Is Marijuana A Better Alternative To Cigarettes?

Many smokers choose to make the switch from cigarettes to marijuana, whether it’s to simply give up smoking forever or to get more of a “buzz” from an inhalant. Marijuana and tobacco are both derived from naturally-occurring plants, but there’s a common misconception that “naturally-occurring” substances are always healthy. This simply isn’t the case.

Comparing marijuana and cigarettes requires some facts about both and their effects on the body, so you can choose for yourself. The answer to the question is a matter of personal preference, but you’ll find an in-depth comparison below for your consideration. If you’re a smoker, there are plenty of alternative products available aside from marijuana to get you off of cigarettes, including tobacco-less chew (Black Buffalo is a good start), CBD oils, and more.

Cigarette Facts

To get started, let’s look at some cigarette facts. Cigarettes are one of the most deadly and destructive products on the market to individual and public health and even the environment. Every year, the tobacco industry is responsible for millions of tons of litter, toxic waste, and thousands of deforested acres to make way for massive tobacco farms. This environmental damage affects wildlife, ecosystems, and perhaps more importantly, waterways.

You see, the tobacco industry is a fan of pesticides and fertilizers. After all, the crops can be worth billions of dollars in the final product form, so they must be protected and provide the highest yields possible. The problem with these chemical fertilizers and pesticides is that they’re loaded with dangerous and toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and other substances that offer a serious health hazard. And all of those nasty things end up in your cigarettes.

Cigarettes are said to contain anywhere from 3,000-7,000 chemicals, and at least 70 of those are known carcinogens (cancer-causing). Cigarettes have been linked to dozens of cancers and can cause serious damage to internal organs such as the heart and lungs. In fact, smoking makes you twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke because of its effects on the heart and blood vessels.

When you inhale cigarette smoke, the chemicals affect the red blood cells; specifically, the hemoglobin. Your blood thickens, and those platelets have a much more difficult time carrying and delivering oxygen to important organs and tissues. Not to mention, your blood pressure spikes, which causes serious strain on cardiac muscles and the inner lining of blood vessels. The bottom line?  Every time you take a drag on a cigarette, you’re taking minutes off of your life. And that’s a fact.

Marijuana Facts

Marijuana is a strain of Cannabis that contains higher concentrations of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s classic “high” sensation. Users report feelings of euphoria and heightened physical sensation, as well as serious impairment. Let’s look at some marijuana facts to properly compare it to cigarettes.

Marijuana does not contain the enormous number of chemicals that tobacco does. While it has found use in some medical applications to help manage things like pain and anxiety, the exact benefits of inhaling marijuana smoke are still being studied. What we do know is that it shows great promise in pain management and perhaps even managing conditions like depression.

That being said, there’s a common misconception that you can’t become addicted to marijuana. Let’s clarify. While you can become chemically addicted to nicotine, you likely won’t become chemically addicted to THC, but that doesn’t mean you won’t become dependent on it for everyday life. You can become dependent on just about anything that brings you joy.

Is It Better?

The question still remains whether marijuana is a “better” alternative to cigarettes. The short answer? No. The lungs are designed to inhale oxygen, and that’s the only thing that should be entering them. Foreign substances can be dangerous, and hot smoke from any inhaled plant matter can cause damage to important lung structures.

Not to mention, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, despite being legalized in several states. That means you could potentially be prosecuted for possessing, growing, or using it.

Conclusion

Perhaps a better question to ask is, “what could I be doing instead of smoking?” Many of us suffer from a helpless addiction to a harmful vice, but even replacing that vice with something similar but “less harmful” can still be harmful in the end. Perhaps we should instead focus on art, literature, and other noble pursuits to better ourselves and spend our time more wisely. Vices, however minor they may seem, can lead us down a road we do not want to take. A more focused approach to our personal health will make us a happier, healthier society as a whole, which is something we definitely need during this pandemic. Don’t put yourself at risk for something that only damages your body!

