The High Priestess: How to Connect to and Embody the Elements

Are you ready to get wet, hot, and steamy this summer? We just experienced the transformative release of the Full Moon in Scorpio, and now we’re inching closer and closer to the peak of the year on the Summer Solstice on June 21st. Spring has sprung, and now we’re officially in Gemini season, the air sign represented by the glyph of the twins. This is a season of creativity, communication, collaboration, union, and expansion, where we get to embrace the freedom of air and its need to transform.  

For this installment of the High Priestess, I was inspired by my current muses: the elements. Earth, air, fire, water, and spirit exist in nearly every spiritual tradition in some form. These elements speak of the physical, natural world around us, as well as of the subtle, spiritual world. The elements teach us of finding grounding, presence, compassion, and passion. Luckily enough, we can connect to all of this wisdom through cannabis.   

For this column, I had the pleasure of interviewing the CannaSexual® and sex and relationship coach Ashley Manta about how plant medicine can lead us deeper into discovering the magick of the elements. Besides actively sharing the ways in which Cannabis can improve our sex lives, Ashley is also a practicing witch and a Taurus, so you know that she talks the talk and walks the walk of all things Venusian and pleasure. In this column, we talk about what each of the elements can teach us, and receive CannaSexual approved mantras as well as simple rituals you can practice connect even further with these energies.  

Ivory Woods


We all connect to the element of earth every day. This element is the physical; the flowers we smell, the ground we walk on, the cannabis we’re smoking. Not only is earth all about Mother Nature herself, but this element also speaks to all of the things that keep us safe, grounded and protected. The element of earth represents the things we have in our lives as well; the objects we keep, our home, our relationships (since these too exist in the physical vessel of a human being). And in our case specifically, the element of Earth is represented by cannabis herself. The element of earth IS cannabis, the Green Ganja Goddess, Gaia, Mother Nature, or whatever other name you call her.

Ashley, who moonlights as a “botanical ambassador”, shares that for her, connecting with the element of earth means being grateful and physically honoring the cannabis plant.

“Even before I start to put the cannabis into the bowl or bong or whatever I’m smoking out of, I just hold the flower in my hands and inhale and I regard it and honor it,” she explains. “Not only the grower that brought it to cultivation but the people who are still sitting in jail who have had this plant used against them because we live in this systematic culture of racism and oppression, especially against black and brown people, so [earth is] being aware and really honoring that.”

Earth is safety and when we tend to the roots, we tend to the flowers. Connecting to the element of earth through cannabis means returning to our bodies and cross-pollinating—doing what we can in the physical to fight these systems of injustice; we help ourselves and then help others.

How to Connect With The Earth: Ground

Ashley and I both have the same grounding visualization, one that is simple and that you can use whenever you want to connect to the earth.

To begin, take a moment to breathe into your body. Imagine roots moving from the base of your spine, deep into the earth. These vines draw up golden energy to your sacral chakra, where your pelvis is, pulling this nourishing light into this space, “releasing all the shame, all the toxic bullshit into it. A beautiful symbiotic relationship that really helps us so much” Ashley explains.

Mantra for Earth:

I follow the path of cross pollination; as I grow and flourish, I help other people grow and flourish.

Ivory Woods


If Earth is the first thing we think of because it is the cannabis plant herself, then air and smoke are surely the second. Air is the element of presence, of expansion, freedom, and expression. It is the reign of the mind, of the intellect. Air is also the breath, our connection to our bodies, our personal purification system. Air reminds us to be our fullest self.

“Air helps me remember to take up space, that it’s okay and good and healthy. I don’t have to be small and unobtrusive,” Ashley shares. “Cannabis helps me get out of my head, it helps me quite those voices that have been telling me my whole life that  ‘you’re too much, you’re being too ridiculous, you’re being too sexual.’”

As we take the time to prepare ourselves to take a hit from our bong, bowl, joint or whatever else, we can work with the element of air to be embodied in the moment. As we exhale and release what’s keeping us small, we make way to fully inhale all the present. Our spirits follow the path of our bodies taking up as much space as possible. Air can also mean we’re intensely aware as we smoke. Instead of heaving the television on and doing this passively, maybe you really take the time to honor each step of the process, of smoking, of feeling your air fill with lungs.

How to Connect With Air: Breathwork

We can return to our breath whenever we need to return to the present moment. And we can connect to this element when we’re getting stoned with our favorite plant by smoking with some intention.

For this exercise you’re going to be breathing consciously. For Ashley, this means that the prep work begins before she starts smoking, for her it’s all about “remembering to empty out my lungs fully, contract my belly, and then inhale fully from the diaphragm [as I smoke].” Filling your lungs up with air in this way will also get you higher which is a plus. You may also wish to experiment with different breathing techniques like the four-fold breath, where you inhale, hold, exhale and hold before beginning again.

Mantra for Air:

I am fully expressed; I don’t have to hide or present a more palatable version of who I am. I am safe to be my fullest self.


For many of us, one of the perks of being high is being in “the flow.” That ability to let go and be completely chill. Water is the realm of the subconscious, of the emotions, of the spiritual, of the subtle. This is soul-level stuff, the feeling of being cared for, held, and nurtured. And Ashley reminds us that water, like the ocean herself, is incredibly powerful and not to be messed with. While air gives us the freedom to take up space and spread as beautifully as smoke does, water gives us the ability to feel the depth of our emotions.  Water shares with us the gift of being multidimensional humans, with light, shadows, brilliance and darkness, which as Ashley puts so beautifully “is really what makes us so interesting and dynamic as humans.”

Connecting with the element of water can be as simple as putting water in your bong or as intentional as spending time by a body of water like a lake or ocean. It can be taking time to take to a partner before you smoke together, which is what Ashley and her partner call “emotional intimacy as foreplay.” Having deep and vulnerable conversations as you smoke can be a really personal way to relate to someone else through the element of water, which is associated with the heart and love, and can also lead to some fiery and steamy moments. Water wants us to connect, to feel, to emote, to create. Cannabis naturally guides us into this realm of conscious creativity and vulnerability, and we can embrace the element of water to understand this more deeply.   

How to Connect with Water: Smoke by the Ocean

Ashley’s happy place is smoking cannabis by the ocean, especially at sunset, and this is always a recommendation, but smoking near a body of water or in a bathtub is good enough. If you like smoking out of a bong, you may wish to leave some water under the New or Full Moon for 4-6 waters to keep and use as blessed bong water. The Moon is associated with the subtle and emotional body, the divine feminine and the heart.  Moon water can be used to cleanse, purify and embed something with the Moon’s energy.

