grower” on your resume? The fact that this will be possible proves, in our opinion, that cannabis is going mainstream faster than ever. Growing cannabis might soon become as normal as growing apples. Well, maybe.
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland
Who says great hikes have to require a ton of planning and time? That’s definitely not the case in PDX. Here are some of the best urban hikes in Portland (or very close by). Portland didn’t earn its reputation as one of the best outdoor cities in the country on accident. Portland’s network of urban green spaces is continually growing and offering up new opportunities to get out and get active. So grab you trusty vape and hit these trails! Kelley Point Park " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Portland’s waterfront is a must-see, and Kelley Point Park is perfect for a quick trip to the beach. Clocking in at 1.7 miles, this hike leads to the intersection of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and the views are breathtaking. There’s a beach, so feel free to take a dip while you take in the great outdoors. Orenco Woods Nature Park Covering 42 acres, the Orenco Woods Nature Park is one of the newest parks in Portland. Since opening in February 2017, the park has become an amazing destination for outdoor enthusiasts, tourists, and more. Home to wetlands, forests, and other gorgeous scenery, the park is a great place to spy black-tailed deer, red-tailed hawks, and beavers. Even better, the park is just 15 miles from downtown Portland. Hoyt Arboretum Loop Situated in Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum Loop is a 4.7-mile hike that showcases some of the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful plant life. Sequoias and redwoods line the trail and wildflowers offer up a truly vibrant scene. Leashed dogs are also allowed on the trail, so bring your best furry friends along. You won’t regret it. Washougal Waterfront Park What kind of list would this be if we didn’t mention getting a beautiful view of Mt. Hood? Thanks to the Washougal Waterfront Park — completed in 2016 — you can do just that only 21 miles from downtown Portland. There’s a picnic area, as well as a canoe launch, so it’s the perfect place for a relaxing day by the river. Washington Park Loop We’ve already mentioned Washington Park in our list, but it’s so good we had to include it twice. This loop covers some of the most natural beauty Portland has to offer. At 3.9 miles, it’s a quick trip, but will take you through the famed Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Got a favorite hike in Portland? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
What Are Terpenes?
What Are Terpenes?
While many cannabis users are interested mainly in THC content, terpene profile is equally as important. But what are terpenes, exactly? Terpenes have long been used for medicinal purposes. They are found in many common fruits, herbs, and plants — including cannabis. We have been ingesting terpenes our whole lives, whether we’ve known it or not. From aromatherapy to essential oils to virtually every meal we’ve ever eaten, terpenes have played a role. And cannabis consumption is no exception. %related-post-1% What are terpenes and how do they work? Terpenes are essential oils that are produced in the cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands. They are produced alongside — and work in conjunction with — cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to connect with the receptors in your brain and produce myriad effects on your body and mind. The cannabis plant contains more than 200 different terpenes that can also also found in all kinds of other plants around the world. Not only do terpenes provide the distinct and enjoyable aromas and flavors of your favorite strain of cannabis, they also influence how the plant interacts with your body. For example, strains containing myrcene, which is also found in mangoes, can produce a more sedative high or an energizing effect, depending on how much of the terpene they contain. Humulene, which has a woodsy and earthy smell, produces healing properties. Linalool can tame aggressive behavior and improve one’s quality of sleep. Pinene can boost your memory function, as well as well help your lung and respiratory system. Limonene can kill cancer as well as the growth and spread of cancer cells. %related-post-2% Terpenes are just as important as THC content When selecting the best cannabis product for you, researching its terpene profile is just as important as evaluating its THC content. As the recreational cannabis industry continues its expansion, so will research into terpenes and their numerous potential benefits. For a deeper look at terpenes, check out our Cannabis Terpenes 101 series: Volume 1: Myrcene and Limonene Volume 2: Humulene and Pinene Volume 3: Linalool and Caryophyllene
What Is Hemp?
What Is Hemp?
While there is a lot of confusion about what hemp is — and isn’t — there isn’t any confusion about its usefulness. But, what is hemp, exactly? Many people think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, and while it’s true that they both come from the same plant species — cannabis sativa L — the comparisons pretty much end there. %related-post-1% Hemp vs. Pot Hemp is derived from the fiber and seed part of the cannabis sativa L plant, while marijuana comes from its buds and flowers. The buds and flowers are the parts of the plant legally considered to be marijuana due to the levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain. Marijuana can contain anywhere from 5 percent to more than 20 percent of THC content, while hemp only contains .3 percent to 1.5 percent. The levels of THC in marijuana is what makes users feel high. The amount of THC in hemp will do little but maybe give users a headache. While marijuana is grown for its psychoactive and medical effects, hemp is grown for its strong, useful fibers. What is hemp used for? Hemp can grow quickly in a variety of conditions. As a result, it has been used by numerous civilizations for more than 12,000 years to make rope, paper, and cloth for clothing or furniture. Hemp seeds have a high nutritional value, and can not only be used to make oil for soap, lotion, and shampoo, but also for products like milk, energy bars, salad dressing, and protein shakes. In recent years, hemp has even been used to make plastics and building materials. %related-post-2% Is hemp legal? China is the world’s largest producer of hemp, followed closed by Australia and Canada. Hemp production in America dates back to the 1600s, cultivation of the plant was made illegal as part of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The plant (as part of the cannabis plant as a whole) was then given the strictest classification category — Schedule I — with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While hemp (like marijuana) is still technically illegal at the federal level, the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama reclassified hemp as a crop distinct from pot, and gave states the authority to legalize hemp themselves. Since then, 34 states have reclassified industrial hemp as distinct and allowed its production.
7 Of The Best Dispensaries Portland Has To Offer
7 Of The Best Dispensaries Portland Has To Offer
Take a tour of some of the best dispensaries Portland has to offer, featuring top quality flower, excellent edibles and all the other products emerging everyday as the Oregon recreational market flourishes. Portland has been a hotbed for marijuana activity since the launch of Oregon medical marijuana many years ago. As the landscape has shifted with the growth of the recreational system, it’s can be hard to know where you should go to find your favorite cannabis products. Today we are going to take a look at seven— in no particular order — of the best dispensaries Portland has to offer. %related-post-1% Green Planet: With two locations in the metro area, the Beaverton location of this large dispensary takes up a whole building and should fulfill any and all your cannabis needs. Stocked up with flower from their inhouse farm (Green Planet Farms) along with buds from plenty of other statewide farms it’s guaranteed you will enjoy the greenery they offer. Along with plenty of edibles, topicals, and flowers, the store also feels like a head shop with so much glass you could get lost just perusing the selections of bongs, pipes, dab rigs and other beautiful pieces of glass art. Chalice Farms: Chalice was one of the first dispensaries to make waves on the recreational market coming out strong with multiple locations and a thoroughly vertically integrated business plan. Playing off the Oregon aesthetic, their stores bring to mind all the things you think of when you think Oregon: Logging, nature...and great weed. Filled with beautiful handcrafted display cases to show off their topshelf product, you won’t be disappointed with any choices you make from their shops, be it their flower or their delicious line of edible truffles. Their recent partnership with Golden has led them to have a wonderful line of CO2 pens as well. %related-post-2% Archive: Featuring one of the best selections of top quality flowers, this small store packs a punch. Known for their own genetics, you can come to this shop to pick up clones or seeds along with the finished and perfectly cured flowers from those strains. Featuring a select menu of extracts and concentrates, you can find a well curated menu of BHO oil for dabbing and CO2 pens from the leading manufactures. The same can be said of all their other products. They may not have the most massive selection, but you can be sure that what you are purchasing from them has been vetted and proven to be the best on the market. Five Zero Trees: Featuring a large selection of their own craft cannabis this dispensary has a great staff that will answer all your questions and happily show off all of their beautiful flower. Their belief in their product will have you sold and flying high or leaning back relaxed to the max depending on which direction you decide to go. Also, be sure to check out their fridge full of delicious edibles and drinks. %related-post-3% Jeffery’s Flower & Oil: As soon as you step foot into Jeffery’s you know you have entered a place that is aiming to be a little different in the sea of dispensaries in our fair city. Quality music blasting, Jeffery’s features everything your cannabis loving mind could imagine. Flowers from an assortment of gardens, soon to include their own as their in house farm is just getting going. Three light trays in them middle of the floor feature many different flavors of beautiful BHO, from shatter to crumble it’s all stunningly filled with crystals and delicious terps. Plus, after you pick up your cannabis you can browse the shelves (and fridge) for your favorite non-cannabis beverage or candy to soothe those munchies you know are soon to come. Puddletown Organics: Puddletown has been known to have some delicious flower and great deals! Take your time studying their menu before making your final decision, as they have a lot of product to choose from. Hand creams, lotions, sensual products, along with strong medicine in CBD honey sticks, RSO and transdermal patches, this store is ready to serve the stoner or the medical patient. %related-post-4% Kaleafa Cannabis Company: Located in Beaverton, this small shop is home to some wonderful buds, featuring a strong selection of all the kinds: Sativa, indica, hybrids and CBD! While they are clearly focused on the flowers, they have a wall filled with CO2 cartridges from all the premier manufactures. The knowledgeable staff is friendly and ready to answer all your questions with no snobbery or judgement. As an added perk, be sure to help yourself to some complimentary coffee and/or licorice in their front lobby.
What Are The Best Ways To Store Marijuana?
What Are The Best Ways To Store Marijuana?
The more marijuana is exposed to air, heat, and humidity, the faster it loses potency. Proper storage is imperative, and these are some of the best ways to store marijuana. No matter what type of cannabis you use, it’s important to store it properly so it will stay as potent as long as possible. The best ways to store marijuana almost always include low light, limited exposure to air and humidity, and quality temperature control.  %related-post-1% Flower Airtight glass jars — like those used for picking vegetables or canning fruits — are your best best for storing weed. Try to find some similar in size to the amount of weed you need to store, as too much extra space will allow air to dry out your supply too soon. Choose colored or opaque jars, as they will give your weed added protection from light. Then, store your jars in a cool, dark place. While you can also freeze your bud if you have to, wait until it is completely dry — usually after four weeks — before doing so. Depending on the quantity, you can either store it in mason jars or double-bag it in Ziploc freezer bags, then wrap it in foil before placing it in the freezer. %related-post-2% Vapes First, always unscrew the cartridge from your vape pen when you’re not using it. This will prevent leakage, damage, and unnecessary heating. Then, make sure to keep your cartridge is stored in a cool, dry place, and in upright position with the mouthpiece facing down — preferably in the case it came in. This will give it extra protection, and let you safely carry it in your backpack or purse — or even in your jacket pocket — if you need to. (Never store a cartridge in your pants pocket, however.) %related-post-3% Edibles To maximize the lifespan of your cannabis-infused edibles, keep them sealed in an airtight container or bag and out of the light. You can also freeze them if you need to.   Note: No matter how well you store them, remember that cannabis-infused edibles aren’t supposed to last forever. Keep an eye on the expiration dates of your edibles, as their shelf life will be most affected by their fastest-expiring ingredients. For example, chocolate or candy will likely last longer than baked goods. If you have questions about the best way to store a specific product, ask your retailer. %related-post-4% Dabs The quality of your concentrates can be diminished by exposure to light, heat, and air. Wrap portions tightly in parchment paper, then store as tightly as possible in small silicone containers. If your concentrates aren’t solid enough for parchment paper, use an air-tight glass jar, making sure that there isn’t much excess room in the container. Store your containers in a dark place that is cooler than room temperature. (A root cellar or basement with stable humidity is a good option.) Make sure to open the containers as little as possible. While you technically can freeze concentrates, you run the risk of exposing them to excess moisture that can damage them. If you must freeze your concentrates, wrap them in parchment paper and freezer bags before placing them in airtight containers. You’ll also want to let them thaw while also watching for excess moisture before using them. These are just a few of the best ways to store marijuana with items you likely already have in your home. There are also many products on the market specifically made for storage that are worth exploring.
Do Marijuana Sales Increase Tourism, Or Vice Versa?
Do Marijuana Sales Increase Tourism, Or Vice Versa?
Do marijuana sales drive tourism, or do established tourist destinations simply generate more revenue because they’re already prepared to handle marijuana-minded visitors? The answer is somewhere in between. There’s no doubt about it: The legal marijuana industry is booming. Despite the fact that cannabis is still technically illegal in all forms in 20 states and at the federal level, the legal pot  business raked in nearly $9 billion in sales last year — a figure that’s projected to reach $21 billion by 2021. %related-post-1% In addition to this mountain of revenue — and its associated taxes — legal marijuana sales help countless people deal with dozens of medical conditions, reduces crime, and creates jobs. It is also making a noticeable impact in the nation’s tourism industry    While it is still too early to assess just how much of a boon legal pot has been to the tourism industry, data from a few states where marijuana is legal shows that not only is legal weed driving tourism, but that tourists in search of legal weed are also inspiring existing canna-businesses to expand their product and service offerings to meet this growing demand. In Colorado, for example, a research firm hired by the state’s tourism office found that legal marijuana was “extremely influential” in the vacation decisions of 23 percent of the state’s visitors in 2015. A deeper look at the numbers shows that roughly 4 percent of Colorado’s tourists age 25 or older said they both came to the state for weed and actually shopped for it that year. %related-post-2% Those numbers shouldn’t have been a surprise to state officials, however, as a midsummer report by the Colorado Department of Revenue the previous year indicated that out-of-state visitors accounted for half of all pot sales in Denver and nearly 90 percent in the state’s mountain regions. Another indicator? Searches for Denver on the travel booking site Hotels.com have humorously spiked each year on April 20 since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. In response to the growing interest in marijuana-based tourism, cannabis entrepreneurs in Colorado have launched cannabis tours and a “weedery” patterned in the mold of a winery. Tours of dispensaries, grow houses, and other cannabis-friendly destinations are popular with visitors of California, as well. And other new, bud-related businesses are popping up all the time, looking to capitalize on the budding industry — businesses like Oakland’s Puff Pass Paint. Modeled after popular classes that pair wine and painting, Puff Pass Paint lets customers pay a few bucks to get creative and high for a few hours. %related-post-3% Colorado and California aren’t the only states reporting an influx of pot-minded tourists. Oregon, Washington, and Nevada are seeing gains, as well. As Marijuana Business Daily notes all of these states are benefiting from cannabis branding and retailing practices that continue to advance significantly — practices that are helping them not only attract out-of-town customers, but also serve the ones who are already coming. In Nevada — home to the uber-tourist destination, Las Vegas — the state’s first six months of recreational marijuana sales ($195 million, 2017) crushed those of Colorado’s ($114 million, 2014). And in Oregon, counties along the North Coast, whose natural beauty is popular with tourists, boasted some of the highest per capita sales numbers in the state. Once these (and other) states can move fully past some of the legal hurdles associated with the legal marijuana business, their ability to generate crowds — and revenue — will be virtually endless.
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Mt. Hood Hikes
Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Mt. Hood Hikes
The Pacific Northwest brings to mind images of tall pines, moss, and running waterfalls. One visit to the Mt. Hood area offers all of these. Here are some of the best Mt. Hood hikes. Anyone who has ever visited — or seen a picture for that matter — of Portland is no stranger to the majesty of Mt. Hood. The mountain’s picturesque peak dominates Portland’s skyline, serving as a constant reminder of the incredible outdoor adventures that lie just beyond the city’s bustling streets. Want to get out there? Then let’s take a look at some of the best Mt. Hood hikes (of the day hike variety). Oh, and as usual, we’ve got some great strain recommendations for these journeys. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Devil’s Peak Devil’s Peak is home to one of the few remaining Forest Service lookout points, which means it’s home to some killer views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding scenery. The hike is relatively short — just 3 miles roundtrip — and that makes it perfect for a quick smoke sesh and stroll through the woods. Recommended strain: Orange Juice — a delicious, citrusy indica-heavy hybrid. Lost Lake Loop The Lost Lake Loop is a nearly level hike, making it ideal for hikers of all levels and interests. What makes Lost Lake so special is seeing Mt. Hood’s reflection off the shimmering surface of the water, so be sure to bring your camera! Recommended strain: Blue Dream — one of Portland’s most popular strains. Still Creek Still Creek may not offer up any views of Mt. Hood, but it will provide breathtaking scenes of rushing water and lush forests. Turns out Still Creek isn’t actually that still after all. Recommended strain: Sour Diesel — a surefire sativa-heavy hybrid. Mirror Lake Located just off Highway 26, the Mirror Lake hike may be the most easily accessible hike on our list. And clocking in at just under 3 miles, it is ideal for a quick day hike. If you time your trip right, you see why Mirror Lake got its name courtesy of a beautiful reflection of Mt. Hood. Recommended strain: OG Kush — another regional favorite perfect for a day on the trail. Ramona Falls This hike is a moderately difficult 6.9 mile loop trail. While it’s not a simple stroll, the waterfalls are well worth the trip. Shaded by huge trees, the sunlight that filters through to the falls makes for gorgeous rainbows. Recommended strain: Girl Scout Cookies — a cross between Durban Poison and OG Kush is the ideal hiker’s companion. Did we miss one of your favorites on our best Mt. Hood hikes list? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Will We See More Marijuana Sanctuary States?
Will We See More Marijuana Sanctuary States?
From new laws to lawsuits from the Trump administration, there’s been a lot of movement as of late regarding the movement toward marijuana sanctuary states. Shortly after President Trump was elected, California lawmakers passed a “marijuana sanctuary state” bill that blocked state and local police from helping the federal government enforce federal anti-pot laws that conflict with state law. %related-post-1% California legalized recreational pot the same month Trump was elected, and lawmakers passed the law because they were uneasy about how the new administration — specifically, prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions — would deal with states like pro-pot states like theirs. And while it has generally been business as usual for the marijuana industry since Trump took office, Sessions’ decision in January to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo has prompted even more states to consider what they should do should the feds start targeting their canna-businesses. Cannabis is still technically illegal at the federal level, and Sessions’ move reversed a 2013 policy that protected the legal marijuana industry by limiting federal prosecutors’ power to go after pot producers, retailers, and users as long as states prevented the products from getting to places where outlawed, as well as keeping them out of the hands of gangs and children. As the Reno Gazette Journal notes Sessions’ move has also unsettled the industry and spooked some potential investors. It also caused more lawmakers to take proactive steps to protect their state’s pot industries. Alaska state Rep. Adam Wool, who owns a restaurant, movie, and concert venue with a liquor license in Fairbanks, says he introduced his own protectionist bill as both a statement and a precautionary measure. %related-post-2% "If the federal government wants to prosecute someone for breaking federal law, I guess they have every right to do that," Wool, a Democrat from one of Alaska's major marijuana-growing areas, told the Associated Press. "I'm just saying, we will have no obligation to assist them." When voters in Massachusetts approved recreational marijuana in 2016, the legislation included language blocking state law enforcement from assisting federal agents in prosecuting legal cannabis users. A new bill pending in the state tightens things up even more in light of Sessions attitude toward the drug. As High Times explains, the creatively named “Refusal of Compliance Act,” would prohibit state law enforcement from cooperating with federal marijuana agents. Designed to protect the legal marijuana trade, the legislation would block state police from partnering with the Feds to target federally illegal operations. Co-sponsor Rep. Mike Connolly says the bill reflects the will of the people of his state. %related-post-3% “Massachusetts voters have gone to the polls and expressed their support for what I’d call a sensible drug policy and an end to marijuana prohibition,” he told CityLab. “I can appreciate the parallel between this and more typical sanctuary-state-type stuff. I think the comparison is pretty clear. We are a state government responding to the will of our own voters and people in our community.” While California already passed a marijuana sanctuary state bill, the Berkeley City Council doubled down by passing a new resolution declaring the California city a sanctuary for recreational weed. Under the resolution, High Times reports, “no department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Berkeley shall use any City funds to assist in the enforcement of Federal drug laws related to cannabis.” The resolution also states that the city “does not support cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration in its efforts to undermine state and local marijuana laws.” While Sessions hasn’t directly pushed federal prosecutors to go after the legal marijuana industry, the Justice Department has sued California over its protection of unauthorized immigrants, leading many close to the issue to believe that Sessions would take similar measures against states that declare themselves sanctuaries for the marijuana industry. %related-post-4% During prepared remarks, Sessions told the California Peace Officers’ Association recently that federal law is "the supreme law of the land," and added that “bragging about and encouraging the obstruction of our law enforcement and the law is an embarrassment to this proud and important state." Sessions repeated his view that undocumented immigrants pose a threat to public safety, echoing his past comments drawing a connection between immigrants, marijuana, and violence. Undaunted, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has already sued the Trump administration numerous times, has vowed to take action if the federal government tries to crack down on cannabis. "You take a look at everywhere you can to protect your people and your interests," he told the Los Angeles Times. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about marijuana sanctuary states .
5 Reasons We’re Excited To Launch Cannabis Delivery In Portland
5 Reasons We’re Excited To Launch Cannabis Delivery In Portland
There are countless reasons why we’re excited to launch cannabis delivery in Portland. Out of them all, though, here are five of the biggest reasons. But if you want cannabis delivered to you without reading this list, then head over to our Shop Now page ASAP. The City of Roses. Ah yes, Portland, Oregon. We are, to be completely honest, beside ourselves with excitement to finally launch our cannabis delivery service in this dynamo of a town. It’s a natural, no-brainer of a partnership. We could go on for days citing the reasons we’re happy to be here. But, since you no doubt have other things to do today, we’ll settle for these five. Great food No shocker here. After all, one of the most popular duos of all time is good cannabis and good food. And it’s no secret that Portland has an enviable culinary community that our products complement nicely. Whether it’s tapas from Ataula, Szechuan wontons from Duck House, or a sugary treat from Voodoo Doughnut, we know Briteside is the perfect pairing for Portland’s delectable food scene. Incredible outdoors Hey, we have absolutely nothing against cannabis and couch time. We’re fans of it, actually. However, for those moments when the spirit moves us to get outside and be active, it’s hard to beat the natural beauty surrounding Portland. From Forest Park right outside downtown to nearby breath-takers like Eagle Creek and Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Portland is an outdoor wonderland. Nonstop entertainment When we’re not stuffing our faces or working those calories off on a closeby trail, Portland is loaded with in-town places and events that keep us moving. Awesome venues like Mississippi Studios and Dante’s: Check. Unique festivals like Pickathon and Soul'd Out: Check. And let’s not forget museums and sports: Check and check. Portland is a feast for fun, and we always brag about it. A leading cannabis industry It’s like a scientific fact, or something: People like to be around people they identify with — and so do businesses. As a cannabis company, we are inspired by others in this up-and-coming industry, and we want to surround ourselves with the best peers. Portland, naturally, is the place to be when it comes to cannabis. We are thrilled to join its already thriving roster of cannabis companies and leaders. Dang good people Sort of related to the last point, we feel like we’re good people. But we already know Portland is filled with tons of good people. So, it doesn’t take a professional matchmaker to figure out that we’re going to hit it off well. Now, just head over to brtside.com, fill up your cart, and we’ll come introduce ourselves...with some goodies, of course!
Tease By Blossom And Hot16 Is Still So Fresh
Tease By Blossom And Hot16 Is Still So Fresh
Tease by Blossom, a Portland-based songstress, and Hot16 is a mellow and sensual, groove-filled project. And it's still as fresh as it was on its release date.  For decades now, soul music and hip-hop have merged and interacted in unique ways. With both genres coming from similar backgrounds it was only a matter of time before they caught up to each other musically. While the Northwest isn’t really known for it’s soul or rap scenes both are active and flourishing naturally. Tease by Blossom & HOT16 Blossom is a young woman with a smooth voice and excellent energy. During the back half of 2017 she released a project titled Tease on local label Liquid Beat and it is still worth your time and ears. Credited to both Blossom and Hot16, Tease is anything but. Hot16 lays down some great grooves that will keep your head nodding and your body moving. Perfect for lounging around with the object of your affection, this record is sexual and soulful to the core. The music is synth heavy in all the ways Dam Funk is a proponent of: Funky and vibey. The bass lines knock and inspire movement. With many modern soul singers making music with a backing band, this project won’t have you missing anything. Blossom wraps her vocals around these instrumentals like snug blankets on your bed. She doesn’t demonstrate a ridiculously vast range, but her voice is still the driving factor here. While this could sound like a knock against her, it isn’t. She knows where her voice fits and does excellent work at staying in, and mastering, that box. %related-post-1% Hot16’s beats are subtle and smooth. He lays down sparse grooves with plenty of space in them for Blossom to steal the show. To her credit, she finds the pockets and expresses her feelings and emotions through song. She transports you to a dimly lit room where it’s easy to kick back and enjoy the company of your love. With a distinct 90s vibe, Hot16 pulls from a variety of classic R&B producers, filling his tracks with subdued drums and flourishes of other instruments. His use of horns and piano keys help set the scene for a feel-good evening when you don’t have a worry in your mind and are content to relax and let your ears devour the sounds. Through these instrumentals Blossom speaks to the ups and downs of relationships, but also the joys of the good life. Whether you want to set the mood or just have some fun music on in the background Tease is a perfect soundtrack to those happy, carefree moments easily forgotten but always sought.
How Much Does Marijuana Cost Around The World?
How Much Does Marijuana Cost Around The World?
Legal or not, the sun never sets on functioning marijuana markets. But how much does marijuana cost around the world? Let’s find out. Marijuana is still illegal in much of the U.S. and the rest of the world. But that doesn’t stop people from buying and selling it. Whether you’re traveling across India, Germany, or Australia, you’ll find robust marijuana markets. Let’s have at look at how much marijuana costs around the world, according to a study from Seedo. (Note: all prices below are in U.S. dollars) %related-post-1% New York City According to Seedo, New York City is a world leader when is comes to cannabis use. Apparently, New Yorkers consume roughly 170,000 pounds of pot per year. That’s a lot of marijuana. As one outlet reported, that’s somewhere in the ballpark of how much the space shuttle Endeavor weighs. One gram of weed is sold, on average, for $10.76 in New York City Cairo, Egypt NYC weed costs way less than it does in Cairo, Egypt, where you’d have to pay a little more than $16 for a gram. In Cairo, almost 72,750 pounds are smoked every year by the city’s 9.5 million inhabitants. Note that cannabis is very illegal in Egypt. %related-post-2% Karachi, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India In Karachi, Pakistan, (the country’s largest city) a gram costs $5.32, and in New Delhi, India, it’s even less: Just $4.38. This might seem like a dream come true for some, but you should note that the average unskilled worker in New Delhi earns around $200 per month. The most expensive and cheapest weed in the world If you want to smoke in Tokyo, get ready to spend some serious cash.  It is the most expensive city when it comes to buying weed, and you’ll pay $32.66 per gram. If you ever go there, however, beware. Buying weed in Tokyo can get you sent to jail. On the other end of the spectrum, the cheapest weed can be found in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. One gram sells there for just $1.34. In Ecuador, possession of up to 10 grams has been decriminalized, but marijuana is still not legal. %related-post-3% Prices in U.S. cities In Los Angeles, you’ll pay around $8.14 for a gram, a bit more than in Seattle, where you’ll have to pay $7.58 for the same amount. The most expensive weed in the U.S. can be found in Washington D.C., where a gram goes for $18.08 on average. Many factors impact the costs of marijuana. Certainly legality has an impact, but so too do taxes as well as the age-old law of supply and demand.
The Medical Benefits Of Cannabis
The Medical Benefits Of Cannabis
Public support for marijuana legalization has never been greater, and much of that support is due to the many medical benefits of cannabis. As of the time of this writing, more than half of the states in America have legalized medical marijuana, and it’s not hard to see why. Medical cannabis creates jobs, generates tax revenue, shrinks the black market, and reduces crime. It’s biggest benefit, however, is the relief it provides to millions of people suffering from numerous medical conditions. %related-post-1% Popular medical benefits of cannabis Medical marijuana is most often used to provide relief from the following conditions: Chronic Pain: More people use medical cannabis for relief from pain than any other condition. The plant is especially helpful for people suffering from pain related to arthritis, migraine headaches, cancer, fibromyalgia, and traumatic events. Cannabis can also serve as an effective substitute for opioid pain relievers, as it not only provides pain relief, but can also help people prevent or overcome addiction to those popular yet potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Glaucoma: Cannabis can lower pressure in the eye, helping to not only lower the risk of optic nerve damage, but also keeping any existing nerve damage from getting worse. Cancer: Not only can medical cannabis help alleviate the pain associated with cancer, but it can also help to alleviate other cancer-related symptoms, including: nausea, skin irritations, digestive distress, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and mental health. There is increasing research that indicates that cannabis can also successfully kill cancer and tumor cells. Epilepsy: The potential of medical cannabis to suppress nearly 100 percent of seizures in people suffering from epilepsy has drawn widespread enthusiasm from the scientific and medical communities. Stress: Whether you are dealing with anxiety related to personal issues, professional issues, emotional issues, illness, or a traumatic event, medical cannabis can help you relax. Nausea: Multiple studies have shown that medical cannabis is more effective at combating nausea than many pharmaceutical drugs. This is especially helpful for people suffering from illnesses that put them at risk for weight loss because they have trouble keeping food down. Sleep disorders: In addition to helping people relax and get a good night’s sleep, medical cannabis is also effective in treating sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep-related issues. Other medical benefits of cannabis The list of conditions that can be helped by medical cannabis doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s just getting started. There is increasing evidence and research showing that medical marijuana can also help those suffering from myriad other conditions, including: Loss of appetite Obesity Diabetes Inflammatory bowel disease Psychosis Liver disease Multiple sclerosis Crohn’s disease Tourette’s syndrome Osteoporosis Parkinson’s disease As always, consult your physician — and your state’s marijuana laws — before pursuing a medical cannabis regimen.
What Is THC?
What Is THC?
What is THC? We get that question a bunch, and as we continue to cover the cannabis basics, let’s set some THC facts straight.   Almost everyone is familiar with the letters THC. After all, it’s the stuff that gets you high. But whether you’re new to cannabis or a seasoned smoker, there are probably a few things you don’t know about the substance. Let’s dive in! %related-post-1% What is THC? Simply put, yes, tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC — is the substance that causes users to feel high when they smoke, eat, or otherwise consume cannabis. More specifically, THC is a cannabinoid, one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain. What does THC do? The receptor system in the human brain is called the endocannabinoid system, and these receptors allow THC to bind to them. After THC binds to these chemical receptors, it is broken down and produces psychoactive effects. It’s important to note that the body also produces its own cannabinoids, including anandamide — the substance responsible for what most runners call “runner’s high.” The effects felt after ingesting cannabis are caused by the same system that produces this naturally occurring sense of euphoria. %related-post-2% How does THC impact the body? Brain chemistry varies from person to person, and because of this, the effects of THC can cover a vast spectrum. Add in the fact that different strains of cannabis offer different concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, and the combinations of effects, both physical and mental, become even more wide-ranging. While one strain of cannabis may cause some users to feel relaxed and chill, the exact same strain may cause higher anxiety levels for other users. The good news? Online databases are making it easier and easier to find a strain that delivers the exact effects you want. Beyond these variations, the short-term physical of effects of THC range from pain relief and greater relaxation to dry mouth, red eyes, and increased appetite. As far as long-term physical effects are concerned, research is still very much in preliminary stages. Much of the conclusive research tends to focus on how cannabis is ingested — smoking can increase cancer risk, etc — while studies regarding mental function or effects on memory have yet to yield concrete proof one way or the other. There you have it! Our primer on THC is complete. Drop us a line if you have other questions you’d like us to answer!
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 9
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 9
It might not be Spring yet, but the fact that we’re putting the wraps on the first full week of March makes it feel close. Here’s the cannabis news of the week. You can do it, people. Just close your eyes and envision those warm temperatures right around the corner. Can you feel them? Ahhhhh, yes. They’ll be here soon. And to help keep you preoccupied until we can thaw out, here are some cannabis news headlines from the past week. Reefer Madness kills Kentucky’s MMJ bill " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> For some time, it really looked like Kentucky would legalize medical marijuana this legislative session, especially as a combatant against their raging opioid epidemic. But alas, old biases — trot out the "gateway drug" line — won out this week as the bill was sidelined. One opponent claimed, “I think it’s wrong to herald marijuana with its many proven negative qualities.” Mmmhmm, right. Nevada keep casinos and cannabis separate This has been a topic of much discussion since Nevada gave the thumbs-up to recreational marijuana. But this week, the state’s Gaming Policy Committee formally moved to keep the barrier up between the two, worried about how federally illegal cannabis money might be “legally laundered” through the casinos. Denver’s Mile High 420 Festival unveils 2018 lineup We all know that Coloradans have long been big celebrators of April 20. And this year, Denver’s 420 Festival looks to be a doozy as the music lineup was released this week. The festival will be held at the Civic Center Park, and will include headliners Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and the Original Wailers. USA Today announces its new “Potcast” Here is yet another tell-tale sign that marijuana is working its way deep into the mainstream: USA Today, owned by media mega-corporation, Gannett, announced this week the rollout of a new podcast called “Potcast.” It’s already on iTunes, and will focus on everything related to the emergence of this new legal industry. California gets tough on Weedmaps Earlier this year the California Cannabis Control Bureau sent out some 900 letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses telling them to get right with regulations. Now the state is zeroing in on popular websites like Weedmaps, requiring them to delist unlicensed industry businesses. Leafly, a Weedmaps competitor scrubbed its list earlier. We’ll keep our eyes out for more cannabis news next week, and we’ll pass along the best nuggets.
