Washington Department Of Health & WSLCB Request Cesession Of Sales Of Vapor Products With Vitamin E Acetate

wslcbTo:       Cannabis Licensees

Fr:        Liquor and Cannabis Board

Re:       Ban on Vapor Products Containing Vitamin E Acetate;

            Implementation of Recall Procedures; and

            Deadline for Product Disclosure

Ban on Vitamin E Acetate

Following a presentation on recent severe lung injury findings from the Department of Health, the Washington State Board of Health today banned the sale and distribution of products that contain vitamin E acetate. This ban is effective this Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board, together with the Department of Health, recently requested that licensed cannabis processors voluntarily cease production of vapor products containing vitamin E acetate. Per today’s State Board of Health action, the ban on production and distribution is now mandatory.

Per WAC 314-55-225 (3) (b), immediately invoke your recall plan for any vapor products containing vitamin E acetate. All products available for retail sale are required to have documentation available that lists ingredients. If unclear, please contact the processor from whom you purchased the vapor product.

December 1, Deadline for Marijuana Vapor Product Ingredient Disclosure Forms

The deadline for all processor licensees to submit the vapor product ingredient disclosure forms to the LCB is December 1, 2019. The emergency rules filed Oct. 16, 2019 require cannabis processors to disclose all compounds, including but not limited to ingredients, solvents, additives, preservatives, thickening agents, terpenes and other substances used to produce or added to marijuana concentrates for inhalation or marijuana-infused extracts for inhalation at any point during production and processing, regardless of source and origin. All processors, regardless of whether or not they produce vapor products, must return the form.

  • The disclosure form can be found here. Please follow the instructions within the document and submit to mjdisclosureform@lcb.wa.gov.
  • For tips and answers to frequently asked questions about the disclosure form click here.

Findings

While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with vaping-associated lung injury, these findings do not rule out other possible compounds or ingredients that may be causing these lung injuries. There may be more than one cause of this outbreak.

The LCB remains in close contact with health officials. We will continue to communicate with you as appropriate. Thank you for your attention to this important public health mater.

U.S. Hemp Authority Announces Issuance Of First 13 Certified Seals For Hemp Growers And Processors

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Hemp Authority today announced the first awards of its Certification Seal to 13 outstanding companies that have met the stringent standards the industry laid out for quality and safety.

The following awardees have demonstrated their commitment to assuring that consumers have access to safe and accurately labeled hemp-derived products, including fiber, seed and extracts, such as cannabidiol (CBD).

• Charlotte’s Web, Boulder, CO

• CV Sciences, San Diego, CA

• HempMeds, San Diego, CA

• MetaCan, Roswell, GA

• Medterra CBD, Irvine, CA

• GenCanna, Winchester, KY

• Balanced Health Botanicals,

• Shell Farms, Winchester, KY

Louisville, CO

• Nature’s Hemp Oil, Lexington, KY

• HD Distribution, Louisville, CO

• Hempworx, Las Vegas, NV

• Bluebird Botanicals, Louisville, CO

• Barlean’s, Ferndale, WA

In addition to elevating consumer confidence in the quality and safety of hemp products, this voluntary certification demonstrates the industry’s commitment to working with federal and state regulators and law enforcement agencies. Modeled after existing federal regulations for manufacturing in the dietary supplement industry, these standards offer an industry-led model for any future regulations to ensure safety and quality.

“As the market for hemp-derived products undergoes rapid growth, it is critically important for us to signal to the world that we intend to act responsibly. Quality assurance and safety must come first, and that’s why we set off on this journey,” said Marielle Weintraub, PhD, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority. “Creating these standards was a long journey, but after thousands of pages of public and stakeholder input and countless hours of hard work, we are thrilled to announce our first awardees today.”

Established in 2018, the U.S. Hemp Authority Certified Seal program was developed with the guidance of AgWin Group’s David Bossman, a veteran of agricultural self-regulation with no financial interests in the industry. The U.S. Hemp Authority sought input from more than 20,000 interested parties and reached out directly to every participant in a state-based hemp pilot project for whom contact information was publicly available.

The organization is working on an updated program, called Guidance Plan 2.0, which will take ongoing input from farmers and certified companies, as well as stakeholders in the fiber, oilseed, nutritional supplement and extract industries, to continually improve the certification. Engaging with interested parties will remain a priority as the process evolves.

The certification is designed specifically to educate hemp farmers and producers about Food and Drug Administration Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to ensure that consistent quality is achieved. The U.S. Hemp Authority Certification Program is administered by experienced quality assurance and verification professionals from industry-leading food and agricultural companies. The certification is audited by Validus, a division of Where Food Comes From, Inc., a leading provider of certification and verification services.

MJNews Exclusive Interview With Saul Kaye, CEO/Founder iCAN: Israel Cannabis

Since the 1960s, Israel has led the world in medical cannabis research. Now, as international markets emerge for legal medical cannabis, the country is poised to become a major global player.  Recently, the Israeli Parliament caused a great deal of industry excitement when it passed a bill that would pave the way for Israel to become an exporter of both cannabis flower and, perhaps more significantly, the intellectual property and data from its seminal research and clinical trials.

For the past five years, iCAN: Israel Cannabis and its CannaTech conferences have been instrumental in shaping the Israel medical cannabis landscape.  In this exclusive interview held on New Year’s Eve, MJNews’ editor David Rheins talked to iCAN CEO and Founder Saul Kaye.  The interview is now live on MJChannelOne.

