Learn How To Make THC Oil That Will Work In An E-Cig

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Can you make THC oil that will work in an e-cig by yourself on a budget? Cartridges pre-filled with THC have been rapidly increasing in popularity due to their convenience and stealth factor. But if you don’t have access to pre-filled cartridges and don’t want to pay the premium price, you can totally DIY it. It won’t be as smooth and tasty as some of the best vape pens on the market, but it will still get you high on the go.

What You’ll Need

Learn How To Make THC Oil That Will Work In An E-Cig

If you have access to cannabis concentrates, you can make THC oil for e-pens in less time. If not, you can still use cannabis flowers and trimmings.

  • 7 grams of quality flower (more if lower quality) or 1 gram of high-grade cannabis concentrate.
  • 2 glass jars (left in a freezer for 2 hours before the extraction process begins)
  • Strainer
  • Baking sheet or Pyrex bowl
  • Freezer
  • Oven
  • Stovetop
  • Pot for boiling
  • Precise thermometer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking sheet
  • Dropper bottles
  • PEG400 or a mix of polyethylene glycol (PEG), propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG)
  • Everclear or another high percentage alcohol.

Avoid using rubbing alcohol. Even with Everclear, you’ll need a stovetop or a hot plate to boil off any remaining solvent.

Next: Decarboxylation

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Religious Reefer: Is Marijuana Halal?

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As pot continues its quest towards normalcy through legalization and regulation, cannabis culture is, slowly but surely, beginning to infuse with pre-existing societal standards. This even includes religion, where the plant is starting to leave its mark. It’s considered kosher, even for Passover, within the Jewish religion, and it has even made its way into certain sectors of the Christian faith—albeit, with some controversy. However, in addition to its pre-existing ties within the aforementioned clerical groups, there is one more question begging to be asked: Is marijuana halal?

The Burning Question

Religious Reefer: Is Marijuana Halal?

Unlike the Jewish faith, in which cannabis has been deemed inherently kosher, marijuana use is somewhat of a grey area in the Islamic religion. Most of it, quite frankly, is left up to interpretation.

The Quran explicitly states that alcohol is considered haram, or in other words forbidden. However, the same cannot be said about cannabis, as the plant’s use is not specifically outlined for followers of the holy book.

There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to the topic.

Recreational use, for example, appears to be forbidden by Islamic law. One of Prophet Muhammed’s well-known hadiths was: “If much intoxicates, then even a little is haram.”

This, by interpretation, would include cannabis.

So in lamen’s terms, if smoking a large amount of weed can get you high (which it clearly does), then, according to Muhammad’s school of thought, even a small amount of the plant should be outlawed wholeheartedly.

So upon first glance, it appears cannabis isn’t technically considered halal.

But we haven’t touched upon medical marijuana yet.

According to the vice-chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Ismail Ali, medical marijuana would not be considered haram, if used for the right reasons.

“Muslims believe that there is no disease or illness that comes from God that can afflict humans that doesn’t have some sort of cure, some sort of medicine or treatment,” Ali told Forward.com. “My interpretation of whether or not a substance itself is haram, or prohibited, depends on intention. The intention of behavior in Islam is one of the most crucial determining factors for whether something is wrong.”

However, the exact definition of medicinal use is also up for interpretation.

For example, some Muslims debate its usage for psychological ailments such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. While physical illnesses and terminal diseases would certainly constitute cannabis consumption, conservative members of the Islamic church still consider the plant harem in lesser cases.

Final Hit: Is Marijuana Halal?

Religious Reefer: Is Marijuana Halal?

So, is marijuana halal?

Well, the jury is still out on that one. But from what we have gathered, recreational cannabis is considered haram under higher Islamic laws, while medicinal use, in most cases, would be considered permissible.

However, despite the ambiguity surrounding recreational cannabis, it has long been considered a part of Islamic culture.

For example, Arab countries such as Afghanistan and Morocco, have grown the plant in their countries for centuries. Additionally, it has been prevalent in Muslim-majority countries for spiritual and ceremonial usage.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for what exact instances result in marijuana being considered haram, but we do know this— it remains a part of Islamic culture, halal or not.

