North Carolina Task Force For Racial Equity In Criminal Justice Makes Marijuana Recommendations

NORTH CAROLINA:  Attorney General Josh Stein announced that the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, convened by Gov. Roy Cooper and co-chaired by Justice Anita Earls and the attorney general, adopted recommendations related to marijuana today. Those include a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana possession in small amounts and to further study potential legalization of marijuana possession, cultivation, and sale.

“You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “White and Black North Carolinians use marijuana at similar rates, yet Black people are disproportionately arrested and sentenced. Additionally, it is time for North Carolina to start having real conversations about a safe, measured, public health approach to potentially legalizing marijuana.”

“Data made available to the Task Force shows that 63 percent of the more than 10,000 convictions for simple possession of marijuana last year in North Carolina are people of color even though they are only 30 percent of the population and research documents that marijuana use is at roughly equal percentages among Black and white populations,” said Justice Anita Earls. “This recommendation is intended to help alleviate racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal justice system.”

Marijuana In NC Today

Right now, possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana is a class 3 misdemeanor, not subject to imprisonment but subject to a fine up to $200. In 2019, there were 31,287 charges and 8,520 convictions for this offense; 61 percent of those convicted were nonwhite.

Possession of more than ½ ounce up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor, subject to up to 45 days imprisonment and a $200 fine. In 2019, there were 3,422 charges and 1,909 convictions for this offense; 70 percent of those convicted were nonwhite.

Today’s recommendations:

  • The Task Force recommends legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by making such possession a civil offense and expunge past convictions through an automatic process.
  • The Task Force further recommends that North Carolina convene a Task Force of stakeholders, free from conflict of interest, to study the pros and cons and options for legalization of possession, cultivation and/or sale, including government or not for profit monopoly options. The study should be guided by a public safety, public health, and racial equity framework.
  • Improve drug enforcement data collection and reporting by:
    • Requiring every law enforcement agency to participate fully in the NIBRS system
    • Requiring every law enforcement agency to publish drug enforcement data on its department website in easy searchable fashion, including number of arrests and citations by drug, quantity, race, gender, and reason for search. This may necessitate providing additional resources to law enforcement agencies, especially smaller agencies.
  • Deemphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) felony drug possession arrests for trace quantities under .25 grams in non-ABC permitted locations.
  • Deemphasize (or make the lowest drug law enforcement priority) marijuana possession arrests in non-ABC permitted locations.
  • Prosecutors should immediately deprioritize marijuana-related prosecution in non-ABC permitted locations.

Task Force Next Steps

The Task Force will release its full recommendations in a report to Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 15, 2020. That date has been extended from Dec. 1 due to difficulty holding meetings and conducting work as a result of the pandemic. To view today’s public meeting, please visit the North Carolina Department of Justice’s YouTube channel. Information on previous recommendations and other Task Force action is available at https://ncdoj.gov/trec/.

Asheville Hemp Project Launches CBD Infused Gum

First Product from Asheville Hemp Project Brand Highly Efficiency Delivery Method

NORTH CAROLINA: Asheville Hemp Project (AHP), an Asheville, NC-based hemp cultivator, is unveiling its new CBD Mint Gum. The launch marks the first consumer product for the brand, with other SKU’s in the pipeline. Asheville Hemp Project aims to connect consumers to the source of the natural plant, and their own inner nature.

The brand reminds us of the calming effect that nature provides, with a view through an open-slatted tobacco barn imprint. AHP selected gum as the first product to introduce because of its super-efficient delivery of CBD. Each piece of AHP’s CBD Mint Gum contains 10 milligrams of CBD and comes in a convenient foil pack that maximizes freshness and improves product protection and dispensing. AHP Gum is available for sale in the U.S. via the Company’s online store and at retailers including boutique food markets, CBD dispensaries, gas stations and smoke shops, and soon in sports emporiums and golf pro shops. A single pack containing 8 pieces sells for $19.90 online.

Leslie Hoffman, co-founder of AHP, stated, “This is our first consumer product, and we are excited about its potential. It delivers hemp-derived cannabinoids most efficiently through mucosa glands being activated by the chewing of the gum. Our gum enhances wellness for anyone who can benefit from CBD – and delivers it in a refreshing ‘normal’ format that is as discreet as it gets.”