Mantra for Water:

I release all the shit that I hold on to that’s too much for me. I release what no longer serves me and I give it to the ocean.

Ivory Woods


Fire is steamy, it’s passionate, it’s lustful and primal. Fire is power and purpose. It’s also alchemy, and the reason we even get high. “When you light the plant matter, specifically cannabis, the spark, the fire is what turns THCA to Delta9 THC, which is what causes the intoxicating or high effect,” Ashley shares. “In its non-heated form in the flower, it’s THCA; which is why if you were to eat cannabis, you wouldn’t get high.” The fire itself it turns out, is what transmutes the flower and gives us the euphoric feeling of being high.

Fire represents that which lights us up. It’s the actions we take to make our dreams a reality. It’s our sexuality, our desires, what turns us on. Fire is that which allows us to experience altered states, that which allows us to transcend. Through fire we return to the core, the match, the brightest possible expression of our fullest power. Fire is what gets us to places we’ve always dreamed of. It’s the energy of the big bang, of orgasms, of anger channeled into passion. Fire is what burns away what no longer serves us while fortifying what does.

How to Connect with Fire: Sex Magick

For Ashley, cannabis is one of the biggest cornerstones of how she connects to fire and sexuality, how she deepens her awareness and access to her energetic power. She does this through sex magick, which I’ve written about before for this column!

First she sets the scene energetically and physically, dimming lights and putting on a playlist that makes her feel powerful. Then she sets an intention for her ritual before she takes a hit from her bong (since it unites all the elements at once.) “I’ll pack my bowl, and set my intention and think about what I want this experience to be like for me. I’ll call any guides, angels, archetypes, ascended masters, bring in the dream team and as something sexy comes on [the playlist] I’ll smoke naked in front of the mirror.”

To experiment with this, stand in front of the mirror and move your body, seducing yourself. Make eye contact with yourself (this is crucial) and then when you’re ready take yourself to bed. Here, you’ll masturbate and as you climax, you’ll send this energy to the intention you set before you began smoking.

Mantra for Fire:

I seduce myself. I leave room for my intention or something better.


Spirit is the connection through it all. It’s the intention we set, the fire we use to set the spark, the air we inhale into our lungs, and the emotional shift we experience as the high sets in. Spirit is our ability to think, feel, grow, receive and love. It’s the thread connecting earth, air, fire, and water. In our case, you could think of spirit as being high, as the feeling of being in an altered state. This is when we receive downloads, insight, healing. Spirit is the plant medicine in action.

This element is less tangible than the others because it’s the negative space and dark matter that connects everything else. We can’t see it but we can experience it. Connect with each element as you smoke and then feel the effects of the spell you’ve just performed. What does your favorite sort of high feel like? What does it change about the way you feel—about yourself, life, the universe, connection, god whatever it is?

Personally, I feel a sense of gratitude and understanding when I’m stoned. Like, the world just reveals herself to me and I don’t have to try so hard to understand. Spirit means balance means finding grounding as I grow, tapping into my emotions even in my fullest moments of passion. Spirit is the feeling of being high on a spring day under the sun. It’s magick, and it’s something that you experience to understand.

How to Connect to Spirit: Work with a Tarot or Oracle Deck

Ashley and I both share an affinity for pulling a card before any sort of smoking ritual. You may choose to pull something from the 78-cards of the classic tarot deck, or an oracle deck. Take a moment to breathe, get clear with your intention before you shuffle and then pull a card. Write down any insight or messages you have and repeat the following mantra to help you tap into the cards wisdom

Mantra for Spirit:

I create space for ancestors, guides, benevolent beings, and the universe to connect with me through intuitive wisdom.

No matter how you connect to cannabis, or earth, air, fire, water or spirit, I hope that you have the time to honor whatever feels delicious to you. As always, enjoy the high and tune in the week after next for another installment of the High Priestess. And don’t forget to check out my lovely and sexy guest, the CannaSexual and her work.

And this month, we’re continuing the support of National Bail Out, which seeks to help incarcerated moms get back to their families. You can support them by reading about their mission here and donating here.

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Arizona Still Doesn’t Require Lab Testing, But That Could Change Soon

As of today, Arizona is the only state in the country that has legalized medical cannabis but does not require producers to test their medical cannabis. States throughout the country that legalize medical cannabis routinely implement regulations that require third-party, independent lab testing to protect patient and consumer safety. Arizona legalized medical cannabis for a number of qualifying conditions back in 2011, but still has no measure like other states to protect patient safety.

Lawmakers in Arizona now have the opportunity to change that with SB1494, which passed unanimously through the state’s Senate back in March of 2019. According to the Arizona Cannabis Laboratory Association (ACLA), the bill awaits action in the House of Representatives. The ACLA says in a press release that “supporters of the bill are calling on lawmakers to move on a bill that unanimously passed in the Senate earlier this year.” The bill would require producers to use independent, third-party labs to test cannabis for things like harmful toxins and molds.

Ryan Tracy, co-founder of the ACLA and founder/CEO at C4 Labs.

According to Ryan Treacy, co-founder of the ACLA and CEO/Founder of C4 Laboratories, the ACLA was formed for a few important reasons: “We feel it is very important that we encourage and cultivate a professional and collaborative rapport among the reputable Arizona cannabis labs,” says Treacy. “So that we can call upon the collective groups’ years of experience to help provide insight and suggestions on how we as a group can insure the most accurate and consistent results for our clients throughout the state and ultimately their patients.” Treacy went on to add that it is particularly important their collective voice be heard at the State Capitol as lawmakers work towards passing SB 1494.

“There isn’t any reason to wait for someone to get sick before the legislature passes this bipartisan bill. Let’s get it done!”George Griffeth, President of the ACLA, says there is a sense of urgency in passing this bill before the voters decide on legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis next year. “Everyone agrees that now is the time to be proactive to protect patients from unsafe contaminants,” says Griffeth. “Currently 61 tons of medical marijuana is consumed by patients and many believe that the number of people using the medicine will continue to grow. With a ballot initiative related to the recreational use of marijuana facing voters next year, Arizona must act now to make sure standards are in place.”

They say the bill has bipartisan support and many stakeholders in Arizona’s cannabis industry express support for it as well. For Ryan Treacy, he is worried about patients consuming harmful chemicals and toxins. “My colleagues and I are deeply concerned that more than two-hundred thousand people who use medical marijuana could be inadvertently exposing themselves to toxic chemicals, E. Coli, Salmonella or mold,” says Treacy. “There isn’t any reason to wait for someone to get sick before the legislature passes this bipartisan bill. Let’s get it done!”