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California Pot Farms Hit By Wildfires Receive Neighborly Aid

The post California Pot Farms Hit By Wildfires Receive Neighborly Aid appeared first on High Times.

Natural disasters, for all the havoc and devastation they bring, tend to bring out the best in people. Faced with such overwhelming loss, the normal “every person for themselves” mentality that normally prevails is cast aside, and people come together to organize for mutual aid. When hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas, for example, reports that some vultures were trying to sell cases of bottled water for $400 generated enormous outrage, even though the “logic” of supply-and-demand would demand nothing less. The point is, ideas which usually generate ridicule in a capitalist society—redistributing resources, organizing mutual aid, breaking down borders—suddenly become not just a possibility, but a necessity for survival. So when we see California pot farms hit by wildfires receive neighborly aid from Oregon, we smile inside. The cannabis industry is looking out for its own.

Dozens Of California Marijuana Farms Up In Flames

California Pot Farms Hit By Wildfires Receive Neighborly Aid

When epic, record-breaking wildfires swept through Northern California this summer, they burned up about three dozen outdoor marijuana farms.

Picture full-grown, luscious plants. A crop at its peak. Just about ready for harvest. Millions of dollars’ worth of plants. The raw materials destined for store shelves when the legal recreational market takes effect on January 1, 2018.

What’s left of that idyllic scene, if there’s anything left of it at all, is covered in ash. The rest, completely destroyed.

You might be thinking, “good thing for insurance.” But federally backed crop insurance isn’t available for marijuana farmers.

Most other farmers can take advantage of the Federal Crop Insurance Act. But not farmers who grow a plant that the federal government considers a Schedule I drug.

Nor are cannabis crops eligible for federal disaster relief or emergency assistance.

So all that potential pot profit? Up in flames. Along with the houses and belongings of the people who made their farms their homes.

Pot Solidarity: California Pot Farms Hit By Wildfires Receive Neighborly Aid

California Pot Farms Hit By Wildfires Receive Neighborly Aid

David McNew/Getty Images

Federal prohibition made marijuana farmers ineligible for crop insurance. But the state of California hasn’t stepped up to help much, either.

Dennis Rosatti, who’s on the board of the Sonoma Country Growers Alliance, told Oregon TV station KVAL that many of the farms lost to the wildfires had yet to be licensed by the state, which made them ineligible for state insurance. In short, the farms had no options for insuring their crops.

And that’s when California’s neighbors to the north stepped up.

Through a campaign called Buds Without Borders, Oregon cannabis businesses are raising money to help farmers in California recover.

The campaign launched this week on “Giving Tuesday,” a day which encourages people to give money to charitable causes. For now, the campaign is the only program where California pot farms hit by wildfires are receiving neighborly aid specifically from Oregon. But that shouldn’t stop you. You can help too!

For his part, Rosatti hopes the campaign can help farms rebuild.

“Political borders are lines on a map,” he said. “If I’ve seen anything in these fires, it’s that communities come together. The resilience is so amazing.”

Establishing these kinds of networks of mutual support are crucial, especially now. With human-driven climate change creating the conditions that fan the flames of wildfires like these, this won’t be the last time California marijuana farms go up in smoke.

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Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers About Marijuana

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In a letter addressed to the nominee for the Department of Human and Health Services, Elizabeth Warren demands answers about marijuana. The nominee in question is Alex Azar. Chosen by Donald Trump, Azar formerly served as the president of a major pharmaceutical company in the United States. Here’s what Senator Warren wants him to answer.

Senator Warren And Weed

Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers About Marijuana

The world of politics is pretty hazy right now.

In case you need a refresher, Elizabeth Warren is a United States senator hailing from the great state of Massachusetts. Elected in 2012 as a member of the Democratic Party, she’s a popular figure among party members, both in her state and throughout the country. As a politician, she champions causes like LGBT rights, abortion rights and better healthcare.

And speaking of health, she supports both medical and recreational cannabis.

Two years ago, Senator Warren urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the use of cannabis as a means to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. Specifically, to study the application of cannabis as a replacement for the overprescribed painkillers that are easily abused.

