Meet Dušan Dvořák, High Priest of the European Cannabis Church

You may have heard about the First Church of Cannabis, which registered in Indiana back in March 2015. Media around the world reported on Bill Levin and his launch of a very particular denomination: Members worship cannabis and consume it as a sacrament.

Although the plant has played an important role in many religions throughout human history, establishing a cannabis-specific church in the 21st century was truly a novel idea. It didn’t take long before one of the most active and visible members of the legalization movement on the other side of the Atlantic — Dušan Dvořák, of the Czech Republic — set out on the same path.

The story of Dvořák and his longtime fight for more sensible cannabis laws would make a great Hollywood movie. It features plenty of police action, comedy (especially in the courts), as well as fundamental issues of human rights and dignity. Its starring role would depict a tireless man who doesn’t bend to authority.

Dušan Dvořák speaks to a pool of Czech reporters. Photo by Pirátská strana

A psychotherapist by profession, Dvořák has been growing cannabis and treating sick people in the Czech Republic for many years. He set up the Educational Cannabis Clinic in Prague in 2010 and started a cannabis farm in his native village where he openly produced cannabis products such as topical creams and extracts. Police first raided his farm 6 years ago. They’ve since returned every year since to confiscate and destroy his precious harvest.

All told, according to Dvořák, authorities have destroyed more than 3,000 cannabis plants over the years. Yet each season Dvořák plants again, hoping that this time the police will be reasonable and not show up. Though the public is overwhelmingly on Dvořák’s side, the police have yet to relent.

Dvořák has been arrested, prosecuted, sentenced, then proclaimed insane and acquitted — and then the process starts all over. It’s happened again and again. There are probably dozens of cases against him in the Czech justice system, not to mention a number of complaints by Dvořák himself against the authorities.

He has filed his grievances at the country’s Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. After the most recent raid, in autumn 2015, Dvořák pointed out that he has a unique diagnosis in the history of psychiatry: “According to an expert appointed by the court, I have been suffering from the loss of cognitive and motor functioning for the past four years — but only from April to September, when cannabis is being grown.”

It’s almost impossible to navigate the myriad trials and court decisions, and yet Dvořák is still a free man. And he keeps coming up with new and original ideas to accelerate prohibition’s demise. His latest contribution is the establishment of the European Cannabis Church, with himself serving as its high priest. The church would provide freedom — both regarding religious and cannabis consumption — as well as educate the public and support scientific research.

Governmental authorities in the Czech Republic are, to say the least, not very happy with the idea. According to Dvořák, the Ministry of Culture said that “the group wants to encourage criminal activities” and refused to register the organization. An appeal is in progress, and Dvořák is optimistic the Ministry of Culture will approve the church constitution later this month.

“We are leaving for a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the Pope in July,” he told Leafly last month, “so I hope that we manage to arrange everything to have our cannabis church properly registered by then.”

Which raises a different question. Church registration aside, how does His Holiness Pope Francis respond when these green pilgrims arrive at his door?

Security Fears are Holding Back Uruguay’s Cannabis Rollout

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Rossana Rilla could sell marijuana under Uruguay’s pioneering law that lets pharmacies distribute cannabis. But she says there is no way she will.

In her 28 years as a pharmacist, she has been beaten, dragged across the floor and threatened by thieves at gunpoint and with a grenade. She fears that selling marijuana would only make her store a bigger target for robbers and burglars.

“You see their faces and you can tell right away that they are not consumers who are here just to buy” marijuana, Rilla said about the “suspicious people” who have recently been coming into her Montevideo pharmacy asking if she sells marijuana.

She isn’t alone in avoiding the government’s marijuana program. Most of the country’s pharmacists haven’t signed on, citing security concerns and complaining of paperwork, cost increases or opposition from customers to selling legalized cannabis.

Pharmacist Rossana Rilla works at her own drugstore in downtown Montevideo, Uruguay. In her 28 years as a pharmacist, she has been beaten, dragged across the floor and threatened by thieves at gunpoint and with a grenade. She fears that selling marijuana will only make her store a bigger target for thieves and burglaries by illegal drug dealers. Photo by Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

Uruguay legalized the cultivation and sale of marijuana in 2013 in a bid to create the world’s first government-regulated national marketplace for cannabis. The goal was to fight rising homicide and crime rates associated with drug trafficking in the South American country.

But while the government wants to start selling marijuana at pharmacies in the coming weeks, so far only 50 out of 1,200 pharmacies are registered, stoking a debate over how the drug should be distributed.

“I don’t see the need to get into a conflict with people who are already selling weed in the neighborhoods,” said Marcelo Trujillo, who owns three pharmacies in Montevideo’s Cerro neighborhood.

“I just don’t want to expose myself or my employees,” he said. Next to him, a worker repaired a glass that was shattered during a recent robbery attempt.

The law allows for the growing of cannabis by licensed individuals, the formation of growers and users clubs, and the sale by pharmacies of 40 grams of marijuana a month to registered users. While the plan has been widely applauded globally and seen as going beyond marijuana legislation in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington, most Uruguayans oppose it.

“My customers generally don’t agree with the plan,” said Isabel Regent, head of the Association of Interior Pharmacies, which represents businesses outside the capital, Montevideo. “Besides the fear of robberies, enrolling in the system means a hike in costs and having to be up to date with all the paperwork demanded by the health ministry, and not all pharmacies are in a condition to do this.”

Regent owns a pharmacy in Punta del Este, an exclusive seaside resort where tens of thousands of tourists from neighboring Argentina come to vacation each year. But she decided not to enroll in the government plan. She wouldn’t be able to sell marijuana to foreign tourists because the law only allows sales to Uruguayan citizens and legal residents over age 18.

Pharmacies in three of the four Uruguayan states bordering Brazil have also declined to enroll in the plan.

No studies have been conducted to see if pharmacists would face extra risks from selling cannabis, but most feel it’s just not worth the risk.

“I don’t have the security conditions to sell marijuana,” said Mariana Etchessarry, from a pharmacy in Montevideo’s Cerro neighborhood.

“I don’t understand why they can’t sell it at police stations. They’re located in every neighborhood and have 24-hour security.”

During a recent meeting with government officials, a union leader claimed that some pharmacists have been threatened by drug dealers, said Gonzalo Miranda, a spokesman for the Uruguayan Chamber of Pharmacies, an umbrella group for large pharmacy chains.

Fernando Gil of the Interior Ministry’s communications office said that no pharmacists had reported any threats to police.

Some pharmacists say their lack of interest in participating goes beyond security concerns.

“I oppose as a matter of principles,” said Julio Gadea. “I’ve been a pharmacist for 40 years. Pharmacies were created to sell medicines, not drugs.”

Experts say delays in the marijuana initiative stem from the fact that no other country has attempted such an ambitious endeavor and that authorities still lack detailed plans and rules for regulating the market.

“We sell all legal drugs and if marijuana is now legal, there’s no reason not to sell it,” said a pharmacist who has enrolled in the government’s marijuana plan. He insisted on not being quoted by name because he did not want to upset his clients, who mostly oppose legalizing cannabis.

“I signed up but I still don’t know if I’ll sell it,” the pharmacist said. “I’m missing a lot of information. They haven’t explained anything to us about the information program that will be used or how the drug will be sold or how profitable it will be.”

Several of the pharmacists interviewed said they hadn’t ruled out signing on later if the program is successful.

The planting of cannabis in Uruguay has begun and it’s expected to be ready by late July, two government officials told The Associated Press. They also asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized by the government to comment. The officials said that having only 50 pharmacies enrolled might work in the government’s favor because it will be easier to control.

“We’re not ruling out using other networks or even vending machines in the future,” one official said, adding that marijuana will be sold by mid to late July.

German Parliament Opens Talks on Medical Cannabis Bill

After years of pressure from patients and advocacy groups such as the German Hemp Association (DHV), the dream of securing unfettered access to medical cannabis in Europe’s most populous country is finally coming to fruition.

On Thursday, at the request of Germany’s left-leaning opposition party Die Linke (The Left), the Bundestag, or German Parliament, opened the first round of discussion on medical cannabis legislation that would give patients a “full guarantee of access to medical cannabis.” The debate included the first examination of changes that will be needed to adapt the existing German Narcotics Act to accommodate medical cannabis users. The law would give patients access cannabis beginning in early 2017.

The step is especially significant because of how the legislative process works in Germany: Once a draft bill enters the parliamentary process after being approved by the cabinet, it must result in binding legislation. Sometimes draft legislation doesn’t find its way to Parliament for months or years, but medical cannabis has moved relatively quickly. Now, in a matter of months, the herbal remedy should be available in Germany, home to 80 million Europeans.

“Seriously ill people must be cared for in the best possible way — this is my commitment,” German Health Minister Herman Gröhe said in a press release issued ahead of the parliamentary debate. “We want the cost of medical cannabis to be covered by [patients’] health insurance when they can’t be helped otherwise. We also want to get scientific surveys underway to assess the medical benefits accurately.”

The liberalization of cannabis laws in Germany, however, stops short of allowing adult use.

During the debate, the government’s drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler, made clear that advocates shouldn’t expect any change to Germany’s stance on recreational cannabis. “The focus of the federal government’s drug policy are not Zeitgeist, prejudices or ideologies,” she said. “To us, this is about human beings and their health! Public health is at the heart of our cannabis policy, and that is exactly why I say no to recreational use of cannabis.”

Nevertheless, the medical bill’s passage would make Germany the first large European Union member state to implement such sweeping legislation. So far only smaller countries, such as the Netherlands and Czech Republic, have implemented robust cannabis programs.

The new bill was welcomed by Social Democrat Burkhard Blienert, but he emphasized the need for a corresponding law to improve the situation for patients. Blienert also echoed Gröhe in pointing out that there’s currently a dearth of research into the efficacy of cannabis. Still, he seemed pleased “that the Ministry has now distanced itself from its initial thoughts to include a mandatory patient survey in the law”.

In the initial version of the bill, the surveys were to contain personal data of the patients. The second chamber of Parliament, the Bundesrat, recommended an anonymous survey instead, and the change was then incorporated into the bill. Bienert said he sees this kind of research “as a viable way to get more evidence without turning patients into guinea pigs.”

One of the first German politicians to push for medical cannabis was Frank Temple, a former narcotics officer who is now a representative of the liberal Die Linke party. He sees the law as a step in the right direction but also aired criticisms during the debate. “I have to disagree with the impression that the federal government acted for the benefit of patients,” he said. “It explicitly did not, but quite the contrary: For years the federal government prevented medical care with cannabis for ideological reasons.”

 Which Country Leads Europe in Cannabis Consumption?

A brief look behind the scenes suggests the federal government’s change of heart was less about values and more about caving to the pressure of more and more patients winning court cases against the health ministry. The sudden hurry is also due to the hundreds of patients applying for cultivation licenses after Michel F., a patient with multiple sclerosis, became the first German patient to successfully sue the government to obtain a grow license.

Until the new law is in place and the system works, it will be hard to turn down patients’ applications. Moreover, the government is likely to run into legal time limits on pending applications before the new law will be in place.

The Bundestag will vote on the measure this fall. It’s slated to take effect in early 2017.

Berlin’s Cannabis Coffeeshop is Rejected but Inspires German Legalization Movement

How Does Cannabis Consumption Affect the Brain?

The relationship between cannabis and the brain is a meaty subject. Identifying the various ways cannabis affects the brain is complicated, and we’ve only just begun to unravel many of the mysteries. Most perplexingly, there’s a lot of seemingly contradictory evidence out there.

On the one hand, we’re inundated with messages that cannabis impairs a user’s cognitive function — particularly short-term memory. On the other hand, we hear cannabis can act as a neuroprotectant, perhaps even preventing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

How can this be? Cannabis is a diverse, complex plant comprised of hundreds of chemicals. And, two of its most prominent constituents — THC and CBD — affect us in significantly different ways. But, first, let’s start with an explanation of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

What is the Endocannabinoid System and Why is It Important?

The ECS, also known as “the body’s own cannabinoid system,” is a group of cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and throughout the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). It plays a vital role in the regulation of mood, memory, physiology, pain sensation, appetite, and overall health. While the ECS performs numerous tasks, its primary goal is homeostasis, or the maintenance of a stable and healthy internal environment.

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system and associated receptors has played a significant role not just in our understanding of cannabis, but of human biology, health, and disease.

Scientists have identified the two primary cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2:

  • CB1 receptors can be found primarily in the brain and nervous system, but are also found in other organs and connective tissues. CB1 is the main receptor for THC, a phytocannabinoid (phyto meaning, “of the plant”); and, its twin, anandamide, one of the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids which THC mirrors. The activation of CB1 receptors by THC is responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive effects.
  • CB2 receptors, found predominantly in the immune system and associated structures, are responsible for modulating cannabis’s anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is thought to be a significant factor in many diseases, and CB2 acts as an immune response.

Cannabis contains at least 85 cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that interact with the brain’s receptors. The two cannabinoids people are most familiar with include THC and CBD.

THC, which is responsible for most of cannabis’ psychoactive effects, affects the brain by activating cannabinoid receptors, namely CB1. THC promotes creativity, amplifies your thoughts, and keeps you focused…until stimuli distracts you to a tangential thought (good for philosophical conversations, but for studying, not so much!).

Surprisingly, THC’s (largely) non-psychoactive sibling and the second most studied constituent in cannabis, CBD, shows little affinity to bind to either CB1 or CB2; instead, CBD seems to indirectly stimulate cannabinoid signaling by suppressing the enzyme that breaks down anandamide. This partly explains why CBD appears to counteract some of the effects of THC, and why higher CBD concentrations result in fewer intoxicating effects. Like THC, CBD also plays an important role in appetite, the immune system, and pain management.

The Biphasic Effect: Why Proper THC Dosage is Important

EKG reading

The effects of cannabis vary by individual and are highly dependent on dosing and form of preparation (e.g., vapes, edibles, etc.). It’s important to note that like many chemicals, cannabinoids — THC in particular — have a biphasic effect, meaning low and high doses can have opposite effects in users. This is partly why many people may feel relaxed with low doses of cannabis and paranoid under high doses. Most medical marijuana practitioners advise patients to start with a low dosage and gradually increase dosage as the patient determines how their body reacts. This process is known as “self-titration.”

Another way to think of the biphasic effect is as a therapeutic window. Cannabis has a narrow therapeutic range, meaning the difference between the optimal dosage that elicits the effect one desires versus a dosage that creates adverse effects can be subtle. Take chronic pain as an example: most studies of cannabis and chronic pain report that patients find relief in low to moderate doses of cannabis, but may find pain exacerbated when the dosage is too high.

Further complicating the issue is that THC and CBD levels — as well as THC:CBD ratios — can vary dramatically from strain to strain, so it’s important for people to be conscious of these levels as they find the most appropriate dosage to treat their condition.

The same goes for lifestyle users who may find they have a preference for a particular strain. One strain may make them feel overly drowsy or anxious, while another may make them feel relaxed and happy. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so how one responds to cannabis can vary dramatically.

Optimal Dosing (Low to Moderate Doses):

  • Elevated mood, feelings of euphoria, and relaxation
  • Sleepiness (although higher CBD concentrations can contradict this effect)
  • Increase in creativity
  • Blocking the detection of pain
  • Alleviating nausea
  • Appetite stimulation

How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory?

Suboptimal Dosing (High Doses):

  • Hallucinations varying from mild to moderate
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Heightened pain sensitivity

Can CBD Undo the Anxious Side Effects of THC?

Circling back around to the question posed at the beginning of this article, why is there so much seemingly contradictory or paradoxical evidence (e.g., cannabinoids “protect” or “impair” cognitive function) on how marijuana affects the brain?

Dr. Mike Hart, head physician at Marijuana for Trauma offers an explanation:

“Frustratingly, we have very few high-quality human studies that examine the potential long-term benefits or negative effects of cannabis consumption on the brain. But, just like cannabis has biphasic acute effects, the same may hold true in long-term usage,” says Dr. Hart. “Too much, too often, over a long period of time, could cause negative effects like diminished verbal memory recall; while the right amount and right frequency could elicit the benefits we’ve found in early studies on animal models, such as neuroprotection and the slowing or prevention of neurodegenerative disease.”

Daily Cannabis Use Not Associated with Brain Changes in New Study

Oregon’s New Teen Cannabis Prevention Campaign Isn’t Horrible. We Found 8 Others That Were Worse.

With its “Stay True to You” campaign released today, Oregon’s state health agency has done what few nonprofits and government agencies have ever done: created a youth cannabis prevention campaign that’s not entirely embarrassing.

The $4 million campaign, funded by state cannabis tax revenue, uses a combination of adult testimonials, facts about teen brain development, and warnings that younger siblings will emulate their older brothers and sisters. You can watch a couple examples here and here.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) officials shaped the messages based on focus groups conducted among youth and adults 14 to 20 years old in a number of cities around the state.

“Young people in our focus groups related to the idea that being a teenager is hard,” said Kati Moseley, OHA policy specialist. “Young people recognize that marijuana has the potential to affect their present and their future. We used this insight to develop an approach that speaks to youth on many levels.”

To that we say: Not bad. In one of the most affecting videos, a 41-year-old named Francisco recalls an old teenage friend whose skateboarding ambitions dissipated because of cannabis use. Francisco doesn’t preach and he doesn’t claim weed will kill you. He just says: “You don’t want this to become a priority in your life, to where you put your hopes and dreams and your future at risk because you just want to sit around and get high.”

A screen capture from one of the Oregon Health Authority’s new line of ads discouraging underage cannabis consumption. Image via Oregon Health Authority

The spots aren’t all up to Francisco’s quality. One of the most cringeworthy features a teen skater dropping in, with the tag line “Pot can make it harder to learn new tricks.” It looks like a church youth group leader’s idea of a “cool kid” doing a “rad sport.”

One of Oregon's new ads designed to prevent underage cannabis use. There's no question: That kid is the coolest. Image courtesy Oregon Health Authority

One of Oregon’s new ads designed to prevent underage cannabis use. There’s no question: That kid is the coolest. Image via Oregon Health Authority

And that campaign slogan: Urrgh. “Stay True To You” — while not quite the eyesore of Washington’s “Listen2YourSelfie” campaign — carries eerie echoes of the original 1981 anti-drug slogan, “Get High On Yourself.” And we all know how effective that was.

Look, we get it: This is a really hard campaign to produce. OHA is genuinely trying to reach teenagers, but 99 percent of adults suck at “getting real” with teens, and OHA is a government agency so it can’t offend anyone. Good luck with that.

In states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis, though, public service campaigns warning minors away from marijuana use have actually improved. After stumbling badly with its infamous “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” campaign in 2014, Colorado scrapped the old scared-straight formula and created the much-closer-to-sane “Good To Know” campaign, which tries to lead minors to actual facts about cannabis. With this latest effort, Oregon is following Colorado’s lead, dropping the scare stories and treating cannabis with a more rational approach. It ain’t perfect, but we’ve seen a lot worse.

In fact, here are a few of the worst ones we’ve seen:

“Stoner Sloth” (Australia, 2016)

Ahh, Stoner Sloth. The modern classic. An instant viral sensation when it came out earlier this year, this Aussie PSA just gets better with age. “Jesse … could you pass the salt please, darling?”

“Don’t Be A Lab Rat” (Colorado, 2014)

Colorado state officials were so passionate about waving kids away from the state’s new adult-use cannabis industry that they created actual human-size cages and placed them on campuses and public parks. (Jokers, of course, proceeded to take selfies of themselves and their friends partaking in and around the cages.)

“Will the New Face of Date Rape Look Like a Cookie?” (Florida, 2014)

Opponents of Florida’s 2014 medical marijuana amendment cooked up that question as part of their campaign to torpedo MMJ in the Sunshine State.

“The Science Is Clear” (Canada, 2014)

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government came up with this anti-cannabis ad that claimed “the science is clear” that cannabis caused health damage and shouldn’t be considered medicine — even as his own agency, Health Canada, was licensing growers to provide medical cannabis to patients. The ad was so hated that the Huffington Post headlined a story about it, “Harper Government’s Marijuana Ad Is Being Disliked to Hell.” The government quietly removed the ad from YouTube.

“Deflated Girl” (U.S., c. 2007)

In one of the last anti-drug ads put out by the Bush administration, a teenage girl describes her friend, sitting on the couch, who has apparently flattened like a balloon because of her cannabis use. As Seattle writer Dominic Holden observed at the time, this ad wasn’t merely creepy. It dehumanized all cannabis users. The girl’s smoking, Holden wrote, “has literally deflated her into a non-person.”

“Lindsay and the Magical Talking Dog” (c. 2000s)

Not sure what the takeaway was meant to be here. If smoking cannabis lets you chat with your dog, isn’t that actually an incentive?

“Get High On Yourself” (1981)

The original and still best/worst: This all-star cast (Paul Newman! Bob Hope! Cathy Lee Crosby! Robby Benson! Google him!) came together in 1981 to sing — we use the word loosely — one of the worst songs ever written. The producer, notorious bad boy Robert Evans, made the spot as part of his public service sentence for, yes, a cocaine conviction.

The 13-minute Prohibitionist Film Festival

Can’t get enough? Here’s a whole reel of the worst anti-drug ads ever made. Enjoy.

Oregon Sees Consumption Rise, Arrests Plummet

Five Reasons to Leap into the Cannabis Industry Now

Two years ago, if you had told me that I’d be going to a Cannabis Business Expo, I would have told you you’re insane. But life game me a funny boat and a cannabis conference is where I gleefully spent a day last week. If you don’t know much about the cannabis industry, you may

Pharmaceutical Cannabis is Here, Should Patients in Illegal States Wait For a Prescription?

The DEA is about to reschedule cannabis. On the surface, this is a huge step for a rogue governmental body that has, since its inception, considered cannabis a very dangerous drug that must be eradicated. In reality, the move paves the way for less effective prescription cannabis.

More than half the U.S. population now lives in a state that has legalized some form of medical cannabis use, which has forced the federal government to evolve its position. International headlines have generated a lot of excitement both about the economic potentials of industrial hemp and adult use legalization, but also the potential of cannabis to succeed in treating the symptoms of so many diseases where so many more dangerous pharmaceutical drugs have failed.

The more stories come online of patients’ success in states with functional medical cannabis systems—such as California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado—the more suffering and dying patients in other states are forced to make the decision to leave or wait in pain, wait for the next election or for their legislators to come around on the issue.

One of the areas of medicine where cannabis shows the most promise is in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, particularly Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There are as many as 80 different conditions considered to be autoimmune, ranging in severity from psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s, lupus, fibromyalgia and MS. In general, autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, cells and organs.

The causes of these illnesses are still unknown, but many believe they are a result of genetics and environmental conditions. They are on the rise and there are no cures. The classes of drugs used to treat the symptoms are uncomfortable at best and deadly at worst. Autoimmune patients in states with fully-functioning medical cannabis systems are already utilizing cannabis in addition to their traditional treatments or as an alternative. There is evidence that cannabinoids found in cannabis have the ability to suppress the immune response, reduce inflammation and protect the parts of the body attacked by these diseases.

Unfortunately what is known about the effects is largely anecdotal and doesn’t fit into the FDA approval process. In order for a drug to become FDA-approved, it must first be tested for safety and efficacy. In the case of most pharmaceutical drugs, the active ingredient is usually one chemical compound. This compound is then run through a series of clinical trials and studies before the FDA approves it for prescription. This process costs upwards of $500 million per new drug.

FDA Approval Process – Source: SRxA

This creates a conundrum for approval of cannabis as a drug that can be legally prescribed by doctors and covered by a patient’s insurance. Each individual strain of cannabis has 400 or more active chemical compounds, many of which very little is known about, although the substance as a whole is non-toxic. Each of these compounds must be proven safe, a process that could take years and hundreds of millions of dollars. Further, who would seek to get all forms of cannabis FDA approved when the cost is so high to do so? Any company that will invest that sum money expects a comparable return on investment.

For patients who wish to seek cannabis as a medicine in its proven most effective form, botanical, the only option is to live in a state that allows its cultivation, manufacture and sale. Patients in states with CBD-only laws and those where cannabis is still completely criminalized must either forgo cannabis medicine or risk arrest, prosecution and loss of one’s freedom and property.

When the DEA reschedules cannabis, patients in these “prohibition states” may soon have a legal option—with a catch, of course.

The Promise for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Cannabis has largely become a well-accepted treatment for MS. Mainstream organizations like the National MS Society have formally stated their support for the rights of people with MS to work with their physicians to obtain safe access where it is legal and they support further research into the plant’s benefits.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease causing permanent disability in young adults and is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease causing permanent disability in young adults and is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

MS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the myelin sheathing, the covering alongside the neurological highways that connect the brain to the body. Each patient’s course and severity with the disease is different and the symptoms are broad and destructive, ranging from numbness in the limbs, extreme pain throughout the body, vision problems and vertigo, fatigue, muscle weaknesses and spasms, up to mood swings, depression, loss of bladder and bowel control, and cognitive dysfunction. Complications of MS are potentially fatal, and patients living with MS have a shorter life expectancy than the general population.

One of the drugs used to treat MS, Tysabri, has a list of common side effects, which include headaches, joint pain, swelling and disruption to the menstrual cycle. In very few cases it causes a rare fatal brain infection and over time may cause liver problems. By comparison, it seems silly that cannabis would need to be FDA-approved for autoimmune patients to “experiment” despite a lack of clinical trials and FDA-approval, which all the currently used drugs have passed with muster.

The side effects of cannabis are benign, ranging from red eye and dry mouth (which is cured with a glass of water and Visine) to increased appetite and sleep. In some cases users feel high levels of anxiety or panic, yet they are pharmacologically safe from overdose and the unpleasant effects are temporary.

Furthermore, because different strains of cannabis have different blends of medical compounds, different strains of the same botanical drug can be used interchangeably to change their effects and prevent tolerance (as opposed to single-compound drugs).

Use cannabis now or wait for a prescription?

Despite the known efficacy and anecdotal success stories of all types of cannabis use in relieving the symptoms of MS and other conditions, there has still been a push from both pharmaceutical companies and their investors as well as groups opposing medical and adult use legalization to extract what could be considered the “active ingredients” in cannabis by standardizing and approving them for pharmaceutical production and use.

It’s been done before, and didn’t work so well the first time.

Since it was first identified and isolated in 1964 by a team of Israeli scientists, ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) has been considered the “active ingredient” in cannabis. This identification fueled both a cultural worship of THC among enthusiastic users alongside a pharmacological demonization of the compound by law enforcement and medical professionals.

During the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, anecdotal stories began to surface in the media espousing the benefits of smoked marijuana for AIDS and cancer patients. Marinol®, a synthetic pharmaceutical THC, was approved by the FDA in 1986 to meet the demand for the illegal drug.

“Marinol, despite the fact that we taxpayers paid for most of the development, is very expensive,” Dr. Lester Grinspoon told Mother Jones.

Marinol also proved to be less effective than whole-plant cannabis. Patients experience negative side effects from the isolated THC which they don’t experience using botanical cannabis. Grinspoon also points out that the ability to titrate—inhale a small dose and evaluate it before taking more—is removed from patients when taken orally. He notes the bulk of people who have prescriptions for Marinol may hold the prescription in order to explain THC in a drug test.

Cannabis IS medicine, says Dr. Lester Grinspoon

The U.S. government saw a chance to make something they can control…

Grinspoon is associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the groundbreaking 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. In the 1960s Grinspoon had set out to study the growing use of cannabis, which he considered a harmful drug, and instead discovered the opposite. He has been studying cannabis and advocating regulations in line with the science since that time.

“…These are powerful companies. They make a lot of money and they have a lot of money. The U.S. government saw [with Marinol] a chance to make something they can control and put an end to the marijuana for medicinal purposes debate. And now here’s Sativex,” Grinspoon continued.

Big Pharma is Already Growing Plants

Sativex® has now been launched in 15 countries and approved in a further 12. - Photo: GW Pharmaceuticals

Sativex® has now been launched in 15 countries and approved in a further 12. – Photo: GW Pharmaceuticals

Enter, Sativex®, an oral tincture made from cloned plants grown in a controlled greenhouse by British company GW Pharmaceutical. It was designed specifically to treat the spasticity associated with MS and is being prescribed and used in Mexico, Canada and parts of Europe.

Development of Sativex began in 1998 with the aim to create a cannabis medicine that could be standardized, approved for use in traditional pharmaceutical medicine and prescribed by doctors. Each spray of oral Sativex contains the exact same dosage of the exact same blend of cannabis medicine. In 2014 the FDA gave Fast Track designation to Sativex, meaning they were rushing it through to get it to patients in need. Sativex is still not available by prescription in the U.S but is expected to be approved for MS and other autoimmune conditions.

“The biggest problem with [Sativex] is that it’s going to create another commercial pressure to keep the stuff prohibited—the government can do what it hoped to do with Marinol. It’s going to make it less possible to create an environment where people will be freely allowed to use cannabis responsibly for medicine or for anything else they want,” Grinspoon continues. “Sativex is the kind of thing I was concerned about when I first spoke of the concept of pharmaceuticalization in 1985 to describe Marinol… I would challenge Sativex to compete against smoked marijuana in almost every one of these symptoms or syndromes.”

If the DEA removes cannabis from Schedule I and places it in Schedule II, Sativex and other pharmaceutical cannabis products could effectively prevent botanical cannabis from becoming law in states that currently don’t have medicalization. GW Pharmaceuticals already has Epiodolex, a standardized high-CBD tincture, on similar fast-track status with the FDA, and other companies can standardize their own lines of tinctures if they have the money to invest as well.

But will it work?

GW Pharmaceuticals and other pharmaceutical companies are publicly traded for-profit companies. Many believe the rescheduling will be a boon to pharmaceutical cannabis production.

Nearly all the cannabis success stories in the media come from studies involving smoked cannabis high in THC or people living in states like California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where the plant has been a low criminal priority and available medically for 15-20 years. Patients stuck with only Sativex or Epidiolex may see improvement, but without the opportunity to try different methods of ingestion, strains or dosages, they may not experience the same sort of life changes as patients in legal states.

The post Pharmaceutical Cannabis is Here, Should Patients in Illegal States Wait For a Prescription? appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

Why You Should Support AIDS Walk SF: An Interview with Team Cannabis Founder Dan Grace

Since 1987, the AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised millions of dollars for HIV programs and services in the community. This year, you can join Leafly and Team Cannabis for the 2016 AIDS Walk in San Francisco on July 17th. Help raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS, including HIV support and care services.

Pick up a Leafly strain tee and sign up to be a walker for Team Cannabis. All proceeds from Leafly strain tees for the month of July will benefit AIDS Walk SF — just use the code TEAMCANNABIS at checkout.

How did Team Cannabis get its start? We spoke with Dan Grace, a founder of Team Cannabis and president of Dark Heart Industries in the Bay Area, about the origins and future of the AIDS Walk SF team.

Leafly: How did you start Team Cannabis?

Dan Grace: It sort of sprung out of a conversation I had with Christopher [Esposito] before he started working at Dark Heart. We’d known each other for a long time — Christopher has done extensive work in the AIDS/HIV community over the years. Most recently he’s been working with an organization called Project Inform, where he sits on the board — I believe he’s been doing that for about 10 years now.

I met with Christopher and his executive director, Dana Van Gorder, and we talked about the history of cannabis. Christopher knew I was in the cannabis industry and I was just introducing him to our company at the time. He’s worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the cannabis community since the height of the AIDS epidemic, which, of course, is where medical cannabis was really born. They thought there might be an opportunity to work together and I agreed. We remember where we came from and we continue to support each other.

One of the things I like about working in the cannabis industry in the Bay Area is that we all came out of that time period. You know, we still have people involved in the industry in the Bay Area that were involved in the medical cannabis movement back then at the height of the AIDS epidemic. We have that social mission as a core part our DNA.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of working together within the industry on some of those social missions because it reiterates to me that we can be a different kind of industry. We can work together on some of these social missions even if we do, on a day-to-day basis, compete with each other or are neck-deep in our own work. So that was kind of the thought — it was nice we were able to pull it together, that first year [we got] a small coalition together.

Leafly: What are some great accomplishments Team Cannabis has been able to achieve? We heard you raised more than Google last year for the AIDS Walk SF.

Dan Grace: That was definitely one of the [most fun]. Candidly, I think that says more about tech’s lack of participation than it does about our participation. If we can kind of call them to task on that, it’s an accomplishment. I think we raised close to $70k last year, that was pretty huge. The year before that we were in the 30 [thousand dollar range] so we nearly doubled. We brought on a lot more participants, we had over 100 walkers, and of course we’re growing that again this year. They’re all great accomplishments.

We had the opportunity to speak in front of the Star Walker Breakfast last year. One of my favorite parts of last year was the checkpoint we were able to do. So here we have tens of thousands, 20 or 30 thousand people who go on the walk every year. We’re one of the 4 checkpoints on the route and everyone walks by Team Cannabis, and we got to share some of our literature about cannabis, learn about the shared history between the cannabis movement and the AIDS/HIV movement.

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Our message last year was that we were “coming out.” In the cannabis industry there’s still a great deal of stigma, much in the same way they fight stigma in the gay rights movement. I think that was kind of a shared story and we got to share in that. Being public and transparent in that way, we got to build that public relationship and get in front of many people directly. It’s always a good opportunity for us.

Leafly: What is the future of Team Cannabis?

Dan Grace: I hope more than anything that as the industry grows, we’ll be able to continue to promote our common social mission within the industry. I certainly hope in this configuration we’re able to continue to grow the participation in the AIDS Walk, but I would hope as time goes on [Team Cannabis] is able to participate in more types of events, give back in more ways. and bring more participants to the table. I think that would be very powerful for us.

It’s still the early days and we don’t know what the future will hold. I could see a time, especially as adult use comes online in California and the regulatory system boots up, when things normalize for all of us. I hope we’ll be able to remember these sorts of charitable events and really make an even bigger impact with our social mission. I look forward to working together on that. By pooling our resources, we can make a bigger impact and do more exciting things. It’ll be fun! I feel good!

Don’t miss out on the AIDS Walk SF on July 17th! Pick up a Leafly strain tees and sign up to be a walker with Team Cannabis. Remember, use the code TEAMCANNABIS at checkout so proceeds can benefit AIDS Walk SF for the month of July. We hope to see you in San Francisco!

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“420” Dating: An Interview with Molly Peckler, Cannabis Dating Website Founder

Molly Peckler is warm, passionate, and exactly the person you’d want helping you find the partner of your dreams. She owns Highly Devoted, a cannabis-friendly dating site and life coaching company. Last month, she and her husband Marc moved from Chicago to Venice Beach, a decision that will undoubtedly have positive effects on her budding cannabis business. We chatted about cannabis dating tips, what to look for in a partner, and making love last.

Ashley: What made you choose to bring dating coaching to the cannabis industry?

Molly: I love cannabis. It’s a huge part of my life and my relationship with my husband. If I were going to start a business in any industry, I’d want it to be in a place where I had a lot in common with it and where I enjoy spending time with my target demographic. That’s exactly why I chose to start a business in the cannabis industry. I saw a massive need that wasn’t being filled. There aren’t coaches or matchmakers specifically targeting sophisticated cannabis consumers. These individuals may feel like they can’t be as open about pot as they want to be. I help them build confidence in all aspects of their lives, including their relationship with cannabis.

I’m a longtime cannabis enthusiast and moving beyond the outdated stigma of cannabis is a passion of mine. I spent time working as a consultant at a cannabis permit acquisition firm, which helped me understand the laws and regulations in various states and countries around the world. I have a family member who has been touched by the need for medical cannabis and I see cannabis as a civil right, and a medicine that saves lives.

Ashley: Can you tell me about your work as a matchmaker before you found the cannabis industry?

Molly: I worked for a company that’s similar to the Millionaire Matchmaker – helping high net worth individuals find love. I really thrived, found it incredibly fulfilling, and was quite successful at it. Instead of just matching my clients, I focused on boosting their confidence and helping them understand the most important traits they needed in an ideal partner and why. My favorite part of matchmaking was coaching, and I decided to bring those coaching skills to the cannabis community.

Ashley: I recently heard about a situation where someone consumed too much cannabis before a date and ended up focusing more on the paintings on the wall than their date. As a dating coach, what advice would you offer with regards to dating and cannabis consumption?

Molly: It is possible to get too stoned for a date. As a rule of thumb, be as sober as possible when you’re first getting to know someone. Do your due diligence and figure out if this is someone you want to spend time with. Don’t feel bad about taking a hit before a date if you’re overly anxious, but go easy. Once you feel comfortable, you can bring actual marijuana into the mix, but don’t wait long to mention your relationship with weed. If cannabis is an important part of your life and something you want reflected in your relationship, be open about it. It’s gonna come out eventually.

If you get a blatantly judgmental response, that’s a huge red flag. With all the evidence about the benefits of cannabis, that may be a sign that the person is small-minded, or that your values are so different that it’s not going to make a difference. The best way to do your due diligence when meeting someone new is to ask about things that are important to you. Don’t settle! You will develop resentment if you try to sublimate parts of yourself that your partner doesn’t approve of, and then you’re not wasting time.

Domestic Bliss: How to Coexist with a Partner Who's Cannabis-Free

Ashley: You and your husband have been together for 11 years, congratulations! How do you keep your relationship thriving?

Molly: For us, it always comes back to the fact that we’re best friends and we genuinely respect each other. It’s also important to us to keep the spark alive, and that’s something we actively pursue. It’s easy to let that fall to the wayside when you’ve been together for a long time. Every single day, we’re closer friends and we respect each other more. We both feel like we hit the jackpot in terms of who we ended up with, and we’re very grateful for what we have.

I think cannabis has a lot to do with it as well – it’s something we share as a way to blow off steam, relax, connect, and communicate. It’s made our bond stronger as well. We make romance, passion, and fun priorities.

Cannabis in the Kitchen: How to Get Flirty with Your Partner Using Food as Foreplay

Ashley: What impact has cannabis made in your sex life?

