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Illinois Cannabis Sales Break Record Once Again

Legal cannabis sales continue to break records in Illinois with a total of more than $99 million in sales of both recreational and medical marijuana products sold in September, according to state regulators. The figure tops the previous record for total cannabis sales from August, when combined sales totaled more than $95 million, according to data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

“We are not surprised to see another record month for cannabis sales in September approaching $100 million,” said a spokesperson for Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, a multi-state operator with facilities in 12 legal cannabis markets in the United States. 

“Consumer demand remains strong throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and we expect industry growth to continue as operators ramp up capacity to increase supply, new stores open throughout the state, and existing stores add adult-use sales,” the spokesperson continued in the statement emailed to High Times, noting that a new location of its Rise brand of dispensaries will be opening in Naperville, Illinois this week.

September sales of adult-use cannabis products, at more than $67 million, also eclipsed figures from August, when sales were just shy of $64 million. Legal sales of recreational marijuana began in Illinois at the beginning year, with more than $39 million in sales posted in January. Following a slight dip in February sales at more than $34 million, the total for recreational marijuana products has increased each subsequent month. 

Since the launch of recreational marijuana sales in Illinois in January, nearly 9.5 million cannabis products totaling more than $431 million have been sold. Sales figures do not include the taxes collected on adult-use cannabis sales.

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'No more tears left:' How wildfires are ravaging the West Coast cannabis industry

To an outsider's eye, Canyon Cannabis might've appeared like a small-town, rinky-dink pot shop.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Cannabis Stocks

The stock market can be the best place to create wealth because of the endless opportunities it offers to grow your money -- you can back anything from value plays to rule-breaking mavericks. Whatever your style, you'll want to put your cash behind companies that can grow their revenue. Some of the most promising can be found in the cannabis sector.

Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries across the world. In the U.S. in particular, the sector is expanding at a rapid pace; 11 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana completely, while 33 states and D.C. have done so for medical purposes. Voters in five other states are voting on some form of legalization in November.

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Don’t Assume You Have The Complicated Cannabis Industry Figured Out

The cannabis business is a sprawling, unfriendly hydra, destroyer of serious men with good intentions.

It all sounded so promising.  

Medicine Man Technologies, one of the more highly respected dispensary and cultivation operations in Denver, run by a well-respected cannabis business executive considered a pioneer in the industry, President and Co-Founder Andy Williams, rebranded the name of its subsidiary in mid-April to perhaps capture the whimsy of an industry built on getting people high. 

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Most Of The $1.5 Billion Spent on Cannabis Research Went To Studies Telling People How Bad It Is For Them

Most of us like to believe that scientific inquiry is governed by a spirit of curiosity and neutrality, investigating the subject of study from every possible angle. Unfortunately, when it comes to cannabis research in the United States, the approach has been largely one-sided.

According to a new analysis of cannabis research funding in the US, Canada, and the UK, about $1.56 billion went toward cannabis research between 2000 and 2018. Roughly half of that funded research focused on the potential harms of cannabis.

Individual years proved even worse. For example, in 2018, research on potential harms of cannabis received more than 20 times more funding than research on cannabis therapeutics.

What’s more, the biggest chunk of the money (about $1 billion) came from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a federal government agency. According to the analysis, NIDA put far more money to research cannabis misuse and its adverse effects than on the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

“The government’s budget is a political statement about what we value as a society,” Daniel Mallinson, a cannabis policy researcher at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, told Science Magazine. “The fact that most of the cannabis money is going to drug abuse and probably to cannabis use disorder versus medical purposes—that says something.” 

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Israel to temporarily allow cannabis exports, slash price of medical cannabis products by 50 per cent

Israel Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch have announced a new subsidy program that will reduce the cost of medical cannabis products until the end of 2020 and also allow Israeli producers to export their products.

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Are These Marijuana Stocks Showing Potential?

Will Pot Stocks Continue Recent Downtrends?

Here we are, in the month of October, and marijuana stocks are showing downward pressure because of COVID again. With recent concerns over president Donald Trump contracting the Coronavirus the market is feeling the effect. On top of that, you have a miss in September job growth that suggests the recovery is slowing up. Once again, the reality and graveness of this pandemic is brought to the forefront of market stability.

