Search Results for: david rheins

MJBA Founder David Rheins Picks The Hottest Hemp, CBD, Vape & Culture+ Products Of 2019 At ASD Market Week | Culture+

VIP Panel Will Include Founders of Elixinol, The Blinc Group, Curved Papers and Farmer Tom Hemp Co.

NEVADA: The Culture+ marketplace is exploding, with thousands of new legal hemp, CBD, vape and cannabis-culture products creating consumer excitement and marketplace disruption.


MJBA’s founder and executive director David Rheins, a seasoned marketing executive who learned his chops playing senior roles for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Time Warner AOL, has scoured the country to find The Hottest Hemp, CBD & Culture+ Products of 2019, which he’ll present at the ASD Market Week | Culture+ convention in Las Vegas on Monday, March 18, 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM.

Screenshot 2018-12-10 16.46.33These are the products that every retailer must know about – from hemp-based fashions and CBD health and beauty aids, to the latest in vaporizer technology and glassware.

Screenshot 2018-12-10 14.26.21

Following the 45-minute presentation, moderator David Rheins will lead a VIP Panel Discussion with the brand marketers who are building the industries best and most innovative brands, including Elixinol co-founder David Newman, The Blinc Group CEO Sasha Aksenov, Farmer Tom Hemp Co. Founder Tom Lauerman, and Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley.

Hemp is projected to be a $22 Billion market by 2012. Get an advanced look at all the hottest products, trends and technologies driving the red-hot Culture+ market.

Registration for the show is available online.

David Rheins Keynote Address At Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0

The following is a transcript of MJBA Executive Director David Rheins’ keynote speech at Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0, last week’s educational mixer held at the historic Antelope Club in downtown Indianapolis.  The event was produced put by the Indiana Libertarian Party of Marion County, and sponsored by Curved Papers.

Thank you, it is an honor to be able to address this historic first Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0 event.

As Chris mentioned, my name is Dave Rheins. I am the founder and executive director of the Marijuana Business Association, or MJBA.  MJBA is a national trade organization serving the legal cannabis industry.  We represent hundreds of licensed cannabis businesses and the many professional services companies upon whom they rely.  We support grassroots communities in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York/New Jersey with plans to add more as new legal states like California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine come online.

We host professional networking meetups, educational panels, seminars and workshops, host job fairs and vendor fairs, and run several cannabis-related media sites, including MJHeadlineNews, Marijuana Channel One and the MJNewsNetwork.

I am a Hoosier, born and raised in Indiana.  I grew up in Indianapolis, graduated North Central and Indiana University, where I studied Journalism and English.

I spent my professional career at the intersection of popular culture, technology and commerce at places like Rolling Stone, SPIN and AOL Time Warner.  My work with the MJBA is a natural part of that continuum.  Pot Culture is Pop Culture.

MJBA was founded in 2012, before Colorado or Washington passed their historic voter initiatives legalizing adult personal use of cannabis, creating the first regulated pot marketplaces.

After 80 years of prohibition, our challenge was to create, from the ground up, a system of producing, processing and retailing a heretofore illicit product. Not only did we need to put in place the mechanisms of a whole new marketplace, we needed to reintegrate the underground cannabis industry and lifestyle into the mainstream economy.  Normalization is our greatest challenge.

Legalization came by way of voter initiative, not legislation. Meaning that the people and not the political parties heralded in this enormous societal change. In fact, no major politician supported Washington’s I-502 or Colorado’s Proposition 64. And when both passed, the state was mandated to create a system for regulating, taxing and supervising this nascent industry.  Every new legal state has had to create a system of commerce – and a regulatory schema that worked.  Each of the 8 legal states has its own idiosyncratic set of rules and regs, and within each state, counties and municipalities add their own layer of rules and taxes, or in some case opt out of legal pot altogether.  Your participation in the education and advocacy in your community is crucial.

The challenge has been enormous, made only more difficult due to the complexities of federal prohibition – which restricts the growth of the industry by inhibiting its access to those things it needs to grow: everything from simple banking and commercial capital, to medical research.  Legal cannabis businesses operate at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to taxation.  IRS Code Section 280-E restricts these state-regulated and legal businesses from deducting anything beyond simple COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), and the resultant high tax level making profitability elusive indeed.

Federally, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  Federal prohibition has resulted in a crazy-quilted patchwork of state industries, no two alike, as every state government, and every community within these legal jurisdictions decide what legal cannabis will look like.  And it is here that there is the greatest opportunity for the entrepreneur and independent investor.

It is at the state and local level that decisions are being made as to what legal products will be available, how they are grown, tested for quality and safety, packaged, distributed, advertised, marketed, sold and taxed.  Decisions about potency, are being made by local participants in each community.  Early entrants are uniquely being given the opportunity to define the marketplace.  While our cannabis revolution is national, and indeed international in scope – the biggest opportunities are local.

 Indiana will have the opportunity to build the legal cannabis marketplace that works best for its citizenry.

Let’s level set the business opportunity.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, A total of 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.  In addition, 17 states allow use of “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense. Those programs are not counted as comprehensive medical marijuana programs.

Indiana’s House Bill 1148 would legalize the use of cannabidiol for patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The oil is derived from the cannabis plant but would be allowed to contain only up to .3 percent THC.

Eight states and the District of Columbia now have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use.

The legal cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in our economy. Tens of thousands of new licensed cannabis companies have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generated hundreds of millions in new tax revenues.

