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  1. Hi, just curious to see if anyone has experience with these types of plastic TerpLoc tech bags for their harvest. I know they're difficult to find in the UK, if not at all, but all I hear are good things about them. No need for boveda packs, self regulating smellproof bags, designed to keep buds fresher for longer. I''d be interested to see if anyone else has experience with these,,they're a good price too, only a few dollars each for the 1lb bags
  2. Standard unit of THC established for cannabis research On May 7, 2021, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Mental Health published a joint notice in the National Institutes of Health Guide to establish a standard THC unit to be used in research studies funded by these institutions. The notice defines a standard THC unit as “as any formulation of cannabis plant material or extract that contains 5 milligrams of THC.” According to the notice, “inconsistency in the measurement and reporting of THC exposure has been a major limitation in studies of cannabis use, making it difficult to compare findings among studies.” While subjects may experience different effects, even when consuming the same quantity of THC due to route of administration, other product elements, an individual’s genetic make-up and metabolic factors, prior cannabis exposure and other contributing factors, the goal of the notice is to increase the comparability of cannabis research studies. The standard does not require that researchers administer no more or less than 5mg of THC during studies. It is intended as a unit of measure, much like research on alcohol has established a standard drink as 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. “Adoption of a standard unit for measuring and reporting purposes will facilitate data interpretation and will make it possible to design experiments on drug effects that have real-world relevance, as well as make it easier to translate that research into policy and clinical practice,” wrote National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow and National Cancer Institute Director Norman E. Sharpless in a May 10, 2021, blog post regarding the notice. “Our hope is that adopting this 5-milligram standard will enable a clearer understanding of the effects of THC by researchers as well as the wider public.” https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jun/04/standard-unit-of-thc-established-for-cannabis-rese/
  3. DEA finally ends fed monopoly on schwaggy research-grade cannabis For decades, American researchers have been forced to use only poor-quality, low-THC cannabis grown by a Mississippi contractor. Now the DEA is allowing others, who know how to grow good cannabis, to supply research-grade weed to scientists. Late last week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly made an announcement that’s expected to have a profound and long-lasting impact on cannabis research and development in the United States. In its statement, the DEA said it was “nearing the end of its review of certain marijuana grower applications, thereby allowing it to soon register additional entities authorized to produce marijuana for research purposes.” In other words, the feds are ending their monopoly on cannabis grown for scientific purposes. And that means American researchers can, for the first time ever, conduct studies using real-world cannabis instead of the terrible low-THC schwag they’ve been forced to use for decades. NIDA monopoly since 1968 There are several reasons why this is a big deal. Since 1968, the only federally approved supplier of cannabis for research purposes in the United States has been a 12-acre farm run by the National Center for the Development of Natural Products at the University of Mississippi. That production has been exclusively for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains control over the production and distribution of research-grade cannabis in the United States. Over the years, the Mississippi weed farm has earned a notorious reputation for growing some of the worst cannabis in the world. Leafly’s Ben Adlin documented the shockingly poor quality in this 2017 article: Smoking 25% THC, studying 8% THC The poor quality and low potency of the government-grown cannabis has been an ongoing issue for U.S. cannabis researchers. The inadequacy of NIDA cannabis has led to some high-profile academic disputes, lawsuits and national headlines, as well as well-founded accusations that the DEA was dragging its feet on the issue. In 2017 Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) declared that NIDA was “completely inadequate as a source of marijuana for drug development research.” For years, NIDA and the DEA have promised to open up the sourcing of federally-approved research cannabis. But nothing happened. DEA finally relents On May 14, however, the DEA announced that “a number of manufacturers’ applications to cultivate marijuana for research needs in the United States appears to be consistent with applicable legal standards and relevant laws.” As a result, and pending final approval, the agency has given preliminary approval to several organizations to grow cannabis for research. At the moment only three organizations have been publicly named as approved new growers for research: Pennsylvania-based Groff North America, the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) in Arizona, and Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC) in California. ‘Monumental step’ For George Hodgin, a former Navy SEAL who is the founder and CEO of BRC, the DEA’s announcement is nothing but good news. “Up until now, research institutions, biotech firms and other private companies had few, if any, options for federally legal cannabis R&D,” he said in an email to Leafly. “This monumental step from the DEA means that BRC can now position itself as that all-in-one source for reliable and safe research and cultivation.” Hodgin noted that companies like his also want research organizations to have more choices in the marketplace; ensuring that “the quality of the product is comparable to the supply used by cannabis patients as well as recreational users.” The DEA announcement, he added, will “unleash a new wave of job creation in the cannabis sector and at the same time begin to develop valuable American IP [intellectual property]. This just wasn’t really possible before this decision.” Real-world cannabis finally available For Matthew Zorn, a Houston-based attorney, the DEA’s decision is historic. Zorn was the co-lead lawyer in a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit, “Scottsdale Research v. DOJ/DEA,” filed last year. As a result of that lawsuit, filed on behalf of SRI, the Department of Justice released a previously confidential memo from 2018 that concluded the DEA’s long-standing policy on marijuana research violated federal law, as well as U.S. treaty obligations. SRI has made cannabis research headlines for years now, most recently for groundbreaking studies administered by Sue Sisley, a medical doctor who conducted clinic trials with military veterans to determine if cannabis is a safe and well-tolerated treatment for managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain. With the DEA announcement, Zorn told Leafly, “scientists will be able to clinically study the types of cannabis that are being used, with real-world cannabis. A lot of people may not appreciate the importance of that, with [national cannabis] legalization around the corner. We don’t know when, but the need for this research is urgent. We can as quickly as possible start growing and have a supply for researchers to get good data.” Breaking down barriers to research The promise to end NIDA’s cannabis monopoly, Zorn noted, is the first step towards addressing the longstanding argument by cannabis legalization opponents, that there’s no rigorous data in the U.S. that has shown the medicinal benefits of cannabis. “Everything’s been limited to observational studies,” he said, “and it’s true clinical studies have taken place overseas. But the biggest criticism right now against medicinal marijuana and marijuana legalization more generally is that there isn’t enough data and research. That is directly traceable to this NIDA monopoly. And now, hopefully, we’re going to get answers.” Fueling innovation in the cannabis sector For his part BRC’s George Hodgin sees the start of a new era of cannabis research and development, fueled in part by a new players in the marketplace. “Now there’s competition, which this space has needed so badly for such a long time,” he said. “We’re ready to compete, that’s what we’ve been waiting for years to do. The decision to issue these licenses, in my view, will lead to an incredible rush of innovation in the healthcare space.” But according to Hodgin, these developments will depend on more than rapid change. “Quality is just as important,” he said. “You can have the best research institutions in the world researching cannabis, but if the quality of the samples does not match what is actually in use, the research isn’t all that helpful. So, I think the competition will increase the speed, there’s not a doubt about that, but I also think the quality is going to be a crucial part of driving the innovation as well.” https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/dea-finally-ends-fed-monopoly-on-schwaggy-research-grade-cannabis
  4. The First Clinical Trial For Cannabis as a Migraine Treatment Is Underway Cannabis has been used to relieve headaches for thousands of years, and yet rigorous clinical trials on this ancient remedy for head pain have only just begun. The first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study is now investigating whether cannabis products, like THC and CBD, can actually treat acute migraines in a safe and effective way. Currently, 20 participants who experience monthly migraines are enrolled in the trial, but researchers at the University of California San Diego hope to enroll at least another 70 volunteers. Today, despite numerous treatment options, a significant number of people are still suffering from migraines, which can often be debilitating. The throbbing pain, typically located on one side of the head, can last for hours or even days and be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light or sound. Unfortunately, not everyone responds the same to current migraine treatments, and over time, these drugs can stop working for some. Plenty of patients report turning to cannabis as an alternative, and yet ever since the plant was deemed illegal in the United States, there has been very little research on its potential as a medicine for chronic pain conditions. A lot of what we know is only anecdotal. "Many patients who suffer from migraines have experienced them for many years but have never discussed them with their physicians. They are, rather, self-treating with various treatments, such as cannabis," says headache neurologist Nathaniel Schuster from UCSD. "Right now, when patients ask us if cannabis works for migraines, we do not have evidence-based data to answer that question." For decades, the medical potential of cannabis and cannabinoids has been overlooked in the West, and yet this ignorance is largely a modern phenomenon. Two thousand years before the common era (BCE), historical documents suggest people in Assyria were using cannabis to "bind the temples" and relieve tension in the head. In