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Mandatory Product Recall October 1, 2020

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program
Mandatory Product Recall – 10/1/2020
UPDATE
Yesterday, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) issued a mandatory product recall on edible products sold by Mother Grows Best, LLC dba Verano Brands. This recall was initiated by the MMCP because the product did not pass the full battery of required testing and was sold at specific dispensaries (see complete recall notice for product and dispensary information).
The MMCP identified the brand product, Encore Edibles (Dark Chocolate), as exceeding the regulatory thresholds for cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal found in soil and water that can be absorbed by and accumulated in plants (including cocoa beans) that are used to make food products. For non-smokers, food is the main source of cadmium intake for the general population. Increased daily exposure to cadmium can pose a health risk to patients.
Ohio Admin. Code 3796:4-2-04(H) states a heavy metal contamination analysis passes for cadmium if “the detected amount of cadmium, if any, is less than 0.09 micrograms per kilogram.” When establishing the thresholds, the MMCP utilized the average body weight assumption for a 10-year-old child. Utilizing this assumption creates a higher standard for MMCP products, with the goal of reducing the maximum daily exposure to heavy metals for patients.
For questions regarding cadmium, please review the following resources:
The MMCP continues to investigate this matter and will provide a comprehensive executive summary once complete. As a reminder, no reports of adverse reactions for this product have been reported to the MMCP at this time.
Anyone who thinks that they may be experiencing serious or life-threatening issues should seek immediate medical attention. Patients are reminded that any adverse reactions should be reported to the MMCP toll-free helpline (1-833-464-6627).

OHIO:  The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) is issuing a mandatory product recall on edible products sold by Mother Grows Best. This recall is being initiated by the MMCP because the product did not pass the full battery of required testing and was sold at specific dispensaries (see Product ID information below). Additional details on the specifics of the recall will be provided in the coming days. The MMCP has initiated an investigation into the noncompliance and identified product samples to be tested. These results will be communicated publicly.

AFFECTED PRODUCT:

Product Name: Encore Edibles (Dark Chocolate)

Purchase Dates: 8/17/2020 – 10/1/2020

Processor Name: Mother Grows Best

Product ID:
Sold at Zen Leaf (Canton)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001083

Sold at Greenleaf Apothecaries (Akron)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001105

Sold at Greenleaf Apothecaries (Canton)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001111

Sold at Ohio Cannabis Company (Coshocton)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001124

Sold at Greenleaf Apothecaries (Cleveland)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001137

Sold at Greenleaf Apothecaries (Columbus)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001191

Sold at Pure Ohio Wellness (Dayton)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001219

Sold at Have a Heart Cincy (Cincinnati)
M00000078821: Edb Oral Admin – 10 – 0.4 – 10 – Dark Chocolate Indica
Batch Number: 1A40701000020D1000001310

No reports of adverse reactions for this product have been reported to the MMCP at this time.

Patients who have purchased the recalled product should stop using it.

All unused product should be returned to the dispensary where purchased. Returned products will not count toward a patient’s 45-day possession limit. For more information on returns, please contact the dispensary where the product was purchased.

Anyone who thinks that they may be experiencing serious or life-threatening issues should seek immediate medical attention. Patients are reminded that any adverse reactions should be reported to the MMCP toll-free helpline (1-833-464-6627).

Ohio Board Of Pharmacy Awards Dispensary Certificate Of Operation In London

OHIO: The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy today awarded a Dispensary Certificate of Operation to Pure Ohio Wellness, located at 920 U.S. 42 West, London.

The Board has now issued 52 Dispensary Certificates of Operation.

The interactive map of Dispensaries with Certificates of Operation will be updated within two business days.

OLCC Compliance Education Bulletin: Medical Sales To A Designated Caregiver

OREGON: The OLCC has added a “Bulletins” section to its Recreational Marijuana Program website with important information for licensees and marijuana worker permit holders.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is providing the following information to: recreational marijuana licensees.

The bulletin is part of OLCC’s compliance education. It is important that you read it, and understand it.If you don’t understand it please contact the OLCC for help.

Failure to understand and follow the information contained in this bulletin could result in an OLCC rules compliance violation affecting your ability to work or operate your business.