Treacy says this bill is particularly difficult to pass because the original measure to legalize medical cannabis was a ballot initiative. That means the bill needs 75% support in both the House and the Senate in order to amend the original measure. “The passing of this bill would be a huge win for the patients and will help to ensure honesty and transparency for those that operate in the current medical cannabis program here in AZ,” says Treacy. “This testing bill is also written with legislative intent to cover any and all future adult use or recreational use legislative laws or ballot initiatives. We hope to have a final verdict on this bill by end of this week or early next.”

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Canada Pledging $24.5 Million to Fund Research on Cannabis and Health

The Canadian government wants to learn more about the health benefits and risks of marijuana use, ponying up a significant amount of money to help support research.

On Wednesday, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced it would be dropping roughly $24.5 million to bolster cannabis research. The money will help support 26 projects throughout Canada “that cover topics such as the use of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the treatment of pain and anxiety,” according to a press release from the agency.

Additionally, the CIHR said the funding “will also support research teams that will explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis in areas such as cancer, chronic pain, and neurodevelopment.”

“We are investing in research to provide the evidence needed to maintain policies for cannabis use that protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s minister of health, said in a statement. “The projects announced today will result in new information on the health effects of cannabis, which will be valuable to governments, public health professionals, health care providers, and all Canadians.”

The funding comes in response to the Canadian government’s legalization of recreational medical marijuana use last fall, which made it the first major world economy to do so. The new law made it legal for adults aged 19 and older to purchase, use and grow pot for recreational purposes—except for in Quebec and Alberta, where the legal age is 18.

In conjunction with the end to prohibition, Canadian officials introduced a bill in March to issue pardons for individuals who had previously been convicted of “simple cannabis possession,” defined as “a criminal charge given by law enforcement for possession of a controlled substance, in this case cannabis, for personal use with no intent to traffic.” The bill remains in limbo.

Wednesday’s announcement underscores a disconnect in the legalization movement: while countries and parts of the United States have begun ending prohibition, striking a blow against decades of fear-mongering and misinformation about pot use, there remains a dearth of credible research about its effects—whether positive or harmful. It’s what prompted Charles R. Broderick, an early investor in Canada’s cannabis industry, to donate $9 million last month to Harvard and MIT to support marijuana research.

“I want to destigmatize the conversation around cannabis—and, in part, that means providing facts to the medical community, as well as the general public,” Broderick said at the time.

Thanks to a $4.5 million contribution from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the CIHR said Wednesday that the funding will “also support research that will examine the public health impact” of Canada’s new law. A $2.85 million contribution from the Mental Health Commission of Canada will ensure that the funding “will also go towards research aimed at addressing key research gaps regarding cannabis use and mental health,” the agency said.

The funding will also include $390,000 to support a pair of cannabis public awareness projects in Alberta, while the University of Calgary received money to provide sessions designed to help students better understand marijuana’s effects.

“We have put in place a strict regulatory framework for cannabis that aims to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and the profits out of the hands of criminals,” Bill Blair, the minister of border security and organized crime reduction, said Wednesday. “This research will make an important contribution as we continue to roll out the regulatory framework. We must continue to ensure that prevention, harm reduction and education remain at the forefront of these efforts.”

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Utah Cannabis Cultivators May Be Required to Pay Over $100,000 in Fees

In what could be one of the most convincing financial arguments for the legalization of recreational marijuana yet, the state of Utah has announced that cannabis cultivators will face a licensing fee from between $75,000 to $100,000.

“The program has to be self-sufficient and pay for itself,” said Andrew Rigby, who is program manager for the state’s marijuana industry. Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food, the cannabis industry’s regulatory body, has estimated that legalizing medical marijuana will cost the state over $563,000 in 2020. All the same, at the current fee rates, applications and licensing has been forecasted to bring in $1.1 million.

Regardless of the math, such high fees will certainly present a challenge to small marijuana businesses without a lot of capital with which to open up shop, and put the ball squarely in the court of larger or more monied firms.

“It could be a barrier for a few people,” Rigby allowed to Utah publication The Spectrum. In addition to the licensing fee, cannabis entrepreneurs will also be responsible for an application fee between $5,000 and $10,000.

Utah has seen its share of cannabis political turmoil since voters passed Proposition 2, which authorized medical marijuana. After the election, legislators took input from the Church of Latter Day Saints to re-draft the bill during a special session, resulting in a lawsuit from cannabis advocates against the state that the attorney general has requested be dismissed. But patient groups say that the new legislation is insufficient, and caution against inappropriate levels of influence from the Mormons over state affairs.

“Let’s go back to actual legislation and not theocracy,” said Doug Rice, president of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, one of the suit’s plaintiffs.

Though dispensaries won’t be opening until next year, Utah’s number one healthcare provider, Intermountain Healthcare, has already instructed its doctors that they will be able to recommend marijuana to qualified patients. Cannabis advocates had hoped that this announcement would encourage legislators to focus on the relief that marijuana provides patients, instead of the concerns of religious lobbying groups.

Compared to other southwestern states that have regulated marijuana previously, Utah’s are high figures. In Nevada, application fees run at $5,000 and growing facilities pay licensing fees of $3,000. Arizona charges a similar application fee, with an approval to operate fee available for $2,500. Granted, Nevada is able to recoup its program’s operating fees from taxes on the sale of recreational cannabis (see how that makes sense, now?)

Rigby countered such comparisons by pointing to Utah’s strict cap on marijuana businesses. At the moment, only 10 grow facilities will be able to operate in the state, so those 10 firms will be essentially taking on the program’s entire operating costs, which include staff hours and the purchase of equipment needed to oversee the industry.

“The math is very simple,” Rigby commented. “I think applicants will find that it is a fair price.”

Should you be in Utah and like to weigh in on these proposed program guidelines, there is a public hearing taking place at 350 N. Redwood Road in Salt Lake City at 5 p.m. on June 5.

