Newsletter #187

Marijuana gifts in Michigan

Recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan on December 6th, but legal sales won’t start for at least another year. Enterprising businesses don’t want to wait, so many are using a loophole in the new law that allows people to give cannabis as gifts. These companies are selling overpriced goods and adding in marijuana as a present. For example, you can order a small amount of chocolate and receive a “free” cannabis gift. Sneaky and smart.

THC and CBD take on chronic pain

Researchers seeking to examine how THC and CBD impact chronic pain recently completed a study with some interesting findings. They discovered that strains of cannabis with high levels of THC are effective at increasing pain tolerance. However, a strain that was low in THC but high in CBD had no pain-relieving effects. In fact, CBD seems to counter the analgesic impacts of THC. Learn more about the study here.

Medical cannabis coming soon to Ohio

Ohio’s medical cannabis law passed in 2016, and the state’s medical marijuana program was supposed to be fully operational on September 8th of last year. Unfortunately, things haven’t panned out that way. Now, the latest estimate indicates that the program will be up and running on January 15th. Stay strong, Ohioans. You’re almost there.

Oregon’s pot problem

Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are growing a lot of flower. Actually, that’s an understatement. Cannabis cultivators in Oregon are growing way too much flower. While Oregon consumers smoked about 166,000 pounds of legal marijuana in 2018, the state currently has about 1.3 million pounds of unsold bud. Yikes.

The workforce is getting high

A new report found that more people are testing positive for cannabis in workplace drug tests, particularly in states that recently legalized recreational marijuana. Some are concerned that this impacts public safety. Get the details here.

Newsletter #186

California’s mediocre cannabis industry

When California legalized recreational marijuana at the start of 2018, state officials and cannabis industry enthusiasts had high hopes for the market. With the first year of legal cannabis coming to a close, many are disappointed with the results. Complicated regulations and high taxes have hindered marijuana businesses. Additionally, many cities decided to ban cannabis dispensaries. As a result of these strains, California is raking in much less tax revenue than experts estimated. Overall, it’s not a good look.

The infamous blunt of the Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders may have played their last game at the Oakland Coliseum this past week, and running back Marshawn Lynch honored the stadium in a unique, truly Californian way. Lynch lit the Al Davis Memorial Torch, and then seemingly tried to light a blunt off the torch. So perfect. So Oakland.

Legal cannabis leads to safer borders

A new study found that as more states legalize marijuana, less of the plant is being smuggled across the Mexico–U.S. border. In fact, smuggling fell 78 percent over a five-year period. Get more information about the decline in drug smuggling here.

Thailand legalizes medical marijuana

This week, Thailand’s parliament voted to approve cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. This makes Thailand the first Southeast Asian country to legalize marijuana. Way to go, Thailand.

Hostile takeover coming for Aphria

Word on the street is that U.S. marijuana company Green Growth Brands Ltd. is planning a hostile takeover bid for Aphria Inc., a major Canadian cannabis producer. Get the details here.

Newsletter #185

CBD makes glaucoma worse

Medical marijuana has long been associated with alleviating symptoms of glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause blindness. This is because THC lowers pressure inside the eye. However, a new study found that CBD, another cannabinoid, actually increases pressure in the eye. Since many glaucoma patients are consuming whole plant cannabis containing both CBD and THC, and CBD opposes the ocular benefits of THC, they aren’t receiving the pressure-lowering help they need. This is a shining example of why marijuana research is so important.

Anheuser-Busch’s big marijuana deal

Anheuser-Busch InBev, a massive alcohol company that owns big names like Budweiser, is getting into the marijuana industry. AB InBev is partnering with Canadian cannabis company Tilray to delve into the world of non-alcoholic, marijuana-infused beverages. It’s a $100 million deal, so you know they’re not messing around.

New Zealand will vote on legalizing cannabis in 2020

New Zealand may become the next country to legalize marijuana. This week, the government announced that a binding referendum on cannabis legalization will be held in 2020. If citizens vote to legalize marijuana, New Zealand will be the third nation in the world to do so. Learn more about this big vote here.

Trading marijuana for McDonald’s

The great state of Florida is known for its wacky news stories, and there’s a new one involving cannabis. Recently, a man tried to trade marijuana for some McDonald’s grub. The McDonald’s employee declined. The pot-trading gentleman was arrested shortly thereafter.

Hemp is officially legal

President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law on Thursday. Now, industrial hemp is legal. Get the details on what this means for hemp and CBD production here.

