In New York City, when they allowed public smoking of marijuana, arrests declined significantly. Sounds like a no brainer — if it’s legal to smoke weed in public, cops can’t arrest you. Except, in some places there are grey areas and cops like to exploit these grey areas to increase arrest records and feel like they are “enforcing the LAW!”

It turns out that all you have to do for cops not to do something is to make it legal. The police is blind to the moral consequences of law — they simply enforce it. You know, like Superior Orders!

However, the issue of public cannabis consumption isn’t limited to New York City; it’s a topic that will most definitely come up in every future legalization debate from now until cannabis is completely integrated into society.

Here, we’ll be addressing this question, the potential fears people expect would happen, and whether this would also apply to tobacco smoke.


The Fears of Public Smoking

The picture that opponents of public smoking would want you to believe is that once you allow public consumption, people would be walking around smoking joints everywhere, all the time.

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Arguing over which strains of cannabis are the best is a time-honored tradition. In good company and armed with some basic knowledge on the seemingly endless bounty of cannabis varietals now available, the quest to defend your chosen strain as the best of the bunch is often a largely subjective exercise. But a fun one nonetheless. By contrast, a conversation on which cannabis strains deserve to be considered essential in an overall survey of the plant’s long, strange history is a different matter entirely.

While there are unquestionably many candidates worthy of consideration, telling the story of weed through but a handful of its most seminal specimens is a challenge that quickly yields some obvious answers. Even if your favorite strain is not among the five examples highlighted below, it is likely that one of these featured options is a genetic cousin, forbearer, or offspring to the strains you hold nearest and dearest.

Thus, consider these selections a series of strain stepping stones that collectively offer a brief but pertinent overview of just far cannabis has come — and where it may be headed next.

Panama Red

Before cultivators began breeding cannabis to create new crosses, consumers were smoking exclusively what is known as landrace strains. These varietals were often named for the geographic area in which they naturally grew, which is how we got Panama Red. This classic of the industry is a pure sativa that would go on to became a household name for pot fans in U.S. in the late 1960s, mostly for being widely available at a time when few strains were even on the market. Known for its lengthy flowering time (often at least 11 weeks), the desire to combine the effects of landrace strains with the shorter flowering cycles of cannabis originating from Afghanistan and other similar climates kicked off what would ultimately become a cross-breeding revolution.

Northern Lights

When it comes to hybrids, the story can’t be told without including Northern Lights. A cross of multiple Afghani landrace strains, Northern Lights is revered for its potency and quick, bountiful yield. By the time we arrive at Northern Lights #5 (so named for literally being the fifth manifestation of the strain), the recipe had evolved to also include genetics from a Thai landrace sativa. The result was the addition of both a fruity taste and a more notably cerebral high for consumers. Reaching its peak of popularity in the early 90s, Northern Lights — and the #5 varietal specifically — is renowned as a sturdy, reliable strain that would also feature prominently in the next phase of the cannabis story, wherein hybrids were at last crossed with one another. And the sky truly became the limit.

OG Kush

The story of cannabis often takes the West Coast as its setting, and for good reason. Encompassing California and its famed Emerald Triangle, as well as pivotal neighboring states like Oregon and Washington, weed’s evolution was one that largely took place where the U.S. meets the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps no strain better exemplifies this journey than OG Kush. Forever shrouded in mysterious origins, the best guess of those eager to trace its lineage suggest it was a cutting smuggled from the West Coast to Florida and back again that ultimately yielded this iconic example of cannabis at its finest. Forever enshrined in the lyrics of classic rap songs and still namechecked today as a titan of the field, what is known is that we have a cultivator in Los Angeles known simply as Josh D. to thank for ushering the market into a hybrid frenzy that’s never truly dissipated.


White Widow

Rivaling OG Kush in terms of name recognition is another hybrid that rose to prominence in the ’90s: White Widow. Named for its buds laden with white and crystal resin, there is no actual venom to worry about, however, a highly-potent experience is all but guaranteed from this Netherlands-born heavy-hitter. Derived from a cross between Brazilian indica and South Indian sativa landraces, White Widow has long served as a staple of Dutch coffee shops. Furthermore, the desirable effects of White Widow — often described as a mix of euphoria and energy — makes it no surprise that this strain would soon be utilized to create a host of popular offspring strains, including White Russian and Blue Widow.  

