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States that legalized marijuana are bringing in more tax revenue on pot sales than alcohol

A majority of the states that legalized recreational marijuana for recreational use are collecting more tax revenue from pot sales than alcohol sales.

The first two states to legalize pot are profiting the most, Colorado and Washington. Across the country, the total revenue for taxes on weed amounted to nearly $3 billion, according to a report on “sin taxes” by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

So far, 11 states have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.

The states that have given recreational marijuana legalization the green-light are Colorado, Washington, California, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Alaska.

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Navisite is expanding into cannabis industry, will enhance SAP services for various aspects of industry

Navisite, a managed cloud service provider that renders integrated business management computer systems designed to model and automate the different areas of a company and the administration of its resources (SAP services), announced Tuesday that it is expanding its services to the cannabis industry. (Benzinga)

The company offers agricultural, medical and recreational cannabis companies solutions that “span the seed-to-sale process.”

"Cannabis companies need highly scalable, flexible systems that can keep pace with demand, delivering greater intelligence and agility across their entire operations," said Gina Murphy, president and chief transformation officer at Navisite.

"With our cannabis solutions, we bring a unique combination of SAP, business process, and technology expertise to help our customers modernize on SAP and fully capitalize on new market opportunities."

According to a company press release: 

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Medicinal cannabis prescriptions are mostly going to young people

 

It’s been more than five years since Australia first introduced a medicinal cannabis program, and a new study has shed light on who exactly gets those scripts.

As reported by The Guardian, researchers from University of Sydney revealed a bunch of juicy statistics around who is being given prescriptions, and for what conditions. It found that chronic pain was the most common reason for medical cannabis being recommended to patients, accounting for 61 percent of prescriptions. Anxiety made up 16 percent of scripts, and sleep disorders 5.6 percent.

The study also shows that pre-pandemic, the age group receiving prescriptions ranged from 45 to 52-years-old. But since 2020, prescriptions are predominantly going to a much younger group, aged 20 to 31.

Queensland was the site of over 51 percent of medical cannabis prescriptions, despite Queenslanders only making up about a fifth of the population.

Sara MacPhail, who authored the study, says that further research is needed to work out why a disproportionate number of scripts were being written in the Sunshine State, and why it’s mostly younger people that are being prescribed the medication.

Interestingly, doctors are generally prescribing flower-based cannabis to patients with anxiety, even though there isn’t a robust body of research showing the flower-based form of the cannabis plant effectively treats the condition.

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How the pandemic became a bonanza for Florida’s medical marijuana industry

Rising anxiety and worsening chronic health conditions led to a surge in demand for cannabis that businesses have capitalized on. But thanks to state law, the industry is dominated by just 22 companies.

The pandemic has triggered a medical marijuana boon in Florida.

Over the past two years, the number of people with medical marijuana cards has more than doubled, hundreds more doctors have become licensed to qualify patients, new dispensaries have opened almost weekly and a wide variety of new products have become available.

With anxiety levels rising and chronic health conditions deepening during the numerous COVID-19 waves, more Floridians are seeking cannabis as a medical treatment and the industry has found a way to get it to them.

“We have a lot more people coming in and asking for medical marijuana, but I am also seeing an uptick in the severity of underlying problems,” said Dr. Paul Weisman, who operates ZC Concierge Cannabis Centers in South Florida.

“People have a lot of disabling anxiety right now, a lot of severe sleep disturbance from their anxiety and a lot of chronic pain for conditions that weren’t treated during the pandemic.”

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It’s possible to ‘factory reset’ your brain to get rid of different disorders, according to study

A new study claims to erase and manage conditions like anxiety and alcohol abuse via gene editing.

The brain has control over most things in our body. This pivotal organ is responsible for our moods, memories, thoughts, and so much more. Now, a new study suggests that it could be possible to give your brain a “factory reset,” as if it were an iPhone, and that this could help get rid of conditions like alcohol abuse and anxiety.

The study, published in the journal Science, focused on localizing the region of the brain responsible for the development of alcohol abuse and anxiety, showing how gene editing can erase or control people’s predisposition to these diseases.

Researchers from the University of Illinois based this study on previous findings that linked binge drinking in adolescence to altered brain chemistry, which could impact the way these people regulate their emotions, resulting in higher odds of having anxiety or alcohol abuse. The goal of their study was to use modern gene editing and figure out if these effects could be reversed.

