Minnesota Expands Medical Marijuana Program With More Qualifying Conditions

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota is expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as conditions that can qualify for treatment, state health officials said Monday.

The state Department of Health also said it
would allow more sites where patients can access medical cannabis. The
changes take effect in August, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program began in 2014. Originally, only nine conditions were on the list, but now it covers such conditions as obstructive sleep apnea, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

Sensible
Change Minnesota, a group trying to change marijuana policy in
Minnesota, sought the addition of chronic pain. A doctor’s diagnosis of
chronic pain will be required. It could be easier to certify than
intractable pain, which was added to the program a few years ago.

Minnesota
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the added conditions give more
people more ways to deal with debilitating illness.

“The bottom
line is that people suffering from these serious conditions may be
helped by participating in the program, and we felt it was important to
give them the opportunity to seek that relief,” Malcolm said in a
statement.

Maren Schroeder, policy director for Sensible Change
Minnesota, said doctors have been hesitant to certify intractable pain
cases because that carries a specific legal definition by which pain
cannot be removed but only managed and other options have failed to
achieve results.

“This will give doctors a little more comfort in
getting their pain patients into this program as well as helping those
patients qualify,” Schroeder said.

Residents petitioned to include
the new conditions this summer. Those requests were reviewed by a
citizens panel and Health Department staff. Four conditions were
rejected: anxiety, insomnia, psoriasis and traumatic brain injury.

As
of October, nearly 18,000 patients were certified for the state’s
medical marijuana program. Minnesota’s program is considered relatively
restrictive because patients are not allowed to get marijuana in leaf
form or ingest it through smoking.

Pills, vapors, topical
ointments and liquid gels had been the only forms people could obtain
through licensed manufacturers. Starting next summer, new delivery
methods will include water-soluble cannabinoid, such as powders or
sprinkles, and products such as lozenges, gums, mints and tablets.

In
addition, LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions — the two
licensed manufacturers — will be allowed to open a combined eight more
centers in Minnesota. The Health Department said the proposed centers
are in Blaine, Burnsville, Duluth, Golden Valley, Mankato, Rogers,
Willmar and Woodbury.

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Access To Recreational Cannabis Associated With Decline In OTC Sleep Meds

It’s not the first time that marijuana has proven effective in taking the place of pharmaceutical drugs, but it is another encouraging sign that it can replace certain side effects-plagued prescription drugs. A newly released study shows that sales of over-the-counter sleep aids dropped immediately after the legalization of cannabis in Colorado.

The investigation was conducted by the University of New Mexico and California Polytechnic State University. It studied grocery store scanner data in tracking the numbers of sleep aids that were bought between December, 2013 and December, 2014. Cannabis was legalized in the state in November, 2012 by state amendment 64, and dispensaries started opening across the state soon after.

According to the new study’s results, access to marijuana caused state residents to buy less diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in Benadryl, and doxylamine-based sleep aids like Unisom. The difference became more pronounced as more dispensaries opened in particular counties.

“The negative association between cannabis access and sleep aid sales suggests a consumer preference for cannabis,” concludes the summary of the investigation, which is available online.

Cannabis As Sleep Aid

Cannabis has long been used as an aid in getting a good night’s sleep. Though studies have shown that THC can result in a loss of REM, which can cause a lack of dreams, it has also been suggested to cause longer and more uninterrupted rest as compared to melatonin sleep aids.

Last year, an investigation was published that suggested that Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid that has been approved by the FDA, can be helpful in treating sleep apnea. Patients in the study who took Dronabinol reported that they felt less fatigue and had fewer troubling symptoms related to their condition.

According to the latest Colorado study, cannabis consumers have become aware that they can swap out their over-the-counter sleep aids. That would not be the only instance in which cannabis has been shown to curb the use of other drugs. One 30-month study found that many patients were able to cut down on their use of illegal opioids to treat their chronic pain once they started using medicinal marijuana. In fact, the drop in illicit opioid use was somewhat dramatic — individuals proved 50 percent less likely to use illegal opioids every day when they had a daily cannabis habit.

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke made mention of just this phenomenon during the Democratic Party presidential debates in October, after relating an anecdote about a vet who had entered into danger of becoming addicted to opioids.

“Now imagine that veteran, instead of being prescribed an opioid, had been prescribed marijuana, because we made that legal in America [and] ensured the VA could prescribe it,” the politician said, earning an audible kudos from his opponent Andrew Yang.

Opioids claim the lives of two out of three people who die from a drug overdose in the United States, and casualties related to the drugs have increased by a factor of six since 1999, according to the National Center for Health.

The sleep aids that saw a drop in popularity after Colorado’s legalization were mainly antihistamines, part of a global industry that was valued at nearly $60 billion in 2018.

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High Times Greats: Aleister Crowley On Cocaine

In observance of the anniversary of Aleister Crowley’s death on December 1, we’re republishing a special edition of the erstwhile “Cocaine Confidential” column from the September, 1982 edition of High Times, featuring Crowley’s 1917 essay, “On Cocaine.”


Once upon a time, Aleister Crowley tipped off a zealous decency society in Britain to the “conspicuous signs of prostitution” he’d observed in a tiny Scots town. Considering the source, Crowley himself, to be unimpeachable on such matters, the horrified do-gooders dispatched a morality squad to the spot, at considerable expense. When they presently reported no evidence at all of any such thing, Crowley explained, “It is conspicuous by its absence, fools.”

This is not to say Crowley was entirely sane. After his first wife, whom he called the Ape of Thoth, went wholly crazy, he would hang her by the heels in a closet while he entertained girl friends. He named their first girl-child with a string of misogynistic mystical epithets: Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith Crowley, who died, age five, of typhus in Rangoon. He enjoyed few things more, when he was running his fabulous cult playland on Sicily in the 1920s, than watching his female groupies screw animals, which would be bloodily sacrificed just as they achieved orgasm. The only groupie he hexed to death, though, was male: Crowley had him drink some cat’s blood, ordained a day and hour for him to die, and die he obligingly did, on the very second.