According to New Frontier Data, legal consumer spending across North America grew 34 percent in 2016 to $6.7 billion and can be expected to grow at a 27 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, to $22.6 billion in 2021

“While the uncertainty created by the mixed signals coming out of the Administration may cause a temporary dip in some valuations of cannabis companies and some more risk-averse institutional investors and multinational companies may continue to stay on the sidelines, it won’t impact the growth of the market much at all,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView Market Research. “No matter what the administration does, states will continue to issue cannabis licenses to a long line of applicants and licensed cannabis outlets will continue to have long lines of consumers ready to purchase this product from regulated establishments.”

More facts:

  • North Americans spent $56.1 billion on legal and illicit cannabis products in 2016, about half of the $105 billion they spent on beer. But only $6.7 billion of that was spent legally and 87 percent of that came from just five states and Canada;
  • Growth in legal cannabis sales has already eroded the illicit market. This erosion will greatly accelerate in 2018 with the arrival of legalized adult-use programs in North America’s two biggest markets, California and Canada. Meanwhile, the 20 states without legal cannabis programs contributed nothing to the accelerating erosion of the illicit market;
  • Voters in Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota passed medical cannabis initiatives in 2016.  This means that 63 percent of Americans can legally obtain cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation;
  • Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine passed adult-use measures in 2016. This more than tripled the portion of Americans that will be able to purchase cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation in their home state to 21 percent; Compound annual growth rates above 50 percent since adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington drew significant new segments of the investment community into the legal cannabis industry in 2016, driving triple-digit gains in public stocks and double-digit gains in capital raised by operating companies and a growing group of cannabis-focused investment funds;

For Hoosier investors who want to capture some of the industry’s rapid financial growth, but aren’t able or don’t want to get involved with plant-touching firms that grow or sell cannabis and products still prohibited under federal law, lots of opportunities exist.   Here are some of my favorites:

    • Real Estate
    • Logistics/Distribution
    • Software
    • Security
    • Lighting
    • Soil
    • Hardware: big ag tech for growers, extraction machines for processors, and point of sale for retail; consumer products (vapes and accessories)
    • Nutrients and hydroponics
    • Testing, Labs & Quality control
    • Genetics
    • Packaging
    • Branding, Marketing and promotion
    • Business Intelligence
    • Professional services – Legal, Accounting, Business planning
    • Investment – penny stocks, equity and debt investment

Hemp is the most immediate opportunity for Hoosiers.

According to Vote Hemp approximately 9,650 acres of hemp crops were planted in 15 states during 2016 in the U.S., 30 universities conducted research on hemp cultivation, and 817 State hemp licenses were issued across the country. This hemp cultivation is legal in 32 states, which have lifted restrictions on hemp farming and may license farmers to grow hemp in accordance with Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment.

Historically: Indiana has had a long and proud hemp history.  In 1930, it was the third largest crop grown in the state. And in 1940, there were six hemp processing plants in Indiana alone.

Hemp was grown widely until the 1970s Controlled Substances Act. 2 acres of hemp were cultivated in Indiana last year for research purposes.

Today:  Indiana Hemp Law   Year Passed: 2014 Summary: Senate Bill 357 authorizes state regulators to begin the process of licensing farmers to grow hemp commercially.The American Farm Bureau led by the Indiana Farm Bureau recently endorsed ending the federal prohibition on industrial hemp at its annual meeting in January.

Most recently, the US House of Representatives approved language in the federal Farm Bill to allow pilot studies specific to hemp cultivation to take place in states that have authorized them. Indiana’s farmers ought to be able to take advantage of this pending change in federal law.
 Ind. Code § 15-15-13-7 (2014)

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Indiana’s first medical cannabis legislation in April. It legalizes cannabidiol or CBD – for the treatment of epilepsy.

How will Growing & Processing of CBD be governed in Indiana?

Kentucky grew more than 2500 acres of hemp last year, making it the second largest producer behind Colorado. The Hemp CBD representing $130 million in sales in 2016 with growth at a 53% AGR (Adjusted Growth Revenue).

CannaFest Destiny:

A recent editorial in the Indy Star from Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, whom I understand will be in this same hall tomorrow, acknowledges that legalization is sweeping the country and the unstoppable trend is headed this way.  Legalization is coming to Indiana, sooner than you think.

The question for you thought-leaders in the audience should be HOW to get in on the ground floor of this emerging market.  We suggest that you start by 1) Getting Informed 2) Getting Connected  3 )Activating attend conferences, organize more Cannabis Chats and join groups – political and business.

See related article:








Witnessing The Birth of An Industry: MJBA CEO David Rheins Looks Back At 2014

By David Rheins 

2014 has been an amazing year for those of us on the front lines of the legal cannabis movement. Thanks to the support of the now 300+ cannabis business members, dozens of sponsors and thousands of supporters, the b2b trade group I run, Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), has grown rapidly.  We’ve been busy during our first full year of operations helping our young industry lay the foundation for what will be one of  Washington State’s — and eventually the nation’s — major economic drivers.  Here are some of the year’s highlights:

Women of Weed

Women of Weed

As the industry grows, so do we: MJBA business groups now meetup regularly in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Spokane, WA. And in the first quarter of 2015, we’ll expand these networking events to support cannabis business communities in Denver, CO and Portland, OR.