Molly: It’s something that deepens and strengthens our connection. When you bring cannabis into the bedroom, it changes the depth of the experience and it makes every part of the session stand out. This is especially the case when utilizing a cannabis lubricant like Foria. Sex changes from a race to orgasm to taking your time and enjoying the experience as a couple.

Cannabis is also clutch for getting out of your own head. If we’re stressed, we’ll take a couple hits together and then we can focus on each other. There have been times when we’ve consumed an indica strain or we’ve smoked too much to achieve the experience we were seeking, so know your limits and pace yourself.

Ashley: What are your favorite sex strains?

Molly: I usually go for a sativa or sativa-dominant hybrid. Blue Dream is a go-to, but I’m really enjoying Tangie these days.

If you’re interested in working with Molly on dating or confidence building, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website, Highly Devoted. She offers a free coaching consultation for new clients, so definitely reach out!

Molly Peckler, founder of Highly Devoted Coaching, is the world’s first cannabis-friendly life coach and dating expert. She works with cannabis consumers around the world who defy the stoner stigma. Molly specializes in helping clients build lasting confidence, achieve goals, and identify the ideal cannabis-friendly partner. She’s passionate about disrupting the stoner stigma of cannabis.

Do you have a sex, relationships, or intimacy dating question? Send it to tips@nullleafly.com and I may address your request in a future article! (Don’t worry, we’ll keep your queries anonymous.)

In Photos: An Italian Photographer's Powerful Images Help Patients Share Their Stories

After being hit by a car in 2006, Christian Ferri still suffers enduring physical and psychological consequences. Traditional medicine resulted in inflammation of his muscles. So, looking for something that worked without causing him additional problems, the 29-year-old Italian turned to cannabis and homeopathic therapies. The results were inspiring. In 2014, Ferri climbed central Italy’s highest mountain, crediting cannabis-infused milk as his core power source. “To climb the Gran Sasso nine years [after the accident] has been the greatest emotion of my life,” he said.

Ferri’s story is just one of many testaments to the healing power of cannabis that’s been uncovered and captured by photographer Maria Novella De Luca. For several years she has been following and documenting the lives dozens of Italians who rely on cannabis for their health and well-being.

“I found out there’s a world of people who use it,” she told Leafly.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Italy since 2007, although personal cultivation is prohibited and cured flower is imported to Italy from the Netherlands. But access is still limited, causing headaches for those suffering now.

Claudia Luttazi, 47 years old, Rome. Luttazi discovered in 2009 that she had breast cancer. Three year later, the cancer spread to her brain. Today Luttazi combines her radiation therapy with cannabis-infused tea and homemade cookies. (Luttazi is also featured in this story’s header image.) Photo by Maria Novella De Luca

“This has motivated me,” De Luca said, “because despite all hindrances, I have seen the power of these people whose lives have been shattered by severe diseases but who still find the strength to fight for access to their medicine.”

De Luca’s images tell the stories of a variety of cannabis patients. She depicts their daily life and the problems they face, many of which stem from government bureaucracy and disinformation.

“My interest for this subject grows out of the plant — from the fact that a simple plant with so many positive qualities, which has been part of our heritage for so long, is demonized,” she said. “The amount of deliberate erroneous information about this plant seems absurd to me.”

Lucia Spiri, 34 years old, Racale. Spiri was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. She began treatment with heavy doses of drugs like interferons, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants, but one of the drugs left her with permanent tremors and confined to a wheelchair. Spiri now relies on cannabis flower imported from the Netherlands. Photo by Maria Novella De Luca

All the individual stories have one thing in common, De Luca explained: None have had cooperation from the authorities. “I have met many sick people all over Italy, and although I’ve heard very different stories, all of them had to bite the bullet,” she said. “This is what has motivated me to travel for many years and still gives me the power to continue. I want these sick people to tell their stories themselves, speaking out loud about what they live through.”

 Where to Find Cannabis When You’re High in the Italian Alps

“So many words are spent on this subject, by politicians who deal with the question on their own terms, by associations fighting for their rights,” she continued, “but I believe the voice of the sick is the one that can reach the heart of the people most directly.”

Serena Forty, 8 years old, Gallipoli. Forty has a rare neurodegenerative disease known as CDKL5. The CBD oil she’s been using since 2014 has dramatically reduced the number of her seizures. Photo by Maria Novella De Luca

The struggle to decriminalize cannabis and shed its cultural stigma in Italy isn’t easy, De Luca said.

“The attempts to unite to deal with the question have contributed a lot and some small result has been achieved,” she explained. A network among patients has been established in recent years, and more and more doctors are educating patients — and themselves — on cannabis as treatment.

“It’s still a small minority,” she acknowledged, “but from something small, you can start and continue to grow. I will keep on giving a voice to the sick with my photos.”

German Medical Legalization Would Curb Home Grows, Keep Cannabis in Pharmacies

All photos by Maria Novella De Luca. Used with permission.

Is Cannabis Part of an Alzheimer’s Cure?

Scientists at the Salk Institute labs in San Diego have published preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in cannabis can remove amyloid beta, the toxic protein most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Officials at the Salk Institute cautioned that the results, published in the June issue of the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, shouldn’t be taken as a sign that cannabis is a panacea for Alzheimer’s. The studies were conducted in neurons grown in a laboratory, and may eventually offer insight into the role inflammation plays in the disease. The Salk Institute’s work could end up providing clues about developing novel therapeutics for the disorder.

“Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s,” said David Schubert, the study’s senior author, “we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells.”

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to memory loss and can seriously impair a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks. According to the National Institutes of Health, it affects more than 5 million Americans, is the nation’s most common cause of dementia, and is a leading cause of death. Alarmingly, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is expected to triple during the next 50 years.

David Schubert, the study’s senior author. Photo via the Salk Institute

It has long been known that amyloid beta accumulates within the nerve cells of the aging brain well before the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and plaques, according to the Salk Institute. Amyloid beta is a major component of the plaque deposits — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s — but the precise roles of amyloid beta and the plaques it forms remain unclear.

In the study published last month, Salk researchers found that high levels of amyloid beta were associated with cellular inflammation and higher rates of neuron death. They found that exposing the cells to THC reduced the amyloid beta protein levels and eliminated the inflammatory response by nerve cells.

“Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves,” said Antonio Currais, a postdoctoral researcher in Schubert’s laboratory and the first author of the paper.

“When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying.”

The human brain has receptors that can be activated by endocannabinoids, lipid molecules produced by the body and used to send intercellular signals in the brain. THC, a phytocannabinoid (that is, a cannabinoid produced by a plant) can activate the same brain receptors.

The current study is one of many looking into how to slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s. Physical activity also results in the production of endocannabinoids, and some studies have shown that exercise may slow the progression of the disease. As Schubert emphasized, his team’s findings were conducted in exploratory laboratory models, and any future use of THC-like compounds as therapy would need to be tested in clinical trials.

It’s Time to Treat Medical Cannabis Like Medicine

Root Rot, Mildew, and Leaf Septoria: How to Deal with These 3 Cannabis Plant Diseases

Walking into a garden filled with healthy, vibrant, and strong cannabis plants is hard to beat. Unfortunately, anyone who has cultivated cannabis before also knows the feeling of discovering the onset of disease in their garden. Although diseased plants can be intimidating, they become manageable once you understand what is happening and learn how to protect your garden.

Here are three common cannabis plant diseases that you should know about and learn how to prevent.

Root Rot (Pythium)

Root rot is a serious issue that takes ahold of unhealthy roots. When plants are overwatered and lack sufficient drainage, the roots cannot take in oxygen and start to die off. Unfortunately, under-watering plants can also cause roots to die off. Healthy roots require a balance of water and time to dry out to take in oxygen. Once there are dead roots in the soil, the next watering cycle will create an ideal environment for root rot to take over. Root rot weakens and destroy the roots, making it impossible for plants to take up nutrients and water.

Identifying root rot can be done in a number of ways. Hydroponic systems grant visible access to the plants’ roots, so check for roots that are brown in color, slimy, and lack the vigor you see in healthy roots. If you do not have access to the roots, you will notice the infected plants drinking less water, growing at slower pace, and a myriad of nutrient deficiencies. Root rot is nearly impossible to fix and results in either nutrient-deficient, stunted plants or having to discard the plants entirely.

You can lessen your chances of root rot by taking a few preventative measures:

  • Have healthy soil with beneficial microbe and bacteria populations. These populations help keep the fungus responsible for root rot under control.
  • Water your plants correctly. This means measuring the amount of water given to each plant and observing day to day how they respond to the amount of water given. It is better to see a plant begin to wilt than to overwater during this process.
  • Have breathable soil. Growing in smart pots and adding perlite to the soil are two ways to help facilitate oxygen flow and allow the soil to drain properly.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew on a plant

Powdery mildew is a common disease that shows up on the leaves and buds of cannabis plants. Initially you will find it on the lower branches of a plant where there is less sun exposure, airflow, and higher levels of humidity. This type of mildew appears as a white powder that sits on the surface of the leaves. Once it appears, it spreads rapidly and can quickly make its way onto bud sites. Fortunately, because powdery mildew is so visible, it’s rare for a plant to die from it. The main concern is it renders the product unfit for sale.

Outdoor Cannabis Grows 101: Everything You Need to Start Growing Outside

It’s common for gardeners to take a preventative route with powdery mildew. Here are some best practices you might consider:

  • Spray your plants with organic products and fungicides
  • Prune your plants to increase airflow
  • Spray compost tea or solutions with varying PH levels to disrupt the spread of the disease
  • Pay attention to which genetics are susceptible to powdery mildew and consider focusing on other strains

If your garden does become infected with powdery mildew, there is a way to remove it by giving the harvested cannabis a bath in a H2O2/H2O solution. By mixing a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with water, you create a solution that sterilizes the harvested plants and removes the mildew. This is a painstaking process, but it can save you from an infected crop.

Leaf Septoria

Leaf septoria on a plant

Leaf septoria is a harsh-looking disease that shows up first on the lower branches and causes leaves to scab and yellow. It reveals itself during the summer when high temperatures combined with summer rains or moisture from watering leave the foliage damp. Nitrogen deficiencies can also serve as a catalyst to the disease.

Although leaf septoria will not kill your plants, it will reduce yields. Once you notice the infection, it’s important to remove and dispose of the leaves. Avoid putting the infected material in your compost pile to prevent future outbreaks. Spraying plants with Bacillus subtilis fungicides can also help slow the spread of the disease.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cannabis Growing: 3 Key Differences

To prevent or reduce the chance of outbreak, there are a few actions you can take:

  • You must have a clean garden space with healthy soils. This is the most important preventative measure you can take. If you have an outbreak, you may need to replace your growing medium before planting again.
  • Clean your entire grow room, especially if you’re operating an indoor garden.
  • Use drip lines to water your plants so the leaves don’t get wet
  • Space the plants further apart to help keep direct moisture off the plants and the humidity levels down

Indoor Cannabis Growing 101: Everything You Need to Start Your First Home Grow

Root rot, powdery mildew, and leaf septoria are just a few of the more common diseases that can show up on cannabis plants. Other diseases include the TMV (tobacco mosaic virus), fusarium, and verticillium wilt. All of these diseases have a common theme when it comes to control: prevention. Gardeners must provide plants with the right nutrients, bacteria, and microbes to be ready to handle infections for the same reasons we as humans eat healthy and exercise to prevent illness.

Lastly, in addition to prevention, genetics play a significant role in dictating how debilitating a disease can be to a plant. Observe your garden, notice trends with specific genetics, and stick to strong-aged genetics that are stable.

Spider Mites, Fungus Gnats, and Root Aphids: How to Deal with 3 Common Cannabis Pests

Leaf septoria photo credit via Scot Nelson on Flickr

Ever Talk To The Cops About Cannabis On Facebook? I Did… Here’s What They Said

Who doesn’t love a good road trip?

I’ve been planning a special one for quite some time now, exploring the country I fought for. I want to see it in all its glory before I leave this world. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on a number of road trips and flights but I’ve never traveled from sea to shining sea, and everywhere in between on land.

What’s the hold up? My medication.

As a medical marijuana card holder in Arizona, I’m allowed to legally possess a certain amount of cannabis at any given time from month to month. In other words I’m allowed to travel freely within my state’s borders.

The problem is that like countless others, I can’t leave Arizona with my medication unless the state I’m traveling to recognizes my status as a cannabis patient. Not if I want to travel with my medication that is.

Now, I’m not going to stop traveling because the government says my medication is illegal, but I need to know what kind of risk I’ll be running in each state so I can decide if it’s worth it.

I’m still going on my road trip, I just need a lawyer on retainer now before I do. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

After contemplating various scenarios I would most likely face if the coppers got ahold of me in hostile territory, I figured the best thing to do would be to contact them directly.

Might as well ask what would happen, right?

not-funnyIt seems as though every Police Department in America is using Facebook. Some of them are even using it for more than just posting pictures of their latest drug busts, or civil asset forfeiture. And some of them, at least the ones we spoke with, were kind enough to talk openly about cannabis to me.

This confirmed what we all already know, cannabis patients who dare to take the family on a road trip this summer will be harassed and discriminated against, possibly ending up behind bars facing criminal charges.

The question below was sent to a major Police Department within each state of The United States.

Sir/Ma’am,

Quick question; lets say I have two ounces of cannabis on my person while I’m driving through your City on a road trip and I get pulled over by one of your officers.

Would they recognize my status as a legal cannabis patient from another state and let me go on my way? Or would I be arrested?

If the latter, what would I most likely be charged with?

It’s an honest question.

Thank you for your time and assistance, I’m sure you have more pressing matters to attend to than answering FB questions from someone in another state.

Figured I’d ask anyway.

Thank you for your service, stay safe.

Ricardo Pereyda (RP)

Here are the responses…

Alabama

Montgomery Police Department:“Give me a few minutes to get you an accurate response. Thank you for your inquiry.

RP: Yes Sir/Ma’am, thank you.

MPD: ALA CODE § 13A-12-231 (1) Any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state,……..(The MPD cut-and-pasted the entire ALA CODE § 13A-12-231, I’ll save you the time; I’d be screwed!)

RP: Thank you.

MPD: You are welcome. Safe travels.

Jacksonville Police Department: “You probably be arrested.”

RP: Well, that’s unfortunate. Would you mind letting me know what the charge might be?

JPD: “Misdemeanor possession of marijuana.”

RP: “Would I be able to contest it as a medical patient?

From the state of AZ that is.”

JPD: “That could be a defense however similar court cases in Alabama have set a precedent that it is not a valid defense.

RP You think the voters in Alabama will be bringing that issue to the ballot box anytime soon?

Piedmont Police Department: “I can’t tell you how any one of our officers would react; if you would be arrested or not. All I can say is that your Arizona Medical Marijuana Card is not recognized in Alabama, and any possession of marijuana is still illegal.”

RP: Fair enough.

Alaska

Anchorage Police Department: “Hi Ricardo, thank you for reaching out to APD. We will get back to you on this. We want to make sure we give you good information. Thank you.

…..

Arkansas

Little Rock Police Department:”Possession of marijuana is illegal in the state of Arkansas regardless of the amount or standings in other states. possession of under four ounces is a misdemeanor.”

RP: Tracking. Thank you.

Fayetteville Police Department:”Arkansas currently does not recognize medical marijuana. We would have to say that your possession of marijuana would be illegal under Arkansas law. However, it would be up to the officer’s discretion as to wether they ‘locked you up’ or let you ‘go in your way.’ We hope this answers your question.”

RPThat scares me, I’m not going to lie. Thank you for your prompt response. Stay safe out there!

Colorado

Denver Police Department:“Thank you for writing. If you are trying to report criminal or suspicious activity, please know that we are unable to provide police services via social media. Additionally, this page is not monitored 24/7. To report criminal or suspicious activity at any time, please call 720-913-2000; dial 911 for emergencies.

If you are wanting a Denver Police Department patch, please send your request to DPDPIO@nulldenvergov.org. Be sure to include a good mailing address with your request.

All other messages will be addressed during normal business hours.

The best source for this type of information is actually our muni code, which can be found at denvergov.org. Colorado.gov is also a great resource for marijuana laws.

Take care, friend.

RP: Thank you very much. You take care too, friend.

Connecticut

Fairfield Police Department:“Thank you for contacting us.  We will review your message as soon as possible.

Please understand that our Facebook account is not monitored 24/7.  If you need immediate assistance, please call (203) 254-4800 or Dial 911 in an Emergency.”

Florida

City of Tallahassee Police Department:“Thank you for sending the Tallahassee Police Department a message.  This page is not monitored around the clock.  If this is an emergency please call 911 or non emergency 850-606-5800.  We will respond to your inquiry as soon as we can!  Thank you.

Georgia

Atlanta Police Department:”Possession of Marijuana in the state of Georgia is illegal, even if you are bringing it from a state where it is not.

RP: Regardless also of my status as a registered cannabis patient?

Hawaii

Honolulu Police Department:“Your question was sent to our narcotics division.

RP: Thank you.

Idaho

Boise Police Department:“Thanks for messaging us. This page is not monitored 24/7 but we try to be as responsive as possible. We’ll get back to you soon.  In case of emergency, dial 9-1-1.  You can also call the non-emergency dispatch number 208-377-6790.

Louisiana

Baton Rouge Police Department: “Simple Possession of Marijuana. It’s a misdemeanor. You would probably receive a summons and released. Unless they thought you were transporting to sell it. Then it would be possession with intent to distribute which is a felony.

RP: Thank you for your prompt response.

Maine

Augusta Police Department:“Augusta Police wants to be attentive to your requests.  If this message needs immediate action, call 626-2370 or 911.  Otherwise it may take time for someone to respond back via this message system.  It is not monitored 24/7.   Thank you.  APD staff.

Maryland

Annapolis Police Department:“This account is not monitored 24 hours a day.  We’ll get back to you soon.  If you are reporting a crime you must contact 410-268-4141 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.  We only send patches to active law enforcement officers.

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your message.  We would not recognize your status from another state.  Possession of marijuana with a weight under 10 grams has been decriminalized in Maryland.  It is a civil citation.  I hope this answers your questions.

Thanks.

RP: Yes Sir/Ma’am. Thank you.

Mississippi

Biloxi Police Department: “It is not recognized.”

RP:So, I would be arrested then?

Nevada

Reno Police Department: “Please do not report crimes to the Reno Police Department Facebook.  Contact Dispatch at 775-334-2677 for non emergencies and 911 for emergencies.

New Mexico

Farmington Police Department:“Thank you for messaging us. This site is not monitored 24/7. We will make every attmept [sic] to reply to you as soon as possible. For immediate police assistance, please contact dispatch at 505-334-6622 for non-emergencies & 911 for emergencies.

Ohio

Perkins Township Police Department: “Thanks for messaging us…our Facebook Page is not monitored 24 hrs but we check it constantly.  We will reply back as soon as we receive it.  If you need immediate assistance call 419-627-0824 Ext 1 for our dispatch and speak to an officer. Thanks !

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Police Department: “It is against the law to possess that substance in the state of Oklahoma.  So yes, it would be an arrestable offense. More than likely possession of MJ, If it’s just simple possession, that’s a misdemeanor.

RP: Would possession of two ounces be considered “simple possession?

OKCPD: Yes.

RP: Thank you, y’all stay safe out there.

OKCPD: Appreciate it.”

RP: Well, aside from potentially being arrested in your fine City for my medicinal use of cannabis, I appreciate the work you do to keep your citizens safe.

The post Ever Talk To The Cops About Cannabis On Facebook? I Did… Here’s What They Said appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

Nevada Marijuana Sales Estimated to Hit $630 Million by 2020

Washington – New Frontier, in partnership with Arcview Market Research, released its 2016 Nevada Legal Cannabis Market State Profile, which shows the potential growth of the adult use market if Nevada voters choose to legalize adult use cannabis in November. Over the next four years, Arcview Market Research’s official market projection is that annual legal

Cannabis Use Won’t Prevent You From Getting Insurance, But It Might Cost You

Contrary to stoner stereotypes, cannabis users are very interested in grown-up things like obtaining quality medical coverage, pursuing life insurance protections after they start families, or seeking “key man” coverage for their businesses.

That’s not always easy — or even possible, as evidenced by the recent experience of TerraTech CEO Derek Peterson. Peterson had applied for life insurance through Mutual of Omaha, but in June the company rejected his application, writing back that it could not accept premiums “from individuals or entities who are associated with the marijuana industry.” The company didn’t elaborate, and Peterson found himself, he quipped, “trying not to get hit by a car.”

The flap drew a lot of attention, and it made one thing evident: The insurance industry and cannabis community have some reconciling to do.

Now, Peterson was denied for his involvement in the industry, not anything to do with his personal use of cannabis. This raises an interesting question: If you’re a regular cannabis user, are insurance companies allowed to discriminate against you when you apply for insurance? Yes and no.

Let’s start with the good news — the no. Health insurance companies, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are prevented from denying coverage based on any preexisting condition. To this end, the ACA prevents them from actually asking for any information from applicants beyond the basics. And cannabis use, it seems, isn’t one of those basics just yet.

“Under the Affordable Care Act,” writes Jackson Holtz, a spokesperson for Seattle-area coverage provider Group Health Cooperative, “insurance companies including Group Health are allowed to ask for only certain information from qualified applicants including age, address and whether or not they use tobacco products.”

Your rates can, of course, go up for regular tobacco use, but that apparently doesn’t include other things Americans may be smoking. In a strange sense, the federal government’s inability to acknowledge the legitimate use of cannabis by its citizens works in your favor here. I mean, there’s still the possibility of being arrested and jailed for it, but hey, at least you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for your premiums!

That loophole closes when it comes to life insurance, however. Life insurance companies are permitted to ask a much wider range of questions about an applicant’s overall health and behavior. Indeed, 80 percent of the 148 underwriters surveyed at an Association of Home Office Underwriters conference in 2015 said that cannabis factors into their decisions on coverage, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

However, some more good news: That doesn’t always mean denial. While cannabis was long classified as a dangerous illegal drug, and its use was grounds for denial of coverage, attitudes have shifted and it’s more and more possible to find a company that works with cannabis consumers. MetLife, for example, does not deny applicants outright based on cannabis use. They’re far more concerned with frequency of use than whether or not an applicant partakes.

“If you don’t use cannabis every day, you’re not rated as a smoker,” said Megan Lantier, a spokesperson for the company. “It’s not really a policy, it’s just that you’re not considered a tobacco smoker. That’s the major thing that gets you [higher rates].”

In plainer terms, the company won’t deny you for smoking pot, even if you do consume more than once a week; being a Saturday smoker simply gets you a better rate. Judging from this report by Munich RE, a major international reinsurance company, that’s the direction the insurance industry in general seems to be leaning.

 View From the Pinstripes: How a Banker Sees a Cannabis Account

The insurance industry, though, is still leery of cannabis in a lot of ways. As the Munich RE report notes, “If abuse or multiple hazards associated with marijuana use are identified, the risk will likely be unacceptable.” However, as Lantier alluded to, the chief worry for insurance-seeking cannabis users these days isn’t complete denial, it’s smoker’s rates.

Jeff Zucker, CEO of Colorado cannabis consulting firm Green Lion Partners, said that his cannabis use definitely emerged as an issue during his quest for life insurance. A couple years back, before he was involved in the industry, he was working with a broker at Wells Fargo to consolidate some existing policies into a single better one when he got some bad news.

“They started asking me questions about my visits to a specific doctor,” he said. “I knew that it was a doctor I’d been sent to for cannabis — I thought confidentially.

“Within a week or two they told me I was being denied. They listed the reason for denial as ‘a twentysomething lifestyle.’”

Right, because medical cannabis users are totally partying 24/7, not battling cancer or wasting syndrome or PTSD or you name it. Also, Zucker is 28, so it’s kind of hard for him not to live a “twentysomething lifestyle.”

 It’s Time to Treat Medical Cannabis Like Medicine

He was eventually offered a much higher smokers rate, but he balked at the cost and chose to stick with his previous situation.

“I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life,” he complained. “I was very upset, actually. I didn’t do anything about it then, but had this happened to me in the past year and a half, I would have pushed harder against it.” Especially vexing to him was the fact that he rarely even smokes cannabis, preferring to vaporize it.

Kyle Sherman, the CEO of cannabis inventory tracking software firm Flowhub, was able to find insurance, but he reported similar stigmatization of his cannabis use.

“This is going to be tough,” he remembered thinking. “A lot of places are going to deny me based on my cannabis use. But it’s not something I’m going to hide. I’m going to very willingly tell everyone that I use it.” The key, he said, was to shop around and find companies like MetLife that were more comfortable with cannabis.

“I searched for companies that support cannabis use, and what I found out was that there are actually a few out there,” he said. Unlike Zucker, however, Sherman went into the search already expecting to pay higher rates. What would have been a $20 per month policy, he said, went up to $150 per month based on his disclosure of cannabis use.

“It’s an extremely expensive premium to have, but for me it’s worth it,” he said. “It was important to me to disclose the use. As an advocate for legalization I want to make sure that everyone I work with knows I use it daily, because if I can live a normal life we can show them that.” However, he was still vexed at being lumped in with cigarette smokers, as he’s more of an edibles person.

 3 Reasons Why Your Next Edibles Should Be Cooked Sous-Vide

“I have a higher premium because I’m eating food that’s infused,” he said. “It’s a joke.” His agent agreed with him, he said, but couldn’t do much to help him, as the company’s pot policy wasn’t quite there.

“They have to classify it as tobacco use, because there’s no other classification for it yet,” Sherman said.

Indeed, Lantier at MetLife didn’t know whether the insurer distinguishes between edible or vaporized forms of cannabis and consumption via combustion. She said she’d ask around within the company but didn’t reply by press time. The Munich RE report, coming from one of the world’s largest reinsurers, might be the best indication of where insurance companies are with cannabis — and it certainly makes no distinction between brownies and blunts.

Regardless of how you consume cannabis, if you’re applying for life insurance, the main thing is to disclose. For one, lying on your application is one of the only things that can void an already-issued life insurance policy. For two, as Sherman stressed, even if you have to pay more, you’re doing your part to fight cannabis stereotypes.

“We’ve all gotta be vocal about our use,” he said. “Be loud and proud. We’re professional stoners.”

 What's in a Pre-Roll?

With 'Calabrian Wave,' Legendary Red Cannabis Returns to Italy

Calabria is considered Italy’s wildest region. Besides being home to one of the most secretive and ruthless mafia organizations, the ‘ndrangheta, it also gave name to the Italy’s only psychoactive cannabis landrace strains.

Located in the southernmost part of the sunny, hilly countryside, Calabria forms the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. To foreign visitors, Calabria might sometimes be overwhelming. The food is a bit coarse and very spicy — peperoncino, the local chili peppers, are sold not by the gram but by the kilo.

As the home to resilient landrace strains, the region is known for its toughness. Calabria’s history is full of struggle against foreign invaders: Turks, Albanians, Greeks, and the Lombards from Germany. But while these guests weren’t welcome, they introduced agricultural products and flavors that have become typical of Calabria and southern Italy: hot chili peppers, bergamot oranges, anchovies, spicy sausages, and, increasingly of interest among cannabis connoisseurs, the unusual red Calabrese cannabis.

These fabled strains are believed to have originated from Afghan cannabis plants in the Botanical Gardens of Naples at the end of the 18th century, and they’ve since diversified in a region with numerous microclimates. For a long time the blush-colored buds were hard to find, but thanks to the breeders of Italy’s own Zoe’s Seeds, this former rarity has a new lease on life with a special hybrid strain, Onda Calabra.

The revival comes thanks to the efforts of an anonymous Calabrian breeder based in Bologna. The breeder crossed a red-hued local strain growing in the Sila Plateau with Northern Lights XXL, creating an orange and citrus taste with some hints of pine and eucalyptus and a typical earthy taste.

The result is a hybrid strain that merges the heady effects of the local varietal with the timeless genetics of a Northern Lights offshoot. Northern Lights, a pure indica descendant of Afghani and Thai landrace strains, remains among the most famous strains of all time and is cherished for its resilience, fast flowering, and resinous buds.

 Is Legalization Coming to Naples, Home of Mafia-Controlled Cannabis?

The name of the new Italian strain, Onda Calabra, translates to “Calabrian wave.” It’s named after a popular song by Peppe Voltarelli, a musician and actor from Calabria. The song was the main theme of his movie Doichlanda, the Calabrese name for Germany. To Voltarelli, Doichlanda is a symbol of a place that offers new opportunities: “Your eyes are a place of the mind. Passing the river, nothing remains. On the beach there are roses, but if I look there, they aren’t roses anymore. Under the never-laughing sky you will be waiting for me, singing. Calabrian wave in Doichlanda, is this a dream?”

The song asks whether Calabrian wave is a dream, but thanks to Zoe’s Seeds it’s now also a plant — and a very sturdy one at that. Many sub-varieties of the legendary ‘Calabrese Reds’ are shaped like Christmas trees and resistant to bad weather (rain and even snow), making Onda Calabra a contender for reliable outdoor cultivation. If it’s a dream, it’s a very pleasant one.

How Bologna Became the Hemp Capital of Europe

Two Public-Use Measures Compete for Ballot Space in Denver

Private cannabis consumption clubs could be coming to Denver — in some form, at least — thanks to two competing initiatives gunning to make it on November’s ballot. To make the fall ballot, each campaign has until mid-August to submit at least 4,726 verified signatures.

One of the initiatives, sponsored by the Denver chapter of NORML, would allow private marijuana consumption clubs. Denver NORML has been gathering signatures for the social-use measure since late spring. The other initiative, launched earlier this week by advocates associated with Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the Denver-based law firm Vicente Sederberg, would allow nearly any business, including bars and restaurants, to offer a public “consumption area,” for patrons 21 and older so long as the owner first obtains support from a neighborhood group.

If approved by voters, the NORML measure would allow cannabis consumption, but not sales, at private social clubs during private events. A permit would be required for those events.

The MPP–Vicente Sederberg group worked on another recent Denver social-use initiative, but it was withdrawn at the last minute in September. Under the current plan, titled the “Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program,” consumption areas would be allowed for four years unless the City Council changes the system or makes it permanent by the end of 2020. Proponents began the process Tuesday afternoon by meeting with an assistant city attorney and the City Council’s director for input on its proposed language.

The current initiative’s primary sponsor, Kayvan Khalatbari, a cannabis business owner and consultant, said the group is aiming to persuade Denver NORML to drop its own private clubs initiative. To Khalatbari, the private clubs further segregate — rather than integrate — cannabis consumers.

Jordan Person, Denver NORML’s executive director, said her group has no plans to drop its effort and will proceed with the measure. The group’s all-volunteer petitioning force, she said, has already gathered about half the signatures it needs.

Here’s Why Cannabis Patients Are Getting Creative In Arizona

I live in Arizona where, thanks to Proposition 203, medical cannabis has been legal since 2010. In 2014, after much legal back-and-forth, cannabis patients in Arizona celebrated the addition of a new qualifying condition to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

What many still do not recognize is when the Director of the state’s Department of Health Services at that time, Will Humble (who is anything but humble), included post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he did so in a very specific, intentionally obstructive way.

Unlike any other qualifying condition within the AMMA, PTSD patients are forced to prove they are undergoing “conventional treatment” in conjunction with their use of cannabis. Basically the law requires you to become a patient somewhere else, then come back to pay the annual state fee and certification in order to become a state patient. Only after you’ve done so can you then legally access your medication.

The annual fee with certification is $300, private practice “conventional psychotherapy treatment” for PTSD ranges in cost, and a patient’s herbal medication in the dispensary will run on average around $300 per ounce of flower.

This process is repeated every year regardless of whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with a long term illness, disease, or injury. The state wants their nut. In addition to the exorbitant and prohibitive cost, the barriers to navigate, and the lack of state operated cannabis therapy programs meeting their requirements leaves patients with little choice but to fend for themselves.

For many on disability or who are already struggling to get through the monthly bill cycle, this expense quickly becomes an insurmountable obstacle to their becoming a legal patient in Arizona. Essentially, the state is shutting the door on qualified individuals because they have the authority to do so, pushing those in need into the “black market” everyone says they’re trying to eliminate.

Veterans in the state who qualify to get their treatment from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are also involved in this Mexican standoff, simply due to their inability to access cannabis treatment through the VHA.

Cannabis Inspires a Creative Response

In response to the state’s obstructionist tactics, and Inspired by Heidi Keys’ trend setting “Puff, Pass, & Paint” in Denver, CO, patients in Arizona have come together and developed a plan of action.

Being personally impacted by these laws and a card holder myself, I reached out to a friend of mine here in town who has a mobile painting business, now we’re starting a cannabis art therapy class in Tucson.

Buds & Brushes is the first of what will be a series of monthly cannabis art therapy classes across the state of Arizona. The intent of these classes is to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere where cannabis patients are given permission to embrace their creativity in a normal environment.

We want to attract as many people as possible who have been putting off getting legal. Certifying officials will be present at the event for patients to speak with, get additional information from and make appointments with to get evaluated & certified.

Patients need to know they’re able to work within the system, we’re here to help them do that. This is especially true for Arizona residents required to be participating in therapy as a condition of their becoming legal patients.

Eventually we will also be including yoga therapy to further bridge the gap between cannabis patients and the AMMA. Ideally, sharing this will result in similar sessions in other “legal” states across the country where Social Clubs are being organized.

Do you think art therapy is effective? Let us know in the comments below.

About the AuthorRicardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda is U.S. Army Veteran from Tucson, Arizona. Advocating for federal & state cannabis law and public health reform, he has been outspoken in calling for veteran access within the VA and research into the safety and efficacy of cannabis. He’s worked closely with Patients Out of Time, Drug Policy Alliance, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, The Weed for Warriors Project, Operation OverMed and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access among others.

The post Here’s Why Cannabis Patients Are Getting Creative In Arizona appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

Prescription Drug Use Falls in Medical Cannabis States

In a landmark study published earlier this week in the medical journal Health Affairs, researchers at the University of Georgia found that the use of prescription drugs is significantly less in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. The drop in prescription medication use was especially pronounced for patients with chronic pain, a condition often treated with opioids.

The study has garnered national media coverage, and it’s the strongest evidence yet that medical marijuana does not fuel the nation’s opioid crisis. Rather, it seems to be a significant tool in America’s fight against the overuse of opioids.

“Generally, we found that when a medical marijuana law went into effect,” the study’s authors concluded, “prescribing for FDA-approved prescriptions drugs under Medicare Part D fell substantially.”

Significantly, prescriptions for chronic pain showed the greatest drop. On average, physicians in medical marijuana states wrote 1,826 fewer daily-dose prescriptions for painkillers annually compared to physicians in non-MMJ states.

This chart, published as part of the Health Affairs study, records the difference in annual prescriptions, per physician, for specific ailments. In legal medical marijuana states, for instance, an average of 562 fewer daily doses of prescription drugs were filled for patients with anxiety, compared to patients in non-MMJ states.

The study comes at a critical moment in the debate over opioid use, medical cannabis, and legalization. A number of prohibitionists and public officials — most notably in the Northeast — have attempted to tie America’s ongoing opioid crisis to the legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis. “The shadow of the heroin epidemic is something that people think about when they think about the legalization [of cannabis],” Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith said earlier this year, just before a promising legalization measure stalled in the state Capitol. Some elected officials in Massachusetts have also pointed to the region’s out-of-control opioid crisis as a reason to oppose the state’s legalization measure, which will go before voters in November.

http://www.leafly.com/news/headlines/maine-could-be-first-state-to-ok-medical-cannabis-to-treat-addict

The effect of legal medical cannabis on the overuse of prescription meds may actually be greater than indicated by this one study. Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford, the University of Georgia scientists who co-authored the work, relied upon data from patients enrolled in the government’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. That plan is available only to people 65 or older.

In other words, the study is essentially a look at the effect of MMJ laws on retirees — a demographic group that has been shown to be among the most hesitant to try medical cannabis. A similar study on a younger, more cannabis-comfortable demographic group, could well reveal an even greater drop-off in prescription drug use.

 States with Legal Medical Cannabis Have Seen a 25% Decrease in Prescription Painkiller Overdose Deaths

Colorado Cannabis Opponents Give up Fight Over Potency Limits

DENVER — Marijuana opponents in Colorado have given up a plan to ask voters about requiring less-potent cannabis and telling consumers that the drug could cause brain damage and paranoia.

Backers of the potency measure announced Friday that they’re unable to raise enough money to advertise what would have been the most serious attempt yet to roll back Colorado’s 2012 legalization amendment. Attorney Frank McNulty, who represents the Healthy Colorado Coalition, the group behind the amendment, made the announcement that they will withdraw the controversial amendment. The measure was cleared for the ballot last month by the Colorado Supreme Court, but its supporters said they could not raise enough money to support it.

Amendment 139 could have had dramatic and far-reaching consequences for the cannabis industry in Colorado as we know it, but luckily, Coloradans refused to accept the restrictive proposal lying down.

The Colorado Health Research Council (CHRC) was formed in opposition of the proposed amendment. Amendment 139 would have imposed a limit of no more than 16 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for any cannabis products sold at state-licensed retail cannabis shops. According to BDS Analytics, the measure would have prohibited more than 80 percent of the cannabis products currently on the market.

The measure also included packaging and labeling requirements, which are already in place through Colorado’s regulations, and would have inserted them directly into the state constitution. Some of the new required “health warnings” include such claims as cannabis causes “permanent loss of brain function,” and “increased chance of a harmful reactions due to higher tetrahydrocannabinol levels,” neither of which has any scientific validity nor medical proof to back them up.

We reached out to noted cannabinoid neuroscientist Michele Ross to find out the truth behind the claims.

“The laundry list of health risks that they are supposed to put on the packaging are completely unfounded in science,” Ross said. “In fact, several studies have shown the opposite of these warnings. For example, I published in 2006 on the ability for cannabinoids to actually grow brain cells. We know from many research studies that cannabis is actually neuroprotective and not associated with permanent brain damage.”

Although Colorado has both recreational and medical cannabis markets, the amendment would have affected all cannabis sales, including medical. That could have had a devastating impact on medical cannabis patients with specific needs for high concentrations of THC.