A bulletin previously issued by Metrc inadvertently provided the incorrect date for when the CTS functionality change takes place.  The change in Metrc is effective starting September 14, 2020.

Bulletin CE2020-04 covers the following issues:

  • Medical Sales to a Caregiver
  • Sales Limits to Caregivers and Patients
  • New Metrc Functionality – Designating Caregiver Sales

Compliance Education Bulletin CE2020-04 provides updated guidance on medical sales to a Designated Caregiver, sales limits caregivers and patients, and changes in Metrc functionality for caregiver sales.

Medical Sales to a Designated Caregiver

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) provides for patients to designate a caregiver who can purchase and possess marijuana items for the patient. The caregiver’s card references both the caregiver’s and patient’s registration number.

Effective September 14, 2020 new functionality in the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS), Metrc, now allows retailers to designate sales as “caregiver” sales, in addition to consumer and patient. When a caregiver sales is recorded, either manually in Metrc or through API or CSV upload, the retailer must input both the patient and caregiver numbers.

Rules allow for a patient and their caregiver to jointly possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana. This is to say, a retailer may sell up to the daily limit under both the patient’s and caregiver’s cards under the caregiver sales. This will go into effect when the daily sales limit returns to 8 ounces on September 18, 2020.

The bulletin describes the new functionality in Metrc and provides a step by step guide to entering a caregiver sales manually in the system. Metrc has previously provided API partners with details on this addition, so they should be ready to use this functionality in their systems.

Questions regarding the contents of this bulletin may be sent to marijuana.cts@oregon.gov.

Terrapin Announces Plans For Hoboken Dispensary

Begins local process for medical cannabis with community impact plan

NEW JERSEY: Terrapin has announced plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Hoboken, with a social equity community impact plan that has the support of the community’s nonprofit sector.

Minority-owned Terrapin has plans to open a dispensary in Hoboken at 86 River St. After nearly three years of outreach to the community, Terrapin is ready to begin the local zoning process, preparing paperwork to move through local zoning boards. Terrapin wanted to wait until it had the support of the North Jersey community before making any announcements.

“As always, Terrapin is focused on planting local roots,” said Chris Woods, the founder, owner and CEO of Terrapin. “We are so thankful to our partners in the Hoboken community who have welcomed us with open arms. We are excited to serve these communities as responsible corporate actors in meeting the needs of cannabis patients, while also leaving a positive community footprint.”

An expanded cannabis industry means potential for long-lasting community partnerships. As part of its commitment to local North Jersey communities, Terrapin has identified several nonprofits and organizations to work with to create a beneficial footprint for its neighbors. Much of the focus is on diversity in workforce and economic development.

Nonprofits and organizations Terrapin partnered with include: 

  • WomenRising, a Jersey City-based nonprofit that assists women and families in North Jersey with counseling, economic development and advocacy. Terrapin has pledged to assist in creating an employment pipeline by connecting WomenRising alumni to potential employment opportunities within Terrapin. Terrapin also has pledged financial support to the organization.
  • Oasis, A Haven for Women and Children. The Paterson organization’s mission is to change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through compassionate programs designed to feed, clothe, educate and empower women and children in need. Terrapin will work on an employment pipeline with the organization, while providing volunteers in the form of directors to develop mentorships and training.
  • Project Help, a group dedicated to serving homeless veterans in northern New Jersey. The nonprofit has been able to expand services to include financial support and legal assistance. One initiative Terrapin has pledged to support is to assist veterans suffering from PTSD. There has been a strong nexus between medical cannabis legalization and assisting veterans, and Terrapin would like to see that momentum grow. Terrapin helped to launch VetForce in Pennsylvania, a security firm for the cannabis industry. Terrapin has plans to assist with a similar program in New Jersey where veterans run security for the cannabis industry.
  • Hudson Pride Center, the LGBTQ+ Community Center for Hudson County. Hudson Pride offers a variety of health, support and social services to the LGBTQ+ community. Hudson County has the largest LGBTQ+ population in the State of New Jersey and Terrapin has long stood as an ally to this community. We will work to educate the local community about the medical efficacy of cannabis, especially for conditions that might be relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, like anxiety and HIV/AIDS. Terrapin will also work with the group on a jobs pipeline.
  • United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). Terrapin has entered into a Labor Peace Agreement with the Union to avoid labor disputes and to promote harmonious labor relations.