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EU Regulations Address Heavy Metals In Consumer Products

RoHS 3 (EU Directive 2015/863) adds a catch-all “Category 11” of regulated products that includes electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), e-cigarettes, cannabis vaporizers and vape pens. This category becomes effective July 22, 2019. The most significant restricted substance applicable to this category is lead, and RoHS requires regulated products to contain less than 1000 parts per million (ppm). This follows on the heels of California’s new 2019 regulations requiring the testing of contents of cannabis vape cartridges using even stricter limits for lead (which makes sense because it applies to the product being consumed, not the separate electronic components). These regulations may seem unrelated, but anecdotally there have been widespread reports of higher than expected lead content in China-sourced electronic components, including both cartridges and related electronics. Whether metal used in e-cigarette type products is the source of any lead in the actual nicotine, cannabis or other concentrated product is an entirely different topic, but new laws, and in particular the new RoHS catch-all category, make 2019 an important year for any company responsible for certifying or testing lead levels in e-cigarette or vape products.

Background on EU RoHS

RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) originated in the EU in 2003 as a restriction on hazardous substances in specified categories of electronics and electronic products. Other countries have passed laws styled after RoHS, but only the EU RoHS is addressed here. Unlike some environmental laws, RoHS is not only focused on the safety of products during their life cycle of consumer use, but is designed to keep restricted substances out of landfills and recycling centers.

The original RoHS restricted the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE. RoHS now restricts the use of a total of ten substances after the EU added four types of phthalates to its restricted substance list. Compliance with RoHS became a requirement for the use of the CE mark in 2011, and replaced a RoHS compliant mark on restricted products.

RoHS specified categories for regulation include large household appliances, small household appliances, computer equipment, lighting, power tools, toys, certain medical devices, control equipment (smoke alarms, thermostats and their industrial equivalents), and ATM machines. Newly added Category 11, the “catch all” category, includes all other electronic and electrical equipment not covered in the previous categories, including electronic nicotine delivery systems, cannabis vaporizers and vape pens.

RoHS Lead Exemptions Complicate Compliance

RoHS provides numerous exceptions to its strict 1000ppm lead standard that are slated to expire in phases from 2021 through 2024. Most Category 11 exceptions will not expire until 2024. For example, RoHS permits different levels of lead for lead in glass and ceramics, lead in high temperature solders, and lead in copper and aluminum alloys. So, an e-cigarette may contain some parts that are held to the highest level of lead restriction, it may but contain isolated components that (at least through 2024) are held to more permissive standards. While this leeway may reduce manufacturing costs for certain components, it creates greater complexity in testing. Anecdotal reports suggest that especially for products that compete heavily on price, sourcing from lesser-known Chinese foundries has resulted in unpredictable lead levels.

Take Away Points

As vape and e-cigarette companies compete with new features and design elements each year, and companies rely on new manufacturers, keeping up with regulations has proven to be difficult for both U.S. and for EU regulated products. For example, a company has to comply with numerous regulations regarding the oil or concentrate that will ultimately be inhaled by a consumer, and with regulations like RoHS that regulate parts a consumer may never touch or see. Each year, some company comes out with a new set of electronic features that may interact with newly formulated oils or concentrates, other companies compete for features or price points, making these products a moving target when it comes to testing.

Adding lead to many metals makes them easier to work with and therefore cheaper. Anecdotal reports suggest that especially for products that compete heavily on price, sourcing from lesser-known Chinese foundries has resulted in unpredictable lead levels. This can be the result of any number of causes: changes in sub-contractors, uses of industrial equipment for other products that permit higher lead content, or simply unscrupulous management that is willing to risk a contract to save money manufacturing a batch of components. There is speculation that some lead may leach into oil or concentrates in e-cigarette and vape products from the contact between the oil or concentrate and internal heating elements in certain type of products. RoHS compliance with regard to lead levels may reduce the chance of inadvertent lead contamination by such means, and compliance may therefore yield benefits on several regulatory fronts.

Compliance with RoHS for each part of an e-cigarette or vape therefore requires knowing your supplier for each component, but given increased regulation of these products (both the hardware and consumable elements) this can only help compliance with regulations in every relevant jurisdiction.

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Green Fever : When Home Invasion meets Mary Jane

I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the makers of Green Fever, a true-to-life thriller encapsulating the array of threats that marijuana legalization has posed to small farmers. It’s no secret that the grey area created by California’s new marijuana legislation has been leading many into debt, but there’s now an increase in danger to the lives of farmers, who are often disregarded due to the many preconceived notions surrounding them.

Through the lens of a home invasion, weed farmers in Green Feverare represented, not as hick outlaws, but as the struggling, blue collar, hardworking farmers they truly are, now thrust into the unreasonable demands spurred by imprudent regulations.

Sitting down with me were Gerard Roxburgh (Director, Datura Studios), Misha Crosby (Producer, actor), Rick J. Lee (Producer, Prime One), Paul Telfer (Writer, actor) and “Rob”, who I’ll identify by his character name since he’s been forced to operate in the grey area of the marijuana industry. It is Rob’s true life experience depicted in Green Fever, and it’s a real wonder he survived.

Hannah Ward: I’d love to start with asking you guys if you can tell me a little bit about Datura Studios, Prime One and how you guys merged together to create Green Fever.

Gerard Roxburgh: I had done a documentary in 2011, Misha (Crosby) and I met on the back of that, I did a short film with Misha through a friend who had met me at a festival. I met Paul (Telfer) at the exact same festival, Rick (Lee) actually went to high school with my wife and got introduced to me through that same documentary from 2011. So that one documentary put me in touch with these three and then I did Jiu Jitsu with this guy (points to Rob).

Misha and I started Datura Studios with Urijah Faber, who’s our other producing partner; we had another couple films we were trying to get going for a while and due to financing issues and Rick came to me saying we should just partner up on our own and not rely on other financing companies. Rick actually originally pitched me an idea of a home invasion crime story and when he told me that I thought, I know a guy who kinda went through this about a year ago and that was my friend Rob here.

Rick J. Lee: That was December of 2017 when I approached Gerard with the idea. In February, we started writing the script and getting financing, March we did a location scout, and we started filming in May.

HW: So you got funding for Green Fever before the script was even done?

GR: Yeah, none of our financiers read the script.

HW: What?! How did you get this financed?

Misha Crosby: People really believed in us. We went out, literally, person to person and talked to them about the project and between all of them we had enough to get going. We didn’t actually have the full budget before we started shooting.

RJL: What was funny is we approached a lot of investors and a lot of them were just like “Eh” but once we had the trailer done there were people knocking at our door.

Courtesy of Green Fever Film, LLC

HW: So obviously film investors are generally very hesitant to give away their money but do you feel like there was more or less hesitance to do so because it was about cannabis?

RJL: I think what it came down to, is that they believed in us. We’re all very busy in the industry and i think everything that we all work on is successful. So it wasn’t like oh we’re going to let this die. We could’ve done a movie about anything, they weren’t hesitant about cannabis.