Crowley treated cocaine as a test of pure will: Aleister vs. the Drug. There was no way he’d get strung out behind coke. If legions of weak-willed plebeians might become slaves to cocaine, was that any suitable grounds for prohibiting it from superior immortals like Crowley? He wrote this paper on cocaine in 1917, when Britain was already following the USA’s lead in banning pleasure drugs, to Crowley’s vast displeasure: “We are not under the laws and do not enjoy the liberties which our fathers bequeathed us; we are under a complex and fantastic system of police administration nearly as pernicious as anything even in America.”

To “master” coke, Crowley kept bowls of it around at all times, to be snorted as copiously as possible, and the same with mescaline and heroin. The heroin, of course, got decidedly ahead of him. Unlike coke, which is nonaddictive, smack had a special physical magic beyond even Crowley’s monumental will. But this only developed into a tougher test of his powers; for the rest of his life, he would purposely kick smack every few months, creating brilliant crazy occultist fantasies amid the withdrawals, and then relapse directly back into the shit. Of course he eventually died—in 1947, at the age of 72, after more than 50 years of gargantuan drug abuse.


Of all the graces that cluster about the throne of Venus the most timid and elusive is that maiden whom mortals call Happiness. None is so eagerly pursued; none so hard to win. Indeed, only the saints and martyrs, unknown usually to their fellow men, have made her theirs; and they have attained her by burning out the ego-sense in themselves in the white-hot steel of meditation, by dissolving themselves in that divine ocean of consciousness whose foam is passionless and perfect bliss.

To others, Happiness only comes by chance; when least sought, perhaps she is there. Seek, and ye shall not find; ask, and ye shall not receive; knock, and it shall not be opened unto you. Happiness is always a divine accident. It is not a definite quality; it is the bloom of circumstances. It is useless to mix its ingredients; the experiments in life which have produced it in the past may be repeated endlessly, and with infinite skill and variety—in vain.

It seems more than a fairy story that so metaphysical an entity should yet be producible in a moment by no means of wisdom, no formula of magic, but by a simple herb. The wisest man cannot add happiness to others, though they be dowered with youth, beauty, wealth, wit and love; the lowest blackguard shivering in rags, destitute, diseased, old, craven, stupid, a mere morass of envy, may have it with one swift-sucked breath. The thing is as paradoxical as life, as mystical as death.

Look at this shining heap of crystals! They are hydrochloride of cocaine. The geologist will think of mica; to me, the mountaineer, they are like those gleaming feathery flakes of snow, flowering mostly where rocks jut from the ice of crevassed glaciers that wind and sun have kissed to ghostliness. To those who know not the great hills, they may suggest the snow that spangles trees with blossoms glittering and lucid. The kingdom of faery has such jewels. To him who tastes them in his nostrils—to their acolyte and slave—they must seem as if the dew of the breath of some great demon of immensity were frozen by the cold of space upon his beard.

For there was never any elixir so instant magic as cocaine. Give it to no matter whom. Choose me the last loser on the earth; take hope, take faith, take love away from him. Then look, see the back of that worn hand, its skin discolored and wrinkled, perhaps inflamed with agonizing eczema, perhaps putrid with some malignant sore. He places on it that shimmering snow, a few grains only, a little pile of starry dust. The wasted arm is slowly raised to the head that is little more than a skull; the feeble breath draws in that radiant powder. Now we must wait. One minute—perhaps five minutes.

Then happens the miracle of miracles.

The melancholy vanishes, the eyes shine, the wan mouth smiles. Almost manly vigor returns, or seems to return. At least faith, hope and love throng very eagerly to the dance; all that was lost is found.

The man is happy.

To one the drug may bring liveliness, to another languor, to another creative force, to another tireless energy, to another glamour, and to yet another lust. But each in his way is happy. Think of it!—so simple and so transcendental! The man is happy!

I have traveled in every quarter of the globe; I have seen such wonders of nature that my pen sputters when I try to tell them; I have seen many a miracle of the genius of man; but I have never seen a marvel like this.

Is there not a school of philosophers, cold and cynical, that accounts God to be a mocker? That thinks He takes His pleasure in contempt of the littleness of His creatures? They should base their theses on cocaine! For here is bitterness, irony, cruelty ineffable. This gift of sudden and sure happiness is given but to tantalize. The story of Job holds no such acrid draught. What were more icy hate, fiend comedy than this, to offer such a boon, and add “This you must not take”? Could not we be left to brave the miseries of life, bad as they are, without this master pang, to know perfection of all joy within our reach, and the price of that joy a tenfold quickening of our anguish?

The happiness of cocaine is not passive or placid as that of beasts. It is self conscious. It tells man what he is, and what he might be. It offers him the semblance of divinity, only that he may know himself a worm. It awakens discontent so acutely that never shall it sleep again. It creates hunger. Give cocaine to a man already wise, schooled to the world, morally forceful, a man of intelligence and self-control. If he be really master of himself, it will do him no harm. He will know it for a snare; he will beware of repeating such experiments as he may make; and the glimpse of his goal may possibly even spur him to its attainment by those means which God has appointed for His saints.

But, give it to the clod, to the self-indulgent, to the blasé—to the average man, in a word—and he is lost. He says, and his logic is perfect: This is what I want. He knows not, neither can he know, the true path; and the false path is the only one for him. There is cocaine at his need, and he takes it again and again. The contrast between his grub life and his butterfly life is too bitter for his un-philosophic soul to bear; he refuses to take the brimstone with the treacle.

And so he can no longer tolerate the moments of unhappiness, that is, of normal life, for he now so names it. The intervals between his indulgences diminish.