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New Specialty Crops and Technology Keep Agri-Starts Growing

When Randy Strode and (partner at the time) Gerry Abner bought a property off Kelly Park Road in Apopka, FL, in 1984, it marked the humble beginnings of Agri-Starts, Inc. The little trailer lab and Quonset hoop houses only totaled about 6,500 square feet. But since that time, through continued diversification and innovation, the nursery is now home to 210,000 square feet of greenhouses — and in need of more space. Ty Strode, the President of Agri-Starts, took over day-to-day management of operations from his father at the beginning of this year.

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Is Low-THC Cannabis Possibly The Next Big Trend in Cannabis?

For many decades THC was the most popular and well-known cannabinoid.

That has changed in recent years to some extent.

THC is still very popular, however, other cannabinoids have seen their popularity increase recently, with CBD seeing the most dramatic increase in popularity and awareness.

Google search trends show that CBD is queried more often than THC, and that has been the case for a few years now.

Interest in CBD is clearly on the rise, but what about actual use? 

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The Problem With Combining Cannabis Products And Prescription Medications

One issue that’s unanimous by numerous doctors and researchers is the importance of disclosing cannabis consumption patterns with a physician.

Cannabis is so much more than a plant that can get consumers high. It’s an alternative medicine, a natural remedy, and a difference-making plant that can improve lives. Although cannabis has numerous therapeutic and medicinal properties, when it’s consumed along with prescribed or non-prescribed medications, adverse side effects can occur, which can be harmful to one’s health. Even though nobody has died from a cannabis overdose so far, there are concerns about combining cannabis products with various medications.

Here’s why it’s crucial to discuss cannabis consumption patterns with a doctor or healthcare provider.

Concerns & Lack of Research Findings

As time goes on, more of cannabis’s health benefits are being discovered. However, limited research exists on the effects caused from combining cannabis with different pharmaceutical medications or over-the-counter meds. Just like with other drugs, when cannabis is combined with different medications, certain side effects can arise, which may be negative and detrimental to one’s health and well-being.

For years, researchers have tried determining how prescribed and non-prescribed medications interact with different cannabinoids. Despite the variety of studies that are underway about this topic, do you know how complex the cannabis plant is? It contains more than 400 already discovered chemicals and over sixty cannabinoids! But, there’s still much to learn about other cannabinoids, their safety profiles, and their effects

Study Says Medical Marijuana Laws Improve Health And Reduce Alcohol Use

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Maine’s Marijuana Market Opening Could Be A Letdown For Many

The long-awaited launch of Maine’s recreational cannabis market will likely fall short of expectations, with some shops unsure if they will even have marijuana to sell, much less the THC-infused food and drinks readily available on the state’s existing medical market.

One state-approved shop said it may skip opening day altogether, its owners unsure whether they will have any products to sell Friday, the state’s first official day of adult-use sales. Retailers blame a licensing backlog for the expected shortages. Regulators agree, but say that’s what happens when you try to launch a new market during a global pandemic.

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Cannabidiol May Finally Be a Breakthrough for COVID-19

With the lockdown restrictions easing, COVID-19 remains a very serious health threat worldwide. Dozens of coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world in combined global effort with high hopes to bring one to the market in record time to ease the global crisis.

One interesting candidate is cannabidiol or CBD. Recent research shows it may help fight COVID-19.

What the research says

According to a study conducted at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, those with raised CBD levels could reduce the adverse effect of coronavirus on the human body by examining hundreds of cannabis strains. Cannabis Sativa strains are high in CBD, and scientists could develop this core cannabis component to develop preventative treatments such as mouthwash products for both clinical and home use.

The research was carried out by Drs. Olga and Igor Kovalchuk, professors at the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Biological Sciences, along with researchers from Pathway RX, under a research license from Health Canada at the University of Lethbridge, which continues to actively pursue partnerships to conduct clinical trials.

Results from the study show that that hemp extracts high in CBD could potentially act as a barrier against the protein that provides a gateway in certain tissues for COVID-19 to enter host cells by balancing levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). The virus can enter the host cells via ACE2, and inflecting those levels in the lung, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, nasal mucosa, and testes would reduce the host's susceptibility to COVID-19 significantly.