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California’s state fair has struggled with two years of COVID cancellations. But planning is already underway for next year’s event.

And among the livestock and food competitions, there will be a new award handed out for top pot. We’re getting answers on just how the cannabis competition will be judged. The state fair is a Sacramento summertime tradition.

Along with all the food and fun, its purpose is to recognize the best in California. Annual competitions are held to pick the top wine, cheese, olive oil, and craft beer. But next year, a new category is being added: cannabis cultivation.

“It’s a big milestone for the cannabis industry,” said Brian Applegarth, CEO of Cultivar Brands.

Cal Expo’s board of directors approved the top pot competition.

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Although Tracey Medeiros insists her new cannabis-focused cookbook is not a party book, it definitely includes a recipe for a favorite treat: pot brownies.

“I couldn’t resist,” Medeiros said of the fudgy, deeply chocolate recipe. The nod to pot brownies is just one of 125 recipes in “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” a handbook for understanding how elements and products of the cannabis plant can be incorporated into the kitchen. Recipes range from desserts to starters (sweet corn and cashew chowder) to mains (chicken and kale meatballs with cherry tomatoes and cannabis pesto; and mussels with roasted corn puree and peppers).

“When Vermont started the process of legalization, I found myself reading about cannabis as an herbal and culinary ingredient,” said Madeiros, who lives in the Green Mountain State. The recipes are in three sections, based on the use of cannabis products: hemp (a plant in the cannabis family), CBD (the medicinal chemical compound of the cannabis plant) and THC (the psychoactive chemical that gives the user the euphoric feeling of being “high”).
“It was important for me to categorize and include each one,” said,Madeiros, who will discuss her book  Saturday during a tour of the Hudson Hemp farm in Hudson.

The sections explain the difference in each cannabis product and how they can be incorporated into cooking. Hemp, which is high in fiber, protein and fatty acids, has long been turned into flour, liquid and oils, and is available in natural food stores. The use of CBD and THC in food on a regulated, legal basis is a more recent development.

“I tried to make it fun to read and not complicated,” Madeiros said, and she relied on insight from chefs, growers and producers to help dissect cannabis and its uses.

“I tried to find folks who use the cannabis plant to elevate the culinary landscape,” she explained. Much like in her other books (“Dishing Up Vermont,” “Vermont Farm to Table Cookbook,” “Connecticut Farm to Table Cookbook” and “Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook”), Madeiros used the expertise of this book’s 45 contributors to tell a full story of the subject.

“It was important for me to include profiles to show why these people have gotten into cannabis,” she said.

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Referendum to call for Italy to liberalise cannabis.

Italy is set for a referendum on liberalising the use of cannabis after activists gathered half a million signatures, the threshold required to trigger a public vote.

The referendum, which could be held early next year, proposes to legalise the growing of cannabis for personal use and scrap prison sentences for selling small amounts of the drug.

The petition gathered 500,000 signatures in the first seven days, a result described as "extraordinary but not surprising" by organisers who said the "speed of mobilisation confirms the desire for change on cannabis."

Cannabis light: the confusing illusion of legal marijuana in Italy

Pro-marijuana advocacy groups are calling for "15 per cent more signatures" to be added to the petition to ensure it will be accepted for approval by the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy's highest court of appeal, by its 30 September deadline.

Antonella Soldo, from the association Meglio Legale ('Better Legal') said almost half of those who signed were aged under 25.

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Seed & Smith has launched a new collaboration for cannabis and music lovers, partnering with Colorado band Big Gigantic to release limited-edition THC cartridges for the company's popular line of Dart vaporizer pods.

A brand encompassing dispensaries, in-house cannabis cultivation and extracted products, Seed & Smith has worked with a handful of musicians and artists over the years, but chief operating officer Brooks Lustig is particularly excited about the Big Gigantic project.

“The one thing that was exciting about this one is the fact that Big Gigantic wanted to do something that was for charity, that could help out the situation here in Colorado,” Lustig says of the Boulder-based musical duo.