And alas! the power of the drug diminishes with fearful pace. The doses wax; the pleasures wane. Side-issues, invisible at first, arise; they are like devils with flaming pitchforks in their hands.

A single trial of the drug brings no noticeable reaction in a healthy man. He goes to bed in due season, sleeps well and wakes fresh. South American Indians habitually chew this drug in its crude form, when upon the march, and accomplish prodigies, defying hunger, thirst and fatigue. But they only use it in extremity; and long rest with ample food enables the body to rebuild its capital. Also, savages, unlike most dwellers in cities, have moral sense and force.

The same is true of the Chinese and Indians in their use of opium. Everyone uses it, and only in the rarest cases does it become a vice. It is with them almost as tobacco is with us.

But to one who abuses cocaine for his pleasure nature soon speaks, and is not heard. The nerves weary of the constant stimulation; they need rest and food. There is a point at which the jaded horse no longer answers whip and spur. He stumbles, falls a quivering heap, gasps out his life.

So perishes the slave of cocaine. With every nerve clamoring, all he can do is to renew the lash of the poison. The pharmaceutical effect is over; the toxic effect accumulates. The nerves become insane. The victim begins to have hallucinations. “See! There is a gray cat in that chair. I said nothing, but it has been there all the time.”

Or, there are rats. “I love to watch them running up the curtains. Oh yes! I know they are not real rats. That’s a real rat, though, on the floor. I nearly killed it that time. That is the original rat I saw; it’s a real rat. I saw it first on my windowsill one night.”

Such, quietly enough spoken, is mania. And soon the pleasure passes, is followed by its opposite, as Eros by Anteros.

“Oh no! they never come near me.” A few days pass, and they are crawling on the skin, gnawing interminably and intolerably, loathsome and remorseless.

It is needless to picture the end, prolonged as this may be, for despite the baffling skill developed by the drug lust, the insane condition hampers the patient, and often forced abstinence for a while goes far to appease the physical and mental symptoms. Then a new supply is procured, and with tenfold zest the maniac, taking the bit between his teeth, gallops to the black edge of death.

And before that death comes all the torments of damnation. The time sense is destroyed, so that an hour’s abstinence may hold more horrors than a century of normal time-and-space-bound pain.

Psychologists little understand how the physiological cycle of life, and the normality of the brain, make existence petty both for good and ill. To realize it, fast for a day or two; see how life drags with a constant subconscious ache. With drug hunger, this effect is multiplied a thousandfold. Time itself is abolished. The real metaphysical eternal hell is actually present in the consciousness which has lost its limits without finding Him who is without limit.

Consider the debt of mankind to opium. It is acquitted by the deaths of a few wastrels from its abuse?

For the importance of this paper is the discussion of the practical question: Should drugs be accessible to the public?

Here I pause in order to beg the indulgence of the American people. I am obliged to take a standpoint at once startling and unpopular. I am compelled to utter certain terrible truths. I am in the unenviable position of one who asks others to shut their eyes to the particular that they may thereby visualize the general.

But I believe that in the matter of legislation America is proceeding in the main upon a totally false theory. I believe that constructive morality is better than repression. I believe that democracy, more than any other form of government, should trust the people, as it specifically pretends to do.

Now it seems to me better and bolder tactics to attack the opposite theory at its very strongest point.

It should be shown that not even in the most arguable case is a government justified in restricting use on account of abuse; or allowing justification, let us dispute about expediency.

So, to the bastion—should “habit-forming” drugs be accessible to the public?

The matter is of immediate interest, for the admitted failure of the Harrison Law has brought about a new proposal—one to make bad worse.

I will not here argue “the grand thesis of liberty.” Free men have long since decided it. Who will maintain that Christ’s willing sacrifice of his life was immoral, because it robbed the state of a useful taxpayer?

No. A man’s life is his own, and he has the right to destroy it as he will, unless he too egregiously intrude on the privileges of his neighbors.

But this is just the point. In modern times the whole community is one’s neighbor, and one must not damage that. Very good. Then there are pros and cons, and a balance to be struck.

In America the prohibition idea in all things is carried, mostly by hysterical newspapers, to a fanatical extreme. “Sensation at any cost by Sunday next” is the equivalent in most editorial rooms of the alleged German order to capture Calais. Hence the dangers of anything and everything are celebrated dithyrambically by the Corybants of the press, and the only remedy is prohibition. A shoots B with a revolver; remedy, the Sullivan Law. In practice, this works well enough, for the law is not enforced against the householder who keeps a revolver for his protection, but is a handy weapon against the gangster, and saves the police the trouble of proving felonious intent.

But it is the idea that was wrong. Recently a man shot his family and himself with a rifle fitted with a Maxim silencer. Remedy, a bill to prohibit Maxim silencers! No perception that, if the man had not had a weapon at all, he would have strangled his family with his hands.

American reformers seem to have no idea, at any time or in any connection, that the only remedy for wrong is right; that moral education, self-control, good manners, will save the world; and that legislation is not merely a broken reed, but a suffocating vapor. Further, an excess of legislation defeats its own ends. It makes the whole population criminals, and turns them all into policemen and spies. The moral health of such a people is ruined forever; only revolution can save it.

However, let us concede the prohibitionist claims. Let us admit the police contention that cocaine and the rest are used by criminals who would otherwise lack the nerve to operate. They also contend that the effects of the drugs are so deadly that the cleverest thieves quickly become inefficient. Then for heaven’s sake establish depots where they can get free cocaine!

You cannot cure a drug fiend; you cannot make him a useful citizen. He never was a good citizen, or he would not have fallen into slavery. If you reform him temporarily, at vast expense, risk and trouble, your whole work vanishes like morning mist when he meets his next temptation. The proper remedy is to let him gang his ain gait to the de’il. Instead of less drug, give him more drug, and be done with him. His fate will be a warning to his neighbors, and in a year or two people will have the sense to shun the danger. Those who have not, let them die, too, and save the state. Moral weaklings are a danger to society, in whatever line their failings lie. If they are so amiable as to kill themselves, it is a crime to interfere.