Why Cannabis Is Relaxing
Why Cannabis Is Relaxing
If you were to ask 100 cannabis consumers why they use it, chances are more than half would say something like "cannabis is relaxing." Here’s why that is. Stress affects virtually everyone. For some people, work is their biggest cause of stress. For others, it could be financial or family issues. Others might be dealing with illness or the loss of a loved one. Still more might be battling an emotional disorder or trying to recover from a traumatic event. %related-post-1% We need relief from stress in order to clear our minds and release physical tension. If we’re unable to relax, however, we can compromise our physical and mental health. And while healthy lifestyle factors like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep can promote relaxation, sometimes the stress is still too much. Sometimes, we need more relief. And since cannabis is relaxing, it can help provide that relief. How it works When we’re anxious, our bodies emit hormones that transmit stress signals to our nervous system. According to current scientific theory, our endocannabinoid system responds to those signals by producing a cannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is designed to connect with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system. When it does, it helps regulate things like your appetite, memory, emotions, and sensitivity to pain. The trouble is, it doesn’t always work. If you experience chronic stress, anxiety, or trauma, you’re at risk for anandamide deficiency, which can hinder your body’s natural regulatory system. The THC and CBD in cannabis counteracts this deficiency, taking the place of anandamide in your CB receptors, and helping you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and even sleepy. Relaxing cannabis strains Having trouble relaxing? These cannabis strains can help you chill out: Northern Lights: A classic choice that can provide some quick peace and quiet after long, hectic day Master Kush: Produces a perfect blend of full-body relaxation and deep concentration AC/DC: Keeps you clear-headed and focused in even the most uncomfortable of social settings   Canna-Tsu: Pain, inflammation, and emotional stress are no match for the mellowing hybrid strain Willy’s Wonder: This indica-dominant hybrid will send you hightailing it to the bed for a better-than-good night’s sleep Watch your dosage Note: While cannabis is relaxing, using too much of it can have the opposite effect. The amount of cannabis that can take you from relaxed to anxious can be very small. Consult your local budtender for tips on how to best balance your bud.
These Are The Cannabis Articles You Like To Read
These Are The Cannabis Articles You Like To Read
We publish a lot of cannabis articles here at the Sugar Leaf, and while they all attract plenty of eyeballs, here are the ones readers seem to like the most. The cannabis industry is booming with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Sure, there are hurdles (side-eye at Jeff Sessions), but we remain bullish about matters. And while we love to connect you to the best cannabis products, we also enjoy providing you with worthwhile cannabis articles. Of those articles, here are the types our readers engage with the most. Anything by Angela Bacca We are fortunate to have Oregon-based industry guru Angela Bacca as a regular contributor to the Sugar Leaf. She’s incredibly well-versed in all things cannabis, from growing to policy, and her insights never disappoint. Why The Legalization Of Marijuana Is Not Enough Cannabis In A Commodity Market Marijuana Prices Are Plummeting: What Does It Mean? Chris Roberts’ wordsmithing Chris Roberts is an OG writer in the marijuana world with bylines in just about every cannabis publications you’ve heard of. From San Francisco, he supplies us with editorial goodness twice monthly, and our readers love his work. What To Do When Some Cannabis Voters Aren’t Your Friends The 5 Biggest Cannabis Roadblockers In Washington D.C. First Impressions From California’s Commercial Cannabis Rollout Classical music as a smoking backdrop No lie, we were kind of surprised by how well these posts performed, but hey, we’re happy to learn our readers have high-brow musical tastes. Our Classical Music for Marijuana series is relatively new, and we look forward to publishing more installments. Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 1: Frédéric Chopin's Nocturnes Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 2: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 3: English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach Law and politics There are no two ways about this: Given the mishmash of federal, state, and local laws related to cannabis, it is impossible to understand the industry today without following law and politics closely. These are always at the top of our most read cannabis articles. Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence Cannabis industry did-you-knows? Not a week goes by that we don’t come across some tidbit of information that makes us say “hmmmm.” In its nascent state, the cannabis industry is littered with new findings that easily make their way into conversations. “Say, did you know….?” How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging Music recommendations It’s no secret that music is a perfect cannabis complement. In addition to our classical series and best of the month recommendations, we also have a robust collection of other music articles. And they ALWAYS get tons of interaction from readers. One Stoner’s Top Rap Albums Of 2017 5 Electronic Acts You Should Know (And Smoke To) 5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums Cannabis 101 information People love to learn about cannabis. And as the industry grows, more people are wanting to have their questions answered. Our 101-type cannabis articles are big time favorites of our readership. And we’re always building out this content. Why THC Content Shouldn't Be The Only Variable Influencing Your Cannabis Purchase Why Does Weed Make You Hungry? What Are Cannabis Hybrids? Whatever the angle, we’re always working to get you the most helpful cannabis articles. Shoot an email to editor@brtside.com to let us know what you'd like to read more about, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, so we can fill your timelines with some good stuff.
What To Do When Some Cannabis Voters Aren’t Your Friends
What To Do When Some Cannabis Voters Aren’t Your Friends
The days of single-issue cannabis voters are gone. What to do when you find cannabis common ground with someone you otherwise disagree with? Nothing. On a visit to the Florida Panhandle in early February, President Trump-appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stopped to pose for a photo op with the May family. %related-post-1% The Mays operate a commercial plant nursery. Not all farmers are known as wise and careful stewards of the land — farms use a colossal amount of water, as well as chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and the Mays don’t advertise their operation as organic — but they are conservative businesspeople. Thus they qualified politically as “#TrueEnvironmentalists,” as Pruitt gushed in a photo briefly posted to Twitter. Any doubts the Mays were MAGA-friendly were assuaged by the schoolboy-age May in the photo, who wore his red Make America Great Again hat for the occasion. But someone had blundered. The Mays are also partners in a Florida state-licensed medical marijuana grow — the exact kind of business operation Attorney General Jeff Sessions has spent much of his time in office antagonizing. Pruitt’s desire to take over the Justice Department from Sessions is an open secret in Washington. And, as Nebraska attorney general, it was Pruitt who attempted to convince the Supreme Court to end Colorado’s experiment with legal recreational marijuana. Pruitt’s lawsuit failed, but his ideology is apparent. Within an hour of Pruitt’s being informed his photo op was pot-friendly, his knee jerked round the other way and the post was deleted. On Friday, @EPAScottPruitt did a press stunt at a farm in Havana, FL called May Nursery. Pruitt tweeted a photo of him with the May family, calling them #TrueEnvironmentalists. Turns out May Nursery grows cannabis. An hour after I tweeted that fact, Pruitt deleted his tweet. pic.twitter.com/cqizA2BiMf — Nick Surgey (@NickSurgey) February 5, 2018 Whether it was ignorance or miscalculation, Pruitt should have known better. The panhandle is indeed one of the most conservative Congressional districts in the country, and does qualify as a safe space for Trump Cabinet members. Its representative in Congress is Matt Gaetz, who has pushed to eliminate the EPA entirely, backed Trump’s efforts to remove healthcare from millions of Americans, and has vigorously defended the state’s lax gun laws. But medical marijuana is also vastly popular in Florida. More than 70 percent of voters supported Amendment 2, the medical-marijuana initiative passed on the same night Trump was elected. Weed is more popular than the president in Florida, and so Gaetz is also author of a bill, with Democratic co-sponsorship, that would defy Sessions and Pruitt and remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (a bill that appears bound to die for want of a hearing, thanks to other, more obstructionist lawmakers). Pruitt has far more in common with Gaetz than he does, say, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, the Massachusetts Congressman and grand-nephew of President JFK who gave the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address. But if Pruitt was looking for a bipartisan “solution” to the country’s widening and popular marijuana legalization trend, he’d be more likely to hit up Kennedy. %related-post-2% Kennedy has consistently voted against marijuana legalization, putting him out of step with both the rest of his state’s Congressional delegation, and a majority of his state’s voters. All this represents a sea change in how lawmakers treat cannabis — and how cannabis voters should see their lawmakers. For many years, medical cannabis and legalization advocates were universally maligned by government, and so looked for sympathizers anywhere they may be found — however unlikely, or however low. Marijuana drew out single-issue voters like few other issues, which is how you saw libertarians like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson become vastly popular in certain circles within the cannabis movement, despite regressive approaches to education, healthcare, and the environment that violated everything else central to a counterculture ethos. Or central to some. Here’s the hard reality — the days when you could consider anyone and everyone a Rainbow Gathering-friendly friend just because they liked weed are long gone. The truth is that kind of unity was never really true to begin with. %related-post-3% Common enemies create uncommon friends. Legalizers looked to champions like Paul or Johnson because they had no other choice. Now that cannabis is more popular than ever before, not only is a wider and more disparate selection of politicians pushing the issue, deep and possibly irreconcilable schisms are appearing within “the movement,” if there ever truly was such a thing. If your values skew anywhere from moderate to progressive, if presented the inescapable choice between a Kennedy and a Gaetz, you would pick Kennedy, no matter how central cannabis was to your life — unless, of course, you subordinate everything else on earth to cannabis, in which case your singlemindedness is ideologically self-defeating on the whole. Nuance has arrived to the cannabis scene, and with it, gray areas and more difficult choices — and the growing realization that you can have something in common with someone and still hate everything else they stand for. Few humans have hated another with the totality that Hunter Thompson detested Richard Nixon, to whom the gonzo journalist referred as a “swine of a man” possessed of an “ugly, Nazi spirit,” “evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it.” Nixon, Thompson wrote in a “eulogy” printed in the Atlantic, possessed an uncommon quality, that of the unifier. “My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together,” Thompson wrote, words were printed in The Atlantic, on the occasion of Nixon’s death. %related-post-4% Once, Thompson was asked if he had anything in common with the disgraced ex-president, the object of his loathing for half his life. The journalist thought a moment. “We both wear belts,” he ventured. “We both use American money.” The sole time the pair met in person, the only topic of conversation was football — and, against all odds, when Thompson forced himself to forget everything else about the man, they had a pleasant conversation. All this to say that if you try, you can find common ground even with your worst enemy, with your polar opposite, with your antithesis, who stands for everything that you find hateful and hurtful in the world — minus that one thing or another. Yes, you can. It is possible. Not that you should.
Would Jeff Sessions Target Businesses Just To Make A Point?
Would Jeff Sessions Target Businesses Just To Make A Point?
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn’t specifically directed federal prosecutors to go after legal marijuana businesses, the mere fact that he has given them that option has already started impacting the canna-biz. And not in a good way. As we’ve noted time and time again, the current legislative limbo between federal and state marijuana law is doing more than anything to keep the legal marijuana industry from reaching its full potential in this country. %related-post-1% Marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level, and while dozens of states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis in some form, all of them are operating with the fear that the feds — empowered by Sessions’ recent rescinding of the pot industry-protecting, Obama-era Cole Memo — could come after them at any moment. In Colorado, for example, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) says he wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Sessions “sow doubt” about legal marijuana by pushing for the federal closure of some marijuana facilities in states where it’s legal. “He does not think in any way that it’s a good thing for this country to have legal marijuana, so when he rattles his saber, I wouldn’t be surprised if he closes down one or two of these facilities just to make that statement,” Hickenlooper told The Hill’s Power Politics podcast. Hickenlooper, who is in his final year in office, cites numerous back market vendors coming out of the shadows, as well as a lack of escalation in cannabis use among teens and people driving high, as reasons why legalization has been a good thing. He also praised the economic benefits of the industry. %related-post-2% “Now, look at all these people who are involved in the marijuana business and are paying taxes,” he said. “They’re not breaking the law.” Despite his support of the industry, when officials in other states often consult Hickenlooper regarding the pros and cons of legalization, he tells them to “wait another year or two.” Hickenlooper says that while public demand for cannabis is reaching “critical mass,” there will continue “no predictability” within the industry unless Congress and President Trump take action — action that would counteract Sessions’ perceived plans. Among the items that need to be resolved, Hickenlooper says, is the ability of to banks to serve marijuana businesses without fear of facing criminal charges and civil liability for “aiding and abetting” a federal crime and money laundering. As Vice reports, the Twin City Bank inn Longview, Washington, which has been serving cannabis dispensaries and other pot-related businesses, has been getting nervous calls from people considering closing their accounts. The owner of a Seattle medical and recreational dispensary sent out an email to customers assuring them that it was still operating as usual and that it would advise of them of any changes. And last month, a bipartisan group of 16 Senators asked the Department of Justice to maintain its guidance so banks could continue serving the industry. %related-post-3% But while one of the senators who co-authored the letter, Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, has also proposed legislation that would make it legal for banks and credit unions to provide full banking services to marijuana businesses, nobody knows exactly what Sessions’ influence over the industry will ultimately be. How do we put this? Sessions needs to quit or lay off of pot. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates. As long as Jeff Sessions is attorney general, there will likely be many.
The Most Popular Ways To Consume Cannabis
The Most Popular Ways To Consume Cannabis
Here is a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, along with the benefits and drawbacks associated with each. As the legal marijuana industry grows, so to do the choices for ways to consume cannabis. Which method — or methods, plural — you choose should depend on your lifestyle, any conditions you might be seeking relief from, and which physical and mental benefits you’re looking for. %related-post-1% Smoking Despite the development of other popular ways to consume cannabis, smoking remains the most well known and most common. Smokers place cured cannabis flower into rolling papers, bongs, pipes — aka bowls — hookahs, or other homemade devices (the list of homemade smoking devices is seemingly endless, since you can smoke out of nearly anything if you harness your creative spirit). They then put a flame to the flower and inhale the smoke of the burning marijuana, often in short puffs in order to minimize harm to the lungs. Pros: Smoking allows users to easily regulate their dosage of marijuana, as well as experience the immediate impact of the substance, as flower marijuana is typically less processed than other forms. Smoking cannabis is also typically very cost effective. Cons: Not only is the smell a turn-off for many, but the burning of cannabis produces several byproducts which can irritate — and, over time, damage — the lungs and throat. Smoking can also lead to inflammation, coughing, mucus production, bronchitis-like symptoms, and difficulty breathing. Anyone dealing with lung cancer, asthma, and other pulmonary conditions should avoid smoking cannabis. %related-post-2% Vaporizing Also known as vaping, this method provides similar effects to smoking without many of the potentially harmful side effects. Cured cannabis flower or extract can be vaped depending on the specific mechanism used. Once the heat breaks down the compounds of the cannabis, the user inhales the fumes. There are all kinds of different vaporizers (or “vapes”) out there from inexpensive throw-away pens to extravagant high-dollar pieces. Pros: More popular than smoking among some of the more health-conscious cannabis users — yet providing the same immediate impact — vaping eliminates the harmful effects of marijuana smoking and greatly reduces the odor. There are countless stylish and portable vaporizers available on the market. Cons: Though it's quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis, vaping devices can be costly, as can replacing batteries over time. %related-post-3% Dabbing Perhaps the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis next to vaping, dabbing involves the use of a bong-esque dab rig and the extreme heating of a small amount of cannabis extract — typically via a small blowtorch or electronic nail (enail). Instead of a bowl, the rig has a nail which is heated up. Once the nail reaches the desired heat, the user places a small piece of concentration on it, and inhales it as it burns. Dabbing allows users to feel smooth and strong effects of THC very quickly — often as soon as the vapor leaves their lungs. (Some compare the effect to smoking several joints at once.) This especially helpful for people seeking quick relief from significant pain or extreme nausea. Pros: Not only does dabbing provide users with a quick and powerful high, it is also typically far easier on the lungs than regular smoking. Dabs can be affordable, are easy to store, and emit very little odor. Cons: It is probably the most complicated consumption method for a first time user. Due to intense heat involved, dabbing is (potentially) the most dangerous method, as well. (Some users have caused fires or explosions while attempting this method.) It is also possible to ingest harmful contaminants while making your own dabs. Ask an experienced user or budtender for tips. Newbies should dab conservatively at first with experienced dabbers, as they might not be prepared for the intense high. %related-post-4% Edibles Edibles produce noticeably different effects — and are typically more potent and longer lasting — than inhaled cannabis. Edibles come in various forms, including candies, cookies, crackers, chocolate bars, ice creams, and trail mixes. They can also also be infused in countless home food recipes, typically with a high-fat ingredient like olive oil or butter that best extracts the flower’s therapeutic properties. (Note: Cannabis in beverage form provides similar benefits to edible cannabis, though regulating the dosage amount can be more tricky.)   Pros: Edibles essentially serve as a delicious delivery device for medicine. They make it easy to ingest a precise dosage, and they serve as a great alternative for those opposed to inhaling marijuana, as well as younger folks and elderly people needing to medicate without the possible exposure to toxic fumes. Cons: Edibles do not provide the same high as inhaled cannabis, and it can take 30 minutes for the drug to take effect. They should also be kept away from children and pets, who may think they are harmless treats. %related-post-5% Sublinguals  Many medical patients suffering from cancer and other conditions elect to consume cannabis sublingually — or under the tongue. There are a large number of blood vessels under the tongue which can absorb cannabinoids, and users can ingest cannabis in this manner via dissolvable strips, sublingual sprays, medicated lozenges, or tinctures. (Note: Sublingual delivery is becoming increasingly popular for recreational users, as well.) Pros: Not only is sublingual delivery easy and closer to being stigma-free, but it provides rapid absorption almost directly into your bloodstream. Patients can feel the effects of the dosage in as little as 30 seconds. Cons: Users may also need to consume other forms of cannabis in order to receive comprehensive treatment for specific conditions. %related-post-6% Topicals A full cannabis extract — or thick oil — of activated cannabinoids, topical marijuana is absorbed by your skin to provide localized relief for myriad conditions, including muscle soreness, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis, eczema, minor burns, swelling, and chapped skin. Topicals are commonly available as lotions, ointments, sprays, and salves, among other forms, and can typically be applied multiple times since they are for external use. Pros: Topicals allow you to maintain a clear head and full brain functions while providing specific, localized relief for a wide variety of conditions. Cons: Not all products work for everyone. Topicals are not effective for people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. So there you go, a quick rundown of the most popular ways to consume cannabis. And, of course, we know a good place you can find these (wink). 
Portland Weekend Planning: Easy Ideas For A Solid 48 Hours
Portland Weekend Planning: Easy Ideas For A Solid 48 Hours
The weekend is closing in — ah, yes, you can just feel it. Have plans? If you don’t, then you should let us help with your Portland weekend planning. If you’re anything like us, then you probably believe that weekends are sacred times to be cherished. After all, five straight days (or more!) at the old 9-to-5 can be grueling, and that 48 hour respite between Friday and Monday always seems to be the fastest two days of the week. So, what to do with that brief window of sanity? We have a few suggestions for your Portland weekend planning. Crack open a new book We’ll soon be adding to this series, but you should definitely read up on our first set of recommendations for new books to read while you’re slightly stoned. If your mind is right, a page-turning book can be a great way to spend some downtime.  3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed And while a certain mega-website can get books to your doorstep pretty fast, if you're in Portland, then we highly recommend heading to one of the Powell's Books locations to nab your weekend reading list. Listen to some of the year’s best tunes At the end of every month, we publish our favorite new albums from the previous few weeks. In all honesty, it’s one of the toughest pieces we put together since there is so much good music to sift through. Oh, and if you need some good earphones for those tunes, we’ve got you covered there too. The Best New Albums: February 2018 The Best New Albums: January 2018 Log some quality couch time Yeah, we’d be liars if we said we didn’t like to spend some weekends entirely in our PJs. Especially when it’s gloomy outside or the previous week requires us to recharge completely. If this upcoming weekend it looking like one of those, then look no further than the following recommendations. Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors Some Of Our Favorite Video Games To Play High The 5 Best Netflix Series To Watch Stoned Top Movies For Stoners: 10 Great 2017 Films Get outside for a nice hike On the other end of the energy spectrum, if you’re the kind of person who likes to take a toke and then blow off some energy, these stroll and strain recommendations are tailor-made for you. Each article suggests not only great Oregon hiking spots, but pairs them with a complementary cannabis strain too. Oregon Outdoors: Some Of The Best Urban Hikes In Portland Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast Alright, hopefully we’ve given you some good Portland weekend planning ideas, whether you’re vegging out or getting out. And if you’re in the mood for some more cannabis-related articles, check out our list of Most Read Articles.
What Is CBD?
What Is CBD?
We’ve covered indica, sativa, and cannabis hybrids so far in our Cannabis 101 series. Now it’s time for CBD. But, what is CBD exactly? Let’s discuss. Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When taken alone, CBD provides a wide range of health benefits without leaving you feeling high like you would after consuming the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). %related-post-1% What is CBD? When you consume CBD, it bonds with your endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that runs through all the major systems of your body. The bond between CBD and these receptors can produce numerous physical benefits, from boosting and stabilizing your mood to stimulating your appetite and alleviating pain. Why do we hear so much about CBD? More than ever, it seems, we're hearing people ask "what is CBD?" But it's been around awhile. While Queen Victoria frequently used cannabis high in CBD to relieve menstrual cramps during the 19th century, the compound’s medicinal qualities didn’t get much attention until the 1990s. Animal studies in Great Britain showed that CBD lessened anxiety and reduced the frequency and severity of seizures. Further studies were conducted to assess the compound’s potential health benefits, and by 2009, a lab in California successfully cultivated strains containing more CBD than THC. In 2010, CBD gained more notoriety when a desperate father in Montana treated his 20-month-old son’s stage IV brain cancer with CBD oil. The boy’s tumor shrunk almost immediately, and he lived for another two and a half years before the state inexplicably passed legislation that hindered the boy’s family from getting the cannabis oil he needed. CBD then made national headlines in 2013 when a 3-year-old Colorado girl suffering from 300 grand mal seizures each week — or every 15 minutes — saw her seizures cease for a week at a time after starting a regimen of CBD-rich oil. The girl’s story was broadcast on CNN, leading other families to move to the state in order to obtain similar treatments for their sick kids. It also led previously prohibitionist states to introduce pro-CPB legislation. %related-post-2% Understand the effects In addition to fighting cancer and stopping epileptic seizures, CBD can also protect nerve cells from neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. It can serve as a safer alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers — which is especially helpful in light of our nation’s current opioid epidemic. CBD can also reduce inflammation, as well as help people suffering from schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression and PTSD. Research has also uncovered its potential for treating other health conditions, including diabetes, alcoholism, arthritis, and antibiotic-resistant infections. CBD can even help counteract the feelings of paranoia and anxiety often experienced by recreational users of THC.   All-star CBD strains Evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses, and if you’re considering using CBD-heavy strains, consider one of the following popular, CBD-dominant strains:   AC/DC: This berry-scented strain typically tests around 30-to-1 CBD-to-THC, and has long been a favorite of CBD fans Cannatonic: With strong citrus notes, this strain has less than 6 percent THC and is frequently used to fight migraines, muscles spasms, stress, and nausea Charlotte’s Web: A well-know strain that tests at less than 0.3 percent THC, this is most commonly used for pain relief and delivers virtually no psychoactive effects Corazon: A new strain (2017), this Oregon specialty with AC/DC lineage has a 22.5 percent CBD score with less than 3 percent THC Hopefully this helped you better understand CBD. If you’re looking for information on strains with increased psychoactive effects, head over to our Cannabis 101 articles on indica, sativa, and hybrids.
What Are Cannabis Hybrids?
What Are Cannabis Hybrids?
Indica and sativa are the two main types of cannabis. But what happens when you blend them? Hybrids, naturally. But what, exactly, are cannabis hybrids? As the legal marijuana industry has grown, so has the demand for new and interesting strains. Most of the strains on the market today are cannabis hybrids — strains that blend sativa and indica plants, balancing the effects and features of both. %related-post-1% What are cannabis hybrids? Commercial cannabis is typically available in pure form or in a hybrid mix of strains. Hybrids generally skew to either sativa or indica, with each hybrid providing effects associated with its dominant strain. Understand the effects By finding the right balance of sativa and indica, cannabis breeders can create various hybrids that feature specific concentrations of cannabinoid content. Many breeders create breeds that maximize or minimize the amount of THC or CBD based on the desired effects they — and consumers — are seeking: Sativa-dominant hybrids provide an energizing high paired with a feeling of relaxation. They are popular if you are engaged in physical activity, dabbling in creative projects, or interacting with folks in social settings. Indica-dominant hybrids provide an intense high in the body, which can make them a great choice if you need relief from moderate pain. They also carry a sedating effect, which is especially helpful for getting a good night’s sleep. Balanced hybrids provide something close to a 50/50 balance of indica and sativa plants. They are great choice if you are looking to balance the effects of cannabis on the mind and body. They also provide a good introduction to cannabis for new users. %related-post-2% All-star hybrid strains If you’re looking to try cannabis hybrids, here are some of the most popular kinds: Blue Dream: A sativa-dominant hybrid that is known for its body relaxation, thought stimulation, and sweet aroma Girl Scout Cookies: This is a balanced hybrid that blends sweet smells with a woodsy scent, relaxes the body, but also urges conversation Lemon Kush: Another evened-out strain, Lemon Kush deliver a citrusy scent and is well-regarded as a depression-fighter a creative kick-starter Purple Haze: This leans towards sativa spurring high-energy euphoria and smelling of berries and spice Alright, now that we have have indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis covered, let’s tackle CBD.
What Is Sativa Cannabis?
What Is Sativa Cannabis?
Sativa is one of the two primary cannabis strains. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series we’ll explore sativa cannabis, and what makes it different from indica. In our bookend to this Cannabis 101 installment, we covered the basics of indica strains. Now, let’s jump in and get to know the other main strain — sativa cannabis. %related-post-1% What is sativa cannabis? Cannabis sativa was first classified by Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus all the way back in 1753. Linnaeus encountered cannabis sativa in Europe and western Asia where it was commonly used to make textiles and rope. Unlike cannabis indica plants, which are short and stout with broad leaves, sativa plants are tall with characteristically narrow leaves. Sativa plants flourish in warmer temperatures and tend to have longer flowering periods. Understand the effects In the cannabis world, sativa strains are known as active strains. This classification comes from the perceived energy boost that will get you off the couch and tackling the trails or housework in no time. These uplifting effects are attributed to combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that will make you feel energetic and itching to get active. Just like indica strains, sativas can range from higher THC to higher CBD offering varied psychoactive intensity. The terpene morphology and characteristic scents of these strains tends to fall in the vein of citrus, pine, and wood. Sativa strains are extremely useful for treating many medical conditions including depression, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and stress. %related-post-2% All-star sativa strains Want to give sativa cannabis strains a shot? Here are some can’t-miss, popular choices: Sour Diesel: A well-known sativa that packs a pungent, earthy punch Amnesia Haze: With a lemon/citrus nose it’s an easy smoke that delivers a mellow high Strawberry Cough: Although it offers up more classic indica scents of berries and sweetness, this strain provides a big boost of energy Maui Wowie: This strain smells like it’s straight from the islands and is a clean, delicious toke That does it for our coverage of indica and sativa cannabis. Now head over to our post about hybrids.
What Is Indica Cannabis?
What Is Indica Cannabis?
Indica is one of the two most prominent types of cannabis. In this installment of our Cannabis 101 series, we’ll explain what indica cannabis is, and its significance. Part of what makes cannabis so much fun — besides consuming it, of course — is learning about various strains, their effects, where they come from, and what sets them apart from other types of cannabis. Square one when learning about cannabis is appreciating the differences between indica and sativa strains. We’ve got another post all about sativa, but while you’re here, let’s get down to the nitty gritty with indica. %related-post-1% What is indica cannabis? The term cannabis indica was first coined by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. Lamarck named and described the species based on specimens collected throughout India. Indica plants are stout and robust with broad leaves and short flowering cycles — perfect for thriving in the colder climates and mountainous regions of India. The leaves also have a thick coating of resin, making them especially potent. Understand the effects Indica strains tend to be synonymous with one word: Relax. These strains offer combinations of cannabinoids — THC, CBD, and others — and terpenes that deliver more sedative and calming effects. It’s important to note that indica strains can vary from higher THC to higher CBD, but the terpene morphology tends to be similar — big notes of berry, earth, pine, and sweetness. Overall, indica strains tend to be uplifting and will make you feel euphoric and, yes, every, very relaxed. Indica can be extremely helpful treating a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, stress, insomnia, and depression. %related-post-2% All-star indica strains Indica strains tend to be very popular as a pre-bedtime smoke or nightcap. They taste amazing and are the perfect pairing for a chill night in. Indica = In da couch. Want to give indica cannabis strains a shot? Here are some highly recommended, popular choices: Granddaddy Purple: Sweet berry and grape flavors makes this a delicious smoke Northern Lights: Earthy and pine-forward with a higher level of THC Purple Kush: A delicious blend of grape and earth flavors perfect for a night on the couch DJ Short Blueberry: Sweet, ripe berry taste that is a perfect into to indica That does it for our primer on indica cannabis. Now head over to our post about sativa!
Don’t Overlook The Black Panther Score
Don’t Overlook The Black Panther Score
With Black Panther being the center of attention throughout the world at the moment, today we take a look at an oft forgotten about part of films: The score. Black Panther has enraptured the country with its powerful message being delivered via the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With all the hype for the film it was no surprise that Kendrick Lamar and his TDE family were tapped to curate the soundtrack. While that soundtrack is entertaining and certainly worth your time, there is another selection of musical compositions tied to the film that are also worthy of attention: Ludwig Göransson’s original score. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Film scores are vital to a movie’s flow, suspense and overall energy. Generally speaking however, once we walk out of the theatre or turn off the TV we typically walk away from (and forget) the music that drove forward whatever we were watching. That music is almost always entirely originally composed music, often orchestrally driven and filled with emotion. For the Black Panther score Göransson traveled to Africa, listened to hours of tribal field recordings and collaborated with African musicians in order to capture an authentic sound suitable for Wakanda. %related-post-1% On top of this research and collaboration Ludwig utilized a 132 piece orchestra and a 40 person choir to deliver a bombastic soundtrack that even finds ways to interact with the vision behind the more “pop” driven sounds Lamar and the TDE crew were developing for their creation. Throughout the film there are only a handful of moments when those hip-hop inspired beats show up, but when they do they’re mixed with Göransson’s orchestra seamlessly. Göransson also does an excellent job of pulling from the orchestra sounds you wouldn’t expect from such a band. The villain Killmonger’s theme music has a decidedly trap sound with deep bass drum knocks building up to an explosive array of stuttering drums and a haunting choral vocal in the background. These nods to modern popular sounds offer a different perspective to orchestral music and help keep the movement of these compositions exciting. %related-post-2% The range of emotions a film score has to embody is not to be ignored. Ludwig Göransson does an excellent job of incorporating the classical element of his job with the traditional sounds of Africa and the modern sounds of American streets. This blend of styles helps provide a sonic backdrop to a superhero movie that is trying to inspire a conversation rarely addressed by films of its kind. If you enjoyed the movie and Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack don’t ignore this third element to the auditory presentation of this film — it’s invigorating and grandiose in all the right ways, certain to uplift your spirit.
Are Airport Amnesty Boxes For Cannabis Worthwhile?
Are Airport Amnesty Boxes For Cannabis Worthwhile?
In order to help passengers avoid trouble, some airports have installed “amnesty boxes,” so people can ditch a leftover stash before entering the airport. But are airport amnesty boxes of any use? The amnesty boxes might be useless according to some According to The Cannabist, TSA officials in Denver, Colorado, have found cannabis on only a couple dozen travelers each year since recreational marijuana was legalized there in 2014. Compared to the number of passengers using the airport, well above 50 million per year, such incidents as very rare. %related-post-1% If we look at it like that, the amnesty boxes don’t seem necessary. Even if someone carries cannabis through security, TSA officials will contact the police who determine if the amount is for personal use or if it qualifies for trafficking. In case of a small amount, considered for personal use, the passenger can just throw it in the trash can at the checkpoint, without being charged for possession. So the question for many travelers is: If that’s how a cannabis misstep is treated, why would people use the amnesty boxes? *Note: We, of course, do not endorse taking cannabis through security.  Others say the boxes might benefit tourists Clark County, Nevada, has banned advertising and possession of cannabis inside their airport, and on airport-owned property. The boxes are located outside the airport, close to the entrance, so people notice them. An ordinance is listed on the boxes, to explain tourists (and others) it’s illegal to carry cannabis inside. %related-post-2% Mashable notes that tourists, especially, might benefit from these boxes. We can imagine someone enjoying the fact they can legally buy cannabis in Nevada, and forget it’s still in their bag or pockets when they’re on their way to catch their flight home. The bright green boxes aren’t only located near the airport, but also at car rentals. This way you’re reminded to check your pockets when you drop of your rental car, or before entering the airport. So are airport amnesty boxes worthwhile? That’s probably up to the individuals traveling. We definitely don't see any harm in them. 