In the past year we’ve focused most of our energies helping to build Washington’s nascent legal cannabis business community. Focusing on our core values of providing reliable business intelligence, community and opportunity, MJBA organized two major b2b Vendor Fairs this year — both at Seattle’s Magical Butter Studios.  Our inaugural MJBA Vendor Fair in March 2014, came just as the first recreational marijuana licenses were being issued by the LCB.  That historic event, sponsored by leading edible company Evergreen Herbal, saw more than 300 businesses participate – with 25 sponsor/vendors.  Our second iteration,  MJBA Vendor Fair Summer, sponsored by Blue Line Protection Group, happened just days before the opening of Washington’s first legal pot shops and saw 20 vendors and 200 attendees who made crucial contacts and business deals.

Evergreen Herbal chief Marco Hoffman on stage at Vendor Fair.

Evergreen Herbal chief Marco Hoffman on stage at Vendor Fair.


In between those two events, we launched the MJBA Women’s Alliance with an elegant power luncheon at the Columbia Tower Club, featuring a keynote speech by LEAP’s Diane Wattles Goldstein, guest appearance by Cheryl Shuman. Ah Warner, Cannabis Basics founder, and creator of Women of Weed, was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

MJBA Women's Alliance Luncheon

MJBA Women’s Alliance Luncheon

Later in May also saw the debut of MJBA’s first Professional Education Seminar, “Canna Business and the Law.” Sponsored by Canna Law Group and emceed by CNBC’s Al Olson, the event featured VIP Keynotes by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and WSLCB Member Chris Marr.

Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes was a keynote speaker at Canna Business & The Law

Seattle Attorney Pete Holmes was a keynote speaker at Canna Business & The Law.


Pete Holmes and Chris Marr take questions

In June the MJBA moved into its HQ in Bothell, WA.  And to commemorate the occasion, we held an MJBA Women’s Alliance Held a picnic at the compound, with more than 70 cannabis ladies pitching in for “pot luck.”

In July, we launched the South Sound Tacoma MJBA meetup at Surge Tacoma. The first event was over-capacity and demonstrated that the need to support cannabis business was not just a Seattle phenomenon

Those getting into the marijuana industry today are getting a leg up on the growing wave of competition. The New York Times recently covered the industry that is now receiving financial backing from several networks of investors that are ready to plunge millions into the industry.

South Sound supports a robust MJBA community

For 4 days in August, MJBA was a VIP Sponsor of Cannacon V1.0 at the Tacoma Dome. Our MJNewsNetwork and Marijuana Channel One on YouTube covered the event extensively.  Canna personality Radical Russ Belville interviewed key MJBA business members for his 420 Radio Network.

LCB's Randy Simmons and David Rheins at CannaCon

LCB’s Randy Simmons and David Rheins at CannaCon

In August, MJBA also hosted a benefit for NORML at its Bothell HQ.  The event was sponsored by Blue Line Protection Group, O.pen Vape, Evergreen Herbal and Washington Bud Company.  NORML founder Keith Stroup, travel author Rick Steves, cannabis celebrity Cheryl Shuman, Washington NORML founder Kevin Oliver and High Times Editor Rick Cusick were all in attendance.  The event raised $1500 for NORML.

NORML's Keith Stroup, David Rheins and Kevin Oliver

NORML’s Keith Stroup, David Rheins and Kevin Oliver

In August, MJBA Women’s Alliance sponsored a benefit for the Pink Gene Foundation at Suite at the Hyatt in Bellevue.  $1000 was raised via a silent auction of donated wares from MJBA’s generous business members and sponsors.

Washington Bud Co's Shawn DeNae and attorney Stephanie Boehl

Washington Bud Co’s Shawn DeNae and attorney Stephanie Boehl

We held our first ever MJ Research listening summit in August, which informed our second MJBA Professional Education Seminar, “Technology & Your Cannabis Business”  held at the Motif Hotel in Seattle. Sponsored by CIPS, the event featured keynote presentation by Jamen Shively and ICCCO, and featured five all-star expert panels.

Ben Livingston Emceed MJBA's Technology & Your Cannabis Business Seminar

Ben Livingston Emceed MJBA’s Technology & Your Cannabis Business Seminar

MJBA at CannaCon 2014

MJBA’s David Rheins being interviewed at CannaCon 2014

In September, MJBA launched the Vancouver Meetup. The Mayor of Vancouver proclaimed the day “Cannabis Hemp Awareness & Marijuana Safe Usage Day” – Viridian Sciences was host, and Congressional candidate Bob Dingethal spoke to the group.  And we’d like to thank Danille Ulvila with Life Gro for hosting our most recent Tacoma Meetup at her impressive Life Gro facility.

Viridian Sciences hosted MJBA Vancouver's first meetup

Viridian Sciences hosted MJBA Vancouver’s first meetup


MJBA held its monthly Seattle meetups at Magial Butter Studios in SODO

MJBA held its monthly Seattle meetups at Magical Butter Studios in SODO

In September, MJBA launched MJBA Job Fair, a historic gathering of Washington Cannabis Industry’s employers and job seekers. Presented by, and sponsored by Viridian Sciences, Eden Labs and Blue Line Protection Group, the event attracted more than 400 attendees, with 30 employer sponsors and more than 140 job openings.  We even hosted a “Marijuana Is Safer Than Unemployment” Fashion Show!


Job Fair Seattle was a huge success

Job Fair Seattle was a huge success

Eden Labs' CEO AC Braddock on the runway at the MJBA Jobs Fair in Seattle.

Eden Labs’ CEO AC Braddock on the runway at the MJBA Jobs Fair in Seattle.