You say that while these people are killing themselves they will do mischief. Maybe. But they are doing it now.

Prohibition has created an underground traffic, as it always does, and the evils of this are immeasurable. Thousands of citizens are in league to defeat the law, are actually bribed by the law itself to do so, since the profits of the illicit trade become enormous, and the closer the prohibition, the more unreasonably big they are. You can stamp out the use of silk handkerchiefs in this way: people say, “All right, we’ll use linen.” But the “cocaine fiend” wants cocaine, and you can’t put him off with Epsom salts. Moreover, his mind has lost all proportion. He will pay anything for the drug. He will never say, “I can’t afford it.” And if the price be high, he will steal, rob, murder to get it. Again I say: You cannot reform a drug fiend. All you do by preventing them from obtaining it is to create a class of subtle and dangerous criminals, and even when you have jailed them all, is anyone any the better?

While such large profits (from 1,000 to 2,000 percent) are to be made by secret dealers, it is to the interest of those dealers to make new victims. And the profits at present are such that it would be worth my while to go to London and back first class to smuggle no more than I could hide in the lining of my overcoat! All expenses paid, and a handsome sum in the bank at the end of the trip! And for all the law, and the spies, and the rest of it, I could sell my stuff with very little risk in a single night in the Tenderloin.

Another point is this: Prohibition cannot be carried to its extreme. It is impossible, ultimately, to withhold drugs from doctors. Now doctors, more than any other single class, are drug fiends, and also, there are many who will traffic in drugs for the sake of money or power. If you possess a supply of the drug, you are the master, body and soul, of any person who needs it.

People do not understand that a drug, to its slave, is more valuable than gold or diamonds. A virtuous woman may be above rubies, but medical experience tells us that there is no virtuous woman in need of the drug who would not prostitute herself to a ragpicker for a single sniff.

I still say that prohibition is no cure. The cure is to give the people something to think about; to develop their minds; to fill them with ambitions beyond dollars; to set up a standard of achievement which is to be measured in terms of eternal realities; in a word, to educate them.

If this appears impossible, well and good. It is only another argument for encouraging them to take cocaine.

The post High Times Greats: Aleister Crowley On Cocaine appeared first on High Times.


Is Australian Cannabis Going Corporate?

Patient numbers in Australia are going in only one way – up. As of last month, the Australian government reported that it had approved a record 3,594 cannabis prescriptions in October 2019 – or about twice as many as it had approved in only July.

As patient numbers have grown, plans have proceeded afoot Down Under to capitalize on the growing willingness in Australia to accept that cannabis is not only medicine – but can now be prescribed by regular GPs – as opposed to specialists. Not to mention exported to a global medical market suddenly looking for high quality product at affordable prices in far afield places.

Leafcann is one of the companies in that elite territory right now. The new approval by the government for the expansion of facilities to both produce and research cannabis will double the company’s facility somewhere in Adelaide (the location is not being disclosed for security reasons). The new facility will also be the first in the world to produce oil from plant genes and distribute the same to patients.

But they are not the only ones. According to the latest market report by Aussie-based Fresh Leaf Analytics, the numbers of patients domestically are set to jump dramatically again next year.

And as the Australian market mushrooms (indeed European farmers are fielding interest from distributors from the region lately), will the Aussies, rather than any EU-based rival, become the first real global competition to the Canadians first in the race on the flower front?

Don’t count on that. There are too many contenders now for quality cannabis all over Europe for low priced medical cannabis from Down Under to be able to do any more than secure a few early harvests. See the activities of Aphria in the UK for example. Or the proclivities of Lexamed and a few other distributors in Germany.

However, what this development clearly shows is that the Aussie market for oil is not only driving large and well-funded production at home, but also having a knock-on effect internationally.

Whatever else is going on, in other words, the Australians are not only gearing up to go big on the weed front domestically, but driving the market for oil just about everywhere. Starting with CBD.

Don’t Bet The Farm On Aussie Production

Looking at what is going on, in fact, by the numbers, it appears that the Australian market is getting going in ways impossible for their northern brethren. In part that has to do with both Australian federal and state legislation.

It also, when you look at the numbers, is still a market dominated by less than THC medical grade product – the vast majority of patients are still only receiving CBD and most of them in oil form. Australian cannabis bound for pharmacies is also so far clocking in far closer to European prices than Canadian – in part because Canadian companies can ship directly to patients. Australia is also following a European distribution model. And recreational is off the table for now (at least until New Zealand does it). In the meantime, the medical business is proceeding apace.

This means two things: CBD oil is going nowhere either in or outside Australia unless it is either GMP or Novel Food certified – and that takes cash up front. Regardless, will the Aussie market look financially like the salad days of Canada’s medical market? Do not count on it. The flameouts of public companies if not volatility of the public sector, not to mention the growing longevity of the legal biz is creating other paths to financing. Including the fact that most savvy investors at any rate understand that price sensitivity is in the room from the beginning.

So yes, there certainly have been and will continue to be large, well-funded, corporate Aussies – indeed that is the shape of the future just about everywhere. But don’t expect the corporate playbook to be the same as the ones played by the Canadians so far.

The post Is Australian Cannabis Going Corporate? appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


What’s Going Down In The Danish Cannabis Market?

Despite the fact that the Danes are going to do something that is still verboten in Germany and many other European locales (namely allow a recreational trial), the overall bloom is off the first heady days of the cannabis rose here in Denmark.

Medical sales have stalled of late because of both supply (and in part CannTrust problems) and of course price in a market with a lot of cultivation enthusiasm, but also one which still imports its medical cannabis (although domestic production is coming online soon).