How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging
How Big Tobacco And Marijuana Are Merging
Once big rivals, Big Tobacco and marijuana are poised to partner for big profits. The first forays are already underfoot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes in the United States has been on the decline since the 1960s. Part of that drop has been caused by increased awareness about the dangers of smoking. Part of the drop is due to Americans’ interest in other things. One of those other things is marijuana. %related-post-1% Big Tobacco has viewed pot as both a competitor and a potential source of profits since at least the 1970s. As the substance’s popularity has increased and the legal marijuana market has grown, tobacco companies have begun to invest in cannabis. Foreshadowing a shift into the legal marijuana biz, Imperial Tobacco changed its name to Imperial Brand in 2015. Then, last year, in a move that raised even more speculation, the company named Simon Langelier, the chairman of a Canadian cannabis oil extract supplier, to its board of directors. As Imperial Chairman Mark Williamson told the Motley Fool, Langelier's “extensive international experience in tobacco and in wider consumer adjacencies will be a great asset to the board." Also looking to expand into some of those “wider consumer adjacencies” is Philip Morris International of Switzerland, who, as High Times explains, has purchased a patent for a GMO plants with higher terpenes. %related-post-2% Not to be outdone, North Carolina-based tobacco company Alliance One International recently staked a claim in the pending legal pot market north of the border, purchasing an 80 percent stake in Canadian pot grow facility Goldleaf Pharm Inc. It’s pretty obvious that Big Tobacco is banking on the fact that, one day, they will be able to sell marijuana to the public as easily as they can a pack of cigarettes. All that’s holding them back — and the rest of the industry — is outdated federal law. When that changes, be ready for a full-on marriage between tobacco and marijuana. 
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 8
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 8
The week we flipped the calendar from February to March was yet another big week in the cannabis news world. Here are some of the more notable headlines. It’s always a tough task trying to whittle down the week’s cannabis news headlines to a Top 5 list of sorts. These days the sheer amount of breaking, important cannabis news is impressive, so picking and choosing is no simple chore. But here we are, so let’s do this. Denver issues first cannabis club license " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> At long last the city of Denver, Colorado, has issued its first license for a social cannabis club wherein of-age consumers can BYOW and partake together. The license was awarded to The Coffee Joint (a straightforward name if there ever was one), which is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Flower will not be permitted. However, vapes and edibles will be. Nevada marijuana sales are off the charts We had a hunch that recreational marijuana sales in Nevada (especially in Las Vegas) would be a hit. But woo-doggy, it turns out projections were conservative to say the least. The news broke last week, but continued to make headlines this week, that last year Nevada recreational sales averaged more than $1 million per day. December was the busiest month with $35,769,000 in sales. Happy Holidays, indeed. Canadian marijuana use has skyrocketed the past few decades It would make sense that a country about to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide would be home to many friends of marijuana. And, of course, that’s the case in Canada. A study made the rounds this week that between 1985 and 2005, Canadian cannabis consumption more than doubled. In 2015, 12.3 percent of the population over the age of 15 used marijuana. In 1985 it was just 5.6 percent. Pedestrian fatalities tied to legalized marijuana Legalization advocates are used to this: Studies with marijuana scare statistics. Such an example was big news this week as a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association tied spikes in pedestrian deaths to smartphones and legal cannabis. Of course, many headlines (unlike the one linked above) ignored the phone part, instead zeroing in on weed. American Legion wants medical marijuana for veterans This can’t keep up forever. American veterans begging their government to allow them to legally access medical marijuana, only to be denied. It can’t. And it won’t. This week the leader of  the American Legion, the United States’ largest veteran organization, pressed Congress during a hearing on the matter. National Commander Denise H. Rohan asked for “immediate reclassification of cannabis to allow research into its potential for medical application.” Thanks, Commander Rohan. That’ll do it for this week’s batch of cannabis news headlines. We, as always, will be back next Friday with more.
The Best New Albums: February 2018
The Best New Albums: February 2018
2018 keeps bringing the heat with incredible new albums. Check out which ones we think are the best new albums of February. This year’s music continues to impress. Across virtually every genre, there was a solid — if not amazing — February release. Here’s a rundown of our favorites that will fit every mood. Indie: Twin Fantasy by Car Seat Headrest " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo originally released Twin Fantasy in 2011, but following the success of the group’s 2016 album, Teens of Denial, he decided to rework and reissue the record. While the songs may not be new per se, all of the tracks have a new energy that perfectly matches Toledo’s witty lyrics. And if that doesn’t do it for you, maybe Toledo’s Smash Mouth cover — yes, you read that correctly — just might! Electronic: 2012-2017 by A.A.L (Against All Logic) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Nicolas Jaar built his reputation creating everything from disco-influenced, danceable albums to spaced-out, minimal electronic. For his latest release under an old alias, A.A.L, Jaar opts to dust off his sample collection to deliver driving beats and swelling melodies. This record is high-energy and the perfect instrumental soundtrack for a smoke sesh. Pop: Blood by Rhye " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Our pop picks tend to err on the side of bubblegum, but every once in a while, an album comes along that blurs the line between pop and r&b. Rhye is reminiscent of Sade — delivering dreamy slow jams that you won’t want to turn off. This album is a more low-key listen, so it may not be great for a party setting, but it’s perfect for solo or small group hangs. Rap/Hip Hop: Black Panther The Album by Various Artists " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Black Panther had a record-breaking month in theaters and brought along with it our favorite rap album of the month. Largely curated by Kendrick Lamar, the album features cameos from The Weeknd, SZA, and many more. From top to bottom, the record has something for everyone, from bangers to more soulful songs, all delivered while seamlessly crossing genres of pop, African soul, and more. Rock: Uncle, Duke & the Chief by Born Ruffians " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Even though the weather may be getting warmer, spring showers have made themselves felt at Briteside HQ recently. Despite the weather outside, Born Ruffians’ latest release has been a ray of sunshine. Surf-inspired, sunny rock, this record is a laid-back listen that is tailor-made for a chill smoke session. Give our list of best new albums a listen, then drop us a line and tell us your favorites! Oh, and if you liked this list be sure to listen to our The Best New Albums of January collection.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Spots On The Oregon Coast
With scenery ranging from beaches to rainforests, Coastal Oregon is a dream. Here are some of the best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast. Coastal Oregon is considered heaven on Earth for outdoor lovers. Some of the country’s best hiking sits in the backyards of the state’s larger, bustling cities. Let’s take a look at the area’s most scenic vistas. Ecola State Park " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Close to the tiny towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside, Ecola State Park is home to nearly 10 miles of hiking trails along the lush Pacific Coast. The area is absolutely gorgeous, so much so that movies like The Goonies and Point Break filmed in and around the area’s famous Haystack Rock and breathtaking Indian Beach. There's simply now way we could leave this off a best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast list. Recommended strain: Super Lemon Haze — this strain lives up to its name and is citrusy, sweet, and refreshing. Oswald West State Park Covering 2,500 acres, the Oswald West State Park has plenty of trails to offer. From a short stroll down to the beautiful Short Sand Beach or the longer trek to Cape Falcon, this area has something for everyone. Recommended strain: Sour Diesel — earthy and pungent, this sativa will keep you uplifted and excited on the trail. Oregon Dunes Coastal Oregon isn’t all beaches and forests. Known as the Sahara by the Sea, the Oregon Dunes offer a stark contrast in landscape. There are plenty of fun hikes to get into and around the area, but the dunes themselves are prime turf for ATV activities. Never fear, though, there are plenty of peaceful, quiet places too. Recommended strain: OG Kush — this hybrid is synonymous with relaxation. Perfect for a day away from the stresses of daily life. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor stretches for 13 miles along the shores of Western Oregon. The scenery varies from beautiful beaches to rocky coastline and sea caves. There are plenty of stops along the way making it the perfect place for a day outside. Recommended strain: Green Crack — earthy and sweet, this sativa packs a boost of energy so you can make the most of your trail time. Heceta Head Lighthouse Although it’s a pretty short hike, the Heceta Head Lighthouse doesn’t hold back on scenery. Originally built in the 1800s, the lighthouse sits on 200-foot-high cliffs, offering up an unforgettable view of the coast. Recommended strain: Jack Herer — this pine-forward sativa will help you feel right at home in the woods. Do you know some of the best hiking spots on the Oregon Coast that we might have missed? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
The Best Bongs For 2018 (So Far)
The Best Bongs For 2018 (So Far)
Cannabis devices keep getting smarter, more efficient, and even healthier for users. Bongs are no exception. Here are some of the best bongs on the scene in 2018. There’s something undeniably fun about hitting a bong — and it seems like everyone has a great story about a beloved bong. Whether you have fond memories of a rainbow-colored glass piece from your college dorm or you still prefer a big rip to a casual toke, bongs are a stoner ever-present. And with a new wave of bongs being released in the new year, you’ll have even more reason to love them! Let’s jump in and see what’s coming! The Puffco Peak " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Puffco Peak has been referred to as the product Apple would release if they ever designed a bong. Just one look at this piece lets you know it means business. Designed specifically for use with concentrates, the Peak is built to draw the richest potency and flavor, allowing users to enjoy all the nuances of specific strains. The piece is also super efficient, meaning smaller amounts of concentrate go much further. Pack it up just as you would any other bong, rip it, and pass it along. Aura Waterpipe The Aura Waterpipe was designed to solve a common problem: A living room full of brightly colored, easily noticeable bongs. At first glance, this pipe looks like a water bottle. But according to the manufacturer, it works just as well as — if not better than — more traditional bongs. It’s dishwasher safe, easy to load up, and virtually indestructible. Sounds like a winner to us! Look for its official release later in 2018. Summerland Land Yacht Bongs may be getting smarter and more efficient, but there’s still something about a traditional water bong that just seems right. Summerland specializes in creating traditional, effective bongs with a designer’s eye. These pieces aren’t groundbreaking in terms of how they operate, but they sure are beautiful. And the Land Yacht is so aesthetically pleasing, it was featured in Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy” video (2:20 mark). They are available in a variety of finishes, are super reliable, and can even be a conversation piece in your living room. Did we miss one of your favorites on our best bongs list? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Georgia Medical Marijuana Legalization A Work In Progress
Georgia Medical Marijuana Legalization A Work In Progress
While the Peach State has traditionally been one of the most prohibitionist states in the nation, the tide is slowly turning for proponents of legalized Georgia medical marijuana. According to a recent Georgia College survey, more adults (78 percent) in the state support the possibility of legalized Georgia medical marijuana than support the governor, state legislature, charter schools, or same-sex marriage. Another poll conducted this year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that 77 percent of registered voters want to see Georgia’s medical marijuana program to be expanded to allow harvesting and distribution. %related-post-1% Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll have to wait a little longer to get their wish, as the Georgia medical marijuana saga continues to be a two-steps-forward-one-step-back ordeal.  As High Times notes, Georgia doesn’t have a citizen-initiated ballot initiative process. As a result, any and all progress toward marijuana legalization must come via state lawmakers. Luckily, Georgia lawmakers have been largely receptive to the will of the people on the issue, showing support for legalization in numbers never before seen. Last October, Atlanta lawmakers put an end to criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession, and, in January, state representatives reviewing the Georgia’s medical marijuana laws voted unanimously to advance a bill allowing cannabis oil dispensaries. State Rep. Allen Peake, a self-avowed conservative Christian, chairman of the House Medical Cannabis Working Group, and one of Georgia’s chief advocates for medical marijuana, told the Journal-Constitution that there are now upwards of 3,400 Georgians registered with the state to use medical marijuana oil — oil they have no way of legally obtaining. %related-post-2% “There’s still a huge issue,” said Peake, R-Macon. “People come to the Department of Public Health (and say), ‘OK, I’ve got my card now, what do I do? Where do I get the product? Where do I go to access medical cannabis oil that the state has said I can legally possess?’” In 2015, Peake presented a bill (later signed by Gov. Nathan Deal) that legalized the possession of medical cannabis oil for patients with certain serious medical conditions. Since then, he has helped shepherd cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people in the state who are legally allowed to possess it, but who have no legal way of obtaining it. “The only way to legally get the THC oil here to dispense is to produce it here in the state of Georgia,” Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta, told the Journal-Constitution. If signed into law, Peake’s new Georgia medical marijuana legislation — House Bill 645 — would allow up to 10 businesses statewide to distribute medical marijuana oil to registered patients. Up to two universities or businesses would also be licensed to cultivate, harvest, and produce the oil. %related-post-3% But while Gov. Deal recently said he supports adding PTSD and chronic pain to Georgia’s existing medical marijuana program, he has openly come out against Peake’s effort to allow the in-state cultivation of medical marijuana this year. Supporters of HB645 have no choice but to wait to argue their case until Deal’s successor takes office next year. And Deal isn’t the only one leaving office.  Peake, who is also the CEO of one of the nation’s largest restaurant franchises, says he will not run for re-election for another term as state representative. He told The Telegraph of Macon that he plans to continue working as an advocate for medical marijuana, as well as working to help families with children with special needs. We hope that before he leaves the legislature, he’s able to spend a little more time convincing his friends in the state capitol to also consider legalizing recreational marijuana — an industry that, as High Times points out, could generate an additional $340 million of tax revenue for Georgia annually.
What Does The New Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Look Like?
What Does The New Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Look Like?
The new Virginia medical marijuana bill is only a governor’s signature away from becoming a law. Doctors in Virginia are now one step closer to be being allowed to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. As the News Leader reported, the Virginia Senate voted unanimously February 12 to pass SB 726 — the Joint Commission on Health Care bill — which will permit physicians in Virginia to recommend the use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil to patients suffering from any diagnosed condition or disease. The vote came on the heels of the unanimous passing of companion bill, HB 1251, in the Virginia House of Delegates. Both bills were recommended by Virginia’s Joint Commission on Health Care, which is tasked with researching health policy options for the state. %related-post-1% The Virginia medical marijuana bills’ progress through the state legislature was swift. Just two months ago, Nikki Narduzzi, patient coalition director at Cannabis Commonwealth and an advocate for medical marijuana legalization in Virginia, met with Delegate Ben Cline at a Starbucks in order to ask him to patron a Let Doctors Decide medical cannabis bill. He agreed, and as the News Leader rightly declared, public policy history was made. “Today’s passage of the HB 1251 is a monumental win for patients across Virginia,” said Narduzzi. “Cannabis Commonwealth is ready to transition from educating our legislators to educating patients and healthcare providers about what this means for them. We are excited to help patients achieve their goals of pain management, reducing prescription opioid use and a better quality life via cannabis therapies right here in their home state.” Physicians in Virginia currently can issue medical marijuana certifications only to people with intractable epilepsy. Once signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, however, the new law would allow doctors to issue cannabis certifications to treat any condition. Northam, a Democrat and physician, has already pledged to sign such a measure into law. %related-post-2% While the new law is a little tricky, it will help scores of Virginians who will benefit from access to medical cannabis. Here’s how it works: Virginia has already approved a regulatory program for the in-state production of medical cannabis oil by five licensed providers — one per Health Service Area — which will grow, extract, dispense, and deliver the oils. Once the program is operational, patients who register will be able to fill their recommendation at one of five licensed facilities in Virginia. Physicians will recommend the oils, not prescribe them as they do with traditional pharmaceuticals. As the News Leader explains, “prescribe” is reserved for FDA-regulated products, and legally denotes writing a prescription on a DEA-numbered prescription pad. While the new laws technically don’t make medical marijuana compounds legal in Virginia, they do provide an affirmative defense for possession by patients and caregivers with written certification, as well as an affirmative defense for production by licensed providers. %related-post-3% “Medical cannabis oil has been proven to effectively and safely help patients manage pain,” Cline told the News Leader. “With Virginia fighting a growing opioid crisis, this is smart legislation to reduce dependence on addictive narcotics. By expanding the ability to recommend medical cannabis oil, we are giving doctors the freedom to make a decision based on the most up to date research and data, just as they do for any other medication they prescribe. I am pleased to see this bill pass the general assembly, and I look forward to the governor signing it into law.” Zach Mauldin, the Marijuana Policy Project’s legislative council for the state, expects Gov. Northam to sign the Virginia medical marijuana legislation “without issue.” Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Why California Is Considering A Cannabis Bank
Why California Is Considering A Cannabis Bank
Federal law blocks canna-businesses from accessing traditional banking services. So officials in California want to create a state-run cannabis bank. California became the sixth state in the nation to offer recreational pot sales earlier this year — sales that are expected to generate upwards of $7 billion in just a few years. But while those sales will be a boon for the state’s cannabis retailers, antiquated federal laws that block those retailers from traditional banking services require all of that business be done in cash. %related-post-1% As we’ve mentioned previously, the federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. As a result, cannabis consumers and businesses must handle all of their transactions in cash, which is not only a hassle for everyone involved, but can also make both buyers and retailers prime targets for violent criminals. In an attempt to make California’s booming legal marijuana business easier and safer for everyone involved, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) are looking into the possibility of creating a taxpayer-backed cannabis bank to handle the canna-billions generated in the state. “We are contending with the emergence of a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry that needs banking services, and a private banking industry that is stymied by federal law in meeting the needs of the new industry,” Chiang told The Hill. %related-post-2% Chiang says that California and other states will need to take the lead in “bringing the cannabis industry out of the shadows so that it can be properly regulated to prevent sales to minors, to protect the public’s health and safety, and ensure cannabis businesses behave as legitimate tax-paying members of our economy.” In 2016, Chiang established a Cannabis Banking Working Group, which held a handful public meetings with industry stakeholders around the state. The next step will be a feasibility study to determine if such a bank could work. As Fast Company reports, Chiang’s office has already a request for information — a step toward conducting such a study — and Becerra’s office will handle the legal side of things. Only one other state, North Dakota, has ever opened a state-run bank. In 2010, Massachusetts considered opening a state-run bank similar to the one proposed in California, but ultimately scrapped the idea because it would have cost billions of dollars. %related-post-3% As Fast Company notes, such a cannabis bank would likely be subject to less oversight than a private bank — an arrangement, opponents warn, would create opportunities for scandal and abuse of taxpayer dollars. But while a lawyer who specializes in the cannabis industry disagrees, calling a state bank a good idea, the attorney also says “any bank solution is a future fix, not an immediate solution.” What that immediate solution might be, nobody knows. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
What Is Marijuana Gifting Exactly?
What Is Marijuana Gifting Exactly?
All but one of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana also allow marijuana gifting. As a result, scores of clever entrepreneurs are using — and some abusing — this legal gray area. While cannabis companies in some states wait for their opportunity to sell weed via retail locations, some have already been selling the substance for months via a legal loophole known as “gifting.” According to this provision, small amounts of cannabis can be exchanged  — or “gifted” — from one adult to another. %related-post-1% As the Associated Press explains, marijuana gifting makes it legal to, say, share a joint at party or put a little weed in your brother’s Christmas stocking. Some budding bud entrepreneurs are taking things a little further than that, however, seeking to use the loophole to establish themselves in a fast-growing industry. In cities where legal pot retailers exist, those running gifting operations don’t face the same oversight or pay marijuana sales taxes. Not only does this practice undercut licensed retailers, but it also creates a legal limbo in states which have legalized, but have no plans for regulated storefronts. So, what does gifting look like in practice? In Boston, for example, you can order a $55 bottle of juice that comes with a “free” bag of marijuana. In Washington, D.C., you can get a gift of pot with the purchase of a $60 t-shirt, $80 Pokemon action figure, or with the purchase of an in-person motivational speech. (We’re not kidding.) %related-post-2% While this is not exactly what lawmakers intended when drafting gifting provisions, police generally haven’t hunted for violators as long as the practice stays low-key and neighbors don’t complain. “We serve the citizens and if they say there’s a problem on this or that block, we’re going to do something about it,”  Lt. Andrew Struhar of the Narcotics and Special Operations division of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department told Washington D.C. radio station WTOP. “If you’re going to flaunt it and you’re going to stick it in our face and force us to take action against it, then we’re going to take action.” And, unfortunately, the habitual line-stepping of some “ganja-preneurs” has caused police to do exactly that: In 2015, police in D.C. arrested Nicholas “Kush God” Cunningham, who handed out edibles from a fleet of cars covered in pot-leaf decals in exchange for “donations.” Police in Massachusetts investigated a Craiglist ad offering plastic bags filled with “free” weed for as much as $325. (They stopped their investigation when they couldn’t identify the seller. Reports of socks — yes, socks — being sold at a D.C. nightclub for $300 a pair led to a recent police raid that netted 17 pounds of pot, 10 pounds of edibles, and two quarts of oils infused with THC. %related-post-3% For now, the gray area surrounding gifting is likely to exist — if not get even more fuzzy — until legislation changes. Complicating already-complicated matters is U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to give federal prosecutors more freedom to go after marijuana business in states where the drug is legal. While Sessions stopped just short of directing prosecutors to go after the marijuana industry, as the Cannabist points out, any pressure from the feds could prove to be a boon for underground marijuana gifting operations. Check back later for updates.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 6
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 6
We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a man who tried to use pot to pay for a drink at Domino’s and a couple of Canadian cops who got into trouble when they sampled some of the edibles they were supposed to be guarding. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ll be danged if we don’t pass them along. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 6. Enjoy… %related-post-1% You grow, granny! A 78-year-old woman in Austria wanted to try cannabis tea and oil to help her deal with chronic pain. She legally purchased some cuttings and, before she knew it, she had grown three good-sized plants. While cannabis seeds and non-flowering plants are legal in Austria, plants that develop buds are illegal, as is cultivation of them. Worried that she might be breaking the law, the precious woman called the cops to tell them about her plans to use them for medicinal purposes. As Marijuana.com reports, the somewhat bewildered officer who answered the phone told the woman that she could only legally own two plants. Unfazed, she responded, “that’s all the same to me,” adding that she would just let the third plant die. As of the time of this writing, Austrian police had not paid the woman a visit in order to more closely examine her growing operation — not even after she recounted her hilarious story on national television.        %related-post-2% Man gets Megabusted Tevin Lewis and a companion recently boarded a Megabus in Atlanta, Georgia, headed for Memphis, Tennessee. According to High Times, Lewis had 1.5 pounds of weed hidden in his luggage. When police later boarded the bus, they approached Lewis and asked if they could search his bags. Shaking nervously, he agreed. Upon looking thorough Lewis’ bag, detectives found three, vacuum-sealed bags of bud, covered in aluminum foil, and hidden underneath his clothing. As police took him into custody, a defiant Lewis tried to downplay the discovery. “That ain’t nothing but a pound or a pound a half,” he told police. Shockingly, police arrested him anyway. %related-post-3% An open-and-not-shut-down case While the sale of recreational marijuana is illegal per current Massachusetts state law, the law does allow anyone of legal age to carry a small amount of weed on their person, as well as imbibe it in a private setting. As the Cannabist reports, that distinction allowed Kyle Moon to recently open a legal private club in Worcester where members can bring and smoke their own weed. Shortly after the club’s opening, however, Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus accused Moon of exploiting an obvious loophole that Augustus himself, apparently, didn’t think of.   When Moon and his partners were submitting license applications for their lounge, regulators asked what the club’s members would be smoking. “Anything that’s legal in Massachusetts,” Moon told them. Moon says his group also had other conversations with the city that went into more detail. The club was then granted its license. After the opening, Augustus called on the Cannabis Control Commission to shut the club down. Augustus was quickly reminded, however, that the CCC doesn’t have jurisdiction over private clubs, leaving Augustus no choice but to “move past” this awkward incident, which he has agreed to do. Moon says he and his family would eventually like to open a dispensary. Don’t tell Augustus. %related-post-4% The breast story ever During a recent drug awareness panel in Canada, Canadian police fielded questions about the country’s pending legalization of cannabis. According to High Times, Nigel Cole, a school resource officer, responded to questions with a bevy of alarming — and factually inaccurate — information. While Cole made some questionable comparisons between pot and alcohol, it was his bold claim regarding the physical effects of cannabis use that, um, really stuck out. “There are studies that marijuana lowers your testosterone — we call it ‘doobies make boobies,’” he said. “We’re finding 60 percent of 14-year-olds are developing ‘boobies.’” Following the event, doctors said there was no scientific basis to Cole’s “urban mythology.” Dr. John Harrison, the chief scientific officer of a Toronto-based holistic wellness team, said it was an issue of common sense. “Millions of men smoke marijuana and you don’t see millions of men walking around with pronounced breast tissue,” he said. Oh, Canada… Another installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series in the bag. Stay tuned for the next round.
Do Weed Hangovers Really Exist?
Do Weed Hangovers Really Exist?
It’s a popular question: Do weed hangovers really exist? There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the matter. So, let’s have a look at some studies reflecting different points of view, and then maybe you can forge your own opinion. Some studies show signs of weed hangovers A 2005 study examining how workers function the day after smoking cannabis called, “Cannabis use, cognitive performance and mood in a sample of workers,” mentions a “hangover-type effect which may increase with frequency of use.” %related-post-1% A different study, this one titled “Acute and residual effects of marijuana,” published in 1990, shows that up to 24 hours after smoking a joint, a person’s performance can be influenced by the consumed THC. But, the study focused on only three experienced marijuana smokers, and it’s hard to say if the smokers were still a bit stoned on the second day, less than 24 hours after smoking, or if they actually had a full-on hangover. Other studies show that weed hangovers don’t exist Another 1990 study concluded that the morning after smoking, “most of the behavioral tasks and mood scales were unaffected.” This means people felt and functioned the same as they would after a smokeless evening. Interestingly enough, five years earlier, the same researcher reported findings that there could be residual effects the day after smoking. Should we trust these studies? Some of the research protocols seem legitimate, but the number of participants in all the above studies tended to be very low. If you test only a handful of people and they don’t show signs of a hangover, does that mean hangovers simply don’t exist? Or do we need more study participants? Let’s hope that a future study (or studies, plural) will be done on a larger sample size, and not only a few experienced smokers. The fact that the same researcher has completed studies with different outcomes shows more study is needed. %related-post-2% Also, it might be worth considering what we define as a hangover. When we say “hangover,” do we mean slight grogginess, or do we mean noticeable variances in how we operate and feel. How we define weed hangovers impacts the debate greatly. What to do if you feel like you have a weed hangover? Whether or not researchers agree on the matter, it’s possible you might feel a bit differently the morning after consuming. As you know, everyone reacts uniquely to cannabis, so trust your own feelings and body. And it never hurts to drink plenty of water — hydration is a wonderful thing.
Plush Seats By Calvin Valentine Is Lush Listening
Plush Seats By Calvin Valentine Is Lush Listening
The young producer known as Calvin Valentine delivers his first project for Mello Music Group, a beat tape inspired by the greats and filled with modern day funky vibes only an LA transplant by way of Oregon could deliver. Plush Seats arrives on March 9th. “I’ve said unabashedly that I owe a lot of the good ideas I’ve ever had in my life to pot.” Plush Seats by Calvin Valentine If you’ve spent any time listening to the multifaceted musician Calvin Valentine you know that he likes to keep his music smokey. No, this is not an engineering gimmick to pass off poor production quality, this is more a vibe. Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, Valentine has steadily paved a path for himself filled with more styles than your favorite graffiti writer. He is no stranger to the art of crafting a beat tape, but Plush Seats feels just like that — a luxurious experience that will keep you locked in place as your head nods to pounding drums and funky sounds. Picking up where the mentors left off, you can’t help but feel like our sonic tour guide is channeling the holy spirit of more than a few practitioners of his craft. The press release of the album is quick to cite the usual suspects in Dilla and Madlib, and perhaps his time in sunny California has rubbed off on his ears. There is no biting here however. His style is soulful and rooted in tradition, but also clearly ready to break free of stereotypes and demonstrate the perfect West Coast gumbo of hip-hop inspired calls to action. %related-post-1% “Just enjoy the stoney playback.” The lush instrumentals contained herein are perfectly executed displays of how to set a tone, explore a groove. His stoner personality would be captured with or without any references to our favorite flower. The beats roll over you like a blunt wrap, tight but smooth, just the right consistency throughout. Plush Seats is the kind of ride you expect from a musician as diverse as Calvin Valentine. Filled with live instrumentation, samples, tight DJ scratch work and classic boom bap drums the project demonstrates what it is to explore traditional hiphop tropes in ways that never feel tired. Whether you are looking for that next mixtape beat to spit a freestyle too or some smooth jams to play for your significant other, and anything in between, Plush Seats by Calvin Valentine has your auditory needs covered.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 7
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 7
Though not too splashy a week in cannabis news, there were plenty of important items making headlines in the last full week of February 2018. Some weeks burst at the seams with eye-grabbing cannabis news. Other are more subdued, though no less important. This week was of the latter category: Chill but meaningful. Here’s a quick rundown of some cannabis news headlines from the past few days. Colorado Girl Scouts allowed to sell outside dispensaries You likely recall the recent kerfuffle surrounding a San Diego, California, Girl Scout who set up shop outside a local dispensary. She, of course, sold out of her cookie stash in record time. Well, in some more cookie-related news, the Girl Scouts of Colorado have formally declared dispensaries as fair game for enterprising young girls who want to sell their Thin Mints and Tagalongs to shoppers buying cannabis products. Las Vegas airport as a pot dumping ground We’re all very familiar with the old line, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” And true to form, officials at McCarran International Airport are making it easier on travelers to ditch their cannabis stashes before they hop on a flight home. There are now 13 “amnesty boxes” located around the airport where tourists can offload their green goods before heading through the security line. Denver marijuana is a BIG consumer of electricity This was one of those headlines that had us thinking “yeah, that makes sense.” But even still, it was eyebrow-raising. We learned this week that nearly four percent of all electric usage in Denver, Colorado, is from marijuana grows. Energy consumption related to the marijuana industry is a topic of increasing interest, and Denver provides an example of how much marijuana demand drives energy demand. Canadian health insurer announces MMJ coverage This is a big win for Canadian medical marijuana patients, as Sun Life Financial, a major health insurer, will allow companies to add medical marijuana coverage to their group health plans. Sun Life isn’t the first Canadian insurer to make such a move, but the are the biggest, as they provide coverage for over 3 million Canadians and their families. Tennessee judge allows raided CBD-selling businesses to reopen In one of the most eye roll-inducing installments of “Modern Reefer Madness,” police from multiple law enforcement agencies in Middle Tennessee recently raided and shuttered 23 businesses for selling CBD-infused products. They also issued 21 criminal indictments on business owners. But pump the brakes, people. It turns out that, yes, such products are actually legal in Tennessee. The good news is that this week a judge allowed the businesses to reopen. The bad news is that authorities acted so ham-handedly without knowing the actual laws. That’ll do for this week’s Cannabis News Nuggets. You know the deal, we’ll be back next week and we hope to see you then.
How Montana Medical Marijuana Legislation Is Finally Catching Up With Demand
How Montana Medical Marijuana Legislation Is Finally Catching Up With Demand
For 14 years, Montana medical marijuana patients have had to get by on a limited supply. New legislation is (hopefully) about to change that. In May 2011, there were 31,522 legal Montana medical marijuana cardholders. But when the state enacted a newer, stricter MMJ program later that year, the number of legal users started to plummet. %related-post-1% However, as a recent report by the Montana Legislative Services Division’s office of research and policy analysis indicates, the number of cardholders in Montana has nearly tripled and the number of MMJ  providers has increased by 17 percent since a 2016 ballot initiative and 2017 state Senate bill relaxed restrictions. Montana first legalized medical marijuana in 2004, allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally possess the substance. In 2011, the state legislature approved a new medical marijuana program which placed more restrictions on the drug and implemented tougher requirements for Montana’s physicians, caregivers, and patients. The new program — SB 423 — has been roundly criticized by patients, who claim it has made obtaining medical marijuana needlessly complicated. In 2015, a medical marijuana patient submitted a petition to get the legalization of pot on the ballot in the state. The proposed amendment, which would have allowed adults to legally purchase, possess, and consume marijuana, failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot. While SB 423 would ultimately be upheld by the state Supreme Court and go into effect in August 2016, Montana residents successfully voted to expand the state’s medical marijuana program in November of that year. %related-post-2% As the Great Falls Tribune explains, voters approved the the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative in November 2016, and the Legislature passed Senate Bill 333 in 2017. The ballot initiative and senate bill removed a stifling three-person limit on the number of patients per marijuana provider, added post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of approved medical conditions, broadened the production parameters of cannabis products, and allowed licensing and testing laboratories and dispensaries. The final version of the medical marijuana program’s rules, which go into effect April 10, clarify testing procedures, how providers will secure their businesses, and how marijuana will be labeled, among other tweaks. While some of Montana’s 600-plus cannabis caregivers are concerned about the potential costs associated with the new regulations, many are already getting ready for the expected influx of business. According to Marijuana Business Daily, many of the state’s caregivers have moved to open dispensaries or make first-time expansions into retail chains. As one MMJ business owner estimates, there are now between 120 and 150 dispensaries in Montana — up from roughly 50 a year ago — as well as another 50 or so modest medical marijuana delivery operations. %related-post-3% Progress is still progress, even if it happens slowly. Kudos to Montana for finally getting with the program with their MMJ program. Is it too soon to suggest that they consider legalizing recreational pot legal, too? Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 3
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 3
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 3: English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach We hope you enjoyed the last installment of Classical Music for Marijuana. It would be hard to find a more fun-filled classical suite than Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns. For our third volume of the Classical Music for Marijuana series, we’re recommending a set of six suites written expressly for the harpsichord (or clavichord). We tend to feel they sound their best on a warm Spring day, your windows open and a nice breeze blowing through your home. Trust us, you’ll love these: The English Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Johann Sebastian Bach? Certainly one of the most recognizable names in all of classical music, Johann Sebastian Bach was a German musician and composer of the Baroque period. Johann Sebastian was the last-born child to a highly regarded musical family, and his robust library of work included Latin church music, passions, oratorios and motets, as well as wide-ranging concertos for violin and for harpsichord, and suites as chamber music and for orchestra. Other major composers of the Baroque period include Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Claudio Monteverdi, among many other well-known names. About Johann Sebastian Bach’s English Suites Bach’s English Suites represent some of his earliest works, written between 1715 and 1720, though the precise dates are not certain. One line of thinking holds that these suites — there are six of them — were composed for an English nobleman, though we do not know which individual that was. Hence the name “English Suites.” The English Suites are considered “dance” music — for that time, anyway. Quick listen We couldn’t imagine recommending listening to anything but all six suites, but if you want just a quick sample of what Bach’s English Suites have in store for your ears, try Suite No. 2 in A minor. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We really do hope Bach’s English Suites provide a perfect musical companion for you next cannabis experience. And we hope we see you for Volume 4 of the Classical Music for Marijuana series.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In Eastern Oregon
Topographically speaking, Eastern Oregon stands in stark contrast to some of the state’s other regions, but it is no less beautiful. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Eastern Oregon. As we continue our tour of the best hikes in Oregon, it’s time to take a look at some of the best hiking trails in Eastern Oregon. Get ready to plan your routes, load up your pre-roll or bowl, hit the trail, and take in the great outdoors. Anthony Lake " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Just north of Baker City, Anthony Lake is 7,140 feet above sea level. The hike is a relatively easy 1-mile loop, but the scenery of wildflowers and granite peaks of the Elkhorn Range is absolutely gorgeous. Recommended strain: Blue Dream — an old favorite, this strain is the perfect companion for a day on the trail. Gunsight Mountain Another trail in the Elkhorn Mountains, the Gunsight Mountain trail is an 8.2-mile loop that takes you around the peak of Gunsight. Gunsight is one of the more easily accessible mountains in the area and is surrounded by beautiful alpine lakes. Recommended strain: Orange Crush — tangy and citrusy, this sativa-heavy hybrid will put a pep in your step. Riddle Brothers Ranch Riddle Brothers Ranch is in the middle of juniper country in Southeastern Oregon. A national historic site, the ranch was originally constructed in the early 1900s. The ranch is home to a few trails, including a 1.5-mile path that ends at the meeting of the Little Blitzen and Donner and Blitzen rivers. Recommended strain: Willie Nelson — a straight up sativa that will prime your senses for a day in the woods. Wildhorse Lake " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Located near Steens Mountain, the Wildhorse Lake trail is 2.5 miles roundtrip with 1,200 feet of climb. It may not be the best choice for a casual stroll, but the effort is worth the views of lake surrounded by breathtaking wildflowers. Recommended strain: Durban Poison — a must for an inspired outdoor experience, this potent strain will help you connect with your surroundings. Little Blitzen Gorge The Little Blitzen Gorge offers up incredible views of Aspen trees and waterfalls, as the trail follows the Little Blitzen River. This trail is perfect for a day hike or even longer trips if you’re feeling more determined. Recommended strain: Alaskan Thunder F*ck — a delicious boost of energy, this strain will keep your feet moving and prime your senses for beautiful views. Got a favorite outdoor activity in Eastern Oregon? Hit us up so we don’t miss out!
