marijuana politics - Page 2

Study Warns Against Heating Dabs Too High

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Amber Iris Langston

Concentrates, extractions, infusions – call them what you will – many entrepreneurs in the cannabis space are hedging their bets to play in, if not dominate, that sector of the new market. For decades Americans developed a history of consuming cannabis almost entirely in flower form. But with the liberalization of the plant from prohibition status, innovation is flourishing and imbibing has found new forms. New takes on old themes include edibles, tinctures, lotions, and other products requiring some sort of process of extraction. Perhaps most intriguing is the relatively new form of ingestion – dabs.

In the past five years, I have personally witnessed a giant shift in many under and above-ground members of the cannabis culture to smoking highly concentrated cannabis oils and resins out of “rigs” operating at extremely high temperatures. Likewise I have seen a move toward vape pens, particularly in populations aiming to be discreet in their use (let me take this moment to stereotype soccer moms.)

There is a solid argument to be made that dangers exist with respect to these extractions in terms of unknown quantities of pesticides potentially lurking in concentrated amounts. This is why we legalize and regulate! One difference between the pen and the rig, however, is that with the pen we have a corollary in e-cigarettes and therefore some semblance of understanding its effects on human physiology. But with traditional dabbing, each person is an experiment in their own home.

An article published this week by the Portland State University Department of Chemistry suggests that heating butane hash oil (BHO) at extremely high temperatures can result in toxic, carcinogenic byproducts which are not seen at lower levels of combustion, such as with a vape pen.

From Genengnews.com:

“Many of the terpenes that the researchers discovered in the vaporized hash oil are also used in e-cigarette liquids. Moreover, previous experiments by Dr. Strongin and his colleagues found similar toxic chemicals in e-cigarette vapor when the devices were used at high-temperature settings. The dabbing experiments in the current study produced benzene—a known carcinogen—at levels many times higher than the ambient air, the researchers noted. It also produced high levels of methacrolein, a chemical similar to acrolein, another carcinogen.

“‘The results of these studies clearly indicate that dabbing, although considered a form of vaporization, may, in fact, deliver significant amounts of toxic degradation products,’ the authors concluded. ‘The difficulty users find in controlling the nail temperature put[s] users at risk of exposing themselves to not only methacrolein but also benzene. Additionally, the heavy focus on terpenes as additives seen as of late in the cannabis industry is of great concern due to the oxidative liability of these compounds when heated. This research also has significant implications for flavored e-cigarette products due to the extensive use of terpenes as flavorings.’”

According to the study, potentially cancer causing chemicals are released when the oil is heated above 750 degrees and that benzene, a known carcinogen, is emitted when the heat goes over 932 degrees. Thus, it is  important to keep those temperatures as low as possible if you prefer dabbing. The cannabis community is extremely innovative and it is imperative that we allow scientific studies to determine the safety of each and every new product that emerges.

Of course, scientific studies are easier for researchers to conduct when scientists aren’t restricted by prohibitionist policies. As more states legalize and regulate cannabis, the cannabis community can be better informed and, hopefully, the federal government will soon stop putting up so many roadblocks that prevent important scientific research.

Stay informed on the latest in extraction technologies, science and regulations from the experts at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, Hawaii, on December 1-3, 2017. Get your tickets now! After Kauai, the ICBC heads to San Francisco, California, on February 1st and 2nd.

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“Impossible! Naive!” Cannabis Prohibitionists Cry Foul in Canada

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Amber Iris Langston

Members of the Canadian House of Commons health committee have been hearing testimony this week about the planned roll-out for Canada’s cannabis legalization program, which is set to go into effect in July 2018 – not a long time from now, for those familiar with the cannabis industry. Investors and entrepreneurs interested in the Canadian market are making their moves now, and paying close attention to how things transpire this week in Ottawa.

Major takeaways so far include the usual rabble-rabble from opponents to cannabis legalization, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and good ol’ Kevin Sabet from from the U.S. organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

Rick Barnum of the OPP laments that police simply won’t be able to adjust to new policy by July 1, 2018, calling such feats of fantasy “impossible”. I somehow doubt there is much Rick would admit to that would make his police force sound so weak under other circumstances, but that rapacious nature of the cannabis plant – it’s just too much, people!