That was two years ago, and the opioid epidemic is still in crisis mode. The situation is dire, and she isn’t backing down.

In a 21-page letter to Trump’s nominee for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Warren demands answers about marijuana.

“Medical marijuana has the potential to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis,” she wrote. Warren cites relevant data from Colorado to support her assertion. She then asks the following questions:

  1. As HHS Secretary, what would you do to further study this potential alternative to opioids?
  2. Are you committed to implementing evidence-based policies regarding its use?
  3. What steps will you take to improve our knowledge of the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana when used for medical purposes?

Senator Warren is a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

Alex Azar

Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers About Marijuana

Reuters

Today, Alex Azar testified before HELP in a preliminary hearing before his confirmation hearing.

From 2001 to 2007, Azar worked under former President George W. Bush in the Department of Health and Human Services. First General Counsel in 2001, he shot up the ladder to Deputy Secretary in 2005. His last year in the position was in 2007.

Between then and now, Azar enjoyed high-ranking positions in Eli Lilly and Company—a major, global pharmaceutical company. From 2007 to 2009, he was the company’s premiere lobbyist. And then, from 2012 to January 2017, he was the President of Lilly USA, LLC. This position put him in charge of the largest branch of the company. Under his leadership, drug prices skyrocketed.

Eli Lilly has the distinction of being the first pharmaceutical company to mass-produce life-saving drugs, like the polio vaccine, penicillin and insulin. They are also the leading manufacturers of Methadone and Prozac.

Final Hit: Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers About Marijuana

In an age where everything in Washington seems to be clouded with uncertainty, it’s nice to know that there are at least a few politicians who are fighting the good fight. Even though HELP doesn’t have an authoritative role in the confirmation of Alex Azar, Senator Warren is doing her part to bring pressing matters to the forefront. We can only hope that the right people take her concerns and questions into consideration when it’s time for the full Senate to vote on this nominee.

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New FlavRx Line Contains Up To 90 Percent THC

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We’re excited to announce the drop of the new potent FlavRx Black Label line. Each product is made with the connoisseur in mind. FlavRx uses top-shelf extracts that have 80 to 90 percent THC to fill the inside of their pre-filled Black Label vape pens and cartridges. The new FlavRx line makes it easy to stay blasted when you’re out and about.

Black Label Disposable Vape Pens

New FlavRX Line Contains Up To 90 Percent THC

The new FlavRx line has two disposable, pre-filled vape pens: the Black Label Disposable Joint and the Black Label Disposable Stick. Since they are disposable, you won’t have to deal with packing a messy wax pen. Furthermore, you won’t even have to find a compatible battery, it’s all in one!

The main difference between the joint and the stick is the size.

The stick is the larger version of the 300 mg joint. The stick comes with 200 mg of extra oil, making it the longest lasting disposable vape pen in the line-up.

Both the stick and the joint feature an upgraded ceramic heating element.

FlavRx Retractable Pocket Companion

New FlavRX Line Contains Up To 90 Percent THC

Ever dropped a cartridge only to pick it back up and find it broken with your precious oils spilling out? FlavRx feels you.

That’s why they invented the refillable, retractable, pocket companion vaporizer. The glass portion of the cartridge retracts into the vaporizer’s shell to protect from falls and pocket pressure. So you can rest easy without having to check your pocket every five minutes to make sure your cartridge is still intact.

The refillable vaporizer comes with a high-grade ceramic heating element and several colors to choose from. Syringes for refilling will be available soon. The battery comes in gold, rose gold, silver, gunmetal black and gloss black.

Black Label THC Cartridges & Battery

New FlavRX Line Contains Up To 90 Percent THC

The Black Label Cartridge is a huge upgrade from the OG FlavRx cartridge design.

The cartridge is a completely new design with an elegant metal finish.

The round mouthpiece and adjustable airflow valve allow users to customize their clouds. If it’s heating up too much, allow more air to flow through for a smoother smoke. Not enough cloud for you? Close the valve up some so that vapor is given enough time to build up.

If 500 mg doesn’t seem to last long enough for you, you’re in the market for FlavRx’s Double Black Label Cartridge.