Saul Kaye:         My name is Saul Kaye. I’m the CEO and founder of iCAN: Israel Cannabis. We’re ecosystem builders. We started in the cannabis space in Israel about five years ago and help to build a new way of talking around cannabis and how to approach this both as a medicine and an industry and had some success around the world. And today we primarily go to governments, go to the industry and find synergies between various companies, incubate great ideas in the cannabis space and put on awesome events that educate people about cannabis and the wonders of cannabis medicine and how it’s going to change the world.

MJNews:          So, we’re at some auspicious news here at the end of 2018. The Israeli Parliament has just passed an export law — can you share with us what that means? What are the prospects for the prime minister signing that into law and what does that portend for us in the coming months?

Saul Kaye:         Sure. So it’s another step in a long process that’s been going on for a long time. It’s not the end of the process. It’s not that tomorrow we can export, but the Knesset, our ruling parliament at the time, before it was just the dissolved, said we unanimously want export to happen. Now it’s the policy’s job to go and make that happen. So, the last thing that has to happen is Bibi has to sign it into law. But now there is no, you know… the focus is maybe on getting reelected. I don’t know if that’s going to happen before the coming elections or whether we’re going to have to wait. I think cannabis is going to be a major issue in the upcoming election. So right now, what does it mean? It means there is a desire from our cabinet, from our legislature to make sure that export does happen.

iCAN | Israel Cannabis

Saul Kaye:         I don’t think we’re going to go backwards and have to revisit that. There’s a clear desire that Israel continue to be a leader in this industry. And I think that it’s now just a matter of playing out the end of the chess game: having everything signed and sealed, and then export will happen.  At the same time, you have to remember that the companies here in Israel and not scaled up yet for export.  You know, we’ve all been waiting to see how it’s going to play out. Lots of promises from the side of the government and it took her time, but I think that’s going to give these companies now an opportunity to begin scaling for the massive demand that exists overseas.

MJNews:          It’s fascinating. the Israeli approach to medical cannabis has been an almost 180 degree opposite approach to what we see here in the United States. Obviously, Israel was a pioneer back starting as early as the 1960s identifying THC and working to unlock the medical implications of cannabis, and you’ve approached it from a systemic point of view — meaning that we have Israeli hospitals and physicians and the medical establishment, if you will, working together on medical cannabis. Compare and contrast that with the US, which has had a patchwork of grassroots, assorted voter initiatives that have empowered cannabis entrepreneurs, but not really provided the infrastructure for medical research. How are those two systems coming together? And where does export fit in, and what exactly are we talking about in terms of export moving forward?

Saul Kaye:         So, you know, the first part to what’s unique and what’s worked about Israel is that we didn’t have the noise of the recreational market. We had a research focus to help the really sick, and it wasn’t easy to get. It’s really complicated, and you’ve got to be really ill to get it. So there are lots of holes we can poke in these Israeli system. It’s not perfect, but what it did do is say ‘Patient First,’ let’s give them some medicine and see what happens. And over time, helped to develop an infrastructure that allows for that and now it’s really moving into the new phase: what they promise of doctors being educated, pharmacists being educated, and it becoming just like another medication in the arsenal of the toolkit of doctors to use.  So that, you know, from a perspective of understanding both the regulator side, yes, it takes time to regulate this — to allow the stigma to dissolve.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.59.16

Saul Kaye:         Also, over time, we’ve seen more clinical trials that have proven that it works, and that it helps and that it is sometimes better than pharmaceuticals. And all of this has led to sort of a tipping point at this time where we can now all say… Well, you know, how come it didn’t happen 10 years ago?  Because we didn’t have the amount of information we have. So stigma was much stronger. So all of those things happened. And that’s what happened in Israel. And it’s one of the places where you’ve got two degrees of separation, sometimes even one degree of separation. So, if Professor Mechoulam, who is in Jerusalem, needs something that’s being done by Dr. Dedi Meir at the Technion — that’s a two-hour drive. Everyone knows everyone. We’re all family. Also, from a patient perspective, most people in Israel know a patient that has received medical cannabis for cancer.

It’s probably grandmother, or one of grandmother’s friends, and they’ve seen it helping and it’s been around a lot. So that singular focus of helping patients — even though there’s a bureaucratic nightmare in order to get it — has given Israel a leading edge. Now why do countries need Israeli cannabis? You know, from a US perspective, California doesn’t need Israeli cannabis. But as countries start to look at regulating cannabis, they are going to institute their own regulations. This will take six months to 12 months to write, then they are going put out a tender. Then everyone’s going to start. You’re talking two and a half years of no cannabis in the country as they begin to regulate. So what do you do with those patients that currently need cannabis  — that has been proven in Israel to work for epilepsy or for Crones, for Parkinson’s, you know, the things that we’re investigating here in Israel — and you get to a point where net exporters have a market for at least very short term, say one year to five years of entering new markets.

Saul Kaye:         And we also have knowledge both in growing cannabis, turning it into medicine, dosing and doing clinical trials.
That knowledge is something that we’re transferring overseas. So, we are both a net exporter of knowledge and a net exporter of cannabis product.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.58.28MJNews:          So, put some numbers to that. How big is the Israeli medical cannabis — physical cultivation, the physical production? How much cannabis is being produced in Israel?