GR: One of our investors who I just got the “OK” to mention, is actually involved in the cannabis industry itself. Our executive producer Rob Hickman is one of the Founders of Tyson Ranch, Mike Tyson’s company. They have an entertainment division which is going to support new filmmakers in both the cannabis and the film space, because Rob was actually a movie producer before getting involved with Mike’s company.

PT: If anything, there’s a lot of money floating around cannabis right now in northern California or California in general. I know that our film isn’t necessarily a weed movie in the stoner sense, but people that like weed also like movies. It’s not that much of a jump to get them to be interested in investing in something like this.

MC: Yeah and it definitely feels of the right time. A lot of great stories are told in the time that they’re set and this is definitely part of the culture that we have in California now.

RJL: I mean we lived in the prohibition of marijuana, right?

PT: The specific issues in [Green Fever] came about because cannabis is legal here but still illegal federally. So on both sides, on both the criminal and the legitimate side of the marijuana business, there are people caught in between two sets of laws and two ways of being, which is kind of the big theme of the film.

Rob: Prohibition is the catalyst for the violence most often times.

Courtesy of Green Fever Film, LLC

HW: So with that in mind, how do you guys as a collective feel about the legalization of recreational weed and how has that affected the industry?

Rob: Well I think that anybody that has any real roots or involvement in the industry want it to be decriminalized more than re-criminalized, and the decriminalization feels more like re-criminalization. It’s a lot of taxation without representation, for lack of a better word. Nobody knows where the money is going, nobody knows why the taxes are so high.

GR: And so how that directly affected the story of our film, you have these characters that are farmers that would otherwise not be involved with people who are criminals, who are dealing with people that may have to traffic weed across state lines, which thereby opens them up to be exploited at the hand of criminals who know that it’s a cash based business.

MC: Not being able to put money into a federal bank account and having to deal in cash is a huge catalyst for why people are going to come and try to take it from them.

HW: So with this movie, is that a question that you wanted to pose to the audience? Or is there a specific opinion?

PT: Definitely more of a question. I think we tried to not engage in a specific message. I’m very pro-legalization, I just think it should be done responsibly and that all levels of the industry from the farmers to the distribution should be given every opportunity to succeed—which doesn’t seem to be what’s happening. So that was a big part of at least getting into the characters’ immediate dilemma. Here’s a guy who seems to be doing everything right by the laws of the land and has brought in his brother to do this thing together as a family, but the specific nature of the way legalization has played out in northern California means that what he’s trying to do is actually impossible; he’s going to get out-bought and out-produced by large corporate interest that’s coming in. There are loads of great things coming out of legalization, but at the same time we can’t ignore the individuals that are getting hurt by it. It’s not going to just go away. These are real people who have their livelihoods threatened.

HW: Non-fiction content is very trendy right now, so what was the decision here to make this into a narrative?

GR: It was entirely based on my relationship with Rob. Rob and I did Jiu Jitsu together for years, and none of us are weapons experts, except, you know, we took a couple classes under our coach, Lee McDermott. He was always harping on us about learning weapons stuff; we were more interested in hand-to-hand. We learned a couple of specific moves and those moves ended up being the ones that saved Rob’s life in real life. Our friend lived this crazy event and we were like, we’re filmmakers, what do we do, we tell interesting stories, so it just made sense to tell it as a narrative.

GR: We took Rob’s event and used that as the inciting incident for a lot of the stuff that happens for the first and second act. For the third act, we decided to take creative leeway. The event that happened to Rob happened over the course of 30 minutes; to tell a 90 minute feature film, you want to be able to have the creative leeway to make it more cinematic.

Courtesy of Green Fever Film, LLC

HW: What was sensationalized and what formed those decisions?

PT: I don’t think sensationalized is the right word because we weren’t necessarily boosting up events that didn’t happen. It was more just digging in to give the characters more life beyond just being these drug-addicted thugs.

Rob: I mean we have my story, everyone here knows my perspective, but what we don’t have is the exact perspective of the criminals—the guys that wanted to steal from me.

GR: There was actually a guy who was tortured, his penis was cut off, and that was kind of the inspiration for [Paul’s character] Ticker. So we combined real stuff, so even the embellishment is based on truth. In terms of the truthfulness of Maria, did Rob have a pregnant girlfriend? Yes.

RJL: Do we really want to focus on what’s sensationalized?

HW: Well the reason I ask isn’t because I think that anything was sensationalized, but I think that people don’t realize that there is a lot of danger in this crossover of legalization. It’s just to say that this stuff really is real, this is the cause and effect.

GR: The actual guy that robbed Rob…

Rob: Attempted…

GR: (Laughs) Yeah attempted. He had spent years in prison, maybe 19, 20, for having a small amount of cocaine. When he got out, he was left with very little opportunity and seemed like an empathetic character. He seemed like not a bad guy, just a guy caught up in a bad situation, which is why we made [the character] Swift. A lot of that is based on the real guy that was involved.

PT: The only thing I would say is totally sensationalized, to use that word, would be the Ticker character, whereas Swift and everyone else, ultimately have some basis either in the reality of what happened to Rob, or in some of the other research materials that we came across about that specific region of crimes. Ticker was a purely movie creation that really came out of a previous iteration of the home invasion idea that we had had, but the reason that works is because the rest of it is based in reality. We tried to keep it as grounded as possible.

RJL: The other thing too is [that] people send us private messages [on Instagram and Facebook] saying “This really happens, thanks for taking this and putting it into film.” We had one five-paragraph message from a guy saying this was the life he lives and he wanted to be involved.

HW: And this is from people just seeing the teaser?

RJL: Just the teaser, yes, and the photos and reading the synopsis. We get messages all the time.

PT: A buddy I had worked with years ago [reached out] and when I got back to LA and got back in touch with him, he was basically living out the inverse of the Green Fever story. Instead of being robbed by criminals that assumed he wouldn’t go to the police because he was operating in a grey area, he was essentially robbed by police who knew he wouldn’t go to the feds to snitch on them because everyone is operating in this grey space.

The laws are in such a state of flux and there’s a dissonance between state and federal. There are so many negative and positive things coming out of legalization but as it affects specific individuals involved in the industry, [there’s a] lack of clarity about the laws. Part of our hook on this was that the farmers in the movie just want to be law-abiding citizens who are forced by the nature of the laws here, to become outlaws in order to make money, to smuggle across state lines. It’s the only way they can see a path out of the crippling debt they’re getting into, while trying to do the right thing.