Joanne Crampton, the RCMP assistant commissioner for federal policing criminal operations, testified that legalization won’t solve issues of the criminal market, and that thinking so is “naive”. While I don’t disagree that there will continue to be an underground market until the new regulatory structures have had time to take effect, the fear-mongering from the law enforcement community on this issue seems far more likely to continue far into the future.

And of course, United States’ most ardent adversary, Kevin Sabet of SAM, whose years-long campaign of rhetoric against cannabis legalization has been reduced to “slow down.”

“The only people that benefit from speed in this issue are the business people that are really waiting to get rich. There is no benefit to going fast on this issue at all,” said Sabet. “I understand it may be too late, but I still think that forgoing legalization in favour of reducing criminal sanctions and deterring marijuana use is the best way from public health.”

Thankfully, the ruling Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, understands that cannabis prohibition is a failed and harmful policy. Despite the hysterical assurances from legalization opponents that the sky will fall, the Canadian government seems bound and determined to move forward on rolling out their new policy by July 2018.

Want to find out more about how Canada’s market will look post-prohibition? Join the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) next June 24 and 25, 2018 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Want to find out how other international markets are looking? Join all of ICBC’s events in Kauai, Hawaii; San Francisco, California; and Berlin, Germany.

Photo courtesy of Cannabis Culture via Creative Commons license on flikr.

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House Rules Chairman Commits an Immoral Act

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Don Fitch

Pete Sessions, chair of the hugely powerful Rules Committee of the US House of Representatives, committed a highly immoral act.

This Congressman, along with others in the committee, blocked several pro-cannabis amendments from full House votes, killing them. For years, medical marijuana users and their industry have been protected from federal persecution by amendments penned by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and other freedom loving members of the House, such as Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer and Colorado’s Jared Polis.

Such protections were the product of years of struggle and state votes for medical legalization going back to California’s landmark passage of medical marijuana in 1996. For three years now, the Department of Justice, including the DEA, have been prevented from spending any money to crush these state legalizations. Each congress saw ever-increasing votes of members of the House of Representatives securing these vital protections. Now all these years of progress and state votes for medical legalization are jeopardized by the real possibility of renewed raids by federal jackboot thugs.

Pete Sessions’ enormous power, as chair of the Rules Committee, to ignore arbitrarily the will and well-being of Americans citizens is nauseating. The Texas (surprise) Republican (surprise) appears to be granting the wish of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recently demanded these protections be dropped.

The actions by Chairman Pete Sessions to deny congressional input into American medical marijuana policy was immoral for many reasons. The absence of these protections,

  • Sets up road blocks to what might just be the best answer to America’s lethal opioid crisis.
  • Further challenges the lives and families of medical cannabis refugees who uprooted from ignorant states to those with medical cannabis programs for cannabis treatment of conditions like juvenile epilepsy. Many children have found life-saving relief in medically legal states.
  • Denys Americans basic health choices. Instead of a decision between you and your doctor, the end of these protections allows federal police to determine what medications you and your family can access.
  • Violates the will of the American voters. By overwhelming numbers, Americans believe state medical legalizations should not be harassed by the feds.
  • Infringes state’s rights by allowing federal thugs to mug the will of voters in medically legal states.

Other pro-cannabis amendments were dropped at the same time, including protections for hemp farming, access to banking, and easing restrictions that have stifled cannabis health research for nearly five decades. Fortunately, the current protections got a short reprieve, and the Senate may act to help achieve and restore these human rights.

Congressman Pete Sessions: protecting your gun rights, immorally violating your rights to health, liberty, and a meaningful vote.

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Will California Unduly Limit Cannabis Branding?

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Amber Iris Langston

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

While Shakespeare’s words ring true across time and space, one thing is for sure: if someone offered you an air freshener for your car and you had to choose between “rose” and “stank rot” without smelling either, I’m guessing most people would go with “rose”. Frankly, I don’t know what “stank rot” air fresheners smell like, since they don’t exist to my knowledge, but I do know what roses smell like.

This is why we brand – because everyone wants to come up, er, smelling like roses.

In the next two weeks, by September 15, California’s legislature will end its special session. Before that session ends, legislators will likely have a chance to vote on a bill that would highly restrict branding and marketing in the state which promises the largest legal cannabis market in the world when legalization is set to take effect in 2018.