This is even more interesting of course given some ideas floating in the current Euro cannosphere – namely that Canadian funded, Danish based cultivators are or were planning on importing to both Germany and Poland this fall. In other words, low sales at home for expensive product that can be bought for less at the revived Christiana marketplace are not a market entry strategy that brings ballast to balance sheets. And while the rec market is coming (obviously), the trial is in early days yet.

Further, while the German market certainly presents an opportunity for higher priced cannabis coming out of Denmark (for now), that also will not last. And is certainly not the case in Poland.

For that reason, it is clear there is at least temporary trouble brewing in what some initially thought was going to be a European-based cannabis paradise. But that too, is so 2018.

A Few Numbers

The medical trial in Denmark is now entering the beginning of its third year as of 2020. There are, according to official estimates just over 4,000 legal patients. 34 companies have permits to cultivate cannabis, including all the usual suspects – starting with Canopy Growth, Aurora, Aphria, ICC (Wayland) and The Green Organic Dutchman, plus of course all the indie locals.

Put this in perspective and is it really any wonder why Aurora also just recently announced the halting of partly built construction in both Denmark and Canada this month?

aurora logoEspecially with problems in Poland, slower than expected legal sales in Germany and of course the disaster that is still the UK, this newest setback for the company is also not exactly unexpected. The only cannabis company, European or not, who benefitted from the recent NHS pivot on medical cannabinoids was the home-based GW Pharmaceuticals, albeit at lower negotiated prices as the total pool of patients is now increased with the new NICE guidelines.

Given all of these headwinds, even with a few export possibilities, the Danish market that supposedly offered a promised respite from the problems of the German one (certainly on the cultivation front), has run into a similar problem at point of prescription and sales.

Even Danish patient number growth is anaemic compared to Deutschland – which is, by all reports, not even close to considering a recreational trial in Berlin, Bremen or any other jurisdiction which has suggested the same.

With bulk, high-grade production coming online, there is clearly going to be a regulated cannabis market in Denmark. How the decisions about who will qualify for medical will be made in the future is another question. And one that certainly the larger producers at least, are responding to in kind.

The Winds of Change

Given the amount of compliant cannabis now in the pipeline for the continent (and not just domestically) it will be interesting to see how 2020 shapes up. However, no matter how still sluggish the numbers, another domestic cannabis market has begun to come into its own as the continent moves forward on the issue generally.

The post What’s Going Down In The Danish Cannabis Market? appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


Lil Wayne Officially Enters Cannabis Industry

One of the most prolific rappers and cannabis enthusiasts of the generation has decided to enter the cannabis industry as Lil Wayne announced his new cannabis brand GKUA Ultra Premium early this week. 

According to GKUA launch announcement, Lil Wayne wants the new brand to celebrate the best cannabis in the world. The company will attempt to merge the cutting edge of cannabis tech with experienced cultivators to create its own one of a kind experience  

In the age of celebrity cannabis the first question you have to ask is “how is the pot?” Now obviously we’re giving Weezy the benefit of the doubt; I mean he co-headlined the first Cannabis Cup in California after the adult-use market came alive. The guy has spent the better part of the last 20 years as his own traveling weather phenomenon with the cloud coverage he’s bringing in. So one would imagine someone that loves weed that much wouldn’t just throw his iconic name on some mids; according to the announcement, he’s had samples and approved everything in the lineup. This is definitely not always the case with some celeb-backed companies grabbing whatever white label product they can. 

And that’s not to be a knock on the practice of white labeling in general, plenty of people who grow good pot and didn’t want to brand themselves deserve a mechanism to sell their wares. But like most things in life, not everyone is good at it. Regardless, we’d imagine any pot that made it through Weezy’s testing protocol has a lot of potential. 

“I used to just want to get high, now I smoke to get inspired,” Lil Wayne said of his new endeavor in the announcement. “With GKUA, I’m sharing a feeling that I love.”

GKUA and Weezy

We reached out to GKUA to get the deal on the pot, specifically in hopes of identifying who is growing it with the level of branding they are going for tossing around boutique adjectives. “We are working closely with a half dozen of the most experienced growers in Northern California in the Emerald Triangle,” GKUA’s executive team told High Times. They followed up saying the specific names of the growers are confidential at this time but they plan on putting out the details of who they’re collaborating with at a later date. 

The proprietary strains they are sourcing from those cultivators is also a bit of a mystery so far. Like many, they are using company specific strain names to prepare for the forthcoming cannabis trademarking wars. Just think about what happened with Gorilla Glue’s lawsuit multiplied by a hundred. It’s going to be ugly unless you’re a lawyer billing hours. 

Currently the GKUA is showing off a lineup of three strains available to licensed California dispensaries. They are the GKUA VIP, Hollygrove, and Uproar. Now we haven’t had the chance to try any of the three, they won’t tell us who grew it and we don’t know the genetics…but it looks like pretty decent pot. They used a regular PR Photographer type person who didn’t know how to properly light up trichomes, so tough to be definitive. 

The rest of the leadership at GKUA is obviously hyped to be working with Lil Wayne on the project. 

“The combination of our incredible products, market knowledge, and commitment to quality, paired with the unmatched fanbase of Lil Wayne, the ultimate cannabis connoisseur, creates an unprecedented opportunity to create a cannabis brand that values creativity and the artistic pursuit,” said Beau Golob, President and Co-founder GKUA Inc. “It’s an honor to lead this company along with Lil Wayne, curating a premium line of products that inspires people and feeds their creativity. This is historic and really exciting!”

At launch the lineup of products will include the flower, vapes with proprietary batteries, and raw concentrates that will be dabbable. The rollout will start with a few select Los Angeles area dispensaries and then across California and beyond in 2020. 

GKUA plans to use an array of events to help get hype levels around the brand up including VIP parties, special one-off performances, and curated artistic experiences.