In November, the Women’s Alliance hosted “The Power To Lead,” a day of inspiration, information and celebration, featuring Ladybud publisher Diane Fornbacher and financial guru Debbie Whitlock.

Ladybud Publisher Diane Fornbacher keynoted "The Power to Lead"

Ladybud Publisher Diane Fornbacher keynoted “The Power to Lead”

A couple of days later in November, MJBA Research published its first market research report, and held its third Professional Education Seminar:  “Dollars & Sense: Risk & Financial Planning for your Cannabis Business.” Sponsored by RMMC Consulting, the daylong event included a robust vendor area, and a daylong series of panels, including an hourlong Q&A with LCB Deputy Director Randy Simmons. 7 expert panel focused on actionable advice for the more than 200 I-502 licensees and applicants on their major areas of concern: financing and money management; insurance and risk; security, distribution and transportation; merchant service; business intelligence. MJ Freeway sponsored the 4:20 happy hour.


Dollars and Sense of Risk & Financial of Your Cannabis Business

Dollars and Sense of Risk & Financial of Your Cannabis Business

Just under 500 job seekers networked for opportunities to work in WA's legal marijuana industry.

500 job seekers came to MJBA Job Fair Seattle

In December 2014, the Company held its first annual “Cannabis Xmas Bazaar: Hot Pot Products for the High Holidays,” an historic showcasing of marijuana-themed products and innovations with participation by over 20 independent vendors and 150 members.   And, to top it all off, we were honored to be nominated as “Best Cannabis Association of 2014” in the Dope Industry Awards.  All in all, I’d say it was a fantastic first year in the life of a Green Rush startup.

Can’t wait to share what next year brings.  Hope you’ll stay tuned.  In the meantime, here’s wishing everyone a safe, happy, hempy holiday season.

The Cannabis Elders at the Dope Industry Awards

The Cannabis Elders at the Dope Industry Awards


Leafly sponsored Sativa Santa at MJBA Cannabis Xmas Bazaar

Leafly sponsored Sativa Santa at MJBA Cannabis Xmas Bazaar

Farmer Tom "Sativa Santa" and Seattle Hempfest's Vivian McPeak

Farmer Tom “Sativa Santa” and Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak

Michael Stusser and Higher Ground TV captured this year's Hot Pot Products

Michael Stusser and Higher Ground TV captured this year’s Hot Pot Products

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: “Branding Bud” Author David A. Paleschuck




Branding Bud Author 

David A. Paleschuck

By Curt Robbins


Author David Paleschuck, a mainstream marketer who honed his craft working on mega brands like Pepsi, American Express and Microsoft has been involved in creating and marketing some of today’s leading cannabis brands (including DOPE). His new book, “Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis” is a must-read primer for any professional involved in product creation, branding, packaging, marketing or retailing.

This week on Curt’s Cannabis Corner, host Curt Robbins sat down with David Paleschuck (virtually), along with an international assemblage of marketing, branding and PR professionals ( Alana Armstrong, Alan Aldous, Toronto; Wesley Donohue, The 9th Block, Denver; Colleen Kibler, Maple Valley Pharms, Waterville, Maine; and David Rheins, MJNews, Seattle) to discuss the mainstreaming of marijuana, the emergence of grassroots canna brands, The 14 Cannabis Brand Archetypes and how Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, Big Pharma and Big Retail are changing the dynamic marketplace.

With Altria, Amazon and Canopy Growth all in the news this week, the subject of the commercialization of cannabis could not be more topical.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner is a series of educational articles and podcasts from technical writer, author and educator Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network.  The collection is designed especially for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this special—and newly legal—herb.

If you would like to be a guest on Curt’s Cannabis Corner, or have a suggestion for a CCC topic, please email us at:

Turn On. Tune In. Catch the Buzz. Marijuana Channel One is a creation of MJBA Publishing LLC. Copyright @2021 All rights are reserved. For more information, contact us at: #mjnews #MJChannelOne


MJBA’s Rheins Leads All-Star Panel On Canna-Marketing At CCC in PDX

In today’s hyper-competitive legal cannabis industry, excellent branding and marketing is essential.  It’s “Differentiate Or Die” says MJBA executive director David Rheins.  “It used to be that farmers could rely upon the quality of their crops and their reputation in the local community.  With commercialization, the quality and desirability of the product, must be communicated through meaninful branding, appealing packaging, and solid marketing.”

Rheins will be moderating a panel of leading cannabis industry marketeers at the 4th Annual Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Portland, January 24th.  The marketing panel will feature a number of top canna-brand experts including Stephen Gold, The Daily Leaf; Sean Lucas, NUG Digital Marketing; and Ryan Michael, KindTyme, as we discuss the top branding and marketing trends every canna-marketer must know.

  • Differentiate or Die!  Marketing Panel
  • 12:00 – 12:45pm, January 24
  • Room D204 (Seats 50)
  • Speakers: Dave Rheins, Sean Lucas, Ryan Michael and Stephen Gold

    Moderating the ancillary businesses panel at CCC

    David Rheins Moderating the marketing panel at CCC

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Cannabis Consumption Lounges.

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, often confusing business environment, and dynamic regulation of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the increasingly popular trend of cannabis consumption lounges. While not permitted in most of North America (including, surprisingly, the majority of adult-use legal states), some jurisdictions are beginning to warm to the idea of what might materialize as something similar to alcohol bars, except for cannabis (and probably featuring fewer angry brawls). 