The measure has traction and is likely to come up for a vote. The bill would put procedures in place to restrict marketing, labeling and “even the shape of pot products.” As expected, it’s all about the children.

According to US News and World Report:

“’This is all about making sure, in the context of the legalization of marijuana, that you don’t end up inadvertently leading so many of our young people into drug abuse,’ says the bill’s author, California state Sen. Ben Allen, a Democrat representing Hollywood. ‘This is about protecting kids.’
“…Allen’s bill is designed to cut off the walking billboards – T-shirts, hats and other swag that provide an indirect avenue for reaching children and teens. It won support from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Teachers Association, the California Police Chiefs Association and the child advocacy group Common Sense Kids Action.

“Ultimately, the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, working in concert with the state’s attorney general, would be left to provide guidance for the industry, deciding whether a T-shirt sporting a corporate logo and worn by a firm’s employees should be treated in the same way as a lighter, say, bearing a product name.”

I definitely agree that public health and safety, particularly for children, should a top political priority, but I think efforts regarding cannabis could easily overreach in California. I would like to think the agencies listed above can all be trusted with such advisement, but we are talking about institutions which have historically spread misinformation about the dangers of cannabis. Placing cannabis’ political opponents in charge of regulation might not end well for the industry. Just sayin’. The State of California will no doubt feel a pushback in lawsuits arguing for freedom of speech.

Whatever the case, we may begin to have an idea in a couple of weeks when the special session ends, just how branding and marketing will take shape in the Golden State’s new industry.

Stay on top of California’s cannabis market. Get your tickets now for the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 1st-2nd, 2018. If you are inclined to be even further ahead of the curve, and would enjoy to spend a few days in Hawaii in December, then grab your tickets to the ICBC in beautiful Kauai on December 1st thru the 3rd. 

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Eleven Evil Ways To Crush Legal Cannabis

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Don Fitch

The conservative Heritage Foundation has developed a dangerous document to help destroy state legalized cannabis.

The powerful Heritage Foundation has had substantial influence upon Republicans since it helped chaperon Ronald Reagan and is providing major guidance to the Donald Trump administration.  The foundation, abbreviated Heritage, is supposedly conservative, but without the commitment to small government, state’s rights, and individual liberty. Heritage’s brand of authoritarian conservationism emphasizes bigger military, aggressive and preemptive military action around the world, and social conservatism. Apart from gun rights, the foundation rejects the more constitutional and libertarian conservationism that would emphasize smaller government and individual rights.

This devious scheme, How Trump’s DOJ Can Start Enforcing Federal Marijuana Law, was penned by Heritage’s Cully Stimson. The 11-point plan uses government coercion to demolish state medical and adult-use legalizations of marijuana. Michael Roberts wrote of the plan and some of the worried reaction in Westword.com. He quotes Justin Strekal, NORML’s policy director,

I’ve been screaming about this to anyone who will listen, just because of the outsized influence the Heritage Foundation has had over the administration’s policies.

The Heritage Foundation’s 11-point plan is printed below, along with commentary. This insidious scheme is a blue-print for big, coercive government to crush to freedoms, livelihoods, and medical choices of tens of millions of Americans.

1. Reaffirm support for the law. Issue a statement affirming the incoming administration’s commitment to the Controlled Substances Act with the goal of reducing, not expanding, the use of marijuana in the nation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly spoken against marijuana and its legalization. Recently, Session claimed “that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about . . . and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

The president has made forceful but vague comments about the evils of drugs in general: “…the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth.” It seems that Trump is content to let Jeff Sessions set policy on drugs, including marijuana, not good for legal marijuana.

2. Coordinate with lower-level officials. Have the new attorney general prioritize reaching out to governors and key law enforcement officials in states that have legalized marijuana to work with them on enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

Jeff Sessions has “reached out” to political leaders in legal states, basically challenging them to confront his accusations that legal marijuana in their state is out of control and somehow a threat to the nation. Governors of four adult-use legal states, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska have given his meddling a cold reception. So far, the Attorney General’s efforts here have been an abysmal failure.

These state governors, their attorneys general, and law enforcement, including state police, have informed Jeff Session’s that his analysis is in error, that they are working hard on successfully regulating state legal marijuana, and by the way, stay out of our state.