​In 2016, Dominic Lalli and Jermey Salken of Big Gigantic started the Big Gigantic Difference Foundation with the goal of working with a different local charitable organization every year. The group has worked with Colorado charities such as Youth on Record, Conscious Alliance and the Upbeat Academy Foundation in previous years, but hasn't announced who the 2021 recipient will be yet.

According to Seed & Smith, all proceeds from the Dart pod collaboration will go to the Big Gigantic Difference Foundation.

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You might be familiar with the practice and poses of yoga, but have you ever heard of yogajuana? 

For millennia, yoga has been used to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Some use it for strength training or flexibility, but now, some members of Southwest Florida’s medical marijuana community are taking yoga to a deeper level by incorporating cannabis.

“We come to yoga to work on our own individual areas, whether we are trying to let go of something or conjure up something, heal something, so that’s really the concept,” said Tara Mina, a yoga instructor and cannabis advocate, also known as “Yoga Mama.” “It’s not so much about cannabis, it’s about treating the symptoms of why we choose to use cannabis.”

Members who attend Mina’s private yogajuana classes are prescribed medical marijuana. They don’t sit around in a circle and smoke a joint or pass around edibles. One of the main points of yogajuana is breaking the stigma that still exists around marijuana use. 

“Instead of using your cannabis and going home and sitting on the couch eating Doritos, you can practice yoga, address those issues, relax your back, relax your anxiety, build your self-confidence and go within and find your power,” Mina said.

Mina recommends participants use their cannabis on their own terms as prescribed, then use yoga to hone in on the benefits. 

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Although it is true that great cocktails come down to the perfect balancing of spirit, sweet, sour and bitter and salty, there is creativity and achievement to be made in this exciting realm of marijuana mixology.It seems like every time you enter a dispensary, there is a brand-new way to consume cannabis. Whether it is an edible in homage to a favorite snack food, or a tiny discreet vaporizer, there is no lack of creativity in product development.One of the latest trends in recreational cannabis consumption is less inspired by exotic creativity and scientific achievement; it’s derived from hundreds of years of mixing and shaking behind the dark mahogany bars of the world.The cannabis cocktail is quickly gaining popularity as a fun and effective way to ingest CBD or THC. Retail beverages like THC seltzers are available in recreational dispensaries nationwide, and they are exploding in popularity.

These retail beverages are a popular way to enjoy marijuana, but some enthusiasts are turning the concept of drinking cannabis into its highest art form — the crafted cocktail. By savoring cannabis through a straw, a union has formed between budtender and bartender, and the result is delicious.

Marijuana mixology can be approached in many ways. There are cocktails with strong spirits and alcohol-free elixirs, just as there are libations -infused with THC while others use only CBD derived without THC. All variations will affect the way the consumer feels an hour later, but in crafting these modern classics, the flavor comes down to the same balancing techniques used in any classic cocktail.

Successful mixology is the art of balancing a cocktail’s key components, which, according to Diageo Bar Academy, are sweet, sour, bitter, saltiness, temperature, texture and alcohol (or the lack thereof). Cannabis cocktail experimentation maintains the same balancing act, but adds the very specific flavor profile of marijuana. Although the perfect balance for a great cocktail can be found using an array of different specific ingredients, certain flavors are already beginning to stand out as favorites.


Citrus flavors like grapefruit, lemon and lime are among the most common popular ingredients in many cannabis cocktail recipes. Grapefruit drinks, like Wunder’s Grapefruit Hibiscus sparkling — its most popular and award-winning flavor, according to Popsugar — are sought-after flavors. Its bright acidity and slight bitterness likely helps compliment the flavor of the cannabis while also balancing the flavor profile of the overall drink.

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After working in the wine industry for 30 years and innovation for 15, Tracey Mason was looking for a change of pace —  and chemistry.

The wine-to-weed pipeline grabbed a hold of Mason, and she quickly learned how the wine and cannabis industries were similar and differ. With her current venture — House of Saka — Mason is able to combine these worlds as co-founder and CEO of a de-alcoholized, cannabis-infused wine company.

“After a certain point, with any kind of industry, you have kind of been there, done that,” she said. “With wine, there is only so far you can go. There's certainly packaging innovation, but it is still a pretty traditional industry, and for someone like me that is hyper-creative, it felt kind of limiting after a number of years.”Support local news coverage and the people who report it by subscribing to the Napa Valley Register. Special offer: $1 for your first 6 months!

