Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Following the agency’s three-phased testing and public comment period, licensees may retest and release, or destroy quarantined products subject to order requirements

MASSACHUSETTS:The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has issued a Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products following three phases of testing and a public comment period which examined conditions that could allow for the retest and sale of vaporizer products that were previously quarantined since December. Under the second amended order, licensees may retest and release—or destroy—certain products with enhanced warning labels, depending on testing and remediation outcomes, and compliance with Commission regulations and policies. The order emphasizes that measured, transparent testing mitigates, but does not eliminate, all public health risks posed by quarantined vaporizer products.

This latest action modifies previous Commission quarantine orders issued in November and December 2019 and related investigative findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that identified vitamin E acetate (VEA) as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI). On December 12, 2019, the Commission issued the First Amended Quarantine Order authorizing licensees to sell newly manufactured vaporizer products, but requiring that more than 600,000 vaporizer products manufactured before December 12, 2019 remain subject to quarantine.

“Since the Commonwealth declared a vaping public health emergency last fall, the Commission has dedicated significant energy and resources to investigating the additives, hardware, and storage practices that licensees use to produce and sell cannabis vaporizer products,” Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Fortunately, repeat tests of licensed product samples did not return any detectable levels of VEA; unfortunately, they did establish that heavy metal contamination may increase in vaping products over time.

“This new order seeks to strike a balance between those products that can be retested or remediated safely for sale or repurposing with proper warning to patients and consumers, and those that cannot. As the nation continues to learn more about the broader health implications of vaping in all forms, I urge patients and consumers to understand the risks when they choose to consume any cannabis vaporizer product.”

The Commission’s regulations require all marijuana products to undergo contaminant testing, including testing for heavy metals, by an Independent Testing Laboratory accredited to the International Organization for Standardization 17025 (ISO/IEC 17025: 2017) and in accordance with the Commission’s Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Medical Marijuana Products and Marijuana-infused Products.

Under the second amended order, previously quarantined products may be:

  • Disposed. Licensees may voluntarily dispose of previously quarantined vaping products at any time, subject to Commission disposal regulations.
    • Production batches that previously failed both Commission-initiated tests for heavy metals shall be deemed unable to be remediated and face mandatory disposal, if, after two attempts at remediation, the product does not pass testing for heavy metals. Respondents may dispose of such products voluntarily or upon receiving an order of destruction from the Commission.
  • Retested and Released. Previously quarantined products may be made available for sale if they are first retested and deemed compliant with the Commission’s regulations and policies, subject to conditions specified in the order.
  • Reclaimed. Previously quarantined products may also be repurposed into other products using the reclaimed marijuana oil, although any new product manufactured with that oil must undergo testing and include a statement indicating to the patient or consumer that the product was manufactured with previously quarantined material.

If, after two attempts at remediation, retested or reclaimed products do not pass testing for heavy metals, they will be considered unable to be remediated and must be disposed. Vaporizer products with original testing dates in excess of one year are considered expired and may not be dispensed, sold, transferred or otherwise conveyed until another screen for all contaminants, excluding pesticides, is conducted. In accordance with Commission regulations, licensees must notify the agency of any vaporizer product test result exceeding acceptable levels for heavy metals and describe the method for remediation or disposal.

The second amended order also specifies labeling requirements for all vaporizer products sold by licensees in the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to those products that are retested or reclaimed in accordance with the second amended order:

  • Labels on previously vaporized products that pass retesting and are made available for sale must disclose, “This product was previously quarantined. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”
  • Labels on previously vaporized products that have their marijuana concentrate reclaimed for other marijuana products must disclose, “This product was produced using previously quarantined concentrate. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”

Retailers and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) must include in the sale of vaporizer products a disclosure that the patient or consumer may request to inspect a copy of the product’s associated testing results. Disposable and reusable vaporizer pens also must include a product insert that identifies the materials used in the device’s atomizer coil. Any quarantined vaping product that is resold also must include the item’s original packaging date.

The Commission has mandated that Marijuana Product Manufacturers retain certain records pertaining to marijuana vaporizer ingredients, additives, devices, component parts, or other materials purchased from any manufacturer or supplier; the name and business address of the manufacturer of any cartridge, battery, atomizer coil (and its materials used), hardware, or other component of marijuana vaporizer products; and the Certificate of Analysis for each thickening agent, thinning agent, and terpene infused or incorporated into a marijuana vaporizer device during production.