The study was conducted on rats that were exposed to alcohol in their adolescence. Once the rats reached adulthood, researchers measured their levels of anxiety and their desire for alcohol by conducting different tests, including maze experiments and having them choose between different liquids.

Researchers highlighted the importance of adolescent drinking, which can lead to alcohol abuse later on and, more concerning, psychiatric disorders. They found that those who drink during their adolescence have less of a protein known as Arc. The gene-editing process is called CRISPR-d Cas9, and consists of cutting out DNA and allowing it to naturally replenish itself.

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Does Hollywood icon Christopher Walken, 78, smoke weed? ‘Sure’

Oscar-winner reports he consumed cannabis in the past and still does

The eminently talented and endlessly impersonated Christopher Walken recently handled a question about his possible cannabis use with the same style he’s known for: straight-faced, he just admitted it.

In a recent interview with New York Times Magazine, the 78-year-old Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning actor was asked if was “ever a heavy marijuana smoker?”

Per El Planteo, his response was simple:

“Sure.”

Apparently hoping to delve deeper, journalist David Marchese then asked:

“Do you still smoke?” Again, the response was short and sweet:

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Grant opportunity announced for cannabis cancer treatment research

 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) is prepping to grant funds to researchers who are studying cannabis treatment for cancer.

Grant funds will soon be available to researchers who are working to treat cannabis. 

A “Notice of Special Interest” (NOSI) (entitled “Basic Mechanisms of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Action in Cancer”) was posted on May 5 by NIH’s National Cancer Institute, with the intent “to promote research in understanding the mechanisms by which cannabis and cannabinoids affect cancer biology, cancer interception, cancer treatment and resistance, and management of cancer symptoms.”

In the notice, NIH explains that the reasoning behind this effort is due to the growing number of cancer patients seeking relief with medical cannabis, but that there are not enough studies to verify its effectiveness.

“Cancer patients use cannabis and cannabinoids to manage symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment including anorexia, nausea, and pain,” the NOSI states.

“Recent survey evidence suggests that a quarter of cancer patients have used cannabis for symptom management. Despite the increase in cannabis and cannabinoid use, research about their health effects, including potential harms and benefits, remain limited.” 

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Small cannabis entrepreneurs say they can't compete against ‘Walmart of weed'’

 

Many small cannabis entrepreneurs say large companies are jockeying to lock them out of the industry and have funding that gives them more access to lawmakers.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the country,” said Sarah Grant, general manager of The Dispensary in Richmond.

The shop opened last year and sells Delta-8-THC flower and vape cartridges. 

“It’s hard to compete if you’re going against the Walmart of weed,” Grant said. 

Grant said the lack of structure in the recreational cannabis market is stressful for smaller businesses and that her store could never compete with lobbyists from national cannabis corporations. 

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Wisconsin Governor pardons several with cannabis convictions

Tony Evers, the first-term Democrat, has been a vocal supporter of bringing cannabis legalization to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday announced dozens of new pardons, including nine for individuals previously convicted for cannabis-related offenses.

“There is power in redemption and forgiveness, especially for folks who’ve been working to move beyond their past mistakes to be productive, positive members of their communities,” Evers said in a statement.

“I’m grateful for being able to give a second chance to these individuals who’ve worked hard to do just that.”

Evers, the first-term Democrat, has now “granted more pardons during his first three years in office than any other governor in contemporary history,” according to a release from his office, which said that he has granted a total of 498 pardons since taking office in 2019.

The nine individuals previously busted for pot-related offenses who received a pardon on Friday include Danielle Arrigo, who “was 22 when she twice sold marijuana to a confidential informant,” and “now resides in Burlington with her daughter and has earned her associate degree.”

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Marijuana breathalyzers: Cannabix Technologies correlates THC in breath & blood in new experimental study

Cannabix Technologies Inc. reported that it has successfully tested a supplemental version of its FAIMS technology for the detection of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and related analytes in human breath in an independent experimental study. (Benzinga)

The study showed a correlation between breath samples collected and analyzed with Cannabix hardware and blood plasma levels of THC.

The company’s handheld Breath Collection Unit and newly developed laboratory MS Breath Sampler were used together to provide a new ground-breaking method for drug detection.

Cannabix has developed a unique breath analysis system capable of sampling breath for low volatility analytes, like THC, and can be completed within seconds, with no sample preparation needed.