Founded in 2018, House of Saka offers three different cannabis-infused wines, one of which includes a live resin emulsion which Mason says intensifies the high. Saka Spark MIMOSA — which combines a sparkling Chardonnay with Mimosa-strain cannabis, is accompanied with orange blossom and tangerine essence to tie the flavors together.
The other two offerings are Saka Pink and Saka White, both of which have base wines sourced from Napa Valley.

“Through our contacts we have been able to get our hands on some beautiful wines, we remove the alcohol, and then through a lot of R&D we are able to create something that is a real, wine-like experience without the negative effects of alcohol, which is what we were really trying to achieve,” Mason explained.

“What we do is we take a highly refined cannabis oil, and we break it down into microscopic particles that are both highly bioavailable and self-homogenizing,” she said. “Think about a chain-link fence: If you have a beach ball and you try to throw it at the fence, it is just going to bounce back at you. But if you take a bunch of marbles and throw it at the chain-link fence, they are going to go through.”

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If you are into cannabis or music, it’s more likely than not that you’ve unknowingly seen Greg Welch’s art somewhere.

Under the Cannabiscapes acronym, the young creator has produced hundreds of art pieces using ground cannabis flowers and other related products for everyone and their grandmothers. From art galleries, to stores, to album covers, Cannnabiscapes have become a must-have for cannabis aficionados.

But, how did this guy go from having to hide his actual name to distribute his art to becoming one of the best-known craftspeople in the pot world? (Photo Credit: Cannabiscapes)

According to Welch, much of his success can be attributed to collaboration and bartering. No ego was involved in the process: just a desire to get his art out to the world.

“People at shows that would have new items for the cannabis industry and I would offer to trade. I’d make some weed art, post it up on my Instagram account, and get something cool for my archives. Win win,” he said during a recent interview.

And his good will paid off. Four years later, Greg is working with many of the companies he collaborated with early on in his career.

Now, let’s rewind for a second: where did the idea of making art with marijuana come from?

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Uruguay, the world’s first nation to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use, is considering opening its regulated marijuana market to tourists. Under the proposal from the administration of President Luis Lacalle Pou, visitors to the country would be permitted to purchase marijuana at licensed outlets, providing a new source of revenue for Uruguay’s struggling regulated cannabis industry.

Daniel Radio, Uruguay’s secretary-general of the National Drugs Board, said that the administration’s plan could be released by the end of this year in order to garner support and build consensus for the proposal, according to a report published by Bloomberg this week. Allowing visitors to the country to purchase marijuana legally would give Uruguay’s cannabis industry access to an additional 3.5 million visitors per year, many who come from neighboring Brazil and Argentina to enjoy beaches during the South American summer during the months of December through February.

“It seems to me that if we come up with a good proposal,” Uruguay could allow tourists to purchase cannabis in its regulated market, Radio said in an interview. “For the upcoming tourism season, it’s highly unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Uruguay’s Deputy Tourism Minister Remo Monzeglio said the goal is not to make the country a cannabis destination for tourists from around the world. Instead, the plan to allow tourists to purchase marijuana legally is an attempt to direct sales from visitors away from the illicit market and provide regulated producers a new source of business.

Uruguay Legalized Cannabis in 2013

Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize cannabis with a bill passed by lawmakers and signed by the president at the time, Jose Mujica, in December 2013. Under the regulations, adult citizens of the country and foreign residents can join a government registry that allows them to grow their own marijuana, join a cannabis buyers club, or purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month at authorized pharmacies.

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“My relationship with cannabis has changed a lot over the years, as has the flower itself, as well as its perception in pop culture and in society as a whole. The industry has also changed a lot, same as the science behind the plant,” declares rapper G-Eazy (born Gerald Earl Gillum) during an exclusive interview.

As a teen, Gerald conceived cannabis as a drug, a fun, rebellious thing to do and nothing else. Still, he loved the “alien, wonderful” feeling he got from consuming it since day one. (As originally seen on Benzinga by: Javier Hasse)

Notwithstanding, G would remain in the proverbial cannabis closet for years. He didn’t want his mother to find out he was smoking weed as a youngster.