Rob: We’re just at a time and place where it’s pre-track-and-trace and post-local permitting. You can grow it but what do you do with it? A lot of the tax money and the reason why the taxes are so high and burdensome is because they’re going to re-allocate a lot of that money into new enforcement, which is unprecedented.

PT: I was listening to the governor’s State of The State address, and he was saying that he’s pulling all these troops from the border, but a lot of them are being re-tasked to go after illegal growers. Which again, just falls into the question of what is a legal [versus] illegal grow in California at this time.

PT: I mean, look, we weren’t trying to have a specific opinion about any of this, but I do think that a lot of it is confusing.

HW: Is that the message?

PT: Well yeah, no one’s really looking at the friction. There’s so much emphasis on the positive side of things, but there are just so many more stories of people getting crushed between the forces of criminality and legality as it moves forward. And the fact that no one’s telling any stories about it just left more room for us.

Courtesy of Green Fever Film, LLC

HW: Even though it’s pretty accurate, was there a concern that showing the violent aspect of this business would add to any negative stigmas that are already there.

RJL: I mean we’re just telling a story that really happened. We’ve talked to other farmers that have said that this happens all the time.

Rob: There’s nothing that’s in the story that hasn’t happened.

HW: Since decriminalization in particular?

PT: The specific nature of [Green Fever], especially the events of the first and second acts, are really born out of the dilemma of decriminalization.

MC: Federally, cannabis is still a Schedule I substance, which is another conversation entirely, but if it was not restricted, then people [wouldn’t be] put in these situations when they have to work in areas of grey. That’s when demons come out. You don’t have the law on your side.

PT: If they were tulip farmers and there was some issue with tulip laws in California, the same story could happen. The film treats cannabis quite neutrally, as a crop.

GR: And the weed is the backdrop of the film.

HW: What do you think is the primary focus of your film?

GR: The relationships, Rob’s story. It’s tapping into peoples’ fear about feeling safe in their house. The last place you want to feel attacked is in your own home.

HW: What’s next for you guys?

GR: We submitted [Green Fever] to about a dozen film festivals, so right now we’re trying to figure out when and where our premiere is going to be and then see where it goes from there.

MC: Working on the international rights right now, and we’re talking to some sales agents with regards to the domestic deal and some big VOD players, so we just have to make the right decision for the film. Ultimately we feel the best decision for the film is where it’ll get the most eyes. We want it to be seen and treated in the right way.

PT: Then we just want to gear up and do another one.

HW: Will that one be cannabis focused?

GR: Probably not.

PT: I do have a non-fiction cannabis related thing, but it’s the sort of thing that through whatever success we get through Green Fever, that would certainly help with this. It’s more centered on the corrupt cop side instead of the corrupt criminals.

GR: For me as a director I just like to make films that feel a certain way. I like to pack in emotion and for this movie I wanted people to feel uncomfortable in a lot of it. I just want to elicit a reaction which I feel like it will, but the next film may elicit something completely different.

Rob: Everybody wants what’s right, but what’s right is not clear

HW: So for an audience who hasn’t seen Green Fever, what can they expect to walk out of a theater and take away from it?

PT: To feel really uncomfortable a few times but in an enjoyable way.

MC: It’s a white knuckle ride that will not let you go until the end. I feel that that’s what we wanted to accomplish, I know Gerard had an idea in his head that it was going to be a gripping thriller and it was certainly that.

The post Green Fever : When Home Invasion meets Mary Jane appeared first on High Times.

BioTrackTHC Selected For Maine’s Traceability Contract

On May 15, BioTrackTHC was announced the conditional winner for Maine’s seed-to-sale tracking system government contract. The award is still pending final approval from the State Procurement Review Committee and the successful negotiation of the contract.

BioTrackTHC, a Helix TCS subsidiary, announced in a press release their conditional award earlier this month. The contract means that BioTrackTHC would partner with the state to provide software for tracking both medical and recreational cannabis products from the immature plant to the point of retail sales.

The contract could go for as long as six years, through 2025. If this contract receives final approval from the state internally, then this will become the ninth government contract for BioTrackTHC. Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC, expects a quick deployment of the software once the contract is finalized. “We are excited to be working with the State of Maine and are grateful for their vote of confidence in our team’s ability to execute upon state-level tracking contracts and rapidly deploy a sound and secure technology solution,” says Vo.

Zachary L. Venegas, Executive Chairman and CEO of Helix TCS, Inc, says BioTrackTHC’s technology is leading the industry in shaping regulatory oversight for legal cannabis. “As states and countries begin to rollout or expand legal cannabis programs, our technology continues to lead as demonstrated by this Intent to Award and our multiple recent contract extensions with our partners,” says Venegas. “We look forward to playing a vital role in shaping the global cannabis industry and ensuring that it is able to operate efficiently and transparently.”

The post BioTrackTHC Selected For Maine’s Traceability Contract appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.

Descubriendo el boom del Cannabis en Colombia

Si estás al día con el estado de la industria internacional del cannabis, probablemente hayas escuchado que Colombia se está posicionando como el próximo centro importante para las exportaciones de cannabis.

Con el clima y la geografía perfecta para el cultivo, los bajos costos de producción, una vasta red de profesionales con experiencia en el campo, y la luz verde de la Junta Internacional de Control de Narcóticos (INCB, por sus siglas en inglés) para crecer y exportar 25% de la cuota de producción total del mundo (40,5 toneladas), Colombia tiene a los inversionistas babeando sobre la posibilidad de irrumpir en la próxima estrella del mundo en el ámbito del cannabis legal.

“Hasta la fecha, la industria legal del cannabis gira entorno a los cultivos  de interior, como las flores de alta gama que son hoy por hoy una categoría de producto clave. En el futuro, el crecimiento de concentrados, productos comestibles y productos farmacéuticos significarán que esto sea cada vez menos el caso “, dijo Tom Adams, director gerente y analista principal de BDS Analytics. “Las ventajas de Colombia como lugar de crecimiento al aire libre y de bajo costo colocarán a los cultivadores del país en una buena posición en los mercados mundiales”.

Aquí está el pronóstico de BDS para Colombia, con líneas de gastos internacionales y globales:

– Gastos internacionales: cuentas para gastos legales en países fuera de América del Norte (EE. UU. y Canadá).
– Gasto global – Cuentas del gasto en todos los mercados legales.
– Todas las estimaciones de gasto están en millones de dólares estadounidenses.

