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Illinois adult-use cannabis market continues to be hampered by supply issues

Six months in, the supply concerns continue for adult-use cannabis sales at Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in Milan.

While some of it is an understandable growing pain of a state wading into recreational sales, Matt Stern, CEO and NTI’s owner, continues to point to the way the state set up its industry.

Major cannabis companies such as Green Thumb Industries, with a cultivation center in Rock Island, are what’s known as multi-state operators, or vertically-integrated businesses that grow cannabis and own retail dispensaries to sell it.

So an independent dispensary like Nature’s Treatment of Illinois, with its original Milan location and its second location in Galesburg, is at the mercy of cultivators.

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Hemp bill leaves some cops unable to enforce marijuana laws in Georgia

The General Assembly recently passed a bill to help police enforce marijuana laws without hindering the state’s young hemp farming industry.

But prosecutors and police say it won’t change how they handle suspected marijuana cases.

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The U.S. military is rethinking this cannabis policy

The military makes no confusion about its views on marijuana. Despite widespread legalization and rising positive marijuana drug tests for Army soldiers, military service members who confess to consuming cannabis just once are barred from re-enlisting under current law.

But late last Thursday the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to its USD$740.5 billion defense policy bill that could grant a second chance to those troops. Rep. Ruben Gallego submitted a proposal alongside the bill that would create a one-time reenlistment waiver for former service members who admitted to cannabis use. Approval would be granted on a case-by-case basis under the provision.

“Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country,” Gallego said in a release. “We need to finally exercise some common sense when it comes to our marijuana policies, and I’m glad my amendment will lead us in that direction.”

Gallego, a Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Iraq, has submitted this proposal for the past couple years. The rider was approved in the 2019 defense spending House bill, but was removed in reconciliation with Senate defense bill.

At the time, Gallego said a conversation with a constituent inspired the provision. After studying in law school, the constituent went to reenlist in the Marine Corps and admitted to using cannabis. The recruiter told him to either lie about smoking marijuana or else forget being reenlisted.

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Brick & Order - The Pandemic Transforms Cannabis Shops Into E-Commerce Hubs

The gigantic Planet 13 dispensary in Las Vegas was conceived as a tourist destination as much as a store.

It calls its 112,000-square-foot facility a “Cannabis Entertainment Complex,” offering “an unparalleled customer experience focused on unique interactive entertainment.” These include laser-light displays, electronic lotus flowers controlled by customers and an “aerial orb show.”  And — oh, yeah — you can buy weed there, too. The web site also telegraphs Planet 13’s ambition “to operate ultra-high-end dispensaries in tier-one markets nationwide.”

Plans like that are on hold industry-wide. Of course, Planet 13 was conceived well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Once it did, the company had to quickly shift resources from its “showroom” and toward the more mundane tasks of delivering weed or distributing it curbside. 

In March, Nevada authorities ordered dispensaries to close their shops to the public and offer delivery only. Planet 13 hurriedly increased its delivery fleet from five cars to a 30. 

Dispensaries could open their doors again in May, but that didn’t do much to bring customers back. In a conference call with investors last month, Planet 13 executives reported that, at $100,000 a day, sales were only half of what they had been before the lockdown. It marked a huge improvement over the $10,000 the store was generating daily in March, but with the pandemic now worsening again, things won’t get back to “normal” for a long time yet. 

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Biden-Sanders Task Force Does Not Recommend Legalizing Marijuana

While the unity task force pushed Biden farther left on cannabis policy, the former Vice President still doesn’t support ending prohibition.

Joe Biden will not change his mind on cannabis anytime soon. A task force formed between Biden and Bernie Sanders, which had prior heated discussions on cannabis, agreed on multiple criminal justice priorities, but marijuana legalization was not among them.

Instead, the official policy recommendations (released Wednesday) for Biden as he embarks on winning the general election as the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee represents a reiteration of his previous cannabis views. He believes in cannabis decriminalization, not legalization. The recommendations, however, supply more details about specific marijuana polices Biden could pursue if elected President.

“Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level,” the document reads. “We will support legalization of medical marijuana, and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use.”

The task force also recommended it would not launch federal prosecution for matters legal at the state level. The statement is an obvious reference to current Attorney General William Barr, who was accused of inappropriately using Justice Department funds to target the legal cannabis industry.

Will Bernie Sanders Push Joe Biden To Dramatic Marijuana Reform?

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CBD can treat physical and mental Covid-19 symptoms: study

After months of controversy, scientists are settling on the idea that the anti-inflammatory properties of major cannabinoids can be used to treat Covid-19.

One of the most promising statistics related to the coronavirus pandemic is that the number of deaths is decreasing, which is due in large part to a better understanding of how to treat the illness at its various stages.