ancient Greece, the drug continued to be used for "pain of the ears", and Persian and Arabic texts refer to cannabis as a treatment for headache disorders. Even in the Middle Ages, prominent physicians were recommending the plant to alleviate head pain. Hundreds of years later in the US, cannabis entered a dark age of scientific research. Following the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, possessing or trafficking the material became illegal, though it was still permitted for medical use. That all changed in the 1970s, when the act was repealed and replaced with a new law that officially outlawed its use for any purpose. All that means it's been extremely difficult to study. Without proper clinical trials, it's unclear whether any derivatives of this plant can work to relieve head pain, and yet many individuals are using the plant for just that. Certainly, the initial results from preclinical trials are promising. In 2020, a 30-day trial in the US found over 86 percent of patients with headaches and migraines saw an improvement in their symptoms after using cannabis. Other recent surveys in California suggest up to 10 percent of those with headache disorders are turning to the plant for relief. Yet self-reports and case studies can only give us so much insight. Without a proper control group, it's hard to say whether the therapeutic effects of cannabis are a placebo response or something more. The first known trial to properly tackle this issue will randomize volunteers into four separate groups. One group will receive a vape with sham cannabis. Another group will take four puffs of cannabis flower containing THC. A third group will take four puffs of cannabis flower containing CBD, and the last group will vape a mix of both THC and CBD. Researchers will then determine which treatment is best for relieving headache pain, nausea, vomiting and light or sound sensitivity in both the long term and the short term. Allison Knigge is one of the first to volunteer for the trial. Knigge has experienced piercing migraines since she was a young child, and despite trying several medications, nothing has helped so far. When she was approached by Schuster about the UCSD trial, she was at her wit's end and willing to try just about anything. "I am proud and grateful to be part of a study that could lead to more tools in the toolbox for those of us who suffer from migraines," says Knigge. "It could mean one more option when all other options have not worked. This is truly significant for patients whose lives are disrupted on a regular basis from migraines." The trial is currently ongoing. https://www.sciencealert.com/the-first-clinical-trial-for-cannabis-as-a-migraine-treatment-is-under-way
  5. Mississippi high court voids voter-ratified medical cannabis legalization measure The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday struck down a medical marijuana legalization initiative that voters had overwhelmingly approved last November, shattering a market that was potentially worth more than $250 million in its first year of operation. The loss is believed to mark the first time an MMJ initiative has been overturned after residents approved it at the ballot box. Mississippians passed the initiative at the polls in November by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. The decision derails what was expected to be a huge, business-friendly MMJ market in the Deep South. The 2021 MJBizFactbook projected that a Mississippi medical cannabis industry would have generated $265 million in sales in the first full year and $800 million annually by the fourth year. This is the second time in less than a month that a Southern state’s highest court has ruled against marijuana measures. In April, the Florida Supreme Court rejected an adult-use measure slated for the 2022 ballot. And in South Dakota, the highest court is deciding whether to uphold voter-approved recreational legalization after hearing arguments last month. In the Mississippi case, six justices ruled that the MMJ initiative was invalid because it didn’t meet the state’s initiative process requiring that 20% of the signatures come from each of five congressional districts. The problem is that Mississippi went from five to four congressional districts after the 2000 Census, but numerous legislative efforts to update the citizen ballot initiative language faltered. Three justices dissented, saying in effect that Mississippi’s secretary of state rightfully put the measure on the ballot. “The Mississippi Supreme Court just overturned the will of the people of Mississippi,” Ken Newburger, executive director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association, said in a statement. “The Court ignored existing case law and prior decisions. Their reasoning ignores the intent of the constitution and takes away people’s constitutional right. “It’s a sad day for Mississippi when the Supreme Court communicates to a vast majority of the voters that their vote doesn’t matter.” In a statement, Matthew Schweich, deputy director at the Marijuana Policy Project, called the state Supreme Court’s decision a “deeply flawed ruling” that marks a “cruel and tragic day for sick and suffering people in Mississippi.” “The legislature must take action to fix the ballot initiative requirements and honor the will of their constituents by enacting Amendment 65 into law through the legislative process,” Schweich wrote. The Mississippi State Department of Health already had started developing regulations in preparation for issuing licenses by mid-August. “Whether with intent, by oversight, or for some other reason, the drafters of section 273(3) wrote a ballot-initiative process that cannot work in a world where Mississippi has fewer than five representatives in Congress,” Justice Josiah Coleman wrote in the majority opinion. “To work in today’s reality, it will need amending – something that lies beyond the power of the Supreme Court.” https://mjbizdaily.com/mississippi-supreme-court-voids-voter-ratified-medical-cannabis-legalization-measure/
  6. Colorado lawmakers aim to enact strict new regulations on marijuana concentrate, medical cannabis House Bill 1317 is aimed at curbing teen use and adult overconsumption of high-potency cannabis Marijuana concentrate and medical marijuana would be subject to strict new regulations under a bill introduced Friday in the Colorado legislature that’s aimed at curbing teen use and adult overconsumption of high-potency cannabis. House Bill 1317 would require that dabs — concentrated cannabis that comes in a wax form and is made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids from marijuana plants — be packaged in individual doses no larger than 0.1 grams. It would also limit medical marijuana patients between the ages of 18 and 20 to purchasing 2 grams of concentrate per day, down from 40 grams, and enact a new system to better track medical consumers’ purchases to prevent them from visiting multiple shops in a day to skirt the rules. Under the legislation, patients who are 18 to 20 years old would be required to get sign off from two doctors from separate practices before they can get a medical marijuana card. The measure also asks the Colorado School of Public Health to study high-potency cannabis products and their effect on adolescents. Finally, it would require county coroners to use toxicology testing to determine if there was marijuana in the system of anyone age 25 or younger who died by suicide or in another kind nonnatural death. “I think what we’re trying to do here is address how people view concentrates, better educate folks,” said House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat and prime sponsor of the bill. Garnett said he especially wants to ensure the state has more information on concentrate’s impact on the brain and mental illness, namely when it comes to young people. The measure has bipartisan support in the legislature and comes less than a month before lawmakers adjourn their 2021 term. The legislation was developed from a draft proposal first leaked to reporters in February that called for a 15% across-the-board cap on THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets people high. Of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana sales, only Vermont has a potency cap. Vermont’s legislature imposed a 30% limit on THC for cannabis flower and a 60% THC limit on cannabis oil products, such as concentrates. The Colorado draft caused an outcry from the marijuana industry, which claimed the limit would put them out of business. There is no across-the-board cap in the bill introduced Friday, but marijuana industry groups still aren’t ecstatic with the end result, calling the single-dose packaging requirement for dabs wasteful and raising concerns about how the research and data collected under the bill will be used. “We have been at the table for months to produce a balanced policy measure, and we very much appreciate that the conversation has shifted to a more evidence-based approach to cannabis regulation,” Colorado Leads and the Marijuana Industry Group said in a joint statement Friday. “We must be extra careful to strike the right balance between access to critical medicine and regulation.” The two trade groups said in their statement that they will work “to ensure patients have access to their constitutionally protected medicine, while avoiding the unintended consequence of stifling our currently successful and growing industry.” Garnett said the final version of the legislation is the result of “lots and lots and lots of conversations.’ “Of course they’re not happy,” Garnett said of the marijuana industry. “But this is something that is important.” Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a Thornton Democrat and pediatrician who is another prime sponsor of the bill, said people 18 to 20 years old who already have a medical marijuana card would not be affected by the measure. She said there is also leeway written into the legislation that allows people in that age group to be prescribed more than 2 grams of medical marijuana concentrate a day “if there’s a person with a physical handicap that leads them to need more.” The 2-gram limit stems from a belief that teens with medical marijuana cards are purchasing large amounts of cannabis and distributing it to their friends. Colorado law limits the purchase of recreational marijuana to people 21 and older. (For people 21 and up, the bill would limit them to purchasing 8 grams of medical marijuana per day.) Caraveo said the clause in the bill requiring coroners to complete a toxicology test on all suicide and nonnatural deaths among people younger than 25 to better study if marijuana – and specifically high-potency cannabis – is connected with the deaths. “There’s this thought that a lot of these non accidental deaths have a correlation with use of these substances,” she said, “but we want more information.” Meanwhile, the Colorado School of Public Health would be required to submit a report on high-potency marijuana by July 2022. The report would go to a council for review that would in turn make policy recommendations to the legislature. Garnett said a fiscal note for the bill hasn’t yet been drafted, but he estimates it will cost about $1 million a year for three years to do the study — funds he wants to take out of the state’s marijuana tax cash fund, a discretionary account that is filled with about $21 million from cannabis sales. Garnett hopes the study’s findings can be used across the country and globe since there is limited information in the area. “This step helps policymakers, helps the public fill in the gaps that exist,” he said. Rep. Tim Geitner, a Colorado Springs Republican, is a sponsor of the bill in the House. In the Senate, Sen. Chris Hansen, a Denver Democrat, and Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican, are prime sponsors. Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, is also a sponsor in the Senate. https://coloradosun.com/2021/05/14/marijuana-potency-colorado-house-bill-1317/