CBD Mint Gum

Users include those with busy modern (and sometimes stressful) lives or those who need to lessen arthritis and joint pain or need better sleep. Sports aficionados might find that they can focus more intently or diminish the inflammation that sometimes follows a strenuous workout.”

Hoffman continued, “We intend to follow up with the launch of our CBD premium pre-rolls which will be unfiltered to ensure the consumer ingests the cannabinoids. Further, we have plans for releasing a CBD tincture. The number of potential products is enormous.”

Transitioning to the 21st Century Economy

Hoffman, whose pedigree in the cannabis industry includes farming, a hemp fashion business, and work in medical cannabis, formed Asheville Hemp Project in 2017 with co-founder, Scott Brinkley, a scientist and grower. Hoffman was a pioneer in sustainability and was previously a designer and builder of green construction projects.

The two saw an opportunity in North Carolina where tobacco had once been king. The agricultural and processing infrastructure for tobacco is well-suited to the cultivation and production of hemp.

Hoffman said, “The equipment and buildings needed to grow and dry the leaves, and the factories for rolling cigarettes already exist and are under-utilized. The workforce has the requisite skills to produce high quality products. The difference is the plant. Hemp is vastly more useful than tobacco. We aim to share a point of view, a connection to nature, and our understanding of the plant and its many uses. And so, we expanded our activities beyond the farm.”

She added, “Asheville has a reputation as an epicenter for craft cuisine and breweries. The region’s old tobacco farms are benefitting as they are revitalized by a thriving hemp farming community. Our brand’s tagline is Look Homeward, a reference to Thomas Wolfe’s famous book written in Asheville and set there, called Look Homeward, Angel. We believe this is the right business, with the right values, operating in the right place at the right time.”

Asheville Hemp Project’s base is a 23-acre hemp farm outside of the small city of Asheville, North Carolina nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.

“This is where our experience grows, thoughts and ideas turn into new product innovations,” Brinkley states. “We work with other local farmers and processors in developing new products and establishing new markets. The vacuum tobacco left behind provides an atmosphere for us to all work together to build the hemp industry. As a community, we can do more and do it better.”

Level Brands Closes Acquisition Of cbdMD

Purchase Price Sets Revenue Targets At $300 Million Within Five Years

NORTH CAROLINA: Level Brands announced today that it has closed its acquisition of Cure Based Development, the owner of the nationally recognized consumer brand cbdMD in an all-stock transaction. cbdMD is a consumer products brand offering a large selection of cbdMD branded CBD products primarily through its ecommerce website, www.cbdMD.com, as well as through 700 current third party retail locations. cbdMD manufactures its premium line of products at its Charlotte, NC facility using 100%, all-natural CBD extracted from organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free industrial hemp grown in the USA.

cbdmdIn consideration of the purchase price, Level Brands will issue 15,250,000 shares of its common stock and it may issue up to an additional 15,250,000 shares during the first 60 months if revenue milestones aggregating $300 million are achieved. The revenue milestones are targeted at $20 million in the first 12 months, $40 million in the next twelve months, $80 million in the next 18 months and $160 million in the final 18 months.

“With the acquisition of cbdMD, I believe Level Brands now becomes one of the leading CBD consumer companies in America. The cbdMD brand has shown consistent month-over-month double-digit growth rates and, with the capital we have available, we believe we can significantly accelerate the revenue growth and execute on an aggressive expansion and brand positioning plan which should yield continued significant growth rates. Now that the Farm Bill has been approved, and CBD will no longer be listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, we believe the CBD market should drastically expand. CBD products will now have access to retailers nationwide, as well as through online channels. In addition, the passage of this legislation should help CBD gain mainstream consumer acceptance. We believe cbdMD will significantly gain market share in this growing industry,” said Martin Sumichrast, Chairman and CEO of Level Brands.

“I was first introduced to CBD as a consumer and it really worked for me. Since launching the company, our goal has been to bring a unique product to our loyal customers with the goal of enhancing their overall quality of life and providing education and awareness to the potential benefits of CBD. In the process, we expect to build cbdMD into the leading CBD brand. We have built a reputation as a premier manufacturer of high-quality products at a very affordable price, giving our customers a great value. Now with the passage of the Farm Bill, we expect not only that our business will expand as major retail chains start to carry CBD, but also this mass retail acceptance will encourage a larger customer base who will want to try our products. In addition, our access to athletes and the sporting world should enhance the marketability of our products,” said Scott Coffman, the Founder and CEO of cbdMD.

cbdMD’s founder is Scott Coffman, the founder of Blu-Ecig. Mr. Coffman started Blu and sold it to Lorillard Tobacco for $135 million. Mr. Coffman, who will join Level Brands’ Board and will continue as CEO of cbdMD, will be a significant shareholder of Level Brands.