Recent reports indicate that an infected host undergoes a cytokine explosion, a burst of immune-system proteins that cause a host of inflammatory symptoms in the lungs. In severe cases, this immune response can be so potent that it can become deadly to its host.

Major cannabinoids THC and CBD have been identified for their anti-inflammatory properties in the past, but doubt had been cast on their ability to treat the disease due to concerns of increased viral loads.

However, a new study from researchers at the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute is further solidifying cannabis as a strong treatment option, and in particular its mom-marketed derivative CBD.

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A History of Marijuana Use is Associated With Lower BMI in Those 60+, Says Study

According to a newly released study those who are 60 years of age or older who have a history of marijuana use generally have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who do not have a history of marijuana use. Those with a history of marijuana use are also more likely to exercise regularly. All of this is according to a study published in the American Journal of Health and Behavior. The study is titled Exercise intervention outcomes with cannabis users and nonusers aged 60 and older.

For the study researchers studied differences in BMI as well as exercise patterns in 164 people: 28 of these were regular cannabis consumers, while 136 were matched controls who have not used marijuana. An 8-week exercise intervention trial was conducted.

According to the researchers: “Results of this analysis indicated that compared to older adult non-users, older adult cannabis users had lower BMI at the beginning of an exercise intervention study, engaged in more weekly exercise days during the intervention, and were engaging in more exercise-related activities at the conclusion of the intervention. Although preliminary, these findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below:

Objectives: Cannabis use is increasing among older adults. We examined whether cannabis use impacted results of an intervention to increase physical activity in sedentary adults aged 60 and over. Methods: We measured differences in body mass index (BMI), exercise behavior, and cardiovascular fitness between older adult cannabis users (N = 28) and nonusers (N = 136) participating in an exercise intervention trial. Results: BMI of cannabis users was significantly lower than non-users (p = .007). Cannabis users reported .70 more days of exercise on the Stanford 7-Day Physical Activity Recall than non-users at the 8-week timepoint (p = .068) and were 4.1 points higher on the exercise subscale of the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors at 16-weeks (p = .045). Neither baseline nor post-intervention fitness differed by cannabis use status, and cardiovascular fitness improved after intervention in the full sample. Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that current cannabis use status is not associated with a negative impact on fitness and efforts to increase exercise in sedentary older adults. Future studies should collect more detailed information on patterns and forms of cannabis use to understand their potential health effects for older adults.

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Massachusetts Fines Three Cannabis Companies

Law 360 reported that the Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission handed down hefty fines to three cannabis companies doing business in the state. 4Front Ventures Corp. (FFNTF) and Garden remedies were fined for using pesticides on plants, while Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTC:ACRGF) was fined for failing to disclose its relationship with two license holders.

4Front Ventures

4Front Ventures fined $350,000 settlement over pesticides used at its Georgetown, Massachusetts, facility. According to Law360, the settlement included a statement that 4Front Ventures admitted hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and other pesticides were used at the facility, which is not approved for use on marijuana. The commission reportedly said that the company received test results that showed the plants contained a banned pesticide in June or July 2019 but didn’t alert the commission until August. Company CEO Leo Gontmakher said the company has made changes to ensure the violations do not happen again. “Patients were protected and no one was harmed,” Gontmakher said.

Garden Remedies

A $200,000 settlement was reached with cannabis company Garden Remedies over its Fitchburg, Massachusetts, facility. Like 4Front, Garden Remedies also noted in its settlement that it acknowledged using unapproved pesticides and altering its financial records to hide the purchase.

Company CEO Karen Munkacy said in a statement that the company has fired the employees involved in the falsified documents and ended its relationship with the vendor that provided the pesticides in question.

“While the product we used is permitted to be used in cannabis cultivation in many other states and is not an externally applied pesticide that puts anyone in danger, it is not permitted in Massachusetts and the situation was mishandled,” Munkacy said. “The company and I will continue to strive to ensure that ethical and regulatory violations never again occur.”

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How To Cope With Coronavirus ‘Re-Entry’ Anxiety

The country is slowly reopening, causing a lot of anxiety for those who feel uncertain about their health and future.

The coronavirus is here to stay. Despite rising cases all over the country, and the opening, closing and re-opening of some businesses, large parts of the U.S. are moving forward with the economy. This is daunting for many of us who aren’t sure how to move forward with our lives while under constant threat of the virus.

It’s logical to be afraid of this new phase of the virus, and to want to be safe from harm in the face of these stressful times. Here are 5 coping methods you can use if you start to feel too overwhelmed by the spread of the virus.

Take it slow

If you’re anxious about going back to “normal,” take things slow. Don’t throw yourself out into the world and try to take on more than you can. Test your limits and do what makes you feel safe and comfortable, whether that’s going back to your office while wearing a mask or simply browsing a bookstore.