Starting last December, the Commission conducted three phases of testing into vaporizer products manufactured and sold by licensees. Results are available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission’s first two testing phases investigated VEA and heavy metal (lead) levels in samples of vaporizer products collected from geographically diverse locations. Phase III involved confirmatory tests of certain products that failed for heavy metal concentrations above the acceptable limits for inhalation (500 ppb), and found varying results, to suggest that heavy metal contamination may increase over time. Testing limitations identified during the investigation included limited sampling scope, product batch homogeneity, inconsistent extraction procedures for testing finished cartridge samples, and lack of known sources of metal contamination. VEA has not been detected in any Commission-initiated testing.

After testing methods precluded reliable results, the Commission determined further investigation and collaboration was necessary before issuing a second amended order pertaining to the quarantined vaping products. A survey was issued on July 2, 2020 to obtain public comment from government, industry, scientific, and public health stakeholders, among other constituents, including patients and consumers, to help identify the root cause of the heavy metal contamination, the health effects of elevated lead levels, and whether heavy metal content within vaporizer products could become more prominent without use over time or post-use. The survey closed on July 14, 2020 and public comments are currently available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission continues to research and evaluate information relative to vaporizer device product manufacturing processes and safety standards in furtherance of its obligation to ensure a safely regulated industry.

Are We Sleeping On The Women In Cannabis Media?

Recently, 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi sat down with Tracy Lamourie for MJ News to discuss the exciting launch of her groundbreaking new venture A New Cannabis Channel

Here’s a peek into that conversation:

TRACY LAMOURIE: You have been doing some amazing things in the media and the cannabis space, and now you are combining the two in a way that I don’t think people are seeing just how groundbreaking it is!

KERRI ACCARDI: Maybe that’s because we didn’t Press Release our every move!

TRACY: Right! But now you are finally ready to let some of the secrets out! Can you tell us a little bit about the exciting things you have got going right now?

KERRI: Absolutely! I’m the founder of 420MEDIA, a full-service marketing and content creation agency.  Over the past 6 years we have been documenting the legalization of cannabis in the US. Currently we are in the process of launching a cannabis TV channel across ROKU, Apple TV, Firestick TV, Android TV, two mobile apps and online, with original programming, including a docu-series.

We are bringing education through entertainment with unprecedented opportunities for targeted advertising to cannabis and CBD companies.  We are super excited to take a very fragmented space and streamline the information to the mainstream while showcasing products and services in a way the public has yet to see.

There are so many people that they hear about CBD or they hear about the benefits of cannabis,  but they don’t know where to find a product or even worse they try a product that’s called CBD and it doesn’t work and right away they’re judging CBD as nonsense, but when you read the bottle it’s really hemp seed oil or something that doesn’t have CBD in it at all.

We really want to help guide people seeking knowledge. At the end of the day, we all have an endocannabinoid system with receptors for the plant on a molecular level. I don’t think the majority of people really understand that – and when they do it’s going to be a game changer.

TRACY: Absolutely- you’re talking education, you’re talking entertainment, the business of cannabis, literally anything relating to cannabis you will find on this channel. I know to bring something like this together doesn’t happen alone and you really have been able to gather an incredible team, some big names not just from cannabis but from the advertising world, from the world of marketing, from the world of media – you are bringing them all together, can you tell us about some of the people you have behind you and some of their experiences before joining you on this groundbreaking project in the world of cannabis.

KERRI: We have a phenomenal team that has come together absolutely from the mainstream industry. We have Emmy award winners; we have advertising executives – in fact the person who is creating our logo created one of the most iconic advertising campaigns I think ever in the world!

TRACY: Unbelievable!

KERRI: We will put names and more information and promo out over the next few weeks.

TRACY: I’m excited to see this develop. Can you tell me some more about the content, and I know it is incredible – you have got people at the top of their industries from athletics to the medical fields, not just one doctor but probably ten from across America – can you tell us a little bit about the content and the experience of gathering that over the years? I know it is a literal library, or a museum of cannabis history over the last few years.

KERRI:  Yes -we have a massive library of professionally filmed content – literally over 300 pioneers- on camera plus products, music, panels and speakers, and original programming.

Super bowl champion Marvin Washington hosts one of our series which explores cannabis from an athlete’s perspective. We have him in a CBD lab, pharmacy, events, as well as closed sets interviewing fellow NFL players and nurses – so it really is different insights coming through him.