“While our products are currently in over 700 retail outlets in the U.S. and we are gearing up to expand our retail footprint, we also believe in growing our e-commerce channel. We believe we will separate ourselves from our competitors through our unique online marketing campaigns. Since CBD is generally recognized as being most effective when you take it regularly, our online re-order programs provide an easy, cost effective way to get our products to our customers,” said Caryn Dunayer, President of cbdMD.

 

North Carolina Farmers Race To Plant Industrial Hemp aka “Carolina Gold”

NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina farmers are picking up the pace in planting what they believe will be the next cash crop… industrial hemp. The “Carolina Gold,” as one North Carolina fourth generation farmer referred to industrial hemp, is expected to bring in a huge potential source of income among farmers in the state. Thus far, Hemp, Inc.’s licensed farming associates in North Carolina have secured over 150 pounds of CBD-rich hemp seeds which are currently being planted in order to be harvested by September/October. CEO of Hemp, Inc. Bruce Perlowin says that amount of CBD-rich hemp seeds along with the 17 acres of high-CBD clones they are planting in North Carolina and Colorado will be one of, or, the largest CBD hemp grows in the United States (approximately 550 acres total).

“Since North Carolina farmers can source domestic seed for planting industrial hemp, it’s almost a race in the Tar Heel state to see who can get the seeds and the clones in the ground first. Everyone wants to try their hand at the lucrative crop. And with Hemp, Inc.’s Hemp University educational symposiums, teaching farmers how to grow hemp for profit, the learning curve isn’t as massive as it once was,” said Perlowin.

As announced in Hemp, Inc.’s last press release, the company has already purchased its first industrial NuAxon Tech CO2 Supercritical extractor from NuAxon BioScience, the manufacturer and producer of the world class, large capacity CO2 Supercritical Extraction equipment. With the industry’s expanding CBD market and ever-increasing consumer CBD sales over the past few years, executives are set to purchase its second CBD Extractor this year as well. The Hemp Business Journal projects the CBD market will “grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020 with $450-million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources.” David Schmitt, COO of Hemp, Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC (IHM), has been researching CBD extraction methods and manufacturers for the past 2 years and feels confident Hemp, Inc. will greatly benefit from the in-house CBD extraction method.

Hemp, Inc. To Grow 3,000 Acres Of Industrial Hemp In North Carolina In 2017

NORTH CAROLINA:  Hemp, Inc. has informed its shareholders that its wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC, in Spring Hope, NC, has signed a Letter of Intent  with Mullen View Farms and one with John Finch Farms in North Carolina. According to the signed LOI with Mullen View Farms, IHM will purchase 1,000 acres of raw hemp that is to be harvested at various locations throughout eastern North Carolina, this year. The signed LOI with John Finch Farms stipulates IHM shall purchase 500 acres of raw hemp stock from John Finch Farms. As with Mullen View Farms, the raw hemp is to be harvested at various locations throughout eastern North Carolina, this year.

With these LOIs, Hemp, Inc. now have a little over 3,000 acres of hemp growing. “We are really excited to be working with Mullen View and John Finch Farms. Mullen View Farms owns a huge warehouse, where we currently store some of our kenaf bales, not too far from our industrial hemp processing facility and wants to grow an additional 30,000 acres of industrial hemp for us in the near future. John Finch Farms has grown 200 acres of kenaf (hibiscus cannabinus, a cousin plant to industrial hemp) for us already,” says David Schmitt, COO of Hemp, Inc.’s subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC. Schmitt also mentioned John Finch received the National Supervisor of the Year Award, last year, during the NC Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts 71st Annual Meeting.

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. said, “We are proud to collaborate with other American industrial hemp farmers as we now become part of the modern industrial hemp farming movement. This is a turning point for America and it’s a turning point for Hemp, Inc. Hemp, Inc. has the infrastructure in place to process millions of pounds of hemp fibers and stalks a year, on a commercial level. Our 70,000 square foot industrial hemp processing facility, on over 9 acres in Spring Hope, North Carolina, is the only one of this magnitude in North America. The industrial hemp crop is part of history in the making and it is something that will prove to be lucrative not only for the farmers in North Carolina but for Hemp, Inc. as well.”

