10 Best Vape Pens Of 2017

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Judging by the BHO, solventless, live resin and crystallized THCa waves we’ve seen over the past few years, cannabis concentrates are clearly here to stay. Dabbers who aren’t willing to carry a pelican and torch everywhere they go are better off with a pen while traveling. Most vape pens are designed to make consuming concentrates on-the-go easy. However, some are better than others. It’s also worth noting that the best vape pens depend on your personal needs. If you keep the terps on deck, you’ll want something that will make the best of your oil. If you’re a budget buyer, you’ll want something more affordable but effective. We’ve gathered a list of some this year’s best vape pen offerings. Their pros are weighed against their cons to help you find the best vape pens specifically for you.

10. Yocan Magneto

10 Best Vape Pens Of 2017

The Magneto by Yocan offers a few innovative features to make your experience with concentrates on-the-go less miserable. The name should hint at the main feature that sets this pen apart from the rest: magnets. Instead of struggling to unscrew your mouthpiece from your atomizer once things get gunked up, simply pull. There’s even a magnetic carb cap that also acts as a dab tool.

Price: $85.00

Pros: Easy to take apart and refill with oil. You won’t even need to carry around a dab tool or even a separate container for your wax. At the bottom of the vaporizer, you can unscrew a hidden silicone compartment that is perfect for traveling dabbers. You can pack your atomizer and start vaporizing much faster with the magnets instead of threading.

Cons: You can find better heating elements on our other best vape pens in a similar price range.

Why We Like It: Plenty of convenient features in a compact device.

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The Marijuana Justice Act: What It Is And Why It’s Critical

The post The Marijuana Justice Act: What It Is And Why It’s Critical appeared first on High Times.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would get rid of a longstanding “hands-off” policy that for years restricted federal agents and funds from going after states with legal weed. Now, pro-legalization lawmakers are responding to his attempts to start a federal crackdown on state-legal weed. On Wednesday, a group of House Democrats introduced The Marijuana Justice Act.

This bill would dramatically change federal cannabis laws. But what exactly is The Marijuana Justice Act? And why is it so important?

What Is The Marijuana Justice Act?

The bill was introduced this week to the House by Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both from California. It is the House version of a bill introduced last fall in the Senate by New Jersey’s Senator Cory Booker.

When Sen. Booker first introduced The Marijuana Justice Act last August, it was hailed as “the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress.”

And for good reason. This bill goes way beyond simply making cannabis legal.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most important parts of The Marijuana Justice Act:

  • It calls for the federal legalization of cannabis.
  • The bill would expunge all federal convictions for possessing or using cannabis.
  • It would earmark $500 million for a “community reinvestment fund.” This money would provide job training. Most of the funds would go into communities that have had disproportionately high numbers of weed arrests.
  • The Marijuana Justice Act would also cut federal funds for law enforcement and prison construction in states where weed arrests have disproportionately affected people of color or poor people.

Why Is The Marijuana Justice Act Important?

The Marijuana Justice Act is important because it goes beyond legalization. It is an attempt to somehow account for the harm done by decades of a heavy-handed war on drugs. In particular, it is an attempt to account for the disproportionate harm experienced by people of color.

“We intend to end this destructive war on drugs, and this legislation will do that,” Rep. Lee said at a press conference this week. “It’s a roadmap for ending the drug war, but it also begins to address mass incarceration and disinvestment in communities of color. It is an essential step to correcting the injustices of the failed war on drugs, namely racial disparities in arrest and incarceration.”

The racial component of the war on drugs—and especially the war on weed—is well documented.

A study published by the ACLU found that, at the national level, black and white people consume weed at roughly at the same rates. Despite that, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

In at least 15 states that number is even higher. In some states, black people are over eight times more likely to be arrested for weed possession than whites.

The ramifications of this disparity are far-reaching. Obviously, these convictions mean that, on average, people of color spend more time locked up and away from family, friends, and community than white folks.