In the end, the goal for GKUA’s team is to be more than just a brand in the sense that it will be another platform for Lil Wayne to connect to and inspire his millions of fans. In the process they’ll celebrate “culture and artistic achievements while appreciating and sharing the benefits of quality cannabis.”

Lil Wayne Enters Cannabis Industry
Courtesy of GKUA

In recent years Lil Wayne has been a mainstay at the Cannabis Cup but his love of marijuana and advocacy are nothing new. A decade ago he famously sat down with Katie Couric as one the top musical acts in the country and defended his marijuana use. 

“You also reportedly like your weed” Couric told Weezy with a laugh. 

“Yeah, I will stand up for marijuana any day, yes,” he replied. 

Couric asked if he smoked a lot of pot. 

“Medicinal now,” he replied Couric who began to smirk and asked for specifics. 

“I have migraines. I get migraines that just make me want to kill myself,” Lil Wayne said. 

Couric wondered his recent arrests, back then, made him wonder if he should ease up on the weed. 

“I never think that,” he replied, “I’m a rapper. That’s who I am Miss Katie, and I’m a gangster, and I do what I want, and I love to smoke.”

We’ll see how Lil Wayne’s love of the game transitions over to California’s cannabis industry.

The post Lil Wayne Officially Enters Cannabis Industry appeared first on High Times.


Taking the Guesswork out of Horticultural Lighting

With 33 states and the District of Columbia having passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form, cannabis cultivation is quickly becoming a booming new business across much of the US. From an energy standpoint, unfortunately, it’s not easy being “green”.

New Frontier Data’s 2018 Cannabis Energy Report found that legal cannabis cultivation in the US consumes approximately 1.1 million megawatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power 92,500 homes or a community the size of Newark, NJ, and accounts for carbon emissions equivalent to that of 92,600 cars. And that consumption is forecasted to increase 162 percent from 2017 to 2022. The report recommended that the industry “evaluate energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies” to nip this challenge in the bud.

Growers seeking to reduce their electricity usage through more efficient lighting face a confusing landscape of options, however. It can be difficult to know what will save electricity and work well for their operations. Technology is advancing quickly and questions abound, from how long a fixture will last and whether a manufacturer’s claims about efficacy are accurate to the effectiveness of various wavelengths for growing a particular plant.

Here’s the good news: there are reliable, third-party lighting and safety standards to help indoor growers make the leap from old-school lighting to state-of-the-art light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that use a fraction of the electricity and are increasingly effective for growing crops from cannabis to tomatoes. Here’s a closer look:

Most lighting fixtures in the North American market go through rigorous inspection by certified third-party testing labs. The first part of the check is for safety – an official UL safety standard tailored for the unique challenges of the greenhouse environment was recently released (UL 8800, the Standard for Horticultural Lighting Equipment and Systems). This standard and similar safety certifications at other major labs address wiring, environmental conditions, ingress protection and worker safety related to prolonged photobiological exposure to the eyes and skin. Growers should always ask a fixture manufacturer about safety certification specifically targeted for horticultural environments.

Next on the standards checklist for horticultural fixtures is performance testing. This often happens at the same labs that do safety testing, but is designed to verify efficacy, output, spectrum and other important performance variables. Commercial labs are certified for specific standards, so that a test on a fixture is repeatable at any other lab certified to the same standard. This performance testing results in a report summarizing items like photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), input power (watts), photosynthetic flux efficacy (PPE, measured in μmol/J or micromoles of photosynthetic photons per joule of electrical input power), and spectral content (flux per nanometer (nm) between 400 and 700 nm).

Then, there are flux maintenance standards (such as IES LM-80 and IES TM-21) that help make sure the photosynthetic light output of LED products degrades at an acceptable rate to make a grower’s investment worthwhile. The testing and calculation methods that go into these standards were painstakingly developed through a consensus of knowledgeable lighting stakeholders. A key difference between general lighting and plant lighting, however, is how flux maintenance is measured and benchmarked – the bar is significantly higher for plants compared to people since their metabolism and growth are dependent on the light spectrum and amount.

A plant in flowering under an LED fixture

What’s described above just scratches the surface of the detailed testing used to determine and communicate performance features for commercial horticultural lighting fixtures. There’s a lot of important information to know, but it takes an informed reader to analyze this information and use it to select appropriate horticultural lighting. Our organization, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), strives to make the vetting process easier for everyone, freeing up growers to focus on their core business.

In the early days of LED lighting, electric utilities had to compare these different lighting factors and reports to inform their energy efficiency rebate/incentive programs. The DLC was founded to fill this need, serving as a central clearinghouse for setting energy efficiency and other product performance minimum standards, and to evaluate products against those standards. Then and now, lighting products that pass review qualify for an online qualified products list (QPL) that utilities use to quickly and accurately incentivize high-performing products.

Credit: ProGrowTech

With its new minimum performance standards for horticultural light fixtures, the DLC seeks to accelerate the adoption of new energy-saving LED fixtures in controlled agriculture environments. To be on the new DLC Horticultural QPL, an LED fixture must be at least 10 percent more efficacious than the best non-LED alternative – a 1,000-watt double-ended high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixture. It also must have a Q90 of 36,000 hours (the number of hours before the photon flux output depreciates to 90 percent), and its driver and fan (if included) must have a rated life of at least 50,000 hours.

Most importantly, every product is listed online in a searchable, filterable database to help growers and facility designers quickly narrow their options. For example, in a retrofit, a grower might know what PPF is needed from each fixture but might also need to stay within a power budget to avoid rewiring circuits. The DLC’s Horticultural QPL can be filtered to quickly find and compare conforming products.

When a new technology is introduced, there is always uncertainty about how to optimally apply it. The horticultural world is no different. We look forward to research supporting additional predictive metrics that allow us to take advantage of the full benefits of high-performance LED and controls technologies. In the meantime, the established standards described here allow for energy efficient and safe cultivation facilities where growers can confidently produce more with less.