Saul Kaye:         Uh, it’s a really good question. So, the, the old numbers before this whole new regulation came in, were eight [licensed] growers with a capacity to supply the market — at that stage, Israel had about 30,000 patients — around 10 to 12 tons. The new capacity of Israel is in the hundreds of thousands of tons. So that’s going somewhere. It’s not going to be diverted to the black market in Israel. It’s not going to be a play in Israel, it is all slated for Germany, the Czech Republic, Europe, Australia, et cetera. In in terms of money, what they’re saying that it’s $2Billion worth of industry in the next two years. In terms of numbers [moving forward], I’ve seen numbers up to $33Billion in the next five years. So, it’s a large thing.

MJNews:          The 33 Billion — that’s inclusive of intellectual property? Is IP really the big opportunity? I’ve been really excited about watching the progress in Israel of legitimate medical research. As you know, because of federal prohibition, while we have robust legal cannabis markets here in the States, and getting bigger and adding every day, that is changing, we really are behind the gun and so I’m looking at sort of the immediate opportunity, for the US? And quite honestly, our brothers to the north, the Canadians, are very aggressive as you know, because they have the public markets.  And they are investing in production, investing in IP. So, to what extent can the Israelis helped to jumpstart legitimate research here in North America? And then tell me why you’re looking at markets like Panama, for example, and, investing time and energy there.

Saul Kaye:         So, the first question, what does Israel offer to the big Canadian and US companies? Accelerated access to patients, to data. I can begin clinical trial very quickly in Israel. We very [closely monitor] our patients using cannabis, so we can see what that does for another condition. We’re an active, innovative startup nation. So, what we’re seeing in our startup world is quite differentiated for what I’m seeing at MJBizCon as an example. We’re really IP-driven tech companies — the same as we did in cyber security and the same as we did in the car automotive space. It needs so many other industries. We’re disrupting here as well. So, you know, my deal flow I think is better than what we’re seeing in the US. We’re not focusing here on ‘I’m a vertically integrated cannabis company and my specialty is I’m going to be a lifestyle brand.’  Well, that’s everyone. Oh, and ‘I’m going to be GMP.’ Can you imagine people going to a pharmaceutical conference, standing onstage and go, ‘I’m super proud. I’ve got GMP.’ We’re way beyond that conversation here in Israel. So yes, of course you need those standards, but yeah, we’re really going to disrupt this.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.58.13MJNews:          I want to thank you for all your time. I have a couple of last questions. Talk a little bit about standards, because it is something that plagues the industry. First of all, we’ve been spending most of our time this morning talking about medical cannabis, but, the implications for industrial hemp, for example, not to mention consumer package goods and all the implications of the recreational adult-use market — it’s a very wide horizontal opportunity with lots of segmentation in terms of the channels and the audiences. Tell me a little bit about those standards. You’re talking about GMP, which is something that has opened up international cannabis when it comes to medical, when it comes to defining those standards, how do activities and research in Israel sync up what’s going on, with folks at GW pharmaceuticals or what the FDA is looking at now with some relaxed and revised policies. Uh, how do we get agree upon common standards so we can all invest properly?

Saul Kaye:         So, you know, the government system here is what they call the five books — setting up nursery, cultivation, production, distribution and patient under separate licensing. Similar to vertical integration in Canada. Here in Israel, the focus has been that this is just like every other medicine. It is dispensed in pharmacies by a pharmacist. It is considered a narcotic. So we have no aspect of a recreational market. This is a serious medicine. You need to get serious doctors behind your treatment and your pharmacist to be involved in your treatment. So that’s how it’s playing out in Israel. So, it’s less of a recreational focus, but definitely more on the medical. So, the standards also, if you’ve got an immune compromised patient that’s taking an inhaled product of cannabis, we better be sure that it has no mold and pesticides.

Saul Kaye:         So, the standards for Pharma are just more rigid than the standards for cannabis as a food will have. It’s one standard: cannabis as a pharmaceutical. And that includes a standard of how you grow it, how you process it, how you clean it. And obviously packaging, distribution, security, all those things around cannabis. Those all need their regulations. What I can do as a company is to come in before government has regulated and help them get good regulation.  There’s a process that makes sense from an industry perspective and a security perspective. Remember the two most important things we want to do is make sure that there’s no diversion — there were not supporting the black market — and make sure that the quality is good. And if we do that, then the black market disappears and we get good cannabis regulations. And so we as a company come in to try and help governments do that.

saul kaye and david rheinsMJNews:          Fantastic. Here we are at New Year’s Eve. What are your predictions for 2019? What will medical cannabis in Israel look like 12 months from today?

Saul Kaye:         That’s a good question. I hope that we’ve doubled our patient numbers. That we have published all of the claims that have been made. because it’s very easy to say I’m doing a cannabis study. And there are two hundreds of those going on right now. I want to see that data published because that is what will push sort of ‘Cannabis 3.0’ in new countries. They can now say, ‘the data is there, the clinical trial has been done. And then we, Israel, will help to move cannabis forward everywhere.

MJNews:          And iCan, where will you be in 12 months from today? How many markets? You’ve got three aspects to your business. You’ve got the service aspect, the R & D; you’ve got the incubator; and you’ve got your CannaTech events. Where do you see the emphasis, for your company in the coming year?