How might the cannabis industry differentiate itself from established mainstream lounge business segments such as coffee shops and taverns that focus on alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, and non-infused food? Will modern cannabis lounges borrow the speakeasy environment from a century ago? Or will they invent something entirely new?








By Curt Robbins



In early June 2021, the state of Nevada passed AB341, legislation that permitted the tightly regulated legal operation of a limited number of cannabis consumption lounges.  While 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new law—particularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegas—won’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after. 

Typically progressive adult-use cannabis jurisdictions, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have mulled the idea of consumption lounges for years, Nevada is among the first to actually implement and regulate what is likely to become a robust network of specialized retail facilities (many of which will cater to tourists, a speciality of both Las Vegas and Reno). If successful, consumption lounges will soon be available to nearly every weed consumer in the state (two-thirds of whom reside in the Vegas metro area).

“I think this really solidifies us as the cannabis destination,” said Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of Bill AB341.

Lounges Appeal to Tourism

“Consumption lounges are so perfect for our tourism industry. The sooner we get out there, the more we’ll be looked upon as a marijuana-friendly city and state,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. Segerblom, a former state senator, led an earlier attempt to legalize cannabis consumption lounges in Nevada in 2017. He called the new law “a game changer.” 

“Done the right way, consumption lounges cannot only be beneficial to the public, but also to government coffers at all levels, adding jobs and additional tax revenue,” said David Farris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Planet 13 in Las Vegas, one of the city’s most famous adult-use dispensaries. 

In California, legislation was recently approved by the state’s Assembly that would allow licensed cannabis lounges to sell non-cannabis foods and drinkssomething that is prohibited under the Golden State’s existing adult-use cannabis laws passed back in 2016. 

The bill, AB 1034, was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom on behalf of the City of West Hollywood to better address the state’s position regarding marijuana lounges and allow the on-site consumption of non-infused beverages and foods. 

“Just like in bars and restaurants, people want to be able to socialize with friends while consuming cannabis,” said Tim Wright, CEO of Shasta Management in Imperial County, California. The company plans to in May open the “largest consumption lounge in the U.S.”

Evolution of Lounge Laws

While informal cannabis lounges have appeared throughout North America for decades, they typically have been either illegal underground operations or openly operating under what basically have been loopholes in local ordinances and state laws that allowed them to operate as private clubs. 


Examples include the bohemian Northwest Cannabis Club in Portland (a private lounge requiring membership that is tightly regulated by the local municipal government) and the trendy Tetra Lounge in Denver. The Tetra Lounge calls itself a social lounge and notes that it offers “private consumption” of cannabis that, like the Northwest Cannabis Club, requires customers to be members to legally dispense its services.

The first state to pass formal legislation in support of cannabis consumption lounges was Alaska in 2019, which amended its existing adult-use marijuana law with an on-site use option available to all licensed dispensaries. Colorado followed with 2019 legislation (HB 1234) that permitted limited lounges called “tasting rooms.” 

“Not having on-site consumption [in Alaska was] detrimental to the tourist industry. There [was] nowhere to smoke and it made [tourists] feel alienated,” said Jake Warden of SWOT Team Solutions in Anchorage. 

“Lawmakers’ approval and the governor’s enthusiasm for signing them into law indicate the state is ready to move forward with fulfilling Amendment 64’s promise to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” said Jordan Wellington of Denver lobbying firm VS Strategies regarding Colorado’s tasting room law shortly after it was passed.

Although yet to manifest as visitable retail establishments, the recent adult-use law passed in New York (S.854-A/A.1248-A) includes provisions for cannabis consumption lounges. Also of note, but not directly related to lounges, New York’s law allows cannabis consumption in any public space that permits the use of smoked tobacco (sorry, New York peeps, but this excludes beaches and public parks).

Interestingly, New York’s law is polar opposite that of Nevada in terms of ownership restrictions. While Nevada gives preference to existing licensed adult-use dispensaries for eligibility for lounge licenses (allowing only 20 non-dispensary licenses in the entire state), New York prohibits a consumption lounge license holder from also possessing an adult-use dispensary license. (Similarly, the Empire State prevents cultivation and processing/manufacturing licenses from owning retail dispensaries.) 

Connecticut Enters Adult-Use Fray

The most recent entrant to the adult-use legalization party is Connecticut, which on June 22 passed SB 1201. Although the new law does not itself directly permit consumption lounges, it includes language regarding potential implementation of lounges in the future. 

The state has committed to, no later than January 1, 2023, “make written recommendations concerning whether to authorize on-site consumption or events that allow for cannabis usage, including whether to establish a cannabis on-site consumption or event license.”

A review of the new Connecticut law brings to light an interesting and unique element wherein the state will require cities featuring populations of greater than 50,000 residents to “designate a place in the municipality in which public consumption of cannabis is permitted.” How this comes to fruition will be very interesting to observe. (Follow this series for updates as implementation of the new Connecticut adult-use law evolves.)

While this may give proponents of consumption lounges reason to celebrate, this language was followed by more sobering regulatory realities: A declaration that such amendments to the law “may prohibit the smoking of cannabis and the use of electronic cannabis delivery systems and vapor products containing cannabis in the outdoor sections of a restaurant,” for example.

However, in the reasons to celebrate column, Sec. 89 of the legislation, which becomes effective July 1, 2022, states that “no hotel, motel, or similar lodging shall prohibit the legal possession or consumption of cannabis in any nonpublic area of such hotel, motel, or similar lodging.” Nicely done, Connecticut. 