Celebrity Cannabis Products: VIPs In The S(pot)light
Celebrity Cannabis Products: VIPs In The S(pot)light
The canna-boom has resulted in thousands of new businesses. And a few familiar names have gotten in on the act. Let’s a take a look at some well- and lesser-known celebrity cannabis products. People from all walks of life are seizing the opportunity to take advantage of the rapidly growing cannabis industry — including many celebrities. While some of these celebrities wouldn’t raise many eyebrows by lending their name to a cannabis product, a few might be a little surprising. Here’s a quick rundown of some new and established celebrity-owned cannabis brand to keep an eye on! Chelsea Handler We’ll start our list with one of the newest celeb cannabis entrepreneurs: Chelsea Handler. Handler has never been one to avoid the spotlight, especially when sharing her cannabis experiences, and the recent announcement of her new cannabis line was no exception. The details are still sparse, but based on an Instagram photo, we can expect a line of flower and possibly edibles in the future. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Willie Nelson Willie Nelson is an American cannabis national treasure, and it’s no surprise that he’s made his mark on the legal cannabis industry. Willie built a reputation for his stoner-friendly concerts and his willingness to share his stash with his concertgoers. It’s this history and sense of community that formed the foundation of his cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Snoop Dogg Snoop has made his name virtually synonymous with weed. Snoop’s cannabis brand, Leafs by Snoop, offers up a roster of flower, edibles, and more inspired by the famous rappers world travels. Snoop also started the online media outlet Merry Jane as a celebration of all things cannabis culture. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Ghostface Killah One of the founding members of the rap group Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah was another early celebrity adopter of the legal weed game. Partnering with vaporizer company DynamiteStix, Ghostface released his personal line of flavored THC cartridges — Wu-Goo. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi has taken a different approach to legal weed. Instead of standard bud and edibles, her company Whoopi & Maya — founded with renowned cannabis vet Maya Elisabeth — focuses on cannabis-infused lotions, soaks, and tinctures all intended to provide women relief from menstrual symptoms. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Did we miss one of your favorite celebrity cannabis products? Let us know.
Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions
Cities Move To Erase Past Marijuana Convictions
In the age of gradual legalization, past marijuana convictions can be a sticky subject. Some locales, however, are making moves to erase convictions for now-legal activities.  If you have past marijuana convictions on your record, we don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be to take out a college loan, obtain a professional license, get a job, or qualify for housing. Often compounding the frustration is the fact that the offense you were busted for back in the day may no longer be illegal today. %related-post-1% While some prohibitionist hardliners say you should have to live with the consequences of your actions, other bigger-picture thinkers in a few bigger-city governments are moving to make it easier for you to move on from your past pot convictions. In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 — the Adult Use of Marijuana Act — which not only legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21, but also gives those convicted of pot-related crimes an opportunity to reduce or expunge their criminal records. As MERRYJANE explains, Prop 64 allows anyone who has been (or is currently) behind bars, on probation, or on parole to petition for resentencing or redesignation. Felonies can become misdemeanors, and misdemeanors can be reduced to infractions or erased altogether, depending on the amount of weed in question and if those convicted have completed their sentences. San Francisco and San Diego, however, have taken things up a notch. While Prop 64 allows Californians with prior pot convictions to petition for expungement, those two cities are doing the heavy lifting for many of them. %related-post-2% As the New York Times reports, the San Francisco district attorney’s office plans to automatically erase 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back 40 years. Prosecutors will also examine another 4,900 felony marijuana charges to determine if they should be retroactively reclassified as misdemeanors. San Diego has selected another 4,700 felony and misdemeanor cases for possible clearance or reduction. And California’s move to expunge convictions mirror similar efforts in other states. In 2015, the Oregon legislature passed a bill allowing people to retroactively clear their marijuana convictions. Colorado passed a similar bill in 2017, Virginia passed one this year, and Seattle’s mayor and city attorney recently announced that the city will nullify hundreds of misdemeanor convictions for pot possession that occurred in the years before the drug was legalized in Washington State.   %related-post-3% “Seattle is doing the right thing,” says Jolene Forman, staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is important that states considering legalizing marijuana, as well as states that already have legalized, acknowledge the past harms of the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws, and work to repair them. Repairing the harms of marijuana criminalization, especially in communities of color that have been hit the hardest by our destructive drug laws, is an essential piece of properly implementing marijuana legalization. It is exciting to see a city like Seattle doing all it can to improve what the state of Washington approved in 2012.” While Vermont also allows cannabis offenders to petition to have their cases expunged, current state law makes them wait a minimum of five years to become eligible to do so. According to MERRYJANE, the state legislature has introduced a proposal that would expedite the process and allow anyone arrested recently for marijuana possession to immediately apply for expungement. While these are all moves in the right direction, we hope more states follow suit, and that the cities and states making incremental moves today erasing past marijuana convictions, make bolder ones in the future. We’ll keep you posted.
How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling
How Mexican Marijuana Prohibition Has Reversed The Flow Of Cannabis Smuggling
The increased production of legal weed in the United States, coupled with Mexican marijuana prohibition, has created a new market for drug smugglers. The growing availability of legal pot in the United States over the last decade has all but killed American demand for illegal, Mexican-grown cannabis. Cartels have adjusted, largely abandoning growing pot and shifting their attention to the production of heroin and fentanyl, and zeroing in on theft and extortion schemes. %related-post-1% According to figures from the Mexican government, federal forces wiped out 74,531 acres of pot crops in 2006. In 2016, that figure dropped to 13,537 acres. This steady drop in Mexican weed production has contributed to a sustained fall in the amount of weed being smuggled north. A recent report by the Los Angeles Times showed that seizures of pot by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have steadily declined for a decade. Last year, 861,231 pounds of marijuana were seized at U.S. ports of entry. That figure is down from 2.4 million pounds in 2013 and 4.3 million pounds in 2009. During one recent seizure of a drug shipment in Ensenada, just 85 miles south of San Diego, Mexican police found considerable amounts of fentanyl, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. They found no marijuana. %related-post-2% But while there isn’t much Mexican pot heading north these days, there is still plenty of pot crossing the border. The production of Mexican pot might have dwindled, but Mexico’s demand for pot remains significant — a demand the cartels are all willing to meet. As KPBS reports, Mexicans are quite fond of American-grown cannabis due to its superiority over the weed typically grown by the cartels. As a result, Tijuana residents with dual citizenship have been driving into California to buy American weed and smuggle it back home. While it is technically illegal to smuggle pot from the U.S. into Mexico, doing so is much easier than smuggling it from Mexico into the U.S. Drivers heading south are seldom subject to the same border stops as those heading north, making it virtually risk-free for smugglers to carry a modest supply of herb with them on each and every trip. %related-post-3% The trend of reverse smuggling started with the legalization of medical marijuana in the United States, and is expected to skyrocket now that California and other states have legalized recreational weed. And while Mexico has dragged its feet when it comes to full legalization, an increasing amount of legislators and citizens south of the border have rightfully made the case that it makes no sense for both countries to pursue such widely conflicting drug policies. As more and more of Mexico’s lawmakers and residents realize the positive impact legal marijuana can have on both crime and the country’s coffers, the push to end Mexican marijuana prohibition will only intensify. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Munchies In Europe: What To Chow Down On Abroad
Munchies In Europe: What To Chow Down On Abroad
Imagine you’re traveling through Europe and suddenly you get struck with the munchies — what should you eat? Here’s a list of awesome foods to try in various cities. Just so you know, we’re not suggesting you travel with marijuana in your pockets through Europe, because there are some strict rules over there. But on the chance you — somehow — come down with a major case of the munchies while there, here some recommendations for how to satisfy those international cravings. %related-post-1% Amsterdam, The Netherlands It’s quite easy to get the munchies in Europe if you’re travelling through The Netherlands. Just head to a coffeeshop, and buy some good weed. After you do this, you should try some fried snacks “from the wall.” The what? Trust me, you’ll find plenty of cafeterias where they have a wall comprised of small glass boxes, each box filled with hot food. Just throw down a couple euros, and open the window of your choice. We’d suggest a kroket or a frikandel. Frankfurt, Germany The Germans sure know how to brew great beer and belly filling dishes. If you’re on the prowl for something greasy and delicious after a smoke session in Frankfurt, try a currywurst. It’s a tasty sausage with curry spices and loads of sauce. %related-post-2% Paris, France France is known for its culinary arts, and the famous onion soup (“soupe à l'oignon”) is a must-try. If you want to eat like the French, you should definitely order some nice wine with your dinner. A dry white Riesling from the Alsace will pair perfectly with your onion soup. Madrid, Spain If you get the munchies in Madrid, run to the nearest tapas restaurant! Tapas are small plates of food, often shared between friends and family at the table as an appetizer. Recipes for tapas are boundless. Whatever you’re hungry for, there is a dish for it. Order a few plates to share with friends, because if there is one thing better than sharing good cannabis with friends, it’s breaking bread with them. %related-post-3% Rome, Italy In Italy, you could go for a fresh pizza if you like something a bit greasy to kill your munchies. But a nice order of veal parmigiana will definitely fill your stomach as well. By the way, Italy is heaven for foodophiles, so having the munchies there won’t be a problem at all. Athens, Greece In Athens, you should definitely try authentic tzatziki sauce! The best combination, in my opinion, is souvlaki with tzatziki. The spices on the meat are just amazing. But keep in mind that Greeks are some of the later diners in Europe. So, if you get the munchies around 10pm, you could still easily go to a restaurant and get rid of yours there.
The Texas Medical Marijuana Program Is A Perfect Example Of Bad MMJ Laws
The Texas Medical Marijuana Program Is A Perfect Example Of Bad MMJ Laws
In conservative Texas, lawmakers have crafted such byzantine and heavily restricted rules that very few people can access Texas medical marijuana. The hole drilled in Sierra Campbell’s skull is a prelude, to see if doctors might not drill additional, more invasive holes. Holes, but no guarantee of healing. All this, plus a pharmaceutical regimen of ten pills a day — plus a few more, whenever the 27-year-old Texas woman suffers a seizure — hasn’t solved her intractable epilepsy. %related-post-1% She still has two or three seizures a month. And every time she has a seizure, she suffers further “neurological damage,” a fancy clinical term for brain damage, like what happens when you suffer a blow to the head, a fall from your bicycle sans helmet, or other serious trauma to the organ that controls your consciousness and your body’s basic functions. Her IQ drops, and the likelihood that she may be able to live a life without constant care drops with it. Data from the “intracranial monitoring” device implanted in Sierra Campbell’s head will tell her doctors if she’s a candidate for brain surgery — for now, this is unclear — but in the meantime, her mother, Laura Campbell, would like to try something Texas law currently considers even more radical, and harder to acquire. Yes: medical marijuana. Earlier this year, “new” Texas medical marijuana program launched. “New,” because lawmakers approved the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015, but it took until earlier this year for the first patient to receive the first delivery. Entry is strictly limited. Patients must have intractable epilepsy that hasn’t responded to at least two other FDA-approved treatments. Then, the patient must find two doctors willing to sign off on the cannabis regimen. Then, and only then, may a patient access low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil, delivered to their home by a nurse or a social worker. You’d think Sierra Campbell is an ideal candidate for participation. She is — so are the other 160,000 Texans, less than one percent of the state’s total population. But just as strict as the patient requirements are, so too are the standards to which doctors who might want to recommend cannabis are held. %related-post-2% As the Texas Tribune reported, there are only 18 doctors in the entire state eligible to enroll patients in the state’s medical marijuana program. Sierra and her mother, Laura, live in Austin. If they want to try cannabis, they need to find a doctor who specializes in epilepsy and has a national certification. As it happens, two of the doctors in Austin are pediatric neurologists, and are unlikely to see Laura’s daughter, the newspaper noted. Another doctor, in nearby Fort Worth, told the Tribune that he’d only recommend cannabis to a “handful” of his patients — because, he said, he’s just not convinced if cannabis is medicine. The tiny number of doctors coupled with institutional reluctance to experiment a low-risk, high-reward plant-based medicine leaves Laura Campbell worried that, despite her daughter’s empirically serious health condition, going through the motions of trying to get her cannabis will be a waste of time. “I’m going through this list thinking that I’m going to have to call these doctors and see if they even accept new patients,” Campbell told the site. “Then if we’re lucky enough to get in, how am I going to pay for these doctors? I’m not sure insurance will cover it.” %related-post-3% It’s for reasons such as these that other families with sick children, whose lives might be quickly and drastically improved with medication — like cannabis — have left the state rather than wade through an inhuman bureaucratic struggle, while watching their loved ones suffer and die for lack of access to care. In the context of the country’s healthcare scene, where people die avoidable deaths every day for want of care they’ve either can’t afford or been outright denied, what’s happening to Campbell — and anyone in Texas with chronic pain, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, or any of the many other maladies for which cannabis has been shown to grant relief — is a uniquely American experience. To date, 29 states allow their citizens some measure of access to medical marijuana. Another 17 states don’t allow access to cannabis, but do allow low-THC, high-CBD oil in certain circumstances. These programs vary vastly in size and scope, but do have some commonalities: And unlike, say, prescription pain pills, what cannabis there is extremely difficult to access. Nearly every “new” medical-marijuana program has draconian restrictions, on the number of doctors allowed to recommend cannabis, on the producers allowed to grow cannabis, or on the health problems suffered by patients to make them eligible. These have been instituted as a knee-jerk reaction to the examples set by states like California, where — we’re told — medical marijuana is simply too easy to access. %related-post-4% This is a textbook example of a solution without a problem causing additional unnecessary harm and suffering. It is true that medical cannabis is available in California to anyone who wanted it — and had the $40, or sometimes half that, to give to a doctor willing to give a five-minute exam and write a recommendation. It’s also true that this situation did not lead to any serious problems. There was no public-health crisis, there was no crime wave, there was no spike in youth cannabis use. Literally nothing bad happened — except bad medical-marijuana laws. In crafting a law so narrow and so strict as they did, what Texas lawmakers did was add insult upon injury. They have raised false hopes among vulnerable and desperate people. They have admitted that there may be a solution to medical conditions modern medicine has been unable to solve. They have a cure for hopelessness and despair. They know it exists — and like Medicare for all, they know it’s massively popular with their people. But like a cruel and twisted stepparent toying with a child, they’re dangling this promise in sight but out of reach of their charges. Yeah, we know about this, they seem to tell their citizens, but we don’t think you can be trusted with it. You can blame entrenched biases against cannabis for some of this reluctance, but only so far. That argument breaks down under the slightest scrutiny, because we know too much by now. We know weed hasn’t killed anyone, we know alcohol and cigarettes are far more damaging, we know that among the 60,000 fatal drug overdoses a year in America, marijuana is responsible for exactly zero. Texas lawmakers know all this. They also know that rather than make it easy for people like Sierra Campbell to maybe try some legalized Texas medical marijuana, they’re asking her to drill some more holes in her head first. The Texas medical marijuana program is insufficient to the point of inhumanity. It needs immediate improvement, and needs to be used as a case study of how not to do medical marijuana.
Portland Rockers, And And And, Release Solid New Album
Portland Rockers, And And And, Release Solid New Album
With their first full-length album release in three years, And And And unleashes a guitar-heavy sound wave straight to your ears. And And And is a longtime Portland rock outfit consisting of members Nathan Baumgartner (vocals, guitar), Bim Ditson (Drums), Berg Radin (Guitar), Jonathan Sallas (bass) and Ryan Wiggans (guitar). With four full length projects under their belt, along with a couple EPs and a live record, their new album Idiot serves as their second full length studio release. Idiot by And And And The first thing that stands out when looking at their lineup is their affinity for guitars, and those guitars come screaming through on this release. Setting the tone with the opener “Get Off My Lawn,” you will be moved by the rhythm and held in attention via the lyrics. Baumgartner’s voice is passionate and pained, when he sings “Well lately I get the feeling/This is all just fake/Sometimes I’m not thinking about always/I’m just trying to stare into nothing/Oh please just get off my lawn.” With the power of a five piece band you can’t help but be treated to a lot of sound. They integrate multiple guitar melodies expertly, never allowing anyone to get lost in the mix and this delivers an awesome array of grooves. While the music isn’t exactly designed to inspire dancing, the combination of Ditson on his drum kit and Sallas on the bass keeps a just funky enough rhythm in place to help inspire movement. %related-post-1% If the cover art wasn’t enough of a give away, And And And seems to enjoy walking a line of abstraction. Their lyrics hint at disillusionment and a desire to grasp an understanding of life we all wonder about but will probably never find solid answers to. “It’s a lonely life/but it’s the only one that I will live/Got the devil on my mind/ But I don’t have a soul I can give him” And yet there is still some optimism to be found between Baumgartner’s delivery and hopeful howl to guitar riffs only described as bright and energizing. Idiot is an exciting listen and a well executed project. Strictly independent, And And And has made the album available for free streaming and downloads via their Bandcamp account, opting to ignore the massive streaming sites. While this may sound odd, it’s a great stance to take when you are part of the mass amount of bands getting a minute fraction of the plays on said services. You can find their reasoning for this move in a manifesto (of sorts) that they penned on the topic. If you are in Portland tonight (2/16/18) get out to The Doug Fir and be ready to rock out with the guys as they celebrate this release, their first in three years.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 6
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 6
This week was full of good cannabis news headlines, including record-breaking receipt totals in Colorado and Pennsylvania MMJ patients finally gaining access to medicine. Some weeks, unfortunately, not all the cannabis news we share with you is positive. But this week was something special. It was jam-packed with good vibes, and as usual, we’re happy to share some of the more notable cannabis news headlines with you. Berkeley, California becomes a marijuana “sanctuary city” On Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council passed a new resolution making the town a “sanctuary city” when it comes to marijuana. What does this mean? Here’s verbiage from the document itself: “No department, agency, commission, officer or employee of the City of Berkeley shall use any City funds to assist in the enforcement of Federal drug laws related to cannabis.” Simply put, if federal agents want to raid any legal cannabis entity in Berkeley, they’ll have to do it without any local help. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Colorado 2017 legal marijuana sales pass the $1.5 billion mark At some point legal marijuana sales in Colorado have to plateau, right? Well 2017 wasn’t that year — if it exists. The Colorado Department of Revenue announced this week that the state hit a record $1.51 billion in cannabis sales last year, of which $1.09 billion were recreational and $416.52 million were of the medical variety. For reference, 2016 totals hit $1.3 billion in sales, and 2015 tallied a (by comparison) paltry $996 million overall. Alcohol more damaging than marijuana? No way! Consider us not shocked by these results. Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder released findings, that eventually made the rounds this week, that marijuana use does not negatively impact the size or functioning of white or gray matter in the brain. But do you know what does lead to “negative associations” in those areas? Yep, alcohol. Mr. Steves goes to Washington (D.C., that is) We don’t try to hide our love for Rick Steves, the greatest travel guide in the history of travel guides. This week, the Washington State native traveled to Washington D.C. to brief members of Congress and their staffs on why marijuana prohibition needs to end. Steves anchored his argument in civil liberties, but also discussed crime reduction and public revenue reallocation. First Pennsylvania MMJ dispensary opens We’re beyond happy that the first MMJ dispensary in Pennsylvania opened to patients this week. The first customers into the store were the mothers of children who suffer from seizures. The pair advocated for fair cannabis laws for years, and finally had the chance to purchase medicine from an actual dispensary. We hope many (many!) more will finally be able to join them. Alright friends, that does it for this installment of Cannabis News Nuggets. We’ll be back again next Friday with more.
The Northern Corridor Is The Nation’s Prime Pipeline For Marijuana Trafficking
The Northern Corridor Is The Nation’s Prime Pipeline For Marijuana Trafficking
The amount of black market weed being smuggled through states like Idaho, North Dakota, and Minnesota is on the rise. But a closer look at current marijuana trafficking numbers nationwide tells a better story. While the legal marijuana industry is exploding across the nation, recreational marijuana remains illegal in all but eight states and marijuana in all forms is illegal in 21 states. States like Oregon, California, Colorado, and Washington are largely responsible for spearheading the growth of the nation’s legal marijuana industry. They are also potentially responsible for propping up pot’s black market. %related-post-1% Growers in pro-pot states on the West Coast produce more legal pot than their residents need — pot that is highly sought after by buyers in prohibitionist areas of the country. As MERRY JANE reports, with customers on the East Coast still willing to pay big bucks for West Coast bud, several northern states have become “prime thoroughfares on weed’s black market pipeline.” According to a report by CBS affiliate KBOI, and cited by MERRY JANE, Idaho State Police seized more weed between 2016 and 2017 than in the previous three years combined — a trend they trace to the legalization of weed in neighboring Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. "We're seeing a huge increase in possession throughout the state of Idaho and also seeing an increase in trafficking cases," ISP Trooper Jason Maxfield told KBOI. "It's no coincidence at all.” Interestingly enough, while law enforcement in North Dakota and Minnesota have reported similar increases in the number of smuggling arrests in their states, a recent report from the United States Sentencing Commission shows that the number of trafficking arrests has actually dropped significantly nationwide in the years since states began legalizing recreational pot. %related-post-2% When residents of Colorado and Washington voted to end cannabis prohibition in 2012, the report says, nearly 7,000 people were found guilty of trafficking marijuana. By 2016 — with recreational use allowed in eight states — the number of convictions had dropped by more than 50 percent. So, what to make of this? Well, it’s pretty safe to assume that as long as weed is legal in some states while remaining illegal in others, marijuana trafficking will continue (supply and demand, ya know). The solution to reducing cannabis trafficking, as MERRY JANE notes is not for authorities to continue pursuing their “outmoded policing procedures,” but rather for more states to legalize this highly profitable, taxable, and medicinally beneficial drug. Here here. We agree.
You'll Love It: Northwest Rapper L.E.X. Releases New Track
You'll Love It: Northwest Rapper L.E.X. Releases New Track
We promise you'll "Love It" — of course we're talking about the new track by Pacific Northwest rapper LEX (or L.E.X.). It's a smooth hit covering numerous topics including, yes, cannabis.  The Northwest has a long history with cannabis and music. Of course the two go hand in hand, the age-old adage of “everything is better when stoned” proves especially true when applied to music. Smoking anthems abound across genres, with musicians regularly feeling the vibes of some excellent greenery and translating those energies into your next sessions soundtrack. %related-post-1% L.E.X. is a Mississippi transplant calling Seattle home now. His time in the cloudy Northwest has inspired an exciting amalgamation of sounds and styles.  With his new tune “Love It” dropping recently, he flamboyantly talks smack to the haters, professes his dreams and owns his passions all the while laying down an optimistic vision for the future. Over a hazy bed of synthesizers we are treated to the perfect kind of riding music. “Love It” screams confidence in one’s self. It’s energetic and wavy, ready to be played loud and with the top down. It’s bound to have you daydreaming of a Northwest summer evening, even amidst the rainy winter nights we are surrounded by at the moment. The repetitive, in all the right ways, beat will get your head bouncing and feet shuffling. L.E.X. displays a few different flows and expertly rides the groove. His southern roots might show, from hints of a drawl to his choice of ad-libs and moments of joining the mumble rap illuminati for select bars. While that might sound like a lot going on vocally, he sews it all together seamlessly and with a smoothness. “Get high if you want to.” L.E.X. adores his marijuana and wants the world to enjoy with him. Here he has delivered the perfect vibe for your next blunt. Roll up and let the sounds envelop your body. As the smoke rises so too should the volume. Let “Love It” play on repeat as you drift with your favorite strain, contemplate the things you love and find that spark to overcome whatever obstacle might be in your way at the moment. Inspirational stoner music might not be a category on your streaming service but stay tuned to L.E.X.’s output, it’s bound to brighten the day just like the last joint you burned.
Must-See Music Venues For Your Bucket List
Must-See Music Venues For Your Bucket List
An amazing venue can make an average band sound great. Even better, A+ music venues can make an incredible band sound out of this world. Let’s take a look at some of our bucket list music venues. Listening to music at home — on some great speakers or in your headphones — is all well and good, but it doesn’t get any better than hearing one of your favorite bands live. Toss in a killer venue, and you’ve got the recipe for a totally unforgettable night. Here’s a look at some of our dream venues and a few shows we wish we could’ve seen. %related-post-1% The Greek Theater — Berkeley, California Located smack dab in the middle of the University of California’s Berkeley campus, the Hearst Greek Theater is a sight to behold. An open-air amphitheater, the Greek, as most know it, opened to the public in 1903. In the years since, the theater has played host to presidents, the Dalai Lama, and a list of bands a mile long. A concert under the stars at the Greek should definitely be on your bucket list.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Red Rocks Amphitheater — Red Rocks, Colorado A proverbial stone’s throw from downtown Denver, Red Rocks is one of the most well-known music venues in the world. The natural red rock scenery is absolutely gorgeous and gives the amphitheater incredible acoustics. Since originally opening in 1906, Red Rocks has become a permanent stop on virtually any tour. The Beatles even played there on their 1964 U.S. tour. Red Rocks should definitely be a stop on your next trip to the Mile High City. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Metro — Chicago, Illinois The Metro is a Chicago landmark. Opened in 1982, the venue has hosted some of the world’s most incredible bands over the last 30 or so years. The Metro has built an incredible reputation for the best sound of any venue around. Even on Youtube, concerts at the Metro sound amazing. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Ryman Auditorium — Nashville, Tennessee The Ryman Auditorium originally opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle all the back in 1892. In the center of Music City, the Ryman has seen generations of talented artists come and go. The venue’s astonishing acoustics have made some for spectacular performances throughout the ages. If you get a chance, don’t pass up a show at the Ryman. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The 9:30 Club — Washington, D.C. We are huge fans of NPR’s All Songs Considered, and there’s a reason why the 9:30 Club is where the radio show records live performances of their favorite acts. The venue has everything you could want: great sound, amazing bands, and plenty of history. Seemingly everyone in D.C. has a favorite memory of a show at the 9:30, so why shouldn’t you? " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Do you have a favorite venue we should check out? Let us know! We'd love to write more music venues lists. 
Super Troopers 2: Who’s Excited?
Super Troopers 2: Who’s Excited?
Super Troopers is a stoner classic. With the sequel confirmed for release in Spring 2018, let’s get hyped by counting down some of our favorite moments from the original. Everyone has a favorite line from the original Super Troopers. And, despite its release in 2001, the lines haven’t really gotten old. Re-watching this gem is always good for a few laughs. As we gear up for the sequel, let’s count down our favorite moments from the original Super Troopers. But first, don’t forget to check out the trailer for Super Troopers 2 — of course it’s release date is April 20th: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The cat game Here it is. The game that launched 1 billion “meow” jokes. Though it can seem a little played out meow, this bit was absolutely hilarious at first. Almost 20 years later, the nostalgia factor still gets a good chuckle out of anyone who remembers Mac and Foster. Key line: “Am I jumping around all nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Liter a’ cola Officer Farva is the bane of the other troopers’ existences. And, to be honest, most of the audiences probably hated him, too. But the truth, however, remains Farva plays a key role in some of the movie’s best scenes — none of them better than his classic order at Dimpus Burger. Key line: “Liter is French for give me some f***in’ cola!” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You boys like Mex-ee-co? From the opening scene of the movie, the three stoners being pulled over by Thorny become is unforgettable. The troopers love messing with these dudes and it’s hilarious. This happens to be our favorite of those pranks. Key line: “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Shenanigans Captain O’Hagan is one of the few characters in Super Troopers with more than a shred of common sense. Although he can come across as a bit of a buzzkill, he’s the loveable authority figure, and provides one of our favorite moments. Key line: “I swear to God I’ll pistol whip the next guy who says shenanigans!” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Bullet-proof cup Just watch it. Seriously. Key line: “You’re a sick m*********er, Mac.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Got a favorite moment we didn’t include? Don’t be all nimbly bimbly! Let us know!
Valentine’s Day Marijuana Gifts: What Your Significant Other Really Wants
Valentine’s Day Marijuana Gifts: What Your Significant Other Really Wants
Forget jewelry. If your significant other is a cannabis consumer, here are some things to consider when picking out Valentines Day marijuana gifts. Ah, Saint Valentine’s Day, the spot on the calendar when we celebrate romance above all else. And how do we celebrate it? Naturally, in the West, by spending money! Nothing says “I love you” more than a mass-produced Hallmark card, or a swanky “2 for $20” entree special at your favorite chain restaurant. %related-post-1% Hey now, we’re not throwing total shade at these “traditions.” After all, if it makes your significant other’s heart swell with endearment, we’re all for whatever your plans might be. That said, if your love happens to be a fan of cannabis, we’ve got some ideas for you. Of course, we’re not bringing any new ideas to the table. It appears that cannabis connoisseurs have already begun circling Valentine’s Day as a time to purchase something special — marijuana-wise — for the objects of their affection. According to Flowhub, a Colorado-based software company, dispensary sales jumped 22 percent between 2016 and 2017 on the weekend before Valentine’s day. What’s more, edible sales spiked 42 percent on that weekend. That makes sense to us considering strawberries and chocolates — and we don’t mean the Hershey’s kind — are an age old pairing. %related-post-2% If you’re about to make a last-minute dash to the dispensary to grab some product for your sweetheart, keep these statistics from Eaze in mind. In 2017, women were more prone to purchase cannabis-infused health and wellness products (see our last recommendation below) while men preferred concentrates. But if you held our feet to the fire and told us to recommend three Valentines Day marijuana gifts, we’d have to start with these: The Nuggy by NugTools Outdoor enthusiasts usually keep a multi-tool (think Leatherman) on them at all times. Cannabis fans have their own version of this in the Nuggy. Whether you’re cleaning out your bowl or in need of a roach clip, look no further. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Cupid, the Love Bubbler by MJ Arsenal The makers of Cupid pose the question, “What’s more romantic than smooth jazz on Valentine's day?” And their answer: “Smooth smoke!” We won’t disagree, and their heart-shaped love bubbler is a spot-on gift for Valentine’s Day. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Awaken by FORIA Awaken is a new topical spray for her by FORIA that blends “8 all natural aphrodisiacs including Kava Kava, Cacao, Hemp, Vanilla and Cinnamon.” The reviews speak for themselves: five stars all day. Here is a news report of their launch product: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Alright, there's your head start on Valentines Day marijuana gifts. Oh, and don’t forget to buy flowers. And not the red kind either (wink, wink).