“This is really not what our policy should be based on that at all here in Colorado,” Ross said. “We should have smart policy that’s based on science, based on data, not based on fears.”

Supporters called on elected officials to “recognize the harm that legalized pot has had on our state.”

A marijuana industry group formed to oppose the measure applauded the decision Friday to abandon the potency campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Why Are We Celebrating Again? Flags, Fireworks, and Betrayal

Happy Fourth of July, A.K.A. “Independence Day!”

You know the drill, flags waving from everywhere, gluttonous sociopaths marching up and down main street desperately seeking out the next distraction, paid patriotic content blasting from every device with a screen or speaker, and the inevitable “thank you for your service, we’re able to enjoy these freedoms because of your sacrifice for our Nation” from some doe-eyed fuck who has no idea what they’re thanking you for.

When tweets from the celebrity of the news cycle get more attention than people killing themselves at the VA, there’s a dangerous disconnect between society and reality.

What does my service mean to these people? Nothing.

If asked, the average person on the street isn’t able to explain to me what we’re doing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, South America, Africa, Europe, or anywhere else that isn’t a Spring Break hot spot. All they’re able to regurgitate is that “we’re fighting terrorists who threaten our way of life, our freedom.”

Granted, these words are coming from a jaded and somewhat pessimistic disgruntled veteran who by no means speaks for everyone out there. Aside from my personal experience and perspective, I happen to know there are other veterans who feel the same way.

This is a way of life.

We proclaim and celebrate Freedom & Independence every year, yet there are glaring contradictions within those proclamations we refuse to acknowledge. Our Founding Fathers rejected tyranny, rejected the abuses of a government that did not represent them. Our society seems to welcome both. Freedom & Independence meant something very different in our Nation’s infancy.

The idea of Freedom is alive and well. However, after an honest assessment of our shared environment, do you feel free? I don’t.

We incarcerate more of our citizens than any other country on earth, many times over. The majority of those individuals are behind bars for possessing, using, growing, or selling cannabis, while at the same time there are select few who are getting rich doing the exact same thing in”legal”states.

Our own government has been funding scientific research into this herb that could be used to help veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, and other service connected injuries/disabilities while at the very same time denying these wounded warriors access to it. On the flip side of legitimate scientific endeavors our government has been covertly engaged in, remember Iran-Contra? Freeway Ricky Ross?

We avoid these discussions because they’re uncomfortable and require action on our (what’s more, our elected officials) part after engaging in them.

We’ve become complacent and now those with specific, self-serving agendas have firmly entrenched themselves. They’re able to do as they please without fear of consequence or penalty.

Our laws have been auctioned off to the highest bidder, and science has been hijacked by special interest groups dead set on maintaining their profitable status quo.

Veterans Shut Out of VA By Back Door SchemesIt takes a real special kind of individual to do this to our Veterans.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/29nCPws

Posted by Illegally Healed on Sunday, July 3, 2016

When I can’t, by law, have an open honest and free conversation about an herbal medication with my physician at the VA or, when I can’t travel from state to state with my herbal medicine without risking prison time and the loss of my federal benefits, I don’t feel Free. I don’t feel Independent. I feel trapped, and I feel controlled.

Case in point, the Veterans Equal Access amendment that just got shot down right before the Holiday break:

“Blocking this amendment at the conference committee stage is an assault on democracy and those Americans who risked their lives and health to defend it,” said Michael Liszewski, Government Affairs Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “It’s shocking that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers would allow a veterans health care provision that won by wide margins in a Senate committee and on the House floor to be stripped from the bill behind closed doors.”

vets-march-feature

It is what it is.

This year I’m celebrating my Freedom to Choose, and my Independence from harsh pharmaceutical narcotics. I’m celebrating once again belonging to something bigger than myself and my happy little Tribe here in Tucson, Arizona.

There are many passionate souls out there doing the lion’s share of work to keep this fight going, despite frustration, obstruction, and constant setbacks battling a rigged system. These beautiful advocates keep pushing. They refuse to quit. They don’t know what it means to quit.

I’ve struggled in my transition from the military, but you’ve probably been able to pick up on that by now. I’m doing everything I can to remain focused on the many blessings in my life, and there are many. I’m one of the lucky ones. This article is for those who aren’t as fortunate.

Anyway, the party has already started and I’m sitting here like a buzzkill.

Dabs up!

Cheers to the Fallen, Rest Easy.

Have you claimed Independence from dangerous pharmaceutical narcotics? … Share your story.

About the AuthorRicardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda is U.S. Army Veteran from Tucson, Arizona. Advocating for federal & state cannabis law and public health reform, he has been outspoken in calling for veteran access within the VA and research into the safety and efficacy of cannabis. He’s worked closely with Patients Out of Time, Drug Policy Alliance, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, The Weed for Warriors Project, Operation OverMed and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access among others.

The post Why Are We Celebrating Again? Flags, Fireworks, and Betrayal appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

Visiting Jamaica? New Proposal Would Bring Cannabis Kiosks to Airport

Welcome to Jamaica. Need a medical cannabis card? The country’s newly established Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is examining a proposal that would let you pick one up just as soon as you land on the island.

“The thought is that if you are coming out of the airport, there is a kiosk that you can go to,” Hyacinth Lightbourne, CLA’s chairman, told the Jamaica Gleaner. “So basically whoever is coming out of immigration can go to that desk and register.”

The proposed system would allow new arrivals to self-declare a need for medical cannabis and obtain documentation to register for the country’s medical program. The airport kiosks would be staffed by individuals trained in cannabis-related care and well versed in the country’s regulatory policies.

The proposal is still in its planning stages. “We’ve had our first meeting, and my thinking is that we’d need a few weeks to turn out an appropriate document,” said the chairman of CLA’s medical committee, Dr. Winston De La Haye.

Jamaica legalized cannabis for medical, scientific, and religious use in February. The CLA’s cannabis-kiosk plan is an important first step in creating a platform for medicinal distribution.

Under the new scheme, adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis has been decriminalized, though law enforcement can still issue citations for possession, which carry a roughly $5 fine. Rastafaris and medicinal patients are exempt from that penalty. All public consumption remains illegal.

Expanding the country’s medical cannabis market could bring significant revenue to the island. CLA member Delano Seiveright pointed to the economic benefits legal cannabis offered U.S. states and Canada.

“In Colorado last year, even though it is recreational and medicinal, they sold about USD $1 billion worth of marijuana and collected $135 million in taxes for the state alone with a population of five million plus,” he said. Canada’s market currently takes in USD $100 million from its medical system, he added, but could rise as high as $5 billion once the country’s adult-use program is online. “You can see the potential it presents,” Seiveright said.

Here’s Why My Husband Was Put In Prison For A Plant

Andi Martin woke up to take her kids to school – like she did every day. Her husband, Chris however noticed there were a lot of police out that morning. Here’s where Andi says the nightmare started…

Coming In; Guns Blazing

They followed us over eight miles. We got up to a four way stop. It was a big intersection by the kids’ school. The truck turned right and he was ripped out of the vehicle by a SWAT.

I was pulled out by my hair backwards by police officers. One man grabbed my daughter, leaning in my vehicle with a big gun and he grabbed her shoulders and started pushing them with guns in the kids’ faces.

WATCH HOW ANDI AND HER KIDS ARE OVERCOMING THE IMPOSSIBLE:

This Is No Place For A Child

They took me and my kids to the Sheriff’s Department and we sat there together. My kids had to sit there for over six hours. We had a business, we had an attorney telling us what to do so as far as we knew, we were following the laws. We were doing what Arizona said that we needed to do.

Me and Chris met when I was 15. We’ve been together now 13 years. We’ve never been apart so this is a shock. The kids have never been away from him. We’ve always done everything as a family.

I want to legalize cannabis. We aren’t the only family this has happened to.

My kids aren’t the only kids that have been tortured or scared by this.

No One Deserves Jail-time For This Plant

This is just one of thousands of stories about people being imprisoned for a plant that heals. And telling your story is an important part of ending arrests like these.

According to the ACLU’s original analysis, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States.

“Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana.” -ACLU

Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.

“We’re not the only ones and the more people who can see that there are so many of us, it’s not okay. And I think people need to see the severity of what’s really happening over a plant. Over something that’s saving people.” – Andi Martin

Families are affected and lives are destroyed over a plant. Felons have a hard time getting work and are given long sentences since the prisons are run for profit.

See the whole episode by signing up here to get access to season two videos. Streaming in HD to: Amazon, Google Play, Itunes, and X-Box.

About the AuthorWendy Robbins

Wendy Robbins

Wendy Robbins a two time Emmy Award winner and is the Director/Producer of The Marijuana Show. “Shark Tank for the legal Cannabis Industry” – CNBC. The show is seen on Amazon, Itunes and Google Play and has offered over $18 million to worthy ganjapreneurs. Wendy writes for Huffington Post and is a best-selling author of “Why Marry A Millionaire? Just Be One! She co-starred with Kelly Ripa as her business coach on “Homemade Millionaire” on TLC and co-invented the popular Tingler Head massager. She has been seen as a cannabis expert on/in ABC, CNN, CNBC, FOX, NPR, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Inc, Rolling Stone, Dope and High Times.

The post Here’s Why My Husband Was Put In Prison For A Plant appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

Oregon Launches New Cannabis Worker Permit

Oregon has launched a new program to require permits for all workers in the state’s recreational cannabis industry. In the coming months, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will process applications and will begin issuing Marijuana Worker Permits on Sept. 1. In the interim, OLCC recreational marijuana licensees are still required to use the state’s cannabis tracking system to register employees.

Each employee of a cannabis company licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) must possess a marijuana worker permit, according to the agency. Applicants must be 21 or older and pay a $100 fee. Permits are valid for five years after the issue date.

Applicants will also have to complete criminal background checks to receive permits, even if they have already completed a background check for the company’s original cannabis license.

The following criminal convictions will disqualify permit applicants:

  • Felony conviction for possession, manufacture, or delivery of a controlled substance within three years of the date the OLCC received the application, except for convictions involving the manufacture or delivery of cannabis that occurred two or more years prior to the date of the application or renewal.
  • Felony conviction for a violent crime within three years of the date the OLCC received the application.
  • Felony conviction for a crime of dishonesty or deception, including but not limited to theft, fraud, or forgery, within three years of the date the commission received the application.

All employees, even part-time and seasonal workers, are required to hold a permit. The mandate affects all licensed producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers.

The new licenses are similar to those issued in Colorado. In that state, applicants must be at least 21 years old and free of any controlled-substance felony conviction during the 10 years immediately preceding his or her application date or five years from May 28, 2013, whichever is longer.

Arkansas Puts Medical Cannabis on the November Ballot

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin confirmed today that Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 77,516 valid signatures, nearly 10,000 more signatures than the 67,887 needed in order to qualify for a spot on the ballot. Martin’s OK means state voters will give medical marijuana legalization an up-or-down vote in November.

Now comes the work of conciliation.

With their initial goal achieved, Arkansans for Compassionate Care have asked David Couch, the Little Rock attorney leading a rival MMJ effort, to halt his effort and join their campaign.

Ryan Denham, Deputy Director of Arkansans for Compassionate Care, told Leafly why his group feels it’s important for the two medical marijuana campaigns join forces.

“We’re urging David Couch and Jason Polk to withdraw their initiative and join us, because if we have both of these initiatives on the ballot, they will both fail,” Denham said earlier today. “It will split the vote just enough so they will both fail and it’ll confuse voters, so it’s really important that he withdraws his campaign and we work together to pass medical cannabis here in Arkansas.”

Leafly’s calls and emails to Couch’s office weren’t immediately returned.

With the measure’s approval today, Denham said he’s excited to begin the next phase of the campaign. “Today really starts the kickoff of the campaign,” he said. “We’ve had 1,600 people sign up to volunteer with our campaign, so now we’re ready to put those folks to work by educating voters, registering voters, and getting out the vote.”

He stressed the importance of registering as many voters as possible, using the lessons learned from their 2012 campaign, which failed by a slim margin. “It’s really important to us to register as many people to vote as possible,” he said. “When we attempted this in 2012, we were narrowly defeated by less than two percentage points.”

Reflecting on the 2012 defeat, Denham noted some of the changes the group has made to improve the new initiative. “One of the most important changes was the affordability clause,” he said. “We have a provision that allows low-income patients to get discounted prices for cannabis that would be entirely paid for by the program.”

That clause sets the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act apart from most other medical marijuana programs around the country. It’s almost unheard of to have states subsidize medical cannabis. Massachusetts is one of the only medical states that makes an exception for economic hardship.

Denham emphasized the importance of the support system for Arkansas patients. “Arkansas is actually one of the poorest states in the nation, so helping out low-income patients is really important to us.”

It’s been a long road to the 2016 ballot for Denham and his group. They began collecting signatures for the approved initiative in 2014, two years after their narrow defeat in 2012. Now their hard work seems to be finally paying off.

 Cannabis Use Won’t Prevent You From Getting Insurance, But It Might Cost You

Announcing The July Dispensary Of The Month: Serra Cannabis

As a part of The Weed Blog’s initiative to promote responsible cannabis business practices, we’ve chosen to highlight a dispensary every month that exemplifies this goal. By focusing on high-quality cannabis brands, we intend to showcase the benefits the cannabis industry has brought to the community, the difficulties managing the constant wave of regulations, and

They Did It Again! Dirty Politics In DC Leaves Veterans Hanging

Veterans from across the country are demanding access to cannabis through the Veterans Health Administration as a recognized medical alternative to pharmaceutical narcotics without facing discrimination and punishment. It is time for our government to acknowledge what has already been proven through rigorous scientific research conducted as far back as the 1960’s and paid for by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Research credited for identifying many of cannabis’ medicinal properties which has subsequently led to multiple patents being filed in the U.S., specifically the patent held by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listing cannabis as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant — US6630507 B1.

The Proof is Falling Into Formation

Testimonials of veterans who have benefited greatly from the use of cannabis are readily available in large and ever growing numbers. As federal patients veterans are being prescribed extremely addictive pharmaceutical narcotics linked to tens of thousands of deaths across the country every year, and rising.

Demonstrators march in Philadelphia calling for cannabis law reform. – 2015

It’s widely accepted that cannabis is a neuroprotectant, serves as a palliative treatment for those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, and has statistically lowered the overdose rates in states where it is legal.

We Do Have Alies

Congressman Earl Blumenaur (D-OR) and others have been fighting for years to pass a bill that would essentially crack Pandoras Box within the VA. Finally a bipartisan coalition of policy makers in DC believe it’s time for veterans to engage in open honest and free conversation about cannabis therapy with their VA Primary Care Providers.

These elected public servants even voted on it, and the measure passed with a great cheer from across the country as veterans who’ve been living in the shadows for far too long finally felt they could safely “come out” about their cannabis use.

The Democratically inclined among us might rightfully finish reading here and figure the system is finally starting to work the way our founding fathers intended. Nothing more to discuss. Way to do right by our veterans, now move on to the next issue. Right? Wrong.

When the legislation which has been so broadly supported came out of the final conference committee the language pertaining to cannabis and veterans access within the VA had been removed, naturally leaving each elected official who voted for the measure scratching their heads wondering what the hell happened. What’s more, shortly after the still to be identified committee released the “new” document, the Congress and Senate went home to celebrate our Nation’s Independence Day.

The Fight Continues

We refuse to allow our leadership to continue claiming ignorance as their defense in the face of such overwhelming scientific evidence disproving their increasingly impotent claims. Science should be dictating our policy and legislative action pertaining to cannabis. When the House and Senate return from their vacations, we will be there, waiting for answers. Demanding action, accountability, and assurances that this type of despicable behavior will no longer be tolerated.

So, on this Fourth of July while you’re waiting for the fireworks to start, firing up the grill, or heading out for a night on the town, remember your being distracted is what they’re counting on.

What do you think — should veterans be able to access cannabis through the VA? Let us know in the comments below…

About the AuthorRicardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda

Ricardo Pereyda is U.S. Army Veteran from Tucson, Arizona. Advocating for federal & state cannabis law and public health reform, he has been outspoken in calling for veteran access within the VA and research into the safety and efficacy of cannabis. He’s worked closely with Patients Out of Time, Drug Policy Alliance, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association, The Weed for Warriors Project, Operation OverMed and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access among others.

The post They Did It Again! Dirty Politics In DC Leaves Veterans Hanging appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

The Democratic Party’s Cannabis Position Stinks. Here’s How We’d Change It.

The Democratic Party released its official pre-convention platform this afternoon, giving all of us policy wonks stuck in our offices prior to the July 4 weekend something to read and grumble about.

So let’s get grumbling!

The party’s position on cannabis consists of 86 words of room-temp tea. Cold oatmeal. Stale fries. Choose your own food-based metaphor. It’s far more Hillary than Bernie, all uncertainty and more-research-is-needed, served up with a nearly offensive tip o’ the cap to the outrageous disparities between white and African American marijuana arrest rates. Here it is, in all its half-measured glory:

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites, despite similar usage rates.”

This is a platform that could be vastly improved in two minutes.

In fact, we did just that. We sent it around the Leafly editorial office for revision. Here are four alternate-universe versions, from writers Bruce Barcott, Lisa Rough, Brett Konen, and Ben Adlin. Changes are in bold.

Alt Version 1: The De-Scheduler

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to legalize and regulate marijuana should be able to do so. We support the end of federal marijuana prohibition. We believe marijuana should be entirely dropped from the federal schedule of controlled substances. We support policies that will allow uninhibited research on marijuana, as well as reforming our federal tax, banking, and other laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. We believe the U.S. Justice Department should end its oversight of marijuana and allow states to regulate the substance as they please. We recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites, despite similar usage rates. With that in mind, we support clemency and amnesty for those convicted of, and accused of, federal and state crimes involving marijuana.” (Bruce Barcott)

Alt Version 2: The Justice System Overhaul

“We believe that cannabis has been proven in multiple, wide-ranging scientific studies to have extensive medical benefits for a variety of illnesses and ailments and, as such, cannabis should be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and be moved to Schedule II. This would expand the opportunities for further research and remove barriers for scientists who do not have access due to current scheduling restrictions. We recognize our current marijuana laws have had a devastating impact on African Americans, and we believe that in order to reduce the disparity between the races, wholesale changes need to be made to the current criminal justice system.” (Lisa Rough)

Alt Version 3: The Precise Rescheduler

“We recognize that states have the constitutional right to act as laboratories of democracy on the issue of cannabis, and to do so without interference or threat thereof from the federal government. Those states that want to decriminalize or legalize cannabis for medical or adult recreational use can and should be able to do so. We strongly support policies that will facilitate more rigorous and extensive research on cannabis, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal cannabis businesses to exist without obstacles or uncertainty. Furthermore, we recognize that our current cannabis laws have had an unacceptably disparate impact on different racial and socioeconomic groups, with arrest rates for cannabis possession among African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates. The rescheduling of cannabis at the federal level is decades overdue, and continued inattention to this issue is unacceptable. We support the immediate rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule II or lower, if it remains scheduled at all.” (Brett Konen)

 Clinton Vows Tepid Leadership on Cannabis

Alt Version 4: The Science-Based Solution

“We believe that current federal policies regarding cannabis and its constituent compounds — particularly their inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act — has no basis in science and, in fact, borders on paternalism. We call on Congress to take the lead in setting common-sense policies regarding academic research and the medical effects of consumption, recognizing that cannabis poses a far smaller threat to public health than alcohol and nicotine. As a growing number of states have shown, legalization and sensible regulation of both medical and adult-use markets help ensure safe and consistent products while limiting the availability of cannabis to minors. Reform also begins to address some of the worst consequences of the drug war — disproportionately harsh criminal penalties, mass incarceration, and widespread racial discrimination. It’s time for cannabis regulations to be the result of scientific evidence and intellectual honesty, not stale political propaganda.” (Ben Adlin)

Blockbuster Report Backs U.N. Cannabis Regulation, End to Prohibition

These Pro MMA Fighters Don’t Just Use Cannabis, They Embrace It

At a time when some professional leagues are fining and suspending players for cannabis use, a group of leading MMA fighters and jiu jitsu champions are openly embracing cannabis as part of their training program and health regimen. This weekend they’ll gather in San Jose, Calif., for the world’s first “Cannathlete Seminar” program, which is open to the public.

Former UFC contender and Strikeforce Champion Jake Shields as well as three-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion Denny Prokopos will co-host the “Cannathlete – Train Like a Champion” series from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about how to optimize their mental and physical performance with cannabis.

Tickets for the event are $125, which includes a doctor’s recommendation, or $100 if you already have an in-state recommendation. During the event, Shields will discuss the ways he manages his competitive nerves through diet and strength conditioning, while Prokopos will lead a series of breathing, meditation, and self-defense exercises in addition to sharing how he incorporates cannabis into his daily training routines.

The event is co-sponsored by VapeXhale, maker of a vape pen marketed toward athletes. Company founder and CEO Seibo Shen is a fellow MMA fighter and former stuntman. His company sponsors both Shields and Prokopos, and he hopes so-called cannathletes — athletes who incorporate cannabis within their daily workouts — catch on in the sporting world.

Jake Shields. Photo courtesy of VapeXhale

Shen, a veteran in the tech industry, has been a lifelong jui jitsu practitioner. After several years away from the sport, he looked to find a way back into martial arts. He eventually arrived at 10th Planet Jui Jitsu in California, run by jiu jitsu legend Eddie Bravo.

Bravo, a well-known regular on the Joe Rogan Podcast, has been a longtime cannabis supporter. At 10th Planet, Shen was introduced to Denny Prokopos and began training and sharing ideas.

“I think it is a match made in heaven,” Shen told Leafly in a recent interview. “We were really trying to push the envelope of how healthy and efficient vaporizers can be, and here I found someone who was doing jui jitsu and had the same type of ideologies and methodologies as me.

“Once we started talking about cannabis and health, I started to notice what Denny was doing not just to train his body, but also [his] mind and spirt with yoga and meditating. I started implementing those practices as well.”

Eddie Bravo, left, and Denny Prokopos. Photo courtesy of VapeXhale

Eddie Bravo, left, and Denny Prokopos. Photo courtesy of VapeXhale

Prokopos agreed that the two hit it off immediately.

“From the beginning we have shared the same vision, which is, basically: jujitsu, cannabis, health, success, recovery, positive mental attitude — and we want to contribute,” he told Leafly. “We see that cannabis, jujitsu, strength and conditioning, meditation, and yoga — things of those natures and recovery — go hand and hand.”

Denny added, “We want to put something together that is unique, that hasn’t been done, and we think people will like it. This is something that I have been doing for a very long time myself — I am the lab rat on everything for this. I love it; it is my whole lifestyle.”

Three Things Everyone Should Know About Cannabis and Exercise

Shields, a former UFC contender who fought the legendary Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title at UFC 129, agreed with Shen and his training partner Prokopos. People would be surprised at how many fighters use cannabis, Shields said..

“It is a big crossover between jujitsu guys, MMA guys and cannabis,” he explained. “I would say half, if not more of the guys smoke, a lot of them not openly. I think more guys feel like they can come out about it now with the climate change” in favor of legalization. “It is a big part of the training for a lot of people. I definitely don’t smoke every day, but sometimes it is a good way to go in there and smoke a little bit and be a little more creative — like sometimes when you are in a big training camp before a competition, it really makes training fun again.”

Jake Shields. Photo courtesy of VapeXhale

Jake Shields. Photo courtesy of VapeXhale

All three athletes agreed that cannabis has helped them become more creative in jujitsu. When he began vaping, Prokopos said, it helped him approach things from a different perspective.

“One of the things that I realized early on was, when I first started smoking cannabis or vaping, I would see things I would normally would not see, and I started looking from a different lens, in a way,” he said. “Then also, when I started rolling, it relaxed me, I opened up, I cared a lot less about being smashed. I was a lot more interested in the moves.”

 Leafly Science Roundup: Can Cannabis Improve Your Workout?

For Shields, cannabis isn’t something he takes advantage of every time he goes to work and competes. He describes it more as an aid, used to bring a change of pace to training camp.

“It brings a whole new experience to it,” he said. “I certainly don’t encourage this during every workout, but maybe try it both ways so you can get new ideas and become more creative.”

“Cannathlete – Train Like A Champion” begins at 10 a.m. at the Cannathlete Training Center, on 96 N. Almaden Blvd., San Jose, Calif., 95110.

5 Ways Runners Can Incorporate Cannabis into Their Training

Maryland Attorney Leah Heise Named CEO of Women Grow

Women Grow, the acclaimed international cannabis organization, has just announced a major transition in leadership, with Maryland-based attorney Leah Heise taking over as CEO.

Heise is a compliance attorney actively involved in the implementation of Maryland’s medical cannabis program. She joined Women Grow two years ago, when she began assisting with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Last year she formed the Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute and created a management team to apply for licenses to grow, process, and distribute cannabis as part of Maryland’s burgeoning industry.

In accepting the position, Heise recognized her predecessors at Women Grow, co-founders Jazmin Hupp and Jane West. “Jazmin and Jane built an incredible platform for diverse leaders to succeed in the nascent cannabis industry,” she said. “It is an honor to have this chance to expand on their vision and strengthen Women Grow’s position as a leader in the international cannabis industry.”

Women Grow was founded in 2014 by Hupp and West, beginning with just a single chapter in Denver, Colo. In the years since, it has become the largest national event organization for women (and men) in the cannabis industry, with more than 15,000 event attendees and over 75,000 Women Grow followers.

Hupp has been serving as the group’s CEO for the past two years, with support from West as National Events Director. Both founders will continue to be involved in the future of the organization and in the cannabis industry.

How Much Do You Know About Canada? Take Leafly's Canada Day Cannabis Quiz

Happy Canada Day!

How much do you know about the True North Strong and Free? Take our Canada Day Cannabis Quiz and find out.

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Portland Bike Tours for Cannabis Enthusiasts

Pedal Bike Tours has offered historical tours of the Portland and Honolulu areas via people-powered transportation since 2007. On October 1st, 2015, when early adult use/recreational marijuana sales began in Oregon, they launched a new project, Portland Pot Tours. Sarah Gilbert, who has been with the company for almost two years, came up with the

More Minnesota Dispensaries to Open on Anniversary of State's Medical Market

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s final two medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open Friday, bringing all eight clinics online ahead of a critical expansion that could bring thousands more patients into the program in its second year.

Lawmakers gave the state’s two manufacturers time to open the eight locations required by the law that legalized medical marijuana; just two were open when the program launched last summer, both in the Twin Cities. LeafLine Labs’ final two clinics opening Friday — in St. Paul and Hibbing — brings the program to full strength, shortening drives for patients and their parents.

Friday also marks the first full year of legal medical marijuana sales, marked by high costs and lackluster patient enrollment that came with one of the most restrictive laws in the country. No plant form is allowed, and only patients with a handful of severe conditions like cancer, seizure disorders or multiple sclerosis can qualify. In a month, however, patients with intractable pain will be added to the program — a condition that’s dominated medical marijuana business in other states and could boost Minnesota’s registration beyond the roughly 1,500 at last state count.

The new shops are a boon to people like Angie Weaver, who has made 400-mile round trips from her home in Hibbing to Eagan, the closest spot to buy the medical marijuana that she calls “a miracle” for treating her daughter Amelia’s severe seizure condition. As of Friday, it will be just a few miles down the road.

“This location opening up for northern Minnesota is so important,” Weaver said. “It was just immediate for Amelia. It’s the best treatment we’ve ever found.”

The new locations bookend a rapid development for the program — just three dispensaries were open for much of the first year in Eagan, Minneapolis and Rochester, and clinics in Moorhead, St. Cloud and Bloomington recently opened.

The expansion also sticks the companies that grow, refine and sell marijuana products with additional costs. But officials from LeafLine and Minnesota Medical Solutions, the state’s second manufacturer, are confident their business is on the right track.

“We want to be in every corner in the state,” LeafLine chief executive Andrew Bachman said. “We want to make this as convenient as possible. We want to make this as accessible as possible.”

Kyle Kingsley, Minnesota Medical Solution’s chief executive, said they’ve softened the financial blow of expansion by limiting hours at their newest locations; in Moorhead, they’re open just a few times a month until the business picks up.

Kingsley and Bachman stressed medical marijuana’s potential to replace narcotic drugs for pain treatment and sounded emboldened by the likely influx of patients with intractable pain starting Aug. 1, but neither really know what to expect. The two companies will start getting a better idea in July, when patients can begin getting a doctor’s approval to register for the program.

Both companies have drawn up plans for expansion their production centers, where the marijuana is grown and cultivated into medicine.

“This is an industry that is based upon adaptability and agility,” Bachman said.

Which States are Most Likely to Legalize Cannabis in 2016?

Stash Containers and Foldable Bongs: The Best Cannabis Products of June 2016

Welcome to Leafly’s cannabis products roundup for the month of June, where we take a look at a few of the many different products that are making a splash in the industry. From cleaning products and stash boxes to travel-friendly bongs and cooking classes, we’ve highlighted the interesting, innovative, or just plain fun items that caught our attention. You can find these products through our own Products section for further information.

VapeXhale 420 Wipes

First up for the month of June, we have 420 Wipes from the good folks at VapeXhale. These are perfect for sharing smoking devices without passing along germs, as they easily clean and sterilize the mouthpiece of any product you’re using before you hand it off to your friend. Now you can enjoy your group smoke sesh without worrying about swapping spit!

Cost: $6.95

Marley Natural Small Holder

Next we have the small holder from Marley Natural. This discrete yet beautifully-crafted wooden container is a stylish, functional option for carrying any of your pre-rolls or herbs. Beneath the smooth black walnut exterior lies a protective interior with minimal odor and maximum protection for the utmost discretion.

Cost: $30.00

Black Beauty Roll-uh-Bowl Foldable Bong

Roll-uh-Bowl foldable bong

This ingenious device from Roll-uh-Bowl is a foldable silicone water pipe to allow for the ultimate smoking portability, making it perfect for outdoor summer fun. It also comes with a Graffix downstem and bowl for quality hits. The silicone construction also makes for incredibly easy cleaning and storage as well. If you find yourself needing a quick toke but still want the bong experience, this is the product for you!

Cost: $34.99

420 Tours Cannabis Cooking Class

420 Tours in Denver, Colorado

If you find yourself in Denver, be sure to check out the Cannabis Cooking Class from 420 Tours. The class, taught by the Stir Cooking School, will help you and other adults learn how to add cannabis into your meals through a fun hands-on experience from a professional chef. You will come away from the class not only with a happy stomach, but also with a newfound knowledge of cannabis oil breakdowns and cannabis-infused cooking techniques!

Cost: $99.00 and up

Pot Liquor Moonshine

Pot Liquor Moonshine cannabis infused tea

Last but not least, we have some Pot Liquor Moonshine THC True Holistic Cannabis Tea for anyone who’s interested in consuming cannabis-infused beverages. Produced by True Holistic™ Co., this refreshing tea comes packed with 375mg of high quality THC, giving you maximum effects without sacrificing taste. Please note that this product is currently only available in California.

Cost: Varies; check California dispensaries to see if it’s in stock

Stay tuned next month for a new roundup of cannabis products! Got a suggestion in mind? Send your favorite products to tips@nullleafly.com and we may include them in future roundups!

Vape Coolers and Coloring Books: The Best Cannabis Products of May 2016

Canada Launches Cannabis Task Force to Prepare for Full Legalization

TORONTO (AP) — Canada launched a task force Thursday to study the regulation of recreational marijuana ahead of a legalization measure the government plans to send to parliament in the spring of 2017.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised to legalize the drug during his 2015 campaign.

Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould said that the task force will help devise a system regulating cannabis production, distribution and sales.

Anne McLellan, who will chair the task force, said they will be consulting with provincial and municipal governments, as well as with U.S. states like Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana is legal.

McLellan said there’s been a deeper understanding of the cannabis landscape over the past decade.

“I think so many people have come to the conclusion, for so many reasons, that the current situation is not working and we need a better way forward,” she said. “I have, myself, concluded that legalization with a regulatory regime, such as the task force will be exploring, is the way forward.”

The task force is made up of experts in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice.

The panel, whose recommendations will be made public, will have to report back to the government by November before legislation is introduced in 2017.

The government will also hold an online public consultation that will be open until the end of August.

The legislation will need to be voted on in Canada’s House of Commons, but since the current ruling Liberals hold a majority of seats, the bill is expected to pass.

While it’s still unclear what restrictions will be imposed on cannabis growers, Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said the government had a responsibility to put in place legislation “to control the production, distribution and the consumption” of cannabis, especially to keep it out of the hands of children and criminals.

Cartel Bust: 6,500 Plants Seized from Illegal Oregon Operation

An illegal cannabis growing operation in rural Yamhill County, Ore., resulted in an arrest and the seizure of plants worth around $9 million early Tuesday, the The Oregonian reports.

The grow was found in the wetlands Dayton on wetlands near the Willamette River, as authorities have determined the operation was part of a Mexican drug trafficking organization, the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Wednesday morning.

The Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team conducted a two-month investigation into the growing operation. Due to safety concerns, the Oregon State Police SWAT were also called in for the tactical portion of the operation on Tuesday.

Manuel Madrigal, 42, was arrested at the grow on federal drug trafficking charges and transferred to the U.S. Marshals in Portland. Madrigal, who has a San Antonio, Tex., address, also has previous drug arrests.

Sheriff Tim Svenson said the illegal grow is a prime example of the black market’s stubborn presence in Oregon, despite the state’s legal adult-use market opening late last year.

“There is still a profit to be made in marijuana by these illegal organizations,” he said. “As long as this continues, we will need to remain diligent in our investigations to keep this money from being routed to other areas of criminal activity.”

The site was the first large-scale operation found in the county in several years, according to local reports.

Ex-NFL QB Jake Plummer Rips Jerry Jones Over CTE and Cannabis

Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer, who played in the league for a decade with the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Denver Broncos, opened up this week about the NFL’s drug problem.

Plummer, who has been retired from the league for a decade now, on Tuesday called out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on BSN Denver over Jones’ views on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the league’s marijuana policy.

“Like Jerry Jones, who says it’s ‘absurd’ that there would be a link between brain trauma, football and CTE,” Plummer said. “Shame on him for saying that, that billionaire asshole. It’s the worst thing in the world for a guy like that to say. That’s where we’re sitting; grown-ass men are asked to go out there for millions of dollars — which, yeah, it’s a lot of money— bang themselves around, and completely fuck their lives over for their forties and fifties. So yeah, poor football players is what I say. If you’re a grown-ass man, you should be allowed to make grown-ass decisions.”

You may recall Jones’ comments this offseason on the link between CTE and football. Jones responded in a way only the multi-billionaire could. Jones, quoted in the Washington Post, said he wanted studies to back up the link between CTE and football — like the ones reported by Dr. Bennet Omaulu, who was portrayed by Will Smith in the film “Concussion.” Omalu found CTE in the brains of five players in the early 2000s. Evidence of CTE was also found in the brains of 12 other former players between 2008 and 2010.

As Plummer noted, each person makes their own decision to play football. “They should be able to say, ‘I’m going to have some CBD and puff on this fatty, relax after a football game and take the pain away,’” he said. “Not get tested for it like Josh Gordon, who now can’t play the game that he’s been playing since he was a kid because he smokes marijuana. It didn’t derail him or cause him to underachieve from what I witnessed.

“He dominated the league for two straight years, and now he’s out of the league because he chose an alternative form of medicine.”

CBD — cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis — is something Plummer uses every day. Jake The Snake mentioned that one of his former teammates, Nate Jackson, introduced him to CBD as an alternative to the highly addictive painkillers many NFL doctors prescribe to players.

As Plummer mentioned to BSN Denver, players in the league don’t really have a choice when a team doctor prescribes painkillers. The NFL is a revolving door for players; any scrub or star can get cut by any team at any time.

“It’s really hard to explain to the outside, because it’s like having a job and there’s constantly people coming to take your job,” Plummer explains. “If you’re in pain, and you can’t perform or if you’re not healthy, then someone is going to take your job.”

Kings of Pain: Watching a Broncos Game with Ex-NFL Player Nate Jackson Will Lay You Out

“I know a lot of guys that were using [Percocet] and [Vicodin] if that’s what they had to do to get through an NFL season,” Plummer added. “At that point, I wasn’t going to be the guy to say, ‘Hey man, this stuff is bad for you.’ I knew it was; I knew they knew it was but your job is being threatened and you’re going to do whatever it takes. There was, still is and always has been a pretty high use of whatever drug of choice it is to keep you on the field.”

Plummer’s comments continue the ongoing conversation about medical cannabis and the NFL. Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and current Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan recently pushed to remove league sanctions against cannabis use. Monroe, who was released from the Ravens on June 15, shortly after his public comments, has been the most outspoken active player in support of medical cannabis in the NFL.

 Ravens Release Eugene Monroe, NFL Player Who Gave $80K for Medical Marijuana

Header photo by Keith Allison

These ADHD Researchers are Reading Your Posts for Insights on Medical Cannabis

Researchers at Duke University took to online forums last month to learn more about how ADHD patients are self-medicating with cannabis, pushing over the first domino in what might become a series of novel scientific discoveries.

Research rarely starts in a lab. Instead, it begins with a story or situation that prompts a question. Before scoffing at the fact that these researchers used forum threads as the primary data point in their report, consider this: who’d think to associate cannabis and ADHD without the anecdotal evidence put forth by experimentally inclined cannabis users?

“The overall aim of this study was to systematically characterize one source of information that patients and caregivers may use to inform their opinions about ADHD and cannabis: the Internet,” the authors said. “Approximately 72% of adult and 84% of adolescent U.S. Internet users query the Internet for healthcare information.”

Currently, no clinical trials, recommendations, or research support the benefits of cannabis for ADHD. Previous studies looked at the relationship between cannabis and ADHD through the frame of abuse, fixating on the comorbidity rates of ADHD and cannabis use disorder. While this analysis doesn’t provide empirical evidence of efficacy or even demographic context, it does raise an important question that other studies have bypassed: might cannabis have benefits for adult ADHD sufferers?