Then we have another series hosted by a nurse and educator Heather Manus that is more geared to the medicinal side of the plant. What is the endocannabinoid system? Dosing, our receptors, what are the products and the different methods of ingestion and how does it affect us. Why is this plant working for people? We have another series called “Faces Of Cannabis” featuring over 30 pioneers sharing their story and insight into cannabis – from Wanda James who is on Netflix right now, to a child named Landon Riddle who is cancer free for seven years and he is nine years old to Dr Dina, the women the show “Weeds” was based on. We have a lot.

To me, in a time that is so divisive – to have over 300 people on camera to camera of different ages, ethnicities, and financial backgrounds that agree on one thing is pretty powerful.

TRACY: I know you have spoken in the past about the personal part of your mission.

KERRI: It’s super simple. I left New York on December 10th, 2013 I left on a mission to educate the world about cannabis.  My Aunt Kathy died. My best friend, my mentor, my everything. She died, and she didn’t have to. She definitely didn’t have to suffer like I watched.

I knew that no one would listen to me unless I knew what I was talking about, so I started at the bottom, literally – learning how to grow, meeting with patients, doctors, growers, lobbyists and more. This was back in 2013 in CA – it was a much different world.

In January 2014 NY quazi- legalized medical cannabis through executive order and thus 420MEDIA was born.

TRACY: What a journey. Somewhere your aunt is smiling down on you right now saying, ‘WOW! I inspired all this.’  You really are changing the world with this.  That’s not just language, people are going to see that as this develops – it’s going to be epic.

KERRI: What people don’t understand is that cannabis isn’t new, this medicine isn’t new, even the cannabis industry isn’t new – it’s new in the regulated space. California has been legal-ish for over twenty years and has been helping thousands of people.

TRACY : Now let’s talk a little about the business of cannabis, and I know from a business perspective it’s often difficult to get your message out in the space, struggles around advertising, struggles around restrictions and limitations on social media, lots of barriers about getting your message out there that we don’t face in messaging with other consumer products. So what you are doing is absolutely valuable to people in the cannabis marketing space.  Can you tell us a little bit about this really unprecedented advertising opportunity?

KERRI:  Everything was born out of a problem, and the problem is that brands do not have a place to advertise consistently. I learned about this over the past 6 years of owning an agency and having different television deals and advertising opportunities. They can just change their mind and the rules and the pricing and all sorts of craziness. This was created to enhance cannabis brands and products and give them a place to advertise and share their information very similar to television and TV commercials and when we go back into production we will have opportunity for product placement and sponsorships, so it is a space that will literally give brands the opportunity to showcase their product in high level content that has a truly targeted audience – because you aren’t coming to this channel to watch a baseball game.  You are coming to this channel to learn about cannabis

What’s the value of your athlete CBD cream being seen in a series hosted by a Super Bowl champion who also happens to have a case going to the Supreme Court over the legality of cannabis? What does it mean to have your brand showcased amongst medical professionals discussing the benefits of cannabis?

TRACY: So right now, can companies get involved? Right now, is there opportunity?

KERRI: Yes! What we are doing now, given the COVID-19 situation, is selling permanent placement in three of our series where we will build in commercials to showcase those brands and services. If you are in a series with Marv Washington, for example, you are in there forever. So, brands are getting multiple digital assets and a lifetime value. If they don’t have a commercial, we can have it created for a slight up-charge. If they do have a commercial, they can send it to us, and it will literally be edited in as if it was a part of that series. It is only for our inaugural series!

TRACY: So right now, anyone can get in on the ground floor, in there forever, they can basically write their own story right now as far as where they want to be.  As a publicist and a marketing person, I’m definitely excited about this for my own brand and for my clients, it’s great to be able to get in on the very beginning.

Marijuana Business Association Is Media Sponsor Of First Oklahoma Hempfest

MJBA Founder David Rheins Is Featured Speaker At Historic Hemp Festival

WASHINGTON: The first Oklahoma Hempfest  is shaping up to be enormous. Promoter Scott McKinley has assembled a world-class lineup of major talent for the FREE event, including DJ Snoopadelic (Snoop Dogg), Kokane, GapX The Band, Twista, Ryan Upchurch “The Redneck” and many more, and has now enlisted the support of the Marijuana Business Association, and its founder David Rheins, the cannabis industry’s unofficial business ambassador.