How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom
How Marijuana Consumer Preferences Are Driving The Vape Boom
As legalization spreads, marijuana consumer preferences are shifting. Two correlating trends are the growing popularity of vaporizers and a dip in flower demand. For decades, if you wanted to use cannabis — even in states where it was legal — you had few options but to roll a joint and smoke it.  As California cannabis delivery service Eaze and other pot startups have discovered, however, easier and less messy delivery methods like vaping have not only transformed the usefulness and public perception of the drug, they have also helped the industry explode into the mainstream. %related-post-1% As Eaze explained in its “2017 State of Cannabis” report, these products are helping more and more longtime — and new — users discover how easy it can be to enjoy marijuana. “Products that are ready to use out of the box, easy to use, and portable, especially interest newcomers as these products result in a smooth and pleasant first-time introduction to marijuana,” the report says. “These ‘convenience’ products only require a match or lighter, a push of a button, or some appetite, and are perfect for many lifestyle activities, such as prerolls for a concert, or a vaporizer for yoga.” Similar to e-cigarettes, vape cartridges are the most popular of all the new convenience products. Because the products don’t actually burn any organic material, the New York Times notes, they are widely considered to be safer than smoking in the same way vaping nicotine is safer than smoking cigarettes. As recently as 2014, marijuana flower accounted for 85 percent of Eaze’s annual sales. The company saw sales of vape cartridges jump by 400 percent between 2015 and 2016, driving down flower to less than a third of its total sales and helping to boost the company’s overall sales by 300 percent in 2017. %related-post-2% Another cannabis start-up, Cura Cannabis Solutions, an Oregon company that specializes vape cartridges, has seen similar growth. In December 2016, the Times reports, the company’s sales were $2 million. One year later, they were raking in $7 million each month. According to the Times, this “increasingly sophisticated set of marijuana start-ups” argue that by “pushing the industry past smoke, they can make cannabis convenient and ubiquitous — the drug of the future, and the next great American bonanza.” With the industry estimated to hit $23 billion by 2021, it’s hard to disagree.
New Legislation, New Products Could Expand New York Medical Marijuana
New Legislation, New Products Could Expand New York Medical Marijuana
In an effort to get medicine into the hands of more patients, new legislation coupled with new products could bring welcome change to the New York medical marijuana scene.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent move to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo may have given federal prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, but it stopped just short of directing them to do so. Unfazed by this token anti-toking gesture, pro-pot legislators and canna-biz leaders are continuing to work to expand the availability of legal marijuana to those who need it and want it. Such is the case in New York. %related-post-1% While New York is one of 29 states in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, its program — signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 under the Compassionate Care Act and launched in 2016 — was initially one of the most conservative in the nation. At first, only patients with illnesses including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease were permitted to consume smokeless forms of cannabis. The state added chronic pain to that list of qualifying illnesses in 2016, and post-traumatic stress disorder last year. Not surprisingly, the slowly expanding list of qualifying conditions has hampered New York’s medical marijuana from attracting patients. According to Health Department data cited by the Daily News, only 40,286 patients currently use the program. However, new regulations announced last summer expanded the methods New York medical marijuana could be offered, and at least one company is seizing the opportunity to launch new products — and attract new customers. The 2014 law limited forms of the drug to capsules and liquids and oils for vaporization. According to the Daily News, Etain Inc. has become the first grower in the state to receive preliminary approval from the Health Department to offer newly permitted products, including pot lozenges and ground marijuana flowers for use in vaporizers. %related-post-2% A health department spokeswoman told the paper that the new products must still undergo “rigorous testing” before they can hit the market. Hillary Peckham, Etain’s founder and chief operations officer, is hopeful that the products will hit shelves in March. “Whether you’re the parent of a child with epilepsy, a cancer patient, or a veteran dealing with PTSD, you shouldn’t have to live in fear when seeking legal medical treatment for a debilitating illness,” she says. If recently introduced legislation is enacted, all of those patients listed by Peckham — and more — could have access to medical marijuana with as little as a doctor’s note. Introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Assembly Bill 8904 would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any serious condition — not just those currently allowed per the state’s medical marijuana program. %related-post-3% "I have always opposed a restricted conditions list for medical marijuana," Gottfried told MERRY JANE. "No other medication has a statutory list of what conditions it may be used for because healthcare professionals, not the state, should make prescribing decisions." While it’s too early to tell if or when the bill will actually pass, support for it is building across the state due to the marijuana program’s potential to provide patients with a safer alternative to dangerous painkillers.   "That's crucial for us in New York right now, facing the opioid crisis," says Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "In this moment, it's clear that New Yorkers are sick and tired of marijuana prohibition getting in the way of people's ability to access medication and to be able to live as healthfully as possible." Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about New York medical marijuana laws and other legalization efforts across the nation.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 5
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 5
Interesting cannabis headlines keep coming at us at lightning speed, and the first full week of February 2018 was loaded with notable cannabis news. Every single day we keep our eyes on cannabis news headlines — then we pass some of the best nuggets on to you. Here are six from the past few days. Girl Scout entrepreneur under fire (you gotta be kidding us!) " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> It’s hard to think of a better munchie fix than a box of Girl Scout cookies. That reality — we’re sure you’ve heard by now — led to the most perfectly located Girl Scout sales spot imaginable . . . outside a San Diego dispensary. She, of course, sold out of her stock in no time. Cue the the hand-wringers and fun police. Did she break rules? Or not? *eye roll* Our question: Are people really worried about this?  Our verdict: We love her style either way. Cannabis jobs are booming We all had a hunch that the number of legal cannabis jobs were booming. Earlier this week, that hunch was confirmed as new statistics were released by ZipRecruiter revealing that cannabis job postings increased by 445 percent in 2017. That’s incredible. Especially considering that the year prior job posts grew by just 18 percent. Cannabis delivery coming to Colorado? We're obviously big fans of cannabis delivery here at The Sugar Leaf, and we hope it’s a service that becomes as common as pizza delivery one day. And if a group of Colorado legislators have their way, it will be — in Colorado, anyway. News broke this week that Colorado legislators are, again, considering allowing cannabis delivery in the Centennial State. A bill was introduced last year, but it failed. We’ve got our fingers crossed they have more luck this time. Washington marijuana tracking still a problem It would be an understatement to say that the state of Washington has had problems with their marijuana tracking system. And last week, after a three month delay, the system launched yet again. Celebration time, right? Well, not so fast. According to some businesses this week, there have been abundant problems generating manifests and traceability has all but shut down at times. Authorities have said the problems will be resolved — and we hope, for the sake of cannabis businesses, they’re right. Portland gets its first “cannabis bodega” We’re in L-O-V-E with this idea. Jeffrey's Flower and Oil is a cannabis dispensary in Portland that is, as the Willamette Week puts it, “a one-stop for tinctures, drinks and munchies.” PTL, friends. PTL. What’s more, Jeffrey’s plans on offering picnic baskets full of great grub and cannabis items this summer. Talk about a yard party upgrade. Sign us up. Virginia one step from legalized medical marijuana oil We are heartened that that the Virginia House and Senate have unanimously approved a bill that would allow patients to access cannabis oil upon the recommendation of a physician. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Ralph Northam, a doctor, who has already voiced support of medical marijuana. Hi-five, Virginia. Alright friends, be sure to come back next week for more cannabis news headlines.
The 5 Biggest Cannabis Roadblockers In Washington D.C.
The 5 Biggest Cannabis Roadblockers In Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is full of cannabis roadblockers, powerful legislators who needlessly prevent cannabis progress from occurring. But who are the worst cannabis roadblockers? Start with these five. One need not be a hardened cynic to grasp that Congress, on the whole, is not in the business of doing the people’s business. If it were, the United States would years ago have had single-payer healthcare (58 percent popular support, according to Gallup), student-loan debt relief, stricter gun laws (55 percent), and repeal or reform of the Controlled Substances Act’s blanket prohibition on marijuana (there’s 60 percent support for legalization, and far more for medical cannabis). %related-post-1% We have none of the above items, which suggests something is amiss. And yet, Capitol Hill lawmakers more interested in donors than voters cannot resist forever. The “bums,” they do get thrown out: In 2006, Tom DeLay and his crew exited, helped along by scandal; in 2010, smug Democrats succumbed to the Tea Party “revolution”; and, if current indications hold true, if not quite a blue “tidal wave,” some force will send select enablers of Donald Trump from Washington’s august halls to post-electoral careers as K Street rainmakers or think-tank flunkies. At the same time, only a bitter and ignorant cynic would declare everyone in Congress a corrupt monster. Let’s look at the cannabis question. At the time of this writing, there are 42 marijuana-related bills currently in Congress. There are bills to speed along marijuana research, reform banking and taxation restrictions, and legalize cannabis outright. This is a popular issue with bipartisan support. And yet these bills aren’t going anywhere. They’re either dead or doomed to die in limbo — for want of a committee hearing. Here, then, is the rub. Not Congress as a whole, not the Civil War reenactment running the Justice Department, and not the president (not on this one). Bills only become law if the bill receives first a hearing in committee — and a bill only gets a hearing if it’s called by the committee chair. In this way, a handful of select lawmakers can block popular measures that impact millions of people from becoming law — and, if the committee chair is from, say, Texas, there’s very little the people of, say, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine he is maligning can do about it. Who are these folks? Glad you asked. Walk with us, won’t you, through the garden of cannabis roadblockers. %related-post-2% Cannabis Roadblocker #1: Pete Sessions Perhaps nobody in Congress is more responsible for the current unpopular cannabis stalemate. A Texas Republican, Rep. Pete Sessions (no relation to Jefferson Beauregard III) has represented the northern neighborhoods and suburbs of Dallas for more than 20 years. It’s not the most conservative place — Sessions was recently re-elected with 71 percent support, but his district narrowly went for Hillary Clinton in November 2016 — but Sessions behaves as if a MAGA hat is glued to his head, voting with the Trump agenda more than 97 percent of the time. As chair of the House’s Committee on Rules, Sessions is also one of the most powerful people in Congress. If a bill manages to make it out of another committee, the Committee on Rules can hold it up, or send it to another, unfriendly committee. In September, it was the Sessions-chaired Rules Committee that refused to allow the rest of Congress to even vote on a host of marijuana reform measures, some of them very modest. Opposition is one thing. Under Sessions, the Rules Committee is engaging in pure obstructionism — a tyranny of the minority. Cannabis Roadblocker #2: Chuck Grassley Remember the CARERS Act? What a big deal it was. There was Cory Booker, there was Kirsten Gillibrand, and there was Rand Paul, pushing bipartisan cannabis reform in the U.S. Senate. The days of marijuana bills coming from isolated back-benchers were over forever — but so was CARERS’s chances of becoming law, thanks to a lawnmower-riding lad from Iowa farm country. Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley is chair of the Senate Judiciary committee. In a disingenuous op-ed co-written with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), a legendary foe of drug-policy reform in her own right, Grassley declared his support for expanded marijuana research, not long after declaring his opposition to just that. Grassley could have had everything he asked for in that op-ed, had he not used his position as chair of the Judiciary to block CARERS from a hearing. Grassley is secure in his position as long as Republicans hold the Senate, which is bad news for cannabis reform. Also: That infamous remark about “good people” not smoking marijuana from Jeff Sessions, then an obscure and extremist senator from Alabama who nobody else in Washington really took seriously? That was entered into the record at a committee hearing called by Grassley. Thanks, Chuck. %related-post-3% Cannabis Roadblocker #3: Greg Walden You might not expect a Congressmember from Oregon to be a roadblock obstructing progress on cannabis. But Greg Walden is Oregon’s token Republican in Congress. He’s promised to be a reliable Republican in Washington, as befits his conservative district, and as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce — the oldest and longest-standing committee in the Congress — he’s more than doing his bit. Twenty of the cannabis-related bills in Congress have been assigned to Walden’s committee, more than any other in Congress. Of these, a perfect, round zero have advanced to a hearing. Walden does this despite going on fact-finding hikes to Mount Hood with Portland’s Earl Blumenauer, a member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Does Walden ever explain why Blumenauer’s bills — bills from others — don’t get anywhere around the campfire? Cannabis Roadblocker #4: Bob Goodlatte Cannabis reform is popular in Virginia, and yet a recent decriminalization measure died in the state legislature, after representatives from the state prosecutors’ association claimed, on record, that decriminalization would lead to toddlers eating weed. Who would say such a patently insane and absurd thing? Why, the kind of groups coalescing behind U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who has chaired the House Judiciary committee since 2013. Behind Energy and Commerce, no committee receives more cannabis-related bills behind Judiciary, which is currently “considering” 18 such pieces of legislation. We use that verb loosely, because those bills, like the ones in Energy and Commerce, are languishing. While Goodlatte refused to allow impeachment proceedings of Barack Obama to proceed — laudable, in the same way a police officer who does not allow murder to proceed is laudable — he has proven himself not above backdoor dealing: It was he who oversaw a vastly unpopular effort, undertaken in secret, to gut Congress’s independent Office of Ethics. The good news for cannabis advocates is that Goodlatte is retiring. %related-post-4% Cannabis Roadblocker #5: Jim Sensenbrenner One of the most modest — yes, you could say conservative — marijuana-related bills currently in Congress is H.R. 2273. Introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania), the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2017” would excluded cannabidiol and other CBD-rich, low-THC plants from the DEA’s definition of marijuana — thus easily allowing access to plant-based medicine useful in treating intractable epilepsy. So much around medical marijuana would be made easier if this bill became a law. And lo, it, too, is nearly a year old and has yet to receive a hearing. What, why, and who? It’s been referred to the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Its chair is Jim Sensenbrenner. A lifetime lawmaker who has represented suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 1978, it’s Sensenbrenner whom we have to thank for the post-9/11 PATRIOT Act. Sensenbrenner notably voted against providing post-Katrina aid to New Orleans, and was forced to apologize to Michelle Obama after referring to the then-First Lady’s “big butt” during a church meeting. And he’s the definition of a cannabis roadblock, since Rep. Perry’s law allowing CBD oil to not be classified as more dangerous than heroin is not becoming law, thanks to Jim Sensenbrenner. Of course there are other cannabis roadblockers in our nation's capital. But these five, they are some of the most problematic. 
Marijuana In Europe: Learning From American Laws
Marijuana In Europe: Learning From American Laws
Laws regarding marijuana are quickly changing in the U.S. But what about marijuana in Europe, where some countries are known for being rather liberal? Well, European cannabis progress isn’t advancing as fast as in the U.S., especially on the recreational side. Even medical marijuana can be very hard to get. So, what could Europe learn from the United States about marijuana? %related-post-1% The recreational use of marijuana in Europe First, let’s have a look at the laws in some European countries regarding the recreational use of marijuana. Austria decriminalized the possession of up to five grams of marijuana for personal use. Growing, selling or distributing are punishable by up to five years imprisonment, depending on the quantity of product. Belgium allows adults (18+) to possess up to three grams of marijuana. Selling or transporting the product, however, is still illegal. In Finland, recreational marijuana is illegal. In The Netherlands, the sale of marijuana outside of licensed coffeeshops is illegal. Inside the shops it’s still technically illegal, but it’s tolerated. One can grow up to five plants at home for personal use, though if discovered, the plants will most likely be destroyed. But even in that scenario the owner will not be prosecuted. In France, whether you consume marijuana or heroin, the law is the same. An individual could be sent to prison for a year, and be forced to pay a € 3,750 ($4,642) fine for consuming marijuana, or any other drug. But in reality, judges tend to take into account whether you’ve been arrested for the first time, and the danger of the drug in question. %related-post-2% Medical marijuana in Europe Now, let’s focus on the medical marijuana laws in the Netherlands, Germany, and France. These are three countries in which there’s always a lot of debate about whether or not to soften the cannabis regulations. Other countries, like Italy, Finland and Spain have also legalized the use of medical marijuana, even though they all have their own complex rules. In the Netherlands, medical marijuana is legal, but you have to get a new prescription every time you go to the pharmacy. In 2017, doctors prescribed medical marijuana more than 50,000 times — this in a country of roughly 17 million people. Germany now allows medical marijuana to be prescribed by doctors for over 30 ailments. However, German medical marijuana can only be distributed through pharmacies, and only doctors get to decide which cannabis consumption method you're entitled to.  In France it’s a lot harder to get medical marijuana. Only a few dozen people have a prescription for synthetic THC. Dried flowers can also be prescribed, but they don’t have an official authorization to be sold. Therefore, doctors risk being prosecuted if the patient has any ill side effects. %related-post-3% What Europe can learn from the United States The first step for European countries would be to allow more open and regular access to medical marijuana. Second, medical marijuana laws should allow patients the opportunity to access a myriad of products, so they can test them and see which ones deliver the best outcomes for them individually. And third, taxes collected from medical marijuana sales should help fund addiction treatment programs as they do in a handful of U.S. states. Although not all American states allow medical marijuana, the states that have more liberalized regulations are able to better promote the well-being of patients in need. And that’s something we should all care about. Legalization of recreational use would be a big plus, of course, and by watching how the matter is being addressed in the U.S. — not to mention by their Canadian neighbors — Europeans have multiple roadmaps to emulate.
How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence
How Legal American Marijuana Is Helping Kill Border Violence
Legal American marijuana is killing the market for Mexican-grown cannabis. It’s also making a noticeable dent in violent crime on the border. Legal marijuana has helped countless people deal with numerous health conditions. It has created hundreds of thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue. It has also helped to slow down drug trafficking and other drug-related crime. And perhaps nowhere is that reduction in crime more evident than on the border between the United States and Mexico. %related-post-1% According to data from the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, Mexico rakes in between $6 billion and $8 billion each year from the drug trade. The center estimates that 15 percent to 26 percent of that revenue comes from marijuana. As significant as Mexico’s marijuana revenues are, however, they used to be higher — much higher. And the increased availability of legal American marijuana is the reason. As the Los Angeles Times reports, seizures of pot by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have steadily declined for a decade. Last year, 861,231 pounds of marijuana were seized at U.S. ports of entry. That figure is down from 2.4 million pounds in 2013 and 4.3 million pounds in 2009. With their pot profits dropping, Mexico’s drug cartels have increasingly dropped out of the marijuana business. According to figures from the Mexican government, federal forces wiped out 74,531 acres of pot crops in 2006. In 2016, that figure dropped to 13,537 acres. %related-post-2% During a recent seizure of a drug shipment in Ensenada, just 85 miles south of San Diego, Mexican police found 100 pounds of fentanyl, 914 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 88 pounds of cocaine, and 18 pounds of heroin. They found no marijuana. Not only has the falling demand for Mexican marijuana taken money from cartel pockets, it has also contributed to a significant (and welcome) drop in drug-related crime. Of the the four U.S. states that border Mexico, three — California, New Mexico, and Arizona — have some form of marijuana legalization. According to a recent study published by the Economic Journal, the rate of violent crime fell by 12.5 per cent in counties nearest to the border after the introduction of medical marijuana laws. As the Independent notes, data from the study shows that robberies in these counties have dropped by 19 percent, murders by 10 percent, and assaults by nine percent. The most notable number is in the number of drug-law related murders, which have fallen by almost 41 percent. %related-post-3% While the cartels are increasingly abandoning the marijuana business and shifting their focus to the production of heroin and fentanyl — as well as extortion schemes and fuel theft — pockets of pot production and pot-related crime still exist south of the border. Some within the Mexican government are pushing for legalization, looking to further stamp out violence, as well as replicate the streams of newfound revenue that are currently being generated in the United States. With drug enforcement agents now seizing more and more illegal shipments of legal American marijuana bound for Mexico, it’s safe to say the demand is there. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails in Central Oregon
Home to Bend and other outdoor destinations, Central Oregon is full of natural beauty. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon. Central Oregon is home to some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in the country. We’re talking waterfalls to beautiful mountain peaks, and even caves. So pack up your vape or grab your pre-roll and get hiking! Tumalo Falls " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The hike along Tumalo Creek to Tumalo Falls is a 7-mile loop. The lightly traveled trail will take you right up to a breathtaking view of the nearly 100-foot falls where you can choose to continue your hike to more scenic overlooks. This is a must-see sight in the Deschutes National Forest. Recommended strain: Durban Poison — a sweet, earthy tasting sativa that offers a boost of energy and uplifting high. Deschutes River Trail This trail starts in the heart of Bend and offers tons of access points. It’s 12.5 miles in length one way, and the trail showcases Central Oregon’s natural beauty a stone’s throw from any modern conveniences you may require. Recommended strain: Emperor Cookie Dough — citrusy and tropical, this bud is a cross of Girl Scout Cookies and Emperor OG and provides a nice, relaxed high. %related-post-1% Lava River Cave Just 13 miles south of Bend, Lava River Cave is an un-collapsed lava tube. How many opportunities do you get to hike in one of those? The hike isn’t super long — only about a mile — but it is about 100 feet deep in certain spots. This is a hike to remember, earning an obvious spot on our list of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon. But, be sure to check whether it’s open before you hike. The Lava River Cave is closed during cold months. Recommended strain: Strawberry Banana — an indica-dominant strain that is a cross between Banana Kush and Bubblegum, this strain will make any hike more enjoyable. Green Lakes Trail The Green Lakes Trail offers some of the best views of the South Sister and Broken Top mountains you can find in the Bend area. The trail winds its way along Fall Creek and provides plenty of scenic views and rushing water along the way. Be sure to bring your camera. Recommended strain: Grape Stomper — this strain is perfect if you’re not looking for a huge head high. It offers delicious grape flavor with higher CBD content. Taste great and no couch lock! %related-post-2% Whychus Falls Creek Trail This trail is a 5.8 out-and-back hike to another absolutely gorgeous waterfall in the Deschutes National Forest. The hike is perfect for all skill levels, and the view at the end is well worth it. Recommended strain: Blue Dream — (most) everyone knows and loves this strain. Strong berry flavors give way to uplifting effects that provide a mellow high. Didn’t see your favorite hike on our list of the best hiking trails in Central Oregon? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We'll be posting more of Oregon's best hiking trails. 
Bluegrass And Marijuana: 5 Ear-Pleasing Picks
Bluegrass And Marijuana: 5 Ear-Pleasing Picks
There’s something about soaring bluegrass melodies that instantly get us hooked. Whether you prefer high-energy jams or chill tunes, bluegrass and marijuana make a great pair. There’s a bluegrass album for every mood. So, if you’re looking for a soundtrack for the next time you toke up, it may be time to pop one of our favorite bluegrass albums on the stereo. We’ve got just about every type we could think of covered, so try one or try ‘em all and let us know what you think! Self-titled by The Earls of Leicester " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Despite only releasing two albums, The Earls of Leicester are considered one of bluegrass’ most well-known super-groups. Not only is the group comprised of world-class pickers, they also specialize in covering the songs of bluegrass royalty — Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. This is a great place to start for a modern primer on classic bluegrass. Nobody Knows You by Steep Canyon Rangers " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Hailing from Brevard, North Carolina, Steep Canyon Rangers have been making music together since the early 2000s. However, the band didn’t hit the big time until they supported and collaborated with comedian and banjo player, Steve Martin. Nobody Knows You won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 and it definitely still holds up. Drive by Béla Fleck " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Béla Fleck is a modern bluegrass OG. He’s been picking and releasing music for decades. Although you could really just about start anywhere with his catalogue, Drive is our personal favorite, mainly due to the backup work provided by Sam Bush and Jerry Douglass. Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We might be stretching the definition of bluegrass with this pick, but we hope you won’t hold it against us. Known more as a folk artist than bluegrass performer, Gillian Welch’s voice is so beautiful we don’t care what genre it is. Roll up some indica and let yourself get carried away. At Carnegie Hall! by Flatt & Scruggs " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This album is a classic. A must-hear if you are in the mood for lightning fast guitar and fiddle lines. These are the men who put bluegrass on the map. Did we miss a good bluegrass and marijuana pairing? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites!
Could New Jersey Marijuana Laws Finally Be Taking Root?
Could New Jersey Marijuana Laws Finally Be Taking Root?
New Jersey’s new governor supports legalization. But when will the state’s lawmakers get on board and pass New Jersey marijuana laws. During former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s time in office, marijuana legalization didn’t stand a chance. Christie, a Republican, called the idea of cannabis legalization “beyond stupidity,” and penned a letter deriding the movement as chairman of President Trump’s commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis. %related-post-1% New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, couldn’t disagree more. A former Wall Street banker and ambassador to Germany under former President Obama, Murphy values the medicinal benefits of the drug, and has pledged to make the possession and sale of marijuana legal in the state.   In a Jan. 23, 2018 tweet, Murphy touted medical marijuana use in treating “chronic and debilitating pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, PTSD, ALS, side effects of cancer treatment, side effects of HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other painful illnesses.” “We will not deny people compassionate care any longer,” he added. As Entrepreneur reports, Murphy calls the state’s current marijuana legislation unfair, blaming it for the incarceration of a disproportionately high number of people of color. On his website, Murphy says he will “end mass incarceration by pursuing the legalization of marijuana and comprehensively reviewing all criminal sentencing laws.” %related-post-2% First enacted in 2010, New Jersey’s medical marijuana program only allows patients suffering from a limited number of conditions to legally use medical marijuana, including multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and muscular dystrophy. As Entrepreneur reports, Murphy has blamed Christie for severely hindering patients’ access to the drug, noting that only five dispensaries serve the program’s 15,000 enrollees across the state. Murphy has already issued an executive order directing the New Jersey Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the existing program in order to “eliminate barriers” to access for patients suffering from conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana. State lawmakers are also drafting a bill that would create a legal adult-use cannabis market, and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora has already introduced a companion bill that would allow a single household to grow up to 12 marijuana plants if and when recreational cannabis becomes legal in the Garden State. Murphy says he’d like to see a legalization bill passed “sooner than later.” But despite his enthusiastic advocacy of legal marijuana — and the fact that Democrats now hold the governor's office and a majority in both chambers of New Jersey’s Legislature — the governor is facing opposition to his plans from members of his own party. %related-post-3% Not only have 11 of 15 Republican state senators said they would vote "no" on any bill legalizing weed, but half a dozen Democratic state senators told NJ Advance Media that they also intend to vote against any bill legalizing pot for recreational use by adults. Some of those who oppose legalization have expressed concerns about potential public safety issues on the state’s roadways. Others are concerned about the message legalization might send to New Jersey’s youth. Most, however, are concerned about the aforementioned unfair pot-related prosecution and incarceration of people of color, and want to see that discrepancy fixed before any new laws are passed. Given Murphy’s insistence that "a stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform — including a process to legalize marijuana," the senate and the governor’s office might not be as far apart as they think. Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates about New Jersey marijuana laws and other legalization efforts across the nation.
American Misconceptions About Dutch Coffeeshops
American Misconceptions About Dutch Coffeeshops
The Netherlands are known for their coffeeshops, you know, the ones in which you can order a joint just like you would order a cup of coffee. But did you know that selling marijuana isn’t really legal in the Netherlands? Yes, it’s true. A lot of Americans (and others) have some misconceptions about Dutch coffeeshops. Here are a few of those common misconceptions about Dutch coffeeshops. %related-post-1% Dutch people aren’t stoned all day, every day It's understandable why Americans might think Dutch people smoke all day, just because they can. Before the recreational use of cannabis became legal in some parts of the United States, it must have seemed like a dream to be able to buy cannabis whenever you feel like it, in a safe environment. But, you know, when something is easily accessible and legal, the “wow” factor of it often diminishes. As Marie, a woman born and raised in Amsterdam, put it: "When I was a kid, I walked past several coffeeshops every day on my way to school. I didn’t even feel like trying weed. A lot of young people don’t think it’s interesting or cool enough to go and smoke every day." Of course, there are Dutch people who go to a coffeeshop regularly, but most money is made when tourists want to try something which they can’t in their own country. You said marijuana isn’t legal?! So why don’t the police raid the coffeeshops? Selling marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands, but it’s tolerated in some cases. To be “tolerated,” a coffeeshop owner has to follow a lot of very strict rules in order to be ‘allowed’ to sell his product. For example: Everyone inside must be at least 18 years old They can’t sell more than 5 grams a day to one person No alcohol can be sold in the same establishment They can’t have more than 500 grams in stock Publicity for the shop or drugs isn’t allowed It’s an odd system. The person producing the cannabis, and transporting it to the coffeeshop can be prosecuted. But without a grower and transporter, there’s nothing to be sold. Even Dutch people don’t understand why they don’t legalize it. %related-post-2% You can do other things than consume cannabis in Amsterdam Another of the most common misconceptions about Dutch coffeeshops is that they are the main attraction when visiting. Not so. Amsterdam, for example, is such a great city, it would be a shame to waste your whole vacation hanging around in coffeeshops. Go take a walk alongside the famous canals, and take a boat tour. Also, the city is full of superb museums, like the Anne Frank House, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum. Dutch coffeeshop thoughts from locals When I was a kid, my parents told me not to go near a coffeeshop. According to them, only bad people came to those places, like drug addicts and criminals. Now that I’m older I understand that my parents were just scared of cannabis, probably because they didn’t know a lot about it. My opinion has radically changed over the years. I use CBD oil daily because I’m sick, and I even have a little plant. Who would have thought? Now I see that a lot of good, normal people use cannabis, whether it’s for recreational or medicinal purposes. Just another example of how much things have changed in only one generation. — Vivi, born and raised in the Netherlands I have worked in several coffeeshops, so I’ve met lots of tourists and locals. There are two groups of people who always make my day: older people, and naive young tourists. Sometimes retired people come in just to have a cup of coffee, and see what all the fuss is about. They tend to think coffeeshops are for shady people, so after spending some time in the shop, they end up telling us how nice it actually is. The shops are way cleaner than they expected, even though most of them say the smell is strong. There are also a lot of young tourists who try cannabis for the first time. They often order too much or something too strong… (but) we try to help them make a good choice. So people, if you’re a first time user, please just listen to what we have to say. — Ester, born and raised in Amsterdam %related-post-3% By the way, did you know? There are coffeeshops in a lot of Dutch cities, not only Amsterdam. But beware, not all cities allow tourists into their shops. A membership might be required. You can also order food and snacks to kill the munchies while at a coffeeshop, or to accommodate your friends who don’t want to use cannabis?
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 4
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 4
We’re now to the second month of 2018, and if January was a harbinger of things to come, we are never going to run out of cannabis news to share this year. Is it possible to be surprised that we’re already to February while simultaneously feeling like January took foreverrrrrrrr to end? Whatever the sentiment, January delivered stacks of cannabis news headlines that have set the tone for the entire year. Here are a few from the week the calendar flipped to February. Willie Nelson’s cannabis line nabs $12 million to expand The Redheaded Stranger is cannabis royalty, and there is absolutely no doubt about that. He’s been a canna-advocate for decades, and a few years ago he launched his own line of cannabis products called Willie’s Reserve. This week, the Colorado group that markets Nelson’s line announced it had raised $12 million to expand beyond its current market, which is comprised of Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Oregon.  *coughs into hand* “California” Here’s a Rolling Stone video from the initial launch of Willie’s Reserve: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Canadian cops eat confiscated edibles and then one...climbs a tree? We already discussed this in our Weird Weed Headlines post earlier this week, but it’s definitely worth another mention. Two Toronto policemen who were supposed to be guarding products confiscated during a dispensary raid decided to, um, sample the goods. Afterwards the two got separated from one another, and things went awry from there. Long story short, one called for backup while hallucinating, and when help arrived, here’s what he saw: "He was up in a tree. Up there with the birds.” Literally and figuratively, we assume. San Francisco to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions From some funny news (above) to some seriously good news: Going back four decades, the San Francisco district attorney’s office is tossing out old misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession. Some 3,000 misdemeanor convictions will be thrown in the trash, while another 4,900 felony marijuana convictions will be evaluated to see if they can be downgraded. San Diego is making similar moves. Hi-fives, people! 6-year-old girl becomes first recipient of legal MMJ in Texas More good news here. MMJ has been a long time coming in the Lone Star State, and a Central Texas girl suffering from intractable epilepsy become the first patient in Texas to receive a legal medical marijuana delivery. There is only one dispensary in the state — tucked between San Antonio, Houston, and Austin — and though advocates were celebrating a single delivery, that one transaction represented the culmination of years of hard work. Super Bowl dispensary blitz coming Sunday is the big day for football fans everywhere, as the New England Patriots square off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. And speaking of bowls, dispensary owners are anticipating a major rush on their inventories by fans who would rather enjoy cannabis with the game than beer. Tastes great, less hangovers. Another round of cannabis news in the books. We’ll be back again next week with more.