Looking at 401 posts randomly selected from 258 relevant forum discussions, the researchers determined:

  • 25% of posts indicated cannabis was therapeutic for ADHD
  • 8% of posts indicated it was harmful
  • 2% of posts indicated that cannabis had no impact on their ADHD

Researchers note that depending on the forum in question, attitudes might be skewed toward pro-cannabis sentiments, but the anecdotal evidence is strong enough that even healthcare professionals are coming out in favor of researching this particular behavioral application.

What makes this qualitative analysis an interesting piece of scientific literature isn’t just the statistical results, but also the source from which those were collected. It shows that (A.) the stories we share online can have an impact on scientific and public opinions on cannabis, and (B) patients must often turn to unverified online sources for information on cannabis and health.

“Indeed, more individuals indicate they are more likely to use online forums to address mental health concerns than face-to-face with another person,” the researchers noted. “These forums facilitate social interactions and allow individuals to self-disclose their unfiltered experiences, inquiries, and opinions about substance use in an anonymous format, and may be a fruitful starting point for understanding what patients and caregivers are exposed to when searching for information about the effects of cannabis on ADHD.”

With hundreds of user reviews on Leafly commenting on how different strains affect ADHD symptoms, there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence begging to be looked into by scientists. How does cannabis change communication systems in the brain to improve or hinder neurocognitive functions relevant to those with ADHD? How might a cannabis alternative affect the U.S.’s trigger-happy approach to stimulant medications? So many questions, so little research. This analysis might be a small step forward, but any momentum in the right direction can be appreciated.

The Best Cannabis Strains for Focus and ADD/ADHD

State of the Leaf: Illinois Gets New Qualifying Condition, and the Battle for California Begins

U.S. Cannabis News Updates

California

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act has officially qualified for the November ballot, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The legalization initiative has support from some major players, such as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Facebook president and Napster founder Sean Parker, as well as the Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, California Cannabis Industry Association, and more. The measure would allow adults 21 and older to grow up to six plants for personal use and purchase up to an ounce of cannabis and infused products from licensed retailers, with a 15 percent excise tax on sales. Cities and counties would retain the right to ban cannabis businesses and impose additional taxes on sales. The latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 60 percent of likely California voters are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.

Delaware

A conservative Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate shocked the legislature by calling for Delaware to formally legalize cannabis. Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover) helped pass House Bill 332, which would spare misdemeanor drug offenders in possession of small amounts of cannabis from criminal penalties, opting for probation instead. Bonini made waves after the bill’s passage by announcing his support for broader legalization. “The reality is we’ve legalized marijuana in Delaware and we’ve legalized it through backwards steps. I think incrementally pulling away restrictions and by default legalizing marijuana is not the best way to do it,” he said. “If we’re going to legalize marijuana, let’s legalize marijuana.” Bonini is one of two Republicans running for governor, although a Republican hasn’t won that race in Delaware since 1992.

Illinois

A court has ordered Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. The decision was handed down by Cook County Judge Neil Cohen, who ruled in favor of an Iraq War veteran, Daniel Paul Jabs, in a lawsuit against the department. In a harshly-worded ruling, Cohen criticized Shah’s investigation and subsequent rejection of the many petitions seeking to add qualifying conditions, calling the actions “constitutionally inappropriate.” Not only did Shah deprive the plaintiff of his right to due process, the original rejection was also “contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules.” Cohen gave the state 30 days to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions and has scheduled a follow-up hearing to ensure compliance. It’s the first of eight lawsuits seeking to expand qualifying conditions in the state.

Montana

Montana’s medical marijuana law was struck another blow when the state Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging the 2011 law that limits cannabis providers to supplying a maximum of three patients. The ruling has essentially gutted Montana’s medical cannabis law for dispensaries and caregivers, but the Montana Cannabis Industry Association won’t take the decision lying down. Advocates asked for a delay in the enforcement date until August 31 and have sued to block the law. In the meantime, the group has an initiative that would reverse the policy, but it’s still awaiting word from the Secretary of State as to whether the submitted signatures have officially been validated for November’s ballot.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is now so clogged with unprocessed applications that desperate would-be patients are turning to the black market. Enrollment in the program has increased exponentially in the past year, and the New Mexico Department of Health can’t process applications up within the legally required 30-day period. Patients trying to apply or renew their cards now face waiting periods of up to 120 days. Meanwhile, dispensaries cannot sell cannabis to patients with an expired card, forcing patients either to go without medicine or seek illegal, black market alternatives. The Department of Health is under fire for the delays, but it says its limited staff is already working six days a week. It’s hoping to hire additional staff to get caught up this summer.

International Cannabis News Updates

Colombia

Colombia’s first legal cannabis production may be getting help from an unexpected source: former members of the rebel guerrilla group FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). The Colombian government is nearing a peace deal with the armed militia group and hopes the medicinal marijuana venture will generate legal jobs and boost the rural economy. The Ministry of Health just granted its first license for the production and export of medicinal cannabis to Toronto-based Canadian-Colombian company PharmaCielo Ltd., a move that could create a global shift in developing the international cannabis industry.

Croatia

Croatia quietly made history when the country received the first legal shipment of cannabis extract from North America. Croatia proved to be an incredibly progressive actor among the rest of the European Union by legalizing cannabinoid therapy and implementing a functional medical marijuana program in less than a year. The country’s officials approached the topic of medical cannabis pragmatically, using medical research, media coverage, and roundtable discussions to create a sustainable system for the use of medical cannabinoids. The program, which only allows oils and capsules, is still in its infancy, but the cooperation of the medical industry, foreign cannabis industry leaders, the government policymakers and, indeed, the Croatian public at large, has many optimistic.

Here's a List of Washington Retail Cannabis Shops with Medical Marijuana Endorsements

Come July 1st, Washington state’s new medical marijuana law will bring a lot of changes to the cannabis industry for patients who have become accustomed to visiting a separate medical marijuana dispensary for their strain and product needs. Moving forward, only licensed retail dispensaries with medical marijuana endorsements will be able to sell medical marijuana to valid patients, meaning separate medical marijuana dispensaries will either be shut down or absorbed into the rec market, depending on its new licensing status.

In order to ensure that patients know where they can obtain medical marijuana, register with Washington’s new patient registry, and seek advice for using medicinal marijuana from registered dispensaries, we’ve compiled a list of the Washington state cannabis retailers that now carry medical marijuana endorsements. Please note that this is by no means the complete list. There are many retailers that have not opened yet, are opening a new location, or are still in the transition phase, so we’ll do our best to update the list as new information unfolds.

Location Table of Contents

  • Aberdeen
  • Allyn-Grapeview
  • Anacortes
  • Arlington
  • Auburn
  • Bainbridge Island
  • Battle Ground
  • Belfair
  • Bellevue
  • Bellingham
  • Bingen
  • Bonney Lake
  • Bothell
  • Bremerton
  • Buckley
  • Burlington
  • Camano Island
  • Cashmere
  • Chehalis
  • Clarkston
  • Clayton
  • Colville
  • Covington
  • Custer
  • Deming
  • Des Moines
  • Eastsound
  • Ellensburg
  • Elma
  • Everett
  • Everson
  • Forks
  • Freeland
  • Goldendale
  • Granite Falls
  • Hoquiam
  • Kelso
  • Kenmore
  • Kirkland
  • Lacey
  • Lake Stevens
  • Langley
  • Longview
  • Lynnwood
  • Moses Lake
  • Mountlake Terrace
  • Mount Vernon
  • Oak Harbor
  • Ocean Shores
  • Olympia
  • Omak
  • Port Angeles
  • Port Hadlock-Irondale
  • Port Orchard
  • Port Townsend
  • Prosser
  • Puyallup
  • Quincy
  • Raymond
  • Renton
  • Ridgefield
  • Seattle
  • Shoreline
  • Snohomish
  • South Bend
  • Spanaway
  • Spokane
  • Spokane Valley
  • Sunnyside
  • Tacoma
  • Tumwater
  • Union Gap
  • Vancouver
  • Washougal
  • Wenatchee/East Wenatchee
  • Winthrop
  • Yakima

Aberdeen Dispensaries

  • Cannabis 21
  • Sweet Leaf Cannabis Co

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Allyn-Grapeview Dispensaries

  • North Bay Marijuana

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Anacortes Dispensaries

  • High Society

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Arlington Dispensaries

  • 172nd St. Cannabis
  • Cascade Kropz

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Auburn Dispensaries

  • The Stash Box

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Bainbridge Island Dispensaries

  • Paper and Leaf

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Battle Ground Dispensaries

  • Cannabis Country Store

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Belfair Dispensaries

  • Ganja Vita
  • The Root Cellar

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Bellevue Dispensaries

  • BelMar
  • Green Theory
  • Greenside Bellevue
  • The Novel Tree

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Bellingham Dispensaries

  • 2020 Solutions
  • 2020 Solutions on the Guide
  • Cascade Herb Company
  • Green Leaf
  • The Joint Bellingham
  • Top Shelf Cannabis

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Bingen Dispensaries

  • Margie’s Pot Shop

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Bonney Lake Dispensaries

  • 4Ever Healing

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Bothell Dispensaries

  • Herbal Nation
  • Local Roots Bothell
  • Local Roots Brier

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Bremerton Dispensaries

  • Budeez
  • Destination Highway 420
  • Highway 420

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Buckley Dispensaries

  • The Green Door
  • Mr. Bills of Buckley

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Burlington Dispensaries

  • The Joint Burlington

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Camano Island Dispensaries

  • Bud Hut

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Cashmere Dispensaries

  • The Happy Crop Shoppe Cashmere

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Chehalis Dispensaries

  • Old Toby

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Clarkston Dispensaries

  • Greenfield Company

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Clayton Dispensaries

  • Savage THC

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Colville Dispensaries

  • Herbal E Scents

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Covington Dispensaries

  • Covington Holistic Medicine

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Custer Dispensaries

  • Green Leaf 2

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Deming Dispensaries

  • Green Stop Cannabis

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Des Moines Dispensaries

  • Greenside Des Moines

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Eastsound Dispensaries

  • Token Herb

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Ellensburg Dispensaries

  • Cannabis Central
  • The Green Shelf

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Elma Dispensaries

  • Miller’s Marijuana

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Everett Dispensaries

  • Bud Hut Everett
  • Bud’s Garage
  • Green City
  • HypeHerbally
  • KushSide
  • Purple Haze

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Everson Dispensaries

  • West Coast Wellness

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Forks Dispensaries

  • Cannabis Coast

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Freeland Dispensaries

  • Island Herb

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Goldendale Dispensaries

  • Golden Dispensaries

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Granite Falls Dispensaries

  • Local Roots Granite Falls

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Hoquiam Dispensaries

  • Pakalolo

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Kelso Dispensaries

  • Freedom Market

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Kenmore Dispensaries

  • Theorem

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Kirkland Dispensaries

  • Higher Leaf
  • Mary Jane

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Lacey Dispensaries

  • 420 Carpenter
  • Lucid
  • T Brothers Bud Lodge

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Lake Stevens Dispensaries

  • Cannablyss
  • The Healing Leaf Collective
  • Vault Cannabis

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Langley Dispensaries

  • Whidbey Island Cannabis Co.

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Longview Dispensaries

  • 420 Holiday
  • Localamster
  • Longview Freedom Market
  • Main Street Marijuana Longview
  • Westside420

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Lynnwood Dispensaries

  • Euphorium Lynnwood
  • High On 99
  • Puget Sound Marijuana
  • White Rabbit Cannabis

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Moses Lake Dispensaries

  • The Green Seed
  • Mary Jane’s

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Mountlake Terrace Dispensaries

  • Dank’s Wonder Emporium

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Mount Vernon Dispensaries

  • 221
  • Loving Farms

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Oak Harbor Dispensaries

  • Kaleafa

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Ocean Shores Dispensaries

  • Green Outfitters

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Olympia Dispensaries

  • 420 West
  • A Bud & Leaf
  • Green Lady
  • Lucid Olympia
  • Northwest Collective
  • THC of Olympia

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Omak Dispensaries

  • Sage Shop

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Port Angeles Dispensaries

  • The Hidden Bush
  • Sparket

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Port Hadlock-Irondale Dispensaries

  • Herbal Access

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Port Orchard Dispensaries

  • 420 Spot Shop
  • Kitsap Cannabis
  • Legal Marijuana Superstore

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Port Townsend Dispensaries

  • Sea Change Cannabis

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Prosser Dispensaries

  • Altitude
  • The Bake Shop

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Puyallup Dispensaries

  • Sweet Jane

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Quincy Dispensaries

  • GoodBuds

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Raymond Dispensaries

  • Mr. Doobees

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Renton Dispensaries

  • Buddy’s
  • Emerald Haze
  • The Evergreen Market

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Ridgefield Dispensaries

  • JDT Ventures

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Seattle Dispensaries

  • #Hashtag
  • Cannabis City
  • Clutch Cannabis
  • CPC
  • Dockside SODO
  • Fweedom Collective
  • Grass & Glass
  • The Green Door Seattle
  • A Green Life NW
  • A Greener Today
  • Have a Heart CC
  • Have a Heart Fremont
  • Have a Heart Skyway
  • HerbN Elements
  • Herb’s House
  • Mr. Green Jeans
  • Nimbin Farm
  • Origins
  • Ponder
  • Pot Stop
  • Seattle Cannabis Company
  • Seattle Tonics
  • The Source
  • Stash Pot Shop
  • Stash Pot Shop Lake City
  • Trees Pot Shop
  • West Seattle Cannabis Company

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Shoreline Dispensaries

  • 365 Recreational Cannabis
  • Dockside Shoreline
  • Rainier Cannabis

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Snohomish Dispensaries

  • The Kushery

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South Bend Dispensaries

  • Growers Outlet

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Spanaway Dispensaries

  • The Gallery Spanaway

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Spokane Dispensaries

  • 4:20 Friendly
  • The Green Nugget
  • Green Star Cannabis
  • Hidden Joint
  • Lucky Leaf Co
  • Satori
  • Spocannabis
  • Spokane Green Leaf

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Spokane Valley Dispensaries

  • Cinder
  • Locals Canna House
  • Sativa Sisters
  • Treehouse Club

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Sunnyside Dispensaries

  • Dave’s Place

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Tacoma Dispensaries

  • Clear Choice Cannabis
  • Emerald Leaves
  • The Gallery
  • Green Collar Cannabis
  • The Herbal Gardens
  • The Joint
  • Mary Mart
  • Triple C Collective
  • World of Weed

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Tumwater Dispensaries

  • Bud Commander

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Union Gap Dispensaries

  • Mill Creek Natural Foods
  • The Slow Burn
  • Station 420

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Vancouver Dispensaries

  • Green Head Cannabis
  • The Herbery
  • High End Market Place
  • High-5 Cannabis
  • New Vansterdam

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Washougal Dispensaries

  • Aardvark Reeferology

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Wenatchee/East Wenatchee Dispensaries

  • The Back Porch
  • Green Life Cannabis
  • The Happy Crop Shoppe
  • The Joint Wenatchee
  • The Roach 420

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Winthrop Dispensaries

  • Fresh Greens

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Yakima Dispensaries

  • Happy Time

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U.N. Report: Worldwide Cannabis Consumption, Perception on the Rise

Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal substance across the globe, according to a new United Nations report, with an estimated 183 million people having used marijuana during 2014. That number has been rising — along with increased acceptance of cannabis worldwide.

In the United States, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that the prevalence of past-month cannabis use among those aged 12 and older increased from around 6 percent in the mid-2000s to around 8 percent during the period of 2013-2014. Available data suggest the increase was driven largely by higher use among young adults aged 18-25, though other surveys have found big increases among seniors, too.

The 2016 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) gives a global overview of the markets for various substances, as well as their impacts on population health.

Worldwide cannabis-related crime also fell, the UN report noted, though it didn’t put a figure on the decline. In the U.S., the number of arrests and prosecutions involving cannabis have declined substantially in states that have legalized, though racial discrepancies in enforcement still persist.

Adult-use cannabis markets in Colorado and Washington have grown considerably since those states have gone legal. In Colorado, recreational cannabis market profits reached nearly $600 million in 2015, compared with $313 million in 2014. The state collected $56 million in recreational cannabis taxes in 2014 and over $114 million in 2015.

The first $40 million of excise tax in Colorado goes to public schools, per state law. Additional revenue is routed primarily to the Marijuana Enforcement Division and to public health programs, such as substance abuse intervention, prevention, and education.

In Washington, during the fiscal 2015, sales of legal cannabis totaled $256 million. Eight months into the 2016 fiscal year, sales have already more than doubled, reaching nearly $580 million. The state collected $65 million in tax receipts in the fiscal year 2015 and more than $100 million during the first eight months of the 2016 fiscal year.

As cannabis use rises, evidence in the report also suggested that more consumers are seeking first-time treatment for cannabis-use disorders in several regions of the world. While the science is still catching up, currently a small subset of the population is believed to be prone to such disorders.

Moreover, the report found, the black market stubbornly persists even in states that have legalized adult use. In Washington, the medical, recreational, and illicit cannabis markets each accounts for approximately one-third of the state’s cannabis sales, while in Colorado the illicit cannabis market still supplied an estimated 40 percent of the state’s total demand in 2014.

Non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids is also on the rise, the report found, a phenomenon that can be seen in the U.S. in the form of a nationwide epidemic of overdose deaths. Some states, like Maine, have even mulled treating opioid addiction with cannabis, an alternative that doesn’t lead to fatal overdoses.

Maine Could Be First State to OK Medical Cannabis to Treat Addicts

Corporate Cannabis Has Arrived – and That Might Be a Good Thing

This article is sponsored by LivWell Enlightened Health.

With 14 dispensaries, a partnership with Snoop Dogg, and over 550 employees, most would argue that Colorado dispensary chain LivWell Enlightened Health embodies “corporate cannabis” – a nebulous concept that both pro- and anti-legalization groups have been wary of for years. LivWell’s development is a symptom of the rapidly-evolving cannabis community in Colorado, where some of the country’s most experienced advocates, manufacturers, and enthusiasts continue to debate the future of the industry and who should control it. “We’ve sometimes been painted – unfairly – as lacking a heart and soul,” says LivWell CEO and founder John Lord, as we drive with him from the company’s headquarters in Denver to visit their Evans Avenue dispensary location. In reality, the brave new world of corporate cannabis is far more nuanced than that. From lobbying for sensible industry regulations to sponsoring community outreach initiatives, there’s a lot to be said for large companies’ potential to drive the industry forward.

LivWell: Family-Owned and Driven to Succeed

LivWell is propelled by the determined will and business savvy of John Lord, who moved to the U.S. from the tiny New Zealand town of Te Awamutu in 1998 to manufacture and sell baby products through his company, Basic Comfort. His knowledge of how to navigate strict regulatory controls made him uniquely suited to the cannabis industry – even if he didn’t know much about the plant when he started LivWell.

What he did know was that he was ready for a career shift. His baby products business had reached its potential by 2008, and he needed a new challenge. “I was in New York one day, and I walked into FAO Schwartz in Times Square and saw all of my products there in a display at the front of the store,” he explains. “And I thought to myself, well, that’s it. I’ve made it. What’s next?”

What was next was a foray into one of the most complicated and challenging regulatory industries in the country. LivWell started small, with a single four-person operation on South Broadway in Denver. It has grown to encompass 14 locations across the state, a 140,000-square-foot grow facility in Denver’s outer suburbs, and goals for further expansion across the U.S.

John’s son Michael joined the company in 2013 and became the company’s director of business development in 2015. The relationship between father and son has proven beneficial to both, particularly in a company like LivWell where many of the employees are millennials in their early 20s. “It’s a hell of a privilege to be able to spend time with my son and to teach him a few things about what I’ve learnt,” John says. “In turn, he is smarter than me. A lot of the things I’ve had to learn, he already knew.”

Developing Best Practices to Build a Dispensary Chain

LivWell enlightened health cannabis dispensary

LivWell’s grow operation and dispensaries are based on consistent manufacturing models found in non-cannabis industries. Each location is part of an evolving generation of LivWell dispensaries, and each dispensary in that generation has the same look and feel. The dominant aesthetic: clean, light, and welcoming. During our visit to the new dispensary on Evans Ave. in Denver, Michael is keen to point out its security, badging, and process aspects. “This is a generation four dispensary,” he says. “We want people to walk into a LivWell dispensary, wherever it is, and have the same safe, friendly experience they have become accustomed to.”

The same emphasis on process and standardized workflows is on display at LivWell’s enormous grow facility. The grow is one of the largest (if not the largest) in the state, and a tour of the facility reveals a dedication to product consistency through standardized processes that you would expect from a former manufacturer of baby products. As we tour the site, the most predominant activity from employees is cleaning; every workstation is constantly being swept, dusted and tidied. LivWell’s cannabis goes through five quality checks in the grow facility, then a sixth check at the dispensary.

“In such a highly-regulated industry, the only way to be successful is to be sustainable,” says LivWell marketing director Matthew Givner. “That means being in it for the long haul, and in order to do that you have to follow the rules to the letter. LivWell’s size and professionalism allows us to do a number of positive things for the industry and the communities in which we operate.”

Among the positive things that Givner is referring to are LivWell’s recent campaigns to give back to veterans. On 4/20, $1 for every customer that visited a LivWell location was donated to The Fitch Foundation, an organization that helps disabled veterans live healthy, fulfilling lifestyles. On Memorial Day, $800,000 worth of cannabis went to veterans in one of the largest promotions in cannabis history, when LivWell offered veterans high-CBD strains at a rate of $0.01 per ounce. LivWell has also developed a unique training program that instructs first responders on dealing with cannabis-related calls, an idea that was so successful when implemented in Adams County that talks have begun to replicate it in other counties across Colorado.

Promoting the Maturation of the Cannabis Industry

LivWell enlightened health employee Mike Lord

LivWell contends that in addition to its commitment to giving back, upholding industry standards, and following legal regulations to the letter, it’s able to make an impact by dedicating resources to attending hearings and meeting with policymakers. In such a compliance-driven industry, ensuring an industry presence at such meetings has proven vital. To contextualize the difficulty of keeping up with all these changes, more than 150 new and updated regulations were enacted in Colorado last year alone; about one every 2.5 days.

The company is also able to offer employer-paid health insurance, 401k plans, and higher-than-industry-average pay, and employees spend two weeks in intensive training at LivWell University before setting foot in a store, a concept that was new to the industry when it was introduced. “The 550 employees we have working at LivWell, well, we think of that as 550 families that we’re providing for,” Michael Lord says as he walks us between row upon row of drying bud. “That’s why it’s so important for us to keep to these standard procedures. That’s why we approach cannabis from a manufacturing perspective rather than having a master grower walking around telling us what he or she feels like we should do.”

Meanwhile, the company looks out for its customers by maintaining a dedicated research and development department, applying the kind of rigorous, science-based approach to new product development that exists in traditional business. “In the case of legal cannabis, companies like ours that are run like professional businesses are the best things that could happen to an industry that is struggling to bring a previously illegal enterprise into full compliance with the law,” says Givner.

Working Toward a National Cannabis Brand

Cannabis plants

We finish a tour of LivWell’s growing facility in the cramped kitchen space, where Leafs by Snoop edibles are being manufactured, and Michael and John are both talking about expansion. The Snoop brand was launched in November to great fanfare across Colorado. “We’re growing our kitchen space significantly in the coming year as Leafs by Snoop takes off and we see the demand for edibles continue to grow,” Michael says. “We can’t keep this many employees in a space this small for much longer,” John adds as he stands sandwiched between baking trays of chocolate truffles.

The expansion plans don’t stop at the company’s grow facility: LivWell has recently formed LivWell Oregon, and is keeping a close eye on legislation efforts in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as November elections approach. “Leafs by Snoop was a shot across the bow,” John says. “Our ambition is to be a national brand.”

As more brands follow suit and the cannabis industry develops powerful leaders, expect to see them continue to steer the industry toward longevity through growth and development of industry best practices. After all, the future of all cannabis businesses – including their own – depends on it.

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Watch This: Poet/Activist Prince EA Completely Schools Us on the History of Cannabis

Class is in session! Rapper, spoken word artist, and rights activist Prince EA graced us with a new visual work of art called “Why Weed Should Be Legal ft. Barack Obama” (not the actual president, but a convincing impersonator), and he TOTALLY schools us on the truth about cannabis. In the video, Prince EA sheds light on the politics revolved around cannabis while debunking the many myths and stigmas associated with the controversial plant.

Prince EA has well over 750,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and has generated more than 63 million views. But he’s much more than just some internet sensation. He’s a talented rapper and an activist, using his platform to inspire and educate the masses.

He raps:

“Our marijuana laws were created on the basis of racism and corporate greed. These laws are more dangerous than marijuana itself.”

The illustrations work in perfect harmony with every line Prince EA spits, making it pretty difficult not to watch until the very end. Check it out yourself, and let us know in the comments what you think!

Brexit Shocks Europe, but How Will It Affect Cannabis Policies?

The United Kingdom voted late last week to leave the European Union, sending shock waves around the world, putting financial markets in a tailspin, and raising questions about the future of the E.U.

But what about cannabis?

Thankfully, many European countries are continuing their reform efforts unfazed, steadily moving toward legalization and broader access for medical patients. Britain’s departure may have shaken European countries’ faith in their union, but the European desire for a more perfect union with cannabis is very much intact.

In two of the EU’s largest countries, Germany and Italy, legislation to free the herb remains a top priority for some lawmakers.

Following Britain’s vote last week to leave the E.U., Italian Senator and Deputy Foreign Minister Benedetto Della Vedova sent messages of sadness to followers on social media. But in the same breath he also reiterated the need for cannabis legalization.

“We want to win this game; we must believe in it and [we must] all work for this goal,” he said, expressing support for both legalization and the cannabis-friendly parliamentary group Intergruppo Cannabis legale. Italy’s Parliament is slated to begin debate on adult-use legalization this week.

In Germany, despite the news from the U.K. and the ensuing political confusion, plans are moving forward on a medical cannabis program that would grant patients broader access to medical cannabis and could create a medical cannabis market of tens of thousands of patients as soon as next year.

Georg Wurth, director of the Deutscher Hanfverband (German Hemp Association), the largest cannabis advocacy group in Germany, said on Friday he’s happy that the German medical cannabis bill is progressing without interruption. The bill has already been approved by the German cabinet and is now in Parliament, where it’s expected to be approved by November. It would take effect early next year.

While post-Brexit talk in the media focuses on uncertainties, Wurth noted that efforts to reform cannabis policy in other countries also continue to march forward.

In Denmark, the violent police attack on Copenhagen’s pro-cannabis neighborhood of Christiania has not quashed the cannabis movement, Wurth said. Instead it’s having the opposite effect. “The raid in Christiania has revived the pro-legalization debate” in the country, he said.

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In the Czech Republic, the cannabis community largely views the E.U. as a defender of civil rights. Despite some bluster from populist politicians who’ve bashed the E.U., the overwhelming fear in the country regarding cannabis is that a weakened E.U. plays into the hands of Russia — a country with draconian drug laws.

The Kremlin has waged a steady and ruthless campaign in recent years to support right-wing extremist parties in Europe, back anti-E.U. politicians, and generally sow seeds of discontent in the continent in order to expand Russian influence, part of President Vladimir Putin’s grand vision of restoring the state’s former glory.

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Dispensaries Make More Money Per Square Foot Than Whole Foods

Move over, kale — there’s a new leafy green in town. According to industry data, medical dispensaries and adult-use cannabis retailers now make more revenue per square foot than Whole Foods.

On average, cannabis storefronts bring in $974 in revenue per square foot of retail space each year, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook. Whole Foods, meanwhile, brings in $930 per square foot. Cannabis retailers also saw more revenue per square foot than specialty tea stores ($893), pharmacies and drug stores ($676), and department stores ($180).

As Marijuana Business Daily explains, “Revenue per square foot is a commonly used metric to determine how efficient a retailer is in using its assets to generate sales. It is driven in large part by the size of the operation, the price point of the product and overall sales levels.”

Topping chart was Apple, whose industry-leading retail shops generate about $4,800 annually in revenue per square foot . The large dollar amount reflects both the steep price of Apple products and the relatively small size of the average store.

As you may have noticed on your most recent dispensary trip, cannabis retailers operate similarly, cramming a lot of product into a relatively small amount of space. That tends to make it easier for shops to operate in high-rent areas, as it allows a respectable income to be made from a tiny storefront.

Given analysts’ promising forecasts for the cannabis market over the next few years, stores’ annual revenue per square foot are to increase. But as the market matures, MBD reports, rents are likely to rise, too:

Karl Keich, an industry consultant who runs a Seattle recreational marijuana store, said strict zoning rules on cannabis companies in many areas of the country have led to a scarcity of available property.

As a result, many dispensaries and rec shops are stuck in buildings that are too big to merchandise effectively or too small to maximize revenue. Their annual revenue per square foot is therefore lower than the industry’s average.

Furthermore, savvy landlords who know their property is suited for the cannabis industry can command higher rent, increasing the revenue per square foot needed to operate in the black.

In 2015 alone, the industry generated just over $3 billion sales, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook, with sales this year projected to run from $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion — a 17 percent to 26 percent year-over-year increase. By 2020, some estimates put nationwide sales at $11 billion.

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Savvy Redditors “CSI” the Health of a Seattle Bus Commuter's Cannabis Plant

Public transportation is often a gold mine for people-watching, and Monday in Seattle proved no exception. A metro bus commuter snapped a photo of a man hauling a trash bag filled with an uprooted cannabis plant.

Although Mr. Johnny Appleweed’s fellow riders seemed more interested in their cell phones than the haul he was carrying, some savvy subscribers of reddit’s /r/seattle community took a CSI-type approach to examining his plant, deducing that it’s probably seen better days. After cracking a few jokes (“Weed is actually one of the better smells I encounter on the bus these days”), the crew went into “Enhance that image” mode, doling out their two cents:

  • “He needs to switch that plant over to flowering light cycle.”
  • “Who rips a plant up, goes on public transportation and expects to be able to replant it successfully? Maybe the plant just needed a walk, they can get so restless if you don’t exercise them regularly.”
  • “That is ‘weed’, in every definition. With all that broadleaf action going on, you’re not going to see any bud production. No cola = no THC concentration = no buzz. Basically, this dude is hauling around the remnants of a landscaping project.”
  • “He’s probably hauling around plants that have been on a bad grow cycle. Fully grown, strong plants can be easily switched over to a better light cycle and put in good nutrient rich soil. A little trimming and a better lighting setup and these plants could probably put out some good bud. In their current state, they can be transported on the bus hardily because they probably have thick stems and you’re not risking losing leaves.”
  • “Do u even trim bro?”

So how on-the-nose were these armchair horticulturalists’ assessments? According to our in-house strain researcher and former budtender Jeremiah, it’s hard to say. “You have to be up near the plant to see these problems,” he explained. “Those stalks could be bulk trim. That still has THC and stuff, so maybe he’s going to break it down and try and make something out of it. It would be pretty weak, but there are people that will go pretty far for a little buzz. But this is all a guess. There isn’t much to go on in this picture. He could be doing an arts and crafts project with the plant for all we know.”

It’s easy to speculate but hard to pin down exactly what this mystery commuter had planned for his mobile marijuana. All joking aside, one redditor named mixreality pointed out how awesome it is that nobody bats an eye to see someone hauling a huge cannabis plant through Seattle:

“LOL I love this city. Just the thought that someone would have no reservations bringing plants on the bus…elsewhere in this same country, he’d be incarcerated and have his freedom stolen.”

Indeed. Here’s hoping this sight will be as commonplace in other cities across the United States as it seemingly is in Seattle.

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How to Clone Cannabis Plants

Did you know that you can clone cannabis plants? It sounds like some sort of sci-fi mad scientist experiment, but there are benefits to cloning a plant vs. growing from a seed, and cloning cannabis plants are easier than you think.

What is Cloning and Why Would You Want to Clone a Cannabis Plant?

There are two ways that you can go about breeding cannabis. The first is through sexual reproduction, where you cross a male plant with a female through pollination in order to create seeds. Those seeds can then be planted to create genetic hybrids of the two parent plants.

The second method is through cloning, otherwise known as asexual reproduction. Clones are rooted cuttings that are genetically identical to the plant they were taken from. There are many benefits to cloning that contribute to its popularity among both commercial and home growers. If executed properly, not only can cloning your cannabis be cost-saving, it has the potential to offer your garden a whole new level of stability and sustainability.

Through cloning, you can create a new harvest with exact replicas of your best performing plants. Because the genetics are identical, you’re getting a plant with the same characteristics, so if you come across a bud you really, really like, you might want to clone the plant it came from so you can produce more buds with the same effects. Consider taking clones from your garden if you are looking to select and replicate plants with desirable features such as flavor, cannabinoid profile, yield, grow time, etc.

Not only does cloning save you time and money by not having to pop new seeds, you’re also ensuring that your crop will be genetically indistinguishable. Moreover, cloning is the answer to self-sufficiency in your garden. Given the right conditions, you could perpetuate a phenotype for as many harvests as you desire, without having to start new seeds.

Cloning Cannabis Plants from Your Garden

Cloning cannabis plants from your garden

Getting started with cloning in your garden is relatively easy and requires just a few key items:

  • A razor for taking cuttings (try not to use scissors when taking cuttings as they tend to crush branches, making rooting much harder)
  • Some water
  • A rooting medium
  • A rooting hormone

When selecting mothers to clone, look for plants that are healthy, sturdy, and about two months into the vegetative cycle. If you cant or don’t want to wait, give it at least three weeks before taking your first cutting — at this point in a plant’s growth phase, your new cuttings will have a stronger chance of rooting.

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Preparing your mother plants for cutting will require a few steps:

  • Make sure you withhold from fertilizing your plant within the days leading up to taking your cuttings. This will allow the nitrogen to work its way out of the leaves of your plant. When you take cuttings, an excess of nitrogen in the leaves and stems will trick your clones into attempting to grow vegetation instead of diverting energy to rooting.
  • Work in a sterile environment. Do everything you can to avoid over-agitation of both your mother plants and new cuttings.
  • Look for lower branches that are sturdy and healthy. If you are transplanting into rockwool, match the stem with the rooting hole of your cubes to get a proper fit. Otherwise, look to take cuttings between 8-10 inches with several nodes present.
  • Cut as close to the main stem as possible with your razor at a 45 degree angle to the branch. This will increase the surface area of your rooting space, promoting faster growth.
  • Place your fresh cutting immediately into water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stem. Bubbles will prevent water from absorbing into your stem and can kill a new clone. Many growers choose to make additional incisions in the stem before this step, arguing that it helps increase rooting potential. Take this time to do that before transferring your cuttings to water.

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After you have taken several cuttings and transferred them to water, it’s time to clip their leaves to help support proper photosynthesis and create a more sanitary environment for rooting to occur. Clip your fan leaves about halfway down the stem using scissors. You may also cull any unnecessary leaves towards the bottom so you won’t have any of your leaves touching the growing medium. Manicuring like this will not only help your clones with nutrient and water uptake, but will prevent leaves from touching one another.

At this point, you may wish to dip your fresh stems in a rooting hormone. Rooting gels, powders, and other hormones can provide additional support to promote healthy growth. There are a variety on the market, and many of them work very well, though make sure you do your proper research before choosing. After a quick dip in some hormone, transfer your clones to your final rooting medium.

Choosing a Rooting Medium

Cannabis plant roots

When it comes to rooting mediums, there are three predominant schools of thought:

  • Use rockwool cubes or a non-soil equivalent. Rockwell provides a great environment for clone rooting due to its terrific airflow and moisture retention. You can find these cubes at most any grow store or online.
  • Transport your clone into soil. When using soil, don’t choose one with an abundance of nutrients, and make sure you don’t over or underwater your soil when attempting to root your clones.
  • Root in water. Water cloning requires no use of rooting hormones or mediums. You just drop your cutting in water and keep it there until roots and new growth begin to develop.
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    Each of these schools of thought has its pros and cons. Experiment to see what method works best for your grow setting. Regardless, make sure that your new clones get plenty of humidity and light, preferably 18 hours.

    To circumvent much of the work associated with feeding and caring for clones, many choose to opt for auto-cloners. These automated units take much of the work out of by consistently providing water, oxygen, and light to your clones. The downside is that they can be costly.

    Transplanting Your Roots

    Planting cannabis

    You will know when your roots are ready to be transplanted when you start to see new vegetative growth on your clones. At this point, you may need to consider transplanting your clones to larger containers. This process will require the same care and sanitation that cloning consisted of, as you do not want to further agitate a plant into transplant shock. Transplant shock is common when cloning, so make sure you take the time to stay sanitary and do not overexert your plants during the process.

    Facilitating a successful cloning regiment can do wonders for you cannabis garden by saving you time and money and ensuring a consistent crop. You don’t need much to get started, and if done correctly, you can ensure an indefinite perpetual harvest that will produce the most desirable plants for you year-round.

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    Watchdog Report Accuses New York DAs of Racism in Cannabis Cases

    Earlier this month, a watchdog group found that NYPD arrests involving low-level cannabis charges have spiked this year despite long-standing promises from the city to dial back arrests and prosecutions. Now the group has taken its criticism further. In a report published late last week, the Police Reform Organizing Project accuses New York district attorneys of racial discrimination in terms of how they choose to prosecute and sentence defendants.

    According to data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, just over 27 percent of black defendants arrested for cannabis possession or sale were convicted and sentenced, PROP’s latest report found. Latinos were similarly affected, with nearly 26 percent of defendants being hit with convictions and sentences. But Asian and white defendants fared far better. They were convicted and sentenced 12.6 percent and 12 percent of the time, respectively.

    Racial disparities were even more exaggerated in certain burroughs. In Manhattan, 43.8 percent of black defendants were convicted and sentenced. Only 16.5 percent of white defendants were.

    PROP Director Bob Gangi, in an interview with Gothamist said the data underscore an already tarnished relationship between the NYPD and people of color:

    “The DAs’ prosecutorial practices are reinforcing and rubber-stamping the racist arrest patterns of the NYPD in regard to low level marijuana infractions,” Gangi said. “92.55 percent of people the NYPD arrested last year for marijuana offenses were people of color — that is their own numbers.”