Newsletter #184

A lesson in erasing marijuana convictions

Many cities and counties around the U.S. are trying to find ways to expunge low-level cannabis convictions from people’s records. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez found one innovative way to tackle this. A new program is hosting community-based sessions where those convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana possession offense in Brooklyn will meet with a defense lawyer (for free!) and fill out a motion asking to erase that conviction. Next, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office will consent to those motions and ask a judge to vacate the convictions. Take note, other cities and counties.

2018 Farm Bill moves forward

Congress just passed the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s now awaiting President Trump’s signature. Cannabis enthusiasts are excited because the Farm Bill removes industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates many restrictions around growing and selling hemp. Many believe this bill will be a boon to the hemp and hemp-derived CBD industries. Additionally, U.S.-based hemp companies may be able to list on U.S. stock exchanges soon. All in all, this bill’s passage is a pretty big deal.

Africa’s first marijuana expo

Africa recently had its very first cannabis exposition in Pretoria, South Africa. While the expo had a pretty good turnout, one key item was missing: marijuana. Cannabis use and cultivation in private spaces is decriminalized in South Africa, but an expo is definitely not a private space. As a result, exhibitors creatively used other objects in lieu of cannabis. Maybe within the next few years, actual marijuana plants will be permitted.

Cannabis convenience store

If you’re in Portland, Maine, and you need gas, snacks and weed, then you should probably swing by Gas N’ Grass. A group of enterprising individuals recently founded this gas station/convenience store/medical marijuana dispensary hybrid. Impressive!

Marijuana industry boosts Canada’s employment rate

Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent last month, which is the lowest rate in decades. This is partially attributed to the nation’s fast-growing cannabis industry. Get the details here.

Newsletter #183

Utah legalizes medical marijuana

Governor Gary Herbert of Utah signed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act into law this week, shortly after state legislators made changes to the medical marijuana bill voters approved in November. The legislative tweaks made the law more restrictive, which many cannabis supporters aren’t happy about. For example, the initial bill allowed people to grow their own marijuana, and the revisions removed this right. Some legal cannabis is better than zero legal cannabis, right?

Vaping vs smoking

Vaping has become increasingly popular with cannabis users over the last few years. Many see vaping marijuana as a healthier alternative to smoking it. A recently-published study shows that this might not be entirely true. In fact, researchers found that people vaping cannabis may experience more immediate harmful side effects than those smoking the plant. Read more about the study here.

Duterte cracks jokes about marijuana

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines recently said that he uses marijuana to stay awake, and then backpedaled and said he was joking. Reminder: Duterte’s war on drugs has killed over 12,000 people. Many of those murdered were using or selling cannabis. It’s probably not a good idea for Duterte to joke about this.

Reporter gives away joints in Lansing

City Pulse, an alternative newspaper in Lansing, Michigan, sent a reporter to the Michigan State Capitol to complete an important mission. What was the mission, you ask? It was to hand out free joints to passerby. Way to celebrate legal recreational marijuana, City Pulse!

Marlboro wants a piece of cannabis action

Altria, the corporation behind Marlboro cigarettes, may be interested in entering the marijuana market. Word on the street is that Altria is looking into investing in a few different Canadian cannabis companies. It seems that tobacco sales aren’t doing so hot.

Newsletter #182

South Korea legalizes medical marijuana

Last week, South Korea’s legislature amended the nation’s Narcotics Control Act to allow for medical cannabis. This makes South Korea the first country in East Asia to legalize medical marijuana. The next step is for the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to establish regulations for this medicinal market. While the law is very restrictive, its approval in a relatively conservative nation is still seen a big win for cannabis advocates across the globe.

Legal cannabis in Michigan is coming soon

Even though Michigan voters opted to legalize recreational cannabis just last month, the law takes effect this week. Starting December 6th, Michigan residents over the age of 21 will be permitted to grow up to 12 plants in their homes. It will likely be another year before regulations are sorted out and the recreational business licensing process begins. In the meantime, you’ll need to grow your own.

Buggy bud in Ontario

The legal marijuana situation in Canada seems pretty incredible to many of us, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The Ontario Cannabis Store, which is the only legal retailer in the province, hasn’t been doing so hot. Between a major customer privacy breach and bug-contaminated cannabis, some Ontarians are going to back to their former dealers. Learn more about these issues here.

Drug-sniffing dogs are retiring early

As more states legalize cannabis, some law enforcement agencies are retiring their drug-sniffing dogs. Dogs who were trained to sniff out marijuana cannot be retrained to stop smelling for the plant. As a result, these dogs are retiring early. We hope their days are filled with long walks and endless treats.

Massachusetts dispensaries are raking in millions

There are only two recreational cannabis dispensaries open in Massachusetts, and they’re both doing quite well. In fact, in their first five days of recreational sales, customers spent $2.2 million on marijuana products. That’s a lot of cannabis.