Hemp, Inc. Announces Plans To Cultivate 50 Acres Of Industrial Hemp In Spring 2017

NORTH CAROLINA: Hemp, Inc. executives report that its wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing in Spring Hope, North Carolina is set to grow 50 acres of industrial hemp next door to their NC processing plant in the Spring of 2017.

According to a company news release, the Spring planting of industrial hemp hinges on the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission (NCIHC) establishing the rules and regulations for the state’s agriculture program to grow or cultivate industrial hemp. While the Commission has not yet announced a date of when the rules and regulations will be established or released, farmers across the state are hopeful it will be in time to plant hemp during the Spring next year. With more families “going green,” farmers see more lucrative opportunity in the environmentally sustainable hemp crop than with any other crop.

Hemp Inc CEO Bruce Perlowin said, “Not only are we excited at the possibility to grow our own 50 acres of hemp in the Spring, we are also partnering with land owners and farmers across North Carolina to grow hemp, such as the 1,500 acres we announced in a previous press release, while we complete the final stage of bringing our multi-purpose industrial hemp facility in North Carolina online. We’ve planted Kenaf successfully. Now we are ready for hemp.”

To see the video of America’s largest hemp processing facility (70,000 square feet under roof, on 9 acres) and 60-foot silo installation, click here.

While the company is looking forward to growing hemp on its 50 acres, Perlowin said the company will continue to plant Kenaf in 2017 if the Commission has not set official procedures in place by the Spring. “This year, we are growing 420 acres of Kenaf in several counties in North Carolina… providing revenues to several farmers throughout the state,” said Perlowin.

Marijuana ‘Dabbing’ Is ‘Exploding Onto The Drug-Use Scene’

NORTH CAROLINA:  Young people who use marijuana and are looking for a new way to get high may be increasingly turning to “dabbing,” a new paper suggests.

Dabbing is inhaling the vapors from a concentrated form of marijuana made by an extraction method that uses butane gas. Dabs, also known as butane hash oil (BHO) — which are sometimes called “budder,” “honeycomb” or “earwax” — are more potent than conventional forms of marijuana because they have much higher concentrations of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than is found in regular cannabis, according to the paper.

“We have been seeing an emergence of dabs over the last three years,” said John Stogner, co-author of the new paper and an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “It is really exploding onto the drug-use scene.”

NC House Panel Rejects Proposal For Medical Marijuana

NORTH CAROLINA:  A state House committee unanimously rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana after an emotional hourlong hearing that ended with a legislator saying he was assaulted by a marijuana advocate.

House Bill 78 marks the most progress any marijuana proposal has had in the N.C. General Assembly. Two years ago, a similar bill was directed to the House Rules Committee, where Republican leaders allowed four people to speak before cutting off discussion and killing the bill.

Wednesday’s hearing took place in the more prominent House Judiciary I Committee, and more than a dozen people spoke about the proposal in a packed meeting room. “For those in the room speaking today, this is huge – that you’re even here allowed to speak before the Judiciary I Committee,” said Rep. Becky Carney, a Charlotte Democrat who co-sponsored the bill. “That’s a big step. It’s not a defeat.”

North Carolina To Decide On Expanded Medical Marijuana Bill

NORTH CAROLINA:  Rosemary Wallace said medical marijuana made such a difference in her life that she moved from her home in Rock Hill to Colorado just so that she could legally use the drug.
 
“I was there by myself. My husband was here. I was there,” Wallace said. “That was the worst 10 months of my life for him and me.” 
 
She said with a total knee replacement, three ruptured discs in her back, arthritis and post-traumatic stress disorder, the pain was unbearable and she had to do something.

When she ran out of money she had to return home. She’s keeping a close eye on the medical marijuana bill that’s been introduced in the North Carolina state Legislature this session.
 

Babies Test Positive for Marijuana From Soaps And Shampoos

NORTH CAROLINA:  Babies TeA study done by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has shown that some commercial baby soaps can cause a false positive for marijuana in urine tests. Products such as Johnson & Johnson’s Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo were shown to cause a positive result for metabolites like THC University of North Carolina  that are present in marijuana.