    Critics like the Police Reform Organizing Project and others point to statements from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton that the city would resort to handing out more tickets and summonses in place of arrests. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said it would no longer prosecute most cases in which suspects were caught with less than 25 grams of cannabis.

    But the group’s earlier report suggests those statements were largely lip service. Arrests for the possession or sale of small amounts of marijuana, PROP found, had actually increased by nearly 34 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

    Accusations of racism by law enforcement in cannabis cases are nothing new. In nearby Boston, the American Civil Liberties Union recently endorsed a ballot measure to legalize adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts. The group said it sees legalization as an obvious step toward lessening the disproportionate impact of drug laws on people of color.

    “Legalization is the smartest and surest way to end targeted enforcement of marijuana laws in communities of color, regulate who has access to marijuana, and eliminate the costs of enforcement while generating revenue for the Commonwealth,” ALCU Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose said in an endorsement statement.

    A black person in Massachusetts was 3.9 times more likely than a white person to be arrested for cannabis possession in 2010, according to an ACLU report published in 2013. That’s despite the fact Massachusetts voters decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of cannabis in 2008. (A ballot measure legalized medical marijuana in 2012.)

     Oregon Sees Consumption Rise, Arrests Plummet

    No matter what color you are, legalization tends to lower your chances of criminal prosecution. In states where legalization has passed, such as Oregon and Colorado, cannabis arrests have plummeted for all demographics. But sharp racial disparities still exist. A black person in Oregon in 2014, a recent state report found, was still nearly 2.3 times as likely to be arrested as a white person. Legalization seems to be lessening the severity of cannabis sentences, but so far it still hasn’t managed to dole them out fairly.

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    Here’s Why Sex Doesn’t Sell Cannabis Legalization

    Sex Sells. It’s been the mantra of mad-men advertisers since the 1950s. But does cannabis legalization really need sex to sell?

    Despite the national conversation on cannabis shifting from safe medical access to broader adult use legalization, the issue of the sexualization of women to promote medicine in the nation’s oldest and largest medical cannabis market, California, has been the topic of heated debate since the industry came above-ground in 2009. While California debates legalization, other states are still awaiting medicalization. What sort of message does promoting a medical industry with stripped-down women send? What sort of message does promoting political debate about how to best legalize and regulate cannabis send when staring at a women suggestively pulling down her pants?

    A new meme is circulating the web from within California’s medical cannabis industry in opposition to this year’s legalization initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). Both the opponents and proponents of AUMA would largely consider themselves pro-cannabis, a running theme in the state’s inevitable trudge toward legalization.

    This sort of imagery sends a sharp message to middle America, to the states with the most draconian drug policies, that the industry doesn’t really take itself seriously either. Every mostly-naked nurse promoting medical cannabis is two steps back for the families who are fighting in their state’s capitals for safe access in places like Utah, Georgia, Florida and Missouri.

    Like 2010’s narrowly defeated legalization initiative, Proposition 19, AUMA has furthered the divide within the nation’s oldest, largest, most lucrative and most diverse cannabis market. Nationally, the issues of race, legalization, America’s failed War on Drugs and feminism have largely come to a head in 2016. Cannabis politics have gotten just as divisive as presidential politics, with everything on the table in light of a possible Trump presidency. For the cannabis industry, this year’s election is just as divisive. The industry as a whole is walking a fine line between free-loving hippie gardens and Wall Street funded mega grows. Just as a Trump presidency would send a message to the world that America is extremist and dangerous, the future of legalization in California will be life-altering to many who rely on it for health or wealth.

    Like national politics, cis-gendered White men have largely dominated. These last few elections have threatened to up-end that. Women, LGBTQIA people and people of color have started pushing for inclusion, and in some cases even reparations, in an industry that has largely been whitewashed and has continued to commodify women in marketing medicine with no shame.

    Legalization is not a hard sell and neither is cannabis itself. Sex isn’t a necessary component of sales. Further, the divisions in the industry have not been so much about the substance itself, but more about the regulation of legal businesses and who stands to benefit from the way the laws are written.

    In general, the use of sexualized women to sell things is both sick and tired. Women have 85 percent of the nation’s consumer buying power, the mad men of the 50’s sexualized women not to sell to men, but to convince women that they will never be perfect and that another fad product could hold the key to beauty, and therefore, happiness. That isn’t cannabis.

    It’s time for the industry to police itself, to weed out any sort of messaging that distracts from the point or marginalizes already marginalized people. This is an important election for freedom. Unity comes from compromise, from appealing to all the stakeholders, not just shareholders. In November six more states will vote to become medical, meaning within Obama’s 8 years, the total of medical cannabis states could go from 13 to 31. The tally of adult use states could climb from 4 (plus DC) to 11. This happened in spite of the industry’s flaws, not because of them, and our new president may not support the current administration’s position on the proliferation of pro-cannabis policy.

    About the AuthorAngela Bacca

    Angela Bacca

    Angela Bacca is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer, journalist, photographer and medical cannabis patient. She has been working in cannabis media for seven years, starting with Ed Rosenthal’s Quick Trading Company, where she continues to collaborate on editorial projects. She is the former editor of Cannabis Now Magazine as well as the former managing editor of Ladybud Magazine. She currently freelances for a wide variety of cannabis media including Reset.me, Alternet.org and Cannabis Now Magazine. Bacca has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Mills College.

    The post Here’s Why Sex Doesn’t Sell Cannabis Legalization appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

    Washington’s New Medical Marijuana Law: What You Need to Know

    July 1st brings the first day that Washington’s Cannabis Patient Protection Act will be in full effect. Although these changes have been slowly unfolding in the past year since the law was passed, come July 1st there will be enforcement for these rules and all patients, businesses, and physicians will be required to prove they are in full compliance. Here’s an overview of the changes that patients, dispensaries, and physicians need to know in order to stay on the right side of the law.

    • Patient Information
      • Is my MMJ recommendation still valid?
      • How long is my MMJ authorization valid for?
      • Do I need to be registered with Washington’s MMJ authorization database?
      • What are the other benefits of being registered with the Washington state MMJ authorization database?
      • What if I need more than the amount of cannabis allotted for MMJ patients?
      • Can I join a collective garden?
      • What if I don’t want to join the MMJ authorization database?
      • Will I be required to pay taxes?
    • Dispensary Information
      • We’ve been in compliance with state law but didn’t get an MMJ endorsement. What now?
      • Are there still MMJ endorsements available?
      • We have an MMJ endorsement for our retailer. What do we need to know?
      • How do I get certified as an MMJ consultant?
    • Physician Information
      • Can I authorize patients for MMJ?
      • What is required for making an authorization?
      • Do I need to report to the Department of Health?
      • Am I putting myself or my practice at risk by authorizing patients?

    For Patients

    Is my medical marijuana recommendation still valid?

    Yes. Any currently issued medical marijuana recommendations will remain valid until the expiration date listed on the recommendation. However, you will be subject to certain restrictions until you renew your recommendation and join the Washington State Patient Registry. With a previously-issued recommendation, you may:

    • Grow up to four (4) plants in your domicile for personal medical use
    • Possess up to six (6) ounces of usable cannabis in your domicile

    How long is my medical marijuana authorization valid for?

    Authorizations must expire in one (1) year for adult patients and six months for patients under the age of 18.

    Do I need to be registered with Washington’s medical marijuana authorization database?

    Yes.If you visit your physician to renew your medical marijuana authorization, your physician is required to enter your information into a Washington State authorization database. Patients may also visit a retail establishment holding a medical marijuana authorization and ask to see the medical marijuana consultant on staff who will enter your information into the database, take your picture, and create a medical marijuana recognition card for you.

    Once you have been entered into the database, you may purchase cannabis at any retail cannabis outlet holding a medical marijuana authorization. You may purchase any combination of the following:

    • Forty eight (48) ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
    • Three (3) ounces of usable cannabis
    • Two hundred sixteen (216) ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
    • Twenty one grams of cannabis concentrates

    As a registered medical marijuana patient, you will also be authorized to grow and possess in your domicile:

    • Up to six (6) plants for personal medical use
    • Up to eight (8) ounces of usable cannabis produced from said plants

    What are the other benefits of being registered with the Washington State medical marijuana authorization database?

    Registered medical marijuana patients may participate in a cooperative garden. They are also protected from arrest, prosecution, criminal sanctions, or civil consequences pertaining to the legal amount of cannabis they are allowed to possess/consume.

    What if I need more than the amount of cannabis allotted for registered medical marijuana patients?

    If your physician determines that a patient’s medical needs exceed the standard specified amount, doctors may specify on the medical marijuana authorization that the patient is qualified to grow and possess in their domicile:

    • Up to fifteen (15) plants for personal medical use
    • Up to sixteen (16) ounces of usable cannabis

    Can I join a collective garden?

    Up to four patients who are registered in the medical marijuana authorization database can join together to grow the total number of plants authorized by the participants.

    What if I don’t want to join the medical marijuana authorization database?

    Entry into the database is voluntary, but provides additional benefits and legal protections. You may continue to purchase cannabis from retail outlets, but you will be subject to restrictions and limited in the amount of cannabis you may possess. Those who are not registered with the database may still use an affirmative defense to criminal prosecution if they possess no more than four (4) plants and six (6) ounces of usable cannabis.

    Will I be required to pay taxes?

    Yes and no. Patients are exempt from paying state sales tax at eight (8) percent. However, all cannabis sales, both medical and recreational, will be taxed with the full 37 percent excise tax. This includes the sales of marijuana, marijuana concentrates, usable marijuana, and marijuana-infused products, whether the products are medical or recreational.

    Back to top

    For Dispensaries

    We’ve been operating in compliance with state law, but we didn’t get a medical marijuana endorsement. What now?

    Unfortunately, if the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board did not issue a medical marijuana endorsement to your establishment, after July 1st, your dispensary will technically be illegal and face shutdown by state authorities.

    Are there still medical marijuana endorsements available?

    If your dispensary meets the Department of Health’s criteria, you may apply to add a medical marijuana endorsement to your existing retailer license (you must have an existing retail license to qualify). Please note that there are a limited number of endorsements available per county and endorsements may no longer be available in your area.

    We have a medical marijuana endorsement for our retailer. What do we need to know?

    In order to stay compliant with state law, you must adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Carry concentrates and infused products identified as medical grade by the Department of Health
    • You must train all employees on medical marijuana
    • You must have at least one medical marijuana consultant on staff who can enter information into the medical marijuana authorization database and issue medical marijuana patient recognition cards
    • You must keep records of qualifying patients and recognition cards and other records as required by the Department of Health and the Department of Revenue
    • You must enter information about medical sales into Washington’s traceability system

    I’ve been designated as my retailer’s medical marijuana consultant. How do I get certified?

    In order to qualify to be a certified medical marijuana consultant, you must:

    • Be 21 years of age or older, with proof of identification
    • Complete a 20-hour training program with proof of completion:
      • Five hours on Washington state laws and rules
      • Two hours on qualifying conditions and symptoms
      • Two hours on short-term and long-term effects of cannabinoids, both positive and negative
      • Five hours on products that may benefit patients and the risks and benefits of various routes of administration
      • Two hours on safe handling of cannabis products
      • Two hours on ethics and customer privacy
      • Two hours on the risks and warning signs of overuse, abuse, and addiction
    • You will be required to take an exam of five questions for each of the above subjects and must pass with at least 70 percent in each category
    • Complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training
    • Print out, complete and submit the medical marijuana consultant certification application, with the following fee(s):
      • Application for certification fee: $95.00
      • Renewal of certification: $90.00
      • Late renewal penalty: $50.00
      • Expired certificate reissuance: $50.00
      • Duplicate certificate: $10.00
      • Verification of credential: $15.00

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    For Physicians

    Can I authorize patients for medical marijuana?

    The following healthcare professionals may authorize patients:

    • Medical doctors (MDs)
    • Physician assistants (PAs)
    • Osteopathic physicians (DOs)
    • Osteopathic physician assistants (OAs)
    • Naturopathic physicians (NDs)
    • Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs)

    Certified medical marijuana consultants may NOT diagnose any qualifying conditions, and may NOT authorize a new patient for medical marijuana.

    What is required for making an authorization?

    The healthcare professional must:

    • Complete a physical examination (in person)
    • Document the qualifying medical condition on the patient’s record, noting that the patient may benefit from the medical use of cannabis
    • Inform the patient of alternative treatment options for their condition
    • Document alternative measures attempted to treat the medical condition
    • All authorizations must be printed on tamper-resistant paper on the form developed by the Department of Health
    • Maintain the patient’s health record, including diagnosis, treatment plan, and therapeutic objectives

    Do I need to report to the Department of Health?

    Until July 1, 2016, all physicians who authorize more than 30 patients in a calendar month are required to submit a report to the Department of Health. However, after July 1, 2016, all reporting will be automated through the medical marijuana authorization database.

    Am I putting myself or my practice at risk by authorizing patients for medical marijuana?

    The law establishes immunity against prosecution for practitioners when properly authorizing patients under Washington State law, but not under federal law.

    Back to top

    Montana's Dispensary Restrictions Stand After Supreme Court Rejects Appeal

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it won’t hear an appeal challenging a Montana law that limits medical cannabis providers to selling the drug to a maximum of three patients each, dealing a blow to advocates who are attempting to delay enforcement of the law.

    The nation’s high court let stand a Montana Supreme Court ruling that upheld key provisions of a state law passed in 2011 that rolled back much of the 2004 voter-approved initiative legalizing medicinal marijuana. The state Supreme Court ordered those provisions to take effect Aug. 31, more than five years after the Montana Legislature passed the bill.

    The Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which sued to block the law, said the rollbacks would force the closure of dispensaries and leave patients without a legal way to obtain the drug.

    “The consequences are serious, particularly for cancer patients and those in hospice care,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Kate Cholewa.

    The advocacy organization previously asked District Judge James Reynolds to delay the Aug. 31 enforcement date until either the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to take up the matter or until the November general election.

    The organization is proposing a ballot initiative asking voters to lift the three-patient limit for providers and further expand access to medical cannabis. The group’s representatives say they have submitted enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot, but those signatures must be certified by the Secretary of State’s office.

    “We feel optimistic of success in November,” Cholewa said. “Montanans want an accountable, responsible program for medical marijuana access. It would foolish to shut the program down and make people with debilitating illnesses suffer unnecessarily.”

    The Montana attorney general’s office, which defended the 2011 restrictions in court, opposes further delay in enforcing the provisions. State attorneys said in a court filing the only legitimate reason for another delay would be to let the U.S. Supreme Court decide whether to take up the case.

    Attorney general spokesman John Barnes did not have an immediate comment on the high court’s decision Monday.

     What Would Actually Happen if the DEA Rescheduled Cannabis?

    Arizona's Weird, Winding Journey Toward Legalization

    Arizona has a history with cannabis that’s longer and stranger than just about any state in the union.

    In the early 1900s, Mexican workers coming across the border often brought the plant with them, prompting one U.S. official to note that cannabis was “used a great deal” in the Southwest. California gets all the credit for passing the nation’s first medical cannabis law in 1996, but in fact Arizonans passed an even more progressive MMJ law in that very same election. The difference was that Arizona’s elected officials successfully quashed the law after 65 percent of voters embraced it.

    A more effective and long-lasting MMJ law was finally adopted in 2010, with 50.13 percent in favor and 49.87 against — just barely squeaking by in the general election. Today dispensaries flourish around the state, even though Arizona can be one of the most conservative states in America. It is the home, after all, of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    Arizona’s cannabis scene is significantly more complex than other medical states, such as California and Nevada. One source of contention for cannabis consumers in Arizona is the lack of decriminalization. Without a medical marijuana registration card, the possession of even small amounts of cannabis is tantamount to a felony charge, with a minimum sentence of four months for the first offense — not a term to be taken lightly. The medical market, however, is thriving, with more 97,000 registered patients and 93 state-licensed dispensaries.

    Legalization Within Reach

    Having lived with medical cannabis for six years, the Sunset State is now ready to take on full adult use. Maybe.

    Nothing in Arizona comes without a touch of weirdness. At the moment, we have a state in which some of the leading pro-cannabis crusaders are actively campaigning against their own state’s legalization measure. One of the leading donors to the anti-legalization campaign is a public utility company. Arizona’s prohibitionist-in-chief won’t say whether she’s ever tried cannabis (which means she probably has). And nobody can figure out whether Sheriff Joe is for or against the measure; his chief political guru is working as the lead strategist for the legalization campaign.

    About a year ago, Arizona had two competing legalization campaigns. Arizonans for Mindful Regulation, led by Jason Medar and Dave Wisniewski, wanted a measure that would open the market to anyone who cared to join, allowing the state to cap the number of retail marijuana business licenses at 10 percent of the current number of liquor stores, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 retail shops.

    Meanwhile, legalization advocates Barrett Marson and Carlos Alfaro led an effort for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The campaign aims to offer the first retail licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries already operating in the state. The largest share of funding for CRMLA comes from the Marijuana Policy Project, which also had a hand in helping to pass the 2010 MMJ law. At the inception of both legalization initiatives, Marson made the prediction that his campaign would be the last one standing.

    After months of fundraising and signature gathering, Marson was proved correct. In late May, Arizonans for Mindful Regulation quietly bowed out of the race. The campaign had gathered only 120,000 of the necessary 150,642 signatures. With a July 7 deadline looming, campaign organizer Medar admitted defeat.

    Rather than join forces with CRMLA, however, or even quietly retire from the fight, Medar and Wisniewski turned on their erstwhile compatriots and announced that they would actively campaign against the remaining legalization measure.

    “It is not real legalization,” explains Wisniewski in a video for his organization, Safer Arizona. “What we have here on the 2016 election ballot, sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project, at best is an incremental regulation. It is an out-of-state, corporate investor-driven initiative that seeks to maintain a felony-enforced oligopoly for a small group of wealthy dispensary owners.”

    Leafly spoke with Alfaro of the CRMLA campaign to get his perspective on the tight race. “At the beginning of all of this, there were actually about a half-dozen different initiatives filed through the Secretary of State, so they weren’t the only ones and we weren’t the only ones,” he said. “However, after all this time and all this effort, we are the only campaign that is going to be on the ballot, and we’re focusing on being a positive, educational campaign for the people of Arizona.”

    Arizona’s Coalition of Opposition

    As for the true opposition to legalization, Arizona once again doesn’t disappoint. These folks are real pieces of work.

    Heading up the cast is Sheila Polk, director of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney and has a long history in the Arizona Attorney General’s office. Polk has a funny relationship with cannabis. Which is to say, she wants to talk about it right up until the moment she doesn’t. In February, during a Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce public hearing on cannabis, she refused to answer the question of whether she has used cannabis before. Polk shied away from a diplomatic response in favor of “Questions like that are inappropriate,” even as a fellow prohibitionist working with her to defeat legalization admitted to dabbling in cannabis during college.

    Polk is joined in the battle by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who is the prosecutor in the jurisdiction overseen by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. During a recent debate on marijuana, Montgomery revealed that his opposition to legalization is rooted in religion. He referred to cannabis users as “a drag on our society” and went so far as to say to a U.S. Navy veteran and medicinal cannabis user: “You are an enemy.” His remarks were met with outrage and boos from the audience.

    Fundraising on Both Sides

    As in most initiative campaigns, Arizona’s legalization measure may live or die on its ability to raise money.

    The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona has garnered $414,000 in campaign contributions thus far, with many donations coming from medical marijuana dispensaries such as Monarch Wellness Center and High Mountain Health.

    Support for Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, on the other hand, is coming from some unexpected sources. Arizona Public Service, for starters. That’s Arizona’s largest electric utility company.

    Considering how much electricity is necessary for an indoor, hydroponic, large-scale growing operation, it seems counter-intuitive that an electric company would be so vehemently opposed to cannabis legalization that they would donate $10,000 to the opposition group.

    When pushed for comment, Jim McDonald, the media spokesman for the utility, said that Arizona Public Service’s contributions to the anti-legalization campaign was rooted in the company’s commitment to responsibility and safety.

    “Our concerns are related to the underlying employment law ramifications,” McDonald said. “It’s an important issue when you’re operating an electric grid safely and reliably, and also operating the nation’s largest nuclear power plant.”

    The electric company isn’t the only odd player ponying up the cash. A couple months the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association made a $10,000 contribution to ARDP. Legalization proponents raised an outcry as soon as the contribution became public knowledge. “Using money to fund their campaign to maintain marijuana prohibition is grossly hypocritical,” J.P. Holyoak, chairman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said at the time. “They want to continue punishing adults for using marijuana, but they have no problem accepting five-figure donations from purveyors of a far more harmful substance.”

    In the end, the prohibition group kept the alcohol association’s donation. Including that money, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy has raised at least $480,000, according to reports filed with the Arizona Secretary of State.

    Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana by State

    Odd Ducks in the Race

    And what about Sheriff Joe?

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio is an enigma, to say the least. In 2011, he made the policy decision not only to arrest registered, card-carrying medical marijuana patients, but he also refused to return patients’ medicine upon their release from jail. If you dig a little deeper, however, you’ll find a clip from the 2007 documentary American Drug War: The Last White Hope, in which Sheriff Joe espouses his limited support for medical marijuana: “If it’s issued by tight controls by a physician, I don’t know if I oppose that. Someone’s dying of cancer, and that’s going to help that person, I don’t know if I’m strictly opposed to medical marijuana. It can help the dying patient, but it has to be dispensed by a doctor.”

    In recent months, Arpaio has played a large role in continued raids. The most recent was conducted in April on an operation growing under the guise of a medical marijuana garden.

    In yet another strange twist of events, Chad Willems, longtime political guru for Sheriff Joe, having helped raise millions for Arpaio’s reelection campaign, has seemingly switched allegiances. Willems, who works for Summit Consulting Group, is now representing the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, helping to raise funds for the legalization effort in November.

    An Uncertain Future

    Although the campaign’s winding journey to the finish line is far from over, support for the campaign is growing. The most recent additions to their arsenal of strength come from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Maricopa), as well as Michael Capasso, a 23-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration. This kind of support is exactly what the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will need when they are facing tough opposition amid controversy and turmoil. Marson assured Leafly that they are prepared for a battle to end prohibition in November:“We anticipate a very vigorous campaign this fall.”

    Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Locations in Arizona, June 2016

    Canopy Growth Reports Q4 and Full Year Results

    Canopy Growth (TSXV:CGC) has released its fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 financial results. The company’s consolidated results include those of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Tweed, Tweed Farms and Bedrocan Canada.

    As quoted in the press release, highlights from the fourth quarter included:

    Revenues of $5.0 million, representing a greater than 300% increase over the three month period ended March 31, 2015 and a 45% increase over Q3, fiscal year 2016

    Sale of Tweed 10:1 Cannabis Oil began on February 25, 2016

    Supported two Canadian licensed producers through the sale of wholesale product during the fourth quarter

    Over 11,000 registered patients at March 31, 2016 compared to 2,800 at March 31, 2015, and compared to over 8,200 at December 31, 2015, and greater than 16,000 as of today’s date

    Tweed entered into a business partnership with entertainment and cannabis icon, Snoop Dogg

    Tweed Farms’ full 375,000 ft.2 facility licensed to produce, possess and ship dried marijuana

    Bedrocan launches True Compassionate Pricing program, all six standardized Bedrocan varieties priced at $5.00 per gram for all clients

    Click here for the full press release.

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    Resource Forecast 2016 – Expert Opinions Covering Precious Metals, Energy, Critical Metals, and More

    Understand these markets and what the experts see coming in 2016 with our FREE Special Report, Resource Forecast 2016 – Expert Opinions Covering Precious Metals, Energy, Critical Metals, and More.

    The post Canopy Growth Reports Q4 and Full Year Results appeared first on Investing News Network.

    6 Shark-Themed Cannabis Strains That Pack a Powerful Bite

    The most highly anticipated stretch of summer is here: Shark Week. It’s a seven day-long marathon where we gather around our televisions to gawk, mouth agape with terror, at the aquatic beasts staring back at use with their dead eyes and rows of razor-sharp teeth. To more adequately prepare you for a week-long bout with the only sea creature to ever kill Samuel L. Jackson, here are a few strains that will have you saying, “We need a bigger boat” (or bowl).

    Great White Shark

    The Great White Shark is the mob boss of the deep blue sea. Having survived for millions of years on the flesh of others, this creature doesn’t only have a taste for blood, it lives for it. If you manage to get your hands on its ravenous strain counterpart, take note of its fruity odor and dense coating of crystals. Indulge in this strain’s pleasant olfactory and visual stimuli, because it will likely be your last, right before Great White Shark takes a bite right out of your dome-piece.

    Shark Shock

    When I think of Shock Shark, I think of some electrified abomination with gleaming bone saws for teeth and a devil-may-care attitude. This particular strain is more stunning than shocking, leaning toward full indica genetics that stink of skunks devoured by this carnivorous lightning rod floating just below the water’s placid surface.

    Leafly OG Shark hybrid cannabis strain tile OG Shark

    OG Shark makes more sense than people give it credit for. Ocean Grown Shark is the only kind of shark I’ve seen. So, knowing OG Shark began in Canada makes this cartilaginous predator slightly more polite, but it will still bite you right in the face. Canadian or not, this shark only knows mind-altering ferocity.

    Leafly CBD Shark indica cannabis strain tile CBD Shark

    CBD Shark, the only CBD strain to make the shark list, is like the squeaky rubber shark toy you might play with in the bath, except it weights two thousand pounds. While it may be less intimidating by way of its supplementary anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects, this 80/20 indica will straight bite your legs off, making leaving the couch or bed or floor slightly more difficult. But don’t even sweat it — you’ll be so lit on CBD Shark you’ll barely notice your missed appendages.

    Leafly Shark Bite hybrid cannabis strain tile Shark Bite

    Shark Bite is one of Leafly’s more literal shark strains. This strain is a cross of Great White Shark and Face Off OG, which is a suitable combination for this week-long television holiday dedicated to ocean predators that have the ability to remove body parts from unsuspecting victims.

    Leafly Shark Attack indica cannabis strain tile Shark Attack

    Shark Attack is a beautiful indica-dominant cross with rather conventional genetics. Crossing Super Skunk and White Widow, one hit of this strain will have you hearing John William’s Jaws score. Every dark corridor or unlit room become a vast, inky ocean full of razor-sharp teeth. This munchie-inducing strain will have you thanking your fridge manufacturer for the tiny interior light. (Just kidding, your fridge is full of sharks, too.)

    Shark Week may only happen one week a year, but you can find potent strains that will take a bite out of your anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and laziness any time at Leafly — just check our Strain Explorer for options, or take a peek at some of our recommendations for strong cannabis strains.

    What are the Strongest Cannabis Strains?.

    The Leafly Staff Discusses How We'd Outfit the Ultimate Cannabis Clubhouse

    Just as the journey is more important than the destination, sometimes the discussion is more important that the conclusion. As such, we’re kicking off a series of informal Leafly chats published largely unabridged. Viewpoints expressed are participants’ own.

    As a cannabis consumer, you probably have a certain place that you love to spend time in while high. Maybe you’ve outfitted a spare room with art, lights, pillows, speakers and snacks, or perhaps you love to hang out at a certain cozy café or friend’s house with all those same comforts.

    Of course, there’s always more you could do to make it the perfect place to chill with cannabis. In this fourth Leafly SlackChat, we let our imaginations run wild as we brainstormed and dreamed up what the ultimate cannabis clubhouse would entail. (A cannabis jungle? Slow lorises? An edibles pantry? The sky’s the limit.)

    What’s in your ultimate cannabis clubhouse?

    What Situations Make You Paranoid When You're High? We Debated Cannabis Paranoia

    Attend The Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus On July 12

    I attended the last Oregon Quarterly Cannabis Caucus put on by the National Cannabis Industry Association, and it was oustanding. I’m hoping to make the upcoming one as well. NCIA is putting these on all across the country, and they are a great way to get updated on the last quarter, which in the cannabis

    Tomorrow: Cannabis Charity Open, Benefiting The Denver Colorado AIDS Project

    If you are in the area, below is an oustanding event: Premium Pete’s Cannabis and High Rollers dispensary are partnering with The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine to host the Cannabis Charity Open benefiting the Denver Colorado AIDS Project (DCAP). As part of an industry born by the will of the voters, we feel it is important

    How to Ask Your Budtender for Sexual Product and Cannabis Strain Recommendations

    In my last column, I gave budtenders tips on how to recommend sexual cannabis products to inquisitive customers. Today we’re heading to the other side of the counter and focusing on the customer experience. What’s the best approach to asking a budtender for products and strains that may help provide a sexual boost?

    Although it can feel uncomfortable or awkward asking a complete stranger for sexual product recommendations, remember that the budtender may be experiencing the same emotions. Here are some tips to make you both feel comfortable and confident in your transaction.

    Obtain Consent

    Either call in advance or ask the budtender upon arrival to find out if this is an appropriate space to be asking about sex-related questions. You can also request to speak to the person on staff who’s most comfortable fielding such questions. That way, if the person you’re speaking with isn’t an ideal person for cannabis and sex queries or isn’t in a space to give you support in that area, they can opt out. Everyone deserves the opportunity to opt out of sensitive conversations, and your budtender is no different.

    Ask Specific Questions

    Questions

    Be clear on what your needs are so that you can ask specific questions when you’re at the dispensary. Don’t give your back story unless requested. Budtenders are there to provide their expertise in choosing cannabis products to suit your needs. They’re not your therapist, so don’t launch into the long story of how your partner used to want to have sex all the time but then gradually the intimacy in your relationship declined so you’re feeling like needs aren’t being met.

    Instead, give them the abridged version: “I want a strain to help my partner and me reconnect intimately,” or “I need something that’s going to help me get out of my head and into my body.” You can share what’s worked for you in the past but you don’t need to get into TMI territory unless you and the budtender are both comfortable with it.

    Do Your Research

    Research

    There’s a lot of really great information out there that may help steer you towards strains and products that are relevant to your needs. I have a list of general sex-positive resources on my website, and many other sex educators do, too. Read books, go to workshops, and utilize as many resources as you can. See if your query is something that can be solved through home study and communication, or if you do want to utilize cannabis to deepen and enhance your sexy fun times.

    Don’t be Creepy

    Embarrassed woman

    Yep, that was my advice for the budtenders, too, but it goes both ways. Don’t walk in and open with, “So which of these strains will turn me into a bang-all-night sex machine?” It’s not cute, it’s not flirty; it’s harassing. Don’t be that person. Sometimes people try to make it a joke to diffuse perceived tension, but I’m here to tell you, it’s unnecessary. I suggest being honest and owning your experience: “It feels really edgy for me to ask you about this, but it would be incredibly helpful if you could point me to a strain/product that’s good for X.”

    Do Different Consumption Methods Impact Your Sexual Performance?

    Do you have a preferred consumption method for pairing with sex? Share your experiences by leaving a comment! Also, do you have a sex, relationships, or intimacy dating question? Send it to tips@nullleafly.com and I may address your request in a future article! (Don’t worry, we’ll keep your queries anonymous.)

    The Beatles and Cannabis: How the Fab Four Got By with a Little Help from Their Friends

    The Beatles are arguably the greatest band that has ever existed, cementing their status as music icons over the course of their decade-long career together with dozens of songs that became instant classics the moment they debuted on the radio. In 1960, the Fab Four debuted with a seemingly wholesome and sweet image before evolving into more experimental (and psychedelic) sounds by the mid-1960s. But was the Beatles’ start as squeaky clean as their image suggests?

    Contrary to what many may think about those boys from Liverpool with the shaggy haircuts and matching suits, even in the early days they were no strangers to experimentation. In the first few years, the Beatles were known to use amphetamines to keep their energy up during concerts.

    When it comes to cannabis, however, rumor has it that the Mop Tops first tried it after a gig in Hamburg in 1960, but hardly felt anything, according to an account from George Harrison:

    “Everybody was saying, ‘This stuff isn’t doing anything.’ It was like that old joke where a party is going on and two hippies are up floating on the ceiling, and one is saying to the other, ‘This stuff doesn’t work, man.'”

    It wasn’t until a chance encounter with the one and only Bob Dylan that the Beatles became truly enamored with the wacky tobacky. Chronicled in Peter Brown’s Beatles biography, The Love You Make, on August 28, 1964, the boys were introduced to Dylan by a mutual friend, Al Aronowitz. Dylan requested some cheap wine and suggested that they all enjoy a joint while waiting.

    Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the Civil Rights March in 1963
    Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the Civil Rights March on Washington D.C. in 1963

    The Beatles and Brian Epstein looked at each other sheepishly and admitted, “We’ve never smoked marijuana before.”

    Dylan was incredulous. “What about your song? The one about getting high?”

    The Beatles had no such song and finally asked, “Which song?”

    Dylan replied, “You know…’and when I touch you, I get high, I get high.'”

    John Lennon blushed when he realized the song in question. “Those aren’t the words. The words are, ‘I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide…” from the sweetly innocent tune, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

    Dylan was giddy to introduce them to cannabis. They secured the hotel room with towels under the door and drapes drawn tight before Dylan rolled the first joint. He gave it to Ringo Starr to light, but Ringo, not quite understanding the “puff, puff, pass” etiquette, smoked the whole joint by himself, while Dylan just laughed and rolled a few more.

    From then on, the Beatles would use a particular phrase when they wanted to smoke cannabis: “Let’s have a laugh.”

    By mid-1965, the boys were well-acquainted with the sweet green grass. While filming the movie Help!, they were often so stoned that they would forget their lines, forgoing acting for giggles.

    John Lennon even claimed that the foursome smoked cannabis in the bathroom at Buckingham Palace while receiving their MBEs (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a distinguished grade within the British order).

    The songs in which cannabis makes an appearance are numerous. Paul McCartney was quoted in his biography Many Years From Now as calling the song “Got to Get You Into My Life” from the album Revolver an “ode to pot, like someone else might a write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.”

    Another notable mention of cannabis is in the friendship anthem “With a Little Help From my Friends,” from the album Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song is inspired by a conversation among the four friends, and contains the perfectly apt phrase “I get high with a little help from my friends.”

    Unfortunately, the Drug War allowed no exceptions for celebrities. While staying in Ringo Starr’s basement flat in Montagu Square, John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were arrested in London on October 18, 1968 for the possession of cannabis. Lennon pled guilty to absolve Yoko, who was pregnant at the time.

    The next year, George and Pattie Harrison also faced arrest for cannabis possession on March 12, 1969. Both Lennon and Harrison maintained that the drugs were planted by London’s drug squad, led by notorious anti-drug zealot Detective Norman Pilcher. Pilcher was also famous for arresting members of the Rolling Stones and Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan, and he also had a close encounter with Eric Clapton, who escaped out the back door and avoided arrest.

    The Fab Four also famously experimented with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which influenced many songs, including “Day Tripper” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Curiously, the song most often associated with LSD, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” has nothing to do with the drug according to the band.

    These days, Paul McCartney has traded the cannabis in his life for alcohol, saying he’d rather not “set a bad example,” (which is quite a laugh, when you think about it).

    Ringo Starr confirmed the Bob Dylan story to Conan O’Brien on his talk show, going so far as to insist that he was the first Beatle to smoke marijuana:

    “I went first. The drummers always go first. That’s just how it was. We didn’t draw lots or anything like. We got high and laughed our asses off.”

    He then pondered the immense changes that cannabis has undergone in the decades since their fame, saying, “It was against the law then, you know. Not like now.”

    Beatles photo by United Press International (UPI Telephoto)Cropping and retouching: User:Indopug and User:Misterweiss – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c11094.

    Bob Dylan with Joan Baez photo by Rowland Scherman – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=149559

    Holland’s Former Prime Minister Was the Guest of Honor at the Country’s Biggest Cannabis Event

    Cannabis Liberation Day, Holland’s biggest cannabis event, welcomed a surprise special guest this year: former prime minister Dries van Agt, who 40 years ago introduced the country’s famous policy of cannabis tolerance.

    The event, which celebrated its eighth year earlier this month, is a free festival organized by the VOC, the union for the abolition of cannabis prohibition. Since the High Times Cannabis Cup abandoned Amsterdam in 2014, Cannabis Liberation Day is the only cannabis and hemp event in the Netherlands. The venue, Flevopark, is one of the oldest and biggest parks in the capital city.

    This year’s Cannabis Liberation Day was special for a number of reasons. Notably, it was the first without Joep Oomen, one of VOC’s founders and the driving force behind numerous drug-reform campaigns and NGOs, such as Encod and Trekt uw Plant, Belgium’s first Cannabis Social Club. On the evening of June 12, a video commemorating Oomen, who died in March, was shown on a screen next to the event’s main stage. As it played, Oomen’s widow Beatriz and representatives of the Belgian Cannabis Social Club movement handed out bags to the audience. Inside were two female seeds, peat plugs to plant them, and a flyer quoting one of Oomen’s final writings:

    “Now that years have passed during which people have employed millions of words to convince authorities of the utter madness that their drug policies are bringing the world into, it is time for the plants themselves to become actors in the debate. By growing plants for personal use we can demonstrate that it is possible to regulate the drug market in a manner that ensures transparency, accountability, honesty, sustainability, and health.”

    A banner above the stage read, “Thuisteelt vrij, achterdeur open!” (“Home cultivation free, backdoor open!”) The phrase refers to the so-called backdoor paradox of Dutch cannabis policy: Coffeeshops are allowed to sell cannabis to consumers, but any form of cultivation or wholesale remains strictly illegal. The backdoor paradox has caused a range of negative effects, from gang involvement to inferior quality and inflated prices.

    Former Prime Minister Dries van Agt, 85, who in the ‘70s and ‘80s led three governments as prime minister for the conservative Christian party CDA, appeared on stage to explain the origin of the policy. In 1976, when Van Agt was the youngest-ever Dutch minister of justice, he introduced a fundamental legal distinction between cannabis and other illegal substances, paving the way for today’s cannabis coffeeshops.