“The irony was my mom had also been hiding it for me,” he quickly adds, laughing. “Obviously, later, I hit a point with my mom where we finally came clean to each other and we had a ceremonious smoking experience together, which was pretty awkward at the time. But now it's something we share; it’s a really positive thing. Cannabis can be a connector that brings people together.”

Nowadays, G, who leads an extremely active lifestyle, uses cannabis to help him decompress and sleep. At the same time, he consumes marijuana to stimulate creativity in the studio.

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Hoosiers are welcome to buy legal, recreational marijuana in Illinois. The problem is bringing it home.

Plenty of people get caught doing so, said Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle. That can lead to a citation or arrest on our side of the border, where the drug is still prohibited.

Indiana is one of only 18 states where weed isn’t legalized or decriminalized in some form, leaving marijuana tourists vulnerable.

“One driving across the United States runs the gamut of these differing laws,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “(One risks) arrests and incarceration in some states and no penalties in others for engaging in the exact same activities.”Here are some things to know if you’re considering making the trip west.

You could face citation or arrest

In Indiana, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Ringle said most people caught returning from Illinois are cited and released, but arrest is possible, too.

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At the first-ever CannaFest in Virginia Beach on Sunday, you can see a custom car show. You can hear half a dozen musical acts, including one of the ’90s’ hottest R&B acts, Blackstreet. You can learn about uses for CBD oil, hemp and other cannabis-derived products. But no smoking, buying or selling the plant at the event, though carrying a small amount of if it became legal in Virginia on July 1. (Photo Courtesy of CannaFest)

Anthony Brown, the organizer of CannaFest VA 2021, said the purpose of the festival is to celebrate the decriminalization of marijuana and to educate people on the many uses of cannabis and the new law.

People 21 and older can have up to an ounce of marijuana — including growing four plants at their residence for personal use — but they can’t buy it, sell it or use it in public. Legislators are still working on what the landscape will look like in 2024 when a regulated marketplace to buy and sell marijuana is scheduled to be in place.

Brown said it’s been a little like the “wild, wild West” since the law’s passage.

“The event is an ideal first opportunity for cannabis aficionados to come together and connect,” he said.

His hope is that attendees will understand cannabis beyond what’s depicted in movies and that the festival will become an annual event like the National Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C., last month.

In addition to more than 25 vendors, Sunday’s event will feature a custom car and motorcycle show, with a $500 prize for best-in-show. Grammy award-winning Blackstreet, known for hits “No Diggity’ and “Before I Let You Go,” will headline the entertainment. Brown said he is thrilled to bring Blackstreet to perform in Virginia Beach, where the group was once based.

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In a live-streamed event, NBA star Al Harrington, four-time Grammy-award winner Drake, world champion boxer Badou Jack, rapper & activist Killer Mike, Meek Mill, NFL player Julio Jones and NBA star John Wall and others announced on Tuesday that they’d co-written and signed a letter to President Joe Biden requesting a general pardon for “all persons subject to federal criminal or civil enforcement on the basis of a nonviolent marijuana offense.”(Photo by David Becker/Stringer/Getty Images)


What Happened

The letter to President Biden, spearheaded by Weldon Angelos of the Weldon Project/Mission Green and Academy for Justice Director Erik Luna, includes signatures from some 150 artists, athletes, producers, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, academics, business leaders, policy experts, reform advocates and other professionals.

Angelos, along with Luna, Harrington and Ralo, also participated in the live-streamed event in which they discussed the letter to President Biden and emphasized the call for clemency.

The stories of those this will help are compelling, Angelos told Benzinga, noting that Drake, Lil Baby, Meek Mill, Killer Mike and dozens of other hip-hop artists signed on the letter in support of their friend and fellow rapper Ralo, who is facing 8 years for a nonviolent marijuana offense.

“I appreciate my friends and peers in the hip-hop community, such as Drake & Killer Mike, for supporting my clemency because it’s just not right that corporations are allowed to violate federal law and become millionaires while people like myself go to prison for years,” Ralo said. “This is hypocrisy. But I am hopeful that Joe Biden will honor his campaign promise and grant us clemency, without delay, so that we can return home to our families and communities.”