“Terrapin recognizes that partnerships between the business and nonprofit sectors create synergies which benefit individuals and the larger community,” said Roseann Mazzeo, S.C., WomenRising Executive Director. “Workforce development is critical to our mission of assisting women and their families to achieve self-sufficiency and live safe, productive and fulfilling lives. We look forward to working with Terrapin in developing additional opportunities to support this mission.”

Social equity job fair 
Terrapin also has plans for a job fair with an emphasis on social equity. Terrapin will model the program after a similar event the company held in Michigan, where Terrapin provided resources to socio-disadvantaged communities looking for access to a new cannabis industry. Drawing upon our experience with Color of Cannabis, Terrapin will place a focus on diversity as it establishes operations in Hoboken.

Color of Cannabis provides technical business support, mentorship training, and partnerships for people of color and stakeholders negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition. The group will oversee a social equity informational session and resume-building workshop for Terrapin in New Jersey, holding the event virtually if COVID-19 prohibits in-person gatherings. Those who attend the informational session will receive valuable resume-building and interview tips to improve chances of employment. Participants will be encouraged to attend a Terrapin job fair and Color of Cannabis will screen resumes to ensure diversity in hiring.

Support from community leaders 
Terrapin partnered with several high-profile figures in the Hoboken community, including Joseph Castelo, a second-generation descendant of Galician Spanish immigrants who dreamed about building up the community that gave him and his family so many opportunities. Joe, a filmmaker and entrepreneur, has provided fundraising platforms and events for GLAAD, The Water Project, the Boys and Girls Club, and he has donated to numerous local charities. Antique Bar and Bakery, the Hoboken restaurant Joe co-owns, donates food to the community’s homeless shelter. Antique’s senior employees and Joe have also mentored local youth interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant business. Joe himself has extended employment opportunities to ex-inmates, an exercise that has been tremendously successful.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Chris Woods and his team at Terrapin,” Castelo said. “Terrapin’s culture aligns strongly with our commitment to serving the local community. We are thrilled to enter into a partnership to work with Terrapin to bring more opportunity and diversity to Hoboken’s workforce, while also offering access to patients who need medical cannabis. We look forward to a long relationship.”

Accountability
Terrapin has established several boards to reflect a commitment to Hoboken. The volunteer-based advisory boards include counseling on community impact, workforce development, and medical cannabis efficacy. The boards will convene at least twice a year to ensure that Terrapin is remaining true to its mission of positively impacting the local community, while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of medical cannabis.

Terrapin’s history as a pioneer
Founded in Boulder, Colo. in 2009 as one of the first licensed medical marijuana providers in the country, Terrapin has led the industry as a pioneer. Expanding to New Jersey serves as a homecoming for founder Chris Woods, whose family resides in the state. What started as a one-man business in an office park in South Boulder has blossomed into a national company with more than 300 employees.

Terrapin operates six dispensaries and four cultivation/processing facilities in Colorado. In addition to its Colorado operations, Terrapin operates a licensed grower/processor medical marijuana facility in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, and it recently launched a medical cannabis grower facility in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We have a proven track record that ensures that we will fit in with the fabric of this community,” Woods added. “The relationships we have developed with the community allow us to serve as a responsible partner who is invested in the future of Hoboken and North Jersey.”

Helix Technologies Launches Nation’s First Online MMJ Reciprocity Platform In New Mexico

COLORADO:  Helix Technologies, announced today that New Mexico’s online medical marijuana reciprocity portal is live and has been serving out of state patients living or vacationing in New Mexico for almost a month as of this writing.

The system, which is the first of its kind for US medical cannabis programs, allows state regulators to electronically register and track out of state patients into the patient registry. The system decreases time and costs associated with paper only patient registries and allows the state to track and enforce dispensing limits in real time to prevent potential diversion to the black market.