Sin embargo, los escépticos pueden mirar con frialdad todo el alboroto para preguntarse si el supuesto rol de Colombia como un proveedor importante para el mercado legal de Canadá no es más que una exageración, creado por la especulación en torno a las regulaciones favorables y la cobertura mediática de la creciente estrella sudamericana de las empresas canadienses que invierten en su suelo.

Entonces, para determinar si la escena del cannabis en Colombia es todo eso, tuvimos que verlo para creerlo. Con nuestras bolsas llenas de pares de pantalones cortos, una colección de gafas de sol y los restos de protección solar del verano pasado, nos dirigimos hacia allá para conocer de primera mano la situación.

Aterrizamos en un aeropuerto junto al mar en la ciudad caribeña de Santa Marta, donde íbamos a ver un par de fincas de propiedad y operadas por Avicanna, una compañía canadiense de investigación de cannabinoides que recientemente se asoció con una de las compañías agrícolas más grandes del mundo. Hasta la fecha, también es la única empresa enfocada en el cannabis que ha sido aceptada en la incubadora de Johnson & Johnson, JLABS @ Toronto, según informó High Times en 2017.

Dejando de lado todos los detalles, la finca extinguió cualquier duda que quedara en nuestras mentes sobre el cannabis en Colombia: ¡La tierra de Shakira y Carlos Vives está explotando con algo más que música pop!

Un poco de contexto

El mes pasado, la empresa colombiana Ecomedics S.A.S. ( quien tiene negocios como Clever Leaves) se convirtió en la primera empresa en enviar legalmente cannabis a Canadá, en lo que se convirtió en la primera exportación en recibir una autorización tanto de Health Canada como del Fondo Nacional de Estupefacientes de Colombia para exportar.

Otras grandes empresas que cotizan en bolsa, como Khiron Life Sciences, Pharmacielo, Aphria, Wayland Group, Chemesis International, Cronos Group, Canopy Growth y Aurora Cannabis también han realizado inversiones multimillonarias en el país.

En realidad, Colombia comenzó a trazar un camino hacia la legalización hace casi 30 años, cuando se aprobó la Ley 30, que legalizó la producción médica. Sin embargo, no fue hasta 2015 que se estableció un conjunto de regulaciones y la producción de cannabis se legalizó oficialmente.

Hoy en día, las formas psicoactivas y no psicoactivas de cannabis son legales, siempre que se sean con fines médicos y científicos. El uso recreativo para adultos sigue siendo ilegal, pero la Corte Suprema despenaliza la posesión de hasta 20 gramos y el cultivo de hasta 20 plantas.

Las regulaciones que rigen las exportaciones de cannabis siguen evolucionando: el informe 2019 de New Frontier Data sobre el mercado latinoamericano de cannabis establece que solo se permite la exportación de productos derivados del petróleo. Incluso el envío hito de Clever Leaves es aún más prometedor que un hecho, ya que el primer lote exportado está destinado solo para pruebas de laboratorio, en lugar de para la venta.

De cero a cien en segundo

Primero visitamos las instalaciones de cannabis de Avicanna en mayo de 2018, como parte de un viaje que giró en torno a un simposio sobre cannabis medicinal en Santa Marta.

El equipo de Avicanna mencionó que estaban construyendo uno de los primeros cultivos de marihuana legal en Colombia y se ofreció a darnos un recorrido. Nos advirtieron que aún no había mucho, a excepción de algunos edificios y algunos trabajadores. Sin embargo, el paisaje de ensueño de un próximo sitio de cultivo montañoso, a pocos kilómetros de las playas de arena blanca y los picos nevados aún más blancos, fue definitivamente un espectáculo digno de contemplar.

Sin tener idea de la magia que nos esperaba en los terrenos de Avicanna, visitamos el mismo día, cuando resultó que, las primeras plántulas pequeñas de la compañía llegaron desde sus instalaciones de enfermería y propagación. Cuando el equipo se preparó para plantar cuidadosamente cada pequeño clon en su maceta, nos dimos cuenta de que esto se convertiría en un gran anochecer: las plantas tenían que estar en el suelo antes de que saliera el sol de nuevo para que sus ciclos permanecieran sin cambios.

Observamos como el legendario productor Sergio Puerta (que tiene más de 30 años de experiencia en el cultivo de hierba) sonreía al ver sus bebés plantados legalmente, por primera vez.

Puerta ha perdido amigos, sueño y cosechas enteras debido a políticas de prohibición sin sentido; por lo tanto, la perspectiva de cultivar cannabis a cielo abierto fue un sueño hecho realidad. Incluso sus padres y su esposa estaban allí para presenciar el momento histórico.

Después de nuestra visita a Avicanna, pasamos el resto de la semana en el simposio, hablando con científicos, ejecutivos y productores de cannabis sobre el destino de Colombia para convertirse en un productor de cannabis de clase mundial. Sin embargo, a pesar de lo interesantes que fueron estas conversaciones, nos dejaron un tanto decepcionados: el concepto de campos de cannabis que se extendían por kilómetros parecía ser más una charla que una realidad.

En ese momento, las plantaciones de “cannabis” de Colombia estaban vacíos, a excepción de algunas excavadoras recorriendo los campos. Luego nos enteramos, que las empresas que poseen licencias en este momento apenas estaban comenzando a plantar, ya que en ese entonces el estado sólo había comenzado a emitir permisos.

Regreso al Imperio del Cañamo

A medida que pasaban los meses, nos preguntábamos qué podría pasar con el potencial de Colombia para convertirse en uno de los mayores productores de cannabis del mundo. Calculamos que el potencial estaba destinado a realizarse más temprano que tarde, especialmente considerando que se necesitan cinco centavos para producir un gramo de cannabis en Colombia, frente a $ 1.50 en Canadá.

Pero si bien había mucho que decir sobre el potencial de Colombia, aún teníamos que presenciar pruebas materiales de que realmente se había convertido en esta tierra prometida. Por lo que sabemos, esto podría ser fácilmente un fracaso.

Luego, a principios de enero, más de seis meses después de nuestra última visita a Colombia, recibimos una llamada de Aras Azadian, CEO de Avicanna que trabaja en la sede de la compañía en Canadá, y Lucas Nosiglia, el presidente de la firma para América Latina.

“Estamos a punto de comenzar la cosecha”, nos dijeron, y saltamos ante la perspectiva de llegar a ver la primera cosecha comercial de cannabis en Colombia. Dos semanas más tarde, abordamos un avión en Miami (con temores injustificados de demoras en los aeropuertos causadas por el cierre del gobierno de los Estados Unidos) y en pocas horas regresamos. Después de haber escondido nuestros suéteres en nuestras bolsas, ahora estábamos tomando el sol del Caribe.