Saul Kaye:         We, as a thesis, go after the emerging markets, so that’s why we’re going to [focus]. Panama, Latin America is forgotten with cannabis right now. There are 550 million people down there who will consume cannabis in the next year through legal channels. So Latin America is very important. Africa, CannaTech is going to go to Africa towards the end of 2019. Also, Africa is heating up and going to be a very interesting market. Both of those markets are driven by low-cost production of cannabis, which could decimate what’s going on around the world. That’s going to become very interesting to see how those new markets affect the more established markets. And we’ll be in Europe as well. So, you know, we’re staying out of the US right now — there’s a little too much noise in the conference space — and really focusing on the new emerging markets. So, we’ll be looking in Italy, in Europe, and somewhere in Africa and we’re about to be in Panama in February, which is going to be an awesome show. You should come down.

MJNews:          Fantastic. How do folks get ahold of you? And what are you looking for? You’re looking for investors. You’re looking for intellectual property. You’re looking for governments? Where’s your business development focus?

Saul Kaye:         Across all three. So, if you’d like to attend the CannaTech, or sponsor at CannaTech, let us know [website] that the, you know, usually goes through Joshua. If you have intellectual property or a company, or an idea that you’re looking to incubate in the cannabis space and it has an application for global effect — don’t come to me if you want to be a grower in Oregon, that’s not the type of deals we’re looking for — and obviously investors who want a pipeline of early stage companies that are going to disrupt this industry for the next very long time. Come to me. I’ve got an awesome portfolio of companies looking for support.

MJNews:          Fantastic. CEO/Founder Saul Kaye. thank you so much sir. I really appreciate your time.

Saul Kaye:         Thank you. Happy New Year.

 

Alternative Health Secures $20 Million In Debt Financing For Expansion Of California Cannabis Operations

TEXAS: Alternate Health Corp., an international leader in technology solutions for the regulated cannabis industry, announced that the Company has signed a binding letter of intent with Agincourt Ventures, LLC to secure funding of $20 million, structured as a debt finance and limited stock purchase agreement, with the option to increase the total financing in the future with an additional note.
“This agreement solidifies our financial position as we aggressively expand into California’s lucrative adult-use cannabis industry,” says Dr. Michael Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Alternate Health. “We are eager to move forward, equipped with the financial power to secure inventory from cultivators, acquire revenue-producing assets and expand our licensed distribution and extraction facilities.”Capturing the California Market

On October 17, 2018, Alternate Health announced that the Company had obtained permits for cannabis manufacturing, distribution, cultivation, and processing, and leased a 14,800 square foot facility in Humboldt County, California. With stricter state regulation coming into effect in January 2019, Alternate Health sees a unique opportunity to acquire assets, inventory and significant market share from “grey market” businesses that do not hold valid California licenses.

With the initial $20 million, Alternate Health plans to ramp up operations at the Humboldt County facility and begin developing its signature Humboldt Ave. Cannabis artisan brand. In addition, the Company will produce manufactured products, including cannabis concentrates and infused edibles for wholesale and retail delivery. Distribution will target Greater Los Angeles and rapidly expand across the state. Alternate Health is currently in the process of retaining highly experienced industry professionals to lead distribution and manufacturing operations with state-of-the-art supply chain and inventory management solutions.

Alternate Health already has established relationships with a significant number of top cannabis cultivators in the Humboldt County region and expects to secure exclusive deals for up to 50,000 pounds of cannabis flower with an estimated retail value of approximately $160 million.* The Company will also leverage its relationships with dispensary locations in Los Angeles County to establish strong retail distribution channels in the most dynamic cannabis market in the world.

*Based on estimates from the California Growers Association’s report, Cumulative Tax Analysis, published in March 2018.

“The California adult-use cannabis industry is at a turning point as the state seeks to legitimize the industry and limit black market and grey market sales,” says Dr. Murphy. “With $20 million in initial funding and the opportunity to access additional capital, this agreement strategically positions Alternate Health to capture market share in the cannabis distribution and manufacturing sectors while continuing to develop additional business verticals.”

Terms of the Agreement
Under the agreement, Agincourt Ventures, LLC  will loan Alternate Health $19,600,000USD in two tranches of $9,600,000 on or prior to November 30, 2018 and $10,000,000 on or prior to December 20, 2018. Interest on the loan will accrue at a rate of 5.102% per annum and a maturity date of 12-months from the date of the closing.

Agincourt Ventures, LLC will also purchase one million (1,000,000) shares of Alternate Health Corp common stock at a purchase price of $0.40 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $400,000USD as part of the agreement.

New Hampshire: Taxing, Regulating Adult Use Cannabis Market Would Yield $58 Million In New Annual Revenue

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Regulating New Hampshire’s existing adult use cannabis market would yield as much as $58 million per year in new annual revenue, according to an analysis authored by the state’s Department of Revenue.

Analysts’ estimates are based upon the application of a 15 percent tax rate on commercial transactions. The Department’s report was provided to the state’s Commission to Study the Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana – which is preparing to make recommendations to the legislature this November.

Members of the New Hampshire House initially voted in favor of legalization legislation in January by a vote of 207 to 139 before ultimately deciding in favor of appointing an interim study committee in March. Lawmakers decriminalized low-level marijuana possession offenses last year.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

 

LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

CALIFORNIA: High flyers delight. No need to hide your stash on your next West Coast flight.  The fine folks at LAX have relaxed their pot policy, and now say it is now OK to fly with up to one full ounce of your favorite strain, or up to 8 grams of concentrate.

LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

Here’s what’s written on the official LAX web site:

While federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana (inclusive of federal airspace,) California’s passage of proposition 64, effective January 1, 2018, allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption. In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. However, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

 

 

The Wink In Weed: The Road To Oklahoma Hempfest

By David Rheins 

OKLAHOMA: You know the winds of progress are blowing in your favor when you find yourself making plans to head to Oklahoma City for a cannabis festival.

The Road to Oklahoma Hempfest begins this weekend, as the first of three events heralding in a new era for the Sooner state.   A licensed and approved spinoff of Seattle Hempfest, The event will provide a forum and rallying point for participants in the nascent medical cannabis and industrial hemp communities;  a gathering place for sharing information, conducting education and coordinating efforts for the November elections, where adult-use cannabis is on the ballot.

Tickets are FREE to the historic event, which begins at 9am at the Sheraton Reed Convention center in Midwest city. Featured speakers at the Hemposium include many seminal figures — including Connie Johnson, Oklahoma State Senator and Cannabis Advocate, Seattle Hempfest’s Sharon Whitson and Vivian McPeak, Patrick Saint, Twenty22Many Foundation, and Grandma Cat Jeter. The Marijuana Business Association is proud media sponsor for Oklahoma Hempfest, and MJBA founder/executive director David Rheins is a featured speaker.

The Hemposium programming starts at 9AM and will go until 4PM.

  • Oklahoma Hempfest

Speakers List for “The Road to Hempfest”
Connie Johnson – Oklahoma State Senator and Cannabis Advocate
Terri Leek – CEO/Founder Pure Hemp Collective
Victoria Huggins – Studio 89 Massage – Advance Massage
Patrick Saint – Founder of Twenty22Many Foundation
Cat Jeter – Cannabis Activist centered on children
Vivian McPeak – Director of Seattle Hempfest
Sharon Whitson – Operating manager of Hempfest Central
Chad Bibler – Hemp advocate and social media activist called the Hemp Father
Timothy Edwards – Founder of Cannabis Saves Lives
David Rheins – Founder of Marijuana Business Association
Brandi Bibler – Hemp Advocate
Lenny Vanhorn – Comedian and Cannabis Activist
Rusty Shackelford – Cannabis Activist after injury
Mark Hubbard – Industrial Hemp Expert
Norma Sapp – Oklahoma NORML

Oklahoma native Scott McKinley — CEO of HiTunes and a longtime promoter at Seattle Hempfest, Cavi Gold and many other canna events — and his local partners have tapped into a lifetime of connections and personal contacts to make this historic series of events a reality.  In support from Seattle Hempfest, the team worked tirelessly to muster talent, sponsors, vendors and political support — in the midst of the legal wrangling around medical marijuana — needed to make this first Hempfest possible.  It wasn’t easy, and due to the magnitude and overwhelming response from the public, the organizers decided to move the initial main event date back to June 7th – 9th, 2019.

Why is this Hempfest such a big deal?  Oklahoma represents the bedrock of the conservative Midwest, and is culturally as far from the liberal West Coast as you can get.  When legal cannabis comes to Oklahoma, it has arrived in the front yard of middle America. We are witnessing the mainstreaming of marijuana in real time.

Legally, Oklahoma has never been a canna-friendly place, and even with the new medical cannabis laws passed this summer, and adult-use legalization on the November ballot, the Sooner State maintains some of the harshest penalties for possession, cultivation and sale on the books — especially when it comes to concentrates and hash. The War on Drugs remains very real here, and prohibition continues to ruin lives.

Oklahoma Cannabis Laws, according to NORML:

  • Possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a term of imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000
  • The sale of less than 25 pounds is a felony, punishable by incarceration for a period of 2 years-life, as well as a fine of $20,000.
  • Cultivating up to 1,000 plants is a felony, punishable by a maximum $25,000 fine and between 20 years and life imprisonment.
  • Cultivation of marijuana by the owner of land is a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment between 2 years and life and a fine up to 50,000.
  • Converting or attempting to convert marijuana into hashish or concentrates is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $50,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 2 and up to remainder of the offender’s life
  • Distributing, dispensing, transporting with intent to distribute, possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, hashish or concentrates is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $20,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 2 years and up to the remainder of the offender’s life.

Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Law:

  • Those possessing a state-issued license may possess the following: up to eight ounces of marijuana in their residence; up to one ounce of concentrated marijuana; up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana; up to six mature marijuana plants; up to six seedling plants; and up to three ounces of marijuana on their person. Those who do not possess a license face a fine-only misdemeanor for the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of herbal cannabis.

Demand for legal medical cannabis from the public has been strong, as more than 1,600 people and businesses applied for Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses on the first day that applications were made available, according to ABC News

Tickets to The Road To Oklahoma Hempfest are FREE, and available online.

 

 

 

The Wink In Weed: Lessons Learned At Seattle Hempfest

By David Rheins

I’m just back from another epic Seattle Hempfest.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful regions on the planet, and its volcanic mountains, vibrant cities and evergreen forests never cease to inspire wonder.  I cherish my PNW canna-family, and am humbled at how rich and meaningful have been our shared experiences, as we workers in weed have toiled to reform marijuana law, and establish a legal cannabis industry.