The study

The experimental study included six subjects with a 60%-40% between men and women with an average age of 23 years.

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Ballot measure to allow Missouri voters to decide future of recreational cannabis

There are more than 181,000 Missourians carrying medical marijuana cards.

Missouri marijuana laws could soon go up in smoke after "Legal Missouri 2022" delivered enough signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot this November.

There are more than 181,000 Missourians carrying medical marijuana cards currently.

“There’s certainly a lot more people than that that use marijuana in Missouri on a regular basis and those people shouldn’t be treated as criminals,” said Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne.

 “We want to create a legal framework for them to use, purchase, and cultivate marijuana for their own personal use.”

Legal Missouri 2022 Campaign manager John Payne spoke with 5 On Your Side just minutes after delivering more than 390,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana to Jefferson City.

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South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill ruled unconstitutional, but sponsor vows to keep fighting

On May 4, 2022, South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill — SB 150, also known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act — was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s House of Representatives.

The constitutional challenge was mounted by Rep. John McCravy, who argued that because the bill involves the creation of a new tax, specifically on medical cannabis, that the bill should have originated in the House, per the South Carolina constitution. House Speaker Pro Tem Thomas Pope agreed with Rep. McCravy’s argument and ruled the bill unconstitutional.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Davis, appealed the ruling, but the House voted 59-55 to table the appeal, stopping the bill in its tracks. In response to this tabling of his appeal, Rep. Davis stated he would be “working on” getting the bill a “merits up or down [vote] in the House,” before the Legislature closes in mid-May.

While the ruling dealt a blow to the bill’s momentum, it is notable that the bill has not yet seen a vote on the merits — this setback was strictly a procedural one. The bill, which would allow patients with qualifying medical conditions to buy, possess, and use cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries, was passed by the Senate in February 2022. The bill has 14 listed cosponsors and was passed unanimously by the House Medical, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee before stalling out on the House floor.

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Israeli company to unveil psilocybin nasal spray system

A modern approach to delivering small doses of psilocybin for the treatment of mental conditions is coming to fruition in Israel.

Israeli biopharmaceutical company Madrigal Mental Care will unveil novel nanotechnology to deliver psilocybin via nasal spray for the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at Biomed Israel 2022, on May 10-12, 2022, at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel, according to a May 9 press release.

Biomed Israel is a broad celebration of the life science and technology industries. At past events, the event attracted over 6,000 attendees, with 1,000 attending internationally from over 45 countries.

The novel nasal spray system enables nose-to-brain delivery of organic nanoparticles that encapsulate molecules of psychedelic substances—in this case, psilocybin. This nasal spray delivery system can also be used to deliver ketamine, mescaline, MDMA, and other psychedelics.

The nanotechnology was invented by Prof. Amnon Sintov, Department of Biomedical Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) with licensing from BGN Technologies, the Technology Transfer Company of BGU.

“An increasing number of studies point to the advantages of using psychedelic drugs for the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and even addiction, with low doses,” Professor Sintov said.

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Schumer pushes back release for Senate legalization bill

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is backtracking after saying the legislation would be unveiled this month.

The wait for the Senate’s version of a cannabis legalization bill will continue for months, with Democratic leaders in the chamber indicating Thursday that it will come sometime in the summer.

According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he’s proud of the progress senators have made in “bringing this vital bill closer to its official introduction” before the recess in early August.”

The timeline marks a shift from what Schumer had said previously and it may dismay legalization advocates who had hoped that the Senate’s legislation would arrive sooner—especially after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own bill to end prohibition on the federal level earlier this month.

The New York Democrat said after the House’s passage that he hoped the Senate would unveil its legalization measure by the end of this month.

On April 1, the Democratic-led House passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively ending the federal prohibition on pot.

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Michigan regulators say no to THC from hemp

Regulators in Michigan have nixed a proposal to allow the conversion of cannabinoids derived from hemp into THC.

Regulators in Michigan announced on Friday that a plan to allow cannabinoids derived from hemp to be processed into THC would be withdrawn from consideration. The announcement came only two days after the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) was renamed and given new authority over the state’s hemp industry under an executive order issued by Governor Gretchen Witmer earlier this year.

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Steep Hill enters license agreement for a licensed lab in Vermont

Steep Hill also announces grant of stock options

Steep Hill Inc. (CSE:STPH) ("Steep Hill" or the "Company"), a pioneer and leader in cannabis analytical testing announces that it has entered into a licensing agreement (the "Licence Agreement") with SH Lab Holdings LLC ("Steep Hill Vermont"), expanding its network of licensees to the state of Vermont.