  7. Skittles Manufacturer Sues Cannabis Brands for Trademark Infringement Skittles-maker Mars Wrigley has filed lawsuits against cannabis companies in Illinois, California, and Canada for trademark infringement. New Jersey-based candy maker, Mars Wrigley, is suing cannabis companies in Illinois, California, and Canada to stop them from using its brand names and marketing for infused edibles, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, accuses the companies of infringing on the Starburst and Skittles candy brands. “Mars Wrigley strongly condemns the use of popular candy brands in the marketing and sale of THC products, which is grossly deceptive and irresponsible. The use of Mars Wrigley’s brands in this manner is unauthorized, inappropriate and must cease, especially to protect children from mistakenly ingesting these unlawful THC products.” – Mars Wrigley in a statement via the Sun-Times. The lawsuit names Terphogz and five companies that sell a cannabis strain and related products called Zkittlez, the report says. The unnamed defendants are “unknown” to Mars Wrigley but they are accused of purchasing the goods in question to resell to Illinois customers. The California lawsuit targets products called “Medicated Skittles,” “Life Savers Medicated Gummies,” and “Starburst Gummies” – marketed by GasBuds – which appear to mimic the packaging of the popular, non-cannabis, confections. The legal actions are the latest against cannabis companies for trademark infringement of popular consumer products. Atlanta, Georgia-based Edible Arrangements in September sued Chicago’s Green Thumb Industries for using their brand name in their Incredible product, according to the Sun-Times. Two months later, Ferrera Candy Co. sued California-based Tops Cannabis over its “Medicated Nerds Rope.” Other lawsuits have brought over the “Woodstock” brand; the logo of a Massachusetts lumber company; the Citibank name, parodied as “Citidank;” the Tapatio hot sauce name and logo; the Gorilla Glue brand; and the logo of the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, among others. Mars Wrigley is seeking $2 million for each counterfeit trademark named in the California lawsuit, along with attorneys’ fees and costs in both cases. https://www.ganjapreneur.com/skittles-maker-suing-cannabis-brands-for-trademark-infringement/
  8. Doctors should screen over-50s for cannabis use, say researchers Older people who use cannabis to relieve or treat health problems are failing to discuss their substance use with doctors, according to research published in peer-reviewed The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. This is despite some using cannabis every day of the year and others having mental health problems, according to a study of more than 17,000 people aged 50 and over in the US. The research is the first to identify where older users get cannabis with the majority saying obtaining it was easy. Those taking cannabis for health reasons are more likely than non-medical (recreational) users to buy it at a medical dispensary (20% vs 5%) and less likely to get it for free (25% vs 46%) or from other sources such as parties (49% vs 56%). The authors say the findings have significant clinical and policy implications especially as more US states are legalizing cannabis, which is leading to a rapid rise in uptake among older people. They want doctors to screen older people routinely for cannabis and other substance use, check cannabis users for mental health problems, and recommend treatment when necessary. Educating this group about the risks of obtaining cannabis and cannabis products from unregulated sources is also vital, say the authors. "Cannabis is readily available and accessible to older cannabis users for medical or non-medical purposes," says Namkee G. Choi from University of Texas at Austin, US. "The findings suggest that some medical users may be self-treating without healthcare professional consultation. "All older people who take cannabis should consult healthcare professionals about their use. As part of routine care, healthcare professionals should screen for cannabis and other substance use, and for mental health problems. "They should also recommend services or treatment when indicated. Given the increase in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) potency, healthcare professionals should educate older cannabis users, especially high-frequency users, on potential safety issues and adverse effects." Cannabis use among older US adults has more than doubled between 2008 and 2019 including to relieve pain and treat health issues. But little is known about where they get cannabis and how much they discuss their use with doctors, which this study aimed to establish. The research was based on responses from 17,685 men and women aged 50 and older to the 2018 and 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This annual federal government survey, which is the largest of its kind, measures substance use and misuse and mental illness across the US. The University of Texas researchers analysed responses including on cannabis use frequency, the proportion taking it for medical and non-medical reasons, where they obtained it, and how much they utilized healthcare services. Overall, the study found that nearly one in ten (9%) used cannabis over the past year. Nearly a fifth (19%) of these used cannabis for a medical purpose to some extent, e.g., to treat chronic pain, depression or diseases like arthritis, and the rest (81%) were recreational (non-medical) users. The authors found people who reported using cannabis for medical reasons were more than four times more likely than non-medical users to discuss their use with a healthcare professional. However, only a minority of medical users did this, which the authors say implies some are self-treating without consulting a doctor. Other findings include higher odds of medical users taking the drug more frequently with 40% using it between 200 and 365 days a year compared with non-medical users. A higher proportion of older cannabis users had mental illness, alcohol use disorder, and nicotine dependence compared with their age peers who did not use cannabis, although medical users were less likely to have alcohol problems compared to recreational users. As well as calling on doctors to do more, the study authors say the NSDUH needs updating to 'reflect changing cannabis product commercialization,' e.g. cannabidiols, topical solutions and edibles, all of which are available to older people. Limitations of the study included the relatively small number of medical users and the fact some respondents may have under-reported their cannabis and other substance use. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-doctors-screen-over-50s-cannabis.html
  9. The cannabis industry's next war: How strong should its weed be? Some of the 18 states that have embraced legal weed are debating whether to cap THC potency. So far, most of those efforts have failed. The nation’s booming weed industry has a potency problem. As more and more states legalize marijuana, companies are facing new pressure from lawmakers across the country — and Capitol Hill — to limit the strength of their products. It’s a level of scrutiny that comes with being allowed to operate in the open after decades in the shadows. The steadily rising levels of THC — the component of marijuana that gets users high — is causing widespread concerns about the public health consequences. Even in pioneering states like Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana sales started in 2014, lawmakers are debating whether to put caps on THC potency. “I don't think anyone conceptualized what would happen when ... industry and science and business and the motivation of profit come into the state of Washington,” said Washington state Rep. Lauren Davis, a Democrat, who has twice introduced legislation to cap THC potency in concentrates, products such as oils, wax and shatter. “All of a sudden, a few years later, your shelves are stocked with these oils that are 99 percent THC.” The cannabis industry — with $20 billion in legal sales last year — is pushing back hard against proposals like Davis’. And so far, they’ve successfully squelched legislative efforts in statehouses across the country, including Florida, Washington and elsewhere. Only Vermont has THC potency caps in place, with flower products limited to 30 percent and concentrates capped at 60 percent. “We welcome the conversation about public safety, and want to be an active part of it. But a potency limit is a nonstarter,” said Truman Bradley, executive director of Colorado’s Marijuana Industry Group, arguing that regulatory restrictions are a better way to ensure product safety. “It’s not effective as a public health tool.” But the issue isn’t going away. Proposals to limit the potency of THC have been introduced by both Democrats and Republicans, and are likely to proliferate as the legal pot market expands and matures. Lawmakers in Congress have also expressed concern about the increasing potency of weed. Last month, the co-chairs of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control — Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) — argued that federal agencies should consider recommending THC caps. Supporters of THC caps argue that they’ll protect unwitting consumers from ingesting highly potent products without significantly infringing on the rights of marijuana enthusiasts. There’s also a deeper concern that kids and young adults will have access to ever more potent products. Brain development typically continues until the age of 25, and chronic marijuana use has been shown to impact that process. “There's a lot of statutory tightening that we need to do to help rein in what is clearly a problem, which is diversion of high-potency products into the hands of teenagers,” Colorado House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Democrat, said in an interview. “I don't want a teenager to be confronted with a question of whether or not to dab a high-potency concentrate.” Increasingly, parents are raising alarm bells about the issue. In Colorado, for example, Blue Rising Together, a Democratic-aligned group founded to advocate for gun control legislation, has expanded its agenda to push for THC potency caps. Davis said she’s given up on working with the cannabis industry on this issue after a 2020 congressional work session where state industry lobbyists repeatedly claimed that cannabis was not a cause of psychosis. “They were sitting there, doing exactly what Philip Morris did, exactly what Purdue Pharma did — trying to poke holes in science and question that consensus of the scientific community,” she said. The industry’s argument Data is dodgy and incomplete about exactly how strong weed has become. The average potency of marijuana products seized by the DEA in 2019 topped 14 