Angelos added, “The long-term effects on the formerly incarcerated for federal marijuana convictions go beyond the prison walls, making it difficult if not impossible for someone to get a job, have access affordable housing, educational loans etc. They’re limited in so many ways that people don’t realize when they just want to begin again and contribute to society. Enough is enough. No one should be locked up in federal prison for marijuana.”

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There’s nothing worse than taking a smooth hit only to be greeted by the taste of resin and dust. Not only does unkempt herb gear soil even the highest grade of flower, but it also stinks up your home and clothing. Avoid harsh hits and foul odors by sticking to a habit of cleaning all your favorite pieces.

Keeping your smoking accessories clean is an essential step in any seasoned stoner’s routine. Some smokers opt for rinsing out the rig after every session, while others commit to a thorough cleaning session every so often. Whichever practice you choose, cleaning your accessories involves a few essential tools and steps. Consider this complete guide to cleaning your cannabis gear.

How to clean a dab rig

Wax concentrates quickly build up in the intricate percolators of a dab rig. To loosen up the herbal gunk, you can use a few things. Start by bringing water to a boil and let it cool for a few minutes before adding it to the piece. Cover the nail space and mouthpiece with a paper towel or plastic wrap and shake roughly for a few minutes. Once the resin is dissolved, pour out the solution and wipe clean.

If your rig requires a more heavy-duty method, swap out the hot water with room-temperature isopropyl alcohol. Add a bit of salt to exfoliate stubborn wax and shake until the rig is cleaned. By regularly cleaning your piece, you can keep hand-blown rigs like those from MJ Arsenal looking good as new.

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Though delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may be the most well-known cannabinoid, it has a counterpart on the rise: delta-8 THC. Scientists and researchers believe there are over 120 different cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants, and delta-8 is the newest to emerge.

Delta-8 THC is an isomer of delta-9 THC, that is thought to have neuroprotective properties such as appetite stimulant, nausea reduction, and anxiety and pain management. Delta-8 THC does contain some psychoactive properties, but reportedly exhibits less psychotropic effects than traditional THC or delta-9.

The legal standing of delta-8 remains somewhat of a gray area. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, the production of hemp products with a delta-9 THC threshold of 0.3% or less is legal. So, if delta-8 THC products are made from hemp, they are technically legal at the federal level. However, some states have begun regulation of the new compound, so be sure to check the legal status of delta-8 THC in your state before buying. Some legislators are considering the Farm Bill terminology to be loophole and are seeking to close the gap.


What Is Delta-8 THC?

First, let’s define what delta-8 THC actually is. Delta-8 THC is one of many naturally occurring compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants. Delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid, meaning it occurs less abundantly than major cannabinoids like traditional THC or CBD.

Delta-8 and delta-9 share a similar chemical structure, with a few key differences. Delta-8 THC contains the bond on the 8th carbon chain while delta-9 THC has it on the 9thcarbon chain. This difference in structure is what may cause delta-8 to have similar potentially therapeutic effects to that of delta-9 THC, but reportedly less amplified. Delta-8 can make you feel high but is thought to create a milder effect.


How Is Delta-8 THC Made?

Though research surrounding all cannabinoids is relatively new and emerging, there is less knowledge in the direction of minor cannabinoids compared to the primary ones like delta-9 THC or CBD. Delta-9 THC that is produced and sold medically or recreationally comes from cannabis plants, while hemp plants are used for CBD rich strains that fall under the 0.3% or less THC threshold.

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When New Mexico’s recreational cannabis bill was signed into law in April, Mike Hinkle and Ryan Timmermans jumped at the chance to get into the industry. The two business partners, both recent transplants from the South, bought portable buildings, seeds, grow lights and a property in the village of Carson, with a domestic well they thought they could use to irrigate their plants. In total, they invested more than $50,000.

“That’s actually the most money I’ve ever had in my life,” Hinkle said. “I was extremely excited because we thought we had a shot.”

This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission.

Three months later, Hinkle fought back tears as he spoke at a hearing about regulations for the new cannabis industry, held at the State Capitol. He’d discovered that a domestic water supply would not fulfill the requirements for a license and that no amount of money would get him the required water rights in Carson, near Taos — because they simply weren’t available. He was still emotional when the three-minute timer ran out and his mic was cut off.

