Cannabis Leases: Eight Important Tenant Considerations

Cannabis laws give landlords a unique amount of control and bargaining power over tenants. This usually translates to above-market rent and one-sided lease agreements. Fighting with landlords is no fun, especially for cannabis tenants who cannot simply relocate to a new property and must deal with their lessor for the life of a license. In this post, I’ll examine some important concepts for cannabis tenants.

1. Getting Along with the Landlord

This isn’t really even a legal concept, but it’s a critical one. Before getting tied up into a multi-year contract that a tenant essentially can’t back out of if it wants to remain in business, it’s a good idea to know who a tenant is dealing with. Chances are, the tenant will be required to go to the landlord for approval frequently during the life of the lease. It’s a good idea to understand who the landlord is before signing. If it’s a challenge to negotiate basic lease provisions at the outset, it’ll probably be a challenge to get those new premises modifications approved–or to do anything else.

2. Landlord Control

It’s common for leases to prohibit assignment or subletting without the landlord’s consent. Many leases go a step further and define a change of control of the tenant as an assignment requiring the landlord’s consent. For example, a lease may say that if there is a change of ownership of 25% or more of the equity of the tenant, the landlord needs to approve it first.

From the landlord’s perspective, these approval rights make sense; a landlord obviously wants to vet incoming owners to make sure that they’ll be able to still pay rent. But from the tenant’s perspective, these provisions can sometimes lead to micro-management by a landlord, especially if the approval threshold is low or the landlord has unfettered discretion as to how and when to give approval or condition it on payment of additional money.

Many cannabis businesses require investment capital, and this often means some kind of change in ownership during the life of the license. If too broad, landlords’ change of control provisions can be tough for a tenant to deal with.

3. Premises Modifications

Sort of like changes of control, most physical changes to the leased premises require some kind of landlord pre-approval or at least notice. This makes sense when thinking about changing fundamental parts of a building by throwing up or taking down new walls. But if these provisions are not well defined, they can lead to headaches. For example, would installing heavy machinery require approval? What about an HVAC system? If this is not clearly delineated, there can be disputes.

Another common concern is who owns the modifications to the premises. At the conclusion of a lease, a tenant may not be able to take out everything it put into the premises. Most leases will spell out who owns modifications, and be specific as to what kinds of modifications tenants can or (in some cases) must remove. Given that virtually all premises need to be modified to comply with cannabis regulations, this is important to consider prior to entering a lease.

4. Rent and Regulatory Compliance

In addition to fixed rent, landlords may demand some cut of cannabis tenant income. While this may be doable under state law, it raises two important concerns.

First, landlords who share in rent increase their exposure for federal criminal violations. While the federal government has taken a hands-off approach to enforcement against state-licensed operators, that could change in the future. And if there is ever a change in enforcement priorities, landlords who share in the profits of a cannabis business could face more exposure. This exposure could affect other provisions in the lease as well.

Second, landlords who share in the profits will probably need to be disclosed to state, and in some cases, local authorities. In California, any form of profit-sharing renders a landlord a “financial interest holder” requiring disclosure to the state. If profit-sharing hits certain thresholds, the landlord can be considered an “owner”, and much more significant disclosures would be required. It is critical to understand this second point at the outset. What tenant would want to be in a position where, after entering into a lease and applying for a license, a landlord suddenly got cold feet and refused to comply with requests to disclose it to the state? This would likely not end well for anyone.

5. Guarantees

Cannabis landlords often require leases to be “guaranteed” by third parties. A guaranty is basically a third party’s agreement to pay rent and any other financial obligations of the tenant if the tenant defaults under the lease. If the landlord demands a personal guaranty by the owner of a cannabis business, this can be significant as it can lead to serious personal liability for the guarantor if the a cannabis tenant can’t make its payments. This risk is even more pronounced for cannabis companies. It takes cannabis businesses a significant amount of time (without income) to become operational, and the loss of licenses will also lead to losses of income.

6. Property Diligence

Most leases include representations and warranties about the property being leased. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that verifying that the representations are accurate (by inspections and otherwise) is key. If a tenant enters into a lease without inspecting property, they may waive their right to make claims later (this would not apply if the landlord deliberately misrepresented something).

7. Termination

Since cannabis permits and licenses are tied to specific properties, it’s important to most tenants to lock the landlord into the lease as much as possible. Broad termination rights can be bad for tenants for obvious reasons. It’s always a good idea to study grounds for termination closely. Two things come up frequently that bear consideration.