percent — more than triple the average potency of products seized in 1995, when the National Institute on Drug Abuse first began collecting data. But that doesn’t reflect the reality of marijuana products broadly on the market. In states where recreational sales are legal, flower regularly tops 20 percent and marijuana concentrates often have potency levels of 60 to 80 percent, or even higher. Industry advocates dismiss the push for THC potency caps as the latest version of reefer madness. They argue that dodgy science and irrational fears are driving the debate, and that marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol, with state regulators empowered to ensure that products are safe. They also stress that putting arbitrary limits on the potency of products will simply drive consumers accustomed to those products — whether for medical or recreational purposes — into the illicit market. Morgan Fox, spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association, points to the 2019 vaping crisis as a warning sign of what could go wrong. More than 2,800 individuals were hospitalized and 68 people died from mysterious lung illnesses that were largely tied to illegal THC vaping products. “High potency products like concentrates — there's significant demand for them among cannabis consumers,” Fox said. “If you make it so that regulated producers are no longer able to produce these, that market is going to go completely underground.” Kevin Sabet, president of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, argues that illegal drug dealers don’t have the manufacturing expertise and infrastructure to produce the types of high-potency products that have flourished in state-legal markets. “The reason we even have high potency products is because of the legal market,” Sabet said. “They invented this. Pablo Escobar did not invent this. Mexican drug cartels never came up with this stuff. This is American ingenuity, and it's American ingenuity gone wrong.” Kris Krane, the president of marijuana company 4Front Ventures, disputes this assertion. He points out that concentrated THC products have long existed on the illicit market, albeit not in the variety that is found in legal markets today. “It doesn't take that much to do butane extraction in a garage,” Krane said. “It's just really dangerous.” Imperfect science Garnett, the Colorado speaker, argues that the disconnect between state and federal laws has made it more difficult to gather credible scientific data about the impact of high-THC products. That’s hamstrung lawmakers looking to address the issue without unnecessarily stifling the industry. “The biggest drawback to the feds not participating in this conversation earlier is the fact that they haven't activated the FDA and the NIH to do the public health research on the developing and mature brain and what happens when high potency products are used,” Garnett said. “If we could rewind, that is the one place that I wish the federal government would have taken a leading role.” Most scientists agree that the research isn’t complete. But they also argue that each new study makes a more compelling argument for limiting the availability of high-THC products. The human brain’s formation is assisted by the body’s endocannabinoid system, explained Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a Yale University scientist who has studied the relationship between cannabis and psychosis for 25 years. It’s a system that includes receptors and chemical messengers that play an important role in brain function through age 25. “What happens is the endocannabinoid system — when it turns on — its effects last for just a few milliseconds to seconds. But when someone smokes cannabis, that system is turned on not for seconds to milliseconds, but for minutes to hours,” D’Souza said. “And so exposure to cannabis during these critical phases of brain development can be messed up, for lack of a better word.” Davis’ Washington state bill differs from other THC potency cap proposals, because it would limit the purchase of concentrates to individuals over the age of 25. Flower, edibles and other cannabis products with lower THC levels would still be available to anyone over the age of 21. Legislative dead ends So far, efforts to impose potency caps have largely sputtered out in state capitals. Nowhere has the issue gotten more attention than in Florida, where the debate has played out for three straight years. The state’s booming medical marijuana program has more than 530,000 participants, adding more than 200,000 enrollees in just the last year. Republican House Speaker Chris Sprowls, citing scientific studies showing that products with high levels of THC altered brain development in young people, is backing legislation this year that would limit flower products to a 10 percent THC concentration. Products such as concentrates, oils and waxes would be capped at 60 percent. But that effort appears to be on the ropes as the state enters the last week of this year’s legislative session. The House bill was all but doomed when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters last month he would not endorse the measure. A more stringent Senate companion measure never made the agenda of its first committee. However, next year’s state budget, which the Legislature is expected to approve next week, includes more than $4 million for the state Department of Health to expand marijuana testing to THC concentration. The debate over strong weed isn’t going to fade away in Florida or anywhere else. But so far, most lawmakers haven’t been willing to endorse strict caps on an industry that is expected to double in size — topping $40 billion — over the next four years. “I've been pushing this boulder uphill, just trying to educate members of the Legislature,” said Davis, the Washington state lawmaker. “They, without fail, without exception, have said, ‘I just had no idea.’” https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/29/cannabis-industry-next-war-485044
  10. 'We're going to move forward, period': Schumer ready to move on changes to marijuana laws – even if Biden isn't Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a strong advocate of marijuana legalization, is ready to move ahead with major changes to federal laws prohibiting the use, sale and production of cannabis products – with or without the support of President Joe Biden. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden – a leading Democratic proponent of tough drug laws during his long Senate career – was the only leading Democratic primary candidate to oppose federal legalization of the plant, saying more study is needed. While the president supports legalizing the drug for medical use and the decriminalization of possession, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week, Biden's "position has not changed" on full legalization since the campaign. Schumer told Politico he respects Biden's desire for more study on the subject, but he said "we will move forward" even if the president's view stays the same. "He said he's studying the issue," the New York Democrat said when asked if he would introduce a legalization bill even if Biden opposes it. He added he wants to give the president "a little time" to research the question. "I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will," Schumer told Politico. "But at some point we're going to move forward, period." Schumer introduced a legalization bill in 2018 and is working on legislation to change federal marijuana laws with Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Schumer has not yet revealed the contents of the new bill, and it is unclear whether the legislation would include full federal legalization or a more modest move toward decriminalization that Biden might be more likely to support. Schumer told reporters Wednesday, "I support decriminalization at the federal level, and we'll be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly." When asked about legalization, Schumer implied the two terms amounted to the same thing: "At the federal level, you call it decriminalization because it lets the states legalize." But when asked by Politico about whether the new legislation calls for legalization or decriminalization, Schumer said: "I am personally for legalization. And the bill that we'll be introducing is headed in that direction. "I don't want to get into the details of our bill. You'll have to wait and see," Schumer said, though he indicated it would include a provision to expunge federal marijuana convictions from people's criminal records. Schumer also said he would support pushing states to similarly expunge criminal records through federal "incentives and disincentives." Schumer, whose home state of New York legalized marijuana last week, told Politico his own position on the matter "evolved" after seeing the success of the first states to approve recreational use of the drug. "When a few of the early states – Oregon and Colorado – wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen," Schumer said. "The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy." Legalization advocates have applauded Schumer's commitment to legalization. "By pledging to advance marijuana reform, Majority Leader Schumer is representing not only the will of the 70% of Americans who now support full legalization, but also the over 40% of them who currently reside in states where that is already the reality," Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told USA TODAY in a statement. "President Biden needs to join Schumer and the American people on the right side of history and, if he will not join them in calling for a correction to this long-running injustice, Congress should force his hand by putting legislation to end our failed prohibition on his desk as soon as possible," Altieri said. Vice President Kamala Harris supported marijuana legalization as a member of the Senate. When asked if he had spoken to Harris about the planned legislation, Schumer said, "We would like to get her involved, but we have not yet." https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/04/05/marijuana-legalization-schumer-move-bill-even-if-biden-isnt/7088824002/