Depending on the state and the severity of the charge, these convictions can also cut people off from a variety of public assistance programs. This can include access to housing and education.

Similarly, Rep. Khanna estimated that the amount of time black people spend incarcerated for weed charges equates to “hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic potential.”

And the list goes on and on.

Final Hit: The Marijuana Justice Act Is A Big Deal

All things considered, The Marijuana Justice Act is an attempt to accomplish two main things.

The first is to make weed legal. By legalizing cannabis at the federal level, this bill would get rid of one of the war on drugs’ biggest tools for targeting people of color.

This bill also attempts to make some sort of restitution for the harm already caused by the war on drugs—especially the harm disproportionately experienced by people and communities of color.

The big question now is whether or not this bill has a chance of passing into law. The House bill that was introduced this week has 12 Democratic cosponsors. But so far, no Republicans have signed on.

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Former Mexican President Vicente Fox On Why Prohibition Is A Failure

The post Former Mexican President Vicente Fox On Why Prohibition Is A Failure appeared first on High Times.

High Times recently had the fortune, privilege and honor of interviewing Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox, a man whose ideas stand close to libertarianism. The state, the government, should not intervene in people’s lives unless their decisions affect third parties, he’s argued quite often.

Discussing cannabis legalization and the business opportunities that follow, Mr. Fox mentioned he actually supported the legalization of all drugs, not just cannabis. We were hooked: not often do we get to hear the former president of one of the world’s top 15 economies, of a G-20 country, defend the legalization of mushrooms, cocaine and LSD.

His argument is based on two basic premises:

  1. Keeping drugs illegal has generated nothing but violence. “We’ve seen so much violence, hundreds of thousands of young people die in the hands of drug-related violence over the last decade… It makes no sense,” Mr. Fox pointed out during our chat. “Drug lords have taken control of the markets, trafficking and the transit of drugs to the United States, and this has complicated things everywhere.”
  2. The illegality of drugs goes against the concept of individual liberty. “I am an intense believer in freedom. I think all prohibitions should disappear off the face of the earth – except for those limiting anything that affects a third party,” he explained.

“Prohibition doesn’t work and has never worked,” Mr. Fox argued, bringing up the example of Adam and Eve who, he thinks, might have never taken a bite off the Forbidden Apple if God had explained why it was bad for them instead of straight out banning them from eating it.

“We need to transform prohibition into regulation,” he said. Consumers need to have the freedom to decide what they want. But, before this can happen, we need education, access to information and time for people to digest this new information, to get comfortable with this new paradigm where the people take care of themselves and one another, instead of relying on the state to do that, he argued.

“We need to stop thinking that the government will protect our children and families from drugs. That has never happened. Only educating at home we’ll be able to create consciousness around the fact that what’s important is moderation, rather than prohibition,” he supplemented.

Legalize It All

Drug legalization will create a legitimate business community and put it in hands of honest entrepreneurs instead of criminals like we see today, Mr. Fox voiced. “In fact, legalization will help us create opportunities for many people who have been turned into criminals by this unjust system; people are not born criminals, they are pushed toward crime by the lack of opportunity.”

“But, as we re-legalize drugs, we will create a lot of new jobs that can help us keep young people away from crime,” he went on. “Legalization will create jobs for engineers, retailers, farmers, processing professionals, manufacturers… All of the formerly marginalized people will find opportunity and well-paying jobs.”

Mexico And The Opioid Crisis

The high demand for opioids in the U.S. has created in a war between cartels in Mexico. Many drug lords want to be the ones supplying poppy to opioids producers, Mr. Fox explained. “And this is intrinsically related to the fact that poppy is grown illegally,” he noted.

“So, instead of having people kill each other, why not produce poppy legally in Mexico and export it, legally, to the U.S.?” he suggested.

“Of course opioids are bad when they are used incorrectly. But opioids are also very useful and necessary to treat certain ailments.” So, we need to differentiate these two types of uses and have our laws reflect this difference, he concluded, calling for a comprehensive drug legalization plan for the U.S., Mexico, and ultimately the whole world.