Tackle negative emotions with positive behaviors

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5 Highly-Effective PR Tips For Cannabis Companies

Cannabis was already a challenging marketplace driven by regulatory requirements and gray areas on both the federal and state level. Then the pandemic hit in 2020, upending PR and marketing planning for businesses large and small. All the PR efforts that may have been effective last year or even at the beginning of this year have very likely stopped working due to everything that’s going on. With everything is in constant flux, how can cannabis businesses effectively reach their desired target audiences, let alone determine the right messaging? It’s a delicate balancing act even at the best of times, but it can be done by following a few key guidelines. Here are five tips for maximizing your PR efforts in today’s world.

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Marijuana Stocks Look Stable Heading Into the Second Half of July

How Can These Two Pot Stocks Prove Their Stability to Investors?

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5 Women CEOs Discuss Diversity and Representation in Cannabis

Since the inception of Cannabis & Tech Today, we’ve spoken with industry-leading female entrepreneurs to discover their secrets for success. In this exclusive panel, they share their concerns, their advice, and their experiences as some of the first women to pioneer the space.

What’s one of the biggest issues you would fix in the cannabis industry?

Shanel Lindsay is the inventor of the NOVA decarboxylator and the founder of Ardent Cannabis. Image courtesy Shanel Lindsay.


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Marijuana Violations Will No Longer Be Cited In Kansas City, MO

In Kansas City, you no longer need to sweat it if you’re holding a little bud. 

That’s because the City Council on Thursday passed a new measure removing marijuana from the city’s code of ordinances. The measure passed the council by a vote of 9-4, according to local television station KMBC. With its passage, marijuana is essentially decriminalized in Kansas City. 

The proposal was offered up last month by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, along with four other council members. 

“One of the ways we improve police-community relations is by eliminating laws that for too long have led to negative interactions, arrests, convictions, and disproportionate rates of incarceration of Black men and Black women,” Lucas said at the time. “Reducing petty offenses—such as municipal marijuana offenses—reduce these negative interactions each day.”

In a tweet on Thursday heralding the vote, Lucas noted that the measure comes on the heels of two significant votes on marijuana policy in Kansas City and Missouri. In 2017, voters in Kansas City approved a measure—by a margin of 72-25—to decriminalize marijuana for 35 grams or less, opting instead to impose a mere $35 fine. A year later, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly approved a measure legalizing medical marijuana. Thursday’s vote, Lucas seemed to be saying, followed in that tradition.

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Hawai‘i Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, applauded the final passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today to legalize the growing, processing, and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i.

It passed the Senate on Wednesday unanimously, with Senators Les Ihara, Clarence K. Nishihara, and Laura H. Thielen expressing reservations.

The bill now goes to Governor David Ige to sign into law.

“This commercial hemp program will help grow a new industry in our state, which is especially needed now due to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Senator Gabbard. “This bill will provide an opportunity for economic development and the diversification of our economy. Hemp is an incredible plant that produces over 25,000 products and we’re very close to making the Hawaiian Hemp brand a reality, not only in the U.S. but globally as well.”

The bill (HB1819 HD2 SD3), was championed by Senators Gabbard, Donovan Dela Cruz, Rosalyn H. Baker, Karl Rhoads, and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, and Representatives Mark M. Nakashima, Sylvia J. Luke, Nadine K. Nakamura, Kyle T. Yamashita, Richard P. Creagan, Chris Lee, and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

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OKlahoma: State temporarily halts enforcement of some marijuana business rules

Pending litigation, the Oklahoma attorney general’s office temporarily has agreed the state will not enforce some medical marijuana laws that could force some dispensaries to close their doors.

On Monday, Oklahoma’s assistant solicitor general agreed the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will not enforce certain residency and location requirements that pertain to medical marijuana businesses and how long their owners have resided in Oklahoma.

The temporary stipulation comes as some medical marijuana businesses are suing the state over the legality of laws requiring cannabis business owners to be residents of the state for at least two years and mandating that dispensaries be located more than 1,000 feet from schools and preschools.

The laws took effect on Aug. 29, 2019.

 

As the legality of these provisions is debated in court, the Medical Marijuana Authority will not consider the two-year residency requirement when evaluating business license renewal applications, as long as a business owner originally applied for a license before the new law took effect.

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4 Tips To Help You Make The Most Of Your CBD

CBD is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Here are some ways to help improve your experience with the compound.

It’s understatement to say that CBD is a fast growing industry. Despite its popularity and widespread use, CBD is a compound that varies in effect depending on the person. It’s also a compound that’s shrouded in misinformation and that lacks scientific research. A survey from last year found that 60% of respondents didn’t even know what CBD was.