First is a landlord’s ability to terminate based on breach (this usually comes up for non-payment of rent). Some leases will allow the tenant a period to cure any breach, but we’ve seen a lot with very short cure periods that may not always be possible to meet.

Second is termination for violation of law. Cannabis leases violate federal law by default. If a lease is terminable for violation of any law, then it will possibly be terminable from day 1. There are of course good arguments that a landlord waived its right to terminate or was not terminating in good faith if this is the justification for termination, but why get in that position in the first place?

8. Dispute Resolution

This is absolutely critical. As an attorney who used to exclusively litigate business disputes, and who has seen firsthand the effects of poorly drafted dispute resolution provisions, I cannot express enough how important it is to focus on these clauses. This is especially so for cannabis contracts, and even more so for cannabis leases.

Any time a cannabis dispute ends up in federal court, there is a chance that the court could refuse to uphold a contract on the grounds that it violates federal law (this is called the federal illegality defense, and even thought it’s been chipped away over the years, it is still very much alive). This risk is immense for cannabis tenants; if a court refuses to uphold a lease, or worse, holds that it is void, the tenant can lose its licensed premises and therefore its license.

Conclusion

These are just a number of questions that potential cannabis tenants should ask themselves when considering a lease. The actual factors will likely change significantly from lease to lease and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It’s a good idea to work with counsel to determine what lease provisions are best in for a specific tenant and jurisdiction.

The big takeaway here should be that drafting and negotiating cannabis leases is tough and that left unchecked, cannabis landlords can wield a great amount of power over tenants. Please stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog for more developments on cannabis leasing law, and in the meantime check out the posts linked below.

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Michael Pollan & The Landscape of the Mind

Michael Pollan is best known for his groundbreaking, best-selling books on food — which collectively have helped spark a revolution in the way we think about what we eat and where it comes from — but he also has a longstanding interest in cannabis. As far back as 1995, he traveled to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam for a New York Times Magazine cover story on the growers and breeders behind the world’s highest-potency strains, a group of illicit horticulturalists he called “the best gardeners of my generation.”

“I had come to Amsterdam to meet some of these gardeners and learn how, in little more than a decade, marijuana growing in America had evolved from a hobby of aging hippies into a burgeoning high-tech industry,” he wrote. “Fewer than 20 years ago, virtually all the marijuana consumed in America was imported. ‘Home grown’ was a term of opprobrium — ‘something you only smoked in an emergency,’ as one grower old enough to remember put it. Today… American marijuana cultivation has developed to the point where the potency, quality and consistency of the domestic product are considered as good as, if not better than, any in the world.”

At the time, such high praise from one of the world’s leading journalists was virtually unheard of in the world of cannabis. In the article, Pollan even admitted to making his own furtive attempt to grow cannabis back in the 1980s, which he dubbed “a fiasco.” Later, he included cannabis as one of four species profiled in “The Botany of Desire,” his best-selling book that took a “plant’s eye view of the world.”

And now Pollan has gone a significant step further into the study of psychoactivity with his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.” Pollan defines psychedelics as substances that not only affect the mind (like cannabis), but are fully “mind manifesting,” noting the term itself was coined in 1956 by Humphry Osmond “to describe drugs like LSD and psilocybin that produce radical changes in consciousness.”

At a stop on his national tour to promote the book, he sat down for an interview that touched on everything from DMT extracted from toads and the brain’s “default mode network,” to the benefits of dissolving your ego and Pollan’s personal experiences taking various psychedelics with a series of underground guides.

Cannabis Now: You write about the ineffable nature of psychedelics, meaning the experience of taking them is difficult or impossible to describe in words. Given that challenge, I love your description of tripping as being like “shaking the snow globe” of the mind. But what does that mean exactly?

Michael Pollan: The snow globe metaphor comes from Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the leading neuroscientists studying psychedelics today, and the researcher who’s probably done the most analytical work to try to understand how psychedelics affect us and why they might be therapeutic. He’s even been using MRIs and other brain imaging tools to see what happens neurologically during a psychedelic trip. Just imagine being injected with psilocybin [the active compound in “magic” mushrooms] or LSD and then sliding into an MRI. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, so these are volunteers to whom we should all be grateful.

Anyway, what the researchers discovered really surprised them. Turns out one particular brain network called the default mode network was downregulated (i.e. suppressed) during the psychedelic experience.

What does that system do? And why might disrupting it prove beneficial?