  11. hi A 27-year-old woman developed a mysterious cannabis-related syndrome that left her vomiting and caused her to fall asleep while showering Crystal Cox/Business Insider A 27-year-old woman was hospitalized after falling asleep in a hot shower and burning her skin. The shower was her attempt to soothe nausea and vomiting she experienced after using marijuana. Doctors diagnosed her with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that affects frequent weed users. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. A 27-year-old woman with a mysterious illness that causes marijuana users to develop extreme nausea and vomiting landed in the hospital after burning herself when she fell asleep showering. According to a March 24 case study in the journal BMJ Case Reports, the Florida woman used marijuana daily for many years but only developed nausea and vomiting over the last 18 months. To soothe her nausea and abdominal pain at home, she would use heating pads and warm showers. Her doctors initially thought she had gallbladder damage. But after she shared her marijuana use and home treatment regimen, the doctors diagnosed her with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. CHS affects frequent marijuana users who suddenly develop adverse reactions to the substance, usually in their 30s, after using the substance daily or weekly beginning in their teens. The condition was coined in the early 2000s and experts are still unsure what causes the unrelenting nausea and vomiting, Insider previously reported. Like the woman in the case study, people with CHS tend to rely on hot showers, baths, and heating pads to soothe their pain. According to a 2016 systematic review of CHS patients, 92% of diagnosed patients have "compulsive" use of these pain management techniques. When a person applies heat to their skin, it can open their blood vessels and relieve blood clots that are causing pain in a specific area, which could explain why the soothing method is so popular for people with CHS, according to Temple University researchers. The woman fell asleep in her hot shower and burned her skin In the woman's case, her soothing techniques led to skin burns on her stomach. During her hospital exam, she told the doctors, "I was vomiting so much one time I got in the bathtub and ended up falling asleep and burning up my skin." Once they examined her, they found her stomach covered in red splotches and suggested she stop using marijuana to prevent further nausea and potentially dangerous soothing techniques. Abstaining from marijuana use is the only way to treat CHS, University of Oklahoma internal medicine doctors wrote in a 2011 review of the condition. When the woman heard this advice, she was hesitant to stop using marijuana. According to the doctors on the case, she said, "I tried to quit, but I can't. Are you sure it's the weed?" The woman's doctors didn't disclose whether she took their advice or not. https://www.yahoo.com/news/27-old-woman-developed-mysterious-202129625.html Bongme
  12. hi What Will Legal Cannabis Look Like in New York? New York Times Pot enthusiasts, rejoice: New York has officially legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that made New York the latest state to legalize recreational weed, positioning it to quickly become one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the nation. The new law ends years of failed attempts to make marijuana legal in the state. It includes provisions to reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenue from selling cannabis into minority communities that were devastated by the war on drugs. What is now legal Individuals are now allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use, or 24 grams of concentrated forms of the drug, like oils. New Yorkers are permitted to smoke marijuana wherever smoking tobacco is allowed, though localities and a new state agency could restrict where it can be smoked in public. It is still illegal to smoke weed in schools, workplaces or a car, and in New York City it will be banned in parks, beaches, boardwalks, pedestrian plazas and playgrounds, all places where tobacco smoking is forbidden. What will eventually be legal Over the coming months, more changes will go into effect. People will eventually be able to use marijuana at “consumption sites,” have the drug delivered to their homes and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. Dispensaries won’t open until more than a year from now, and localities could opt out of allowing them. (The New York Post reported Wednesday that several mayors on Long Island have already said that they planned to forbid the sale of marijuana in their communities.) Why this took so long The Democratic Party had made legalizing marijuana an annual priority since taking control of the Legislature in 2018, but the efforts fell apart each year, usually because of disagreements with Mr. Cuomo. But this year the governor, dogged by calls to resign from members of his party following multiple sexual harassment allegations, made several concessions to push the bill over the line and secure a policy win. “This is a historic day in New York, one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/01/nyregion/marijuana-legalization-new-york.html Bongme
  13. hi 'It's just disappointing': Calif. state senator on White House firings due to cannabis use In late February, President Joe Biden's administration issued new guidelines regarding use of recreational marijuana for staffers. A White House official told NBC News that these new rules would “effectively protect our national security while modernizing policies to ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.” The guidelines require staffers to stop using marijuana during their employment, as the substance is still illegal at the federal level, and submit to random drug testing. However, in what appeared to be a conflict with this new policy, White House press secretary Jan Psaki announced that five White House staffers were terminated because of their previous use of cannabis. A report from the Daily Beast said the number was actually in the dozens, with some relegated to remote work. Psaki later clarified the White House position, stating that "a number" of the five people terminated had additional security issues in their past, and that the new guidelines have allowed "around a dozen" White House staff members to continue serving who would have been disqualified in previous administrations. This morning, California state Sen. Scott Wiener tweeted his opposition to the actions, referencing the 1936 film "Reefer Madness," which has become a historical touchstone for scaremongering regarding cannabis use. I’ve been watching this Reefer Madness situation with White House staff being fired for cannabis use. Not that many things surprise me anymore, but this surprised me. It’s 2021, not 1951. We have a Democratic President. I hope the White House reverses course. — Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) March 26, 2021 "It's just disappointing, because we finally have a president who gets it on a lot of issues," Wiener told SFGATE. "He's not been great on cannabis, but he's getting better. The idea that you have these young White House staffers that got fired or otherwise harmed because they use cannabis, it's just very disappointing and I hope that the administration can reverse those decisions." His sentiments echoed a chorus of 30 Democratic lawmakers who sent a letter Thursday to President Biden asking the administration to stop punishing staffers for recreational cannabis use. It's the type of letter that Wiener said he'd be willing to sign himself. "It just surprised me," Wiener said. "I know there's weird federal law around federal employment. I think there's a lot of support in Congress for not being punitive around cannabis, even bipartisan support. So hopefully if there is something that can legally be fixed, it can be fixed." https://www.sfgate.com/sf-culture/article/white-house-cannabis-staffers-fired-senator-wiener-16056885.php Bongme
  14. hi Activist groups criticize new tobacco, alcohol-funded cannabis coalition A second pro-cannabis legalization activist organization has taken a swipe at a new group that aims to shape federal marijuana legalization and is comprised largely of corporate tobacco and alcohol interests. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) – which for years has fought for federal marijuana reform and been involved in numerous MJ legalization campaigns across the U.S. – singled out the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation (CPEAR) in a statement. CPEAR’s financial backers have an “abysmal track record of using predatory tactics to sell their products and build their brands,” DPA Executive Director Kassandra Frederique said in a statement, adding that “Big Alcohol and Tobacco” often target the same communities of color that have “borne the brunt of (MJ) prohibition.” CPEAR, which announced its entry into marijuana activism earlier this month, has created a stir in the industry, given that its founders include the parent company of Marlboro cigarettes and two alcohol giants, the Molson Coors Beverage Co. and Constellation Brands. “It is predictable, but reprehensible, that industries that have allowed the arbitrary distinction between licit and illicit drugs to stand for so long now want to end a form of prohibition in order to bolster their bottom line,” Frederique said. “They stood by for decades as communities of color were criminalized and robbed of economic opportunities, only to try to swoop in when it is politically and financially convenient to do so.” The DPA statement came a day after CPEAR Executive Director Andrew Freedman said during a call with reporters that unity among pro-legalization forces still needs “a lot more work” and that his coalition’s efforts are intended to be “complementary” to that of other legalization advocates, “not combative.” DPA is the second legacy activist group to condemn CPEAR’s interest in federal MJ legalization. The leader of the original nonprofit devoted to marijuana legalization, NORML, also was criticial of CPEAR a few days after the announcement of its formation. NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri wrote to supporters that “these corporate interests are seeking to swoop in and shape the landscape in a manner that works best for them, not for you.” Altieri singled out the still-contentious question of home marijuana cultivation, which remains a hotly debated topic in several operational state-legal marijuana markets and which some industry interests have lobbied against in the past. “We’ve seen how big corporate money and influence have corrupted and corroded many other industries,” Altieri wrote. “We can’t let the legal marijuana industry become their next payday.” https://mjbizdaily.com/drug-policy-alliance-norml-criticize-tobacco-alcohol-funded-cannabis-coalition/ Bongme
  15. hi Parents must be told of cannabis offense under new NJ law TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey parents must be notified if their minor child is caught buying or possessing marijuana under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday. The Democrat signed the legislation a day after the Democrat-led Legislature passed what lawmakers called a “cleanup” bill to correct last month’s law setting up the new recreational marijuana marketplace. It inexplicably and explicitly barred police from telling parents whether their children were unlawfully found in possession of marijuana. Lawmakers moved the bill after what they said was an onslaught from constituents protesting the prohibition against parental notification. https://www.wfmz.com/news/area/western-newjersey/parents-must-be-told-of-cannabis-offense-under-new-nj-law/article_60886de6-8e5b-11eb-9e04-8fef56e754ff.html Bongme