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Legalized cannabis could benefit New York in more ways than one

The coronavirus pandemic took a significant toll on New York, affecting the state and its residents physically, emotionally and financially. Through adherence to public health protocols, we have gone from being the epicenter of the outbreak to having some of the nation’s lowest infection and fatality rates.

Hopefully we will continue this trajectory. On the financial side, however, we have not even begun to assess the full extent of the damage. The state faces a staggering $14.5 billion budget shortfall this year alone and a projected $62 billion decline through FY 2024 due to COVID-19. Even if Congress and the White House pass a new stimulus package, whatever New York receives will not come close to filling its need

The New York State Association of Counties outlined more than 80 recommendations for preserving local services — including providing counties a share of the tax revenue generated by legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use. It is well past time for the state to act.

The Cuomo administration is holding back millions of dollars from schools, local governments and social service organizations that support some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. To stave off deep cuts, the state needs new revenue — fast.

Albany County alone faces a potential $40 million budget hole as a result of the pandemic’s economic toll. If funding is cut, my office would likely be forced to roll back important programs. That includes possibly letting go staffers hired to help us meet the requirements of the state’s new discovery reform law.

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Concerns remain about new Hawaii hemp law

Hawaii will adopt a federal industrial hemp production program at the end of this month, signaling the end of the state’s two-year-long Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

However, the changing programs have hemp farmers worried, with concerns that growing hemp will no longer be economically viable under the federal program.

Thanks to a bill passed by the state Legislature during the last session and signed into law by Gov. David Ige, the state legalized the growth of hemp throughout the state via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hemp production program. But while this bill ostensibly removed roadblocks for farmers seeking a license to grow hemp, farmers under the pilot program believe the USDA program is significantly more restrictive.

“I know some farmers are just waiting to see what happens before they apply at all,” said Gail Baber, a Big Island hemp grower who was one of the first in the state to be licensed through the pilot program.

While Shelley Choy, coordinator of the pilot program, said the federal program has much less stringent requirements for applications — being a program for commercial growers, rather than a research program as the pilot program is — Baber said the one-size-fits-all nature of the federal program has led to some serious concerns with how the program will be enforced.

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California governor signs new bill to protect banks that work with cannabis businesses

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill last week that will help protect banks that do business with licensed cannabis companies.

Under Bill AB 1525, banks, credit unions, savings associations and other financial institutions wouldn’t be in violation of California state laws by providing their services to licensed cannabis businesses – similar to the SAFE Banking Act, the landmark cannabis banking bill that the House of Representatives passed last year.

The SAFE Banking Act was included in the latest Democrat-proposed coronavirus stimulus bill worth $2.2 trillion. 

Despite the local status of marijuana in states that have opted to legalize weed, the plant remains classified as a Schedule I drug on the federal level, resulting in a complex legal landscape for banks that wish to work with cannabis businesses.

These lenders could face money laundering charges, while companies that legally work in the cannabis industry are forced to operate as cash-only businesses, which in turn creates the perfect environment for fraud, theft and tax evasion.

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Virginia Lawmakers Pass Bills To Ban Searches Based On Marijuana Odor

Lawmakers in Virginia have passed two bills that prohibit law enforcement officers from conducting warrantless searches based solely on the odor of marijuana. The measures, Senate Bill 5029 and House Bill 5058, have been approved by both legislative bodies and await the signature of Democratic. Gov. Ralph Northam to become law.

Earlier this year, Virginia decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana by limiting penalties to a civil fine of $25. Jenn Michelle Pedini, the development director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the executive director of the group’s Virginia branch, said in a release on Monday that the two bills continue the state’s reform efforts, but more still needs to be done.

“While this will certainly decrease non-essential interactions between law enforcement and otherwise law-abiding Virginians, it is only by legalizing the responsible use of cannabis by adults that the Commonwealth can end its failed experiment with prohibition and begin repairing the decades of damage,” Pedini said.

According to the text of the bills, “no law-enforcement officer may lawfully search or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana and no evidence discovered or obtained as a result of such unlawful search or seizure shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.” Other provisions of the legislation limit the power of police to issue summonses for minor traffic offenses.