Jake The Professor and Don Skakie talk Washington Homegrow

Jake The Professor and Don Skakie talk Washington Homegrow

It is a treat to spend time with legends: Farmer Tom Lauerman, Jake The Professor, Grandma Cat Jeter, Kevin and Crystal Oliver, AC Braddock and Fritz Chess, David Tran, Vivian McPeak, Joy Beckerman, Nurse Heather Manus, Ah Warner and so many others.  This year we were honored to have USVI Senator Positive Nelson, who was traveling with a video crew from 420MEDIA,  visit with us.  I first met Terence, who is universally known as ‘Positive’, at a High Tea at Seattle’s Green Labs Farms a few years back, when as moderator I had the privilege of introducing the pro-pot and “positive living” politician to the cannabis community.  Look for great things from the Senator and USVI (pot tourism anyone?) soon.

The canna family gathers every year at Hempfest

The canna family gathers every year at Hempfest

Seattle Hempfest for me has always seemed like the ‘State Fair of Weed.’  Tens of thousands of people — of every age, shape and size — streaming through a labyrinth of vendor booths, food trucks and tents, smoking weed, hanging out and listening to advocates preach to the choir, and bands sing about “Mary Jane.”  This year was no different, a little smaller — a couple fewer stages due to lack of sponsorship support — and smokier, as a result of raging fires in Canada and Eastern Washington.

2018-08-19 14.44.11

Eden Labs’ Fritz Chess, Flower Girls Queen MJ, and MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake The Professor

At the Curved Papers/MJBA booth, and at a series of industry parties, I had the opportunity to reconnect to my industry friends and colleagues. What I heard was a consistent narrative: these are make or break times for Washington licensees.  Competition is fierce and getting fiercer.  Wholesale prices are brutally low for producers, and while sales remain strong at retail and gross revenues are high, profits are elusive and unfair taxes still eat up most of the profits.  For licensees the choice is straightforward: differentiate or die.

Much of our conversation revolved around the mainstreaming of cannabis — and the impact that the $4B USD investment that Constellation Brands just made with Canopy Growth would have on the mom & pops. The game has gone from grassroots to international overnight, and for the smaller players there is tremendous pressure to scale.  Undercapitalized businesses are putting their licenses up for sale, or looking for partnerships and mergers.

 

DOPE celebrated its 7th Anniversary with a “Golden Ticket” Party

Cannafest Destiny.  The West Coast is the fertile birthplace of the legal cannabis industry.  While NORML, established in 1970, can rightfully claim authorship of the political legalization and reform movement, the business — and more importantly the community — started in California, Oregon, Washington (and British Columbia).   The legitimate markets that we have created out West have blazed bright, sparks have now inspired entrepreneurs, activists, investors and politicians across the country — from Maine to Maryland, Michigan to Oklahoma. Our duty and opportunity is now to export the incredible experience and knowledge to these new emerging markets.

In a weird wrinkle of federal prohibition, Legal Cannabis has become international, before it has become a national industry!  Our neighbors to the north are rapidly ramping up their legal cannabis industry, and positioning themselves globally with distribution deals in emerging European, Caribbean and South American markets. Public Canadian companies are gobbling up American brands, and deals are now measured in the billions.

Jeremy MIller is organizing Viva Las Hempfest!

Jeremy Miller is organizing Viva Las Hempfest!

No where can we witness the mainstreaming of marijuana better than Las Vegas.  Neon billboards on strip.  24/7 retailers with drive thru.  Las Vegas, once upon a time among the harshest places in America to be caught with a seed or a stem (an infraction that could land you 20 years in the hoosegow) now actively planning the opening of consumption lounges and canna-friendly hotels.  No peace, love and tie dye hippie culture here.  Just the business of entertainment.  It is fitting then that the next stop for the Cannafest Destiny tour will be Las Vegas Hempfest on November 3&4th — Viva Las Hempfest! Hope to see you there!

The Wink In Weed: Why Seattle Hempfest Is Still Worth Supporting

By David Rheins

It’s been five years since Washington opened its legal cannabis marketplace, and today adult consumers in the Evergreen state have an abundance of high-quality, legal weed available in an impressive array of product configurations at affordable prices.

Seattle Hempfest, taking place this week along the gorgeous Puget Sound, is the nation’s oldest and largest “Protestival.”  It began as forum and platform for activists, patients and pot smokers to gather together to fight for their rights to toke in peace.  Back then, firing up a joint in public had real potential consequences — and could land you with a fine or even jail time.

My fellow Hempfest Volunteers in their Green T-Shirts

Hempfest Volunteers

Today, Washingtonians don’t have to go to the park to spark up. Pot smoking is legal, accepted and somewhat normalized in the Pacific Northwest. Leading some to ask what is the relevance of Seattle Hempfest?

While more of a party these days than a protestival, Seattle Hempfest is still a must-attend annual gathering of the cannabis tribes.  Our Green Revolution is a broad tent, with a diverse set of communities.  We are advocates, patients, farmers, business professionals, parents, teachers and caregivers, all united under the belief that Federal Prohibition, and the War on Drugs — and Drugs Users — must end. There is something powerful and undeniable about seeing a hundred thousand pot smokers gather together to celebrate community.