  16. hi Cannabis helped Syilx woman walk again Sitting in a little cafe in downtown Vernon, Jayna Pooley clinks her spoon against her cup as she gingerly stirs her coffee. The sun is out and she’s preparing for a meeting later that day to talk about cannabis with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. Pooley has been sharing her story, one of personal perseverance, as a way to inspire others to explore the healing properties of cannabis, a medicine she credits for helping her walk again. Pooley introduces herself by her nations. “My Dad used to call us NavajoOpiOkaShwap,” she says. She’s Navajo, Hopi, Okanagan, and Shuswap and she now lives and works in her community in Inkumupulux (Head of Okanagan Lake) on the Okanagan Indian Band, where she owns a cannabis dispensary. Pooley lost her ability to walk at 32 years-old, after years of working in the forestry and fisheries industries. Her journey to recovery brought her to cannabis, and years later, she’s now the proud owner of Top Hat Cannabis in OKIB. She just celebrated two years of being open for business. “I sell medical grade, tested edibles, tinctures, topical salves combined with THC and CBC (Cannabichromene) and our traditional medicines: in teas, and oils,” said Pooley. Pooley grew up on the lands of the Navajo Nation. In her late teens, she moved north and graduated from high school in Kamloops. She completed a diploma for Natural Resources from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and soon after started working in her field. “I worked alongside all the guys on big ships and boats, and I got to see our whole territory by boat,” Pooley said. “I’m truly really grateful. It was an awesome career. I stayed in the area for about five to six years.” But the physical labour was hard on her body. “Working on steep hillsides, working on ice, and there were days I was covered in ice in the middle of winter, while I was doing work with fisheries,” she remembers. “We would sometimes have to break ice to get down the river, so I would spend a lot of time in the cold waters right up to my torso.” Pooley also spent much of her time playing sports, and physical activity was a major part of her life, she says. She was about to move to Calgary to take on a new role as a service technician when her life changed dramatically. “I had all my stuff packed, my truck was packed, my family’s freezers were full of fish, the community was full of fish, I was ready to go,” Pooley said. “I went to jump out of bed and couldn’t walk, I fell to the ground in excruciating pain.” Her family called the ambulance and Pooley says she spent months in and out of the hospital. She was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and started on a variety of different medications, she said. “It came to a point where I finally found a comfort zone, but it was with really heavy medications, which I knew would affect my liver and kidney over 10 years.” According to the Arthritis Society, psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is “a type of inflammatory arthritis that usually appears in people with a skin disease called psoriasis” and “there is no cure for PsA, but when you are diagnosed early and start the right treatment, you can take control of your disease and avoid severe damage to your joints.” “I had to really make a choice as to what I was going to do, to either continue with these medications, or find some sort of alternative, so the search was on,” said Pooley. Pooley began to ask about some alternatives to heavy medications, when she was introduced to a salve. The salve had a specific smell to it that reminded her of her childhood. “My Tupa used to grow, and she would use the hemp and make a salve for us,” she remembers. With her grandmother in mind, Pooley was determined to create her own salve. She went to the women in her family and together they found the right recipe, alongside medicine keepers in the territory who shared their secrets with her. Pooley says her community, in both the mental health support from the OKIB and the medicine keepers who were willing to share their knowledge of the medicinal properties of cannabis, were a support to her in regaining her ability to walk. “I took a combination of CBD, THC, some western medicines, and traditional medicine,” she said. “Over the course of over two-and-a-half years, I relearned to walk,” Pooley said. “The disease put me in a wheelchair and walking canes, so after I learned how to rewalk again, it was just trying to regain my focus and my own self-worth as a human being.” Once her pain was manageable, she was then able to focus on the mental aspect of healing and healing her body from the medications. “I never wanted to be deemed as an addict and that’s exactly what those heavy pharmaceutical medicines made me. I was addicted to them,” she says. “I had to go through some intense cleansing to get that out of my system. It’s a scary thing to start the process but what I can assure you is with this medicine you won’t have those kinds of effects.” Once her body was cleansed and she was able to focus on her mental health, she reached out to the OKIB Health team for support. “The mental proportion of it was just trying to understand why. I felt like I wanted to blame something or someone somehow. There wasn’t really anything to blame, it was just how our bodies work sometimes,” she says. Pooley worked with a counsellor and eventually came to understand the deep teachings associated with her painful experiences. “I believe having that mental strength, the power behind it, keeps us so strong. We can literally tell ourselves that we’re sick and we will be sick. So we must believe that we have that strength in our spirit and that we have that drive,” she explained. Cannabis oil helped her relax, regain mobility and strength, Pooley said. “It’s just like anything, it’s a very personal medicine. At one point I needed a high amount of oil to function, but now I’m down to some drops everyday.” Prior to her diagnosis, Pooley never used the plant and says she deemed it a “drug.” “I never took part in any drugs, or any alcohol at that time and marijuana was even still considered a drug to me,” she said. Now Pooley is looking for a way to spread the word and educate others about the power of the plant. She hopes to begin hosting webinars and answering questions about her experience. Pooley said she knows how challenging it can feel to move away from pharmaceuticals to plant medicines, but she wants her community to know she’s there to help. “I was going through withdrawals and the cold truth is, it ruined my relationship with my partner. I would like it to be known that I understand what that can do, I understand the stigma you need to go through, I understand how embarrassing it can be, and if I can help, I would love to,” she said. https://www.pentictonherald.ca/news/article_d0d25d76-8d18-11eb-8ca6-c73c7916cda8.html Bongme
  17. hi NY Cannabis Legalization Deal Could Happen By April 1: Gov Gov. Andrew Cuomo said legal weed is one of his top priorities in the state budget due at the start of April. NEW YORK CITY — Embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopes the state's chances of legalizing cannabis don't go up in smoke. Cuomo on Wednesday listed legal weed as his first priority for the state's upcoming budget, which has an April 1 deadline. "Getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential," he said. But Cuomo admitted three years of attempts to legalize hemp and recreational marijuana failed to spark up. The inaction left the state's would-be cannabis industry high and dry as legal markets got set up in Massachusetts and across the river from New York City in New Jersey. Legal pot in neighboring states effectively ends the debate, Cuomo said. "We have passed the point of legalized cannabis," he said. Cuomo's even-more-outspoken support for legalized cannabis came amid a news conference packed with announcements. And for the first time in days, Cuomo also took questions from reporters. WABC's Dave Evans asked about increasing doubts about whether he can perform his job amid a sexual harassment scandal and potential impeachment inquiry. "I say it's clearly not true," Cuomo said. "Because the reality is the exact opposite." Not all politicians are so sure. Mayor Bill de Blasio just that morning again said Cuomo can no longer govern. "I think he should resign so we can move forward in this state," de Blasio said. Cuomo's vocal stance on legalizing cannabis — a popular issue in the state — belies that state lawmakers have been working on such a measure independently from the budget. State Sen. Liz Krueger has pushed forward a legalization bill. She said Wednesday that Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal, Bloomberg Government reporter Keisha Clukey first reported. https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/ny-cannabis-legalization-deal-could-happen-april-1-gov Bongme
  18. hi Nikki Fried: “Legalizing Cannabis Solves Lots of Problems and Creates None” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – a former cannabis lobbyist whose fiancee created a cannabis company with Fried’s father – recently tweeted that “Legalizing cannabis solves lots of problems and creates none.” Fried’s comments come despite several reports that show increases in hospitalizations and suicides due to the legalization of marijuana. Also, in 2019 a top US government mental health official noted that it “is time for Americans to understand there are substantial risks with marijuana.” Colorado A NYT article from 2019 focused on the effects of legalization in Colorado. The article stated that while thousands “make uneventful stops at dispensaries every day” new problems have surfaced in Colorado. Since marijuana legalization in 2014, “more people here are visiting emergency rooms for marijuana-related problems, and hospitals report higher rates of mental-health cases tied to marijuana.” The study cited by the NYT shows the rates of hospitalizations in Colorado with marijuana-related diagnosis codes increased from 274 per 100,000 hospitalizations in 2000 prior to any marijuana legalization to 593 per 100,000 hospitalizations in 2015 after two years of recreational marijuana legalization. In addition, hospital data analyzed by Dr. Andrew Monte, an emergency and medical toxicology physician and researcher at the University of Colorado Hospital, also indicated that more people are arriving at emergency rooms for marijuana-related reasons. The NYT reported that some of these people “are heavy marijuana users with severe vomiting. Others are children who have eaten edibles, accidentally or not. They come to the E.R. disoriented, dehydrated or hallucinating after consuming too much marijuana.” “There’s a disconnect between what was proposed as a completely safe drug,” Dr. Monte said. “Nothing is completely safe.” And researchers have reported that patients in the E.R. with marijuana-related cases were five times as likely to have a mental-health issue as those with other cases. Mental Health “It is time for Americans to understand there are substantial risks with marijuana,” said Elinore McCance-Katz, the Department of Health and Human Services’ top mental health official. “This is not the government making up data.” McCance-Katz taught at Yale and Brown universities and held senior posts for state substance abuse agencies before joining HHS under the Obama administration as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration chief medical officer. She pointed out that hospitalizations more than doubled for serious mental health disorders among 18- to 25-year-olds nationally from 2012 to 2018. She cited a study in July that shows a 77% increase in suicide deaths from 2010 to 2015 among Colorado 10- to 19-year-olds with marijuana in their systems. https://tallahasseereports.com/2021/03/21/nikki-fried-legalizing-cannabis-solves-lots-of-problems-and-creates-none/ Bongme