The Double Black Label is filled with a whopping 1000 mg of ultra-refined Black Label oils. FlavRx made a battery custom tailored for optimally heating their oils. There are three temperature settings and the heating element is ceramic.

If you want the Double Black Label experience with added stealth, the company has an upgraded Flip Key Battery that can be adjusted to three different settings: 2.7V, 3.1V and 3.6V. The lowest setting will grant you more flavor, whereas the highest setting will have you blowing smoke like a chimney.

Final Hit: New FlavRx Line Will Get You Higher Than Ever Before

New FlavRX Line Contains Up To 90 Percent THC

The Black Label line was made for people looking to get higher while keeping things simple and lowkey. Once you finish a cartridge or disposable pen, you can toss it straight into the recycling bin. If you enjoy the potency of a wax pen but not the hassle, you’ll love the new FlavRx line.

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The Hiring Dilemma Facing The Cannabis Industry

The business of cannabis is starting to mature and the industry as a whole is gearing up for rapid expansion. This means that pharmaceutical companies, dispensaries and other cannabis-focused businesses are starting to expand their executive teams. However, finding qualified candidates is proving to be an incredibly challenging task, due to the shallow talent pool of leaders with cannabis-related experience, the volatility of the industry and its lingering public perception problems. Companies must therefore dip into other, related talent pools. Here are some factors to consider when beginning the hiring process:

Desired Experience

The ideal candidate to fill an executive role in the medical cannabis industry needs to possess a unique skill set and extensive experience. One obvious source of candidates are peopleIt is important to be resilient in the face of intense criticism and have a thick skin. Diplomatic strength is required. who have hands-on leadership credentials in the pharmaceutical industry, given the highly regulated nature of both the business and consumer sectors. Other good talent sources are the tobacco industry and consumer healthcare services (such as hospitals and other kinds of medical centers).

Due to the evolving nature of the cannabis industry and the intense scrutiny it is under, executives will need to be well acquainted with how to manage compliance with governmental regulations and keep up-to-date on upcoming rule changes and potential legislation. This is especially true for dispensaries, as they are often arriving right after a state vote occurs, leaving no room for error when it comes to knowing and adapting to a state’s unique rules and regulations.

It is also important for a candidate to possess both business and consumer experience, not only on the medical and regulatory side of the business, but also the sales process. A large part of what medical executives do is indirect marketing through their interactions with people — both business affiliates and consumers. Having an executive with poor communication skills could prove to be costly down the line. 

Recommended Personality Characteristics

Due to the controversial nature of the business, a potential executive needs to possess a number of characteristics or personality traits. As with other industry sectors that face similar public approbation, including the tobacco industry, it is not a job for the thin-skinned or easily discouraged. Important traits to look for include:

Flexibility: Due to the evolving nature of the industry and its rapid growth, you cannot possibly control everything and everyone. Remaining flexible is the only way to remain sane and successful during this phase of industry expansion.This ability to easily communicate with diverse audiences is a strong indicator of success.

Resiliency: The cannabis industry is often vilified, and as a result so are the businesses and employees who work in it. It is important to be resilient in the face of intense criticism and have a thick skin. Diplomatic strength is required.

Adaptability: A candidate should be comfortable and credible talking about scientific and business issues one minute, and consumer issues the next. This ability to easily communicate with diverse audiences is a strong indicator of success.

Passion: If a candidate possesses passion for the cause and the medical and therapeutic value of cannabis, there is a much greater chance that they will weather the storm. Having someone who genuinely cares will show in every facet of the way they conduct business — from discussing quality of life to discussing the scientific background to relating to patients.

Hiring at an executive level is never easy and in the case of the cannabis industry, it is infinitely more challenging than most. It is imperative to never “settle” on a candidate simply because time is an issue. Having someone on your recruiting staff, or using a professional recruiter who has deep experience in the medical, pharmaceutical or consumer healthcare industries is also helpful, as they can “speak the language” of recruits and thoroughly answer their questions. Their credibility can help a candidate determine if the cannabis industry is right for them. Finding a quality candidate who understands the industry, the regulations and has a passion for their work will serve your business well as the cannabis industry matures.