There is still much legal reform that needs to happen before cannabis consumption is fully normalized — and it is encouraging to see the momentum behind the STATES ACT and the Marijuana Justice Act as Congress has finally gotten the word that the American public — on both sides of the aisle — are through with prohibition.  The 2018 Farm Bill, with its Hemp Farming provision, will de-schedule industrial hemp and open the way for explosive growth in hemp-based products, including consumer goods, industrial materials, foods, fuels and medicines.

We are in a fight for the control of our legal cannabis industry.  Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Agriculture and Big Government Regulators are all fighting to establish their places in our new mainstream marijuana marketplace. We must continue to stay involved now as the new regulations and standards of our emerging industry are crafted. I see Hempfest as a natural venue for showcasing the best and most innovative hemp products. Cannabis consumer rights need to be protected to ensure that the legal products are safe, tested and of the highest quality. Legal cannabis businesses have an opportunity to build an industry based on the highest standards of production, marketing and operations.  We need to be fair and equitable in our hiring and compensation practices, and we need to direct the windfall of new marijuana tax revenues towards improving the health and welfare of local communities, particularly those hit hard from the War On Drugs.

CurvedPapersHempfest512x440As our alternative culture takes centerstage, it is important that we stand together for our shared values.  We are witnessing and influencing the end of an era. The post-WWII, better living thru petrochemicals, conspicuous consumption society is unsustainable — and is quickly being replaced by a global, plant-based lifestyle, renewable energy zeitgeist.

MJBA is proud to once again participate as a media sponsor and exhibitor of Seattle Hempfest.  We’re thrilled to be sharing a booth with Curved Papers, with whom we’ve been touring the country on a Cannafest Destiny Tour.  We’ll be showing off our NORML 100% Hemp rolling papers, and showcasing our latest poster by Michael Guttsen, and doing social media blasts with MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake Dimmock.  Please join us at Booth #323 across from the Hemposium.

Michael O'Malley, David Hynes Michael O'Malley David Rheins

It has never been more important to stand up and be counted.  Please come out to Myrtle Edwards park this weekend, listen to the speakers, dance to the music and support the many food and merchandise vendors.  Be sure to drop a few bucks in the donation bucket:  Seattle Hempfest is an all-volunteer effort, and it depends on the support of its Vendors, Sponsors and Attendees to survive.

 

 

WinkInWeed: MJNN’s Exclusive Interview With WSWA EVP Dawson Hobbs

By David Rheins

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) founded in 1943, has nearly 400 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s members distribute more than 80 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.  The association made news this week by endorsing the Legalization of Cannabis for States that follow a “Regulate Cannabis as Alcohol approach.”

MJ News Network had the opportunity to speak with WSWA’s Acting EVP for External Affairs | Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Dawson Hobbs.  In his role, Hobbs regularly testifies before legislative and regulatory bodies in dozens of states, and has established extensive relationships with governors, attorneys general, alcohol regulators and industry officials around the country.  MJNN asked him what is behind the WSWA’s decision to back the legalization of cannabis, and what lessons the cannabis industry might learn from the nation’s approach to regulating alcohol.

wswa logo

MJNN: The WSWA has just endorsed Cannabis Legalization in States that follow an alcohol model. That’s a sea change for the alcohol industry, isn’t it?

HOBBS: Well, let me just have one little nuance of clarification. Our position is that the federal government should provide a path for States that choose to legalize. That right to legalize should be recognized as long as they follow an alcohol regulatory model,  and have appropriate regulations.  We’re not telling the individual state that they should or should not legalize, we’re simply saying there should be a path for them to choose to do so, and it should be accompanied with the appropriate regulations.

MJNN: Why the change and why now?

HOBBS: This has been a long, long discussion. We’ve had a lot of conversations, dating back to when Colorado took the step on adult use. What really has driven it is we know that it’s here to stay, and we know that more States are coming.  We think that there are 85 years’ worth of lessons of appropriate alcohol regulation that we can take to the cannabis industry, and those lessons are: It’s better off to start with a good regulatory framework rather than having to learn the lessons the hard way by trial and error.  And so, it’s more of a recognition that this is here to stay and that more states are coming, and we want to be part of the conversation about how effective state regulation works.

MJNN:  Tell me what that looks like in terms of advocacy, in terms of outreach to the cannabis community, and in terms of outreach to the general population. Those of us who have been in the industry for a number of years recognize our biggest challenge has been the normalization, the mainstreaming, of not just cannabis but of cannabis users. So, tell me, how does the WSWA advocacy take shape?

HOBBS: There’s a couple of questions there, right? So I’ll start with the first part which is we’re going to be talking and we have already started talking with members of Congress about what an appropriate regulatory framework would look like, so that they can have some comfort in allowing states to legalize.

We’re going to continue those conversations and we’re realistic about the fact that this is going to be a long conversation. We don’t think that because we took this position, Congress is going to act next week.  We know that we will be part of ongoing conversations.  We have an effective, and well-established federal advocacy team and that team will be engaged on this. And to your point, we do think that part of what we bring to the table is not only our regulatory knowledge and history and experience, but a mature advocacy organization [vis a vis] the cannabis industry.  And you know, we’re going to be having conversations like these with a number of cannabis organizations. We’re going to be reaching out to quite a few, but we also expect we’ll get some phone calls ourselves and we look forward to having those conversations.