That’s a Wrap

While 18 U.S. states to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new lawparticularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegaswon’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after.

Will other adult-use states follow in the footsteps of Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New York by adopting formal laws that recognize and regulate marijuana consumption lounges for those 21 and over? Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a larger wave of pot lounge culture (and commerce) that’s about to sweep the United States. 

CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER THE PODCAST: Join host Curt Robbins (Higher Learning LV) , co-host David Rheins (MJBA/MJNews) industry thought leaders Alex Brough (Cannabition/Kaneh Ventures) and Alana Armstrong (Alan Aldous) as they discuss how the mainstreaming of cannabis will go well beyond public consumption lounges, to include restaurants that feature infused menus, CHABA massage therapy, pot tourism, music & marijuana events, puff and paint, and even museum experiences.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Leafreport Delta-8 THC Market Survey

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, often confusing business environment, and dynamic regulation of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the exciting new hemp/cannabis molecule that is being widely marketed across America, delta-8 THCand how it is being marketed and sold across the United States. 





Delta-8 THC

Market Survey

By Curt Robbins


In June 2021, Leafreport released a market survey report regarding one of the hottest new phytomolecules to hit the market in a long time: Delta-8 THC. 

The report contained some shocking news for both consumers and industry professionals alike: The majority of the 38 products examined by Leafreport contained illegal levels of delta-9 THC and an incorrect amount of delta-8 that did not match package labelling. 

The sibling to isomer delta-9 THC, the delta-8 variant delivers roughly 50-75 percent of the psychoactivity of delta-9. Perhaps more significantly, delta-8 has gained the interest of wellness professionals due to its desirable characteristic of being less likely than delta-9 to produce negative side effects such as increased anxiety, discomfort, disorientation, and panic attacks.  

The biggest takeaways from the Leafreport delta-8 THC market report, authored by Canadian CBD journalist Gleb Oleinik and California-based nurse practitioner Eloise Theisen, are listed below.

  • 53 percent of the 38 delta-8 products surveyed were over the hemp legal limit for delta-9 THC (0.3 percent), containing up to 15.2 percent delta-9 THC.
  • 34 percent of the products surveyed did not clearly list their delta-8 content either via the package label or an online product description.
  • 68 percent of the products contained the wrong amount of delta-8 THC (different from product packaging).

“It’s kind of ironic because the whole point of these [delta-8] products is that they’re a legal alternative to delta-9 THC,” said report co-author Oleinik during a June 18 guest appearance on the Curt’s Cannabis Corner video podcast

“I work with patients who want to use cannabis as a treatment,” said Theisen. “Most of them are older adults, so they’re very concerned about the euphoric effects of delta-9. Delta-8 is being presented to them as having less psychoactivity and less euphoria. But I don’t think that the research really supports clinical implications yet for delta-8.” 

Said Oleinik, “The process used to make delta-8 from CBD actually creates a lot of delta-9 as a byproduct. If you don’t remove it after you do that, it’s going to stay in the product and it’s going to be illegal because of that.”

“They’re cutting corners there,” added Theisen. 

The issue of regulatory oversight and standard business procedures is an important one for ensuring that delta-8 products maintain adequate minimum quality levels and accurate packaging in an effort to avoid misleading consumers or producing adverse reactions that could have been avoided with accurate labeling. 

“In the production and manufacturing of these products, is there the proper protocol? Are those processors employing testing as part of that?,” asked David Rheins, Executive Director of the Marijuana Business Association in Seattle. “And who is doing it? Who is certifying those labs and against what standards?” 

“There seems to be no standard in terms of what’s mandated and then no enforcement even if there is a standard,” said Rheins.

Unfortunately, the implications of delta-8 products that list no delta-9 but offer significant doses of the molecule can be severe for both lifestyle consumers and patients.   

“We’re definitely seeing increased reports, thorough poison control, of delta-8 products where [consumers] are experiencing confusion, anxiety, increased heart rate, and vomiting. The question really is, is it a delta-8/delta-9 combination, is it a large dose of delta-9?” 

During the podcast, Theisen echoed Rheins regarding the lack of standardization within the industry. “We don’t have standardization for testing,” she said. “Every state sets their own levels. We’ve even heard reports of laboratories working with companies to produce the levels that the companies are looking for.”

Theisen said her biggest concern as a healthcare professional is potential residual solvents that may remain in products, even those that undergo testing for other substances. 

“The thing I always come back to is education. There’s a lack of education for consumers and I think [we need to] hold some of these companies and brands accountable,” she said. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Does Cannabis Affect Memory?


Welcome to the latest installment of Curt’s Cannabis Corner — a series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the scientific research regarding the controversial topic of the effect of cannabis consumption on brain function and, more specifically, memory and related mental performance.

My thanks to David Rheins, executive director of the Marijuana Business Association in Seattle, for suggesting the topic for this week’s article.  




Does Cannabis Affect Memory?

By Curt Robbins

Cannabis consumers and patients for decades have faced an intimidatingly confusing mix of sometimes contradictory information regarding the true effects of cannabis on the brain and, specifically, memory and cognition. Since the early 20th century, prohibitionists have been claiming that cannabis use by humans produces a variety of mental problems and deficiencies, from killing brain cells to a range of psychiatric disorders to the lowering of intelligence. 