The scientific studies that have been conducted on CBD show that it holds some promise for  treating different kinds of conditions, from treating mental health to targeting physical aches and pains. In short, just because the compound needs more research, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a shot.

Here are 4 things you can do to make the most of your CBD.

Keep a schedule

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setting a schedule can make you less productive

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Ohio Rejects Autism And Anxiety, Adds Cachexia To Medical Marijuana Program

State Regulators in Ohio voted on Wednesday to reject petitions that would have added autism and anxiety as conditions that qualify a patient to use medical marijuana. The Ohio State Medical Board voted to approve, however, a request to add patients diagnosed with a chronic wasting syndrome known as cachexia to the state’s medicinal cannabis program.

Wednesday’s votes are consistent with the recommendations of a medical board committee issued last month. The board also voted not to include autism and anxiety when they first considered petitions to add the conditions to the state program last year.

The board received a total of 136 public comments on the proposals to include the three conditions, including requests to reject the addition of anxiety and autism submitted by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association.

“The inclusion of autism and anxiety as conditions has the potential to negatively impact the health and well being of thousands of children in Ohio,” wrote Sarah Kincaid of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. “There is little rigorous evidence that marijuana or its derivatives is of benefit for patients with autism and anxiety, but there is a substantial association between cannabis use and the onset or worsening of several psychiatric conditions.”

Carrie Taylor, an Ohio mom who has twin sons with autism, was disappointed last year when the medical board rejected the petition to add the condition to the state’s medical marijuana program. She has since redirected her efforts to the legalization of recreational cannabis in Ohio, saying she does not believe the board will ever add autism.

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Accountability List Calls For Racial Corporate Responsibility In Cannabis And Hemp

Accountability is a long-term goal for industries that are intrinsically tied to racial justice. Cannabis is one of those industries.

While it seems the news cycle has possibly shifted its focus from the Black Lives Matter movement to other issues, righting systematic wrongs is still an important ongoing responsibility for entrepreneurs within the cannabis and hemp industries. That's why one group of business owners is inspiring cannabis to stay the course with The Accountability List.

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3 Cannabis Legislation Predictions Ahead of the 2020 Election

The glacial pace at which the federal government has implemented cannabis policy–particularly in light of the rapid evolution of cannabis laws at the state level–is at the same time predictable and frustrating to those seeking a measure of certainty. And it begs the question: Will Congress act soon to bring a measure of common sense to this country’s cannabis policy? What about the states?

Mark Twain wrote that “[p]rophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks.” With those risks in mind–and a plate of crow in the warming drawer–I offer the following three predictions about cannabis policy, and its implications, for the remainder of 2020.

 

Prediction No. 1: None of the current “big fix” proposals will pass Congress before the election.

Congress is unlikely to pass major cannabis legislation before the presidential election. At least three such bills are currently pending in Congress: (1) the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act; (2) the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act; and the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.

The SAFE Banking Act appeared to have momentum last year when it passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and began making progress in the Senate. The proposal would allow financial institutions to transact with cannabis-related businesses in states that have legalized the plant. Nowhere is the federal prohibition on cannabis more impactful than in the banking laws prohibiting financial institutions from banking the proceeds of unlawful activity, including proceeds from state-legal cannabis operations. For better or worse, these laws prohibit the full development and maturation of the industry. Despite the bill’s early momentum, it appears to have stalled in the Senate.

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Medical Marijuana Likely Heading to Nebraska Ballot this November

According to a news report from the Associated Press, Nebraska voters will likely get to vote this November on initiatives to legalize medical marijuana and casino gambling after advocates for both announced Thursday that they have enough signatures to put them on the November ballot.

According to the AP, organizers of the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana campaign said they’ve gathered 182,000 signatures. To qualify for the ballot, the campaign needed to turn in more than 121,000 valid signatures, representing more than 10% of the voters in the state. Campaign officials also needed to collect signatures from at least 5% of voters in at least 38 Nebraska counties.

 

“Today represents a huge step forward for thousands of Nebraskans who deserve compassion,” said state Sen. Anna Wishart, of Lincoln, who co-chaired the campaign committee. “We are confident that we’ve met the requirements for ballot qualification, and after seeing the outpouring of support for our petition, we’re even more confident that Nebraska’s voters will approve this initiative in November.”

Meanwhile, the pro-gambling group Keep the Money in Nebraska announced that it will submit 475,000 signatures for its three petitions to allow casino gambling at horse-racing tracks. One petition seeks to amend the state constitution to allow gambling, one would change state law to authorize and regulate the casinos, and the third would direct the tax revenue into a property tax credit fund and toward local governments. The constitutional amendment proposal garnered more than 205,000 signatures, while the two other gambling-related measures each received more than 135,000.


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