2018-Generic-Badge-RWB

MJBA Is A Proud Sponsor of Oklahoma Hempfest Sept 7-9th

MJBA, which publishes the popular MJ News Network — The Voice of Legal Cannabis — whose properties include MJ Headline News on Facebook and Marijuana Channel One on YouTube, will serve as media sponsor for Oklahoma Hempfest bringing to bear the resources of its more than 300,000 subscribers to promote the event.  MJ Headline News and MJ Channel One will field reporting teams on site to provide live coverage and conduct exclusive interviews with event speakers, performers and VIPs.  Rheins, a renowned expert in media, marketing and branding, will address the opportunity that awaits Oklahoma’s nascent legal cannabis community.

“The MJBA has been a staple in our industry. It’s Executive Director David Rheins has traveled to each legal market speaking to each community about the new growth and challenges of our emerging market,” McKinley told MJNN. “From his background as President of the trendsetting Spin Magazine, to his groundbreaking work in the digital media space, David definitely understands the dynamics of a developing market and its growing pains. We are very excited to have the MJBA team on board with Oklahoma Hempfest — bringing this knowledge to Oklahoma is paramount.”

I’m thrilled to be a part of this historic hemp festival,” said David Rheins. “MJBA has long been a supporter of Seattle Hempfest, and it is an honor to open yet another legal cannabis marketplace. Oklahoma has passed medical marijuana, and it looks like the voters will demand adult-use cannabis as well this November. Scott and his team have brilliantly created this free event as a rallying point, and Oklahoma Hempfest will be a ground zero mobilization point for the legalization and cannabis communities just prior to the important elections.”

Stu Zakim Joins MJBA Publishing Advisory Board

Former Rolling Stone, Playboy and American Media Publicist providing his experience, network and support to the leading media company and cannabis industry association

NEVADA: MJBA Publishing, the parent company behind the influential Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and the publishers of MJ News Network, Marijuana Channel One and MJ Headline News, has announced that Stu Zakim, legendary entertainment industry publicist and founding member of the New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts chapters of the MJBA, has joined MJBA as Chief Communications Officer and Member of its Board of Advisors.

MJBA Corporate Communications Chief Stu Zakim and NORML:'s Keith Stroup

MJBA Corporate Communications Chief Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

Zakim has provided counsel to a variety of iconic media leaders including Jann Wenner, Bonnie Fuller, Christie Hefner, David Pecker  and their publications — Rolling Stone, Playboy, Us Weekly, Shape and Star magazine among others. A frequent guest on cable tv news programs, Zakim’s PR experience includes campaigns for some of the most popular and successful films and television shows in recent history as an executive at Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Showtime Networks.

Stu and NFL Champion Marv Washington

Stu and NFL Champion Marv Washington

“We are thrilled to have Stu Zakim join officially as MJBA’s head of communications and a member of our Board of Advisors,” said David Rheins, MJBA founder and executive director.  “With more than 30 years of experience managing communications for the world’s leading media brands:  Rolling Stone, Playboy, Universal Pictures, American Media and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, his encyclopedic knowledge of communications and his deep professional network will be instrumental as MJBA forges strategic relationships with media and business partners.”

Curved Papers founder Michael O'Malley, MJBA's Stu Zakim and The Blinc Group's Sasha Aksenov

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley, MJBA’s Stu Zakim and The Blinc Group’s Sasha Aksenov

““I am thrilled to be expanding my role with the MJBA and its leader Dave Rheins,” Zakim told MJ News. “After a 40 year career of publicizing some of the best known brands, I can’t think of a better next chapter than using my skills to help change the image of and removing the stigma from this amazing plant.”

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

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

In its first five years, the Marijuana Business Association has quickly established itself as one of the leading national b2b organizations in legal cannabis. Established to provide business intelligence, professional networking and new business opportunity, MJBA hosts regular industry networking meetups, boot camps and seminars in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York and Ohio, with MJBA Massachusetts and MJBA Nevada communities scheduled to activate in Q2 2018.

MJBA Founder David Rheins, 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi and Stu Zakim

MJBA Founder David Rheins, 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi and Stu Zakim

 

Thank You To All Our Loyal Readers, Subscribers, Members And Sponsors!