The default mode network is a network of brain structures that are tightly linked, so they communicate a lot with each other. And what they do is connect structures in the cortex — the most evolutionarily recent part of the brain, where executive function takes place — to much older and deeper structures involved in memory and emotion. So this is a very important transit hub.

The brain has a hierarchical structure, and the default mode network kind of rides over the whole thing. It’s involved with self-reflection and self-criticism. It’s where our minds go to wander when we’re not doing something. It’s where we get our ability to think about the future or the past. And finally, it’s involved in what’s called “the autobiographical self” — a function of the brain that integrates all of your experiences into the story of your life and keeps that story going. Because without that story, you don’t really exist as an independent self.

Michael Pollan Illustration Cannabis Now

Illustration Ryan Garcia for Cannabis Now

If the ego had an address, it would be the default mode network. So how interesting that when psychedelics temporarily put that network offline, people report “melting away” with no sense of self.

Now, why dissolving one’s ego might be helpful — that’s a whole other discussion. For starters, it’s possible that having a hyperactive default mode network could be responsible for various kinds of mental illness, especially those that involve obsessive rumination and getting stuck on really destructive stories about yourself. For instance: “I can’t get through the next hour without a cigarette.” Or: “I’m unworthy of love.”

That kind of rigidity of thinking is characteristic of anxiety, depression and addiction, which happen to be the three indications which, so far, psychedelics have proven the most valuable in treating.

What about the risks?

Psychedelics are not addictive or drugs of abuse. If you give rats a lever that dispenses cocaine, they’ll press it until they die, but give them the same lever with LSD and they’ll pull it once and never again. So the risks are largely psychological — and there are people who have psychotic episodes triggered by psychedelics, especially people at risk for schizophrenia.

Before moving forward with my own psychedelic experiences, I actually went to my cardiologist and told him what I was planning, and the only psychedelic he warned me off of was MDMA (ecstasy). He basically greenlighted the others, so off I went, on a series of really interesting journeys, all but one of which were guided by trained underground therapists.

Ideally, I would have participated in one of the fully legal clinical trials currently underway, but I didn’t qualify for any of them and perhaps they didn’t want a journalist hanging around anyway. So I took psilocybin from psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, 5-MeO-DMT from dried toad venom and ayahuasca. They were all very interesting experiences that taught me important things about myself and allowed for a certain stock-taking of life that I found invaluable.

Why do you think the authorities have been, at least until relatively recently, so hostile to psychedelics and the psychedelic mind state?

When psychedelics arrived in the United States, largely in the 1950s and ’60s, they arrived naked. Which is to say that these incredible molecules showed up, with very powerful properties, and unlike many other cultures which had long traditions of ceremonial and shamanistic use, we didn’t know how to use them. In those other cultures the psychedelic experience was regulated, guided and to some extent controlled by elders with decades of experience, but that’s not what happened here.

And so, while a lot of people had very positive experiences simply taking psychedelics at a concert or during a walk in the woods, some got into trouble. The experience of feeling your ego dissolve can be ecstatic but it can also be terrifying. And if there’s no one there to help you with that, you can get into a very dark place and have a panic reaction.

So that partly explains how the authorities reacted. But another big part of this is that psychedelics became a sacrament for the counterculture. Which was a very positive thing for the counterculture, but not for members of the establishment who were trying to send young men off to Vietnam to fight a war.

Psychedelics therefore became very frightening to the authorities.

Your experiences varied pretty widely, based on the specific psychedelic and set-and-setting. Which did you find most useful?

The most valuable experience was my guided psilocybin trip, where a lot of interesting things happened, but what was perhaps most helpful was having my sense of self dissolve completely. I saw myself blown into the wind like a sheaf of little Post-it notes, and I was fine with it. I had no desire to compile myself back together.

The consciousness that was perceiving this was not my usual consciousness. Aldous Huxley [author of “Brave New World”] would say it was “the mind at large.” And this is what I think has helped terminal cancer patients who’ve been given psychedelics to help deal with end-of-life anxiety. Taping into this kind of universal consciousness that doesn’t have the usual ego defenses attached to it can be incredibly liberating. It also could have been terrifying, but I felt safe and that’s really what’s important about having a guided experience.

You’re going to have to put down all of your mental defenses when taking a high-dose psychedelic trip and if you do that in a situation where don’t feel safe or trust the person that you’re with, it can be terrifying. But I did trust my guide, and so I was able to let go and surrender to the experience.