Un conductor que llevaba un cuello en V de la compañía nos estaba esperando afuera del aeropuerto junto al mar. Nos reunimos con él en la parte trasera de una enorme camioneta y nos alejamos. Se sentía como si fuéramos personajes de una vieja película del cártel de la droga, a punto de encontrarnos con el poderoso narcotraficante para llegar a un acuerdo. Pero no, negamos con la cabeza, eso era un paradigma del viejo mundo.

Colombia se estaba volviendo legal, y todo lo que estábamos haciendo allí estaba estrictamente dentro de la ley. Nos acomodamos en una sensación de comodidad, con emoción, mientras esperábamos ver lo que estos muchachos habían logrado en solo seis meses.

De los sueños a la realidad

Nuestro recorrido comenzó en un laboratorio y un cultivo interior. Todo se veía bien, inesperadamente de alta tecnología (especialmente teniendo en cuenta que estábamos en medio de las montañas en el Caribe), pero totalmente en línea con lo que habíamos visto antes en nuestros muchos recorridos por las instalaciones de cultivo de los Estados Unidos.

Javier Hasse

Las personas que nos guiaban sonrieron. Sabían que era lo que más esperábamos ver, pero, por supuesto, los colombianos saben cómo mantener lo mejor para lo último.

Mientras caminábamos por la colina, cada paso se sentía como un latido. Sabíamos que estábamos a punto de ver crecer a los mismos bebés, pero no esperábamos que la escena se pareciera tanto a nuestra fantasía: un vasto campo de cultivos al aire libre, enraizado en el suelo, y protegido solo por un techo de lienzo delgado.

Las imágenes hablan el resto.

Primero nos llevaron a través del área de caracterización e investigación (o “barco”, como se les llamaba), donde se encontraban aproximadamente 60 variedades diferentes de cannabis, todas maduras y listas para cosechar. A continuación, fueron los barcos comerciales. Allí, todas las plantas se veían exactamente iguales, y por una buena razón, ya que la empresa solo está cultivando dos manchas de cepas con bajo contenido de THC y dominantes de CDB con fines comerciales, tanto para el mercado médico legal de Colombia como para las exportaciones.

Pero lo que vimos allí fue mucho más que una hermosa cosecha de cannabis. Fue el presagio confirmador del futuro de Colombia. La tierra del cannabis. Legal, y para el mundo.

The post Descubriendo el boom del Cannabis en Colombia appeared first on High Times.

Colorado Supreme Court Rules Police Need Probable Cause Before Using Drug-Sniffing Dogs

In many ways, the legalization of marijuana is an ongoing project, even in states where possession has already been made legal. That’s because after weed is legal, there are all sorts of other legal questions and implications that arise.

The legality and role of drug-sniffing dogs is one example. Prior to legalization, K-9 units were typically trained to detect a broad range of illegal substances. And that included cannabis.

But when weed becomes legal in a state, the legal system must suddenly figure out what to do about these dogs. Specifically, state legal systems must determine if it’s still legal to have dogs alert cops to the presence of legal amounts of marijuana.

These are questions being asked in Colorado. And now, the Colorado Supreme Court has made its decision. In a new ruling, the state’s courts have decided that drug-sniffing dogs can no longer be used by cops if they don’t have probable cause for a search.

Colorado Supreme Court’s New Decision

The new decision states that cops can’t use pot-sniffing dogs before they have first established probable cause that a crime has been committed.

This is a big break from the past. Prior to this decision, drug-sniffing dogs were often the mechanism through which cops created probable cause. Basically, if a dog alerted cops to drugs, that in itself authorized a search.

But cops in Colorado can’t do that anymore. At least not with dogs that are trained to detect cannabis. From the sounds of things, cops will still be able to use dogs as long as they are not trained to detect weed.

The main reason for the new decision is that K-9 units are trained to signal if they detect illegal substances. But the dogs don’t distinguish between weed or anything else. As a result, dogs trained to smell weed pose a threat to peoples’ right to possess marijuana.

“The dog’s sniff arguably intrudes on a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in lawful activity,” Supreme Court Justice William Hood wrote in the majority’s decision. “If so, that intrusion must be justified by some degree of particularized suspicion of criminal activity.”

It seems likely that police dogs will not be trained to detect cannabis anymore. But it’s unclear what will happen to dogs already trained to smell weed.

According to the Canon City Daily Record, approximately 20 percent of Colorado’s police dogs are currently trained to alert cops to the presence of weed.

A Tight Decision

Interestingly, the court’s decision was a close call. Specifically, the decision won by a narrow 4-3 margin.

Much of the minority’s dissent came down to concerns over federal law. Namely, the conflicts between federal and state law. Under federal law, dogs can still be used to sniff out weed. But now, that’s no longer the case in Colorado.

“I believe the most significant aspect . . . today concerns the question of federal supremacy,” the minority opinion said.

Colorado’s new ruling will not apply to federal agencies operating in the state. In many ways, all of this highlights the ongoing tensions between federal and state cannabis laws.

The post Colorado Supreme Court Rules Police Need Probable Cause Before Using Drug-Sniffing Dogs appeared first on High Times.

The Illinois Hemp Industry Is About To Explode

Within two days of announcing the opening of license applications for growing hemp, the Illinois Department of Agriculture received roughly 350 applications. According to the Lincoln Courier, that number has since grown to 575 applications in the past couple weeks. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has already issued 341 licenses for growing and 79 for processing, as of last Friday.

According to Jeff Cox, Chief of the Bureau of Medicinal Plants at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, a lot of this excitement comes from farmers wanting to branch out from the state’s traditional crops, such as corn and soybeans. “Corn and soybean prices have not been the best over the past few years, and so I think they see this as an opportunity to have a different source of income on their farm,” Cox told the Lincoln Courier.

Morgan Booth, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture told the Chicago Tribune that they were expecting this kind of enthusiasm among farmers. “We knew there was a lot of interest in it,” says Booth. “We were very pleasantly surprised.”

Back in late December of 2018, after the Farm Bill was signed into law, the Illinois Department of Agriculture was quick to jump on the hemp train. They announced their intentions to submit plans for a program to the federal Department of Agriculture, opened a 90-day public comment period, and finalized the rules in April. The state’s regulators hoped to expedite the process and have farmers growing hemp by June 1, which appears to be successful. Dozens of hemp farmers throughout the state are anticipating their first crops will be in the soil by the end of the month.

The post The Illinois Hemp Industry Is About To Explode appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.