As we enter December and our 5th anniversary, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) would like to take this opportunity to thank all our members, sponsors, subscribers and followers for your contribution in helping us to firmly establish ourselves as one of the leading b2b organizations in legal cannabis.  It’s been an amazing first five years, and we enter 2018 poised to take the association and the network to a truly national level.

Thank You 2017 MJBA National Sponsors

Thank You 2017 MJBA National Sponsors

Established to provide business intelligence, professional networking and new business opportunity, MJBA hosts regular industry networking meetups, professional boot camps and educational seminars in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York, with MJBA Massachusetts and MJBA Nevada communities scheduled to activate Q1 2018.

NWMJLaw's Anne Van Leynseele leads the 502 Accounting Panel at MJBA Seattle

NWMJLaw’s Anne Van Leynseele leads the 502 Accounting Panel at MJBA Seattle

DOPE Magazine Founder David Tran, MJBA Founder David Rheins and Curved Papers Founder Michael O'Malley at MJBizCon

DOPE Magazine Founder David Tran, MJBA Founder David Rheins and Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley at MJBizCon

AK Ventures' Kerri Accardi and MJBA's Stu Zakim

AK Ventures’ Kerri Accardi and MJBA’s Stu Zakim

To date, we have run over 200 meetups, hosted 3 job fairs, 4 Vendor Fairs, and participated as sponsor, exhibitor, speaker and moderator at many of the top industry trade events, including CannaCon (Tacoma, Seattle, Denver, Anchorage, Santa Rosa and Boston), National Cannabis Summit (Denver), Cannabis Creative Conference (Portland), CWCBExpo (New York, LA), Seattle Hempfest, Oregon Hemp Convention, New England Cannabis Convention (Boston) and King Cannabis (Spokane).

f you have anything to do with the legal cannabis industry in Washington or Oregon, you will want to attend both CCC in Portland and CannaCon in Seattle this month. When you do, please stop by the MJBA and MJBA Women’s Alliance booths and say ‘Hi.”

David Rheins leads a panel discussion at Canna Con

Crystal Oliver, Washington's Finest Cannabis, was a featured presenter at MJBA Spokane's February meetup.

Crystal Oliver, Washington’s Finest Cannabis, was a featured presenter at MJBA Spokane.

MJBA publishes the authoritative MJNewsNetwork.com web site, MJ Headline News and MJ Business Week e-newsletters, and Marijuana Channel One on YouTube, and boasts a massive social media network with more than 300,000 followers and subscribers.

 

MJ News Network: The Voice of Legal Cannabis

MJ News Network: The Voice of Legal Cannabis

 

MJBA Publishing LLC provides a host of marketing and professional services, including public and media relations, advertising, sponsorship and business development.  For more information, please contact us at: info@mjba.net.

 

Announcing MJ Business Network: A News Release Distribution System For The Cannabis Industry

WASHINGTON: Recognizing the communications and marketing needs of people involved or getting involved with the expanding cannabis business, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) has launched a press release distribution system that targets the media, both mainstream and industry specific reporters, who cover the cannabis industry.

As one of the cannabis industry’s leaders in helping assist and educate businesses through our workshops and meet-ups, one of the issues MJBA leadership constantly hears from its members in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, New York and New Jersey are questions about Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing; how do we do it, how much should it cost, what should it look like and other related questions.

Introducing MJ Business NetworkMJBA is often sourced by media who are focused on this exciting business, which, through the years, has allowed us to cultivate the key reporters, both in mainstream media like the Seattle Times, NBC News and Variety, as well as industry outlets like DOPE, MG, Freedom Leaf, etc.

They’ve taken that expertise and extensive data base of media to build MJ Business Network as a solution and mechanism to help all kinds of businesses in the industry get their message in front of those who can help boost their brand.  Their media contacts include digital, print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more.

MJ Business Network provides the following services to its clients:

  • Distribution of  your news release via the cannabis industry’s largest proprietary content distribution network – MJ Headline News –http://www.mjheadlinenews.com– and its app for IOS and Android phones – as well as the video assets they have such as MJ Channel One, your video source for cannabis news.
  • Posting client’s news release through their highly trafficked Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
  • Delivering client’s message, whether a news release or a video feature, into the inbox of the journalists that cover cannabis for them to consume.
  •  Integrating photos, charts and video into their message that will help the message be read, seen and acted upon.  Multimedia is proven to drive engagement. Photos, videos, and infographics increase press release views significantly.