One set of “lower-level officials” Sessions may have much more success with is local, county, and regional law enforcement and drug task forces. With this tactic the feds can by-pass newly reluctant state officials, and bring down the drug war hammer to America’s highways. Sessions is pushing asset forfeiture programs where the DEA returns a good portion of seized asset directly back to the police who seized them. This program, if implemented on a massive scale would provide Sessions with an army of drug warriors on the ground and an enormous cash flow free from any congressional restrictions on spending.

3. Reassert America’s drug position on the world stage. The White House should make clear that the United States continues to support the three international drug conventions, and that it intends to change its domestic policy to reflect that support.

“Changes in domestic policy” is code for de-legalize medical and adult use marijuana in all states.  These three treaties, which the US has long used to badger any country wishing to explore any policy other than hard line criminalization, mandate no legal cannabis. Up until now, the administration has made no new assertions of the treaties.

Internationally, President Trump has gone out of his way to praise Philippine president Dutarte in his genocidal war on drugs.

As always, Trump blames Mexico for America’s drug problem and as a way to sell his border wall. He said in a recent press conference,

Tremendous drugs are pouring into the United States at levels that nobody has ever seen before. This happened over the last three to four years in particular. The wall will stop much of the drugs from pouring into this country and poisoning our youth.

4. Up the profile of key drug enforcement personnel. Restore to Cabinet-level status the position of the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and adequately fund the office so that it can be effective.

This has not been done. The drug czar still lacks cabinet status and indeed the position is filled with an interim replacement. Same with DEA, where Obama’s administrator Chuck Rosenberg remains in place. The recent opioid panel chaired by Chris Christie had little involvement with the ONDCP.

5. Rescind and replace the August 2013 memorandum from then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole — i.e. the “Cole Memo.” The Department of Justice could do this by reiterating that marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sale are against federal law and that while states may decriminalize possession of marijuana, they may not issue licenses to sell it or commercialize it. Reiterate that the federal government is not locking up people for smoking marijuana, and that state employees are not going to be arrested, but that the Department of Justice fully expects states to not permit commercialized marijuana production and sale.

The Cole memo remains intact. But Sessions and his army of federal prosecutors and thousands of assistant prosecutors could commit havoc in all states by seeking out violators of the memo. If legalized states were compelled by the federal government to end their regulation of marijuana, then all the controls over (and taxes gained) from legalization would vanish, leaving an unregulated marijuana marketplace.

6. Select marijuana businesses to prosecute. Find a handful of cases in which large, well-funded marijuana businesses are in violation of both state and federal marijuana laws and prosecute both their management/operators and financiers. A real threat of prosecution will raise the cost of capital in the industry significantly, and seriously impede any operations above the cottage-level. Moreover, selection of unsympathetic defendants in violation of both state and federal law will (1) minimize political pushback, (2) avoid conflict with congressional appropriations provisions, and (3) clearly demonstrate the failure of the Cole Memo.

The shoe has not dropped on selective federal prosecutions, but probably soon will. Among Session’s army of 94 US Federal Prosecutors, those in adult-legal states are doubtless salivating at the prospect of prosecuting “well-funded marijuana businesses” to satisfy their goals of easy mandatory minimums, asset forfeitures, wide-spread publicity, and, priceless, pleasing their boss Jeff Sessions.

Now anti-marijuana activist (and key Obama drug policy advisor) Kevin Sabat’s SAM organization has come out with recommendations mirroring this tactic, claiming the Cole Memo has failed and that Americans need the “protection” of a reenergized war on marijuana.

7. Rescind the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s guidance for banks and oppose efforts to expand banking services to the marijuana industry. One of the principal brakes on the expansion of the marijuana industry is its lack of access to banking. Once pot businesses have regular, unimpeded access to institutional capital, their ability to scale up will expand significantly—and the financial sector will begin to lobby in favor of expanded sales of the drug.

Also part of Sabet’s anti-legalization tract is the maintenance of the shunning of cannabis businesses by banks. Lack of banking access is indeed a desperate problem for the industry. Federal legislation has been introduced to fix this problem, but will likely fail.

8. Support state attorneys general in nonlegalized states. Nonlegalized states have suffered significantly from illegal diversion of marijuana from legalized states, and from the apparent uptick in sophisticated cartel activity there. Support could include entering as an amicus to support the merits of the suit Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado.