And the insight I brought away was, “Wow, I’m not identical to my ego.”

Ego is really important. Ego gets the book written, but it also gets in our way, and walls us off from other people and from strong emotions. I think ego consciousness is at the root of tribalism and the environmental crisis, because it separates us from nature. So to find out there’s another ground on which to stand, for me that was a real epiphany. I could have gotten there probably via 20 or 30 years of psychoanalysis, but I got there in an afternoon and that’s the power of psychedelics when used in the right context.

Then, after the experience comes the most important part, which we don’t talk about enough because we tend to focus on the trip itself. But if you’re engaged in therapist-assisted psychedelic therapy, as I was, there’s a formal session where you share your experience with the therapist and attempt to integrate it into the rest of your “normal” life.

When I reported my surprise at finding that I’m not the same as my ego, and how liberating that felt, the therapist said, “Well, that’s really worth the price of admission isn’t it? You’ve had a taste of another way to be and now you can cultivate that feeling and exercise that new muscle.”

TELL US, do you see a medical value in psychedelics?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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5 positive testimonials on medical marijuana benefits from real patients

We’d like to shine a light on a few patients in this article, to share their insights and experiences on how medical marijuana has benefitted them throughout their illness. Please take the time to read through the list of 5 testimonials from real patients who have had positive outcomes from using the herb for their […]

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Hemp CBD Across State Lines: What You Need to Know

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.

This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp. Our attorneys track these developments in real-time on behalf of multiple clients, and we provide a 50-state matrix showing how states regulate hemp and hemp products.

Over the last year, we have written about hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol (Hemp CBD) policies in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and on Tribal land. Links to each of these posts are available below. Obviously, nothing happens in a vacuum so, at this point, some of our posts are out of date as of this writing. These things change fast.

Now that we’ve covered the 50+ jurisdictions, we want to wrap up this series with some things we have learned throughout this series.

States are (mostly) consistent when it comes to hemp production

Both the 2014 Farm Bill and 2018 Farm Bill focused on the actual growing of hemp, not processing or handling hemp. As a result, there is not a ton of room for states to differ when it comes to the rules and regulations on growing hemp. This extends to testing hemp as well.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, states are required to develop plans pursuant to the law itself and the USDA’s interim hemp rules. However, a contingency of states are deciding to opt out of the 2018 Farm Bill, sticking with programs developed under the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions expire on October 31, 2020, meaning that several states will no longer have the regulatory authority over hemp production. For more on this, check out the letter the North Carolina Department of Agriculture sent the USDA.

States Differ on Processing/Handling Rules

There is some consistency in how states regulate growing hemp. The same is not true when it comes to “secondary” activities such as processing or handling hemp. Remember that the 2018 and 2014 Farm Bills focus on growing hemp, not turning that raw hemp into commodities, such as fiber, hempcrete, or oil. Some states, like Oregon, issue licenses or permits for these activities. Others, like Washington, do not.

In states that do not issue handling or processing permits, these activities come with some risk. That’s because although hemp is not a controlled substance (like it’s very close cousin marijuana) it is heavily regulated. Possessing commercial quantities of hemp without any type of license can draw unwanted attention. Hemp looks and smells like marijuana after all. A government-issued license can come in handy.

On the other hand, there are many hemp processors in states that do not issue processor or handler licenses who are doing fine without a permit. It’s not as if hemp processing is necessarily unlawful in these states. One thing is true for processors in all states: keeping records is key! You want strong and substantial evidence if Johnny Law starts inquiring about that funky-smelling crop.

There are Various Schools of Thought on How to Regulate  Finished Products, Including Hemp CBD

Once hemp has been harvested and processed into a finished product it’s time to go to the market. For industrial products, like hemp textiles and hempcrete, this is pretty straightforward. That’s because these products are not absorbed into the human body. Anything containing hemp that is ingested, smoked, or placed on the skin has a more complicated path to market because there is no real federal oversight of these products and there is no uniform state model for regulating them either.

The FDA regulates consumer products. It has determined that hemp-seed ingredients are generally safe for use in foods and approved Epidiolex, a CBD isolate used for the treatment of epilepsy. The FDA has also consistently said that other hemp derivates and Hemp CBD cannot be sold as drugs, foods, or dietary supplements. At the same time, FDA enforcement has been very limited, mainly consisting of sending warning letters to Hemp CBD distributors making medical or health claims about their products. This resistant tolerance of Hemp CBD at the federal level has left the states to decide how to treat Hemp CBD.