“We are on our way, decriminalizing drug use slowly; it’s just a matter of time before we can move to full legalization,” he ended.

Mr. Fox will host the CannaMexico World Summit on May 30 and May 31 in San Cristobal, Guanajuato, Mexico. You can register for this event starting February 5th following this link.

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Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Will Supply Medical Marijuana To Italy

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Canadian company Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced yesterday that it will begin supplying medical cannabis to Italy. Aurora Cannabis will export medical marijuana through its German-based subsidiary Pedanios GmbH. This new deal could mark an important development, helping legitimize legal weed on the international market.

Aurora Cannabis Wins Contract

Aurora Cannabis secured the new contract after winning a two-round application process. In the first round, all applicants were put through a screening process. Only companies that passed were qualified to move on to the second round.

Along with the Aurora-owned Pedanios, only one other company cleared the first round. Ultimately, Pedanios won the bid.

Under the new agreement, Aurora will export cannabis first to Pedanios, which is based in Germany. From there, it will head to the Italian medical marijuana market.

According to a press release published by Aurora Cannabis, the company still needs to sign the final contracts with the Italian government. The company expects that to happen in the next few days or so.

At this time, it is unclear when Aurora Cannabis will begin exporting medical marijuana to Italy.

Italy Needs More Medical Marijuana

The new arrangement between Aurora Cannabis and Italy is the result of skyrocketing demand in Italy.

Currently, the Italian Ministry of Defence produces the country’s supply of medical cannabis. But the country has recently seen a massive increase in demand. So much so, in fact, that the country decided to look for outside partners to help increase its supply.

As a result, Italy announced an EU-wide public tender process. After completing that process and winning the contract, Aurora’s European company Pedanios will now supply cannabis directly to the Italian Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence will continue overseeing the production and distribution of medical marijuana throughout Italy.

“I am very proud of Aurora and the Pedanios team for the quality of their execution in becoming the exclusive winner of this important tender,” Neil Belot, Aurora’s Chief Global Business Development Officer, said in the company’s press release.

He also said that the new contract will give Aurora “access to one of the largest and most restricted markets in Europe.”

Final Hit: Canada’s Aurora Cannabis Will Supply Medical Marijuana To Italy

With this agreement, Aurora expands its international presence.

The company is based in Canada, where it currently runs two cannabis production facilities. One is located in Alberta, and the other is in Quebec. The company is also building two more facilities in Canada.

With this new deal, Aurora Cannabis has secured footholds in two promising cannabis markets: Canada and Italy.

Canada expects to legalize weed later this year. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set July 1, 2018 as the target date for making weed legal in the country.

Recently, conservative lawmakers tried to stall progress toward that goal. But recent reports suggest that the push for legalization will most likely continue as planned. In fact, growers in Canada are already ramping up retail marijuana production in preparation for the legal change.

If Canada legalizes weed, it will be the second country to do so. Uruguay is the first.

Along with Canada, Aurora Cannabis is now set to build a strong presence in Italy, another pioneering cannabis country.

Several EU countries, including Italy, have legalized cannabis-based medicine. Among those countries, Italy has built a reputation as a leader on cannabis issues within the EU.

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Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

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Last week, lawmakers in the state of Vermont passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. They did this entirely through state legislature, making history by becoming the first state to pass such a bill without a vote from the state’s residents. And now, a week later, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday.

The State of Weed in the State of Vermont

Believe it or not, it has only been but a mere two weeks since President Trump’s right-hand man Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “good” on his threats to crack down on states with legal cannabis. Those two weeks ago, Sessions rescinded a little Obama-era piece of legislation called the Cole Memo. Basically, the Cole Memo was put in place to prevent the federal government from interfering in state’s rights. Specifically, those regarding the decriminalization or full-out legalization of cannabis.