Pricing information is available upon request. For more information contact Stu Zakim at stu@mjba.net.

MJ Headline News Debuts Mobile News App For Cannabis Professionals

WASHINGTON: The legal cannabis industry is dynamic and complex like none other. For the overworked, resource-tight cannabis professional, staying apprised of the latest news, events and innovations in the fastest growing industry in the country is daunting. But, we have it covered!

The Marijuana Business Association has now released The MJHeadlineNews App – the ultimate mobile app for the cannabis professional. The MJHeadlineNews App is the #1 mobile app for cannabis industry news, market data, videos, events and social media. Released by MJBA, the leading trade organization for professionals in legal cannabis and publishers of MJNewsNetwork.com, Marijuana Green Pages and Marijuana Channel One, this app delivers the latest business intelligence at your fingertips.

MJHeadlineNews  features original reporting and content from the industry’s top sources:

MJNewsNetwork: Original reporting from the web’s #1 source of cannabis news

MJTicker: Wholesale and Retail market data and Top Ten Charts from Front Runner Data

Marijuana Channel One: MJ Videos and Live Events

Marijuana Green Pages: Comprehensive B2B directory listings put “Everyone you need to know to start or grow your business” at your fingertips

 The MJHeadlineNews App is FREE, and available now at the iTunes App Store and Google Play:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mj-headline-news/id1114119776?ls=1&mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app_mjhnews.layout

 

 

5 Years On Weed

By TwiceBakedinWA

WASHINGTON: I am going into my fifth year as a cannabis patient. What a ride it has been. When I was first going through the process of getting a legal doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis I was dealing with scoliosis, severe pain, muscle spasms, migraines, depression, anxiety, low immunity, and digestive sensitivities.

Actually, I still deal with many of those issues but I have learned how to manage them better using cannabis. My journey with medical marijuana has allowed me to explore in depth the many ways to use cannabis for absolute relief of my symptoms.

Not only that, but I have seen another side of my health restored where I am not just using marijuana to only relieve my symptoms, I am able to use it to experience what it feels like to mentally and physically thrive when everything is running right.

My approach to medical cannabis has been a holistic one. I know that it is a superfood like no other and consuming it in its raw form gives me energy and makes me feel alive. Raw cannabis has also, more than once, provided a lift from depression, which to me feels more significant than even the pain relief.

Let me just say that this medical cannabis stuff is work. At least the growing and the juicing part of it is. I juice raw cannabis and that requires that I collect leaves, more than I can currently grow myself. I am part of a medical cannabis collective where one of my jobs is to prune plants which gives me plenty of fresh plant matter during growing season. I am so grateful to have this arrangement available to me because it took me a lot of networking to find it. I can’t imagine not juicing it now as part of my long-term health management program. 

While at one time I dismissed that a topical could be effective for my conditions, I now find myself also using cannabis topically for relief of more things than just pain. I use them to relieve migraines, menstral cramps, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, and even anxiety. I’m so thankful to have a simple potion in my bag that I can apply no matter where I happen to be and where I don’t even have to think about whether I am taking an indica or sativa. I no longer travel anywhere without a topical on me and I try to keep a healthy stash on hand in my medicine cabinet.

All this being said, I want more than relief in this life, I want to experience what it is like to thrive. I’m not looking to get high and zone out, I’m looking for the ability to climb mountains and check in.

For those of you who have followed me along the way, thank you so much for your support.

-TwiceBakedinWA

Instagram Deletes Marijuana-Themed Accounts, Inspires “Instagram of Marijuana”

CALIFORNIA: Instagram is full of marijuana. There’s no way to know exactly how many of the Facebook-owned photo-sharing utility’s 200 million users freely share pictures of buds, blunts, and joints — aside from counting, we suppose — but enough of them do for police to make real-life arrests based off of Instagram posts.

But, these days, Instagram has less marijuana on it than usual. Beginning sometime in the last month, the social network started deactivating cannabis-centric users’ accounts. Bay Area-based favorite Coral Reefer saw her account turned off. So did San Francisco-based rapper Berner (though he’s back on).

This is an odd move from a Bay Area-based tech darling, and not a welcome development for the burgeoning California marijuana industry. 

But the upshot is a Silicon Valley opportunity: A new “Instagram for marijuana” is launching this week in response. Will the #marijuana #nofilter set take to the new social network?