Advocates for the bills argue that police have long used the smell of cannabis, real or otherwise, as pretense for conducting warrantless searches. Attorney Todd Zinicola said that the courts are insulated from the extent of the abuse of power.

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Weed-themed movie 'The Gentlemen' set to become a television series

The Gentlemen, an action-comedy focused on an American ex-pat (played by Matthew McConaughey) who builds a cannabis empire in London and then tries to sell the business, is getting remade for television, reports Deadline.

 

Guy Ritchie, who wrote and directed the film, will also be writing and directing the TV adaptation.

“Miramax Television is thrilled to break new creative ground in our partnership with Guy Ritchie on The Gentlemen,” said Marc Helwig, Miramax’s head of worldwide television. “One of the most distinctive and prolific filmmakers working today and someone whose creativity I have admired for many years, we couldn’t be more excited to bring the cinematic journey of The Gentlemen forth into the realm of global premium television.”

The film, which was released in January of this year, grossed more than US$115 million worldwide. McConaughey plays the role of Mickey Pearson, an American millionaire who uses an auto body business, the aptly named THC Wheels, as a front for his cannabis business.

Gemma Jackson, the film’s set designer, told Hollywood Reporter that making the weed look real was one of the film’s biggest obstacles.

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Products to treat symptoms of autism spectrum disorder launched in dispensaries across Louisiana

A partnership between Ilera Holistic Healthcare and Southern has paved the way for the release of two new cannabis tinctures in Louisiana designed to reduce autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms, regardless of age.

Touted as the first medical marijuana (MMJ) product in the state, its release was made possible by scientific research, according to Louisiana-based Ilera Holistic.

The research shows that cannabis is “safe and effective on patients (including children) to treat ASD,” the company statement notes. Patients who use cannabis have reported significant improvement in quality of life, mood and sleep, as well as less reliance on other medications, it adds.

Louisiana exceeds “the national percentage of autism diagnoses, while at-risk and under-served patients still struggle to receive safe and effective healthcare,” Dr. Chanda Macias, Ilera Holistic CEO, notes in the statement.

Called HOPE, the product was formulated by Zelira Therapeutics and will be available through state-licensed MMJ pharmacies to patients and families who have a doctor’s prescription. The product is gluten-, dairy-, soy- and nut-free, pesticide-free and lab-tested. It will be available in a 1:1 THC:CBD tincture and a 5:1 THC:CBD tincture.


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Medical marijuana in Missouri could be available this month

A St. Louis County lab's approval to start testing samples of marijuana means that commercial marijuana for medical use could be on the shelves this month.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that EKG Labs in Maryland Heights on Sept. 26 became the first of 10 licensed medical marijuana testers to start operations after passing a state inspection.

As a result, marijuana being grown by commercial cultivators may undergo state-required testing for safety and potency. Once approved, it can be sold at dispensaries.

EKG's director of operations, Natalie Brown, said testing could begin in the upcoming week.

“We’re hopeful that there will be product on the shelves and dispensaries by early- to mid-October for the patients,” Brown said.

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Hemp makes strong case for inclusion in Paleo Diet

With an origin story stretching back millions of years, hemp is making an overdue appearance in Paleo diets.

Paleo purists may disagree, but the benefits of hemp — a plant with a known history dating back 28 million years ago to central Asia — are undeniable, according to Yes! Weekly. The Denisovans may have been the first human ancestors to make use of the crop 160,000 years ago but evidence of its ancient use dots history books from around the world.

“The cannabis plant seems to have been distributed widely from as early at 10,000 years ago, or even earlier,” said Tengwen Long, a researcher at the Free University of Berlin in Germany.

Hemp originates from cannabis sativa, the same plant that produces marijuana, but with just a fraction of the psychoactive substance THC, its recent road to legalization and expanded use has been much easier than that of marijuana.

The popular Paleo Diet encourages a return to the foods that would have been available 2.5 million years ago in the Paleolithic Age, such as fruits, meats, vegetables and nuts, and an avoidance of dairy and processed foods. With more than 25,000 known uses throughout human history — and hemp-made products now considered superfoods — the crop would seem an ideal fit.

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