Since then, states and lawmakers have been rallying to fight this rescission. As it turns out, members of both major political parties were sufficiently angry with Sessions over this decision. In Vermont, state lawmakers took almost immediate direct action. Last week, the Green Mountain State’s Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. Timing aside, this social and political maneuver was particularly gutsy because it required each member of the legislation to take a definitive stance on the matter. Votes like this are public record, so the lawmakers involved were well aware of the political risks involved.

Another reason this vote was so risky is that the governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, vetoed a legalization bill this past May. He cited the need for more research and clearer wording on the bill as the reason behind his veto. He also made it known that he would be willing to revisit the matter.

And now he has the chance to do just that.

Final Hit: Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

According to sources, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday. Or perhaps even before Monday. He has, reportedly, enlisted the help of a lawyer to go over the bill and make sure the language and specifications of the new potential law are of a high enough standard that he can sign it with a clear conscious. The specifications of the bill include maximum possession allowance of both flower and plants. If Governor Scott signs the bill into law, Vermont citizens will be permitted to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants. Of those plants, two may be mature, and the grower may possess an additional four immature plants. No word yet on retailing recreational cannabis in the state of Vermont. But if the bill is signed, amendments regarding that are sure to come.

Another point to sweeten the pot? If the governor feels satisfied and signs, the new law will go into effect the first day of July. So, if all goes according to the state Senate’s plan, Vermont’s residents could have legal, recreational weed by summertime.

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5th Grader Accidentally Doses Classmates With Weed Gummies

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While most of us can whole-heartedly agree that recreational cannabis has a place in mainstream society, one of the biggest issues states seem to be having with a full-on legalization of the plant has been the regulation of edibles. Colorado, for example, has had very few issues since recreational weed was legalized back in 2014, but one common occurrence has been an influx of emergency room visits from accidental weed ‘overdoses.’ Or more accurately, overconsumption.

While there is nothing lethal about a weed overdose, it can be an uncomfortable feeling for some and for the most part, this occurs when novice pot smokers consume edibles. Oftentimes, edibles are can be up to 100 times stronger than traditional marijuana flowers, so it’s easy to ingest too much—especially considering it’s typically presented as normal-looking candy.

The similarity in appearance has also caused a number of accidental overdoses, meaning, unsuspecting people ingested the cannabis treats thinking they were regular snacks—something that might seem like its straight out an episode of the popular Netflix show Disjointed. However, it’s a very real thing, and for further proof, look no further than this latest example of the classic mixup, as one unknowing fifth grader accidentally doses her classmates with her parent’s weed gummies.

Dazed And Confused: 5th Grader Accidentally Doses Classmates With Weed Gummies

Accidents happen, as one fifth grade student at the Albuquerque School of Excellence found out. The hard way. Or rather, the ‘high way.’

The young student mistook her parent’s medicinal marijuana for candy and brought it to school to pass out to her fellow classmates. Needless to say, the students felt much more than your typical sugar rush.

“She had this box, it had a label on it that said ‘incredibles.’ We just thought it was ordinary gummies,” said a nine-year-old student who accidentally ate one of the edibles. However, the student quickly found out that these weren’t your ordinary gummies.

“I started feeling really dizzy. I felt like the room was going to flip to the side,” explained the youngster.

The Dean of Elementary Students, Kristy Del Curto, says the incident occurred Thursday morning and that three students consumed a single gummy, while the student who had brought in the edibles ate three or four of them.

Del Curto says they later called 911 and paramedics were on the scene to assess the situation. She also added that the school would take all necessary precautions to ensure a similar occurrence doesn’t happen in the future.

“We noticed the student who initially brought the edible to our school was acting strange. She started saying she couldn’t see,” said Del Curto. “Please be assured we’re doing everything we can as a school to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Final Hit: 5th Grader Accidentally Doses Classmates With Weed Gummies

Del Curto said that while she and her staff will do everything in their power to prevent any similar incidents, she believes that with an influx of recreational and medicinal cannabis, occurrences like this will become increasingly prevalent.

“As marijuana becomes legal in each state it’s going to become more and more of an issue I believe,” said Del Curto.