It’s worth noting that marijuana drives loads of Web traffic. On social media, there are countless marijuana-centric accounts with tens of thousands — sometimes hundreds of thousands — of followers. And posts? There could be millions of posts tagged with “#marijuana,” Marijuana.com guessed. 

The Walt Whitman Of Weed

WASHINGTON:  “Farmer Tom” Lauerman has invited us to tour his five acres of freedom, the “Garden of the Green Sun” – an organic vegetable and marijuana farm in Vancouver, WA.

Farmer, medical marijuana activist and author, Farmer Tom greets us with a big bear hug like a beatific Walt Whitman of Weed in a great bushy white beard, green grower’s cap and black Hawaiian shirt.

Tom is a well known figure on the West Coast cannabis scene.  You can regularly find him vending his squash and marijuana at local medical marijuana farmer’s markets, and at high profile events like High Times’ Cannabis Cup and Seattle Hempfest, where he happily poses for photographs and signs copies of his Cannabis Consumer’s Guide, a compendium of pot knowledge that he has amassed over his decades as a pot grower and smoker — a stoner poet “Leaves of Grass.”

Farmer Tom met his wife Paula in San Diego in the 1990s.  They fell in love as comrades in arms in those seminal days of the early California medical marijuana movement. She was a massage therapist, and gave him his first massage after a particularly stressful day in the trenches. Although she had known and worked with him in the past, she felt something undeniable when they touched and they have been together ever since.

Farmer Tom

‘Farmer Tom’ Lauerman

When we arrive at the farm, a three-hour drive from Seattle that I make with my dog and a fellow MJ News Network reporter, we are treated to cool water sweetened with lemons and entertained with wonderful stories of the early days of the struggle for patient rights, which they recount with passion and fire.

Tom and Paula are fully embedded into this rural southern Washington town, growing organic vegetables as part of a community-supported agricultural cooperative (CSA) alongside crops of organic cannabis.  For Farmer Tom it is all about organic. “I grow my vegetables and cannabis the same way.  I love growing organic food – organic vegetables and organic cannabis.”

Whether it is by good fortune or good deeds, life’s serendipity has found Tom’s farm ideally situated in Washington, one of only two states with a legal recreational marijuana market (though Oregon just across the Columbia River will likely pass its own recreational law in November, and currently supports a healthy medical marijuana industry for which Farmer Tom supplies product).

Farmer Tom

Organically Grown Farmer Tom Brand

Recreational marijuana makes it possible for Farmer Tom to move beyond farmer’s markets and to begin serving the larger commercial marketplace.  These days there is a lot of interest in organic cannabis – and in Farmer Tom as a brand icon.

“I just want to save the farm. I just want to feed my family – It doesn’t get any more American than that.”

Tom’s photogenic looks have not gone unnoticed as investors and savvy marketers eye the emerging legal market looking for viable brands. Farmer Tom has recently done several deals, one for a limited series of trading cards, and another for the creation of a full-line of Farmer Tom branded cannabis products. He’s got the looks and the resume to be a household name brand, and in fact, he is one heck of a farmer.

Garden of the Green Sun

Garden of the Green Sun

In between rows of impressive organic corn, snap peas, lettuce, squash and tomatoes, the Garden of the Green Sun sports two hoop-houses full of the biggest, bushiest, healthiest looking cannabis plants I’ve ever seen.  As a business journalist covering the legal marijuana industry, I’m used to touring indoor grow rooms full of gorgeous indicas and sativas, but nothing I’ve seen compares to the size and impressive girth of these bushes.

As we wind our way through neat rows of well labeled plants all sporting Farmer Tom’s likeness, we inspect Black Knight, OG Kush, Girl Scout Cookie and other popular strains, and even get an up-close look at a rare Asian plant with most unusual leaves.

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Unusual Asian Strain

At the end of our tour, we are given sharp knives and rubber buckets and pointed back to the vegetable rows where we pick our own lettuce, squash, kale and beans.  The sun is shining and Paula graciously waters my thirsty snow dog and points us back to the interstate with our bounty.

It’s been a great visit, well worth the long schlep.  As we leave, I’m struck at how quintessentially American this agrarian scene is — a small independent farmer growing good organic crops to support his family and community.

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Luna in the garden

Who knows, with cannabis’ new-found legality, Farmer Tom and Paula may turn out to be a modern-day Ma and Pa Kettle success story – hard working farm folks striking it rich, but keeping it real.