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Ask The Expert: Exploring Cannabis Laboratory Accreditation Part 4

In the first part of this series, we spoke with Michelle Bradac, senior accreditation officer at A2LA, to learn the basics of cannabis laboratory accreditation. In the second part, we sat down with Roger Brauninger, A2LA Biosafety Program manager, to learn why states are looking to lab accreditation in their regulations for the cannabis industry. In the third part, we heard from Michael DeGregorio, chief executive officer of Konocti Analytics, Inc., discussing method development in the cannabis testing industry and his experience with getting accredited.

In the fourth and final part of this series, we sit down with Susan Audino, Ph.D., an A2LA lead assessor and instructor, laboratory consultant and board member for the Center for Research on Environmental Medicine in Maryland. Dr. Audino will share some insights into method validation and the most technical aspects of laboratory accreditation.

Susan Audino, Ph.D.

Susan Audino obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry with an analytical chemistry major, physical and biochemistry minor areas. She currently owns and operates a consulting firm to service chemical and biological laboratories. Susan has been studying the chemistry and applications of cannabinoids and provides scientific and technical guidance to cannabis dispensaries, testing laboratories and medical personnel. Dr. Audino’s interest most directly involves cannabis consumer safety and protection, and promotes active research towards the development of official test methods specifically for the cannabis industry, and to advocate appropriate clinical research. In addition to serving on Expert Review Panels, she is also chairing the first Cannabis Advisory Panel and working group with AOAC International, is a member of the Executive Committee of the ASTM Cannabis Section and has consulted to numerous cannabis laboratories and state regulatory bodies.

CannabisIndustryJournal: What are the some of the most significant technical issues facing an accreditation body when assessing a cannabis-testing laboratory?

Susan: From the AB perspective, there needs to be a high level of expertise to evaluate the merits and scientific soundness of laboratory-developed analytical test methods. Because there are presently no standard or consensus test methods available, laboratories are required to develop their own methods, which need to be valid. Validating methods require a rigorous series of tests and statistical analyses to ensure the correctness and reliability of the laboratory’s product, which is– the test report.

CIJ: When is method validation required and how does this differ from system suitability?

Susan: Method validation is required whenever the laboratory modifies a currently accepted consensus or standard test method, or when the laboratory develops its own method. Method validation is characterized by a series of analytical performance criteria including determinations of accuracy, precision, linearity, specification, limit of detection, and limit of quantitation. The determination of system suitability requires a series of deliberate variations of parameters to ensure the complete system, that is all instrument(s) as well as the analytical method, is maintained throughout the entire analytical process. Traditionally, method validation has been referred to as “ruggedness” and system suitability as “robustness.”

CIJ: What are the most important aspects of method validation that must be taken into account? 

Susan: In keeping with the FDA guidelines and other accepted criteria, I tend to recommend the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), particularly Q 2A, which is a widely recognized program that discusses the pertinent characteristics of method validation. This include: method specification, linearity, range, accuracy, and precision (e.g., repeatability, intermediate precision, reproducibility). As mentioned earlier, system suitability is also a critical element and although related to method validation, does require its own protocol.

CIJ: What three areas do you see the laboratory having the hardest time with in preparing for accreditation? 

Susan: My responses to this question assume the laboratory employs appropriate instruments to perform the necessary analyses, and that the laboratory employs personnel with experience and knowledge appropriate to develop test methods and interpret test results.

  • By and large, method validation that is not appropriate to the scope of their intended work. Driving this is an overall lack of information about method validation. Oftentimes there is an assumption that multiple recoveries of CRMs constitute “validation”. While it may be one element, this only demonstrates the instrument’s suitability. My recommendation is to utilize any one of a number of good single laboratory validation protocols. Options include, but are not limited to AOAC International, American Chemical Society, ASTM, and ICH protocols.
  • Second is the lack of statistically sound sampling protocols for those laboratories that are mandated by their governing states to go to the field to sample the product from required batches. Sampling protocols needs to address the heterogeneity of the plant, defining the batch, and determining/collecting a sample of sufficient quantity that will be both large enough and representative of the population, and to provide the laboratory an adequate amount from which to sub-sample.
  • Third, sample preparation. This is somewhat intertwined with my previous point. Once an appropriate sample has been collected, preparation must be relevant to the appropriate technology and assay. It is unlikely that a laboratory can perform a single preparation that is amenable to comprehensive testing.