You’ll notice that our position is not new in the cannabis world.  For a long time, many advocates have said let’s ‘Regulate Cannabis like Alcohol.’ We’re saying yes, but we’re also saying, let’s remember alcohol regulations. The reason alcohol is safe and effective is because it doesn’t just end at having to be 21, which is the thing most people think of.  There’s a host of regulations on product testing and labeling and licensing of producers and distributors and retailers — all with penalties for violations of the terms that have created a safe alcohol market. So, alcohol regulation is very effective. We agree, but we just want to make sure we talked about all the regulations.

MJNN:  Have you taken a position on either the States Act, which was just recently introduced or Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act?

HOBBS:  We think the State’s Act is really a step in the right direction. But, we want to apply a little bit more rigorous regulatory threshold that the states need to meet. It’s the right concept and States are the [best] pathway to legalization. But you know, one of the ways that normalization will occur is if a State chooses to legalize, the folks in the surrounding States need to feel confident that the product’s not going to be diverted to their State. The consumer needs to be confident that the product they’re getting is safe and has the amount of THC or CBD that it says it does.  For the people who choose not to consume, [they should be confident] the regulations surrounding the sale and production are going to make sure that there are no problems with diversion. And also that there aren’t problems with people getting a tainted product and possibly getting sick, and that there’s not overconsumption.

The normalization comes with people getting comfortable and, and confident. And we think that the regulatory model helps provide that.

MJNN:  One of the differences, however, is that in the legal cannabis world, we’ve got a real Balkanized approach. Meaning: every State has its own regulations, and there is a wide range of not just who can participate, but what products are sold, how they’re packaged and brought to market. What’s your take on that? You’re talking about standards. It’s kind of tough to have standards when you can’t sell it oil in Arizona, and you can’t sell flower in New York.

HOBBS:  I think some of those things will equalize over time. I think the lesson from the alcohol space is that every State does alcohol regulation differently, but they have a lot of commonalities. In certain states you can buy alcohol in a grocery store and other states you can’t. Those decisions are made by the state and they’re made for reasons that have to do with the culture of the state and citizens of the state.

As you know from cannabis, folks in New York and folks in Utah have different attitudes towards intoxicating products, and we should respect that because there’s cultural reasons that those differences exist when it comes to the types of products that can be sold. I think you’ve seen in the alcohol space over 85 years, there has been sort of a harmonization.  Spirits used to be much less available than other products, and now they’re becoming more equally available with wine and beer. We don’t have a position on whether that should be the case or not, but we do have a strong position that the state should be able to decide and I think you’ll see something similar. We see cannabis as in this experimental phase of folks at looking at what works for their community.

MJNN: Let’s talk a little bit about economic opportunity.  A senior executive at Molson recently advised investors that legal cannabis was cutting into their market share, and we’ve seen some pretty significant investments from spirits and alcohol marketers in Canada, Constellation Brands probably being the most visible. We’ve also seen the introduction of a number of cannabis-infused and CBD-infuised beverages, including beers and wine. Tell me, how much of your new position is based upon the realities that our industries are evolving or co-evolving together?

HOBBS: I think that evolution will continue, but I don’t think that’s unique to the alcohol industry. I’ve read quite a bit about folks from other non-alcoholic beverage industry’s looking at the cannabis space. I think some of the food manufacturers might look at being involved with the edibles space. Perhaps not the hugest, but I think some of the smaller ones, for sure.

It’s only natural that folks in [the wine and spirits] industry might look at the same thing, and you know, some of them will choose to get involved in that somehow. That really wasn’t the driving force of our decision. The driving force of our decision was that we have 85 years of experience in dealing with a regulated socially-sensitive product, and it would be silly not to bring that experience to this conversation and talk about appropriate regulation.

MJNN:  You talked about how spirits had been mainstreamed over the years. We’re now seeing whiskey ads on tv.  Ad restrictions certainly have been one area that’s been plaguing legal cannabis, in terms of our ability to do things like outdoor or for legal cannabis entities to market their product on TV. What’s your position there?

HOBBS: Well, we think that our industry has done a good job, and continues to improve, by making sure that we aren’t marketing products to those who should not have them, particularly those who are under age. Similarly, that our product is marketed in a responsible way that doesn’t make unsubstantiated either health claims or implied health claims that may or may not be true. We just think that there’s a good lesson there for the cannabis industry: to take similar steps to prevent ads from being marketed to those who are underage, or are very careful about —  and I understand the medical component, but in this early phase especially–  being careful about the health statements they make. That will go a long way to helping people be comfortable with the advertising by the cannabis industry.

You know, we all have to accept that, just like when alcohol ads appear in a new space, there’s a period of adjustment. Organizations in our industry have codes of advertising, ethics and standards, and I think a lot of those same standards can be applied to the cannabis industry pretty effectively.

MJNN: What other lessons do you have for entrepreneurs who are building the legal cannabis industry one grassroots market at a time?

HOBBS:  One of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned in our industry is that there’s a difference between effective regulation and excessive regulation.  And our alcohol space has lived in the world of effective regulation. So don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be afraid of effective regulation, because it will help your industry thrive the way ours has.  We have the safest alcohol industry in the world. It’s also the one that provides the most consumer choice and opportunity. So, we view that as a big success and one that can be copied for other products.

Executive Vice President for External Affairs | Senior Vice President, Government Affairs