Hinkle was not alone in his dismay. Nearly 200 people submitted written comments to the state’s newly formed Cannabis Control Division, while dozens of others voiced frustrations at the Aug. 6 hearing. Among them were aspiring cannabis business owners and members of acequia collectives — traditional ditch-irrigation communities worried that the new rules would undermine their senior water rights. Most shared a central concern: water.

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In July 2021, Hometown Hero released its Select Spectrum Mango Gummies. It was not just a new product launch. It was the launch of an entirely new class of hemp products.

Select Spectrum gummies are available in packs of 10. Each edible contains 10mg CBD, 10mg Delta-9 THC, and minor cannabinoids derived from hemp. The best part? Select Spectrum is legal in 50 states. 

“With our new product, Select Spectrum, we are able to provide cannabis products that are derived from hemp, below the 0.3% Delta-9 THC threshold, and provide veterans full access to products that are legal on a federal level and in many states,” said Lukas Gilkey, CEO of Hometown Hero.

Due to the federal legal status of hemp products, Select Spectrum can be purchased online and shipped across state lines like most consumer goods. 

Gilkey, a USCG veteran himself, founded Hometown Hero to help veterans. This initiative ranges from the products offered by the startup to donating a portion of proceeds from every product sold to veterans charities. 

Based in Austin, Texas, Hometown Hero primarily manufactures and sells Delta-8 products and offers a free sample for new potential customers. 



In case you missed the parades featuring giant doobie floats, the joint giveaways for the vaccinated or the general celebratory aroma of city streets, recreational marijuana is now legal in New York. While attention is trained on the new legal drug business the state is building, another even larger cannabis business is awaiting its day in the sun. Already legal to grow and process, industrial hemp is the potentially billion-dollar New York industry few are paying attention to yet. While it may take longer to scale up than recreational marijuana, industrial hemp could have even greater economic potential for the state.

Although most people are familiar with the drug marijuana that comes from the cannabis plant, far fewer know about the many uses for hemp, which looks similar, but has negligible amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC. For those who are familiar with hemp, they may most closely associate it with their local hippie stores next to the crystals and incense. But its uses range from textiles for clothes to construction material to food. “People are chasing these bright shiny objects, and I think those will have maybe short-lived potential,” said Daniel Dolgin, owner of Eaton Hemp in Central New York, of recreational marijuana. “I think there will be more losers than winners – there will be big winners, but the industrial side has much less sex appeal.” As companies seek green alternatives to traditional products from cotton (which is incredibly water-intensive to grow and process) to plastics, hemp is becoming increasingly popular. But it still must overcome a decadeslong disinformation campaign associating it with its closely related drug cousin, and set up the supply chains to compete with the major industries that helped to kill hemp in the first place.

Dolgin’s farm was one of the first to win a license under the state Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program established in 2015. Since then, he’s been growing his vertically integrated business – growing, processing, creating and marketing hemp products – as a sort of proof of concept to others interested in the industry. “We’re in sort of the innovation stage where you have to show like, hey, this can be done,” Dolgin said. Currently, Eaton Hemp has entered the pet care industry with a popular hemp pet bedding, among other products including hemp-based foods. The major roadblock now is getting other farmers interested in taking the potential risk, as well as getting investors and companies to buy into the industry, which takes time.

Eaton Hemp also sells CBD products, which are made from a hemp extract that for a brief moment completely dominated the hemp market. It’s not a drug per se, but it’s touted as offering a calming effect without the high of THC. Unlike with other industrial hemp uses that require a degree of risk in building up the market, CBD was a popular fad seen as an easy market to enter. The problem was that the market became oversaturated with products without proper regulations. Southern Tier Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, sponsor of various hemp bills, said that while she’s eager to get those CBD regulations finalized, the state is ripe to capitalize on hemp’s many other uses. “I have a briefcase – I call it my hemp sample bag,” Lupardo said of a briefcase made of hemp fibers that she uses to carry sample hemp products like alternative Styrofoam and building materials. “Once people see what’s possible, they’re very intrigued by it.”

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