The suit by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado legalization gained the enmity from many conservatives because of its raw attack on state’s rights. The Oklahoma Attorney General who participated in the suit against the rights of the voters of Colorado was none other than current EPA head Scott Pruitt. The Supreme Court ruled against the case in 2016, but left open that it might be resolved in federal court, so the danger is not over. Anti-marijuana and anti-environment zealot Pruitt said, “The fact remains — Colorado marijuana continues to flow into Oklahoma, in direct violation of federal and state law.”

9. Prosecute those dealing in marijuana — which is illegal under federal law — using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Those who engage in a pattern of racketeering activity through a corporation or other enterprise are liable for three times the economic harm they cause. RICO gives federal courts the power to order racketeering enterprises and their co-conspirators to cease their unlawful operations.

RICO is indeed a scary prospect, and appears to be underway. With 5,000 assistant US Attorneys needing something to do, a flood of RICO lawsuits is a nauseating possibility. The precarious status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug enables the RICO action originally written to attack the mafia. Soon it may be used to legally annihilate even small scale cannabis operation. More on this RICO peril in later posts.

10. Prosecute those who provide financing for marijuana operations. Federal anti-money laundering statutes make it illegal to engage in financial transactions designed to promote illegal activities, including drug trafficking. Start with one major marijuana financier and successfully prosecute it.

Easy prosecutions with possible asset forfeiture and favorable publicity will excite the interest of Session’s US Attorney army. The assumption is probably correct that the destruction of a few industry leaders and financiers could strike damaging blows to the industry.

11. Empower the FDA to take action to regulate marijuana in order to protect patients and the public. Marijuana legalization poses a public health problem, and the FDA should be tasked with investigating marijuana for chemical contamination and pesticides. Marijuana should also be subject to the standards of the rigorous criteria of the FDA approval process, which has been carefully constructed to protect consumer and patient health and safety.

That is, use another US bureaucracy to kill off the powerful new cannabis preventative, palliatives and cures before their momentum and public demand  rise to unstoppable levels.  Many reformers fear an outside FDA influence should cannabis be down-scheduled to Schedule 2. All the more reason cannabis must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act prison altogether.

In sum, these eleven coercive tactics could deliver considerable pain to cannabis consuming Americans, marijuana entrepreneurs and workers, and medical users across the country. They could also deliver political pain to the politicians supporting them as they go against the majority will to legalize marijuana, especially medical.

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Dank News! This is what’s happening.

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Ngaio Bealum

News travels fast, but stoners travel slow(ly). We here at Marijuana Politics want to make sure you are up to date on the latest weed news, so we have compiled a tasty hit of headlines just for you. Check it out:

Congressman wants to end drivers license suspensions for drug offenses

TL;dr  –  Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has introduced an amendment to fix a decades old law left over from the failed “War on Drugs”. Currently, states that do not immediately suspend the driver’s licenses of people arrested for drug possession can be denied federal monies. Suspending someone’s license does nothing to stop drug use. Congressman O’Rourke’s amendment would change the law. Read more here.

 

Colorado Sells another $100 million dollars worth of pot- in a month! 

Tl;dr – Once again, Colorado has sold over one hundred million dollars of pot in a month, according to reports. The state sold $127 million worth of cannabis and cannabis products, while taking in about 95 million in taxes. Tax money and job creation. That’;s what legalization does. Check it out right here.

 

Netflix TV show”Disjointed” opened a pot shop this weekend.

The new Netflix sitcom “Disjointed” is set in a cannabis dispensary, and what better way to promote the show than to offer custom cannabis? West Hollywood pot shop AHHS was turned into a facsimile of Ruth’s (lead Kathy Baker’s character) dispensary and offered some Netflix themed goodies like “Banana Stand Kush”. The LA times has the scoop.

 

Snoop and Martha are up for an Emmy!

That’s right: Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart have been nominated for an Emmy award for their VH1 special “Snoop and Martha’s Potluck. This is the first Emmy nomination for a pot-themed show since “Weeds” was on the air.    Leafly has more info

 

5 states looking to Pot the Vote in 2018

Michigan wants to legalize adult use, while South Dakota, Missouri, Utah, and Oklahoma want to make medical marijuana available to qualified patients. MJBiz Daily has the updates.