Programs like D.A.R.E (launched in 1983 in, ironically, Los Angeles) preached the dangers of marijuana use to school children throughout the United States. The natural herb was included with hard drugs known to involve serious physical addiction and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms, including heroin and cocaine. Such efforts have served to taint the reputation of cannabis and convince millions of consumers that prolonged use of the plant may result in problems such as memory deficiencies or other cognitive problems. 

Meanwhile, scientists for decades have touted the potential of phytomolecules such as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) to do things such as improve the neuroplasticity and overall health of brain cells. This is of understandably significant consequence to the large patient populations afflicted with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and autism. 

Research Study Results 

With such conflicting evidence promoted to several generations of North Americans, what does the hard science and research say? Below are six peer-reviewed research studies conducted over the course of the past two decades regarding the topic of the effect of long-term cannabis use on memory function and overall cognitive performance. 

A 2001 study entitled “Neuropsychological Performance in Long-term Cannabis Users” that was published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry investigated the longitudinal impact of cannabis use on cognition. 

The human clinical trial study involved 180 test subjects categorized as 63 “current heavy users” (who had consumed at least 5000 times during their lives and were daily users at the time of the study), 45 “former heavy users” (who had consumed at least 5000 times during their lives but fewer than a dozen times in the past three months), and 72 control subjects who had consumed fewer than 50 times during their lives.

All participants abstained from cannabis consumption for 28 days (confirmed by urinalysis), a period over which cognitive and memory performance data was gathered (at day 0, 1, 7, and 28). Reported the study’s authors, “We administered a neuropsychological test battery to assess general intellectual function, abstraction ability, sustained attention, verbal fluency, and ability to learn and recall new verbal and visuospatial information.”
The current heavy users group “scored significantly below control subjects on recall of word lists” during the performance tests administered on days 0, 1, and 7. The researchers found this deficit to be directly and proportionally associated with the level of THC in the blood of test subjects when the study was launched.  

“By day 28, however, there were virtually no significant differences among the groups on any of the test results,” reported the pioneering study. The researchers concluded that their data could detect “no significant associations between cumulative lifetime cannabis use and test scores.”

A 2005 study entitled “Neurocognitive Consequences of Marihuanaa Comparison with Pre-drug Performance” that was published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology explored the “effects of current and past regular use of marihuana [sic].” 

The study involved examination of 113 young adults “evaluated using neurocognitive tests for which commensurate measures were obtained prior to the initiation of marihuana smoking.” The researchers assessed “overall IQ, memory, processing speed, vocabulary, attention, and abstract reasoning.” Like other studies, data gathered indicated that “heavy [cannabis] users did significantly worse than non-users in overall IQ, processing speed, and immediate and delayed memory.” 

However, like the 2001 study cited above, “the former marihuana smokers did not show any cognitive impairments.” The study’s authors concluded that cognitive deficiencies “are evident beyond the acute intoxication period in current heavy users…but similar deficits are no longer apparent three months after cessation of regular use.” The scientists noted that this was true “even among former heavy using young adults.”

A 2006 human trial study entitled “Long-term Effects of Frequent Cannabis Use on Working Memory and Attention” that was published in the journal Psychopharmacology investigated “brain function in frequent but relatively moderate cannabis users in the domains of working memory and selective attention.”

The study involved a relatively small group of only ten human participants who “performed equally well during the working memory task and the selective attention task.” The researchers reported that cannabis users “did not differ from controls in terms of overall patterns of brain activity in the regions involved in these cognitive functions.” However, the report did note that “in comparison to the controls, cannabis users displayed a significant alteration in brain activity in the left superior parietal cortex.”

Despite its low number of test subjects, this research echoes others that indicate little or no difference between consumers and non-consumers of cannabis in terms of memory and cognitive performanceespecially after a sustained period of cessation (typically seven to 90 days).   

A 2014 study entitled “Effect of Baseline Cannabis Use and Working-Memory Function on Changes in Cannabis Use in Heavy Users” that was published in the journal Human Brain Mapping intended to “assess the predictive power of working-memory function for future cannabis use and cannabis-related problem severity in heavy users.”

The human trial study involved 73 participants aged 18-25, including 32 “heavy cannabis users” (defined as using more than 10 days per month) and 41 “non-using control” participants who had consumed fewer than 50 cannabis joints during their life and had not used during the year immediately prior to study participation. 

The researchers reported that “behavioral performance and working-memory function did not significantly differ between heavy cannabis users and control [participants].” 

A 2018 study entitled “One Month of Cannabis Abstinence in Adolescents and Young Adults is Associated with Improved Memory” that was published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry explored “associations between adolescent cannabis use and poor neurocognitive functioning.” The study involved 88 test subjects aged 16-25 “who used cannabis regularly.” 

The researchers concluded that their data “suggests that cannabis abstinence is associated with improvements in verbal learning that appear to occur largely in the first week following last use.” These results supported the observations of the 2001 study cited above that found cognitive deficiencies in heavy users only during the first week of abstinence, but no such difference from the control group after 28 days.

A 2018 study entitled “Biphasic Effects of THC in Memory and Cognition” that was published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation reported that cannabis consumption results in “a reversible disruption of short-term memory induced by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis.” 

The researchers found this “reversible disruption of short-term memory” to most affect “attention, working memory, verbal learning, and memory functions.” The study reported a biphasic response from THC, which produced different results depending on dosage and other usage characteristics. “THC is also able to improve neurological function in old animals when chronically administered at low dose. Compelling data have shown that memory is also affected in a biphasic fashion.”