  19. hi U.S. Cannabis Sales Hit Record $17.5 Billion As Americans Consume More Marijuana Than Ever Before The coronavirus was good for some industries and ruinous for others. For cannabis, 2020 was a breakout year. Legal sales across the U.S.—15 states allow adult use, 35 allow for medical sales—hit a record of $17.5 billion, a 46% increase from 2019, according to a new report. Most of the sales growth came from adult-use markets, especially mature markets like Colorado, which grew sales by 26% to reach $2.2 billion, and Oregon, which saw sales hit $1.1 billion, a 29% increase over 2019, according to the report published by BDSA, a cannabis sales data platform. Emerging markets like Illinois, which expanded its medical cannabis market to include adult-use sales last year, saw the largest dollar gain in 2020, rising by $784 million. (Illinois’ cannabis market is now doing over $1 billion in sales.) California, the country’s largest cannabis economy at $3.5 billion, increased sales by $586 million, while Florida saw a $473 million increase. “We expected more potential impact from an economic downturn, but the industry has proven to be resilient,” says Kelly Nielsen, who runs BDSA’s insights and analytics department. “It’s potentially recession-proof.” Nielsen says three things contributed to the industry’s growth last year: the Covid-19 pandemic (many states deemed dispensaries “essential businesses” during lockdown); more customers entered mature markets like California, Colorado and Oregon; and states like Illinois and Arizona have created new adult-use markets. Another factor driving the industry’s growth is a simple one: More people are consuming more cannabis than before. About 30% of consumers surveyed by BDSA said they shop for cannabis products more often, while 25% of consumers say their cannabis usage has increased since before the pandemic. Across all U.S. adult-use markets, the number of people who consumed cannabis at the end of 2020 was greater than six months prior. Of people living in states that have legalized recreational sales, 43% use cannabis, up from 38%. In Colorado, where market penetration is greatest in the country, 48% of Coloradans imbibe. “Close to 50% market penetration is really compelling, as alcohol penetration is around 60%,” says Nielsen. In California, market penetration increased from 37% to 39%. Josh Bubeck, the cofounder of Urbn Leaf, a seven-store cannabis retailer based in southern California, says 2020 has been a difficult year, but his company hit record sales. “I had my best week I’ve ever had last week,” says Bubeck. Much of Urbn Leaf’s growth was driven by the fact that it doubled its footprint. And while Covid-19 helped to drive more local business, some of Urbn Leaf’s locations, especially those that cater to tourists, fared worse in 2020. “My flagship location, which is near Sea World, suffered tremendously from a drop in tourism,” says Bubeck. Another aspect that buoyed his business is the enforcement of cannabis regulations, a sign that the market is maturing. His shop in San Ysidro, which sits just north of the border with Mexico, was surrounded by dozens of illegal dispensaries until last year, when the city of San Diego shut them down. All that foot traffic made its way to legal stores like Urbn Leaf. “My shop on the border is now my busiest shop,” says Bubeck. “Two years ago, it was my slowest.” Cannabis delivery companies also made a killing last year as they were perfectly positioned to capitalize on the pandemic. The number of Americans using cannabis delivery increased 25%, BDSA found. Sava, a high-end cannabis delivery platform that serves 70 cities around San Francisco, enjoyed a surge at the start of the pandemic. Yet, as the year wore on, the surge never really ended. “We saw 60% growth in sales in 2020,” says Sava founder and CEO Andrea Brooks. “It’s an exceptional number and it was a particular year. Now it’s about holding on to the consumers and continuing to grow.” Brooks says her company’s sales growth was initially fueled by shelter-in-place orders, but she also credits the fact that more consumers are crossing over from the illicit market. “Legalization isn’t like turning on a switch,” says Brooks. “It’s ongoing and people become more comfortable with it as the market matures.” The bulk of the cannabis industry is still in the black market. Illicit cannabis sales are estimated to be more than $100 billion each year. The legal industry is catching up, albeit slowly. By 2026, BDSA predicts the legal U.S. cannabis market will reach $41 billion in annual sales, roughly the size of the craft beer industry. Even though his company generated more business than ever before, Bubeck doesn’t want to relive 2020. The hardest part of navigating the pandemic as a business owner was managing the staff and the logistical problems posed by Covid-19, he says. If one person in the company’s supply chain tested positive, anyone who was within 6 feet of them for more than 15 minutes had to quarantine. Bubeck says if a department wasn’t strict with social-distancing protocols, an entire group of employees would be gone for ten days. “I’d have to argue, despite this being our best year in terms of sales, that it hasn’t been a win for everyone,” says Bubeck. https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyakowicz/2021/03/03/us-cannabis-sales-hit-record-175-billion-as-americans-consume-more-marijuana-than-ever-before/?sh=7b39fe982bcf Bongme
  20. hi Black market for marijuana still thriving even as more states legalize it for medicinal, recreational use CHICAGO (WGN) — State by state, America is moving toward legalizing marijuana, in part as an effort to decrease illegal drug sales and bring the cash from the street corner to the state cash register. More than a dozen states have legalized the use of medical marijuana to date, while nearly the same number have legalized it for recreational use. But illegal pot sales are still taking place, in part because street prices are considerably cheaper, sometimes costing half as much as tax-laden cannabis sold in legal dispensaries. Some officials also blame mixed messaging between police departments who make arrests for marijuana-related crimes and prosecutors who don’t see them as a priority. With more than 80 recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries licensed and operating in Illinois, not to mention another 75 facilities in the pipeline, you might think drug dealers have moved on from marijuana. But police in the Chicago area say the black market for weed is red-hot. “When [dispensaries] opened-up last year, we saw lines out the door,” said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain. “But that quickly faded when [customers] compare prices and convenience. They’re going to stick with the guy they know.” And that’s leading to dealers carrying more cash as well as weapons to protect themselves and their score. “When people are selling drugs in neighborhoods, we’re afraid that there’s going to be robberies associated with it,” said Lansing, Ill. police Lieutenant Al Phillips. Police have busted into Lorynda Welton’s home in the middle of the night three separate times in recent years. They were looking for her son, who was suspected of selling marijuana out of her home in Lansing, south of Chicago. “I could very well be shot,” Ms. Welton said outside her home, which still has a broken door frame and a lock damaged during the most recent raid. The question isn’t whether police have a right to raid Welton’s home. They had a warrant. Rather, some police officials say individuals, like her son, who are arrested for marijuana-related crimes see charges that are too lenient if they are charged at all. Welton’s son never received a sentence stiffer than probation for previous marijuana-related charges until he was recently arrested during a traffic stop and hit with a felony drug charge. “There’s got to be some consequences and people have to go to jail, unfortunately, to make this stop,” Lt. Phillips said. https://www.wjtv.com/news/black-market-for-marijuana-still-thriving-even-as-more-states-legalize-it-for-medicinal-recreational-use/ Bongme
  21. hi Move Over Lucky Charms, This Cannabis-Infused Chocolate Bar May Just Be 2021's Hottest St. Patrick's Day Trend High Life Farms Continues to Innovate and Expand Its Product Portfolio, Debuting a New Variety of its Award-Winning "Royal Chocolate Bar" with Tastes and Textures to Meet Needs of Modern Cannabis Consumers HLF's Latest Royal Bar Combines Everything Consumers Love about Cream-Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Crunchies and Mint in a New Smashing Green, Cannabis-Infused White Chocolate Bar CHESANING, Mich., Feb. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- To help cannabis consumers celebrate St. Patrick's Day, High Life Farms (HLF), a privately held, multi-state, vertically integrated cannabis company with operations in Michigan and California, is continuing to innovate and expand across its portfolio, debuting a new variety of its award-winning "Royal Chocolate Bar" with new tastes and textures. HLF released its latest award-winning "Royal Chocolate Bar" in a new flavor fit for the day celebrated in green: Royal Chocolate Bar Mint Cookies & Cream. The limited-edition variety combines delicious white chocolate, refreshing mint, cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crunchies and 100mg of THC in 20, five-milligram pieces for a smooth and crunchy textured treat. "They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and with the canceling of the Detroit St. Patrick's Parade and Corktown Races, we are bringing Michiganders a little modern St. Patrick's Day fun they can enjoy safely at home," said High Life Farms Co-founder Vinnie Celani. "The Royal Chocolate Bar Mint Cookies & Cream is festive for the holiday and also reminiscent of one of America's favorite cookies at a time when consumers are craving both nostalgic flavors and small moments of celebration, and the added layer of texture created by the cookie crunchies is also something mainstream consumers have been gravitating towards." HLF began releasing seasonal twists of their fan-favorite Royal Chocolate Bar last fall, starting with a pumpkin-spiced latte flavor, then a white chocolate sugar cookie variety named "Sleigh Ride" for the winter and a red velvet edition for Valentine's Day. "The response to the themed bars has been extremely positive," said Ben Celani, co-founder of High Life Farms and brother of Vinnie. "As we continue to rollout new cannabis products that taste great while also meeting the needs and desires of the modern cannabis consumer, we encourage our consumers to experiment too -- try the Royal Chocolate Bars as an ice cream topping, baked in brownies or cookies or blended in a milkshake." While COVID-19 has disrupted large events and planned nights out, reports show that 49% of U.S. adults still plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Of those celebrating, 92% plan to make purchases for the holiday with an expected $5.1 billion spend nationwide. Michigan cannabis consumers can now purchase the St. Patrick's-inspired Royal Chocolate Bar Mint Cookies & Cream at dispensaries across the Wolverine State. For more information, visit https://highlifefarms.com/. About High Life Farms High Life Farms is a national privately held, vertically integrated cannabis company based in Michigan with operations in the world largest cannabis market: California. High Life Farms' best-in-class portfolio includes cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, in-house brands, brand partnerships, white labeling solutions and ownership stakes in numerous dispensaries. The company believes in the cannabis plant's potential to improve health, wellness, happiness and that everyone should have the right to make choices that improve their personal wellbeing. For more information, visit https://highlifefarms.com/. Media Contact: Juliet Fairbrother juliet@mattio.com 631-338-534 https://finance.yahoo.com/news/move-over-lucky-charms-cannabis-130000124.html Bongme