 

Ngaio Bealum is a writer, comedian, cannabis activist, and a decent juggler. You can catch him on the road performing at events around the country and MCing the International Cannabis Business Conference. Follow him on the social medias. @ngaio420

 

 

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Lagunitas Launches Beer With Cannabis Extracts

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Marijuana Politics Staff

Cannabis and alcohol have an interesting relationship in American society. Both of the substances have been prohibited by the federal government, but alcohol was able to break free of that disastrous policy after a few year after prohibition helped lead to the rise of gangsters like Al Capone. Marijuana prohibition has lasted for decades, providing a major source of revenue for violent cartels. While alcohol was able to repeal federal prohibition with one amendment, cannabis law reformers have been forced to a state-by-state approach. Once federal cannabis prohibition is repealed, we will surely see THC-infused beer. Lagunitas, potentially getting the jump on the competition, has launched SuperCritcal, an IPA that contains cannabis extracts, but won’t get you high.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Because SuperCritical is made with the terpenes that AbsoluteXtracts removes from cannabis plants, it doesn’t contain THC, so any pleasant buzz that drinkers might feel comes from the alcohol, not the cannabis. Karen Hamilton, Lagunitas’s director of communications, wrote in an email that the beer is tested in the brewery’s lab, and “lots of people have had the beer, at this point, and NO ONE has experienced any psychotropic effects (to the dismay of some!)”

The beer itself is a dank, odoriferous IPA, checking in at just 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, with grassy flavors, a decent amount of earthy hop bitterness and a noticeably sticky finish. It’s not much different from other IPAs designed to mimic weed’s characteristic flavors, though the taste is slightly greener.

Lagunitas is viewing SuperCritical as an experiment and produced only one batch of 60 barrels, or 120 kegs. Those went to bars across California, primarily in the San Francisco area, by late last week. (A full list is available on the Lagunitas website.) “There may be more SuperCritical coming in the future, and this time to other areas in the U.S.,” Hamilton said.

The cannabis industry is likely to follow the beer model, with some big companies, but also many “micro” companies as well. It is exciting to see a brewery like Lagunitas examining how cannabis can enhance its beers. As legalization spreads, we should see more such collaborations, and once we end cannabis prohibition at the federal level, the two popular substances, will go hand-in-hand for many, leading to THC-infused brews for adults to enjoy.

Keep informed of all that is happening across the United States and the globe when it comes to cannabis! Join experts and business leaders from around the world converging for the International Cannabis Business Conference, December 1-3, 2017 on the tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. Get tickets now!

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Canadian Mental Health Association Releases Report on Legalization

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Amber Iris Langston

Under Justin Trudeau’s leadership, Canada is preparing for a fully regulated, adult-legal cannabis market, beginning in July 2018. On Monday, August 14, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario issued a report entitled “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation” meant to give guidance to Canadian legislators regarding next year’s roll out. As one might expect, the mental health community is rallying around an approach to policy that views cannabis through a public health lens.

As a result, the report advises a couple of somewhat controversial recommendations, which may please some supporters of prohibition on one hand, and upset them on the other.

First, the CMHA Ontario identifies driving-under-the-influence of cannabis as the issue of greatest concern for public safety in a legalization scenario. However, the organization recognizes the scientific truth that testing of impairment for cannabis remains inaccurate, and therefore cannot be used as a truthful measure for gauging driver safety. As a result, the CMHA Ontario recommends a zero-tolerance policy for driving and cannabis use:

“Because the technology to detect an individual’s level of impairment due to cannabis is still in development at this time, CMHA Ontario recommends a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis consumption in any motorized vehicle in order to ensure road safety during this time of transition. A zero-tolerance policy would include both the driver of the motorized vehicle, as well as any passengers in the car. It is important that a clear message be sent to the public as soon as possible regarding zero tolerance for impaired driving due to cannabis use.”

Interestingly, the CMHA Ontario has taken an alternative approach to youth access of cannabis. In a move that runs counter to what most US citizens would think wise, the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation report actually recommends a minimum legal age of purchase to be 19 years:

“Frequent cannabis use can harm a developing brain and there is no evidence that supports a specific age when cannabis use is safe for young people. However, there are concerns that a higher minimum age may contribute to young people accessing cannabis from illegal sources. Establishing a higher minimum age standard will be less effective in undermining the black market, and may leave youth both criminalized and reliant on it.”

The report also recommends a mandatory public health training similar to workers in the food service industry and development of a regulatory “cannabis control board”.