    The 8th annual Cannabis Liberation Day was held in Amsterdam’s Flevopark. Photo by Derrick Bergman

    “Of course it would have been much better if we had opened up the whole cannabis issue: no crime, no offense, no legal restriction whatsoever for cannabis,” Van Agt told the moderator. “But, my dear friend, in politics — unfortunately for the Netherlands — I wasn’t the only one who decided.’

    After the initial breakthrough in 1976, he said he expected that “the whole system would start to move, and we would go further — much further.” But no Dutch government ever took the next step, and the backdoor paradox lived on. “This is the big disappointment,” Van Agt said.

    But the future looks bright, he assured the audience. “The latest news is darned good, friends. The latest news is that Canada — yes, Canada — has decided to legalize cannabis.

    “Why is this so important, more important than a few or even a lot of American states [that have legalized]?” he said. “Canada has an enormous political and moral influence on Western Europe. So this cannot remain unanswered here.”

    Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt addresses the crowd. Photo by Derrick Bergman

    Van Agt stayed at the festival for over three hours, participated in one of the debates in the film tent, and relaxed backstage in the VIP lounge. For attendees, it was a rare opportunity to meet the man who played such a historic role in Dutch cannabis culture, alongside other legends like Rick Simpson, John Sinclair, James Burton, Wernard Bruining, Doede de Jong, and Mila “Hashqueen of Amsterdam” Jansen.

    Not a single incident of violence or conflict was reported at the event — just like the seven Cannabis Liberation Days before it. As British author Percy Grower wrote:

    “This is how a safe and enjoyable festival can exist. With the absence of alcohol, the good vibes were infectious. Parents played with kids, young groups of people were just hanging out and dapperly dressed elders made out on the grass. The festival is a magnificent example of the benefits cannabis can bring to a society and gave me a real boost of optimism; not just for the cannabis movement in Europe, but the advancement of the human race as a whole.”

    Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool published an interview with Dries van Agt the following day.

    “When you look around you,” the reporter asked the former prime minister, “do you feel it’s an attractive idea that more cannabis will be used?”

    Van Agt replied, “The more happy people I see around me, the happier I become myself. And if this is caused by cannabis, I say: ‘Do as you please, friends. Do as you please.’”

    New Strains Alert: Bob Saget, Don Shula, Magnum PI, and More

    This week’s New Strains Alert is a cast of unusual characters. With guest appearances by Bob Saget, Don Shula, Magnum PI, Thai Girl, and Dizzy Wright’s Dizzy OG, this alert is the type of crowd you want to start your weekend with. These distinguished strains offer a variety of effects suited, in one form or fashion, to their names. So whether you’re the father of a full house or a West Coast wunderkind dropping red-hot rhymes, these strains will light you up, chill you out, and soothe what ails you.

    Bob Saget

    Bob Saget is a stimulating sativa that won 2nd place at the 2016 Colorado Cannabis Cup. This addled comedian gets the heart pumping, stimulating the consumer to the point of agitation. But fear not, the energy subsides and settles into an uplifted, cerebral haze that is lucid, yet spacey. As this strong sativa fades, expect a stoney crash that represents Saget’s latent Pre-98 Bubba Kush and Afghani genetics.

    Don Shula

    Don Shula, 3rd place winner of Best Hybrid Flower at the 2016 Colorado Cannabis Cup, crosses The White and Diagonal (True OG x East Coast Sour Diesel) to create a hybrid that sits upright in the body and mind. Exhibiting functional OG effects, this pungent strain is a comfortable middle ground for indica-dominant enthusiasts seeking an all-day strain.

    Leafly Magnum PI sativa cannabis strain tile Magnum PI

    Magnum PI is a sativa-dominant strain with its genetic origins cloaked in a Hawaiian shirt of pure mystery. This stimulating cross, supposedly created by Seahorse Gardens near the Puget Sound, exhibits hints of citrus and sweet earth on the nose. The effects have been described as clear-headed and stimulating, which makes this strain a perfect accompaniment for outdoor activities.

    Leafly Thai Girl hybrid cannabis strain tile Thai Girl

    Thai Girl is supposedly the result of seeds found by Gold King in Thai Stick crossed against Tres Dawg. This sativa-dominant hybrid was cultivated in the late 70’s and spread the euphoric stimulation native to Southeast Asian herb across the cannabis world. Enjoy this tropical bud in the sunshine, as it encourages physical activity without overstimulation.

    Leafly Dizzy OG hybrid cannabis strain tile Dizzy OG

    Dizzy OG took 2nd place for Best Medical Hybrid Flower at the 2016 SoCal Cannabis Cup and is the official strain of Las Vegas hip-hop luminary Dizzy Wright. This strain has traditional OG qualities, including a heavy yet functional body buzz that sticks to the bones. With slightly sweeter terpenoids than traditional OG strains, this hybrid is an all-day smoke for the seasoned consumer, but can lean toward full sedation in larger doses.

    Leafly Frank's Gift hybrid cannabis strain tile Frank’s Gift

    Frank’s Gift is a phenomenal phenotype of Skunk Haze that has been known to generate upwards of 20% CBD. This strain delivers a nearly mythological ratio of CBD/THC that lends itself to a variety of medical uses associated with physical discomfort, inflammation, and anxiety. Though Frank’s Gift has predominantly appeared in Oregon, it’s slowly being disseminated throughout the West Coast.

    Leafly Pink Sunset indica cannabis strain tile Pink Sunset

    Pink Sunset is the indica phenotype of the delicious indica-dominant hybrid Sunset Sherbet. This sugary strain has roots in Girl Scout Cookies, but pushes the functional sedation of its OG Kush and Cherry Pie parentage into the realm of full-body relaxation. Use this strain after work to unwind or on the way to bed as a dreamy dessert that combats insomnia, chronic pain, and nausea.

    Browse through our other new strains that were recently added to the Leafly Explorer, or check out last week’s newest additions!

    Leafly's new cannabis strains

     New Strains Alert: Gupta Kush, Grilled Cheese, Rebel God Smoke, and More

    MILegalize Fundraiser At Comos With Special Guest Craig Covey

    For those in the area: July 1, a Friday, in Ferndale from 5 to 9 PM, at Como’s Restaurant we will have a big fundraiser with hors d’oeuvres, speakers, an auction and entertainment. Only $25 admission, but feel free to give more. Speakers include Candidate for Oakland County Sheriff Craig Covey, Cannabis Counsel Attorney Tom

    How to Survive Summer's Cannabis-Friendly Music Festivals

    With so many fun and exciting musical festivals to look forward to this summer, we put together this handy Summer Festival Survival Guide to make sure you know what to do should you decide to indulge in some cannabis while you’re dancing your way to autumn. What happens if you get too stoned, or if some sketchy dude hands you a mystery joint?

    Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

    What to Do if You Get Too Stoned at a Summer Music Festival

    Getting stoned with your closes friends as you watch your favorite musician perform sounds like an amazing time. But what should you do if you go a little overboard with the cannabis and begin to feel really uncomfortable? Here are some tips to bring you back down to a more comfortable state.

    1. Get Some Air

    If you’re feeling the overwhelming effects of that edible you devoured two hours ago, it’s probably not the best idea to remain in the mosh pit dazed and confused. Walk over to an open space where you can take a few deep breaths and sit down until you’re feeling more comfortable and less dizzy.

    2. Drink Some Lemon Juice

    If you happen to have an overly intense reaction to the THC, drink a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. Did you know that lemons have the terpene limonene in it? The terpenes in lemons may reduce and alleviate the effects of THC on the brain. If you can, toss the peel of the lemon into your drink — that’s where the limonene is.

    3. Listen to Your Friends

    Bring your wingman/wingwoman with you if you know you’re going to be consuming at the festival just to be safe. It’s a smart idea to attend the festival with at least one friend who will remain sober and can think logically if things get a little out of control.

    4. Take an Ibuprofen

    Studies suggest that ibuprofen can help you feel noticeably less high. Ibuprofen affects the same receptors in the brain as THC, suppressing some of the less desirable side effects THC can have on your cognitive ability. (Just don’t go overboard with the ibuprofen, and take it with plenty of water.)

    5. Bring Some Peppercorns or Another Peppery Snack

    Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene, which can affect cannabinoid receptors in the brain and work synergistically with cannnabis’s THC to quell panic and anxiety.

    This Everyday Household Item Could Counteract Your Cannabis-Induced Paranoia

    6. Don’t be Afraid to Seek Medical Attention

    We know the normal effects of smoking marijuana: red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite and heart rate. But if you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or worse and the above tips above don’t help, you should immediately stop consuming and seek medical attention. Many music festivals have emergency personnel and volunteers who are trained to assist festival-goers for a variety of medical issues, so don’t feel bad or embarrassed to ask for help. Remember that their purpose is to keep festival attendees safe and provide emergency aid to those who need it.

    Be Safe and Aware of Your Surroundings

    Security personnel at a music festival

    You never know who you’re going to meet at a music festival. Don’t take cannabis or any other drugs from someone you don’t know or trust. If someone offers you a substance that you’re not sure about, just say no. Be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of those around you. If anyone is persistent in making you feel uncomfortable or is harassing you, don’t hesitate to contact security personnel.

    Know Your Rights and Follow the Rules

    Hempfest stage

    Typically, before you enter festival grounds you have to go through security, where they check you and your possessions for weapons or drugs. Be mindful that security may be patting you down before you pass the entrance gates. If you’re caught trying to enter festival grounds with drugs, festival staff has the right to confiscate them before you enter. Yes, it’s a bummer, but it’s also a risk you take when you attempt to sneak in items that aren’t allowed.

    Also, remember that cannabis may be legal in four states, but it’s still a federally regulated substance. Consumption laws vary, and it’s important to know your rights and educate yourself regarding cannabis consumption and possession laws, especially if you’re visiting from out of state.

    Public Cannabis Consumption Laws: A State-By-State Guide

    Summer Music Festival Tips

    Purse with a camera, hat, and sunglasses

    Now that you’ve brushed up on some cannabis-specific festival advice, it doesn’t hurt to go over some general tips to make sure your summer music festival experience is fun and exciting. A good way to stay organized before you leave is to prepare a checklist and write down everything you’ll want or need to bring with you. Before you leave for the event, consult your checklist, going through each item and double-checking that you have everything packed (plus any extras just in case).

    Here are some recommended items to pack in your cross-body bag or backpack.

    Leafly's Cannabis Roadmap to the Best Summer Music Festivals in 2016

    1. Your Wristbands, Passes, or Tickets to the Festival

    I know this seems obvious, but you’ll be incredibly irritated and pissed off if you end up at the festival entrance, reach into your bag, and realize that you don’t have your passes. What’s even more awkward than realizing you left behind the most important item you needed to bring is having to tell your friends back home that you missed seeing your favorite band or musician perform because you forgot your tickets in your hotel room. Seriously, this is probably the ULTIMATE music festival buzzkill. Nobody wants to miss an event they’ve planned months in advance for and just dished out hundreds of dollars to attend for an easily avoidable reason.

    2. Reusable Water Bottle

    Bottled water can cost a pretty penny at festivals, so keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times and refill it as often as possible. The sun will be blazing and one of the last thing you’ll want to do is pass out in front of an enormous crowd of strangers because you’re severely dehydrated. Trust me, waking up in a grassy field feeling disoriented while a bunch of unfamiliar faces stare down at you can be super awkward and traumatic.

    Cannabis Road Trip Tips: See Sights and Stay Safe with These 7 Rules

    3. Money and Identification

    Please don’t forget to bring your money and ID. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many people wind up forgetting to bring cash and ID. If you want to bring a credit card instead, consider a secure option like Apple Pay, where you can digitally store your banking cards in your smartphone (we all know how much of a hassle it is to call and cancel a credit card once you’ve realized you misplaced yours or it got stolen).

    4. Hats, Sunglasses, and Sunscreen

    Check yourself before you wreck yourself, because excessive sunlight can be bad for your health. I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, especially during the hot summer months. Sunburn is not only painful, but excessive sun exposure can lead to health problems down the line. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime, so that summer tan may look good now, but your dried, wrinkled skin and melanoma a few years down the road aren’t a good look long-term.

    Make sure to pack sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply the sunscreen throughout the day and be sure you protect your eyes from the beaming sun with your Leafly shades.

    Cannabis Tourism 101: What to Know and Where to Go

    5. Hand Sanitizer and Tissues

    Let’s be blunt here, Honey Bucket, porta-potties are disgusting. If you’ve ever had to use one, which I’m sure you have, you know how dirty and nasty they are. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer and tissues for yourself and your friends, as they’ll definitely come in handy on a hot, festival day.

    6. Portable Cell Phone Charger

    Let’s keep it real — you’re going to want to capture tons of moments during the festival of you and your friends having the time of your lives. By the time you get the perfect shot of everyone, and just as you’re about to upload the photo to Instagram, a notification pops up on your screen alerting you that your phone’s battery is slowly approaching death. What’s worse is that the festival’s headliners haven’t hit the stage yet and you’re already in the red.

    Charge your cell phone the night before so you know it will be completely charged when you leave to go to the festival. Since music festivals are usually all-day events, make sure you invest in a portable charger (Amazon has a variety of affordable options to choose from) that you can toss in your bag and keep with you at all times. When your phone starts running low on battery life, grab your portable charger, plug it in, and you’re good to go. No longer will you have to worry about your phone giving up on you mid-Snapchat story or while you’re trying to find your friend among the massive crowd.

    Cannabis in the Great Outdoors: Tips, Tricks, and Advice for Hiking, Backpacking and More

    7. Comfortable Shoes

    You’re going to be on your feet all day, so make sure you’re wearing shoes that won’t be a pain after several hours in them. Flip flops can break, so consider comfortable slip-ons or other alternatives that won’t feel bogged down if they get wet, muddy, or dirty.

    Lastly, depending on the music festival’s location and how many people are set to attend, receiving service on your cell phone may be tricky. With so many people trying to use their cell phones to upload videos and images to social media, it can become extremely difficult to reach out and communicate with your squad.

    Festival group meeting point

    If you or one of your friends get separated from the rest of the group or if service becomes terrible, you should all decide on a designated location where you all know to meet at in case of emergency or if anyone gets lost.

    Which festivals or concerts are you looking forward to this summer, and what are your festival survival tips? Share in the comments!

    Starbuds, One of Colorado’s Biggest Growers, Loses License Over Odor Complaints in Landmark Case

    Cannabis retailer Starbuds was ordered this week to shutter its Northeast Denver grow operation after neighborhood residents reported a pungent odor escaping the second floor. The decision marks the first time a Denver-area marijuana grow operation was denied a routine license renewal.

    In a statement, Starbuds owner Brian Ruden said the company plans to appeal Thursday’s decision by the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.

    “This is an attack on the cannabis industry, not just Starbuds,” Ruden said. “We are prepared to challenge this ruling in court.”

    Starbuds has seven retail locations across Colorado. The shop ordered to cease its growing operation was the company’s adult-use store at 4690 Brighton Blvd., which contains both a ground-floor retail shop and a second-floor grow that houses 240 plants.

    Every Colorado license for cannabis businesses must be renewed annually, but renewals don’t involve a a public hearing. In Starbuds’ case, the hearing was the result of neighborhood complaints. Residents of the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood testified that odor coming from the grow operation was affecting the quality of life of people living nearby. They described the working-class area as on the upswing and said the smell was frustrating attempts to improve the community.

    Starbuds owner Ruden disputes the neighbors’ claims, but his legal argument centers on interpretations local zoning issues made by city hearing officer Suzanne A. Fasing and Denver Department of Excise and Licenses executive director Stacie Loucks. According to Starbuds attorney Jim C. McTurnan, the officials wrongly interpreted the zoning code and shouldn’t have held a public hearing on the license renewal.

    In the area of the Starbuds location, the Denver Zoning Code allows “plant husbandry” as an accessory use, not as a primary use. While Fasing, the hearing officer, considered the Starbuds grow to be the property’s primary use, the company has argued the grow was an accessory use to the building’s primary purpose, which was the retail store.

    Ruden said Starbuds is prepared to hammer home that point in court. Company owners “will take this as far as we need to,” he told the Denver Post.

    The next appeal option for Starbuds is to seek judicial review of the decision in Denver District Court. In the meantime, the decision states that Starbuds cannot begin growing any new plants or clones at the site and must wind down cultivation and harvesting in the next 30 days, when its license expires.

    As it stands, the license decision could create a slippery slope within the industry, Denver-area cannabis attorney David Rodman told Leafly.

    Recently adopted zoning restrictions took roughly 70 percent of industrial properties off the table for cultivators, he said. That, combined with legal limits on how close together cannabis businesses can be — and now the very real threat of losing a license over neighborhood concerns — can turn finding a suitable location into a headache.

    “I don’t think people realize how serious of an impact it is having on the industry in Denver,” he said.

    Rodman added that he’s seen cultivators edging away from densely populated areas for a while now.

    “As we get more and more outside grows in bigger facilities that simply would not fit in Denver, I think that you might see cultivation facilities in Denver start going away on their own because of market forces,” Rodman said.

    For nearby communities, he said, the shift could be a windfall. “You are going to see a border economy where all the jurisdictions that allow it outside of Denver are going to do very well for the next year or two.”

    Will New Technology Make Dabbing Approachable to Older Generations?

    Last week, I facilitated my friend’s first dab. She watched me light the titanium nail with a torch, her eyes wide as if to say, “I didn’t know we needed welding tools to do this.” I placed the sticky globe over the nail and told her to her place the dab inside once the red hot metal cooled. She awkwardly took the dab rig in one hand while balancing the crumbly oil on the dabber in the other. When it met the hot nail, the crumb of wax evaporated into a thick cloud that quickly disappeared as she sucked it in her lungs. The exhale began smooth, but ended in a fit of violent coughing followed by what I call the “dab stance” (laying face-down on the floor).

    This is what dabbing can look like to a first-timer. For those who have never seen or tried dabbing firsthand, mainstream media paints an even sketchier image, using words like “the crack of marijuana” to describe it. They also often conflate the consumption of cannabis extracts with the dangerous and sometimes explosive practice of home butane extraction.

    These types of statements are neither accurate nor helpful to an increasingly cannabis-curious public, but the fact remains: dabbing scares off almost everyone who isn’t a cannabis heavyweight. Juggling foreign tools, knowing which oil to buy, dosing, and the transmission of misinformation in the media are all reasons for other demographics to dismiss dabbing altogether with a “no thanks, I’ll stick to flower.”

    Videos of parents and grandparents dabbing almost always carry a comical tone, showing how unlikely it is for older generations to enjoy this method of cannabis consumption. But what if dabbing looked different?

    Traditional Dabbing vs. New Dabbing Technology

    “I don’t know…it looks like crack. Or meth,” one parent said after we showed him how to take a dab. He complained about the number of tools required, and noted that the blow torch seemed a dangerous ingredient in the process.

    I agreed and thought back to the time our torch malfunction and resulted in a massive fireball, and the time it tipped over and scorched our carpet, and the time the knob got stuck and wouldn’t stop spewing butane.

    “Most seniors don’t like to play with torches — shooting fire out of one of these can be scary for a novice,” another said. “E-nails are very hot and must be handled with great care. Ever touched one? Bad idea.”

    Product innovators, now privy to the challenges, dangers, and stigmas of traditional dabbing methods, are seeking out new ways to harness the effects of dabbing – without the torch and nail.

    VapeXhale is one of these tech-forward pioneers. Something between a bong and a vaporizer, their device known as the EVO captures the sensations of dabbing without requiring cumbersome and dangerous tools. The concentrate is placed in a glass tube, heats for seven seconds, and then the glass neck fills with smooth smoke-like vapor packed with THC – and yes, it hits like a dab, unless you consider coughing fits an essential part of the dabbing experience. When I spoke with VapeXhale’s founder and CEO Seibo Shen, he said, “We wanted to condense the vapor until it’s as thick and opaque as a bong without increasing the temperature.”

    Why Low Temperatures are So Important for Dabbing

    Traditional nail-and-torch dabbing can produce temperatures as hot as 1000 degrees Fahrenheit – with that amount of heat, you burn off many important flavor compounds (called “terpenes”). Not only that, the vapor off a hot nail can be pretty harsh on the throat and lungs. Using modified air pressure to lower compound boiling points, technology like the EVO delivers the potency of a dab without scorching your insides.

    The Benefits of Cannabis Concentrates and Vaporization

    The VapeXhale EVO unit with some cannabis concentrates and buds

    Why bother with dabbing when you have flower?

    There are advantages to using cannabis concentrates, just as bud offers its unique set of benefits.

    • Extracts strip essential compounds from cannabis, leaving behind the plant matter that leaves sticky tar-like resin when smoked.
    • Concentrates can have pronounced flavor profiles, especially when producers reintroduce terpenes after the extraction process.
    • A little bit goes a long way. Rather than having to smoke or vaporize a lot of flower for a heavy effect, you can use a small amount of extract and get dramatically more potent effects. This is particularly useful for those treating pain, insomnia, or other stubborn symptoms.

    5 Differences Between Cannabis Concentrates and Flower

    You don’t have to dab to get the benefits of cannabis extracts, but dabbing is a great way to deliver effects quickly and with unprecedented strength. Dabs hit harder and faster than oil-filled wicked vaporizer pens, for example, and they don’t require solvents like propylene glycol.

    Although edibles can be stronger than dabbing, inhalation methods are very different from ingested cannabis. For example, I’ll dab as a quick remedy for nausea and appetite loss. In my experience, an edible takes too long and doesn’t have the same nausea-relieving effects as concentrates.

    As you can see, dabbing can benefit cannabis consumers of all demographics, but first we need technology that delivers controlled doses at controlled temperatures. Dabbing can be an unpleasant (and, at worst, dangerous) experience for first-timers and novices, so the key is to find ways to minimize discomfort through innovation. VapeXhale and similar producers are leading the charge, but what exciting new inventions will we see in the coming years as cannabis engineering peaks?

    The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Dabs and Cannabis Extracts

    Delaware Cannabis Bill Prompts Calls for Full Legalization

    DOVER, Del. (AP) — The passage of a bill that could spare some misdemeanor drug offenders from convictions has prompted a conservative Republican senator and gubernatorial candidate to call for the formal legalization of cannabis in Delaware.

    The legislation, which would expand probation before judgment to misdemeanor marijuana possession charges, cleared the Senate on Thursday after House passage earlier this month. The bill awaits Gov. Jack Markell’s signature.

    Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, said the bill removes the last vestiges of holding people criminally accountable for possession of small amounts of cannabis.

    Under probation before judgment, a judge defers entry of a conviction if the offender pleads guilty or no contest. If the offender complies with the terms and conditions of a probation period, no conviction will be entered on the record.

    Under the bill, probation before judgment could be used in cases of misdemeanor possession of up to six ounces of marijuana, a Senate attorney told lawmakers.

    “We have lowered the penalties to the point where it is relatively arbitrary whether the state actually prosecutes people on this or not, and the reality is we don’t,” said Bonini, adding that he expects cannabis to be legalized nationwide within five years.

    “This is basically accepted socially and, quite frankly, politically and legally,” he said. “If that the case, we should treat it as such.”

    Bonini said that he is not in favor of relaxing criminal laws for possession, but that policymakers need to accept reality.

    “We’ve already made this decision, whether you like it or not,” he said. “I’m not pleased we’re here. I’m not an advocate, … but I think the reality is this is where we are.”

    Bonini, who said legalization and taxation would be among the issues discussed in his campaign for governor, called for a strict regulatory framework, with tax revenue going to substance abuse treatment programs.

    “Let’s create a structure that’s as beneficial to society as we can make it,” he said.

    The probation bill, which cleared the Senate on a 12-to-6 vote after passing the House on 37-3 vote, now goes to Markell.

    Markell said Thursday that he had not had time to review the legislation, but his office issued a statement a short time later saying he supports the bill.

    Markell has previously said, and reiterated Thursday, that he would not sign any legislation legalizing marijuana before he leaves office in January.

    Democratic Attorney General Matt Denn, whose office supported the probation bill, also opposes full legalization.

    Last year, Markell signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure passed the Democratic-led House and Senate on strict party line votes with no Republican support. Bonini said at the time that lawmakers would regret the move.

    The decriminalization law, which took effect in December, made possession by an adult of a “personal use” quantity of marijuana, defined as an ounce or less, a civil offense punishable by a fine of $100, rather than a crime. Simple possession remains a criminal offense for anyone under 18. For those between the ages of 18 and 21, a first offense will result in a civil penalty, while any subsequent offense would be a misdemeanor.

    Smoking cannabis in a moving vehicle, in public areas, or outdoors on private property within 10 feet of a street, sidewalk or other area generally accessible to the public also is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to five days.

    Massachusetts D.A.s Launch Hail Mary to Stop Legalization. Will It Work?

    Titans’ Derrick Morgan Voices Support for MMJ in the NFL

    Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle and current free agent Eugene Monroe isn’t alone in his public support for medical marijuana in the NFL. Current Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan has added his voice to Monroe’s call for the NFL to adopt cannabis as an alternative method of pain management for players.

    The two recently sat down with Yahoo Global News anchor Katie Couric to speak about the potential benefits of the NFL adopting cannabis as an alternative to prescription painkillers.

    “I think for the NFL to say that cannabis does not benefit the long-term health of its players without actually having gone and done the research — I don’t think that’s an accurate statement.” Morgan said.

    He added, “What I noticed was that former players would openly speak about their experiences being addicted to opioids that they were prescribed by their team doctors.”

    The two are particularly interested in the possible benefits of CBD, or cannabidiol, one of the 60-plus cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive and does not cause a high.

    Players like Monroe and Morgan are becoming more aware of the negative effects that professional football can have on the human body. Mainly, players are becoming increasingly concerned about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the neurodegenerative disease that was highlighted in the blockbuster movie Concussion and has garnered significant news coverage as more deceased players are found to have had CTE.

    One of the most popular and celebrated NFL players to be diagnosed with CTE, Junior Seau, suffered from the neurodegenerative disease to the point where he committed suicide in May 2013, two years after retiring. Seau shot himself in the heart on May 2, stunning the sports community and his hometown of San Diego, where he played the majority of his career.

    Though Monroe and Morgan are the only active NFL players that have spoken in support of medical cannabis, numerous ex-NFL players have come out in support of MMJ. Last year, former NFL players in support of cannabis created The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, dedicated to the advancement of medical marijuana in football. Former players involved include Nate Jackson, Kyle Turley, and several others.

    Super Bowl champion and former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon has said that medical marijuana helped him recover from the pain of his football career.

    McMahon, now 56, has been plagued by debilitating health problems following a 15-year career in the NFL. Throughout his time in the league, as well as in college at Brigham Young University, McMahon suffered from several concussions and has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. He also said he suffered a broken neck during his playing career and now deals with severe headaches, depression, memory loss, and vision and speech problems.

    What are High CBD Cannabis Strains and How Do They Differ from High THC Strains?

    To add to the pain McMahon was dealing with daily, he also was dealing with a constant struggle with opioids. At one point he was taking around 100 Percocet pills a month for pain. The key to McMahon getting off of the prescription painkillers, he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, was medical marijuana. Painkillers were doing him more harm than good.

    McMahon isn’t the only high-profile former NFL player talking about the benefits of medical marijuana in the NFL. Former Heisman winner and 11-year NFL veteran Ricky Williams believes there is a better way for NFL players to handle the excessive wear and tear that goes with the job. According to Williams, rather than giving players copious amounts of painkillers, the NFL should take cannabis off the league’s banned substance list.

    Recently, Williams announced that he will be opening Power Plant Fitness, the world’s first cannabis gym, in San Francisco. Not only is being high allowed at the gym, but it’s also offering its own line of edibles.

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    State of the Leaf: Congress Could Open Doors to MMJ Research

    U.S. News Updates

    National

    A bipartisan effort to expand cannabis research has an unexpected sponsor. The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 has the backing of a few familiar faces – Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.). But it was the addition of vehement anti-cannabis politician Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) that caused a stir on Capitol Hill. The proposal would overhaul the current federal marijuana policy, cutting “though the red tape,” as Harris put it, in order to ease the restrictions on marijuana research. Harris has been vocal in his opposition to legal cannabis. After the District of Columbia legalized recreational cannabis, he has consistently blocked the District from opening retail cannabis shops or even setting local regulations.

    Arkansas

    Arkansans For Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin on Monday in support of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act. The group needed 67,887 valid signatures in order to earn a spot on the November ballot. Little Rock attorney David Couch is still gathering signatures for a competing measure. He says he’s got more than 50,000 of the necessary 84,859 signatures for his proposed constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, but he’ll have to collect the remaining 35,000 quickly. The deadline is July 8.

    Louisiana

    Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law to protect medical marijuana patients from prosecution. Sen. Fred Mills (R-St. Martinville) introduced Senate Bill 180 in March. It was amended by both the House and Senate before landing on the governor’s desk. The bill contains uncomplicated language that protects patients in legal possession of medical marijuana from criminal penalties and prosecution as long as they abide by existing state rules and regulations. The law will go into effect on August 1.

    Massachusetts

    The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts turned in more than 25,000 signatures in support of the legalization measure, far more than the 10,792 needed at this stage of the initiative process. The extra signatures will provide a cushion in case some signatures are invalidated for various reasons (see: Maine, a cautionary tale). The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use and would impose a 3.75-percent excise tax on recreational sales. Supporters and opponents of the measure are still waiting to hear from the state Supreme Court, which is considering a lawsuit over the measure’s final ballot language.

    New Mexico

    The New Mexico Department of Health’s secretary-designate, Lynn Gallagher, is in hot water after State Auditor Tim Keller discovered that patients seeking entry into the state’s medical cannabis program were experiencing wait times double or triple what’s allowed by state law. The law states that the Department of Health must process applications within 30 days, but there’s been a surge in applications over the past year. The number of registered medical marijuana patients jumped from 14,000 last year to 25,000 this year. That spike has created a backlog. Keller said he sympathized, but he was firm that the department needs to step up its game and approve or deny the applications within 30 days “regardless of volume or budget constraints.” Attorney General Hector Balderas has already received a complaint on the matter and may conduct a special audit of the agency.

    International News Updates

    Uruguay

    Uruguay celebrated its first legal harvest this week. Juan Andrés Roballo, president of the National Drug Board, announced that the country’s first legal cannabis harvest will soon reach Uruguayan pharmacies from licensed growers. The companies — International Cannabis Corp. (ICCorp) and SIMbiosys — have facilities in Montevideo, and recently harvested hundreds of plants yielding up to 300 grams each. The harvest still needs another six weeks to dry and cure, but the finished product will be available in 5- or 10-gram packages by August, with the price set at $1.20 USD per gram. Consumers can purchase up to 40 grams a month with identification and registration. Uruguay also has 15 registered cannabis clubs, where growers can raise up to 99 plants and distribute 40 grams per month to as many as 45 club members.

    Denmark

    For as long as the self-proclaimed “autonomous neighborhood” of Freetown Christiania has existed in the heart of Copenhagen, it has openly allowed and traded cannabis, even existing under its own law, the Christiania Law of 1989. However, a major raid last week of Pusher Street, Christiania’s cannabis market, inspired many prominent Danish politicians to urge the police and legislators to stop fighting a losing battle. Anne Birgitte Stürup, senior prosecutor for the Copenhagen Public Prosecutor Office (Statsadvokaten) was fed up with the raids and encouraged legalization. “I personally believe we should legalize the sale of cannabis because this is a fight we cannot win,” she told reporters. Denmark has considered cannabis legalization for years, having tolerated the peaceful cannabis trade, and the city of Copenhagen has requested a trial program for legalization multiple times.

    BREAKING: Toronto Police Raid 'Cannabis Culture,' Arrest Staff

    The crackdown on cannabis storefronts that began last month continued today in Toronto as police reportedly raided at least two businesses, including Canna Clinic in Kensington Market and Cannabis Culture’s Queen Street location.

    “The police [came to the store], they were inside, they closed up the shop, and they’ve arrested people,” Cannabis Culture owner Jodie Emery told Leafly this afternoon. “As far as I know, no patients and no customers were arrested.”

    Emery, an outspoken cannabis advocate, was in Vancouver, B.C., at the time of today’s raids. She and husband Marc Emery own and operate multiple Cannabis Culture locations across Canada. The company also operates a cannabis social club and a magazine widely known in Canadian cannabis circles.

    Emery opened the Toronto storefront after the “Operation Claudia” raids began last month, with full knowledge that they would likely be raided. To protest both the raids and the lack of action on legalization by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Emerys opened their Toronto storefront as an adult recreational shop, serving anyone 19 or older.

    Details on the raid remain scant. Around 1:20 p.m. local time, the Cannabis Culture’s Twitter account announced the raid had begun:

    RAID IN PROGRESS at #CannabisCulture @ 801 Queen St. W #Toronto. Police have closed the shop and are trying to stop photos from being taken

    — Cannabis Culture (@CannabisCulture) June 23, 2016

    Shortly afterward, Emery posted an update to her personal account:

    Toronto @CannabisCulture Raid Update: @TorontoPolice officers closed down 801 Queen West – waiting for more details. pic.twitter.com/ZDl4kt5yHb

    — Jodie Emery (@JodieEmery) June 23, 2016

    Police Chief Mark Saunders took questions about the raids during a previously-scheduled press conference. (The media event was primarily intended to provide information about the arrest of four suspects in a shooting that injured a ten-year-old boy earlier this month.)

    “This has nothing to do with medical marijuana and everything to do with making money,” Saunders said in response to questions about the raids. “It’s not about medical marijuana, it’s just about people making money.”

    Although police are staying mum on what prompted the raid, Emery confirmed that Cannabis Culture received a letter from Toronto law enforcement the day before the raid.

    “Yesterday the letter arrived, and, as such, the stock was reduced onsite. So hopefully there wasn’t a large amount there,” Emery told Leafly. She added with a sigh, “We’re just waiting on updates.”

    As for speculation on her motivation for opening a cannabis shop, Emery was adamant about the decision to continue business as planned. “It’s the same old battle as usual. These dispensaries are opening up because of basic supply and demand. Stop ruining people’s lives by enforcing a law that won’t be a law in the near future.”

    Ebony-Renee Baker, a VICE Canada editorial intern, was on the scene posting updates to Twitter:

    Police bagging the windows now #CannabisCulture pic.twitter.com/IGQ8OEyHRN

    — Ebony-Renee (@EbonyReneeBaker) June 23, 2016

    Police tell bystanders they’ll seize their phones if they take pictures #CannabisCulture

    — Ebony-Renee (@EbonyReneeBaker) June 23, 2016

    Employees have been taken out in cuffs. pic.twitter.com/bF9PUg8Cxq

    — Ebony-Renee (@EbonyReneeBaker) June 23, 2016

     Canada Will Bring Legalization Measure in Early 2017

    How Does Cannabis Consumption Affect Neurodegenerative Diseases?

    While most people associate neurodegenerative disorders with diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson disease, there are actually hundreds of different neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. As legalization continues to bring cannabis to the forefront, caregivers and loved ones of patients afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases are increasingly curious about whether medical marijuana can help alleviate symptoms. How might cannabis help the millions of patients diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disorder?

    Can Cannabis Treat Neurodegenerative Disease?

    Because cannabinoids have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory qualities, many speculate that cannabis could prove useful in preventing, halting, or reversing debilitating neurodegenerative disorder.

    Juan Sanchez-Ramos, MD, PhD, a professor of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, is optimistic, noting that early laboratory studies have identified cannabinoids which, by virtue of their neuro-protective and anti-oxidative actions, have the potential to “slow the onset and progression of neurodegenerative conditions.”

    Sanchez-Ramos cautions we need far more human trials, but the federal government’s long-standing position on cannabis as an illegal Schedule I drug with “no known medical use” has impeded progress of researchers who face unnecessary obstacles to conduct research, a point he argued in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed. The government’s position has “hampered clinical research on cannabis for nearly half a century.”

    What are Neurodegenerative Diseases?

    Doctor looking at brain scans

    “Neurodegenerative disease” refers to a variety of conditions that affect neurons – or nerve cells – in the brain. Neurons comprise the building blocks of our nervous system, including our spinal cord and brain.

    The Harvard Neurodiscovery Center put forth a chilling observation:

    “If left unchecked, 30 years from now, more than 12 million Americans will suffer from neurodegenerative diseases.”

    Another staggering statistic: In 2010, the global cost of Alzheimer’s disease was $604 billion, or 1% of global GDP.

    For patients and their families, these incurable, debilitating diseases can be devastating, and given the far-reaching impact of these diseases, researching cost-effective solutions should be a top priority.

    Most Common Forms of Neurodegenerative Disease

    The most frequently diagnosed neurodegenerative disorders are:

    • Alzheimer’s
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”)
    • Parkinson’s
    • Huntington’s
    • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
    • Prion disease
    • Spinal muscular atrophy

    Remarkably, Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for possibly 60-80% of cases.

    How Does Cannabis Affect Your Memory?

    Causes and Symptoms of Neurodegenerative Disease

    Many researchers believe a combination of factors may contribute to an increased risk of acquiring a neurodegenerative disease, including traumatic brain injury, genetic mutations and environmental factors (e.g., heavy metals, pesticides). The one consistent risk factor of developing a neurodegenerative disorder, particularly for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, is age.

    Symptoms, which can be severe and can sometimes cause death, vary across the spectrum, but may include:

    • Cognition and memory impairment
    • Problems with movement
    • Weakness
    • Spasticity (tight muscles or exaggerated reflexes)
    • Paralysis
    • Rigidity or tight muscles
    • Breathing problems
    • Impairment of heart function

    Cannabis and Neurodegenerative Disease Research

    Brain scans

    Cochrane, the “gold standard” for systematic reviews of controlled trials, last published a review on the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease in 2009.

    Their conclusion? No conclusion. Not enough data. Translation: there weren’t any good studies.

    Fortunately, since publication, shifting public opinion and the legalization of medical marijuana in more than half the country has encouraged a resurgence of research despite the hurdles that continue to exist. There have been key findings from several reviews in which the authors review a body of evidence from various studies while weeding out poorly conducted studies.