The new platform benefits all stakeholders in the New Mexico industry as it allows out of state patients a convenient way to access medical cannabis while enjoying the many outdoor and cultural opportunities in New Mexico. Since going live with the reciprocity module on July 1st, more than 1,700 out of state patients have been registered for the program. “We’re encouraged by the ability of this platform to assure people visiting New Mexico get the medicine they need when cannabis has been recommended as a treatment by their medical provider at home,” said New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program Director Dr. Dominick Zurlo. “We appreciate the efforts of Helix Biotrack to work with us toward the goal of assuring visiting patients experience uninterrupted treatment and relief for their medical conditions.”

“We are always looking for ways to work with our Government partners to improve transparency, ease of use, and ultimately public safety,” said Helix Biotrack COO Dr. Moe Afaneh. “This is the first step towards digitally bridging states’ medical markets, while ultimately improving access for patients looking to explore New Mexico, bringing in new patients for the industry, and saving everyone time and money in the process. We’re very proud to bring another industry-first innovation to Seed to Sale Tracking, with more to come.”

Ohio Board Of Pharmacy Publishes Updated Patient & Caregiver Numbers For July 2020

OHIO:  The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy today published updated patient & caregiver numbers for July 2020.

These numbers include:

  • 159,513 Recommendations
  • 125,087 Registered patients
    • 8,862 Patients with Veteran Status
    • 9,286 Patients with Indigent Status
    • 690 Patients with a Terminal Diagnosis
  • 100,224 Unique patients who purchased medical marijuana (as reported to OARRS by licensed dispensaries)
  • 13,944 Registered Caregivers

For the full list of program numbers, please visit the Program Update page.

Maine: 17 New Adult Use Conditional Licenses Issued

MAINE: How big is Maine’s new adult-use cannabis industry? According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, there are 17 new adult use conditional licenses. The breakdown includes seven marijuana stores, five cultivation facilities, four products manufacturing facilities, and one testing facility.

Ohio Board Of Pharmacy Publishes Updated Patient & Caregiver Numbers For June 2020

OHIO: The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy today published updated patient & caregiver numbers for June 2020. These numbers include:

  • 147,245 Recommendations
  • 116,497 Registered patients
    • 8,349 Patients with Veteran Status
    • 8,713 Patients with Indigent Status
    • 644 Patients with a Terminal Diagnosis
  • 91,330 Unique patients who purchased medical marijuana (as reported to OARRS by licensed dispensaries)
  • 13,140 Registered Caregivers

For the full list of program numbers, please visit the Program Update page.

Pritzker Administration Announces Fourth Month Sales Totals For Illinois Adult Use Cannabis

State’s new adult-use cannabis industry generated more than $37 million in sales in April

ILLINOIS: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has announced preliminary numbers show statewide adult-use cannabis sales in April totaled $37,260,497.89. Dispensaries across the state sold 818,954 items over the 30-day period. Sales to Illinois residents totaled $29,735,650.41, while sales to out-of-state residents totaled $7,524,847.47. These figures do not include taxes collected. A portion of every cannabis sale will be reinvested in communities harmed most by the failed war on drugs.

Medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries remain open as part of the essential businesses and operations named in Governor Pritzker’s executive order signed on March 20, 2020. Both sides of the cannabis industry were included to ensure the cannabis supplier industry protects medical cannabis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the revenue generated by adultuse cannabis sales funds the important social justice and equity goals at the core of Illinois’ adult-use law.

“Our top priority is to ensure consumers are safe when they go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis,” said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control to Gov. Pritzker. “The steps we’ve taken to increase social distancing at dispensaries are accomplishing that, while also enabling this new industry to continue to grow. As such, curbside pickup will remain an option for medical cannabis users to obtain the product they need through May 30.”

Dispensaries are permitted to sell medical cannabis outside of their limited access area on their property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to utilize their designated caregiver to purchase medicine for them. However, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home. These rules do not apply to adult-use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area. A complete list of the rules extended may be found here.