Weird Weed Headlines <br> Volume 5
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 5
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 5 We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring a strain of cannabis named after Monica Lewinsky and a county sheriff who was offered four pounds of pot for his used truck. We can’t make these stories up, but we’ve got to share them. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 5. Enjoy… %related-post-1% Pot for pizza? Last month, we told you about a dude who tried to trade some pot for a used truck he found on Craigslist. Unfortunately for the dude, he didn’t know the seller was the county sheriff. This month, we have the story of another fella who tried to use pot to pay for a drink at Domino’s. Not surprisingly, he also wound up in jail. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the man first tried to pay for a pizza and some chicken parmesan with a ripped but taped-up $50 bill, but the cashier said the business couldn’t accept it. After he paid with a $20 bill, he decided that he also wanted a drink. According to the clerk, the man mumbled incoherently and then passed her some weed. She then told her manager, who called police. When officers arrived, they found a joint behind the man’s ear and some individually packaged weed inside a can in his backpack. They also found a scale, three checks, and, um, $87 in cash. Why he didn’t just use the cash to buy the drink, you’ll have to ask him. Down at the jail. %related-post-2% Law & Order: SMH Police officers are supposed to protect and serve the public, not themselves. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when two cops in Toronto, Canada raided a marijuana dispensary in January. As the International Business Times reports, two officers who were supposed to be guarding evidence allegedly ingested some seized cannabis edibles, started hallucinating, and became separated from one another. One of the officers then called an off-duty colleague who confused the call for a kidnapping alert and requested backup. When the backup officers reached the scene — which was not far from their precinct — they had trouble finding the officers. When both were found, one was up in a tree. An EMS paramedic helped him get down and provided him with medical treatment. While no criminal charges were filed against the officers, the pair have been suspended pending what must be one of the most hilarious police investigations in Canadian history. %related-post-3% Snuggling is always better than smuggling Of all the smuggling stories we’ve brought you over the last few months, this one might be the cutest. During a routine security check at an Amtrak Station in Iowa, police noticed that Hunter L. Parker, 21, had a one-way ticket to St. Louis. After speaking with Parker, deputies were granted permission to search his bags. During the search, the officers discovered a four-foot-tall teddy bear which had a “strong odor” of weed and a hard substance in its legs. According to the Globe Gazette, Parker bolted when he was placed under arrest. After a brief foot chase, he was apprehended and taken to jail. According to police, the bear contained five packages of suspected marijuana weighing 5.6 pounds and 92 grams of hash, worth an estimated $25,000. Parker is scheduled to appear in court on February. Little is known about the fate of the bear. %related-post-4% Super special socks While pot is still technically illegal at the federal level, a ballot initiative in Washington, D.C. legalized possession of up to two ounces of pot, home cultivation of up to six plants, and the gifting of up to one ounce of pot to a person 21 or over. Inspired by the gifting portion of the ballot initiative, scores of clever “ganja-preneurs” have seized the opportunity to give customers “free gifts” of weed with the ridiculously overpriced purchase of all kinds of (often ridiculous) items. As the CBC reports, those items have included $60 T-shirts, $80 Pokemon action figures, and — we’re not kidding — in-person motivational speeches that range from $60 to $360 and come with a free sampling of weed. The gifting of 1 ounce (or less) of cannabis is legal as long as no money, goods, or services are exchanged. Despite the fact that buyers, sellers, and police all know what’s really going on, law enforcement has pretty much looked the other way — except on a nights like one Saturday night in January when socks were being sold at a nightclub for $400. A police raid that night netted 17 pounds of pot, 10 pounds of edibles and two quarts of oils infused with THC. And, apparently, a bunch of socks. There you have it, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next round.
Why The Legalization Of Marijuana Is Not Enough
Why The Legalization Of Marijuana Is Not Enough
Sure, the fact that Americans can purchase some form of cannabis in many states is great. But, the mere legalization of marijuana is not enough. Here’s why. As “legalization” has transformed from concept to reality, more and more pro-marijuana activists and patients are coming out against it. With so many more people having positive interactions with the cannabis plant and such obvious willful ignorance on the part of the U.S. government, why is it so hard for us to agree that it should “just be legal already”? Why are so many stoners voting against legalization? %related-post-1% Because, legalization is not enough. The definition of “legalization” is flexible from state-to-state, yet all of it (including the non-intoxicating hemp crop) remain federally illegal for no good reason. None of the goals of legalization — safe access for the sick, a diminishing black market, social justice, research and innovation, stemming the tide of overdose deaths, personal and public profit — will be truly free and fair until the entire cannabis plant is federally decriminalized and completely de-scheduled. As it stands, the gray area legal businesses operate in today is a complicated landscape with so many legislative holes and backdoors that it creates unchecked opportunities for big business to dominate the financial opportunity at the expense of the small businesses that have traditionally served the demand.  The social justice goals that propelled legalization are all but lost when freedom and fairness take a back seat to commercialization and pay-to-play licensing. Or, as attorney and political commentator Angela Rye put it, “Legalizing weed does not go far enough to end the War on Drugs. White folks are making money from the same marijuana that put black and brown people in prison. Even though more than half of the states in the country have legalized weed in some form, the actual victims in the War on Drugs are still being left out.” %related-post-2% Earlier this month, Privateer Holdings completed a $100 million Series C funding round, which is now being called the “single largest raise in the U.S. cannabis industry.” Privateer, whose portfolio includes Leafly.com, Marley Natural and Tilray (a Canadian licensed producer) beat its own record for an earlier funding round that closed at $75 million. Who exactly is behind that money is unknown, except that it was invested via Silicon Valley enigma and one-time Trump supporter Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. A fraction of this money probably could have bought off the entire U.S. Congress by now, whose support comes pretty cheap in comparison to the magnitude of their power. Why is there enough money to fund federally illegal cannabis businesses but not to make cannabis federally legal? This sort of legalization is not enough. Not when prisoners like Luke Scarmazzo are still serving 20-year sentences (the last year of which has been in solitary confinement) for “crimes” — opening a California medical dispensary — that are now further enriching the already wealthy. This sort of legalization doesn’t prevent parents, even in states where it is legal, from losing custody of their children for choosing to use it. This sort of legalization does not increase safe and affordable access for the chronic and terminally ill, although it does tend to usurp state medical programs. %related-post-3% The legalization of marijuana is not enough when the uneducated and willfully ignorant opponents to legislative reform — those who profit off the suffering; the police, legal drug companies, court mandated rehab facilities, alcohol companies — are allowed heavier hands at writing legislation than suffering patients and the disenfranchised victims of a failed and pointless war. When the legalization of marijuana was an intangible concept, there were only a handful of people willing to affiliate themselves with the cannabis plant. None of these investment groups would be profiting today if it had not been for people like the late, great Dennis Peron. Peron, who died in late January, publicly led the drive to put the first medical marijuana law, California’s Proposition 215, on the ballot in 1996. He did so as a gay man in San Francisco’s Castro District in the 1980s, when he started to publicize the concept of “medical marijuana” amid the deadly AIDS epidemic. He didn’t care if it would make him rich or even land him in jail, he did it because he believed it was the right thing to do. %related-post-4% Peron was vehemently opposed to legalization, because as he put it, “All use of marijuana is medical.” He believed that using cannabis to relax in place of alcohol, pharmaceuticals or any other intoxicating and otherwise less-safe substance is a medical choice every American citizen should be free to make. Proposition 215 was criticized for being broad; it provided none of the regulatory framework of today’s medical and adult use legislation. If you asked Dennis, that was by design; all use is medical and the initiative made medical use “legal” without imposing any special interest on what that should mean. Maybe there was something to be desired in that vagueness, it was a declaration of a human right rather than a revenue stream for corporations and governments. Today’s medical and adult use legalization is big business, but as long as average citizens remain criminals in any way, then legalization will not be enough. Science and reality point to the same solution; federal decriminalization and descheduling.
Will Tennessee Medical Marijuana Ever Become Legal?
Will Tennessee Medical Marijuana Ever Become Legal?
Two Republican lawmakers in the Volunteer State think residents should have access to Tennessee medical marijuana. The governor doesn’t agree. Last year, State Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville and State Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby headed Tennessee’s Medical Cannabis Task Force, a panel created by House Speaker Beth Harwell to explore the possibility of marijuana legalization in the state. As the Johnson City Press reports, the task force drafted legislation based on testimony from hundreds of experts like doctors, patients, and officials from other states where marijuana is already legal. %related-post-1% Dickerson, a physician, and Faison, a lawmaker who has travelled to Colorado multiple times to research medical marijuana, have filed a bill which would legalize oil-based medical marijuana products for an estimated 65,000 Tennesseans suffering from a variety of health conditions. Faison has chided the Senate for being too “scared” to pass previous Tennessee medical marijuana bills. This time around, he and Dickerson are taking a softer approach, dubbing the latest bill the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018 as way to remind people that the bill would legalize only cannabis oil products, not the recreational use of marijuana. Dickerson told Knoxville’s WATE that legalizing the cannabis oil “will help Tennessee’s sickest citizens,” while Faison calls the bill “an alternative to opiates.” According to the Tennessee Department of Health, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 1,186 people in Tennessee in 2016. Despite the fact that a recent Vanderbilt University poll indicates that nearly 80 percent of registered Tennessee voters support doctors having at least the option to prescribe medical cannabis to patients battling opioid addiction and other conditions, Gov. Bill Haslam isn’t too keen on the idea. %related-post-2% Just a day after Dickerson and Faison introduced their bill, Haslam introduced TN Together, a plan to battle the state’s growing opioid epidemic by focusing on prevention, treatment, and expanded law enforcement capabilities. Medical marijuana is not part of the plan, and, if Haslam has his way, it never will be.    “I think our position on medical marijuana has been the same, and I don’t think you’ll see our administration be in favor of that,” he told WATE. Haslam, along with other top Senate Republicans, have indicated they would be a “no vote” on the marijuana bill, citing the need for more research on the benefits of cannabis, as well as a need for the Drug Enforcement Administration to change marijuana’s prohibitive federal classification as a Schedule 1 substance. Nashville Democrat Sherry Jones, who has sponsored numerous medical cannabis bills, told WATE that Haslam and Republican leadership need to re-read the existing research. %related-post-3% “If the governor is not for medical marijuana and for helping the people that studies have proven it will help, then he is wrong,” she says. As of the time of this writing, several members of Senate leadership say that, instead of Tennessee medical marijuana, they are focused on the governor’s opioid bill. Will the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018 ever pass? Your guess is as good as ours. If it does pass, Tennessee would join 29 states that have legalized medical marijuana. But only If…
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 2
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 2
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 2: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns We hope you liked our first installment of Classical Music for Marijuana. It’s hard to imagine a more chilled way to pass the time than to bliss out to some of Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. For our second volume of the Classical Music for Marijuana series, we’re recommending something that includes those mellow tones again, but also sprinkles in a heavy dose of some uptempo action that will totally ensnare your brain space: Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Camille Saint-Saëns? Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, conductor, pianist and organist of the Romantic era. A child prodigy, Saint-Saëns studied music at the Paris Conservatoire, and before spending the latter years of his career as a freelance composer, he served — among a handful of other posts — as the organist at La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. Saint-Saëns had a deep appreciation for music history, but he was also a reputed fan of the modern music of his age. Of his favorites were Robert Schumann (Germany), Franz Liszt (Hungary), and Richard Wagner (Germany). About Saint-Saëns’ Le carnaval des animaux Translated as “The Carnival of the Animals,” Le carnaval des animaux is a fun, generally uplifting musical suite, comprised of fourteen movements. It was, oddly enough, born out of frustration, as Saint-Saëns composed it after returning from an underwhelming German concert tour. Once the tour was over, Saint-Saëns secluded himself in a small Austrian town and wrote the suite in early 1886. Saint-Saëns relished in the fun of composing Le carnaval des animaux, but only published one movement of it during his lifetime. He believed it would detract from his reputation as a “serious” composer. The rest of the suite was released posthumously, becoming one of his most famous works. Quick listen As always, we recommend listening to the full suite, but if you want just a quick sample of Le carnaval des animaux, play “Aquarium.” If Aquarium’s smooth otherworldliness sounds familiar, it’s likely because it has been featured in seemingly countless motion pictures.   " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> We hope you love Le carnaval des animaux by Camille Saint-Saëns as much as we do. Come back for Volume 3 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
3 Reasons Why The Cannabis Industry’s Cash-Only System Stinks
3 Reasons Why The Cannabis Industry’s Cash-Only System Stinks
Federal law has rendered the nation’s booming legal marijuana industry a cash-only affair. Here’s why that’s terrible for everyone involved. Despite Americans’ unprecedented support for marijuana legalization — as well as the fact that 30 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing cannabis in some form — the drug remains illegal at the federal level. As we’ve discussed previously, this legal grey area has forced those in the marijuana industry to operate without traditional access to the banking industry. %related-post-1% The federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could expose themselves to money-laundering or racketeering charges under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In 2014, the Obama Administration issued revised guidelines that gave some leeway to banks to legally provide financial services to state-licensed and law-abiding marijuana businesses, but virtually all banks kept their distance, still not confident that they could serve cannabusinesses without risking fines or prosecution. While the Senate recently approved legislation to protect banks against repercussions if they do business with marijuana businesses, a Republican-controlled committee voted against even talking about a similar amendment in the House. This lack of access to banking services means that virtually all marijuana business must be done in a cash-only fashion, which can be an enormous — not to mention dangerous — hassle for all involved. Here’s why: %related-post-2% Marijuana businesses are prime targets for violent criminals The more successful a marijuana business is, the more cash it’s likely to have laying around. Criminals know this, and have targeted employees who guard and/or transport large sums of money. In 2012, a pot shop owner was kidnapped, tortured, and left for dead in the Mojave Desert when his assailants incorrectly believed he had buried money in the desert. (He, as well as a female acquaintance who was also kidnapped, thankfully survived.) In 2014, a marijuana delivery driver was beaten with a gun and robbed in Lake Forest, California. The robber stole cash and weed. A year later, a security guard was forced to shoot and kill a burglar at a medical marijuana dispensary in Anaheim, California. In 2016, a 24-year-old former marine with a wife and three children was shot in the head and killed during his second week on the job as a pot store guard in Aurora, Colorado. The robbers fled without any cash. Just four days later, a 35-year-old guard at a San Bernardino, California medical marijuana dispensary was shot. He survived, but three armed robbers made off with a mountain of cash. (The case mirrored a 2015 shooting of another dispensary guard in San Bernardino who died from his wounds.) A couple of weeks before the Aurora incident, a dispensary owner in Walnut Park, California survived a gun battle with two would-be robbers. In November, another dispensary owner in Los Angeles survived after being shot twice by robbers outside his store. Unfortunately, these cases only scratch the surface. The longer dispensary owners and employees have to handle tons of cash, the longer we will likely continue to see similar incidents. %related-post-3% Buying cannabis can be needlessly complicated Not only are cannabis customers also putting themselves at risk when they visit dispensaries while carrying large amounts of cash, but products that have been introduced to help marijuana growers, retailers, and customers navigate the industry’s cash-only status only serve to add extra steps to what should be a much simpler buying and selling process. For example, PayQwick, the so-called “PayPal for pot,” issues customers a preloaded card that they can use to make purchases and collect rewards. According to the Orange County Register, the company charges a 2.75 percent transaction fee to cannabis businesses, who can also use the online payment platform to pay vendors, landlords, and employees. Similar to Groupon, Denver-based Greenito allows dispensaries and delivery services to offer “smokin’ deals” on various products. Customers then use their credit cards to pay for the products and a small “access fee” online, and then receive a certificate to redeem at the retailer. While innovative, neither of these options are simpler than, say, using your credit card or debit card to buy weed like you would anything else. Neither are the pot vending machines or delivery services that accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — currencies that are only used by a minute fraction of consumers. Until pot businesses can use banking services without fear of penalty, pot customers will continue to deal with the hassle and risk that comes with operating in a cash-only world. %related-post-4% Current regulations are a pain in the bud for some marijuana business owners Even if marijuana business owners and employees are never in any physical danger, they still face of barrage of hurdles brought on by the cash-only cannabis industry. Without a bank account, marijuana businesses can have trouble managing payroll, getting business loans, and obtaining mortgages or credit cards. And the cannabusinesses that do somehow to get bank accounts have to walk on pins and needles, afraid their accounts could be closed at any moment. Marijuana businesses have difficulty getting insurance, as well. Without access to a bank account, Mendocino County, California cannabis farmer Ashley Oldham started to keep her cash in a safe under her house. When wildfires ravaged the area last October, she lost both her home and her savings. As she told public radio station KALW in San Francisco, she can’t help but compare herself to her grape-growing neighbors in Mendocino who have access to federal crop insurance. “We should be treated 100 percent equally to grape farmers. And, we don't have crop insurance like they do,” she says. “If I was in a situation where I could've had crop insurance and my money in a bank, I wouldn't be hurting nearly as bad as I am right now.”   Not only do marijuana businesses have to shell out high fees to keep up with regulatory requirements, they are also taxed through the roof. As we outlined recently, U.S. tax code blocks businesses that sell federally illegal substances from taking standard corporate income-tax deductions. As a result, marijuana companies can see their profits taxed anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent. %related-post-5% And when it comes time for marijuana business owners to pay their local, state, and federal taxes, they must count and deliver their payments in cash. Some of those payments are so large that the businesses have to hire armored cars or independent security firms to protect themselves. As CNBC notes, the amount of money coming into the IRS from the legal cannabis industry is so huge that the agency has ratcheted up its cash-counting capabilities in both Denver and Seattle. While Attorney Jeff Sessions recently reignited the legislative limbo between federal and state marijuana laws, you can bank on the fact that the cannabis industry can’t remain unbanked for much longer. Today’s $6.7 billion U.S. cannabis industry is projected to hit $21 billion just three years from now. That's a massive cash-only industry. Is the IRS going to want to continue counting all that cash? Don’t count on it.
The Best New Albums: January 2018
The Best New Albums: January 2018
2018 is starting off as a great year for music. Check out our picks for the best new albums of January, and add them to your listening queue. A ton of amazing albums came out in 2017, and 2018 shows no signs of breaking the trend. In the first month of the new year, some incredible records from all genres have graced our headphones. Let’s take a closer look at our picks of the best new albums of January to help you load up your playlists. Indie: Post- by Jeff Rosenstock " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Jeff Rosenstock has been an indie rock mainstay for going on a decade. Offering up his unique brand of power pop/catchy rock, Rosenstock tackles some pretty heavy issues including, but not limited to, politics and self doubt. In the wrong hands, such tough topics could make for rough listening, but Rosenstock approaches them with cynicism and humor, making for fun, thought-provoking listening. Electronic: All Melody by Nils Frahm " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Nils Frahm is a master of electronic melodies. His ability to craft memorable hooks without words is simply incredible. On his latest release, Frahm has truly mastered his art. If you’re looking for mind-expanding tunes for your next sesh, look no further. Pop: Camila by Camila Cabello " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Ok, we’ll shoot you straight. “Havana” has been stuck in our heads off and on since we first heard it. Building on the momentum from the Young Thug collab, Cabello finally released her full length album and it totally delivers. The record is fun and catchy — the perfect soundtrack for toking up with friends. Rap/Hip Hop: Culture II by Migos " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Culture was one of our favorite rap records from 2017, and Migos are back at it with Culture II. Coming in at a whopping 24 tracks, the album can be a little overwhelming at the start. But featuring Drake and Kendrick, as well as the group’s signature back-and-forth, it feels like the record picks up where Culture left off. It’s fun and the beats boom, so put it on and turn it up. Rock: Ruins by First Aid Kit " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> You probably wouldn’t expect solid folk rock to come out of Sweden (or maybe you would?). And even if you’ve heard First Aid Kit, you probably had no clue they are Scandinavian. These sisters crank out harmonies and melodies that sound like they were pulled straight from an Emmylou Harris record. Their songs are beautiful and perfect for getting swept away during your next smoke session. Did we miss something? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We’ll be back next month with our picks for February’s best new albums.
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley
Oregon Outdoors: Best Hiking Trails In The Willamette Valley
Oregon is an outdoor lover’s playground. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best hiking trails in the Willamette Valley. If you love the outdoors, Oregon has plenty for you. Even better, some low-THC bud can make many of these activities even more enjoyable. For this article, we’re suggesting 5 of our favorite hikes in the Willamette Valley and some cannabis strains to make your time in the great outdoors as pleasurable as possible. Forest Park, Portland " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> One of the most sizeable urban forests in the United States, Forest Park is a pure crowd pleaser. Only 10 minutes from downtown Portland, the park is convenient and offers more than 70 miles of hiking and running trails. This destination is sure to keep you busy even on repeat visits. McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, Eugene Renowned as one of the most beautiful trails in the U.S., the McKenzie River Trail is a hiker or mountain biker’s dream. Stretching 26 miles along the McKenzie River and Cascade Mountains, the trail is a stone’s throw from Eugene. The trail is open year-round, but think twice before taking a dip in the river — it stays pretty chilly! %related-post-1% Opal Creek Wilderness Area, Salem Opal Creek offers 36 miles of mostly in-and-out hikes. Running along Whetstone and Henline Mountains, many of the trails lead to beautiful overlooks of the Douglas firs that cover the area. The terrain can be steep in places, so it’s not the most ideal for camping, but if you’re in the Salem area, Opal is perfect for a day trip. Eagle Creek Trail Park, Portland Located 45 minutes from downtown Portland, Eagle Creek is a popular weekend destination for area hikers. If you’re looking for total solitude, this may not be the best locale, but it’s convenient and offers a quick getaway from city life. Eagle Creek offers roughly 10 hiking trails that can provide a much-needed escape close to home. %related-post-2% Mount Pisgah, Eugene Mount Pisgah offers literally dozens of hiking options for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. The trails are well-maintained and offer some of the most gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley’s natural beauty you can find. Keep an eye out for wildflowers and local wildlife, depending on the time of year you visit. Didn’t see your favorite hike on our list of the best hiking trails in the Willamette Valley? Got a favorite strain to recommend for hiking? Drop us a line and tell us your favorites! We love writing best hiking trails articles — there will definitely be more to come. 
5 Marijuana-Themed Facebook Accounts We Love
5 Marijuana-Themed Facebook Accounts We Love
Here are 5 marijuana-themed Facebook accounts we love. Follow these (and us, of course!), and you’ll always be up to date about the latest cannabis news. Using Facebook can be a great way to find interesting information and funny facts about cannabis. Moreover, it allows you to be part of a community, and share experiences with other enthusiasts. %related-post-1% Herb Herb shares interesting articles, but also some funny GIFs and videos which might remind you of sticky-icky situations you’ve been in yourself. Following this page is a nice way to stay updated on the latest cannabis-related news, and to comment on it. And considering it has the most massive followings of the marijuana-themed Facebook accounts, there are some interesting discussions going on in the comment section of the shared links. NowThis Weed This Facebook account shows you some awesome videos about new concepts, cannabis news and laws all across the world. If you don’t have time to read long articles, you’ll be quickly caught up to date by watching a short video from NowThis Weed. This page has almost 2.5 million likes, so chances are high you’re going to feel right at home in this community of like-minded people. Medical Cannabis Surprise surprise, this page is all about medical cannabis. A must-follow for anyone interested in how cannabis can be used to take care of health ailments. Medical Cannabis focuses not only on adults, but also on children who use CBD to control their seizures for instance. Feel free to talk about your own experience in the comments, or ask people with the same condition for advice. %related-post-2% International Cannabis Community Info & News Things are moving fast in the cannabis world, and not only in the U.S. This Facebook page shares articles from different sources from all over the world. China, Spain, and yes, even the U.S. You’ll know what’s going on in all of these countries by simply following this page. It’s also a way to discuss the topic with people from the other side of the world. International Cannabis Community is very educational. Learn to Heal Yourself This page doesn’t have many likes or follows yet, but we wanted to put it in the spotlight anyway. This very active Facebook account posts regularly about medical cannabis, new laws and personal experiences. Learn to Heal Yourself is a Northern Ireland-based account, but it teaches you a lot about the medical potential of marijuana, and the struggle to make it legal in other parts of the world.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 3
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 3
The last full week of January 2018 featured plenty of captivating cannabis news — including Vermont becoming the newest recreationally legal state! Here’s a new rule for cannabis news watchers in 2018: Don’t blink. But if you did this past week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the bigger ticket cannabis news items. Vermont goes recreationally legal The Green Mountain State, indeed! After nearly joining the recreational ranks in 2017, Vermont became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through their legislature on Monday when Gov. Phil Scott signed House Bill 511 into law. Beginning July 1, 2018 Vermont residents will be able to grow their own cannabis and possess small amount for personal use. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Is marijuana flower power dwindling? Yes The New York Times ran a story on the front page of their business section Wednesday highlighting the decreasing consumer appeal of marijuana flower. Consumers have, especially over the past year, shown an increasing interest in other forms of cannabis products. A recent Eaze consumer study bolsters the NYT piece. According to Eaze, vaporizer products are cutting into flower popularity the most. Marijuana media attention is booming Gone are the days of relying on industry-specific media outlets for cannabis news and information. Nowadays, mainstream outlets are dedicating more type space to marijuana than ever before. Just this week, the Associated Press announced the formation of a dedicated marijuana editorial team comprised of seven reporters, two video journalists, and a photographer. Georgia makes encouraging MMJ dispensary moves It’s no secret that southeastern states haven’t been the most friendly to marijuana — recreational or medical. Georgia, however, looks to be taking steps in the right direction medically speaking, as an MMJ dispensary bill was approved Wednesday by a House review group. The bill, if signed into law, would allow for limited cannabis cultivation, and up to 10 medical dispensaries in the state. A cannabis-based anti-seizure medicine may come to market soon GW Pharmaceuticals released results this week from study conducted on seizure-suffering patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Participants were given a new drug with ingredients derived from cannabis — and the results were favorable. According to the lead author of the study, “For some, it (cannabis) does not do a whole lot. But for the people it does work in, it is priceless.” Allllllllllrighty then. We’re always happy to give you some cannabis news headlines that you can share at your next dinner party. Come back next week for more.
Public Support For Marijuana Is Booming. So, When Will More Politicians Act?
Public Support For Marijuana Is Booming. So, When Will More Politicians Act?
Public support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. has never been higher — and it looks like it will only keep growing. Will that translate into more political change? A recent Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans now favor marijuana legalization, as do a similar percentage of Americans surveyed in three other recent polls by CBS News, Quinnipiac University, and the Pew Research Center. Even a majority of Republicans support legalization for the first time in history. %related-post-1% But public support for marijuana doesn’t always mean political action. While the legal marijuana industry has never been bigger, recreational pot remains illegal in 41 states, medical marijuana is still illegal in 21 states, and both forms of marijuana are still technically banned at the federal level. And it is that federal ban — held up by a Republican complacency regarding the ban—which is ultimately doing the most to keep cannabis out of the hands of voters who want it and need it. As the Motley Fool outlines, cannabis is a Schedule I drug at the federal level. This classification makes marijuana illegal, like heroin and LSD, and also keeps it from being legally recognized as having any medical benefit. It also labels the drug as having a high potential for abuse. Marijuana’s Schedule I classification hinders medical cannabis researchers from conducting research, as there is only one federally approved grow facility in the entire nation. The classification also blocks cannabusinesses from traditional banking services. The federally created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) oversees financial institutions, and any banks that do businesses with marijuana companies could be at risk of fines and criminal charges. On top of that, U.S. tax code disallows businesses that sell federally illegal substances from taking standard corporate income-tax deductions. As a result, marijuana companies can see their profits taxed anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent. %related-post-2% Despite pot’s Schedule I designation, the Obama-era Cole Memo established a federal policy of non-interference toward pot-friendly state laws. The policy, designed by former Attorney General Eric Holder, allowed the nation’s legal marijuana industry to pick up steam. Yet, current prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since rescinded the policy, and while he hasn’t directed federal prosecutors to go after the pot industry, he has given them carte blanche to do so at their own discretion. Not only has this legislative limbo soured some investors on the domestic marijuana market, it has also given obstructionist Republican lawmakers an excuse not to reconsider their stances on legalization. The fact that the majority of Republican voters supporting legal marijuana is the mathematically smallest majority possible — just 51 percent according to Gallup — doesn’t do much to move the needle, either. With that said, there are encouraging signs that an increasing number of those on the political right are also on the right side of the legalization issue: %related-post-3% South Carolina Rep. Eric Bedingfield has co-sponsored legislation that would pave the way for medical marijuana to replace opioid painkillers, helping curb an epidemic he's seen destroy families of all economic levels — including his own. Bedingfield’s fellow South Carolinian, Senator Lindsey Graham, has been a major backer of the CARERS Act  — aka, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act of 2015 — which, if passed, would do a number of things, including reclassifying marijuana to maximize its medical value, allow banks to handle money from legal marijuana businesses, and prevent the government from interfering with state-legal medical marijuana programs. In Georgia, Conservative Christian lawmaker, State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, presented a bill in 2015 (later signed by Gov. Nathan Deal) that established the state’s medical cannabis program, which now allows more than 1,000 people with qualifying diagnoses to possess cannabis oil. He also drafted a bill (awaiting Gov. Deal’s signature) that would expand previous bill’s list of qualifying conditions. Peake, who is the CEO of one of the nation’s largest franchise restaurant businesses, also helps to shepherd cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people in the state who, according to state law, are allowed to possess it, but who have no legal way of obtaining it.     Two Kentucky Republicans, Senator Rand Paul and Representative Thomas Massie, have been outspoken in their support of pro-marijuana legislation, and noted marijuana advocate and State Senator Perry Clark has been aggressively pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. While Clark’s Cannabis Freedom Act bill failed to pass in 2016, he has filed two new legalization bills, SB76 and SB57, which, if approved by lawmakers, could eventually be voted on by the people of Kentucky. Sen. Paul, along with Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives who introduced comprehensive medical marijuana legislation that would block the federal government from interfering with medical marijuana activity legal at the state level, permit Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis, remove cannabidiol from the Controlled Substances Act, and expand research on marijuana. Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott recently signed House Bill 511 into law, making Vermont the first state in the nation to authorize recreational marijuana use via the act of a state legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure. New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra unveiled a proposal to legalize cannabis and use the resulting tax revenue to pay for subway repairs and other transportation projects. Tennessee State Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) have introduced the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, which would allow Tennessee patients with specific health conditions access to safe, regulated medical cannabis oil-based manufactured products. %related-post-4% Seventy-two percent of Democrats now support marijuana legalization. And while the 51 percent of Republicans supporting legalization might seem a bit underwhelming, that number was 17 points lower just two years ago. As legal marijuana continues to create jobs, generate tax revenue, help people cope with numerous diseases, and combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, the percentage of voters — Republicans and Democrats, alike — who support legalization will only continue to increase. The number of Republican legislators who are responding positively to voters on this issue is encouraging. So, encourage your local elected officials to join them. It's about time political action matches public support for marijuana legalization. 
Judge Says 11-Year-Old Illinois Girl Can Use Medical Cannabis In School
Judge Says 11-Year-Old Illinois Girl Can Use Medical Cannabis In School
While medical marijuana is now legal in 29 states, only three say schools must permit students to use legal prescribed cannabis in school. The groundbreaking case of a 11-year-old girl in Schaumburg, Illinois, however, could help to narrow that gap. Ashley Surin was a toddler in December 2008 when she was diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. While several rounds of chemotherapy and spinal injections helped send her cancer into remission, one of the injections triggered debilitating seizures. Ashley has had to take numerous medications for those seizures — medications with serious side effects like extreme mood swings, memory loss, and limited energy. And, as her father, Jim, told CNN, Ashley still had semi-regular seizures. %related-post-1% After one particularly scary episode at a grocery store last year, Ashley had to be taken to the hospital. During a full-body seizure, her head hit the cement with such force that doctors had to drain blood from her brain. "It was the most helpless feeling in the world to see her go down and not be able to help," Jim told CNN. It took Ashley a long time to recover, and when doctors wanted her to try yet another drug last August, Jim says the family “drew a line in the sand.” They started seeing another doctor who suggested that a new regimen consisting of a change in diet and medical cannabis would produce much better results. And it has. The Surins got their medical marijuana license in December 2017, and according to Ashley’s mother, Maureen, Ashley’s seizures have already declined immensely. "We're amazed with her progress," she said to NPR. %related-post-2% Ashley uses a patch on her foot and an oil extract on her wrists. If she happens to have a seizure, she gets a small drop of oil on her tongue. As CNN explains, the cannabidiol in the cannabis helps to keep the seizures at bay. State laws in New Jersey, Maine, and Colorado says that schools must allow students to use prescribed legal cannabis in school. In Washington State, there is no such requirement, and schools can decide for themselves whether or not they will allow it. In the other 25 states where medical marijuana is legal, however, it is against the law for students to use it — or have school nurses administer it — while on campus. Illinois is one of those states. Despite the fact that Ashley takes cannabinol and not tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC, or the marijuana drug that causes people to get high — she couldn’t have it on school grounds. While, say, diabetic children in Illinois can receive help from an adult at school to administer insulin, a teacher or a nurse could lose his or her license if they helped Ashley with her prescription cannabis in school. And, as CNN notes, if Ashley wore her patch to school, she or her parents could technically face criminal prosecution. %related-post-3% While Schaumburg School District 54 was sympathetic to Ashley’s condition, and neither she or her parents were likely to be prosecuted, the school district said it was still compelled to follow the letter of the law. This left Ashley’s parents with two options: keep Ashley out of class or take the school to court. On January 10, her parents filed a lawsuit against the school system in federal court, claiming that the state's ban on utilizing medical cannabis in school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Two days later, a judge ruled in the family’s favor. After missing a couple weeks of class, Ashley has since returned to school, and lawyers for the school district and the attorney general’s office are working on a long-term plan for Ashley and the school. While this case reached court, it should be noted that the school district was determined to find a solution that balanced the law with its obligation to serve a “medically fragile” student like Ashley. Darcy Kriha, the district's attorney, told CNN that the morning before the court hearing, she got a call from the district superintendent and the school board president who told her to do whatever she could to make sure Ashley could come back to school. Ultimately, the Illinois attorney general agreed not to prosecute, saying the staff who help Ashley with her medicine shouldn’t face any legal trouble. The federal judge quickly followed by issuing an emergency order to allow Ashley to go back to school. "They've changed Ashley's life today and they may've also changed the lives for other children for the better,” says Kriha. Kriha added that she applauds the Surins’ "courage" to bring a lawsuit on behalf of their daughter. As do we.