Under the terms of the License Agreement signed on April 20, 2022, the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Steep Hill (US) granted to Steep Hill Vermont certain exclusive licenses with respect to Steep Hill's know-how and procedures, for purposes of operating a laboratory for testing cannabis, hemp and cannabis and hemp derived products in the state of Vermont under the "Steep Hill" brand.

Steep Hill CEO, Sameet Kanade, stated, "We are delighted to partner with Steep Hill Vermont, which has a dynamic, entrepreneurial team with a comprehensive industrial, scientific, and business management background and a rich experience in the cannabis industry. We look forward to working with them to bring robust safety compliance testing to Vermont's medical patients and adult consumers."

Steep Hill Vermont's Lab Director, Callie Chapman, added, "Working with the State of Vermont, our laboratory plans to expand cannabis testing services, while offering quick turnaround times and educational resources for cultivators, manufacturers, and other industry participants. Our goal is to be a key partner in the success of the Green Mountain State's adult use market and continue to grow our industry. Steep Hill Vermont is projected to support cannabis and hemp cultivation and processor customers by fall of 2022."

Steep Hill approves issuance of stock options

The Company announces the grant of stock options (each an "Option") pursuant to the Company's stock option plan. The Company has granted an aggregate of 9,000,000 Options to certain directors, officers, employees, and consultants of the Company, including to executives and employees at its wholly owned subsidiary, Steep Hill (US) Inc. The Options are exercisable at a price of $0.08 per Option. The Options granted vest in four months and expire on May 3, 2025. Each Option is exercisable to purchase one common share in the capital of the Company.

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Growing hemp's ag-tech potential

The transition from academia to manufacturing was challenging for Michael Long, but he was able to use his experience in natural science to start a company with the mission of bringing an eco-friendly alternative to the textile industry.
 
Long is the founder and vice president of operations at Renaissance Fiber, a manufacturer of hemp fiber. The startup describes itself as being clean tech with an emphasis on “working for, and not against, nature,” Long said.
 
Long began his professional career in marine science, which brought him to Wilmington. However, his family roots are in Yadkinville at a farm where tobacco was grown for many generations. When growing tobacco was no longer profitable, however, Long looked to hemp.
 
“When North Carolina opened up its industrial hemp pilot project back in 2017, I got involved as early as I could, and haven’t looked back,” Long said.
 
Since then, Long has learned two things: that he is not a farmer with the trade taking years to learn, and that farmers will not grow what they can’t sell. So he decided to be a crop buyer.
 
“It was crystal clear very early on that the most valuable target for hemp was textiles,” he said.
 
Hemp is a plant with long, slender fibers on its outer stalk. According to an article on Textile Today, it was probably first used in Asia. As Long explains, hemp fiber is cellulose just like cotton, wood or corn stalk and is used in many things from T-shirts to hardwood tables to paper and packaging.
 
The use of hemp for textiles can replace cotton and be more environmentally friendly since hemp plants do not need artificial pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, unlike cotton which needs a lot of pesticides, according to the article.
 
“In the simplest interpretation, hemp can provide lots of textile fiber without the associated impact on natural resources of other more traditional sources,” Long said.

“From my perspective, being able to produce lots of valuable stuff without hurting our natural systems is a must-have for 21st-century industries.”
 
Because hemp fibers are bound up in the structure of the stalk, a chemical process is used to create the best fiber outcome, he said. Some use harsh methods, and Long said he was “not willing to do dirty chemistry,” so he used his natural chemistry knowledge and conducted some experiments that eventually led to a patent.
 
Renaissance Fiber was built around its patented hemp degumming process that is low cost and ecologically invisible, according to its website.
 
Renaissance Fiber is in a lucrative industry with the hemp fiber market projected to reach a value of $43 billion by 2027, up from its $4.6 billion value in 2019, according to Verified Market Research. Plus, there are still lots of opportunities to be explored with hemp, Long said.
 
“There’s really a lot of work happening. And with modern manufacturing technology, the opportunity for innovation is vast,” he said.

“This is something we really look forward to seeing bear out.”

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With a $120 million war chest, Brightseed is unlocking the fat-fighting power of hemp

The AI-powered company is unlocking the hidden healing potential of plants by finding active compounds that could target specific conditions. Next up: diabetes and sleep disorders.