However, despite its increasing availability, the onus ultimately falls on the parents for having their medically prescribed cannabis easily accessible. And at least one student’s father agrees.

“The first thing that came to my mind is irresponsible parents because that’s dangerous,” said the father of the 9-year-old that was dosed.

Like any prescribed drug, parents need to closely monitor their children, and make sure they keep their ‘stash’ in a safe spot, especially considering it’s easy for children to mistake for real candy.

Luckily, there have been zero recorded deaths from cannabis, so there’s no actual cause for concern, at least from a mortality standpoint. But as we all know, accidental dosing could cause a traumatic episode, especially for a young child. With great power, comes great responsibility, and it’s up to those 21 and over to set a good example for their children—as well as themselves.

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Nevada Testing Lab Licenses Suspended, Then Reinstated

When Nevada legalized adult use sales this past summer, the market exploded and undoubtedly flooded licensed testing labs with samples to get products on shelves. In August, roughly a month after the start of adult use sales, a Las Vegas cannabis-testing lab, G3 Labs, had their license suspended for an unknown compliance issue.

“We can’t disclose the details of the suspension, including anything about penalties,” said Klapstein. “Under NRS 360.255, the information is confidential.”Then in late December, the Nevada Department of Taxation, one of the bodies tasked with regulating the state’s industry, announced in an email they suspended two more cannabis testing lab licenses. Certified Ag Lab in Sparks, Nevada and Cannex Nevada, LLC, in Las Vegas (also known as RSR Analytical Laboratories) both had their licenses suspended on December 22 and December 26 respectively.

Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation, told the Reno Gazette Journal that both of those labs were not following proper protocols. “During separate, routine inspections, Department inspectors discovered that these two labs were not following proper lab procedures and good laboratory practices,” says Klapstein. “Their licenses were suspended until those deficiencies were corrected.”

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, both of those labs had their licenses reinstated and have since resumed normal business. During their license suspension, the labs were not allowed to operate and the department directed licensed cannabis businesses to submit samples to other labs. The department also directed the suspended labs in the email to coordinate with their clients who had samples in for testing; to either have their samples transferred to a different lab or a new sample taken for another lab to test. They did note that no product recalls were deemed necessary because of the suspension.

In that same email, the department directed licensed cannabis businesses to state-licensed labs in good standing, including 374 Labs, ACE Analytical Laboratory, DB Labs, Digipath Labs, MM Lab and NV CANN Lab. But on the department’s website, it says there are 11 licensed testing labs.

Back in September when we reported on the first lab license suspension, Klapstein told CIJ that under state law they couldn’t discuss any reasons behind why they suspended licenses. “We can’t disclose the details of the suspension, including anything about penalties,” said Klapstein. “Under NRS 360.255, the information is confidential.”

Because of that confidentiality, there are a number of questions left unanswered: With three lab licenses suspended in the first six months of the Nevada’s adult use market being open, how are testing labs keeping up with the market’s pace? What did those suspended labs do wrong? Do the regulations adequately protect public health and safety?

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Smoking Weed With Monkeys Could Lead to Killer Herpes

The post Smoking Weed With Monkeys Could Lead to Killer Herpes appeared first on High Times.

Hopefully, there is only a small, overly eccentric breed of pot enthusiast out there in the bad, mad world brave enough to poke around in the not-so-distant edges of zoophilia in an attempt to get high with a bunch of turd-hurling monkeys. But after more than that 40 years in the business of slinging the provocatively raucous plights of high society, were are confident that someone has already rattled that cage. In fact, we have a strange feeling that it is just matter of time before Netflix drops us a message about a docuseries we might like called Jungle Buds: Coco Does Cannabis. Come to think of it, we’d probably watch it. So would you!