It’s Time To Change NFL Marijuana Rules
It’s Time To Change NFL Marijuana Rules
It's becoming more evident by the day that NFL marijuana rules are antiquated and do more harm than good. Yes, it's (past) time for those rules to change. Until red-and-blue lights flashed behind the SUV in which Carlos Henderson was riding in West Monroe, Louisiana on Jan. 14, it had been more than seventeen years since a member of the Denver Broncos had been arrested for marijuana charges. %related-post-1% Initial reaction from some corners was surprise. Why had it taken this long? Denver, Colorado is home to the first legal commercial sales of marijuana in the U.S., and since sales there began on Jan. 1, 2014 up until now, Denver has been the most cannabis friendly tourist destination in America. Well before all that, in 2007, marijuana activists paid for a billboard outside Mile High Stadium exhorting running back Ricky Williams — whose career was very nearly derailed for marijuana use — to come to more welcoming climes in Denver. But this arrest “gap” is no aberration at all, and shouldn’t be surprising. Dealing with cannabis outside of the criminal justice system — if at all — is what a majority of Americans want. And it’s how they do it in Denver. If Henderson had been pulled over in Colorado (or California, or Oregon, or Maine or Nevada or Massachusetts or Alaska) and not Louisiana, he might be dealing with a citation for public consumption instead of a misdemeanor possession charge and potential discipline from the NFL. It would have never made the news; we wouldn’t know his name. What happened to Henderson should be the exception; such a state of affairs is what marijuana legalization is all about. But there’s another way of looking at Henderson’s unfortunate off-season encounter, one we should consider during the run-up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. It’s the same way you should interpret freak occurrences like the saga of T.J. Ward. %related-post-2% Police responding to a report of a tripped burglar alarm at Ward’ s apartment discovered some cannabis in glass jars — and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety ended up arrested on marijuana charges. That’s a disgrace, and an indictment of law-enforcement — and not T.J. Ward, who, at the extreme worst, was an adult who allegedly wanted to possess marijuana in the relative safety of his home. If what police say is true, Ward felt comfortable enough to do that while pursuing an NFL career. That’s the rub. For most NFL players, marijuana isn’t a big deal anymore. It’s not considered a career risk. It’s certainly not considered bad, or dangerous, or something to be avoided. For the entire league, for all 32 billionaires who own franchises, cannabis should be their last concern. The league still has the professional sporting world’s strictest and most punitive rules against cannabis use — and that’s a problem — but the players clearly know how to work around those NFL marijuana rules, and, if anything, are feeling more and more empowered to use cannabis in peace. As they should — they don’t want to live in the pain and confusion they absolutely know is waiting for them on the other side of their career, should they be lucky enough to have a long and fruitful one that involves championship rings and Heisman Trophies. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The former football players above have names that even casual fans know, and they’re making a salient point: The NFL’s prohibitive rules on marijuana are dumb and outdated and need to go. But they also need to go because nobody cares about them anymore — not the players, and certainly not the owners or the league. The league’s power structure entered the 2017 season believing that they’d weathered football’s ongoing concussion scandal. Look at that — they put out a product that absolutely threatens the health, safety and welfare of the people who play it — and everyone knows it and still goes along with it! They thought they were invincible. Instead, after blackballing Colin Kaepernick and compelling their close personal friend and recipient of their largess, a certain Mr. POTUS, to call the man out by name, they very nearly lost control of their shop. Digging in on a lost cause like cannabis prohibition — an issue unpopular with Republicans in Congress — is not something NFL owners have the luxury to do, even if they truly cared about whatever “family values” or “moral character” principles are supposedly violated by marijuana use. %related-post-3% Cannabis is banned in the NFL because of the contract the NFL Players Association signed with the league. The conventional wisdom is that removing the marijuana ban, a sensible thing and a thing the players want, will almost certainly require the players giving something up in return. Money, maybe, or work rules? Or, maybe not. Late last year, Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson returned to the team after a layoff of more than a year. Henderson had been sick — he has Crohn’s disease, an incapacitating inflammation of the intestines. He used cannabis for the pain, got caught, and served a lengthy suspension. But the Bills want him, and welcomed him back without so much as a word about what had him sitting out. More and more, it seems that the NFL has declared a de-facto truce on marijuana use. The war may not be over, but it’s ending. All that’s left is getting the belligerents to admit it, get them to the negotiating table, and change those NFL marijuana rules. 
Vermont Marijuana Is Now (Recreationally!) Legal
Vermont Marijuana Is Now (Recreationally!) Legal
After a false start in 2017, Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana through legislative process. Now, Vermont marijuana can be enjoyed by the masses. The last time we checked in with Vermont, the state’s Senate and House had approved a bill that would allow adults to possess and grow recreational marijuana. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has now signed House Bill 511 into law, making Vermont the first state in the nation to authorize recreational marijuana use via the act of a state legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure. %related-post-1% One of the most politically liberal states in the nation, Vermont marijuana — of the medical variety — became legal in 2004, and recently they decriminalized possession of small amounts of recreational pot. While state lawmakers passed a recreational marijuana bill last year, Gov. Scott vetoed it, arguing that it didn’t do enough to shield kids from the drug or protect against stoned drivers. Legislators made his requested changes, and Scott signed the new version into law “with mixed emotions” on January 22. The law will go into effect on July 1. "As I said when I vetoed S. 22 in May, I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children," the self-described “libertarian” Scott said in a statement after signing the bill. The new law, which is unrelated to the state’s existing medical marijuana program, will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Adults over 21 will be permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, two mature marijuana plants, and four immature marijuana plants. %related-post-2% Laura Subin, director of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, told USA Today that residents will likely be permitted to give marijuana, seeds, or plants to one another as gifts. But while New England neighbors Massachusetts and Maine are preparing for recreational weed sales this summer, the recent Vermont marijuana law limits pot sales to its registered medical marijuana patients — a regulation that Scott has little interest in changing. As the Huffington Post reports, Scott has serious concerns about how a regulated recreational marijuana commercial market would work in Vermont. As a result, he has created his own marijuana task force, which is examining Vermont’s involvement in recreational pot sales and focusing on developing comprehensive strategies for education, prevention, and highway safety. “There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial ‘tax-and-regulate’ system for an adult marijuana market,” he says. “It is important for the General Assembly to know that – until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns – I will veto any additional effort along these lines, which manages to reach my desk.” Vermont is now the ninth state in the country, along with Washington, D.C, to approve the recreational use of marijuana.
Best Headphones For Your Next Mind Melt
Best Headphones For Your Next Mind Melt
Listening to music high is one thing, but listening with a good pair of headphones is a totally immersive experience. Hear things you’ve never heard before and dive into your favorite jams with our picks for the best headphones (in all prices ranges). Best Earbuds: Klipsch R6i Nothing beats the convenience and portability of earbuds. The little Klipsch headphones deliver a lot of power in a small package. They won’t let you down on bass-heavy rap and electronic, and they are super comfortable. Great sound, excellent portability, and high quality all for around $50. Not bad! Budget Pick: Shure SRH144 If you’re unfamiliar with Shure headphones, they have a reputation for producing amazing sound. The SRH144 lives up to the company’s reputation at a very affordable price point. Although they may not have all the bells and whistles of some other cans, they will offer super clear mids and highs with tight bass, making for a really pleasant listening experience. Shure surely deserves to be on our best headphones list.  Best All-Around: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 The Momentum 2.0 is a comfortable, amazing sound set of headphones that will please even the most discerning ears. Couple astounding performance with a refined, classic design and this pair is well worth the price tag. With options for Android and iPhone, as well as a wireless set at additional cost — Sennheiser has made sure there’s a Momentum for every taste. For the Audiophile: Beyerdynamic T90 Audiophiles mostly only care about fidelity and sound quality. Fortunately for them, and thanks to Beyerdynamic, these folks can get amazing sound in a sleek, stylish package with the T90. While some audiophile-grade headphones look like spacecraft, the T90s maintain a classic look that is comfortable for long periods and allows for highly accurate sound reproduction. Audiophile quality does, of course, come with a steep price tag. But hey, look at it as an investment! Noise Canceling: Bose QuietComfort 35 II Bose set the standard for noise canceling headphones. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing a set of 35 IIs on a noisy airplane, you know why. Nothing comes close to the noise isolation offered up by this set. If you travel frequently or just want a superior listening experience, head straight for this pair.
Top Music Festivals Not Named Coachella Or Bonnaroo
Top Music Festivals Not Named Coachella Or Bonnaroo
It might be cold outside now, but the season of music festivals will be here soon. Sure there are some big name music festivals, but how about some others? Music festivals can be a pretty polarizing topic. Some people love them, some people hate them, and others just think the glory days of truly killer lineups have simply passed us by. While we know plenty of people who fit into each of these categories, we can’t quite shake the amazing memories — even the really blurry ones — that we’ve made camping out at a fest. While the big-name festivals — cough, Coachella and Bonnaroo, cough — get all the attention, we thought we’d put together a quick-hit list of our favorite festivals across the country. Let’s take a look! Sasquatch! Music Festival, May 25-27 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington is home to the Sasquatch! Music Festival, and boy, could they not have picked a more scenic location. Founded in 2002, the festival has taken place every Memorial Day weekend since. Spanning the entire weekend, the festival offers up performances from artists that span the spectrum of musical genres. In 2017, headliners included Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, and comedy from Fred Armisen. That plus one killer view has us sold. Seriously. Google pictures of The Gorge Amphitheater, then book your ticket. This highlight video from 2017 might help, too. Pitchfork Music Festival, July 20-22 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Pitchfork has a reputation for being one of the snobbier taste-making music review sites. You have to give them credit, though, because they sure know how to program a festival. Held in Chicago — and Paris for that matter — the festival consistently highlights some of the most talented live acts around. 2017 featured LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Vince Staples, and Solange. I mean, come on! Plus, tickets for the three-day 2018 festival are only $175. A steal! The 2018 lineup hasn’t been released, so keep your eyes peeled! Check out this performance from one of our favorite artists, Angel Olsen, from the 2017 festival. Boston Calling, May 25-27 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Boston is an amazing city full of great food, delicious beer, and tons of history. Beantown is also home to one of the country’s newest music festivals — Boston Calling. With its official debut in 2013, Boston Calling set the bar high for festival experiences, and five years in, there aren’t any signs of slowing down. 2018 will offer up performances from The Killers, Paramore, Jack White, and…Eminem. Seriously, buy tickets and book your flights immediately. This 2017 recap video should keep you hyped until then! Did we miss your favorite festival? Hit us up and let us know!
Big Beer Bullish Toward Cannabusiness
Big Beer Bullish Toward Cannabusiness
For some consumers, adult beverages and marijuana go together like peanut butter and jelly. But as legal weed grows, Big Beer is looking for ways to recoup its losses to cannabusiness.  At first glance, the increased availability of legal marijuana appears to be doing quite a number on the beer business. Some of the nation’s biggest breweries have seen significant drops in sales as more and more Americans are, apparently, substituting pot for beer. %related-post-1% But while the likes of Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are seeing short-term dips, a growing number of big beer’s biggest movers and shakers are also eyeing longer-term opportunities to hop from hops and barley into the cannabusiness. As we reported previously, the country’s breweries, which have lost 10 percent of their market share to wine and hard liquor since 2006, have seen their profits plummet even more with the increased availability of legal marijuana. According to industry data, sales of Coors Light and Miller Lite were down 3.6 percent and 1.6 percent last year, respectively, through the third quarter ​from a year earlier. In October, Molson Coors, MillerCoors' Denver-based parent company, reported that its domestic beer sales had dropped by nearly three percent during the previous quarter. As a whole, light beer sales dropped by 14 percent between 2010 and 2016 — a drop that researchers say will only continue. "There's clear evidence that access to legal cannabis softens alcohol revenue," Vivien Azer, an analyst at equity research firm Cowen, told Crain’s. %related-post-2% Studies at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University show that alcoholic beverage sales fell 15 percent after medical marijuana became legal in several states, and a recent report from Cannabiz Consumer Group indicates that 27 percent of beer drinkers say they have already swapped cannabis for beer, or would do so if pot was made legal in their state. With legal marijuana becoming easier and easier to obtain across the nation, the nation’s breweries will have more and more difficulty trying to recoup sales. But instead of competing with the cannabusiness, more and more big names from world of big beer world are seizing big opportunities to invest in the cannabis space. Here are just a few examples: Heineken is test marketing a marijuana-infused craft beer brand in California.   A former marketing chief for Budweiser has co-founded Toast, which markets pre-rolled joints. He has also joined the advisory board of San Francisco-based startup GreenRush Group, which aims to become the Amazon of weed. Most recently, Constellation Brands — the country’s third-largest beer company — acquired a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth, one of the biggest companies in the legal weed industry, to co-develop THC-infused beverages. And the investment isn’t likely to end there. According to Brett Cooper, an analyst at Consumer Edge Research in New York a lot of alcohol companies “are taking a serious look at the space.” Cooper told Crain’s that at a recent industry conference, "every single executive speech referenced the issue of marijuana's cannibalization of alcohol sales.” “It's not a fringe issue anymore,” he says.
Viceland Canada’s Demise Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Still Enjoy Weediquette
Viceland Canada’s Demise Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Still Enjoy Weediquette
Viceland Canada is going under? Bummer. The channel has aired some great shows, one of which is Weediquette. Here are some episodes you should watch. With the recent news that Viceland Canada will soon be pulled off Canadian cable television — the cord is slated to be yanked on March 31, 2018 — many fans of the channel’s programming have wondered where they’ll be able to view their beloved shows. %related-post-1% Fear not, dear Canadian viewers. Though Viceland Canada will soon be off air, company executives promise the full suite of the channel’s shows will continue to be accessed on Vice.com. It should come as no surprise that at The Sugar Leaf one of our go-to Viceland shows is Weediquette, the documentary series following Krishna Andavolu as he examines some of the industry’s most pressing topics, and explores them with some of its most interesting characters. So, in tribute to Viceland Canada, here are some of our most recommended Weediquette episodes from the past three seasons. Kings of Cannabis | Season 1, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Krishna heads to Colombia with Arjan Roskam, one of the world’s most influential marijuana breeders (he’s won 38 Cannabis Cups), as he searches for the country’s rarest marijuana strains. The F*@k It, I Quit Lady | Season 1, Episode 7 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> In 2014, Alaskan news anchor, Charlo Greene, shocked viewers when she revealed that she was the owner of a dispensary, and that she was leaving television news to advocate for better marijuana legislation. She signed off, “F*@k it, I quit.” This episode follows her post-television advocacy efforts. Gridiron Ganja | Season 2, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> It’s no secret that professional football — football at any level, really — is grueling on those who play the sport. As injuries to the head and body mount, their long term consequences are becoming ever more debated. And figuring more prominently in those debates: marijuana’s healing powers. Oil for Autism | Season 3, Episode 2 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> As autism rates increase, parents are becoming increasingly desperate to find cures for their children. How desperate? Many break federal laws to obtain cannabis products and administer them to their ailing kids. These four episodes are just a sampling of the Weediquette goodness. Now, let’s binge watch.
Texas Marijuana: The (Lone) Lone Star MMJ Dispensary
Texas Marijuana: The (Lone) Lone Star MMJ Dispensary
When it comes to Texas medical marijuana — the medical kind — pickings are slim in the Lone Star State. Really slim. Texas is the biggest state in the lower 48. It ranks second in the nation in terms of population and it’s home to seven of the nation’s 20 biggest cities. And while Texas is also home to 150,000 patients who qualify for the state’s new medical marijuana policy, there is currently only one dispensary in the entire state to serve them. Yes, uno. %related-post-1% Last September, Florida-based Knox Medical opened their medical-marijuana dispensary on a farm near Schulenburg, Texas. As The Fresh Toast notes, the small town of some 3,000 residents is a 90-minute drive from Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, making it a central location for those in need in the area. Not surprisingly, the locals in the conservative town are quick to point out that the lone Texas marijuana business is technically outside of city limits. Even Kristopher Emola, the cultivation manager for Knox Medical, has learned to keep quiet about the fact that he grows pot when talking to people in Schulenburg. “It’s one of those things that has been so stigmatized for so long, that it’s natural to question it initially,” Emola told The Atlantic. As The Fresh Toast points out, however, being off the beaten path is probably a good thing for the dispensary. Not only does Knox Medical have more than enough room to grow cannabis without getting too close to schools or playgrounds, it is also located far enough out that it won’t be stepping on locals’ toes — or convictions. According to The Atlantic, if small towns like Schulenberg can “get past the stigma” of playing host to such dispensaries, they could serve as the perfect entry points for the legal cannabis business to grow across prohibitionist states. %related-post-2% “If it helps people and it doesn’t hurt anything, why not do it?” asks Fayette County Judge Ed Janecka. The lone dispensary is the result of Texas lawmakers passing the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015, which allows patients to obtain low-THC cannabis. The law authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to establish a registry of prescribing doctors, and required the DPS to issue licenses by September 2017 to at least three dispensaries to sell CBD to 150,000 patients in Texas, mostly children, who suffer from severe epilepsy. According to Andrew Lerman, a neurologist who has been prescribing the drug to his own epilepsy patients in Florida since it was legalized there four years ago, the drug significantly reduces the number of seizures many of these patients suffer — and with virtually no side effects. While the drug could be a godsend for those who need it, there is no guarantee that all of the patients could benefit from it will actually have access to it. For starters, as The Atlantic points out, federal law stipulates that physicians in Texas could risk their prescribing rights if they recommend CBD to their patients. That fear is likely a big reason why only seven doctors in the state have registered for the program. On top of that, since cannabis oil is still classified as a a Schedule I narcotic and no health insurance will cover it, a good number of patients who would otherwise qualify for the pricey drug likely won’t be able to afford it. %related-post-3% Still, while CBD-heavy, low-THC marijuana could be too pricey for some patients, the fact that it’s legal at all in a state largely opposed to legalization is a definite sign of progress. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state lawmakers insist that the Texas Compassionate Use Act will not usher in broader legislation, but, as The Atlantic rightly argues, it’ll be tough for legislators to fight the urge to expand Texas’ pot laws once the revenue from CBD starts coming into the state — not to mention the fact that the nation’s cannabis market is expected to grow three to four times over in the next seven years. At the very least, such growth could lead to an expansion of the Compassionate Use Program and more registered physicians. It could also drive legislators to reconsider their opposition to other, stronger forms of cannabis that could benefit even more people and, in turn, Texas’ coffers. But you gotta start somewhere. And, for now, that somewhere for Texas marijuana is Schulenberg. Well, just down the road from Schulenberg…
Cannabis Infused Food: How To Have Your Weed And Eat It Too
Cannabis Infused Food: How To Have Your Weed And Eat It Too
Today, many chefs are trying to destigmatize the use of cannabis by creating delicious (healthy) cannabis infused food and organizing surprising dinner parties. If you’re looking for a new culinary experience, read this article and start planning your next party. Cannabis as an ingredient in food, it’s not new Edibles have been around for a long time. Cannabis infused food like candies and brownies are well known snacks to many who likes to get buzzed without smoking. This means that using cannabis as an ingredient isn’t something new. Except that lately, this concept has risen to a whole new level. Let’s have a look at some nice developments. %related-post-1% Let’s start with some next level edibles Have you ever tried a cannabis infused onion dip? It’s one of the edibles chef Payton Curry has created to help people experience not only the benefits of the THC and/or CBD, but also the amazing taste of the product itself. For those with a sweet tooth who want to start using THC foods, the jam made by chef Stephany Gocobachi sounds like a nice option. One scoop contains 2.5 mg of THC, a nice and soft way to start your day. These products make it easy to integrate the use of cannabis into your day, whether it’s at breakfast or while watching a movie with friends. Private cannabis dinners Dinner parties can be a hassle to organize. You want to surprise your guests with something they haven’t experienced before. Of course you could hire a famous French chef, or serve a delicious Moroccan tagine, yet there’s another option. What about hiring a caterer specialized in cannabis infused fine-dining? Now that’ll impress your guests! High-end ingredients and cannabis are the secret to this company’s catering service The Herbal Chef is probably one of the most renowned companies in the field of cannabis infused fine-dining. The founder and CEO, Christopher Sayegh, can only be described as passionate and very creative. According to the company’s website, the chef is currently “producing gourmet edibles, frozen CBD and THC-infused dinners.” If you plan on hosting a fabulous dinner party which will truly amaze all your guests, you might want to give The Herbal Chef a call. %related-post-2% Slow Braised Pork Belly and Rib Eye, with a touch of our favorite herb Miguel Trinidad loves taking things to a new level. Infused lobster risotto or infused steak tartare are only a couple of examples of what he serves his clients. It’s clear he loves using cannabis as an ingredient, using every bud’s own flavor profile to create the perfect dish. Your guests will get a five-course dinner, dosed at 15 mg maximum. With every course you’ll see people get more comfortable and enjoying funny but also philosophical conversations. Well, you know how that goes with dinner parties. Choosing the right caterer There are many examples of culinary catering services using cannabis in their dishes. But who to choose for your next dinner party? One of the most important things is talking about their dosing approach. You must know how much THC or CBD is going to be used. Tell the caterer what your objectives are: do you want to get high, or just relaxed from your cannabis infused food? And of course, don’t forget to tell your guests there’s a little surprise in their meal.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 2
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 2
Another week in the books, another week’s worth of big ticket cannabis news headlines. This trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing. Of all the developments, here are five cannabis news nuggets that piqued our interest the most this week. The Garden State will get greener — eventually A much-discussed platform item during New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign was marijuana legalization. And sure enough, the Democrat wasted no time addressing the matter in his Tuesday inauguration speech. %related-post-1% From the podium, Murphy said “a stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces criminal justice reform comprehensively, and that includes a process to legalize marijuana.” And while most have assumed the state will now launch full speed ahead toward legalization, it appears there might be some pushback in the New Jersey legislature — even from fellow Democrats. Netflix goes pro-cannabis with pro football players Let’s be honest, the human body was not built to play football. It’s hard to come up with another sport more physically grueling and debilitating. Given that reality, the chorus of voices arguing that NFL players should have access to MMJ is growing louder, and heading into last weekend Netflix released a video advocating for a change in the NFL substance policy. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Will there be a California cannabis supply crunch? Legal recreational marijuana sales in California have been celebrated by cannafans since the calendar flipped to 2018. However, some are wondering if the state is heading toward a marijuana shortage. What’s causing the hand-wringing? Local licensing red tape that cultivators and processors are having to cut through in order to get their products on dispensary shelves. Our fingers are crossed this gets sorted out because as the (massive) legal Los Angeles market comes online, the state’s dispensary stockpiles will quickly diminish. Marijuana as a crime deterrent We’re all familiar with the prohibitionist line that marijuana increases violence. Yes, people still say that. But a study — released in late-2017 — made the rounds this week, and it showed the complete opposite. Shocker, we know. According to economist Evelina Gavrilova, when U.S. states along the Mexican border legalized medical marijuana, violent crime (associated heavily with Mexican gangs) decreased an average of 13 percent. Gavrilova said legal "growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.” Eaze releases more cannabis consumer trends Our friends over at Eaze releazed (get it? ha!) their 2017 State of Cannabis Data Report this week, and it is chalk full of interesting consumer tidbits. As always, folks, we’ll keep our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled with interesting cannabis news to share with you.
These 5 Movie Characters Just Had To Be High, Right?
These 5 Movie Characters Just Had To Be High, Right?
We’re all familiar with stoner movies where everyone is high. But what about these five movie characters from mainstream flicks — they had to be high too, right? We all know movie characters like “The Dude" (The Big Lebowski) and Kumar Patel (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) from classic stoner movies were regularly high — after all, smoking was an integral part of their respective roles. But what about characters from mainstream movies who, based on their onscreen idiocy, had to have been toking? Here’s a quick list of movie characters who we just know had to be high. Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) played the dimwitted sidekick of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) in Dumb and Dumber. While neither character displayed massive amounts of intellect during their cross-country journey from Rhode Island to Colorado, Dunne just seemed to be a bit slowwwwwer than Christmas. Favorite line: “She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Karl Spackler from Caddyshack It’s hard to believe Caddyshack is nearly 40 years old in 2018. Even though it has some mileage on it, the classic comedy is always good for a laugh. The main plotline revolves around an exclusive golf course caddy, Danny Noonan’s, pursuit of earning enough money to go to college. Circling that story are countless misadventures, including greenskeeper, Karl Spackler’s (Bill Murray) ongoing duel with a pesky gopher. Favorite line: “I have to laugh, because I've outsmarted even myself. My enemy, my foe, is an animal. In order to conquer the animal, I have to learn to think like an animal. And, whenever possible, to look like one. I've gotta get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Marv Merchants from Home Alone A holiday season standard, Home Alone represented what every kid wishes for at least once in their life: to be the master of their own home. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) got his wish, but then had to fend off the thieving Wet Bandits, Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), the latter of which consistently appeared half-baked. Favorite line: “Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Garth Algar from Wayne’s World Wayne’s World, Wayne’s World. Party time. Excellent. You know the tagline to the faux talk show filmed in the basement of Wayne Campbell’s (Mike Myers) suburban Chicago home. This Saturday Night Live skit-turned feature film owned movie theatres in 1992, thanks to the hilarious gaffes of Wayne and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). Though neither character would be confused with a Nobel Laureate, Garth could have been easily confused with a space cadet. Favorite line: “Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny?” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Delmar O’Donnell from O Brother, Where Art Thou Based on Homer’s The Odyssey, the Coen brother’s O Brother, Where Art Thou follows three escaped convicts as they race across Mississippi to reach Ulysses Everett McGill’s (George Clooney) home before it’s flooded out by a new dam. All three main characters are loveable in their own way, but Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) always seems like he’d be the most fun to grab a toke with. Favorite line: “Of course it's Pete! Look at him!... We gotta find some kind of wizard to change him back.” " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Of course there are plenty of other suspect stoner movie characters out there. Shoot us an email to let us know your favorites. 
Detroit Marijuana: A Messed Up MMJ Journey In Motor City
Detroit Marijuana: A Messed Up MMJ Journey In Motor City
Passing pro-MMJ legislation is just the first step in getting cannabis to patients. From there, the journey can take a very long time. Example: Just try getting Detroit marijuana. The birthplace of the American auto industry, Detroit, Michigan (aka, Motor City) was once the wealthiest city in the nation. By the 1950s, it had the highest median income and the highest rate of home ownership of any city in the country. %related-post-1% Sadly, the collapse of Detroit’s manufacturing sector — coupled with white flight — decimated the place, and while the city has begun to rebound a bit in recent years, full recovery remains quite a ways away. One way for the Motor City to speed up that recovery would be to fully embrace the legal marijuana industry. And while some have set out to do just that, Detroit marijuana businesses have faced shifting regulations, padlocked doors, and, now, a legal battle that threatens to bring the fledgling medical marijuana industry to a halt. While voters first approved legalized medical marijuana back in 2008, the Michigan Legislature let canna-businesses in Detroit and other Michigan communities operate in a weird grey area for several years. Then, as the Detroit News explains, the City Council finally adopted a strict set of zoning and licensing requirements in 2015 which required all dispensaries — both new and existing — seeking to operate within the law to apply online, submit plans, meet rules, and obtain licensing, or risk being shut down. The rules, which went into effect in March 2016, also stipulated that medical marijuana dispensaries could not be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary, church, day care facility, school, or park. %related-post-2% In November of last year, voters pushed back on the tougher regulations, voting in support of yet another new ordinance that reduced the distance between dispensaries and churches from 1,000 to 500 feet, and expanded the areas in which dispensaries are allowed to operate. Dispensaries’ legal hours of operation were extended, as well. While voters passed the new ordinances, many city officials didn’t support the vote, concerned that the relaxed rules would lead to an explosion of pot shops across Detroit. As the Free Press reports, a group of citizens and a medical marijuana firms have filed a lawsuit in response. According to Michael Stein, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of a handful of disgruntled applicants, city officials actually welcome the injunctive action because it gives them an excuse to challenge the new ordinances approved by voters. Dizzy yet? Stay with us. There's more to the Detroit marijuana sage.  "Their plan all along was to not take the applications so no one could stay open," he told the Free Press. "But the new ordinance gives the clear direction that they have to take the applications." %related-post-3% In order to get a license, a business must have proof that the city where it wants to locate has an ordinance allowing medical cannabis, as well as proof that it has received approval from that city. While Detroit says it won’t accept any applications for city approval under the new ordinance until the lawsuit is resolved, the state, which doesn’t want to harm medical marijuana patients in the interim, has declared that existing dispensaries with approval from Detroit can remain in business as long as they submit applications by June 15. The temporary reprieve, which was issued before the the city’s new ordinances went into effect on January 4, applies to 62 dispensaries, and could expire on June 15 if Detroit hasn’t moved past the legal impasse by then. Stay tuned for updates from Motor City.
3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed
3 New(ish) Great Books You Should Read While Cannabuzzed
The past couple years have been incredible for readers, as countless great books have hit the shelves. And, these three are especially fun companions for cannabis. Some people love to read great books after consuming cannabis. Others, however, have a hard time concentrating from one paragraph to the next. We’ve learned that it typically comes down to which strain you’ve enjoyed prior to settling in for some literary enlightenment. But once you’ve mastered the cannabis selection process, few things are more fun than diving deep into some prose while cannabuzzed. %related-post-1% For those who like to read while high, or at least slightly stoned, here are three thoroughly enjoyable books, published recently, that you should definitely put on your “to read” list. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles One hallmark of a good book — especially a work of fiction — is that you can imagine yourself in it. You can feel the suspense, you can envision the scenes playing out, you can hear the voices of the characters. And before you know it, you’ve flipped 50 pages without remembering turning a single one. Amor Towles’ second book, A Gentleman in Moscow, is one such read. Almost the entire book is set in a renowned Moscow hotel — a vintage from when hotels were destinations unto themselves — where movie stars, politicians, spies, and the hotel staff all plot with and against one another. The main character, Count Alexander Rostov, lives under house arrest in The Metropol, his crime being that he was born into the nobility before the Bolsheviks came to power. In A Gentleman in Moscow, there are love affairs, twists of fate, and mountains of suspense, all while Russian history unfolds outside the hotel, sometimes creeping across the threshold of the front door. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward If you want a book that has won awards, then Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is for you. The novel won the National Book Award for fiction, was listed by TIME Magazine as a Best Novel of the Year, and was a New York Times Top 10. And did we mention Barack Obama said it was one of his favorite reads of 2017? Not too shabby. (Oh, and for what it’s worth, A Gentleman in Moscow was also on #44’s list). %related-post-2% Ward’s third novel is the crushing coming of age tale of a young boy named Jojo, who along with his drugged-addicted mother drive across Mississippi to retrieve his estranged father from Parchman prison. Along the way, Jojo is visited by a ghost of the Delta’s past, another young boy whose life was tragically cut short while serving time at the infamous Mississippi penitentiary. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel Sometimes after smoking, forgetting the world and trekking into Mother Nature seems like a great idea. But you probably haven’t considered disappearing for as long as Christopher Knight did. One day in 1986, Knight decided he’d had enough of mankind, wandered into the woods in remote Maine, and didn’t come out for a couple decades. For real. Michael Finkel’s book The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit is an all-consuming account of how Knight managed to live on his own, through brutal winters and mosquito-plagued summers, without any human interaction. Knight became a figure of lore, like the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, until his reclusive foray ended thanks to local officials. Be sure to pick up copies of these great books, and we’ll be sure to tell you about more in the future!
Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors
Master The Munchies: Ben & Jerry’s Best Ice Cream Flavors
Any ice cream connoisseur has their own list of  Ben & Jerry’s best ice cream flavors — Burlington, Vermont's most famous export. How does ours stack up against yours? We’ve all been there — you just wrapped up a smoke sesh and your stomach starts rumbling. When the munchies strike, there are all kinds of foods that can hit the spot. One of our favorites just so happens to be ice cream. And while there are tons of brands to choose from, Ben & Jerry’s has our hearts. But with so many (incredible) flavors to choose from it can get a little overwhelming making a pick. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed down our list of Ben & Jerry’s favorites to save you valuable time in the freezer aisle. While you dig into your favorite pint, peep this vid to see how your favorite flavors get made: " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Cherry Garcia There’s a soft spot in our stoner hearts for anything Jerry Garcia related. It just so happens that the ice cream flavor bearing his name is absolutely delicious. What’s not to like about cherry ice cream with chocolate chips? Answer: not much. Just try not to kill the entire pint in one sitting. Half Baked You really can’t go wrong with a classic flavor like chocolate chip cookie dough. But Half Baked takes it to the next level. This classic B&J flavor offers chocolate and vanilla ice cream swirled with cookie dough AND brownie dough (where’s that drool-face emoji?). You won’t regret popping the top on this bad boy. Americone Dream Stephen Colbert is one of our favorite late night television hosts. And he apparently has great taste in ice cream. Vanilla ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolate-covered waffle cone chips. It’s a delicious, patriotic treat. Phish Food Chocolate ice cream, marshmallow swirl, caramel swirl, and chocolate fudge fish. This ice cream has a lot going on, but what do you expect from a flavor named for one of the headiest jam bands of all time? Chunky Monkey Banana, as a general rule, seems to be an overlooked ice cream flavor. Fortunately, Ben & Jerry’s used it as the base for one of their OG flavors — Chunky Monkey. Banana ice cream, fudge chunks, and walnuts. Yes, please! Did we miss your favorite on our list of Ben & Jerry’s best ice cream flavors? Let us know! We’ll look ‘em up in the freezer section.