  22. hi Seeing green: Land rush is on in latest states to legalize cannabis In November, voters in Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota approved recreational cannabis use in their states. Those votes have opened the door for the sort of land rushes seen in other states that have legalized marijuana, with cannabis companies searching for retail and commercial space, according to the Wall Street Journal. It can be tough for pot purveyors seeking space to operate: Their choices are often limited by strict regulations on cannabis sales and cultivation, and landlords may hesitate to work with them because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. For those companies, that means paying a premium to rent or buy. Anthony Coniglio’s company NewLake Capital Partners Inc. owns 19 properties in eight states leased to cannabis businesses. “It’s like holding the winning lottery ticket,” Coniglio said, regarding landlords who are willing to rent to those tenants. Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings, which operates retail stores in 23 states, currently sells medical marijuana in New Jersey, which recently legalized cannabis but has not yet finalized a framework for distribution. The company bought its second dispensary in the state last year and reportedly paid about twice as much as the property would cost for other uses. “People know they can charge cannabis an absurd amount,” said Patrik Jonsson, Curaleaf’s regional president for the northeast. “It’s the new norm.” [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch https://therealdeal.com/2021/02/21/seeing-green-land-rush-is-on-in-latest-states-to-legalize-cannabis/ Bongme
  23. hi Cannabis Compliance Board issues warning after two strains sold in Southern Nevada fail microbial testing LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The governing board for Nevada’s cannabis industry is issuing a warning after two strains failed secondary testing. The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board says the following strains failed secondary microbial testing. Each is listed with the batch and lot numbers that are affected: “Gelato Glue” — 122320B86 – ABGG02 “Last OG” — 122320B86 – ABLOG01 Officials say the cannabis failed testing for yeast and mold. It is believed the impacted cannabis was sold in the form of flower and pre-rolls between Jan. 27 – Feb. 19 by the following stores and dispensaries: “ShowGrow” — 4850 S Fort Apache Rd #100, Las Vegas, NV 8914 “The Apothecary Shoppe” — 4240 W Flamingo Rd #100, Las Vegas, NV 89103 “Wallflower Cannabis House” — 6540 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89139 “Greenleaf Wellness” — 1730 Glendale Ave, Sparks, NV 89431 “Oasis Cannabis Dispensary” — 1800 S Industrial Rd #180, Las Vegas, NV 89102 To check if your cannabis is part of this warning, check the batch and lot numbers on your product. They can be found on the label, typically near the top directly below the facility information. Officials say no one has reported any sickness related to this yet, but health impacts from yeast and mold may exist if you consume the products. Officials also say there is no reason to believe the dispensaries and stores had any knowledge that the products were contaminated. https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-news/cannabis-compliance-board-issues-warning-after-two-strains-sold-in-southern-nevada-fail-microbial-testing/ Bongme
  24. hi South Dakota voters legalized cannabis, but state politicians aren’t having it In Nov. 2020, about 54 percent of voters in South Dakota approved an adult-use cannabis legalization measure, while nearly 70 percent voted in favor of medical marijuana legalization. So why are state officials fighting tooth-and-claw to undermine those votes? In the three months since the election, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has actively supported and effort to overturn the adult-use measure in the courts. And state legislators are working to delay the legally mandated implementation of the medical marijuana law. Taking adult-use legalization to court Those efforts began soon after the November elections, when a South Dakota county sheriff, along with the superintendent of the state’s highway patrol, filed a lawsuit to throw out Constitutional Amendment A, the adult-use legalization measure. Their suit contends that Amendment A required a revision of the state’s constitution to be approved, rather than a single-subject amendment. Local media reports at the time said Gov. Noem approved the use of state funds to cover legal fees brought on by that lawsuit. In early February, a judge with the state’s Sixth Judicial Circuit Court agreed to throw out the adult-use legalization measure; saying that despite “the strong presumption of constitutionality and presumption in favor of validity and propriety Amendment A receives, the infringement of the single subject rule…is so plain and palpable as to admit no reasonable doubt Amendment A is invalid.” Delaying medical marijuana implementation Two days later, on Feb. 10, Gov. Noem said her state will push back the timetable for Initiated Measure 26 (IM 26), the medical marijuana legalization measure. While IM 26 was supposed to take effect this upcoming July, “the feasibility of getting this program up and running well will take additional time,” she said in a press statement – adding the plan would take a year to implement. “Our Senate leadership fully supports the effort to properly implement a workable medical marijuana program,” South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack added in that press release. “We will honor the voters’ wishes. Voters knew what they were voting for But cannabis advocates in South Dakota and beyond have been quick to criticize these changes. In a statement emailed to Leafly, Brendan Johnson, a sponsor of Amendment A and an attorney for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said his group is preparing an appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director at the Marijuana Policy Project, expects the state Supreme Court will reinstate Amendment A and reverse the lower court’s decision. He also described Gov. Noem’s positions on cannabis as “bad policy and bad politics.” “It’s difficult to understand Gov. Noem’s political calculus on marijuana,” Schweich told Leafly. “Her South Dakota constituents clearly support marijuana reform, as evidenced by the results on Election Day. Support for marijuana legalization has steadily increased for the past two decades, now reaching 68% according to the most recent Gallup poll. Furthermore, nearly half of all Republicans support legalization. It’s also worth noting that using taxpayer money to fund a lawsuit to overturn the will of the people is unpopular across the political spectrum.” Gov. Noem a longtime opponent of legalization Noem has been a vocal opponent of marijuana and hemp legalization in her state. “I don’t think anybody got smarter smoking pot,” she was quoted as saying in January. “I think it’s a bad decision for the state of South Dakota.” Michael Card, an associate professor of political science at the University of South Dakota, believes Noem’s opposition to cannabis might also be “giving a nod to South Dakota’s ‘law and order’ mentality.” He also pointed to a 2019 report by the Prison Policy Initiative that says South Dakota has the highest per capita incarceration rate of any state in the Union. State activists ready to push back For his part, Card believes Noem may be activating opposition from two groups, the first being the parents, family members, and patient who are suffering from diseases that could be eased by medical marijuana. The second group, he told Leafly, are South Dakota citizens “who might not support the marijuana initiatives but believe the [state] legislation is continuing to restrict their ability to change what they consider to be bad laws.” ‘Disrespectful to the people of South Dakota’ Card’s belief is supported by a statement from MelissaMentele, campaign manager for IM 26 and executive director of the medical marijuana advocacy group New Approach South Dakota. In email to Leafly, Mentele took exception to the proposed delay in the state’s medicinal cannabis regulations. “A one-year delay to implementation of medical marijuana would be harmful to patients and disrespectful to the people of South Dakota,” she said. “Measure 26 was fully vetted and approved by over 70% of South Dakota voters on Election Day. The policy is detailed and based on best practices from other states. The legislature does not need to change Measure 26—we wrote a complete policy. All they need to do is respect the will of the people and allow the state to implement a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients.” Mentele also noted that Measure 26 was not a new bill but. It had been discussed in South Dakota often over the past six years, and was “legislatively sponsored in its entirety twice.” South Dakota voters, she continued, “knew what they were voting for and supported it overwhelmingly at the polls. 70% of [South Dakota] voters checked yes in November for July 1, 2021, patient access. Delaying implementation is a mistake.” Not the first time politicians have ignored voters Card noted there are signs of history repeating itself in South Dakota, when it comes to the cannabis legalization controversies. In 2016, he said, an attempt to regulate state campaign finance rules was passed by South Dakota voters. But the legislature repealed that measure, promising to fix what its leadership said were technical flaws. “But in the eyes of the citizens, they never got around to that,” Card observed. “Many have been writing letters to the editors about the state government thwarting the will of the people and see this [marijuana legalization challenge] as one more example.” https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/south-dakota-voters-legalized-cannabis-but-state-politicians-arent-having-it Bongme
  25. hi South Dakota governor says state has hired consulting group to help implement medical marijuana measure Vid On Link UPDATE PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the state has hired a consulting group to help implement a medical marijuana measure approved by voters in November. This week, Gov. Noem announced a plan to delay the legalization of medical cannabis in the state, until July 1, 2022. The governor said she did not have enough time to study the issue and implement a program. She said the state has hired Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, LLC to help implement the measure. "Everyone involved in the process is determined to fulfill the will of the voters in this arena. We just want to make sure that we have addressed the health aspects, the public safety, and the implementation and the revenue, and making sure that we are doing that going forward," said Noem. Noem said typically it takes longer for these policies to be set up, sometimes taking more than two years for the measure to be effective. PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem held a news conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m. CT. https://ktiv.com/2021/02/11/watch-live-south-dakota-gov-kristi-noem-holds-news-conference/ Bongme