    In August 2015, the American Academy of Neurology published an evidence-based systematic review of randomized controlled trials using cannabis or cannabinoids to treat neurologic disorders. They found several cannabinoids demonstrated “effectiveness” or “probable effectiveness” to alleviate spasticity, painful spasms, and central pain commonly associated with multiple sclerosis. They went so far as stating medical insurance should pay for cannabinoid-derived medications such as dronabinol and nabilone for patients who could benefit.

    The British Journal of Pharmacology published a review in March 2014 concluding that “modulating the endogenous cannabinoid system is emerging as a potentially viable option in the treatment of neurodegeneration.”

    In a 2012 research review, Dr. Andras Bilkei-Gorzo made an observation that almost seems paradoxical: cannabis, which we think of as an impairment to cognitive function, could be the exact opposite of conventional wisdom:

    “At first sight, it is striking that cannabinoid agonists, substances known to impair cognitive functions, could be beneficial in neurodegenerative cognitive disorders. However, [we found] cannabinoid receptor activation could reduce oxidative stress and excitotoxicity, suppress neuroinflammatory processes and thus alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative motor and cognitive diseases.”

    Why Cannabis Research Should be Prioritized

    Jars of cannabis

    Could cannabis play a role in helping solve what could become a major public health crisis? The research so far is promising, but clearly we still need far more. As a society we need to make research a top priority – it’s the compassionate and fiscally responsible thing to do.

    Inevitably, the DEA will remove barriers to conducting the type of rigorous research scientists want (and need) to do, and soon we should have better answers to some important questions:

    • Can cannabis or specific cannabinoids boost the endocannabinoid system (ECS) enough to slow down, halt, or reverse the progression of any of the neurodegenerative diseases?
    • Can the neuroprotective or anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis or specific cannabinoids prevent onset of neurodegenerative disease or significantly decrease our risk for acquiring a disease?

    As anyone who has had a family member with a neurodegenerative disease knows, watching a loved one’s health deteriorate before your very eyes can be one of the most painful experiences you’ll ever go through. We can hope that we continue making advancements in understanding not just the potential role of cannabis, but of the root causes of these diseases. Perhaps then we can alleviate the suffering that millions of families across the world experience.

    Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?

    Failure in California Would Be Nationwide Setback, Lt. Gov. Warns

    Think legalization in California is a done deal? Think again, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom warned industry representatives this week. An adult-use measure is headed for November’s ballot, but recent internal polling has Newsom worried about its chances. Failure at the ballot box, he warned, could carry dire consequences.

    “If it is defeated,” he said, “it will set back this movement in California … and nationally for years and years.” Newsom spoke to an audience of industry representatives on Tuesday at an Oakland event sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

    The lieutenant governor said he’s frustrated that other state officials haven’t come out in support of the measure, known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. While the initiative recently won the high-profile endorsement of the California Democratic Party, few sitting politicians have expressed support. “I don’t want to be that guy,” Newsom said. “I don’t want to be here on a panel of ex-politicians talking about what I woulda, shoulda done when I was in office.”

    The war on drugs has been a failure in the USA. It’s been a war on poor people + it’s been a war on people of color. pic.twitter.com/0DXwnQkATM

    — Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 21, 2016

    The lieutenant governor has a personal stake in legalization. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act was drafted largely as the result of recommendations from a group he created, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy.

    While he’s been campaigning statewide, Newsom said he’s honed his arguments at home. He told the audience that his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is “scared as hell” about the message that legalizing cannabis would send to the couple’s children. He said he’s reminded her that the measure will bar sales to anyone under 21, and there are good reasons to believe teen use will actually decrease.

    Lt. Gov. Newsom says with Colorado experience on legal cannabis “you are seeing that the sky is not falling in.”

    — Patrick McGreevy (@mcgreevy99) June 21, 2016

    The legalization measure could run into other obstacles, Newsom said, such as a deep-pocketed donor stepping up to fight the measure. Much of AUMA’s funding has come from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and a friend of Newsom. “But he’s got a budget, too, and he’s not going to fund the whole thing,” the lieutenant governor said.

    California is one of nine states with cannabis measures going before voters this November. If voters in all those states support them, National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said at the event, one in four Americans will reside in states with legal adult-use cannabis. Three in four will live in states where medical use is legal.

    If the measures, fail, however, Smith said told the audience the fallout could be disastrous:

    “If we don’t win California and at least half of the other states in play right now, the public narrative around our industry will dramatically change for the worse and for quite some time, setting us back a decade or more,” Smith said

    Congressman ‘Appalled’ at House GOP for Rejecting Cannabis Banking Measure

    Congressional sponsors of an amendment to give cannabis businesses easier access to banking services railed against the rejection of the proposal by a House committee earlier today.

    “I’m appalled at House Republican leadership for denying the opportunity for a vote on the marijuana banking amendment which gets cash off the streets and prevents future crime in our communities,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat. The amendment, proposed as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, was co-sponsored by Perlmutter and Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash).

    Perlmutter and Heck both made reference to a recent incident in Aurora, Colo., where a security guard was shot and killed during an armed robbery of Green Heart Marijuana Dispensary. The shooting highlights the dangers that cannabis business operators face every day due to the nature of a cash industry.

    “How many more armed robberies must we witness and security guards lives lost before we take action?” asked Perlmutter.

    The amendment was blocked earlier today by the House Rules Committee.

    Another blocked provision, from Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), would have allowed Washington, D.C., to spend its own funding on legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis sales.

    The Senate Appropriations Committee last week voted to approve an amendment that would prevent federal banking regulators from penalizing, prohibiting, or discouraging banks from providing services to state-legal, regulated marijuana businesses. It passed with a 16–14 vote, but the amendment did not contain any additional provisions regarding Washington, D.C., retail sales.

    This isn’t the first attempt at removing banking hurdles facing the legal marijuana industry. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced a similar amendment last year that passed through the Senate Appropriations committee with a 16–14 vote before being stripped from the final appropriations bill.

    While this is a disappointing, albeit not entirely unexpected, turn of events, not all hope is lost. If the Senate passes its own appropriations bill with the cannabis banking rider, the House will have a chance to approve or reject the amendment.

    American Commits Suicide in Taiwan Court Over 4-Year Cannabis Sentence

    An American man convicted of growing cannabis in Taiwan slashed his throat with a pair of scissors last week after being sentenced to four years in prison.

    Tyrel Martin Marhanka, 41, was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved, the Changhua District Court said in a statement. He leaves behind a wife and two children — a son in second grade and a daughter in kindergarten.

    From the Taipei Times:

    According to witnesses, after the Changhua District Court judge read his ruling, Marhanka turned to the translator, who told him the sentence, before Marhanka was heard saying: “Four years?”

    The translator reportedly informed Marhanka that he would have a chance to appeal the decision, but the American said he wasn’t interested. According to the Central News Agency, Marhanka had lived in Taiwan several years and worked as an English teacher, but he lost his job after being charged in the case.

    Court officials said Marhanka had smuggled into court a pair of scissors, which he’d separated into two sharp blades. In the video below, a witness and hospital staff member tell the New York Times what happened.

    Marhanka was arrested in April of last year and charged with possession of cannabis and other narcotics. Police reportedly found more than 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants, and 10 opium poppies at a rented house. At the time of arrest, he told authorities he grew the plants as a hobby and that they were intended for his personal use.

    The New York Times reports that the incident is likely to raise questions about security in Taiwan’s court system:

    Last year, inmates in southern Taiwan used scissors from a workshop to take guards hostage. They broke into a prison armory to seize firearms, which six inmates used to kill themselves.

    A four-year prison term is by no means the harshest penalty dealt to cannabis growers in Asia. Singapore, for example, treats cannabis infractions with caning, life imprisonment, and death sentences. But the sad case of Tyrel Marhanka is a reminder that cannabis prohibition, and the outrageous sentences that often accompany it, have all-too-real and profoundly painful consequences for both consumers and their families.

    Leafly Product Review: The Arizer Air Portable Vaporizer

    Welcome to Leafly’s Product Reviews, where we take a closer look at a cannabis gadget, accessory, or consumable, and give it a test spin. Today we’re trying out the Arizer Air portable vaporizer.

    The Arizer Air at a Glance

    Product: Portable vaporizer

    Manufacturer: Arizer

    Price: $229

    Features: High-quality ceramic heating element, glass dishes, and rechargeable, interchangeable lithium batteries that offer an hour of continuous use per charge (plus the ability to use the unit while charging the battery)

    Includes: 1 warming unit with battery, 1 charger with power adapter, 2 glass diffuser stems, 1 glass aroma dish, 1 carrying case, 1 clear protective silicone skin, 1 stainless steel stirring tool

    Initial Impressions

    The Arizer Air from Arizer is a very simple yet incredibly effective and powerful vaporizer that is more than capable of taking you wherever you need to go.

    On first impression, I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly fascinated by the Arizer Air when I first took it out of the box. I noticed right off the bat that was that there was a decent amount of weight to the unit, and while this no-frills cylinder wasn’t huge (5 inches long and an inch in diameter, to be exact), I still would have an unsightly bulge in my pocket (phrasing, I know) were I to carry the Air around. As someone who values discretion and aesthetic design, this portable vape was almost too simple and “big” for my tastes. However, the performance of this thing more than made up for the perceived design flaws.

    Using this vaporizer is incredibly easy and intuitive. To load my herb, all I had to do was pop open the plastic tab at the top of the vape to access the deep chamber. After packing the bowl, I easily inserted my preferred mouthpiece. One downside to the Arizer Air is that it requires you to carry the vaporizer around in two pieces, the main unit and whichever mouthpiece out of the three included that you prefer.

    Arizer Air portable vaporizer from Toronto Vaporizer

    Turn on the unit by pressing the center of the two-directional pad button. The Air has no digital display, instead using a 5-color system to set your temperature level. Although the colors make sense (blue is the lowest setting, then white, green, yellow, and red at the highest setting), the white and yellow lights look pretty much the same, which gave me some initial confusion at first. This detraction is barely worth mentioning though, since pressing on the up or down arrow buttons make it easy for you to see which color you’re really on.

    Some people may not like not being able to set an exact numerical temperature, but I really appreciated the simplicity of just pressing the button a few times to get to green. This pared down feature may be ideal for those of you who are new to vaping and aren’t really sure which temperature you would set your vaporizer to.

    How to Customize Your Cannabis High with Temperature

    Full disclosure: I was not prepared for how well and how hard this thing can hit. The clear mouthpiece tube allows you to see how much vapor you’re taking in, and this portable vaporizer really packs a punch and allows you to blow some nice clouds after a quick warm up period.

    Arizer Air portable vaporizer with clear mouthpiece

    The Arizer Air is a very powerful portable vaporizer that can allow you to get almost as much, if not a bit more, vapor out of your nug than some desktop vaporizers I’ve tried in the past. I also enjoyed the fact that using the longer mouthpieces allowed me to take deeper and longer pulls without the air getting too hot for my lungs. A couple strong puffs on the Arizer Air and I was already flying pretty high, and the rest of the bowl went a long way as I kept adjusting the temperature throughout my sesh.

    The open airflow of the chamber and mouthpiece connection will cause some vapor to easily leak out in between pulls, but that is an extremely minor flaw to point out in comparison to how well this vaporizer gets the job done.

    Our Verdict

    Arizer Air portable vape unit

    Overall, the Arizer Air portable vaporizer is a simple but very effective and powerful portable vaporizer that isn’t so portable if you aren’t the purse or bag-carrying type. The battery during use held up for a little over an hour, but luckily you’re still able to use this vaporizer while it’s plugged in and charging. Having to carry the vaporizer and mouthpiece separately in order for it to truly be portable was a bit annoying, but the power and vaping performance more than made up for that slight inconvenience.

    At $229 it is on the pricier end as far as portable vaporizers go, but in my opinion the vaping performance in a such a small package makes it worth the price to me. If you’re looking for a near-desktop vaporizer performance in a much smaller bundle, the Arizer Air portable vaporizer may be right for you.

    More information about the Arizer Air:

    • Arizer Air tutorial video
    • Arizer Air cleaning video

    Have you tried the Arizer Air? If so, leave a review on our Products page!

    Leafly Product Review: The G-Pen Elite Vaporizer (Ground Herb)

    Ohio MMJ Law's Focus on Minorities Raises Legal Questions

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Part of Ohio’s new medical marijuana law that sets aside a piece of the state’s budding cannabis business for minorities appears to be unconstitutional, legal experts told The Associated Press.

    The provisions were inserted into the fast-tracked bill at the request of Democrats, whose votes were key to its passage in both Republican-controlled legislative chambers. The law made Ohio the 25th state to legalize medicinal cannabis. It takes effect Sept. 8.

    The benchmarks require at least 15 percent of Ohio’s cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, and laboratory licenses to go to the businesses of one of four economically disadvantaged minority groups — blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans — so long as an adequate number apply.

    State Rep. Dan Ramos, a Latino Democrat from Lorain who offered the proposal, said he and members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus feels it’s important to assure minority communities disproportionately punished under existing marijuana laws are allowed to benefit when medical marijuana is legalized.

    “The state has been putting away little black and brown kids for selling these drugs at high rates, giving them excessive punishments, etcetera,” Ramos said. “We wanted to be sure that businesses owned by black and brown people get the immediate opportunity to sell legally once medical marijuana becomes legal.”

    The provision was patterned after Ohio’s minority business enterprise targets for government contracts. However, placing race-related restrictions on government-issued licenses is different because it necessarily shuts out some non-minority applicants, said Stephen Lazarus, an associate professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

    “They’re not spending state money, they’re just saying that this person cannot get a license. So, yes, it is different,” he said.

    “Essentially, racial discrimination is racial discrimination, whether you think it’s for a benign purpose or malignant,” Lazarus said. “The Constitution has to be color blind. It can’t take race into account.”

    Ruth Colker, a constitution expert at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, said such generalized racial preference rules have failed to hold up in court, absent documented proof of past or likely discrimination — which must be distinct for each named racial group.

    “This is a novel situation because the particular industry does not yet exist, so discrimination in that industry can only be speculative,” she said. “But I know of no case law that permits a racial preference rule in a new program without a strong legislative record showing why discrimination is likely to occur in that new program.”

    Both Republicans and Democrats in the two chambers said constitutional concerns about the thresholds never arose as the legislation was being debated.

    Democratic state Sen. Charleta Tavares of Columbus said medical marijuana licenses have the potential to fall under a “goods and services” definition, which would be constitutionally sound. She also said, if the law were challenged, documenting the disparate treatment of minority groups under existing marijuana laws would not be difficult.

    “You can look at history, you can look at all of the areas of business and see the impacts, and whether or not there’s been a negative impact for racial and ethnic minorities,” she said.

    State Sen. Kenny Yuko, a Richmond Heights Democrat who helped champion the legislation through the Senate, said a top concern was avoiding what happened last year when a statewide marijuana legalization amendment was sunk amid criticism that it created a monopoly for growers.

    “We wanted to make sure that everybody had a fair shot. … We wanted to make it not about money, millionaires and monopolies, but about medicine, medicine, medicine,” Yuko said.

    State Rep. Kirk Schuring, who led a special task force on medical marijuana in the House, said the legislation was “duly vetted.”

    “The spirit of the law is solid, which was that we wanted to give the minority community an opportunity to participate in the process,” he said.

    Massachusetts Legalization Measure is a Go

    Supporters of a proposal that could make Massachusetts the fifth U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana expressed confidence they would easily meet a Wednesday deadline for voter signatures and qualify for the November state ballot.

    Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said late Tuesday that the group planned to turn in more than 25,000 signatures to city and town clerks around the state ahead of a 5 p.m. deadline.

    Only 10,792 certified signatures are required at this stage of the process, but sponsors of ballot initiatives typically try to gather many more as a hedge against signatures that are disqualified for various reasons.

    The marijuana proposal would allow people 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of pot for recreational use and impose a 3.75 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales, imposed on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.

    This was the second and final round of signature-gathering in the ballot question process. Organizers were required to collect more than 60,000 signatures last year to place their initiative petitions before the Legislature. The second phase was triggered when lawmakers declined to act on them by early May.

    The marijuana legalization effort still faces formidable opposition from top elected officials, including Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, also a Democrat. Reasons cited by opponents include the state’s opioid addiction crisis and the possibility of marijuana being a “gateway” leading to more dangerous drugs.

    The Supreme Judicial Court has yet to rule on a lawsuit that claims voters who signed the petitions were not told marijuana products that would become legal, including food and beverages, may contain potent levels of THC, the drug’s psychoactive chemical.

    Bedrocan Launches bedro-oils, Standardized Cannabis Oil Products

    This week, Canopy Growth  (TSXV:CGC) reported that Bedrocan Canada had received its license to sell cannabis oils.

    As quoted in the press release:

    New bedro-oils are made by extracting oils from Bedrocan Canada’s line of standardized whole-flower cannabis varieties using CO2 supercritical extraction equipment. Once the crude extraction is purified, it is balanced with organic sunflower oil to create a versatile product that can be consumed on its own or used for baking or cooking.

    “Many of our clients have expressed a desire to ingest cannabis oils to either compliment or substitute the inhaled route,” said Marc Wayne, President, Bedrocan Canada. “We’re proud to offer this new option for patients who, whether for convenience or for health reasons, prefer to ingest their medical cannabis.”

    Along with Bedrocan Canada’s sister company, Tweed Inc., the company has committed $50,000 toward partnerships with leading organizations committed to responsible use education. $1 from every bottle of 10:1 bedro-oils sold will also go towards important initiatives such as a recently announced partnership with MADD Canada and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.

    Click here for the full press release.

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    Resource Forecast 2016 – Expert Opinions Covering Precious Metals, Energy, Critical Metals, and More

    Understand these markets and what the experts see coming in 2016 with our FREE Special Report, Resource Forecast 2016 – Expert Opinions Covering Precious Metals, Energy, Critical Metals, and More.

    The post Bedrocan Launches bedro-oils, Standardized Cannabis Oil Products appeared first on Investing News Network.

    DEA Official Pumps Brakes on Cannabis Rescheduling Announcement

    Despite several widely circulated media reports that the DEA is planning to effectively legalize medical cannabis this August, a DEA official said no definite decision has been made.

    In an interview published earlier today by aNewDomain, DEA Staff Coordinator Russ Baer declined to confirm the original Santa Monica Observer report that the DEA will reschedule cannabis as a prescription-only Schedule II drug on Aug. 1. “We aren’t holding ourselves to any artificial timeframe,” he said.

    The Observer report created a stir over the weekend, and generated many skeptics, based on the fact that staff writer Stan Greene’s story relied only on an anonymous “DEA lawyer with knowledge of the matter.”

    The report has served, however, to elicit more information than the DEA usually gives out. Baer went on at length about the DEA’s thoughts around legalizing medical marijuana and how rescheduling might work.

    According to Baer, the decision to reschedule is a difficult one, because the biochemistry of cannabis is so complex and there are many uses and forms of medical cannabis.

    “We are talking about synthetic THC, CBD, oils, extract, edibles,” he said.

    The challenge for researchers and government agencies, Baer added, is to “identify the parts of the plant that might have benefit, and separating out (the beneficial) parts from the ones that aren’t beneficial or harmful.”

    In another story that ran a few days ago in The Denver Post, cannabis policy attorney Tom Downey said, “[The DEA] could partially legalize medical marijuana, and the federal government could usher in a new era with a comprehensive and multi-structural approach to pot policy.” They would do this by rescheduling cannabis to a federal prescription system, which would also leave to individual states the decision of how to handle medical and recreational use.

    Baer also talked about how media reports of the DEA’s potential announcement were completely false. According to him, “We are not holding ourselves to any artificial timeline.” He also mentioned that one of the main reasons the DEA wants to reschedule cannabis is to make research easier.

    Either way, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the DEA does in relation to the rescheduling of cannabis. Continue to follow Leafly News for more updates.

     DEA Chief Now Fully Commits to Cannabis Being Safer Than Heroin

    Special Report: Can L.A.’s Outlaw Delivery Services Survive Long Enough to Become Legal?

    These are anxious times for Southern California’s booming cannabis delivery services. “Everybody’s just a little scared right now,” SpeedWeed co-founder Jen Gentile recently told Leafly. “Scared that their livelihoods, their businesses, and their patients are going to be taken away.”

    If you’re a cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles, you drive around the city these days with a target on your back. After years of operating with impunity, the services now find themselves the focus of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who wants to drive them out of business.

    In March, Feuer’s office won an appeals court decision that upheld delivery’s outlaw status in L.A. and kept one temporarily shuttered service, Nestdrop, from reopening. Then in May, SpeedWeed, another well-known service boasting more than 25,000 patients, agreed to halt operations within city limits in the face of an ongoing lawsuit.

    Watching some of delivery’s biggest companies crumble in court has others running scared. “The majority of us were shocked that the city was using its resources to go after delivery,” acknowledged one illegally operating delivery manager, who asked to go by “Skip” to protect his identity. “We’re all kind of gambling.”

    “Nestdrop didn’t faze me as much as SpeedWeed did,” Skip said. “I went, ‘Oh, this could actually be a real legal problem.’”

    To increase their odds of survival, many delivery services that remain open are going deeper underground — hiding their names, obscuring the locations of their businesses, and offering little information about their products. That raises concerns for patients and policymakers, but operators say they don’t have a choice. “If you stick your head out of the gopher hole,” Skip said, “it’s probably going to get lopped off.”

    For delivery services, their legal troubles stem from the same law that fueled the rise of the delivery industry itself: Proposition D.

    Introduced by city officials in response to neighborhood complaints about storefront dispensaries, the 2013 measure, technically a zoning ordinance, sought to cut L.A.’s more than 700 estimated dispensaries down to just 135. Los Angeles voters approved Prop. D in a low-turnout May election. The law took effect immediately.

    Hundreds of dispensaries closed in the aftermath. Feuer’s website says his office has shut down more than 500 illegal storefronts. But not all those businesses stayed closed. They’d formed relationships with others in the industry, hired staff, and amassed long lists of patients, and many wanted to continue operating. In an effort to avoid detection, many reopened as under-the-radar delivery services.

     Behind the Big Ban: Why California Towns are Scrambling to Oust Dispensaries

    Skip, who managed a combined dispensary and delivery service, saw his storefront shuttered under Prop. D. “That’s when we went straight delivery,” he said. “People started realizing they were focused on a street address.”

    Proposition D contains no exception for delivery services. “The [city’s] stance has consistently been that delivery is not allowed,” said lawyer Alison Malsbury, who has advised Los Angeles-area delivery services. And the Nestdrop appellate decision backs up that view.

    Yet for years, the city of Los Angeles all but ignored delivery services, even as they flourished to the point of becoming well-known brand names, as happened with SpeedWeed. Between 2012 and 2015, L.A. led a nationwide boom that saw the number of delivery services triple.

    That put attorneys like Malsbury in tough position.

    “The thing you’re telling your client not to do is something that hundreds of other businesses are doing and not getting in trouble over,” she said. “That’s a difficult spot to be in as an attorney.”

    Then, City Attorney Feuer finally pivoted, going after some of delivery’s largest, most visible actors. It’s been a common approach in past California crackdowns, and from a prosecutor’s perspective it’s a strategy that makes sense. A high-profile enforcement action will grab headlines, the thinking goes, and send a message to the rest of the sector that authorities mean business. It’s one of the reasons federal prosecutors went after Harborside Health Center in Oakland in 2012. At the time Harborside was considered the nation’s largest dispensary. Closing its operations would have sent a loud and clear signal to smaller players in the industry.

    (In Harborside’s case, Oakland officials pushed back against the feds, declaring the dispensary a community asset and warning that closing it could create a public health crisis. After years of litigation, Harborside ultimately fought off the federal action.)

    Harborside Prevails in Courtroom Fight with Feds

    If deterrence is what Feuer’s office is after, however, the delivery sector isn’t listening. Though some operators have closed shop in the face of legal threats, many simply shroud their identities and locations in secrecy. “For every one they shut down, two rise up in its place,” said Skip, the delivery service manager. Numbers are hard to pin down, but dozens of Los Angeles delivery services are still happy to take your order by phone or online and drop it off curbside.

    Why are they not shutting down or going elsewhere? Blame in part the strange history of Prop. D.

    The law mandated that only 135 storefront dispensaries would survive with the city’s blessing. Priority was given to dispensaries that had been operating the longest — prior to 2007 — despite the fact the city once considered even those storefronts illegal.

    With that in mind, many delivery services are simply trying to survive until the day they’re declared legal. If that day comes, service owners think it’s a good bet that those who’ve been in business the longest will again receive top priority for licenses.

    “That’s literally what every single one of us is hoping will happen,” Skip said. “It’s going to happen. It’s just, can you survive long enough to get to that day?”

    “The Prop. D guys were illegal until the day they weren’t,” he added.

     California Moving Quickly to Tax Medical Cannabis

    SpeedWeed co-founder Gentile said she’s been contacted by other services since her company was sued. “When they ask me for advice, it’s really hard for me to tell them, ‘Continue to be open, continue to be transparent, continue to be good operators,’” she said. “That’s what we did, and we got served a lawsuit for it.”

    Feuer’s office, for its part, isn’t offering much in the way of guidance. “While each matter is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, all medical marijuana businesses are subject to a broad interpretation of Prop. D, which prohibits all delivery services,” spokesman Frank Mateljan told Leafly in an email. Attorney Asha Greenberg, he said, the office’s point person on medical cannabis, was unavailable for an interview.

    The municipal code “can be modified or changed by the City Council,” Mateljan added in the email, “but as of now those are the parameters under which our office is operating.”

    As it happens, the City Council just started down the path toward modifying those parameters. Last month City Council President Herb Wesson introduced a motion to begin studying policies that could eventually replace Prop D. An update to the law could be ready for voters as soon as March.

    Los Angeles City Hall. Photo via iStock

    While Feuer’s office beats the drum of Prop. D being “the voters’ will,” Wesson’s office sees it differently. Press Secretary Vanessa Rodriguez described the measure as “the city’s best attempt at creating a gray area for that time.” Past tense.

    “I think it’s fair to say the City Council is looking at a more permanent solution,” she told Leafly.

    As introduced, the new motion is silent on delivery services. At least one advocacy group has called for an amendment to change that. Rodriguez said in an interview that “everything is on the table for my boss, the council president, right now.”

    “This motion was really a first attempt for the city to proactively create a framework for what we believe is coming down the pipeline,” she said.

    Big changes, after all, are coming to California cannabis. Last year the state adopted a comprehensive package of reforms to the state’s medical cannabis industry, set to take effect in 2018. The new system specifically carves out a space for licensed delivery services, though it also allows local jurisdictions to ban them.

    More significantly, California voters this November will decide whether to legalize recreational cannabis. The proposed Adult Use of Marijuana Act allows for delivery services, but it, too, gives broad regulatory control to cities and counties.

    Which States are Most Likely to Legalize Cannabis in 2016?

    Delivery services are cautiously optimistic. “We work very hard to try to make delivery a very legitimate, very regulated part of the industry,” she said, noting that SpeedWeed has worked with state groups such as the Board of Equalization and the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. “We’re finding great success everywhere else in the state — except for here.”

    As the City Council rolls up its sleeves to rehash Prop. D in the coming months, patient advocates say, it’s important delivery services be part of the conversation. Most city officials, said Sarah Armstrong, director of industry affairs for Americans for Safe Access, “don’t understand how a delivery services following best practices works.”

    Gentile agreed. “Delivery has always sort of seemed like the afterthought or the bastard stepchild of the industry,” she said. “They think of the guy with the beeper who shows up in the parking lot and hands you a dime bag. But this is not what delivery is.”

    The best delivery services, said Armstrong at ASA, have spent years developing practices designed to protect both employees and patients — background checks, systems to prevent drivers from carrying too much cash or product, and so on.

     Cannabis Regulation in the Wild West: What We Can Learn From San Jose

    “It starts with education,” Armstrong said. “If [delivery services] published a white paper like that — that I could use, that other people could use, to give to City Hall, to give to the state Legislature — that might really help.”

    The city might be cracking down on delivery services, but those in the industry say that, legal or not, delivery’s not going anywhere.

    “The crackdown is not going to stop delivery in Los Angeles,” Gentile said. “All it’s going to do is bring it into the black market.”

    If Los Angeles is serious about ensuring safe access to medical cannabis but doesn’t want to drive the industry underground, said Gentile and others, city officials need to focus less on quashing delivery services and more on building a workable, up-to-date system.

    “It’s really hard to bring an entire group of people that have lived very comfortably in the shadows for decades into a regulated, open, visible industry,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

    Why are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?

    6 Cannabis Strains to Help You Stay Productive

    Cannabis and THC affect people differently. For many first-time users, cannabis can feel very sedative and “stoney,” leading many to believe these relaxing attributes are native to all cannabis. However, more seasoned cannabis consumers may employ many different strains for different situations, using cannabis like an herb or spice to add dimension to whatever activity they’re engaged in and help boost their productivity.

    As a budtender, I overcome lethargy, insomnia, social anxiety, and writer’s block by pairing specific strains with particular activities so I can feel more productive. In my opinion, productivity is the surplus energy that emerges as the result of taking care of yourself (and your body). Cannabis can be a motivating force that rewards the user as they overcome their own productivity obstacles.

    Here are six strains that may help boost your productivity, giving you the lift you need to exercise, tick off your to-do list, or get through a busy day.

    Chemdawg

    Chemdawg is one of my favorite strains to smoke before going for a run.

    Very calming. Felt productive and active for a bit, then relaxed, not sleepy. -PurmaBurn

    Alien Wrench

    Leafly Alien Wrench sativa cannabis strain tile Leafly Alien Wrench sativa cannabis strain effects

    Allen Wrench brings clarity to the mind and even more energy to the body. As a budtender, I recommended this as a replacement for a cup of coffee.

    Does exactly what it’s supposed to do. I was getting a bit stressed and needed something to calm me down while [cheering] me up and this was exactly what I need. Everything was great during my high and I was also still productive! Allen Wrench is now my favorite strain. -Graynug

    Jack Herer

    Leafly Jack Herer sativa cannabis strain tile Leafly Jack Herer sativa cannabis strain effects

    The legendary Jack Herer is similar to Allen Wrench in terms of the mental clarity it offers.

    Good sativa for productivity. Not spacey or dreamy. Sitting makes me bored with this strain. I only vaporize a very small amount in a classic log vape roughly every 1.5 hours while staying busy. Great strain for the odd job around the house you’ve been putting off! (I’ve done a few today and a couple more on tap for a productive Sunday). Pain? What pain? Bummed? Who me? No! -PieceFrog

    Cinex

    Leafly Cinex sativa cannabis strain tile Leafly Cinex sativa cannabis strain effects

    Cinex is another clarity-enhancing strain that delivers a sustained burst of energy.

    One of my favorite strains. Musty earthy aroma with a hint of citrus. Hits hard but quickly subsides to a manageable and productive high. Great strain to open up all the windows, blast music, and get some spring cleaning done! -DJkwonderbread

    Durban Poison

    Leafly Durban Poison sativa cannabis strain tile Leafly Durban Poison sativa cannabis strain effects

    Durban Poison is an African landrace with so much energy, even daily smokers use this sativa with care. If you want that “speedy” feeling, this is your pick.

    I love this strain it uplifts my spirits and allows me to stay productive throughout the day. If you want to get things done, smoke some Durban. -HaysonA

    Dutch Treat

    Leafly Dutch Treat hybrid cannabis strain tile Leafly Dutch Treat hybrid cannabis strain effects

    Dutch Treat is a mid-level hybrid that ultimately transforms into a relaxing euphoria.

    Very pleasant, very earthy flavor. Smoked a joint and had a wonderfully productive morning, but now people have arrived at the office and I’m extra talkative / easily distracted. …. Now after 3 joints my eyes are dry, my mouth is dry and… uhhh.. -Millenion

    Looking for more productive strains? Check out our list and choose one that sounds like it could provide the effects you want.

    Cannabis strains that can help you stay productive

    Scammer or Entrepreneur? Washington D.C.’s Kushgod Defends His Brand

    On the national cannabis map, Washington, D.C., turned adult-legal in 2015. But Congress’ control over the District has blocked the emergence of a legal, regulated market. So those of us who live here have learned to abide by an ever-shifting set of rules.

    Rule One: Cannabis is still federally illegal, so beware of federal land. It’s not just parks and government buildings. Federal land includes anywhere the president and his traveling motorcade are at any given moment. Rule Two: It’s legal to possess up to two ounces, but it’s not legal to purchase cannabis. At all. Which has led to Rule Three: In the District, cannabis is often “exchanged” in a donation-based economy in which sellers give freely in exchange for contributions. “Nonprofits” on Craigslist offer cannabis as a quid pro quo for monetary “gifts.” The Washington Post recently reported that a t-shirt vendor in Columbia Heights was offering small bags of cured flower for those who left generous tips.

    No one, however, has been more brazen than a D.C. entrepreneur named Nicholas Paul Cunningham, a.k.a. Nyck Paul, a.k.a. Kushgod. Cunningham, who prefers to be called Nyck Paul, has made it his business to push the boundaries of that donation economy — he’s pushed it so far, in fact, he’s now awaiting a court date at the end of June.

    Last summer Paul created Kush Gods, a company established to do business on the donation-sale model. He wasn’t quiet about it. In August, the company unveiled a fleet of four luxury cars, custom-wrapped with pictures of cannabis leaves. Paul hired “Kush Goddesses” as mobile budtenders. Estimates of the company’s income ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 per week.

    Not long after, the company’s employees were caught donation-selling cannabis to undercover police. In March, Paul pleaded guilty to two counts of marijuana distribution. A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered him to shut down Kush Gods — including an app that helped buyers find Kush’s cars — and to stop selling cannabis or infused products in the District. Paul was placed on probation, and the judge told him to remove the cannabis insignia from his four vehicles.

    Kushgod stands next to one of his establishment’s custom-wrapped vehicles. Photo courtesy of Kush Gods

    The judge’s orders didn’t take hold. Earlier this spring, Paul was cited for violating his probation by conducting business connected with cannabis. He’s set to appear in court on June 24.

    In an interview with Leafly earlier this month, Nyck Paul defended his company and spoke out about his legal challenges.

    “We are on the brink of a booming industry and I have branded marijuana,” Paul said. “I’m doing all this branding and marketing before anything is taxed.” A self-described “black man with dreadlocks,” he said he’s someone government authorities don’t want attached to the legal marijuana market.

    It’s not just government authorities, though. In a recent Washington Post article, NORML founder Keith Stroup called Paul a “scam artist,” adding: “I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for the Gods. I think they’ll be put out of business for a long time.”

    Other activists disagree. Jon Mello, executive director of Maryland NORML has come out in defense of Paul and his company.

    “Demigod or demon, the Kushgod is taking a beating for the team,” Mello told Leafly. “Yes, he ran out in front of the gray line and will likely face some consequence. Whether you approve of his business practices or not, you must recognize and understand that the current framework for legalization in D.C. invites this approach.”

    “Rather than vilify the brazen entrepreneur,” Mello added, “I suggest we embrace him and this challenge and use it as a catalyst as we march forth toward full legalization.”

    Mello’s stance reflects growing frustration among East Coast cannabis entrepreneurs, patients, and consumers. Mello lives in Baltimore, across the state line from D.C., where Maryland’s medical marijuana patients are peeved at how long it’s taking their state to get a voter-approved program running.

    Many believe the first step in solving the problem will come when Congress stops blocking the implementation of cannabis regulation in the District. Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, believes it’s an issue of Congressional overreach. “D.C. should be about to regulate marijuana without congressional interference,” he told Leafly.

    “The fact that the Kush Gods were targeted shows Congress needs to get out of D.C. and let us regulate marijuana so people know for a fact if they are in clear compliance with the law.”

    The recent half-step up from criminalization is a victory for cannabis activists. But at the same time, the District’s legal limbo has led entrepreneurs to push the envelope as they try to build companies in anticipation of the coming legal market. Nyck Paul may be a bold activist or merely a brazen scofflaw, but one thing is clear: Among the residents of Washington, D.C., he’s already established a valuable brand.

    Outdoor Cannabis Grows 101: Everything You Need to Start Growing Outside

    Growing your own cannabis can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging, frustrating, and expensive. For the first-time grower with limited resources, an indoor grow can prove too costly to be an option. The good news is that a small outdoor garden can yield plenty of quality cannabis without a large monetary investment. If you have access to a sunny spot in a private yard or even on a balcony, terrace, or rooftop, you can successfully grow cannabis. Our guide to outdoor growing will go over the different factors you need to consider in order to set up your first outdoor grow.

    Step 1: Consider the Climate

    It’s crucial to have a good understanding of the climate in the area where you live. Cannabis is highly adaptable to various conditions, but is still susceptible to extreme weather. Sustained temperatures above 86°F will cause your plants to stop growing, while temperatures below 55°F can also cause damage and stunting, even death. Heavy rains and high winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce yields, and excessive moisture can lead to mold and powdery mildew, especially during flowering.

    In addition to weather patterns, you need to understand how the length of day changes seasonally in your area. For example, at 32° N latitude (San Diego), you will experience just over 14 hours of daylight on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year), while at 47° N (Seattle) you will have about 16 hours of daylight on the same day.

    One useful resource is Sunset Magazine’s climate zone map, which takes multiple factors like elevation and proximity to large bodies of water into consideration, unlike the USDA hardiness zone maps. It’s also a good idea to utilize local resources, as experienced gardeners in your area will have a wealth of knowledge about growing flowers and vegetables that can be applied to growing cannabis. If you have some experience gardening and growing veggies, you might also find that growing cannabis outdoors is a fairly easy endeavor.

    Step 2: Pick a Location

    Cannabis plant growing in a garden

    Choosing the location for your outdoor garden will be the most important decision you make, especially if you’re planting in the ground or in large, immobile containers (some plants grow outdoors in containers that can be moved around depending on the weather and location of the sun). Your cannabis plants should receive at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, ideally during midday when the quality of light is the best.