The post Taking the Guesswork out of Horticultural Lighting appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


North Dakota Advisory Board Approves Pardons Of 26 People With Cannabis Convictions

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s pardon advisory board took a significant step Wednesday in wiping criminal records clean for 26 people with low-level marijuana convictions, a first under a new policy aimed at fixing problems the records have caused for people trying to find jobs and housing.

With little discussion, the five-member panel approved the pardons in a single motion, instead of individually. The list of people, who have stayed out of trouble for five years, now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, who is expected to approve the pardons.

“People will
really see how easy and quick this is,” said Attorney General Wayne
Stenehjem, who pushed for the policy that started in July.

Stenehjem
estimates as many as 175,000 marijuana convictions over several decades
could be eligible. The Republican said his office will contact
attorneys statewide urging them to let their former clients know of the
change.

Stenehjem does not support legalizing recreational pot,
but he has long backed legislation that would decriminalize possession
of small amounts of marijuana.

North Dakota already had allowed
people to apply for pardons to remove marijuana-related offenses from
their records, but the process was burdensome, the attorney general
said. While the new policy doesn’t go as far as other states that
automatically dismiss or pardon convictions, it does involve an
application process.

People applying for pardons must complete a
1½-page form that law enforcement reviews before placing a case on the
pardon board’s agenda. It costs nothing to apply.

Burgum has said
the policy change could help address North Dakota’s workforce shortage
and grow its economy. He said removing the stigma for what are minor
cases from years ago in many instances allows former offenders to get
second chances and contribute to their communities.

The deadline
for the first round of applications for pardons under the new policy was
Aug. 10. The next round’s deadline is mid-January, ahead of the board’s
meeting in April, said Steve Hall, director of transitional planning
services for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

For the first round, 32 people applied but six were rejected because they didn’t meet the criteria in the new policy, Hall said.

By James MacPherson

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Growing Up Stoner: How I Found The Perfect Bong at Age 33

It all started this year when I wanted to buy a bong. Not just any bong. A nice bong, a pretty bong, a bong I could leave out on the table without a second thought when company came over.

I wanted a grown-up bong.

But where to procure such an item? And did this item exist? What was the object and design side of “weed culture” now?

To start from the beginning, I didn’t start smoking until I was in college. And, even then, I was two years into my degree before I tried it. But cannabis had been around me since I was fourteen, and just an adorable straight-edge little thing who observed instead of imbibed. And, man, did I observe. Up until my 30’s, I would have described “stoners” by the environment they created around them; not by the amount they smoked (or ate). A stoner, in my experience, wore tie-dyes and baggy hats. Maybe tried to rock some Rastafarian colors on a poncho hoodie. They had long hair, hemp necklaces, weed patches, and listened to Phish. This wasn’t just high school; this style existed around me in college with wall hangings, blacklight posters, and a designated “chill” room in their one-too-many-people-on-the-lease apartments. To be a regular cannabis user was to be a holdover hippie and that extended to the pieces used. Big, giant bongs with fifty percolators, or acrylic pieces that looked like tourist drinks from the Vegas strip, or a glass-blown orange and aquamarine hand pipe the length of a salami— its name was probably “Dave” or something.

I thought, “that’s what it is to be in weed culture. That’s what it is to enjoy cannabis.” If you smoke more than just at parties when a joint is passed, then you’re a part of the world. And the world was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and a little musty. But I loved smoking out with my friends so… I was a stoner. I dipped my toe into “weed culture”. In fact, my first hand pipe was bright orange. And I had an orange wall hanging with a psychedelic butterfly. Honestly, I hated them both. I had two hemp necklaces my best friend made and I wore them proudly. A couple tie-dyes I’d whip out if I was feeling spunky. Whatever, I was in my 20’s having fun. Figuring it out.

A Grown-Up Ganja Lover

But now I’m 33. I am so 33. And still a regular cannabis user, in need of a new piece, and I… just can’t with a bubbler sporting a wizard on top. Or most jam bands. And I won’t sit on a dirty Persian carpet in your living room if I don’t have to. And I don’t. I’m 33, dammit. 

So what are the options? What does being a “stoner” look like? What is “weed culture” heading into your 30’s? For answers, I turned to my friends:

“I’m an everyday heavy user and I own maybe one pair of pot leaf socks as a joke. I’m drawn to less “420 blaze it” packaging and I avoid bongs, pipes, etc that feel too “college kid”. I buy them in neutral or more grown up colors; I like them to feel like part of my furniture and decor rather than a silly novelty. I like having them out all the time and don’t want it to feel like stuff someone would hide when they have company.”

“I just enjoy the product itself and ignore the culture. As for design, price first and foremost, followed by functionality for me.”

“I hate weed culture.”

Well, we were all on the same page, hard adults, but it didn’t really answer my question. Because the difficulty was less knowing what I was looking for and more knowing where to find it. A trip into any head shop (smoke shop? See, I don’t even know the current lingo) yielded me a high selection of pieces 20-year-old me would have RAVED over but secretly resent. A search on Instagram showed me many well-crafted hand and water pipes… shaped like elephants and donuts. But then, suddenly, there it was, as though it had been right in front of me the whole time. A friend shared an Instagram post of a sand-tone water pipe with a beautiful, but simple, black design on the base. 

My Bud Vase.

According to their website, the founder, Doreen Sullivan, created the company because “marrying artistry, accessibility, and cannabis has motivated her to help close the smoking stigma gap.” 

Smoking stigma. That was my rosebud. When I was younger, imbibing in cannabis was associated with laziness and stupidity. The dumb stoner, always down for a debate but never getting anything done. It seemed hand-in-hand. Be a regular user, be a dumb stoner, be a part of “weed culture”. Blast Rush at 3am while forgetting you have pizza rolls in the oven. Barely hold down a minimum wage job. Hemp, all the hemp.