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These Texas Cities Are Making Headway On Marijuana Reform

The post These Texas Cities Are Making Headway On Marijuana Reform appeared first on High Times.

Law enforcement officials in Dallas, Texas are adopting a new program with a name that might resonate with anglers in the Lone Star state, even though it has nothing to do with fishing. Instead, Dallas’ new plan aims to help first-time marijuana offenders off the hook. Elsewhere, in El Paso, city representatives are looking to reduce penalties for first-time misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Are these programs signs that Texas cities are making headway on marijuana reform?

“Cite And Release” Gets Petty Pot Offenders Off The Hook in Dallas

On Friday, December 1, Dallas will implement a program called “cite and release.” The program aims to eliminate the immediate consequences for anyone caught in possession of a misdemeanor quantity of cannabis.

In Texas, cannabis possession of up to four ounces is considered a misdemeanor offense. Possession under two ounces carries a penalty of 180 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine. Quantities between two and four ounces carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Currently, police officers in Dallas arrest anyone caught with weed on the spot, and suspects are taken into custody.

However, as the name suggests, the “cite and release” program forgoes the arrest. Instead, police officers issue a citation and release the suspect.

But it’s crucial to understand that the citation isn’t a simple “weed ticket.”

In other words, you don’t just pay a fine and move on, which is how it works in states which have decriminalized misdemeanor cannabis possession.

Instead, the citation is a court summons. It requires the suspect to appear before a judge, where the case proceeds as usual.

Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson explains: “This is not legalizing marijuana. The only thing cite and release does is to simply not arrest the suspect on the spot.”

The summons will give suspects roughly two to three weeks before they must appear in court.

Interestingly, the cite and release bill became law in 2007, but cities have not implemented it until now.

El Paso’s First Chance Program Forgives First-Time Offenders

Another initiative signaling that Texas cities are making headway on marijuana reform is currently under debate in El Paso.

The First Chance Program aims to reduce the penalties for first-time misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

In lieu of jail time and criminal charges, the program would allow first-time offenders to complete eight hours of community service and pay a reduced fine.

Two El Paso city representatives, Cassandra Hernandez-Brown and Alexsandra Annello, placed the First Chance Program on the agenda of Tuesday’s city council meeting. But other city council members are hesitant to adopt the program.

One city representative, Henry Rivera, has doubts stemming from his time as a police officer.

“If they are adults, which we are really concerned with, they should already know what is right and wrong,” Rivera said. “State law is state law. No one has rewritten the law to say marijuana is legal just yet.”

But the program is hardly amnesty for first-time marijuana offenders, its advocates explain. District Attorney Jaime Esparza planned to make a presentation to the council to explain how the program actually works.

Furthermore, advocates for the First Chance Program say it could help free up resources for an already under-funded and under-staffed police department in El Paso.

“If we can allocate our police officers to focus on high priority calls, it would mean that we would have better response times,” Hernandez-Brown said.

City council members planned to discuss the future of the First Chance Program at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Some Texas Cities Are Making Headway On Marijuana Reform, But Will Others Follow?

Heading into December, Texas’ fledgling medical marijuana program is finally getting its legs under it. A couple of dispensaries have received approval, with one more in the pipeline. And patients suffering from intractable epilepsy will soon be able to order and receive medical cannabis.

Still, there are several shortcomings to the medical marijuana program, as critics have pointed out. But as Texas begins to gain some progressive momentum with its medical marijuana policy, its harsh criminalization of cannabis possession is gaining some overdue attention.

So while it might not be much, for now, some Texas cities are making headway on marijuana reform, like Dallas and El Paso.

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TV Travel Guide Rick Steves Advocates For Legal Weed

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Rick Steves, who is most famous for his PBS travel show Rick Steves’ Europe, has been a staunch supporter of cannabis legalization for some time now. His widespread advocacy was on full display on Tuesday, when the television travel guide held a press conference with Illinois lawmakers about a bill that could potentially legalize cannabis in the state.