But this column is not intended to wax poetic about the possibility of an aspiring filmmaker who may or may not have set out into the wilderness armed with only a camera and a couple pounds of that homegrown Mississippi Mind Eraser to document the trials and tribulations of merging both beast and bong whilst living among a bunch of chimpanzees. These words are to be considered a warning for that portion of the American population living where undomesticated primates roam freely in the streets like alley cats and stray dogs. It is imperative to exercise caution here: Do not smoke weed with the furry, little fiends that dangle from the trees. If you do, you could end up with a wicked case of killer herpes.

Florida Monkeys Spreading Bizarre Strain of Herpes Virus

This isn’t fake news. This is a legitimate threat. It seems that monkeys in the Sunshine State have been testing positive for a nasty strain of the herpes virus that is wicked deadly to the human race. Researchers warn that all of the bodily fluids from the feral rhesus monkey—including saliva and feces—could contain killer herpes. This means Floridians who regularly smoke marijuana with anyone who works with or is around these monkeys on even a semi-regular basis could be at risk of waking up with mouth lesions, fever or something much worse.

Fortunately, the scientific minds with their fingers on the pulse of this outbreak say it is not likely to impact the human population immensely. It was written this week in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases that the herpes B virus should be considered “low risk, but high-consequence” for those doomed individuals who end up with it.

However, the folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the disease is nothing to monkey around with. The agency explains herpes B as an infection of the brain that can result in either “severe neurological impairment” or death. The latter happens in 70 percent of the cases. Now would be a good time to practice telling your friends, family and co-workers, “Hell no, you may not have a hit off my vape pen.”

No, It’s Not Stupid to Suggest Getting High With Monkeys Can Kill. The Federal Government Admits They Like Weed

Around two years ago it was revealed that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) once conducted a super secret study in which it concluded, “monkeys like to get high.” Seriously, in 2003, a team of researchers went to work every day and hung out in a laboratory setting, examining the effects of marijuana on a very lucky group of squirrel monkeys. Interestingly, this study is largely to blame for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s refusal to downgrade the Schedule I classification of the herb. The report said that since monkeys thoroughly enjoyed receiving regular doses of THC, the federal government, specifically the FDA, could not recommend that cannabis be removed from its current position. The call was made because apparently, these types of studies are “often useful in predicting rewarding effects in humans.” So, since our evolutionary forefathers like marijuana, taxpaying Americans have been doomed to prohibition.

Don’t Monkey Around With Herpes

Regardless if we’re discussing killer herpes or the run of the mill virus that infects one out of every six people in the United States, sharing joints and smoking devices with others can spread this disease. This is most likely to occur during those ever so popular communal smoke sessions. To say these social smoke circles will forever incite panic in hearts and mouths of high hypochondriacs is an understatement.

This is part of the reason why some cannabis companies, like Toast, are developing pot products built for one. It’s a smart business move considering there are plenty of germaphobes who want nothing to do with whatever transmittable breakout-producing lip and genital virus their fellow smokers are carrying. Because, unlike a pot buzz, herpes is forever. We hope you’ll forgive us for being somewhat leery about that kind of commitment, especially since we now know that killer herpes is also a thing.

Final Hit: Smoking Weed With Monkeys Could Lead to Killer Herpes

Although wildlife professionals are urging people to be cautious, not terrified of Florida’s herpes B-infected monkeys, the Howard Hughes in us is of the opinion that anyone with so much as a suntan during the winter months should be considered a mega-source of infection. Call us paranoid. Call us dumb. But you won’t see us calling a doctor anytime soon with a swollen, crusty lip that looks like a deleted scene from The Elephant Man.

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10 Best Nutrients Of 2017

The post 10 Best Nutrients Of 2017 appeared first on High Times.

The best nutrients for your cannabis plants should enhance the size, effects or flavor of your flowers. You want something that has the right level of nutrients for your plants without any unwanted additives that can change the taste or potency of your final product for the worse.

The type of nutrients and the amount you need depends on the plant’s stage of life. During the vegetative phase, “grow” formulas that are rich in nitrogen and potassium are recommended. As for the flowering stage, you want low nitrogen and high potassium. Phosphorus should be kept at medium levels during the vegetative stage with slightly increased amounts during the flowering stage.