For six weeks in July 2017, Lee Chae, a Stanford-educated plant biologist, sat at his kitchen table in San Francisco—where he can smell and hear the Pacific Ocean—and opened up his laptop. It sounds like a typical workday morning for many, but Chae did something more than just fill out a few spreadsheets. He began building an artificial intelligence platform that can identify bioactive compounds in plants and identify potential remedies for specific human ailments.

That same year, Chae, along with co-founders Jim Flatt and Sofia Elizondo, launched bioscience startup Brightseed to identify unknown compounds present in plants and develop them into various food ingredients, supplements and medicines. For the last five years, the trio have been collecting plants that humans have been using as food and medicine for millennia, grinding them into powder, extracting the active chemicals and running them through their AI platform—which they affectionately call “Forager”—to find the next blockbuster supplement.

The company’s first discovery is a pair of compounds—N-trans-caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT)—found in cannabis seed shells and black pepper that have shown promise in two preclinical studies on mice to remove fat from the liver. The studies, both of which were published in Cell Death and Disease, a Nature peer-reviewed journal, suggest that these compounds could be used to manage non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a chronic condition that afflicts about a quarter of the world’s population. Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for NAFLD but patients are encouraged to lose weight and eat healthy. Serious cases require weight-loss surgery or even a liver transplant.

“Cannabis is known for THC and CBD,” says Chae, naming the psychoactive component in pot that gets people high and the chemical compound associated with anti-inflammation and other health-related benefits.

“And yet, there are these other two compounds that have been sitting in there after all this time and it's a totally different chemical that helps us process fat from the liver. It just tells you how little we know, even of plants that we have a very intimate knowledge, that there's still a lot to discover in how you can use plants.”

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Grow-lamp-loving, water-sucking marijuana plants aren’t so green

Pot’s energy, water use is under scrutiny

Marijuana’s reputation is about as green as they come. Not only is it an oxygen-producing and carbon-dioxide-absorbing plant, its alternative-medicine bona fides and hippie ethos are often associated with the environmental movement.

Yet cannabis plants suck up around twice as much water as maize, soybeans, wheat and wine grapes, according to a 2021 study in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additionally, growing indoors requires extensive lighting and climate control, making it particularly energy intensive. Morningstar estimates that cannabis cultivation will account for 1% of total U.S. electricity demand by 2030.

It’s a problem that the industry is trying to address — but cultivators have a long way to go, according to my interviews in the run-up to last week’s industry meeting, called Regenerative Cannabis Live, at the United Nations. Marijuana’s federal illegality means there hasn’t been much research into its environmental footprint. 

“People are looking at cannabis as if it’s just up the ladder from crypto mining in terms of sustainability,” said Chris Hagedorn, executive vice president of Scotts Miracle-Gro and division president of Hawthorne Gardening Co., a subsidiary that provides lighting, nutrients and other materials for indoor and hydroponic growing. Mining for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which requires vast computing power, is famously harmful to the environment. 

For the nascent cannabis industry’s small, young companies, the initial challenge of getting up and running has largely outweighed questions about environmental impact, but that’s beginning to change, Hagedorn said. Since Hawthorne started offering more energy-efficient LED lights to customers in 2019, they’ve quickly become 70% of the company’s lighting sales, he told me.

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Legal U.S. states are rushing to study the mental health impact of high-potency cannabis

There are several studies on the topic of cannabis concentrates and psychosis expected this year.

Cannabis legalization has picked up speed in the U.S. over the last few years. The topic has become one of those unlikely things that people with differing political parties agree on, a substance that is now accepted, if not embraced, by many.

Still, popular opinion differs on policies, an issue made strikingly clear by the amount of research there is to date on the drug.

U.S. states that have enabled marijuana programs are now finding themselves rushing to study the drug and its possible side effects. Its long-term influence is not known, especially in relation to potent versions of THC and the effect that may have on the brain.

Marijuana’s potency has increased over the years, particularly in concentrate products such as wax and shatter, which in the U.S. can have THC levels as high as 85 per cent. For reference, a joint with a high potency may have about 20 per cent THC.

Several studies have found links between THC and mental health conditions, including psychosis. While not wholly understood, the association is concerning, with one study suggesting that people who consume cannabis on a daily basis are five times more likely to have a psychotic episode.

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