The politics of cannabis legalization are playing out on the international field, and governmental agencies are coming up with new and interesting approaches to regulation. Canada has certainly shown itself a leader in its experimentation with cannabis laws, and will likely continue as a trend-setter in the future.

Keep informed of all that is happening across the globe when it comes to cannabis! Join experts and business leaders from around the world converging for the International Cannabis Business Conference, December 1-3, 2017 on the tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. Get tickets now!

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NBA Open to Discussing Medical Cannabis

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Ngaio Bealum

Could the NBA allow players to (openly) use cannabis? It just may happen.  A recent post on reddit suggests that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is at least open to the idea. When asked about medical marijuana use and the NBA, this is what Commissioner Silver had to say:

“I would say it’s something we will look at. I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana. My personal view is that it should be regulated in the same way that other medications are if the plan is to use it for pain management. And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reasons, we’ll be open to it. Hopefully there’s not as much pain involved in our sport as some others, so there’s not as much need for it.”

There may not be as much pain in the NBA as there is in the NFL, but there is certainly wear and tear. Professional basketball players routinely push their bodies to the limits. About twelve years ago, many players decided to curtail their use of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs for fear of kidney and liver damage. Cannabis is a natural anti-inflammatory and has no real side affects, except for perhaps a pleasant buzz.

As it is now, cannabis use can get an NBA player suspended, although that wasn’t always the case.  Old school fans will recall when former Celtics Center  Robert Parish got busted for receiving cannabis in the mail. He didn’t miss a game.

Many former players are now looking to capitalize on the new legalization. Former Portland Trailblazer  Cliff Robinson and  International Cannabis Business Conference panelist and former Detroit PIston John Salley have each started cannabis based businesses.  It is time for the NBA to embrace the future.

Ngaio Bealum is a writer, comedian, cannabis activist, and a decent juggler. You can catch him on the road performing at events like the Dope Show in Tacoma, Washington, and MCing the International Cannabis Business Conference. Follow him on the social medias. @ngaio420

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German Cannabis Supporters Join 2017 Hanfparade

MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Amber Iris Langston

Despite a little cold and rainy weather, a great crowd turned out this year for the 21st annual Berlin Hanfparade (or “Hemp Parade”) last Saturday, August 12th.

According to Michael Knodt, writer for Marijuana.com and speaker at the April 2017 International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, the turnout for this year’s event was brimming with enthusiasm for the future of cannabis in Germany:

“An estimated 2,000 participants joined the 2017 Hanfparade, proudly marching through the streets of Berlin under the motto “Breiter kommt weiter” (“The wider our range, the bigger our progress”). Even with attendance slightly down from last year’s event — the largest German legalization demonstration to date — the mood was electric and the event set a colorful, loud, and hopeful sign for the legalization of cannabis in an influential European nation.

“…Accompanied by booming basses of music, loud slogans, and many creative posters, the participants walked passed the Chancellery and the German Bundestag on their course toward the Federal Ministry of Health, where a small stopover took place. Directly in front of the seat of the outgoing German Drug Czar Marlene Mortler, the well-known youth judge Andreas Müller explained the dangerous context between cannabis prohibition, false prevention strategies and the steadily increasing number of cannabis offenders among the younger generation.

“…Onlookers had trouble escaping the contagiously positive mood radiating from the demonstration, many smiling faces could be seen in the surrounding trucks and cars. The legalization movement is becoming mainstream — the common goal of the end of prohibition and the release of cannabis has slowly become visible on the German capital’s horizon.”

There is certainly great momentum for sensible cannabis law reform in Germany as the economic powerhouse has seen its medical law liberalized as several cities have well-established political movements examining how they may be able to follow in the footsteps of Amsterdam and allow cannabis commerce among all adults. Not only is it great for Germany that cannabis legalization is on the horizon, but also for the rest of Europe as Germany’s influence reverberates well beyond its borders. It is certainly an exciting time for the cannabis community across the globe and we will undoubtedly see many  positive laws and policies enacted in the coming months and years.

So what will be the state of cannabis in Europe’s largest country over the next year? Leading cannabis experts agree, the best (and most rockin’) way to learn, is to join them at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, Germany, April 12 & 13, 2018. Get your tickets for Berlin and Kauai now to lock in early bird prices!

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