The study concluded that “THC modulates memory and cognition in a biphasic and age-dependent manner.”

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What is Delta-10 THC?

Welcome to the next installment in the new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week we’re dealing with a newcomer to the world of commercial cannabinoids, delta-10 THC. Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™!




What is Delta-10 THC?

By Curt Robbins



All cannabis consumers and industry professionals are familiar with the phytomolecule THC that is produced by the cannabis plant. Many, however, aren’t aware that this popular psychoactive chemical compound is but one of several similar THC molecules produced by the plant called analogs (or, more technically, isomers).

The version of THC that differentiates hemp and cannabis, the measure of which has determined the market value of cannabis flowers and related products for decades, is delta-9 THC. However, a variety of analogs of the THC molecule exist. These include THCA (no psychoactivity), delta-8 THC (about two-thirds the psychoactivity of the delta-9 isomer), and THCV (the varin version that delivers psychoactivity, but only in relatively potent doses).  

Other cannabinoids are produced by the plant as similar isomer families, including cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG). In fact, each of these cannabinoids manifests as more than half a dozen isomers. (For CBD, these include CBDA, CBDV, CBDVA, and CBDP. Similarly, CBG offers the isomers CBGA, CBGVA, and CBGV, among others.)   

Recently, the delta-8 isomer of THC has gained attention. A variety of companies in the U.S. have begun selling delta-8 products, mostly in an effort to skirt the federal regulations that prohibit delta-9 THC. Meanwhile, an additional isomer of THC has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs: Delta-10 THC. 

History in California

The story of delta-10 THC is rife with irony. The phytomolecule was recently discovered by Fusion Farms in Adelanto, California. During a wildfire, a batch of outdoor grown plants became contaminated by fire retardant chemicals. These chemicals caused one or more of the cannabinoids in the plants to convert to delta-10 (most likely from cannabichromene [CBC], CBD, or delta-9 THCall of which feature very similar molecular structures). 

Thus, delta-10 THC has been dubbed an “artificial cannabinoid” because it may occur very rarely, or almost never, in nature. Modern manufacturing processes, however, offer the ability to produce the molecule in volume by converting closely related cannabinoids.

Some industry professionals believe that, during testing, delta-10 THC is commonly misidentified as similar cannabinoids, including CBC. “A lot of people had been seeing this mystery compound show up as a minor component on their distillate COAs [Certificates of Analysis], but they thought it was CBC,” said Josh Jones, an organic chemist who consults for Fusion Farms.


Business Opportunity

The tenuous nature of regulatory oversight of hemp and cannabis products in the United States means that the legal status of delta-10 is both ambiguous and could change at any time. 

The challenge for companies wishing to produce products rich in delta-10 THC is use of a production method that synthesizes the molecules in sufficient volume to satisfy potential market demand and cause true efficacy in consumers.   

The saga of delta-10 THC illustrates how industrious entrepreneurs and managers within the industry will pursue opportunities to develop novel cannabinoid isomers. These molecules will naturally feature a different binding affinity, which is the exact method by which they attach to specialized cellular receptors in the human body (part of the endocannabinoid system). As such, wellness professionals seeking novel approaches to the management of particular disease states and conditions may be able to fine tune the efficacy of molecules to match use case scenarios and bolster the safety profiles of molecules or particular products. 


EPISODE 12: DELTA-10 THC (featuring Curt Robbins, David Rheins, Alana Armstrong & Matt Grimshaw)

Greetings From New Jersey, Now The 15th State To Go Green

By Stu Zakim

After a long rollercoaster rider, which saw the Cannabis legislation in New Jersey go through many iterations, this past Monday, it finally became legal.  The Garden State now stands in a unique position of being the epicenter of legal Adult Use and medical Cannabis on the East Coast.  The bigger question is can the current infrastructure manage what will surely be a significant increase in consumers purchasing legal Cannabis without minimizing the importance of keeping the state’s over 100 thousand medical patients fully supplied with the medicine they need to manage their lives in a healthier way than opiates.

Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

In most of the states where the voters or legislators have approved laws that make Cannabis use legal, there has been a major hit on the medical patients.  New Jersey, in learning from the other states, have addressed a number of issues to avoid making the same mistakes.  They need to be applauded for their focus on the patients rather than the Adult use consumer as it’s all about how the plant makes life better for all.

Besides the celebration of the approval of the bill and Governor Murphy’s signing of it, the new bill will finally deal with the long term impacts of social injustice and equity that have affected communities of brown, black and Latino’s.  No longer can the police arrest someone if they smell of Cannabis or alcohol based on that fact; there are other long needed corrections to how the police deal with underage and Adult use Cannabis in place thanks to the concerted efforts of industry leaders like Leo Bridgewater, Ed Devereux, Scott Rudder, William Caruso, Susanna Short, Happy Munkey and others.

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley and Stu Zakim at the 2018 NYC Cannabis Parade

From a financial perspective, New Jersey is situated between two of the most populous areas in the I-95 corridor on Amtrak – NYC and Philadelphia – and should reap those rewards as it expands its medical program and moves towards awarding more licenses before moving on the Adult Use dispensaries.

As a communications strategist who has spent 8 years preparing for this moment on the East Coast, validates all the principals my friend David Rheins created with his forward thinking Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and their many media properties (including MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One used to help influence public opinion through educational programs long before others joined that space.

As the legalization process moves forward in NJ and hopefully NYC, please check MJNews for regular updates.  It’s going to be an exciting time and thanks for reading.