The Dream Team

Steves made an appearance in Chicago on Tuesday with Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy—the sponsors of the proposed legalization bill.

Steve’s message on cannabis was simple: People are going to do it whether it’s legal or not. He panned the prohibition of the plant and said it should be taxed and regulated, rather than sold on the black market.

“This is not a pro-pot movement. This is an anti-prohibition movement,” Steves said at the conference.

Despite his clamoring for the legalization of cannabis, Steves admitted that there are still some downfalls when it comes to pot.

“It’s not good for you. It can be abused,” Steves said. However, he also went on to say most cannabis laws are unjustly applied to the poor, as well as people of color.

Steves, Steans and Cassidy are also set to appear before a state Senate committee hearing about the potential revenue that can be generated from taxing the drug. Steans and Cassidy noted that Illinois could be poised to garner hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue if cannabis is legalized and regulated.

Rick Steves Advocates For Legal Weed

Steves has had somewhat of an illustrious history supporting the legalization of cannabis. You can trace his progressive roots all the way back to the 1980s when he appeared anonymously on a radio show as a “responsible businessman who supports drug law reform.”

Additionally, Steves was a staunch supporter of the legalization of recreational cannabis in his hometown of Washington back in 2012. He’s also a board member of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), a cannabis advocacy group.

In addition to the potential profit to be made from cannabis sales, Steves maintains the stance that the prohibition of marijuana causes more problems than it actually solves and also that it promotes drug wars amongst black market dealers.

“Marijuana is a huge underground business in our state—some experts estimate that it’s our second biggest crop, after apples. Untold billions of untaxed dollars are enriching gangs and empowering organized crime. And tens of thousands have died in Mexico because of the illegal drug trade in the USA. Facing this challenge, we believe the safest approach is to bring cannabis out of the black market and regulate it,” Steves said on his website.

Steves has also pointed to the success of European countries, such as the Netherlands and Portugal, where cannabis was made legal, yet usage remains lower than in the U.S.

“European societies have learned that the only thing “gateway” about marijuana is its illegality.”

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Protecting Your Cannabis Plant IP

You’ve bred a new strain of cannabis, or perhaps discovered an excellent new hybrid outgrowing the other plants in your cannabis plot. Can you claim the new plant as yours and legally protect it? The short answer is potentially yes. The long answer follows below:

Plant Patents


Since a 1930s’ Act passed by Congress, the US government has permitted a person land, and (ii) asexually reproduces that plant, to apply for a Plant Patent. If granted, the Plant Patent will protect the patent holder’s right to “exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale and importing the plant, or any of its parts.” In other words, if you have a Plant Patent, you have a monopoly on that particular plant and its progeny plants, as long as they are asexually reproduced (for example, from cuttings – i.e. a clone). There is a hole in the protection – once you’ve sold or given anyone the plant they can use the seed or pollen from it without your permission.

Originally this sort of coverage was thought to be useful for things like new apple varieties, which are often from spontaneous new mutants found by farmers in their orchards (i.e. “cultivated land”). But is it possible this coverage can be extended to cannabis plants? The answer is yes. Unlike the traditional refusal of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to register “offensive” or “disparaging” trademarks on moral grounds, US patent law does not have any well-established “morality exception.” And, indeed, Plant Patents have already been issued for cannabis strains. In December 2016, US Plant Patent No. 27,475 was issued for a cannabis plant called “Ecuadorian Sativa.” This plant is said to be distinct in its exceptionally high level of a particular terpene (limonene) at levels of 10 to 20 times the usual range, and is a single variety of a cross between what are commonly named as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica.

How do you get a Plant Patent? Firstly – a Plant Patent is not automatically granted. The application has to be written correctly, and the USPTO will examine it to determine if your plant is new and distinct (non-obvious) from other known varieties, that it is described as completely as is reasonably possible, and that it has been asexually propagated. In addition, if the plant was “discovered” as opposed to “invented” then the USPTO will need to be shown that it was found in a cultivated area. A plant discovered simply growing wild cannot be patented. If you pass these hurdles, you will have a Plant Patent that lasts for 20 years.