    If you live in an area where sustained daytime temperatures are above 86°F, you might want to choose a spot that gets direct sun early in the day and filtered sun during the hottest parts of the day. An area that gets a constant breeze is also a good choice in hot climates, although this will increase water consumption. On the other hand, if you live in an area that sees a lot of high winds, you should consider planting near a windbreak of some sort, like a wall, fence, or large shrubbery. Those who live in cooler climates can benefit from planting near a feature that retains heat, like a south-facing brick wall or fence, while those in hot areas will definitely want to avoid these spots.

    When is Your Cannabis in Season? Factors That Influence Growing, Harvest, and Availability

    Finally, you will want to consider privacy and security. Most people will want to conceal their gardens from judgmental neighbors and potential thieves. Tall fences and large shrubs or trees are your best bet, unless you happen to live in a secluded area. Some folks plant in containers on balconies or rooftops that are shielded from view, while some build heavy-gauge wire cages to keep thieves and animals at bay. Whatever you decide to do, remember that outdoor cannabis plants can grow to 15 feet tall or more, so plan accordingly.

    Step 3: Acquire Some Soil

    Cannabis seedling in soil

    Soil is made up of three basic components in various ratios:

    • Clay
    • Sand
    • Silt

    Cannabis plants need well-drained, slightly acidic soil rich with organic matter in order to thrive. If you decide to plant directly in the ground, you’ll need to understand your soil composition and amend it accordingly.

    Heavy clay soils drain slowly and don’t hold oxygen well, so they will need to be heavily amended. At least a month before you plant, dig large holes where you’ll be placing your cannabis plants and mix in large amounts of compost, manure, worm castings, or other decomposed organic matter. This will provide aeration and drainage as well as nutrients for the plants.

    Indoor vs. Outdoor Cannabis Growing: 3 Key Differences

    Sandy soil is easy to work, drains very well, and warms quickly, but doesn’t hold nutrients well, especially in rainy environments. Again, you will want to dig large holes for your plants and add things like compost, peat moss, and coco coir, which will help bind the soil together, providing food and air circulation. In hot climates, sandy soil should be mulched to help with water retention and to keep roots from getting too hot.

    Silty soil is the ideal growing medium. It’s easy to work, warms quickly, holds moisture while also having good drainage, and contains a lot of nutrients. The best silty loam is found in prehistoric riverbeds and lake bottoms. This dark, crumbly soil is the most fertile, and will likely need little or no amendment.

    If you really want to ensure good results and minimize headaches, having your soil tested is easy and relatively inexpensive. A soil testing service will tell you the makeup and pH of your soil, notify you of any contaminants, and also recommend amending materials and fertilizers.

    Step 4: Get Some Fertilizer

    Scooping fertilizer

    Cannabis plants require a large amount of food over their lifecycle, mainly in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and how you choose to feed them will depend on your methods and soil composition.

    Commercial fertilizers aimed at home gardeners can be used if you have a good understanding of how they work and what your plants need, but should generally be avoided by less experienced growers (particularly long-release granular fertilizer like Miracle Gro). You can purchase nutrient solutions designed specifically for cannabis from your local grow shop, but these are often expensive and can damage soil bacteria as they are generally composed of synthetic mineral salts and intended for indoor, soil-less growing.

    Many long-time outdoor growers are dedicated to organic methods of fertilization because it takes full advantage of the microbial life in the soil and minimizes harmful runoff. There are many different natural and organic fertilizers available at your local home and garden store like blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, bat guano, and kelp meal. Educating yourself about what they are and how they work will be extremely useful.

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    Concentrate on the products that are least expensive and most readily available. Some of these materials release their nutrients quickly and are easily used by the plant, while others take months or years to release food that is useable. If done correctly, you can mix in a few of these products with your soil amendments to provide enough nutrition for the entire life of your plants. Again, having your soil tested can provide very useful information on the types and amounts of fertilizer you should use. If you are unsure how much to use, be conservative; you can always top dress your plants if they start to show deficiencies.

    Another method of fertilization being used more and more often these days is organic pre-fertilized soil, aka “super-soil,” which can be homemade or store-bought. Either way, it is more expensive than simply amending the soil in your garden, but it requires almost no thought, as all the required nutrients are already there. Simply dig large holes for your plants, fill them halfway with super-soil, and top with potting soil.

    Step 5: Give Your Plants Water

    Watering can

    While outdoor cannabis gardens have the benefits of rain and groundwater not found indoors, you will most likely need to water your plants frequently, especially in the hotter summer months. Large cannabis plants can use up to 10 gallons of water every day in warm weather. Growers who live in hot, arid places will often dig down and place clay soil or rocks below their planting holes to slow drainage, or plant in shallow depressions that act to funnel runoff towards the plants. Adding water-absorbing polymer crystals to the soil is another good way to improve water retention.

    If you live in a particularly rainy climate, you may need to take steps to improve drainage around your garden, as cannabis roots are very susceptible to fungal diseases when they are in waterlogged conditions. These techniques include:

    • Planting in raised beds or mounds
    • Digging ditches that direct water away from the garden
    • Adding things like gravel, clay pebbles, and perlite to the soil

    Indoor Cannabis Growing 101: Everything You Need to Start Your First Home Grow

    If you’re using tap or well water, it’s a good idea to test it first. Water may contain high levels of dissolved minerals that can build up in the soil and affect the pH level, or it might have high levels of chlorine which can kill beneficial soil life. Many people filter their water for this reason.

    Container gardens dry out much quicker than those planted in the ground, and will often need to be watered every day. Plants grown in hot and/or windy conditions will need to be watered more frequently as well; high temperatures and winds force the plant to transpire at a greater rate. Remember that over-watering is the most common mistake made by rookie growers. The rule of thumb is to water deeply, then wait until the top inch of soil is completely dry before watering again. An inexpensive soil moisture meter is a good tool for the beginner to have.

    Step 6. Choose Your Container Gardens

    Cannabis plants in containers

    Container gardens are often a good choice for people who don’t have the ideal spot to grow or have really terrible soil conditions. There are numerous benefits to growing outdoors in containers, but there are drawbacks as well. If you’re unable to perform the heavy labor involved with digging holes and amending soil, containers can be the only way for you to grow your own cannabis.

    If you don’t have a suitable patch of earth to make a garden, containers can be placed on decks, patios, or rooftops, and moved around during the day to take advantage of as much sun as possible or to shield the plants from excessive heat or wind. Additionally, you may use regular cannabis nutrients designed for indoor grows, taking much of the guesswork out of fertilizing your plants.

    These benefits lead many first-timers to use containers for their initial outdoor grow. However, plants grown in pots, buckets, or barrels will likely be much smaller than those planted in the ground because their root growth is restricted to the size of the container. In a broad sense, the size of the pot will determine the size of the plant, although it’s possible to grow large plants in small containers if proper technique is used.

    In general, five gallons is the smallest size you would want to use, and 10 gallons or larger is recommended for hearty plants. Regardless of the size, you will want to protect the roots of your plants from overheating during warm weather, as pots of soil can rapidly reach 90°F or more on a hot day. This will severely limit your plants’ growth, so be sure to shade your containers from direct sunlight. And finally, you will need to water your container garden much more frequently, even every day during the summer. Water your plants deeply in the morning so they have an adequate supply throughout the day.

    Step 7: Protect Your Plants

    Young growing cannabis plants

    Without the ability to control the environment as you would indoors, outdoor cannabis growers have had to figure out how to protect their plants from storms and other weather events that could damage or even kill them.

    Temperature Changes

    Temperatures below 40°F can quickly damage most varieties of cannabis, so if you live in a climate where late spring or early fall frosts are a common occurrence, using cloches, hot caps, cold frames, or other protective enclosures will likely be necessary.

    Wind Conditions

    High winds can break branches, damage trichomes, and stress your plants, leaving them vulnerable to pests and disease. If your garden is located in a particularly windy spot, or you’re expecting a particularly heavy blow, erecting some sort of windbreak is highly recommended. This can be as easy as attaching perforated plastic sheeting to garden stakes around your plants.

    Factors That Impact Your Cannabis Strain: Part 3, Growing Techniques

    Rain

    While helpful for watering your garden, rain is generally seen as a nuisance by cannabis growers as it can severely damage your crop and cause mold and mildew issues, especially when plants are flowering. If summer and early fall rains are likely in your area, it’s wise to choose a variety that has a natural resistance to mold. Make sure to fully support your plants with cages or stakes because rainwater will collect on leaves and buds, weighing your plants down and breaking branches. Otherwise, you can use plastic sheeting and stakes to build temporary shelters over your plants when you know rain is on the way.

    Pests

    Protecting your cannabis garden from pests can be challenging. Animal pests like deer and rabbits are dealt with easily enough: fences and cages will keep them at bay. When is comes to the vast array of crawling and flying insects that can attack your plants, things get a little more difficult. The best protection is to simply keep your plants healthy; most vigorous cannabis plants have a natural resistance to pests that makes minor infestations easy to deal with. It’s also a good idea to keep your plants separated from other flowers, vegetables, and ornamentals as pests from these can easily spread.

    Spider Mites, Fungus Gnats, and Root Aphids: How to Deal with 3 Common Cannabis Pests

    Examine your cannabis plants daily for signs of pests. An infestation is far easier to deal with if you catch it early. Washing plants with a mild solution of soap and water can stop a minor infestation in its tracks. In the event that doesn’t work, there are many organic insecticides designed for use on cannabis, often derived from neem or other natural botanical extracts. These are quite effective when used correctly.

    Step 8: Decide on Genetics

    Cannabis seeds

    The success of your outdoor cannabis grow will depend heavily on choosing the right variety for your climate and location. If you live in an area with a history of cannabis growing, chances are good that there are many strains that have been proven successful there, or were even bred specifically for your climate.

    Mismatched Climates

    Some strains simply don’t produce well in unfamiliar climates, the prime example being tropical sativa varieties. Cannabis plants start flowering when days start to get shorter; these tropical plants are acclimated to areas closer to the equator where the length of day doesn’t vary as much. When you attempt to grow them in northern latitudes, they begin flowering much too late to take advantage of the late-summer sun. These strains can also take 50-100% longer to finish flowering, meaning they sometimes don’t finish until December. If you live in southern California, you may grow these varieties without any problems; in Seattle or Vancouver, B.C. they just won’t produce before being killed by lack of light, heavy rain and cold weather.

    Seeds vs. Clones

    While most indoor growers grow from clones (rooted cuttings that will be genetically identical to the plant they were taken from), outdoor growers often prefer to grow from seed. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks.

    Cloning requires a “mother plant,” which is a plant kept under 16-24 hours of light per day to prevent it from flowering. Alternately, you may purchase clones from a local dispensary. The benefit to this route is that “mother plants” are generally proven to produce quality bud, and all clones will be female plants that exhibit the same characteristics. These clones will need to be rooted indoors, and then hardened off much like you would a seedling that was started indoors.

    One drawback is that clones tend to be less vigorous than seeds, meaning plants are smaller and yield less, although you can still produce large plants by growing clones indoors in late winter and early spring to get a head start on the growing season. Also, cloned plants don’t develop a taproot, the thick central root that penetrates deep into the ground to stabilize the plant and take up ground water, so they’re more susceptible to high winds and drought.

    Plants grown from seed are generally more hearty as young plants when compared to clones. Cannabis seedlings are tolerant of low temperatures and wet conditions, meaning you can plant seeds directly into the garden in early spring, even in cooler, wetter climates. If you choose to start them indoors, though, they will still need to be hardened off before transplanting.

    Cannabis Seeds 101: All You Need to Know and More

    The main drawback to growing from seed is that there is no guarantee as to what you will end up with. Each cannabis seed is unique and will produce a different plant, so unless you choose an inbred seed line, you can’t really be sure what the final product will be like. Also, regular cannabis seeds produce both males and females, so you will have to sex your plants when they reach sexual maturity and cull any males. For this reason, many people choose feminized seeds.

    Autoflowering seeds are another popular choice for outdoor growing, as they start blooming as soon as they reach maturity regardless of the length of day. Many gardeners in temperate climates will get two crops every year using autoflowering seeds, one planted late winter or early spring and another planted early summer.

    Hopefully you now have enough knowledge to successfully start your own outdoor cannabis garden. Cultivating and growing plants should be an enjoyable and rewarding pastime, so remember, spend lots of time with your plants, and have fun!

    Home Cannabis Cultivation Laws: A State-by-State Guide

    Wednesday: MCBA Networking Rally In Oakland

    Join MCBA and local cannabis leaders in historic Oakland, CA for a Networkwing Rally. This event is for anyone who’s interested in learning more about the cannabis industry. Event topics and speakers include: — Cannabis business ownership & inspiration — State of the Northern California cannabis market — Cannabis regulation update for City of Oakland

    What Situations Make You Paranoid When You're High? We Debated Cannabis Paranoia

    Just as the journey is more important than the destination, sometimes the discussion is more important than the conclusion. As such, we’re kicking off a series of informal chats published largely unabridged. Viewpoints expressed are participants’ own.

    Cannabis and paranoia have a curious relationship. On one hand, may people have great success using cannabis to de-stress and combat social anxiety. On the other, it’s well-established that paranoia can sometimes tag along with a cannabis high depending on the strain or situation. Sure, there are certain tricks you can try, but it’s also helpful to pinpoint exactly what makes you paranoid and determine the best way of dealing with it.

    To that end, we at Leafly took to our office Slack channels to debate the situations that spook us, and how we deal with them. From public transit to the threat of raccoons, here’s what we talked about.

    Are White Cheddar Cheez-Its the Perfect High Food? We Debated the Best Munchies Ever

    How Can Cannabis Help People with Sickle Cell Anemia?

    Cannabis has been used medicinally for a very long time. People have employed this resinous flower to treat symptoms from minor physical discomfort to epilepsy and arthritis, and now, sickle cell anemia.

    What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?

    Sickle cell anemia is a blood disease. Healthy blood cells are shaped like donuts without a hole. These disc-shaped organisms are small, but contain our genetic code and, more importantly, our oxygen. Oxygen, as I’m sure you know, is what we breathe, and most times when our oxygen supply is put in jeopardy, so are our lives.

    As the name suggests, sickle cell disease changes the shape of these once disc-like cells into that of crescent moons (or sickles). This reshaping makes it very difficult for blood cells’ hemoglobin to hold on to and circulate oxygen, and can also cause blockages in the circulatory system that can have fatal results.

    Common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:

    • Shortage of red blood cells, causing anemia
    • Bouts of “sickle pain” where congested parts of the circulatory system become swollen and inflamed, eliciting a throbbing/stabbing pain that is only abated by taking medication and/or increasing circulation
    • Swelling of hands and feet
    • Spleen and internal organ inflammation and damage, which can lead to frequent infections
    • Slowed growth and delayed puberty
    • Vision problems
    • Risk of stroke

    What are Treatment Options for Sickle Cell Anemia?

    Microscope with petri dishes

    Currently the only potential cure for sickle cell anemia is a bone marrow transplant. Barring that, treatment options for pain and discomfort include over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotics for infections, and Hydroxyurea, which is commonly prescribed to leukemia and cancer patients. For sickle cell patients, Hydroxyurea can help prevent the formation of the sickle-shaped blood cells and reduce pain frequency, although it causes major side effects (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sores, dizziness, diarrhea, hair loss, seizures) and can actually increase risk of infection.

    Sickle Cell Statistics

    Medical chart

    Who is affected by this illness, and how expensive is treatment of sickle cell anemia? Here are some statistics.

    • Approximately 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease.
    • Sick cell disease occurs in 1 of 365 black or African American births, and 1 of 16,300 Hispanic births.
    • About 1 in 13 black or African American babies are born with a sickle cell trait. If that young person grows up and has a child with another person with a sickle cell trait, the likelihood of a fully formed version of sickle cell is increased by virtue of recessive/dominant traits.
    • In 2005, the average medical expenditure for children admitted with sickle cell disease with Medicaid was $11,702, and those with employee-sponsored insurance was $14,772. Forty percent of either of these groups reported at least one visit to the hospital.

    How Can Cannabis Help Sickle Cell Patients?

    Medical marijuana authorization

    Cannabis may not be a panacea for everyone, but its usefulness and versatility cater to many, including those suffering from sickle cell disease. Alongside the mood enhancing, uplifting, and euphoric effects, cannabis also has analgesic (pain relief) and anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling) properties that are particularly useful for sickle cell patients. These attributes lend themselves to people surviving sickle cell disease. Unlike over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, a patient can grow this medicine in their home, and medical marijuana offers a strong alternative to the over-prescribed opioids.

    Attend The Cannabis Business Summit And Expo

    America’s Most Important Cannabis Event of the Year! Make Your Voice Heard! #CannaBizSummit is the ONLY national event where you will have an opportunity to meet with policy makers and influencers as they converge with the leading trade association shaping the cannabis economy. Network with over 3,000 of your peers – including growers, dispensaries and

    Attend The Sensible Celebration At NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit

    Enjoy a night of drinks and dancing to benefit Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the 4000-member international network of students dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. Kick off NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit by celebrating the young leaders of the drug policy reform movement. This event is made possible with the generous support of our

    How to Recommend Sexual Cannabis Products to an Inquisitive Customer

    A lot of people are interested in cannabis as a sexual aid but don’t know how to broach the topic with budtenders. It can feel awkward to ask a stranger for his or her recommendation, but a good budtender can have a great local product or strain in mind that you wouldn’t know about if you didn’t ask. What’s the best way to have this conversation from both the budtender and the patient or customer’s perspective?

    In part one of this two-part miniseries, I’ll go over budtender tips for making sex-friendly strain and product recommendations for customers. Part two will focus on advice for customers on how to ask budtenders for their advice. Here are my top tips for giving “the sex talk” at your dispensary.

    1. Set Boundaries and Make Referrals

    If you’re a person who finds it horrifyingly awkward to talk about sex with strangers–which, let’s be honest, is most people–it’s completely okay to say, “I’m not the best person to talk with about this, let me get [name] who has more training in that area to help you.” Or “I’m not particularly confident in my knowledge about X, let me refer you to [online resource] that might have some of the answers you’re looking for.”

    Encourage the manager/owner of your dispensary to hire someone to train the staff on talking to patients/customers about sexuality. It’s also helpful to have a resource list handy. Lastly, recognize when someone is describing a medical issue and check in to ensure they’ve already consulted their physician before moving forward with suggestions.

    2. Develop a Poker Face

    Poker face

    It’s really challenging for someone to ask a complete stranger about something as personal (and societally shamed) as sex. Don’t abase them. Even if it’s something outside your wheelhouse or particular comfort level, don’t make them feel bad about it. Keep your face neutral but interested. (That looks like eyebrows raised slightly, head tilted slightly toward them, and a good bit of encouraging nodding.)

    For example, if your customer talks about experiencing pain with penetration and you cringe or look disgusted, you’ve just non-verbally told them that they’re disgusting. Practice your neutral interested face in the mirror. It can take a bit to develop the muscle memory, but it’s a useful skill to have.

    3. Don’t Mock, Belittle, or Otherwise Express Negative Judgment

    Erase negativity

    Your customer may have an issue or interest that is important to them but feels uncomfortable for you. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. What’s not okay is to respond with jokes or sarcasm. You wouldn’t eyeroll someone who came in looking for pain relief for arthritis, so don’t snicker to your colleagues if someone comes in talking about a body part not functioning they way they want it to or is complaining about painful menstrual cramps.

    Do Cannabis-Infused Suppositories Actually Work? We Put One to the Test

    4. Don’t be Creepy

    Woman feeling awkward

    If the person asking for help is the type of human you find attractive, do not take them asking you about sexual concerns as an invitation to hit on them. There are few things worse than getting up the nerve to ask a sensitive question to a service provider and have them make it weird by trying to turn it into a flirt. Stay professional.

    Learn more customer tips and business tactics from Leafly!

    Grow your business with Leafly

    Kids Taking Medical Cannabis at School Could Soon Be a Thing

    Let’s face it, it’s easy for kids to get drugs at school. This doesn’t just mean high-schoolers being able to purchase them illegally. Almost every school board in the nation allows nurses and teachers to administer ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall. These chemicals are closely related to methamphetamine — and most providers, educators, parents don’t even think twice about it.

    Cannabis: Safe, Yet Out

    It’s a monumental struggle, though, to get cannabis extract for ADHD administered in schools, even in states where it’s legal. In Colorado, for example, each school has the authority to allow it or not. And, even in Colorado, getting the school’s administration to allow it has been a tough row to hoe.

    There are currently three states that have made it legal for children to take medical cannabis while on school property: New Jersey, Maine, and Colorado. New Jersey was first, and Maine schools are embracing the medication. Colorado, one of the more liberal states, has been slow, almost reticent.

    Cannabis for Cerebral Palsy

    Stacey Linn became fed up with the side effects and inefficacy of traditional cerebral palsy (CP) treatments for her son. CP can cause severe, involuntary muscle contractions that are both painful and debilitating. Linn, the executive director of Cannability Foundation, researched medical cannabis and decided to give it a try. She has seen drastic improvements in her son’s health since incorporating CBN (cannabinol) in his treatment regimen. CBN is a natural relaxant, pain reliever, and tranquilizer derived from cannabis flowers.

    CannAbility was founded to provide support, resources, education and access to cannabis for parents of kids living with an illness or disability.

    CannAbility was founded to provide support, resources, education and access to cannabis for parents of kids living with an illness or disability.

    Since her son’s improvements, Linn has become an activist and dedicated her life to fighting for medical rights. “I will fight to the death until these kids can go to school with [medical marijuana],” she told Jordyn Taylor on Mic.com. She and other parents and activists are working to effect change in Colorado and other states.

    Their work is paying off. The Colorado Senate will soon vote on a bill their House already passed that would require schools to allow students who need it to possess medical cannabis while on school property, on school buses, or at any school event. It would allow the child’s parent, legal guardian, or a medical professional to administer the medication. In addition, the bill stipulates that if the school or school district should lose any federal funds as a result of complying with the bill, the state must offset the loss.

    It seems like common sense to those of us who understand the safety of cannabis medicine, especially compared to the risks of the pharmaceuticals it replaces. But we need to keep in mind that we are fighting almost 100 years of negative propaganda. The stigma associated with the plant is irrational and deep-seated, the ignorance rampant and profound.

    Teetotalers, or Hypocrites?

    Just recently, in honor of the de facto global cannabis day, April 20, this writer saw posts in social media such as “If you’re celebrating 4/20 as a holiday, put down the bong and do something with your life” and “If this holi-daze has you celebrating, you should move out of your mom’s basement.” (Are they really teetotalers who never touch a drop — or merely blatant hypocrites?)

    For years we were fed myths that “marijuana” was evil, it was a gateway substance, it would ruin our lives like hard drugs, etc. And many of our educators have had that message drilled into their heads, and have been drilling it into other kids’ heads, and so on.

    Changing the perception of cannabis and cannabis consumers won’t happen overnight, so that’s why the incremental steps of acceptance are so crucially important. It’s vital that you make your voice heard, so that politicians will feel the pressure to pass bills like this, and educators will understand that it’s okay to respect parents’ wishes and the wisdom of their doctors.

    About the AuthorAmber Boone

    Amber Boone

    Amber considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11

    For more information on medical and discretionary cannabis use along with great recipes, how-to videos, and information on the MagicalButter machine, check out MagicalButter.com.

    The post Kids Taking Medical Cannabis at School Could Soon Be a Thing appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

    Mizzou Censors Student Group’s Legalization T-Shirt

    After a year marred by student protests related to race, football, workplace benefits, and leadership resignations, the University of Missouri once again finds itself embroiled in conflict. This one involves cannabis-policy t-shirts.

    The MU chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has been a recognized student group since 2000. They have an email list of 1,200 current students. Last September, they wanted to sell t-shirts to generate money for the chapter and raise awareness of cannabis issues.

    All campus groups are required to apply for university approval to use Mizzou’s name and image on any item offered for sale. The t-shirt design featured a marijuana leaf in the form of an animal paw (the school mascot is a tiger), a depiction of the Mizzou campus skyline, and a marijuana leaf with the group’s name.

    Image via FIRE

    MU administrators did not approve.

    On October 5, MU NORML President Benton Berigan received an email notifying him that the group’s proposed designs were rejected because of their “drug-related imagery, specifically the cannabis leaf.”

    Berigan told Leafly that the group has always followed all university rules and policies. “It’s very apparent what we are doing,” he said, which is working to reform cannabis laws through political engagement and community education.

    The group does not advocate the use of cannabis as a drug, Berigan said; rather, it fights for the reform of cannabis laws.

    MU NORML challenged the university’s interpretation, but according to Berigan, the only response he’s received from Mizzou officials is “they are looking into it.” So they took their issue to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonprofit that works to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.

    On April 22, 2016, FIRE officials wrote to Mizzou stating that under the First Amendment, “the university may not reject MU NORML’s submissions because it disagrees with MU NORML’s viewpoint.”

    Interim Chancellor Hank Foley sent FIRE a letter in response, which stated the following, “I thank you for your interest and for your letter.” FIRE then wrote a second letter on May 20 requesting a “substantive reply,” by June 3, 2016. Mizzou has yet to respond according to FIRE’s website.

    This isn’t the first time a NORML university chapter has had to deal with a university infringing on its First Amendment rights. In 2014, the Iowa State NORML chapter filed a first amendment lawsuit against ISU in a nearly identical situation. Earlier this year a federal judge ordered ISU to stop censoring ISU NORML’s t-shirts this past January, something that Berigan hopes will happen with his chapter’s design.

    Berigan told Leafly that the group hopes that the university comes around, admits its error, and allows the t-shirt design.

    “If that does not happen,” he said, “we will have to resort to legal action.”

    LA Cannabis Task Force Calls for Nine Proposals To Reform Los Angeles Cannabis Industry

    Today, the Los Angeles City Council Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations, and Neighborhoods Committee heard public comments on Motion 14-0366-S5 for a proposed March 2017 ballot initiative to reform Proposition D. The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, a coalition of cannabis operators dedicated to the creation of a fair and vibrant cannabis industry that ensures a

    Coincidence? 5 of 6 Hottest Housing Markets are in Cannabis-Legal States

    Cannabis legality isn’t often considered a factor driving in-state migration. But maybe it should be.

    According to a tally of the America’s Hottest Housing Markets of 2016 compiled last week by Redfin, the real estate data website, five of the nation’s six hottest housing markets are in states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis.

    California voters may turn that state adult-legal as soon as this November. If the Golden State is included, 9 of the top 10 housing markets are cannabis-friendly (either adult-legal or medical). Only two of the top 20 housing markets are in states where cannabis is completely illegal: Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Austin, Texas. (Sorry, Boston: Your hot housing market is technically in a medical marijuana state, but you’re nowhere near California when it comes to canna-friendliness.)

    Here’s the chart Redfin put together:

    Image via Redfin

    What’s going on? Two things, maybe. Legalization provides a lot of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. A recent report found that Oregon’s legal market has generated 2,100 retail jobs and $46 million in wages. At the end of 2015, the state of Colorado had issued 26,929 occupational licenses to workers in the marijuana industry, and the actual number of workers employed in the industry tends to be higher than those license figures imply, as many work in ancillary businesses that don’t touch the leaf.

    But more than that, over the past three years legalization has become a powerful symbol of a state’s openness, progressive politics, and embrace of new ideas. Legalization makes a state that much more attractive to the young, ambitious, and intellectually curious. It’s exactly the kind of environment that attracts not just job seekers but job creators. A real-estate broker who moved to Denver from the South, shortly after legalization, once put it to me this way: “It’s a symbol of how open and tolerant the state is. I feel safe here.”

    Microsoft Getting Into Marijuana

    This week, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced a partnership with KIND Financial, a California-based startup with ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking technology.

    The news comes just a few days after Microsoft announced it would acquire LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) for $26 billion.

    KIND bills itself as “the leader in technology for cannabis compliance,” and was chose to participate in Microsoft’s newly created Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers. The goal is to acquire contracts with governments and regulatory agencies to help regulate and monitor all aspects of cannabis compliance.

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    Get Our Expert Guide to Cannabis Investing FREE!

    Download this FREE Special Report, Investing in Medical Cannabis Information about Cannabis and Legal Cannabis Stocks.

    The move is significant. As Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times points out, it makes Microsoft one of the first big companies to ‘break the corporate taboo on pot.’ While Microsoft is sticking with government compliance—staying away from banking and other services offered by KIND—it’s still dipping its toes into the water.

    “Nobody has really come out of the closet, if you will,” Matthew A. Karnes, founder of Green Wave Advisors, told Popper. “It’s very telling that a company of this caliber is taking the risk of coming out and engaging with a company that is focused on the cannabis business.”

    Certainly, compliance has been one of the biggest issues facing cannabis stocks. Chris Milenkevich started Gotham Cannabis Associates, a firm that specializes in due diligence on publicly traded cannabis companies, explained in a recent interview that many banks won’t work with marijuana companies in the US since pot still isn’t legal at the federal level. Even at the state level, recreational marijuana may be legal, but it is still heavily restricted, meaning that it’s easy for unwelcoming communities to find a reason to shut operations down.

    What’s more, cannabis social media platform was MassRoots recently rejected for a Nasdaq listing, stating that it could aid in the use and dealing of an illegal substance. As per Reuters, MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich sees that decision setting up a precedent for others in the cannabis space.

    Still, for KIND Financial Founder and CEO David Dinenberg, ensuring compliance with government regulations is key for moving forward.

    “No one can predict the future of cannabis legalization, however, it is clear that legalized cannabis will always be subject to strict oversight and regulations similar to alcohol and tobacco; and, KIND is proud to offer governments and regulatory agencies the tools and technology to monitor cannabis compliance,” he said in a statement. “I am delighted that Microsoft supports KIND’s mission to build the backbone for cannabis compliance.”

    Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

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    Get Our Expert Guide to Cannabis Investing FREE!

    Download this FREE Special Report, Investing in Medical Cannabis Information about Cannabis and Legal Cannabis Stocks.

    Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

    The post Microsoft Getting Into Marijuana appeared first on Investing News Network.

    Here’s Why California Cannabis Raids Are Getting Out of Control

    On June 15, 2016, a premier California medical cannabis company Care by Design was raided by law enforcement from numerous agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement.

    CBD sublingual spray

    Care by Design specializes in the production of cannabidiol-rich medicines, which do not cause a high and are relied upon by thousands of patients throughout California. Their organization has been remarkably transparent, having allowed numerous state officials and regulators to tour their production sites. The raid comes as a complete surprise given how good the community relations had previously been.

    The raid of Care by Design is a heartless move that puts patients at risk of being without medicine. Furthermore, it sends a terrible signal to other legitimate producers of cannabis extracts. Care by Design has made every effort to be transparent and professional, so if even they get raided, what incentive do other producers have to become more open?

    Hundreds of patients and supporters are gathered in front of the Santa Rosa courthouse

    Hundreds of patients and supporters are gathered in front of the Santa Rosa courthouse

    With the recent signing of new medical cannabis regulations in California, and the desire of the state to solicit help from the medical cannabis community, this raid could severely damage key relationships and impede California’s goals.

    More information will continue to develop on this story. Thankfully, there has been one hopeful update since the raid. A founding member of Care by Design, Dennis Hunter, had been arrested and charged with felony for manufacturing a controlled substance. He was being held on a five million dollar bond. As shared by the Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Hunter was released on the night of June 16, on no bail and with charges dropped.

    We will share more information as it comes out and encourage all of our supporters to help Care by Design in as many ways as possible. An attack on them is an attack on the entire medical cannabis industry, and it cannot be allowed to stand.

    About the AuthorJustin Kander

    Justin Kander

    Justin Kander is a cannabis extract activist who has attended and presented at numerous medical conferences throughout the world. His recent book Enhancing Your Endocannabinoid System details the best ways to improve the effectiveness of cannabis medicine.

    The post Here’s Why California Cannabis Raids Are Getting Out of Control appeared first on #illegallyhealed.

    Sustainable Cannabis Packaging: How It’s Made and Why It Matters

    This article is sponsored by Sun Grown Packaging. Sun Grown Packaging’s 3e CRP is the first recyclable child-resistant package for cannabis. The plastic-free package conforms to ASTM D3475 and is made from renewable resources.

    As legal cannabis booms, rapidly becoming one of the largest industries in the nation, the importance of satellite industries such as cannabis packaging have been magnified along with it. And as packaging stipulations have evolved with the nascent industry, the development of sustainable packaging designs has been a game-changer in terms of legal cannabis’s appeal, environmental impact, and branding abilities.

    Leading the charge on sustainable packaging design is Sun Grown Packaging, a company that came into the cannabis field as an offshoot of a well-established mainstream graphics company. With more than 30 years’ experience in packaging design, the team quickly learned that unique to the cannabis space were the absolute necessity of effective child-resistant packaging (CRP), and a desire for sustainable packaging options. Unfortunately, the latter has been largely absent from the nascent field.

    “[Sustainability] is a big deal for people in the cannabis industry,” says Jacqueline Noguera, marketing manager for Sun Grown. “What separates us is our ability to innovate.” With the capacity to print in-house on heavy-duty, tear-resistant substrate, Sun Grown has been able to omit plastic from its packaging designs, something most others in the industry haven’t been able to do.

    Thanks to its in-house production and focus on sustainability, Sun Grown has worked with over 30 cannabis businesses on packaging solutions to date, and as these companies have grown, Sun Grown has scaled production capabilities to match. Zoots, Humboldt Cut, and Omega Oil serve as three distinct examples of how companies in the cannabis space have used sustainable packaging to amplify their brand messaging and make a positive impact in the industry.

    Zoots: Pioneers of Sustainable Child-Resistant Packaging

    Zoots were “forward-thinking pioneers, and first to adopt truly green child-resistant packaging,” says Chris Giles, who worked with Zoots to create what would be Sun Grown’s first design to market in Colorado. “[They recognized] that consumers will tip their hats and reward them for making an effort to reduce plastics.”

    The brand’s packaging features a reclosable design that omits plastic entirely. Giles notes that consumers tend to hold onto the reclosable packaging and re-use it for other purposes, meaning that the Zoots brand name permeates consumer consciousness for longer than a disposable plastic package would. “[Zoots] really liked that their brand would stay in the market longer than plastic,” says Giles. “They recognized the marketing play.”

    Features:

    • Original design
    • Reusable tab closures
    • Plastic-free

    Humboldt Cut: Recyclable, Compostable, Locally-Made Packaging

    “[Humboldt Cut] wanted to take the high road and protect their product from getting into the wrong hands,” says Brady Hanks, who worked with the Humboldt Cut team to develop the brand’s eye-catching packaging. “They were very impressed with our child-resistant box and wanted to be the first cannabis company on the market using it.”

    The patent-pending box is both recyclable and compostable, and because Sun Grown is one of the few companies able to print in-house on sustainable packaging materials at their Oakland facility, the box is made locally. These features help strengthen Humboldt Cut’s “100% natural” message.

    Features:

    • Recyclable
    • Compostable
    • Patent pending

    Omega Oil: Science and Craftsmanship Reflected in Packaging

    Omega oil cartridge sustainable child-resistant cannabis packaging by Sun Grown
    Photo credit: Omega Oil

    Omega Oil’s brand is about bringing science and craftsmanship together to create the purest possible cannabis oil, all of which is reflected in the brand’s imagery, voice, and web presence. Sun Grown worked with the team to design packaging that would augment these elements of the brand while maintaining environmental consciousness.

    Says Hanks, “Omega Oil had an idea of what they were looking for in packaging, and we were able to take their idea make it a reality.” In addition to spot gloss used to highlight the Omega Oil logo, a soft-touch coating gives the box a high-end feel.

    Features:

    • Logo-shaped cutout
    • Spot gloss
    • Soft-touch coating

    Tamales de Cana: Unique Packaging for Unique Products

    Tamales de Cana's sustainable child-resistant cannabis blunt packaging by Sun Grown in Oakland, California

    “The client came to us with his idea for one-pack and three-pack cartons for his ‘corn husk’ blunts,” says John Schikora, who worked with Tamales de Cana to satisfy their packaging requests. “Using actual corn husk as the rolling paper not only has distinct advantages in controlling the burn rate, but provides an interested branding concept for the product. Looking for a package as unique as the product, our design department came up with a couple options to satisfy his request.”

    Tamales de Cana wanted a triangular package and opted for an unglued folder version, which eliminated the need for a ‘false score.’ This conveyed a clean look on all three sides of the package, underscoring the uniqueness and feel of the 100-percent natural product.

    Features:

    • Triangle shape
    • Glue-free
    • Original design

    To learn more about Sun Grown Packaging, visit the company website.

    6 Best Practices for Opening Your Own Cannabis Business

    Header photo credit: Carrie Richards Photography

    Microsoft Enters Cannabis Industry, Crashes Canna-Partner’s Website

    The first major global corporation jumped into the cannabis industry earlier today, when Microsoft announced a partnership to begin offering software that tracks cannabis plants from seed to sale.

    The new partnership involves Kind Financial, a Los Angeles-based startup that creates tools and other technology for marijuana-related businesses. The software will be a new product in Microsoft’s cloud computing business. Kind sells seed to sale systems, which allow growers to track their plants from planting to the point of sale, while also providing kiosks that cannabis businesses use for cash management.

    As word spread, interest in both the deal and the question, “Who is Kind Financial?” caused Kind’s company website to crash. We don’t know that traffic caused the crash, but the site’s URL turned up this message this afternoon:

    So apparently there’s some interest.

    The announcement marked a big step forward for the cannabis industry. One Microsoft official spoke of the market’s potential to the New York Times:

    “We do think there will be significant growth,” said Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft. “As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”

    In an interview with Times reporter Nathaniel Popper, Dinenberg said it took a long time to get Microsoft on board.

    “Every business that works in the cannabis space, we all clamor for legitimacy,” said Mr. Dinenberg, a former real estate developer in Philadelphia who moved to California to start Kind. “I would like to think that this is the first of many dominoes to fall.”

    The business move to partner with Kind is the second bold announcement from Microsoft this week. On Monday, the company announced it was purchasing LinkedIn, the business-focused social networking service.