Where I thought I’d been trying to define “weed culture” or the modern cannabis user in terms of aesthetic lifestyle choices, I was really trying to build a defense against my own internalized fear of being labeled a “stoner” and all the negative connotation that comes with it. As I salivated over My Bud Vase’ beautiful collection and then sleuthed out other companies and sites sporting equally toned down but still lovely pieces, it all came into focus.

I didn’t become a grown-up stoner. Like my friends and many others, I just grew up. My tastes and preferences became more defined and though I prefer “cannabis user” as it does sound very mature… I would still call myself a stoner. “Weed culture”, as we know it, isn’t based on using cannabis. It’s based on those who want to surround themselves with elements of the product they enjoy. Which is ok if that’s your thing. As I mentioned earlier fairly forcefully, I’m 33. I prefer wearing mostly black or darker colors, I like my pieces to blend in with my decor of dried flowers and framed show posters, I keep a regular social and work schedule, and I smoke cannabis every day.

I played with “weed culture” as a kid because I, like many, was figuring myself out. Now I’ve got it mostly understood and I know what the modern stoner looks like.

Turns out, it looks like me. Older, chiller, and a fan of neutral tones.

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FDA Issues Warnings to 15 CBD Companies, Updates Safety Concerns

On November 25th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out warning letters to 15 different companies for “illegally selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).” They also published a “Consumer Update” where they express concern regarding the general safety of CBD products. The press release also states that at this time the FDA cannot say that the CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). To see the list of companies that received warning letters, check out the press release here.

The structure of cannabidiol (CBD), one of 400 active compounds found in cannabis.

While the FDA is still trying to figure out how to regulate hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, they published these releases to let the public know they are working on it, according to FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D.:

“As we work quickly to further clarify our regulatory approach for products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds like CBD, we’ll continue to monitor the marketplace and take action as needed against companies that violate the law in ways that raise a variety of public health concerns. In line with our mission to protect the public, foster innovation, and promote consumer confidence, this overarching approach regarding CBD is the same as the FDA would take for any other substance that we regulate. We remain concerned that some people wrongly think that the myriad of CBD products on the market, many of which are illegal, have been evaluated by the FDA and determined to be safe, or that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt.’ Aside from one prescription drug approved to treat two pediatric epilepsy disorders, these products have not been approved by the FDA and we want to be clear that a number of questions remain regarding CBD’s safety – including reports of products containing contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals – and there are real risks that need to be considered. We recognize the significant public interest in CBD and we must work together with stakeholders and industry to fill in the knowledge gaps about the science, safety and quality of many of these products.”

The Warning Letters

The warning letters sent to those 15 companies all mention a few types of violations to the FD&C Act. Those include marketing unapproved human and animal drugs, selling CBD products as dietary supplements and adding CBD as an ingredient to human and animal foods. All 15 companies are using websites, online retailers and social media in interstate commerce to market CBD products unlawfully, according to the press release.

FDAThis is not the first time the FDA has sent out warning letters to CBD companies. Previously, most of the warning letters were sent out regarding companies making unsubstantiated drug and health claims. This new round of 15 warning letters reaches beyond just unsubstantiated claims and identifies a few new areas of regulatory oversight that CBD companies should be wary of.

Of the 15 warning letters sent out, some were sent to companies that are marketing CBD products to children and infants, some were sent to companies using CBD as an ingredient in food products, some were marketed as dietary supplements and one company marketed their products for use in food-producing animals, such as chickens and cows. With this press release, the FDA is saying loud and clear that the above list of marketing strategies are currently unlawful, that is, until they finish their work in devising a regulatory framework for hemp-derived CBD products.

Updated Safety Concerns

Regarding the FDA saying they cannot deem CBD as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), they published a fact sheet titled “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD.” The key words there should be noted in the parentheses: And What We’re Working to Find Out. The FDA’s research is by no means over with and, if anything, has only just begun. Refer to the fact sheet to see why the FDA couldn’t say that CBD is GRAS.

Epidiolex-GWIn the FDA’s research, they have found a few potential health problems associated with taking CBD. During the marketing application for Epidiolex as a new drug, the only approved CBD drug on the market, the FDA identified a couple of safety risks. The first one is liver injury, which they identified in blood tests, but mentioned that it could be managed easily with medical supervision. Without medical supervision, potential liver injury due to CBD consumption could go undetected, according to the FDA.

The second health concern is drug interaction. During the new drug approval process for Epidiolex, they found that other medicines could impact the dose of CBD and vice versa. The other major health concern they have is male reproductive toxicity. The FDA says that studies in lab animals showed male reproductive toxicity, including things like decrease in testicular size, inhibition of sperm growth and development and decreased circulating testosterone. They do mention, however, that “it is not yet clear what these findings mean for human patients and the impact it could have on men (or the male children of pregnant women) who take CBD.” The fact sheet also some side effects that CBD use could produce including sleepiness, gastrointestinal distress and changes in mood.

What Now?

The FDA says they are actively researching and working on learning more about the safety of CBD products. They listed a couple risks that they are looking into right now: Those include, cumulative exposure (What if you use CBD products daily for a week or a month?), special populations (effects of CBD on the elderly, pregnant or nursing women, children, etc.) and CBD in animals (safety of CBD use in pets or food-producing animals and the resulting safety of human food products like milk or eggs).

While the CBD products market could still be classified as a bit of a gray market currently, the FDA says they are working on researching it more to develop an appropriate regulatory framework. What that might look like is anyone’s guess. One thing that remains clear, however, is that the FDA will not tolerate CBD companies marketing products in ways described above. Those include making unsubstantiated health claims, marketing to children, using CBD as an ingredient in foods and marketing it as a dietary supplement.

The post FDA Issues Warnings to 15 CBD Companies, Updates Safety Concerns appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.