5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums
5 Great Grateful Dead Live Albums
There’s something about a jam band and a good buzz. The Grateful Dead practically invented the jam band genre, so naturally their live recordings — a mega-legendary collection — set the perfect mood for a solo or group smoke session. So, here’s our starter set of Grateful Dead live albums. Pick one, queue it up, and get toking! Cornell 5/8/77 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This album is touted by many Deadheads as the band’s best recorded live performance. Renowned in tape-trading circles, the recording finally got a proper release. What makes it so special is that it perfectly toes the line between Dead deep cuts and classic hits, making it ideal for seasoned and new listeners alike. The Closing of Winterland: December 31, 1978 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Winterland was a classic San Francisco music venue that hosted plenty of Dead shows and helped build the band’s reputation as one of the best live bands of all time. It was only fitting that the Dead would play the last show at the famous venue, making this album an instant classic. Europe ‘72 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Every list of best live albums has to include Europe ’72. Period. The original release, along with the subsequent bonus albums, showcase the Dead at a transitional period from blues-based rock to more jazz-influenced performances. Fillmore West 1969 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> This is peak Grateful Dead. Offering up one of the best recorded versions of “Morning Dew,” this is the Dead that many fans first fell in love with. Listening to this album will make you feel like you were in the audience at the Fillmore on a sunshiny San Francisco day all those decades ago. Dick’s Picks Vol. 8: 5/2/70 " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Anyone familiar with live Dead recordings knows about Dick’s Picks — specific live recordings collected and released due to their higher quality stereo recording. Vol. 8 just so happens to be our favorite of the series, thanks in large part to a killer acoustic set. Toss in two more electric sets, and you’ve got everything you need for a good time. Did we miss any of your favorite Grateful Dead live albums? Let us know!
Marijuana Legalization Across the Nation: What’s New In New England?
Marijuana Legalization Across the Nation: What’s New In New England?
While Massachusetts steams ahead with recreational marijuana legalization, two other New England states are fast on their heels.   While U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions may have recently given prosecutors the power to go after the pot industry, he didn’t explicitly direct them to do so. In the days and weeks since that move, states that were planning to implement or expand marijuana legalization appear to be moving ahead with their plans despite the current legislative limbo. %related-post-1% The same day that Sessions took steps to roll back federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws, the Vermont Senate gave final approval to a bill that would allow the recreational use of marijuana. A mere five days later, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize the substance for recreational use as well. Vermont legislature approves recreational marijuana legalization As USA Today reports, the Vermont Senate agreed by voice vote to a proposal that would allow adults older than 21 to possess of up an ounce of pot and have two mature marijuana plants or four immature plants in their homes. The state House has already approved the bill, and Gov. Phil Scott has said that he plans to sign it. The legislation would make Vermont the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana via a legislative act instead of a citizen referendum. Vermont passed a similar bill in the spring of 2016, but Scott vetoed it due to fears that it didn’t do enough to shield kids from the drug or ensure highway safety. Legislators made the governor’s requested changes, and when Scott signs the bill into law, Vermont will join eight states (along with the District of Columbia) where recreational pot is legal. While the law, which would take effect July 1, does not include a system to tax and regulate the production and sale of the drug, lawmakers hope the bill will encourage the legislature to add such a system down the road. %related-post-2% New Hampshire gives marijuana legalization another legislative try Neighboring New Hampshire has taken a similar approach to Vermont in its path to legalization. As Forbes explains, the New Hampshire House in 2014 became the first legislative chamber in the nation’s history to approve a marijuana legalization bill. That bill died in the Senate, but the latest bill, which is expected to move forward once it leaves the state’s House Ways and Means Committee, would allow people over 21 to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and home cultivation of up to three plants. While retail sales would not be allowed initially, the bill would also create a regulatory system permitting the eventual cultivation and distribution of taxed cannabis sales. As Forbes points out, a handful of other states are expected to vote on ballot initiatives to legalize medical and recreational cannabis this year, as well. Unless Sessions directs — and not merely suggests — that prosecutors do more to crackdown on states where pot is now legal, it looks like it will be business as usual for the nation’s growing canna-biz.
Ganja Claus At It Again: Marijuana Gift Givers Arrested Once More
Ganja Claus At It Again: Marijuana Gift Givers Arrested Once More
Patrick and Barbara Jiron became the most popular marijuana gift givers of 2017 just a few short weeks ago. Well, that wasn’t the end of the story.   Remember that elderly couple who were caught with 60 pounds of weed in their car in Nebraska right before the holidays? You know, the ones who said they were giving it all away as Christmas gifts? Well, they were busted again. %related-post-1% As we previously reported, Patrick Jiron, 83, and his wife, Barbara, 70, were pulled over by police in Nebraska a few days before Christmas after deputies observed their vehicle traveling over the center line and failing to signal. When they approached the car, the officers could immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana. The Jirons acknowledged that there was, indeed, weed in the back of their Toyota Tacoma, and when deputies inspected the vehicle, they found 60 pounds of high-grade pot worth an estimated $336,000. The couple, who were traveling from California to Vermont for the holidays, said they had no idea it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska, and that they planned give the weed away as Christmas presents. Patrick was arrested and booked on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp. He posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, and was released. Barbara was cited in the case, but was not jailed “due to some medical issues.” %related-post-2% The story doesn’t end there, however. As the Lincoln Journal Star reports, deputies stopped the same black Toyota Tacoma on January 9 on the same Interstate in Nebraska for following too closely. A deputy asked the driver, the Jiron’s 42-year-old daughter, Mariah, to sit in a cruiser while her parents stayed in the truck. "During this time, reasonable, articulable suspicion was obtained that criminal activity was afoot," the deputy wrote in the incident report.    While the report doesn’t explicitly say what the officers suspected, there really was no mystery. When the deputy asked Patrick and Barbara if he could search the truck, they refused. But when a drug dog showed much interest in the truck, the deputies went ahead with the search and found $18,000 in cash in a duffel bag in the cargo area. %related-post-3% The officers detected trace amounts of cannabis during field tests of the money, as well as a garbage bag in the back of the truck containing raw marijuana residue. They also found notes seemingly connected with marijuana sales. The Jirons were arrested — again — and Mariah Jiron, the daughter, was issued a warning. As of the time of this writing, Patrick and Barbara were out on bond and expected to be in York County Court soon at separate hearings in the original case. Hopefully, the marijuana gift givers are also out of the interstate pot business — for now, anyway.
Cannabis News Nuggets <br> Volume 1
Cannabis News Nuggets
Volume 1
The first week of 2018 was a doozy in the world of weed, and this week was no different with plenty of breaking cannabis news. Here are five cannabis news nuggets that caught our attention. Cory Gardner vs. Jeff Session cage match Okay, it wasn’t a battle royale in the WWE sense, but the Colorado senator did stand his ground against every marijuana fan’s favorite Attorney General when they met Wednesday morning. The bad news is that Sessions apparently held firm too. So what does this mean? That’s still to be determined. The Cole Memo — which helped the legal cannabis industry flourish — still resides in the policy trashcan, and Sen. Gardner, like many other elected officials, continues his protest. In his particular case, Gardner vowed to block any Justice Department nominees so long as Sessions keeps his heels dug in. %related-post-1% East Coast legalization efforts speeding ahead West Coast states may have gotten the jump on the rest of the U.S. when it comes to marijuana legalization, but a handful of East Coast states are sprinting to catch up. This week the Vermont Senate gave the final thumbs-up to a bill that will allow adults 21 and older the ability to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and two mature plants at their residence for recreational purposes. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has said he’ll sign the bill into law soon. Over in New Hampshire, a similar bill — this one allows people over 21 years old to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home — advanced out of the House and is heading for the Senate. And in New Jersey, a bill was introduced in the House that would allow the legal possession of recreational marijuana while also establishing the framework for commercial marijuana enterprises in the state. Incoming Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on legalizaition and appears committed to a speedy legislative passage. California recreational sales booming California’s Jan. 1 recreational rollout was the marijuana news of the week last week until Jeff Sessions decided to shred the Cole Memo. But Sessions’ move has not put the slightest dent in Golden State marijuana sales. While total retail numbers won’t be out for a while, anecdotally there’s reason to believe they’ll be massive. So heavy was foot traffic that some California dispensary owners are worried about employee burnout. We’ll keep an eye on how estimates actually pan out, but for now the state’s projections for a million pounds worth of first-year sales doesn’t sound too far-fetched. %related-post-2% Problematic Oregon underage sting results  It wasn’t too long ago that legalization advocates were cheering the results of an undercover sting operation in Oregon designed to catch dispensaries selling marijuana to underage customers. The results? A 100% pass rate! But just after we finished spiking that football, news broke this week that multiple dispensaries in a different Oregon sting operation were busted selling pot to people under 21 years old. Talk about a — low note.  Who likes poll numbers? We do (at least these, anyway) Not only does marijuana legalization enjoy majority support across the United States, but these two new polls came out reflecting that — by wide margins — Americans oppose federal marijuana intervention in state-based legalization efforts, and they have little faith in the War on Drugs. Take heart, friends, for if politics is indeed downstream from culture, the future of legalization looks bright. We’ll keep our ears to the ground again next week, so we can give you a rundown on more cannabis news highlights.
Cannabis Is Replacing Tobacco As Colorado Social Programs Benefactor
Cannabis Is Replacing Tobacco As Colorado Social Programs Benefactor
As tobacco lawsuit settlement revenues dry up in Colorado, cannabis is replacing tobacco as one of the state's social programs benefactors. Back in 1998, Colorado was one of 46 states that agreed to a settlement with the nation’s four largest tobacco companies. As the Denver Post reported at the time, the settlement specified that the companies would make payments to the states in order to help them recoup the costs of medical care associated with smoking-related illnesses. %related-post-1% In the two decades since, that settlement has amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars for Colorado — funds that have been crucial for dozens of public programs. Those funds have been shrinking in recent years, however, leaving state legislators to explore other revenue sources to fill the gap. And just as other states have done, Colorado has turned its attention to marijuana revenue. As the Denver Post notes, payments from 53 tobacco manufacturers have a 25 year lifespan, totaling a minimum of $206 billion dollars. Colorado has already received upwards of $1.7 billion of its allotted share, but a smaller stream of money related to the settlement has already come to an end. As one of the seven states that initiated the 90’s-era lawsuit, Colorado received a decade’s worth of supplemental payments — called strategic contributions payments — designed to repay the state for its legal work. Colorado’s annual payments, which began in 2008, worked out to $15 million. The state received its final payment of $15.5 million in April 2017. On top of that was a guarantee that future tobacco settlement payments would shrink, which would, in turn, negatively impact revenue directed toward numerous social service programs. The fact that smoking is down nationwide has also negatively affected settlement funds — which are based on annual cigarette sales — as well as state sales taxes derived from cigarette and tobacco purchases. Enter marijuana money. %related-post-2% Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 in 2012, legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana to adults. The following year, voters passed a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana. The state has created other taxes on cannabis, including sales taxes and so-called “sin” taxes, which have generated a substantial mountain of cash for the state and its social service programs. As we reported previously, taxes on pot netted Colorado more than $105 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and more than a half billion dollars since 2014. These funds go largely toward public health programs, housing for at-risk residents, student scholarships, anti-opioid treatment, and the rebuilding of crumbling public schools. Without the revenue from marijuana, officials tell the Post that many social programs would be in serious jeopardy. Other states are taking cues from Colorado when it comes to parlaying legal pot to fund their own social programs. For example, when recreational pot becomes legal for in Massachusetts later this year, a portion of the taxes on the drug will fund substance abuse treatment programs. Connecticut is considering legalizing marijuana in order to pay down its debt and help fund its pension and health-care obligations. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned legal marijuana’s power to help to slow down drug trafficking, reduce drug-related crime, and help countless people deal with myriad health conditions.
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.
Classical Music For Marijuana <br> Volume 1
Classical Music For Marijuana
Volume 1
Classical Music For Marijuana, Volume 1: Frédéric Chopin's Nocturnes We’re not all that fancy over here at The Sugar Leaf, but you have to admit that in certain moments nothing pairs better with your smoke session than some beautiful classical music. The right match can take your mind down some seriously fun paths and provide the backdrop for an enjoyably thoughtful experience. So, without further ado, here’s our first recommendation for our series, Classical Music for Marijuana: Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Who was Frédéric Chopin? Any well-curated classical collection must include the works of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), a Polish composer and pianist of the Romantic era. Other famous composers of this era include Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Felix Mendelssohn. Chopin was a child prodigy, and most of the performances of his brief career (he died at the age of 39, most likely from tuberculosis) were conducted in front of intimate audiences. In the last 18 years of his life — after he left Warsaw for Paris — only 30 times did he perform for the general public. About Chopin’s Nocturnes Chopin’s Nocturnes popularized the nocturne genre, a musical style that evokes the feeling of night — often dreamy or sleepy (see, a perfect complement for cannabis!). Chopin’s Nocturnes are a collection of 21 pieces composed for a solo piano performance. He released all of them over the course of his career in chronological order, except for numbers 19 and 20, which were written when he lived in Poland, and they were released posthumously. He didn’t write Number 21 as part of his nocturne collection, but it has since been grouped with the rest. Quick listen While the entire collection is definitely worth your time, if you need a quick sample, we recommend Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2. It’s an absolute dream. " frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Enjoy! And we hope you’ll come back for Volume 2 of Classical Music for Marijuana.
Oregon Marijuana Dispensaries Unstung By Undercover Sting
Oregon Marijuana Dispensaries Unstung By Undercover Sting
As 2017 drew to a close, Oregon marijuana dispensaries aced a sting operation by state regulators aiming to bust underage sales.  Back in November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department was working toward a “rational” marijuana policy. A few weeks later, when Sessions rolled back three Obama-era rules that held the federal government back from interfering with marijuana-friendly state laws, he said the “finite resources” of the DOJ required federal prosecutors to “weigh all relevant considerations of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community" when deciding which cases to prosecute. %related-post-1% Well, if there’s any justice in the way Justice ultimately decides who should — and shouldn’t be — prosecuted when comes it to weed, it will consider a recent sting operation in Oregon. As Marijuana.com reports, one of the biggest hurdles for national marijuana legalization has been the prohibitionist argument that widespread availability of cannabis would lead to wider use of the drug among young Americans. A handful of recent undercover sting operations in two Oregon cities would seem to refute those claims, however. According to a press release from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, OLCC marijuana inspectors visited 20 cannabis retailers in central Oregon, and all passed a check for prohibiting pot sales to a minor volunteer decoy. During each undercover sales check, the release explains, a minor volunteer attempted to enter a licensed marijuana retailer and/or purchase marijuana products from a licensed business to see if staff were checking ID’s correctly and refusing entry to anyone under 21. OLCC inspectors supervised the minor volunteers. The volunteers carried their own legal ID that identified them as being under 21, and did not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana. %related-post-2% In all instances, the Oregon marijuana dispensaries were found to be complying with state laws. “That our licensed retailers in central Oregon scored 100 percent on refusal to sell marijuana to a minor is a sign that this segment of our regulated industry understands the importance of compliance,” says Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC. “As we continue these checks I hope that these results will be reflected across the state.” While there will always be unscrupulous business owners in any industry, the nation’s cannabis retailers are showing their willingness to play by the rules just as much as, if not more than, anyone else. With that said, it sure would be nice to know what the rules actually are. Paging Mr. Sessions.
New Year, New Marijuana Industry Projections
New Year, New Marijuana Industry Projections
When evaluating projected economic numbers, the marijuana industry appears to be set for liftoff. To start the year, Arcview published some new (positive) predictions.  If you follow marijuana industry news then you’re no stranger to industry-related projections. There are forecasts around the total valuation of the market. There are predictions for the number of jobs that will be created. There are estimates for how the taxes collected will benefit society. There are even guesses for how much marijuana sales will … hurt shoe sales. Nope, we didn’t make that last one up. %related-post-1% Of course, we love getting our eyeballs on new projections whenever they come out. And just in time for the New Year, Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics released a new study that is filled with positive numbers for all things marijuana. The report, “US Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output,” was released the day after recreational marijuana went legal in California, and that state especially figures to be a key driver of the bullish estimates. Of all the numbers, the most eye-catching reveal that the total economic output of cannabis in the United States will mushroom from $16 billion in 2017 to a staggering $40 billion (okay, $39.6 — but who’s counting?) by 2021. The report suggests that in 2021, $20.8 billion in consumer marijuana spending across the U.S. will drive $40 billion in overall economic impact, while creating 414,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in tax receipts. %related-post-2% Amazing. Also amazing are these additional findings: By 2021, California alone will support 99,000 cannabis-related jobs. 60 percent of the total $40 billion economic output will be experienced in six of the “early mover” recreational states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Wholesale, excise, and cannabis-specific sales taxes will hit $1.4 billion when 2017 totals are tallied and $2.8 billion by 2021. Throw on state and local taxes, and total tax receipts could reach $4.7 billion. Most reports tend to be conservative with their projections. Even if these are, they should make the hearts of most everyone involved in the marijuana industry swell. We’ll certainly keep you posted on how these pan out.
Labor Unions And Marijuana: A New Opportunity For Big Labor?
Labor Unions And Marijuana: A New Opportunity For Big Labor?
Labor union rosters have been shrinking for years, but a new industry might offer a boon. What, exactly, will the future look like between labor unions and marijuana? Not only has the legalization of recreational marijuana in California caused folks to line up by the hundreds to buy pot at the state’s dispensaries, it has also caused some of the nation’s biggest labor unions to line up in order to represent the tens of thousands of weed workers California’s cannabis industry could eventually employ. Big Labor's hope is that the new (legal) industry will provide a favorable backdrop for a partnership between labor unions and marijuana. %related-post-1% California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and voted in November of 2016 to become the sixth state in the nation to allow sales of recreational marijuana. As of January 1, adults 21 and older in California can possess as much as an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home.     As more cities in the state finalize their licensing procedures, more retail shops are expected to open, driving up the number of planters, rollers, sellers, and other workers that will be needed to staff California’s multi-billion dollar recreational marijuana industry. Those workers will need to be organized, say a few prominent labor unions, and the unions are currently jockeying for position to do just that. According to a report by the Cannabist, organizers with the United Farm Workers, Teamsters, and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to unionize the roughly 100,000 cannabis industry employees California is expected to need in the coming years. Doing so would be a boon for organized labor, which has seen its membership numbers in the United States drop by nearly half since 1983. %related-post-2% The opportunity for unions to benefit from the state’s weed boom could be compromised by infighting among the groups, however. As the Cannabist notes, the United Farm Workers see themselves as a natural fit for an industry rooted in agriculture, while United Food and Commercial Workers — which represents grocery store employees, meat packers, and retail workers — has registered its intent to organize cannabis workers across the nation. “We would hope they respect our jurisdiction,” UFCW spokesman Jeff Ferro told the site. Teamsters organizer Kristin Heidelbach is tad less confrontational, however, rightly noting that the industry’s eventual shift from small business to large corporations will provide plenty of workers needing representation from all three unions. And what kind of representation might weed workers need? Los Angeles resident Richard Rodriguez told the Cannabist that a police officer pulled him over while delivering a legal shipment of marijuana and detained for 12 hours after he was accused of following too closely behind a semi-truck. He was eventually released without being arrested or even given a ticket when a union lawyer stepped in to help. %related-post-3% Elsewhere, cannabis software platform Eaze, often referred to as the “Uber of marijuana,” is facing a lawsuit from one of its former drivers. According to a report by CannabisNow.com, the former driver, Dakota Quigley, says Eaze failed to pay him daily rates promised to him by a recruiter working for the company. At issue in the lawsuit — which may have been avoided if Quigley had had proper representation — is the question of whether Quigley was working directly for Eaze, or as the company asserts, as an employee of one of its partner dispensaries. As marijuana continues its move from the black market to the mainstream, its workers will undoubtedly continue to deal with similar mainstream issues. And as they do, labor unions and marijuana workers will continue their courtship.
Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History
Marijuana Law In America: A Brief History
With 29 states, as well as Washington D.C., already having passed medical marijuana laws — not to mention the nine states where recreational marijuana is legal — the demonization of the substance in the eyes of the American public, as well as legislators, continues to wane. How far will the prohibition of pot ultimately be pushed back, though? It’s too early to tell, really. We can, however, make an educated guess regarding the pace of progress by studying how marijuana law has changed in the United States during its history. Colonial cannabis use The use of marijuana in the United States dates back to the 17th century. Before a single marijuana law was created, the American government promoted the production of hemp to create clothing, sails, and rope, and marijuana — a mixture of dried flowers and leaves derived from the hemp plant — became a widely used ingredient in numerous over-the-counter medicines by the late 19th century. %related-post-1% Below the border fears Things began to change as the century turned, though. Mexicans were using cannabis for relaxation and medicinal purposes, and in the wake of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the immigrants flooding into the U.S. from south of the border brought their marijuana with them. Fear and prejudice regarding the new immigrants extended to a dislike of their use of marijuana, and those openly protesting its use blamed it — as well as the Mexicans who used it — for any number of crimes. Not only was marijuana possession then seen as a good reason to deport Mexican immigrants, but by the time the Great Depression rolled around, massive unemployment fueled even more resentment toward Mexicans (as well as other foreign-born residents) and increased public and governmental outcry about marijuana. Spurred by bogus research linking pot use with violence, crime, and other socially deviant activity among (mostly) “racially inferior” communities, 29 states had passed legislation banning the substance by 1931. And in an effort to further curb the drug’s use nationwide, Congress passed a dagger of a marijuana law called the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which effectively banned virtually all sales and use of the substance. Mid-century marijuana crackdown During the 1950s, the federal government established tougher sentences for those convicted of drug-related offenses, including first-offense marijuana possession. A decade later, however, reports commissioned by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson found that pot use did not induce violence or serve as a gateway to harder drugs. These findings, coupled with increased use of marijuana among the white upper middle class, paved the way for increased discussion and increasingly lenient attitudes toward the drug. By 1970, Congress, recognizing that the harsh minimum sentences had done absolutely nothing to slow down the nation’s drug culture, repealed most of the mandatory penalties for marijuana-related offenses. However, that year also saw Congress pass the Controlled Substances Act, which placed drugs into various categories — or schedules — based on their potential medical value and abuse potential. %related-post-2% Nixon nips it in the bud Clouded by his dislike for the counterculture associated with marijuana, President Richard Nixon disregarded scientific, medical, and legal findings pointing to the benefits and actual effects of the plant, and instead pushed for cannabis to be placed under Schedule 1, the most restrictive category reserved for drugs like heroin and LSD that the federal government deemed as having virtually no positive benefits. Not even the findings of the Shafer Commission, an investigative body appointed by Nixon himself, could convince the president that marijuana should be decriminalized and removed from Schedule 1. Nixon rejected the commission’s report, and the Schedule 1 designation would continue to cause those convicted of marijuana-related offenses to receive needlessly harsh sentences. Also, since Schedule 1 meant that the federal government categorized the drug as basically worthless, physicians and scientists were blocked from obtaining marijuana for the purpose of studying its medical, scientific, and pharmaceutical usefulness. The "War on Drugs" Still, while Nixon himself rejected the commission’s recommendation, the remainder of the decade saw eleven states decriminalize marijuana and most others drastically reduce penalties for marijuana-related offenses. But while states were moving to lessen the penalties related to marijuana, the creation of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1973, as well as a concerted effort by concerned parents across the nation just a few years later, was very effective in shifting public sentiment back toward stricter regulation and stiffer sentences. As part of his war on drugs, President Ronald Reagan built on this newfound momentum, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 combined to increase federal penalties for pot-related crimes, including a "three strikes and you're out" policy, which required life sentences for repeat offenders, and the death penalty for those deemed to be "drug kingpins." But while President George H.W. Bush declared his own War on Drugs in 1989, by 1996, things started to loosen once again. %related-post-3% Turning the tide That year, California voters passed Proposition 215, a marijuana law that allowed the sale and medicinal use of marijuana for patients suffering AIDS, cancer, and numerous other serious diseases. While opponents of the measure claim there is too little evidence to establish the medicinal benefits of marijuana, advocates cite the thousands of years the drug has been used as medicine by countless cultures — a reality that far exceeds the danger associated with it. While the details vary from state to state, millions of Americans suffering from a wide variety of medical conditions can, with a physician’s order, obtain marijuana to help treat their symptoms. An increasing number of Americans — mainly in western states — also have access to marijuana to use for recreational purposes.    *Since this article was originally published, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo, a document issued by the Department of Justice in 2013 that helped pave the way for the growth of the recreational marijuana industry. Sessions' move has unleashed confusion across the cannabis landscape, and its full effect is yet to be seen.  As always, The Sugar Leaf will keep you posted on legal developments related to marijuana. 
Police Forces More Forgiving Of Recruits’ Past Pot Use
Police Forces More Forgiving Of Recruits’ Past Pot Use
More and more police forces are taking an increasingly lenient approach to the past pot use of their recruits. In some places past marijuana use is no longer a disqualifying foul.  Just a few years ago, if you wanted to become a police officer, your application would be rejected if you had ever used marijuana. Now, with public attitudes changing toward cannabis and police forces across the nation struggling to recruit new officers, an increasing number of police chiefs and sheriffs are rethinking their stances toward recruits’ past pot use. %related-post-1% When Colorado Springs Police Department Spokesman Lt. Howard Black first joined the force, pot use among police officers was a big no-no. “Thirty-five years ago when I started it was you never could have smoked it,” Black told the Denver Post. “That was a question on the polygraph.” Today, however, growing public support for marijuana legalization — coupled with a growing economy that offers potential recruits alternative job opportunities, less stress, and higher pay — has caused many departments to relax their hiring rules when it comes to applicants’ marijuana use. For years, applicants looking to become police officers in Maryland could not have used marijuana five times since turning 21 or more than a total of 20 times in their lives. Earlier this year, however, the state’s Police Training and Standards Commission, which establishes hiring policies for all of Maryland’s law enforcement officers, relaxed its policies on pot at the request of the Baltimore Police Department, which had complained that the more stringent standards were negatively affecting the recruitment of new officers. Under the new rules, applicants will only be barred from consideration if they’ve used marijuana in the past three years. %related-post-2% That three-year window is similar to one in Denver, Colorado, as well as the requirements that were part of nearby Aurora’s until last year. As the Denver Post explains, there is no statewide standard for applicants’ marijuana usage in Colorado. Instead, individual agencies, or their commissions that make hiring rules, and the state’s sheriff’s offices create their own policies. In 2016, the Aurora Civil Service Commission reduced the amount of time that applicants to its police and fire departments must be marijuana-free from three years to one. Elsewhere, the window for applicants in Colorado Springs is a mere 18 months. Facing a similar challenge in attracting new recruits, the military has also become more lenient toward prior marijuana use. As we’ve reported previously, the U.S. Army has begun issuing hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used marijuana in their youth. Those who receive waivers must vow not to use it again. “The big thing we’re looking for is a pattern of misconduct where they’re going to have a problem with authority,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, who oversees Army recruitment, recently told USA Today. “Smoking marijuana in an isolated incident as a teenager is not a pattern of misconduct.” While both the nation’s police forces and military still have a long way to go before their internal policies toward cannabis are more in line with public opinion and the growing trend toward legalization, shrinking windows and issuing waivers are both signs of progress.
Weird Weed Headlines <br>Volume 4
Weird Weed Headlines
Volume 4
Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 4 We hope you enjoyed our last installment of the Weird Weed Headlines series, featuring space weed and drug-sniffing bunnies. We can’t make this stuff up, but we’ve got to share it. So here we go with Weird Weed Headlines, Volume 4. %related-post-1% Canna I Have Two Scoops, Please? In previous articles, we’ve told you about weed being smuggled into jails by carrier pigeons, hidden in Ford Fusions, and discovered in shipments of furniture. Now comes the story of a bunch of pot that showed up in a North Carolina frozen yogurt shop. As WSOC-TV in Charlotte reported, police say an employee at a TCBY in Matthews found three packages containing $225,000 worth of weed that had been accidentally delivered to the store. The employee panicked when she opened the boxes, and immediately notified police. A manager at the postal store next door said the packages were supposed to be delivered to one of their post office boxes, not the yogurt store, and that the intended recipient’s info was turned over to authorities. Police say they’ve made no arrests, and employees of the store say it isn’t clear where the packages came from. What is clear is that the Matthews TCBY was very close to having the most popular frozen yogurt flavor in town. %related-post-2% Mari Christmas! According to a recent survey, one in nine children say they have only ever received bad gifts from their grandparents at Christmas. We’re guessing that Patrick and Barbara Jiron saw that survey, and wanted to do something about it. A few days before Christmas, Patrick, 83, and Barbara, 70, were pulled over by police in Nebraska after deputies observed their vehicle traveling over the center line and failing to signal. When they approached the car, the officers could immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana. The Jirons acknowledged that there was, indeed, weed in the back of their Toyota Tacoma, and when deputies inspected the vehicle, they found 60 pounds of high-grade pot worth an estimated $336,000. The couple, who were traveling from California to Vermont for the holidays, said they had no idea it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska, and that they planned give the weed away as Christmas presents. Patrick was arrested and booked on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp. He posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, and has since been released. Barbara was cited in the case, but was not jailed “due to some medical issues.” Say it with us: Best. Grandparents. Ever. %related-post-3% Putting the “Cray” in Craigslist Like millions of people before him, Jason Mikesell recently posted his used vehicle for sale on Craigslist. The offer he received for it, however, was anything but typical. Shortly after posting his SUV, Mikesell received a text from Shawn Langley. Langley offered to pay for the truck in pot. This story probably wouldn’t have made the news except for the fact that Mikesell is the county sheriff, and he used the opportunity to bust Langley. "You want to know the truth? I saw that text, and I started giggling," Mikesell told the Colorado Springs Gazette. "I was really surprised and I thought at first, 'Maybe this is a joke.’” But it wasn’t. Langley texted Mikesell photos of the weed, boasting about its quality. Mikesell showed the texts to detectives, and the next morning, they arranged to make the “deal” in a nearby park. When Langley and his companion, Jane Cravens, showed up to trade four pounds of killer (but, unfortunately, illegal) weed for the SUV, they were arrested. According to court records, the pair were both charged with suspicion of possession with intent to sell — one misdemeanor count for a small quantity, and a felony count for a larger amount. While Mikesell might still sell his truck, he says he won’t be selling it on Craigslist. %related-post-4% Bill Might Have Inhaled This A Washington-state cannabis producer named Sugarleaf — no relation to this blog, though we (obviously) dig the name — has named one of its strains of cannabis after former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. According to lemonhaze.com, the strain is a hybrid flower, and a 14g container retails for $104. As Complex notes, the product is not yet listed on Sugarleaf’s website, but it is proudly (and frequently) mentioned on the company’s social media accounts. While Sugarleaf CEO Cody Anderlini hasn’t quite said exactly why the weed was named after Lewinsky, he says he would be honored if she would like to stop by and check out the factory where it’s produced. Lewinsky herself seems tickled about the product, tweeting a photo her eponymous strain and joking that she was thinking of about throwing “party just for the party favors!” And there you go, another installment in Weird Weed Headlines series. Stay tuned for the next one.
What Are Drug Schedules, And Why Are They Important?
What Are Drug Schedules, And Why Are They Important?
At time of this writing, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, while eight have legalized the recreational use of the drug by adults. Despite the trend toward legalization, however, the United States government classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 illegal drug. But what does that mean? And what are drug schedules, anyway? %related-post-1% In classifying marijuana under Schedule 1, not only has the government declared pot to have no health benefits, but it also says the drug has a higher potential for abuse than drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and Vicodin. To better understand the legal, medicinal, and cultural ramifications of pot’s Schedule 1 designation, it’s important to understand what drug schedules are, where they came from, and why they’re important. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five categories (or schedules) based on the drug’s acceptable medical use, as well as its abuse or dependency potential. The current drug schedules date back to 1970, when Congress, recognizing that harsh minimum sentences did little to slow down the nation’s drug culture, repealed most of the mandatory penalties for marijuana-related offenses. As a result, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which placed drugs into various schedules. Here’s how the DEA’s schedules are currently broken down: %related-post-2% Schedule I consists of drugs with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” including heroin, LSD, peyote, ecstasy, and (the government says) marijuana. Schedule II are “also considered dangerous” and carry a high potential for abuse. They include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. Schedule III drugs possess a “moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence.” This group includes products with less than 90 mm of codeine, ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids. Schedule IV substances — like Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Ativan, Soma, and Ambien — have a low potential for abuse or dependence. Schedule V includes products that contain low levels of narcotics, such as cough syrup. As we’ve written previously, President Nixon harbored a strong dislike for the counterculture associated with marijuana and, despite scientific, medical, and legal findings pointing to the benefits and actual effects of the drug, pushed for cannabis to be placed under the very restrictive Schedule 1. Not even a conflicting report by the Shafer Commission — an investigative body appointed by Nixon himself — could convince the president that marijuana should be decriminalized and removed from Schedule 1. Congress approved its placement, and it’s stayed there ever since. %related-post-3% Since then, those convicted of marijuana-related offenses have received needlessly harsh sentences, and since Schedule 1 classification means the federal government deems the drug as basically worthless, physicians and scientists have been blocked from obtaining marijuana for the purpose of studying its medical, scientific, and pharmaceutical usefulness. During a 1971 “special message” to Congress, Nixon characterized America’s drug problem as “a national emergency,” and he was largely successful in shifting public sentiment toward stricter regulation and stiffer sentences when it came to all kinds of drugs — including marijuana. Hopefully, with an increasing number of states — as well as citizens — now favoring legalization, Congress is now getting the message that pot use isn’t quite the emergency the late president made it out to be.
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