10. Dyna-Gro BLOOM

10 Best Nutrients Of 2017

The BLOOM 3-12-6 grow formula is a low nitrogen, high phosphorus formula, so you won’t want to use this during the vegetative phase. The formula is designed to help grow larger, healthier plants. If you notice your plants are suffering from symptoms that signal a lack of phosphate, the nutrients in BLOOM are immediately available to save your plant at critical times.

Price: $47.79 (1 gallon)

Pros: You can save leaves going green with the addition of Dyna-Gro BLOOM. Verified customers have testified to seeing their harvest yields boosted after introducing Dyna-Gro to their plants.

Cons: Not the best for long-term use. If you leave it sitting around for too long, crystals will begin to form at the bottom of the bottle.

Why We Like It: Works as advertised, and the price is reasonable.

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Mainstream Media Picks Up On Cannabis

The British online newspaper, The Guardian, has just begun to cover cannabis. The regular feature, part of their “society” section, is clearly attempting to cover cannabis a bit more consistently and regularly as the California rec market begins to gain (legal) steam.

The writer now helmed to lead this effort is Alex Halperin, a business journalist in the U.S., who landed the gig apparently on the success of Weedweek – a highly cryptic weekly summary blog of mostly U.S.-based industry events and updates.How the Guardian will cover the industry and related issues will be interesting to follow.

This is also not The Guardian’s first foray into the topic. The media outlet, which got its start in the 1800’s in Northern England and expanded dramatically to reach a global digital audience over the past decade, has covered cannabis legalization on a fairly regular basis for the last four years. This new focus also comes at an interesting time. Apart from events in the U.S., Canada is moving forward with recreational this summer. And in Europe, the medical discussion continues apace. That said, it appears the Guardian is going to focus on the U.S. market, at least initially.

It will be interesting to see if that focus shifts (and if they allow other journalists outside of the U.S. to participate in the expanded coverage). While California might well be the largest state economy in general, the Canadian market is already larger and more developed, being regulated nationally across multiple provinces.

Another Mainstream Media Cannabis Column?

This is hardly news. The Guardian is actually treading on ground established already by most of the big news and business publications – including niche publications, blogs and of course, the trade press.

How the Guardian will cover the industry and related issues will be interesting to follow.

The purpose of the column apparently is to spark an “adult conversation” about cannabis – and how it is “changing modern life.” The initial focus on the U.S. market (and California in particular) may have seemed to make sense to a media outlet looking for outrageous stories. But as everyone knows, the U.S. is only one market – and further one still without federal protection.

However, the Guardian is also now competing with other business and mainstream publications that are already in this space. Main Street, the online business ‘zine helmed by Jim Cramer, created one of the first mainstream specialty cannabis sections almost four years ago with the coincidence of the Colorado rec market. Other notable publications and media outlets have significantly increased their coverage of cannabis as well. CNN has been reporting consistently on cannabis topics like legalization and U.S. federal reform efforts for some time now. Business Insider and Forbes have covered ongoing and growing investments and the financial side of things for several years. The Denver Post has its own entirely cannabis-focused subsidiary, The Cannabist.

And as public companies, in both the U.S. and elsewhere have begun to move through the legal thickets of legalization, business-focussed journals and blogs are even beginning to cover cannabis stocks. Starting with Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha (although again, most of this coverage is of companies outside the United States). Specialty publications are also of course, flourishing online, particularly with the beginning of an advertising market that is also beginning to establish itself, albeit around some still thorny regulatory issues.

In general, although the Guardian has a reputation as critical of the British monarchy, with strong left-leaning tendencies, its coverage of the industry has been fairly mainstream – so far at least.

Will that begin to change? And what will really be tackled and covered? And while the ostensible focus is what is going on in the world of cannabis in California (and presumably other foreign markets) could the Guardian’s ostensible new feature also be geared to drive reform at home? The U.K. has yet to even approach the topic of criminalization.

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