Utility Patent
 

Another type of patent that can protect your new cannabis plant, and much more besides that, is a Utility Patent. Utility Patents have a longer history than Plant Patents in the US and, while they may be harder to obtain, a Utility Patent gives you broader protection than a Plant Patent. A Utility Patent can cover not only the plant itself, but if properly written can also cover parts of the plant, uses of the plant, methods used to create the plant, methods for processing the plant, and even edibles (like brownies) that contain an extract from that plant. If granted, the Utility Patent will protect your right, for 20 years from the date you filed the application, to “exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.” An additional protection is that if the invention you claim in the patent is a “process,” you can assert the Utility Patent to exclude others from importing into the United States any products made by that process. Of course, given that present U.S. federal law regards cannabis as a DEA Schedule 1 drug, this importation blocking right is currently irrelevant. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that utility patents have a 20-year term, and Federal law may shift during that time.

Utility Patents are harder to obtain than Plant Patents. The USPTO will examine your application to determine whether what you are claiming protection on (for example: plants, cells, methods or processes) is new and non-obvious, does not cover a naturally occurring product or process, and is fully described. The simple description used in a Plant Patent is not enough for the more rigorous description needed in a Utility Patent. In addition, meeting the “enablement requirement” of a Utility Patent may require you to have the plant strain deposited with a recognized depository which will maintain that specimen plant – and you must agree that the public is permitted to access that deposit if a Utility Patent is granted to you.

So has the US government granted any patents on cannabis plants? Yes it has, multiple patents. A recent example is US Utility Patent No. 9,095,554 granted to Biotech Institute LLC (Los Angeles), which covers hybrid cannabis plants of a particular type with a CBD content of greater than 3%, as well as methods of breeding or producing them. Biotech Institute was also granted claims in the same Utility Patent for cannabis extracts from those plants, and edibles containing the extract. In this case, the plant samples were deposited with the NCIMB, which is a recognized depository in Aberdeen, Scotland. It should be noted that while the depository has to be internationally recognized, it does not have to be in the US. Another corporation, GW Pharma Ltd. (a UK firm), was early in the game and, according to USPTO records, has more than 40 U.S. Utility Patents issued relating to cannabis in some form or another, the earliest dating back to 2001.

Plant Variety Protection Act


A third type of protection is potentially available under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) if you breed a new cannabis plant by sexual reproduction. Colloquially, this protection is more often known as “breeder’s rights” and the USDA administers it. This right is not mutually exclusive with other protections – in 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that sexually reproduced plants eligible for protection under the PVPA are also eligible for Utility Patents.

In theory, obtaining a PVPA certificate is a relatively straightforward procedure for seed reproduced plants, which are new, distinct, uniform and stable. If you are granted a PVP certificate it will last for 20 years from the grant date. You can bring a civil action against someone who sells, offers for sale, delivers, ships or reproduces the covered plant. So have any PVPA Certificates been issued for new cannabis strains? We have reviewed the USDA published certificates for the last two years and have not found any. Why is this? One obstacle may be what happens after you file your application. The US code governing these certificates states that a seed sample “will be deposited and replenished periodically in a public repository.” However, the government body that administers the PVPA, the USDA, specifically requires that all applicants submit a seed sample of at least 3,000 seeds with an 85% or more germination rate within 3 months of filing the application. Sending cannabis seeds in the mail to a federal agency – that’s a deterrent given current uncertainty. Ironically, the location that the seeds must be sent to is Fort Collins in Colorado, a state where cannabis has been decriminalized. The USDA’s published PVPA guidance describes courier delivery of the seed sample to the Fort Collins repository, but does not mention hand delivery of the seed samples. We contacted the seed depository and were informally told that seed samples can be deposited by hand delivery – but this still entails handing over to a federal agency actual seeds of a plant which is a DEA Schedule 1 drug. In any event, no PVPA Certificates that have yet been issued for new cannabis strains. It is possible that a new federal administration might deschedule cannabis, permitting an easier route to PVPA coverage. But for the present at least, PVPA protection may be hard to obtain.

Notice

The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Amster, Rothstein & Ebenstein, LLP, or its clients. Nothing in this article is to be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice.

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