The states have not adopted a unified approach to regulate Hemp CBD. Some states align with the FDA’s position, banning Hemp CBD in food and dietary supplements. California is the most prominent example of this school of thought. Several other states have gone in the opposite direction, tightly regulating the manufacture and sale of Hemp CBD. Utah and Texas are good examples of this model as both states impose manufacturing and labeling requirements. Some states even require that retail stores obtain a license to sell Hemp CBD products.

Another complicating factor is the treatment of smokable hemp or Hemp CBD e-liquid (i.e., the liquid used in vape products). This is a hot button issue in many states. When it comes to smokable hemp, many politicians and law enforcement agencies are troubled by the fact that hemp is so close to marijuana. Some states, like Kentucky, ban the manufacture of hemp products that are akin to traditional tobacco products, like cigarettes. Most states do not explicitly address the legality of smokable hemp, making the sale of smokable hemp risky due to the lack of clarity. Very few states explicitly allow the sale of smokable hemp.

Hemp CBD e-liquid is also complicated because of the dangers associated with vapor products generally. This area of the law is still developing, with very few states explicitly tackling the issue of Hemp CBD e-liquid. That’s because so much of the focus has been on the tobacco vapor products or marijuana vapor products. Washington is one of the few states that has addressed the issue by banning the sale of e-liquid that contains cannabinoids unless sold within the state’s regulated marijuana marketplace.

Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

This is the last installment in our “Hemp CBD Across State Lines” series but it certainly will not be the last time we write about Hemp CBD. Hemp is here to stay and so too is CBD (along with CBG, CBN and other “new cannabinoids“). Eventually, the FDA is going to provide some guidance to the industry and we think that the agency will model its policies on states with robust regulations already in place. Once that happens, we expect state law and policy become more unified, making interstate transport easier.

We hope that you have found this series informative and helpful. On behalf of the Canna Law Blog, thank you for reading and sharing these articles over the last year!

For previous coverage in this series, check out the links below:

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How to Smoke a Joint Like a Cannabis Connoisseur

To truly appreciate the finest cannabis flowers, one must smoke a joint. The process of inspecting, smelling, choosing and grinding a flower — then rolling that joint — is as integral to the smoking experience as inhaling, savoring and exhaling the smoke; this is the mindfulness of smoking.

One of the best ways to heighten your appreciation of the magical herb is to host a blind cannabis tasting. Simply acquire three or four different strains and repackage them into numbered containers — the less information you have, the easier it is to let the cannabis speak for itself.

Now comes the involvement of all the five senses.

The Eyes Don’t Lie

First is the visual appraisal. Under a good light, describe the overall shape and color of the bud. Notice the length, profusion and color of the hairs. Is it trimmed well, or is it too shaggy or too tight? Is the bud dense and hard or loose and open?

Finally, using a 60x mini-microscope, check out the trichomes and look for clear, cloudy or amber color. If the stalks of the trichomes have no round tops, chances are the cannabis was machine trimmed or mishandled in some way.

Follow Your Nose

Second is the assessment of fragrance. Pinch the flower bud and inhale deeply. Now break apart the bud and smell again. What associations immediately pop into your mind? Take your frame of reference from smells outside the world of cannabis, such as the smell of butterscotch or motor oil or dirty armpit, etc. As you break up the bud, inspect the interior for mold or discoloration. Your fingers will provide a measure of the curing: too damp, too dry or just right. Now grind up the flower and smell again.

Listening Party

If you are having a tasting with friends, don’t say anything until everyone has had a smell, so as not to prejudice anyone’s nose. The fragrance derives from the terpenes, which are volatile organic compounds that give aroma to most vegetative substances. They range from earthy, musty, moldy and piney antiseptic, to citrusy lemon, tutti fruity and blueberry. As judges for the Emerald Cup, one of the world’s largest outdoor cannabis events, we look for what they call “jar jumping” terpenes — the kind that instantly fill your room with their olfactory delights.

Over the years, we’ve sampled entries at the cup smelling like mothballs, moldy rags, new car interior, old sneakers and the high school gym at the end of the game. There is also the sweeter range, including suntan lotion and bubble gum, tangerines, strawberries, pineapples and so on.

Remember that, as a judge, it’s not about whether you like the smell or not, but just how well it represents that variety. What does it tell you about the flowers? The effects of smell and taste are much more profound than we generally realize, so do linger on them for awhile.

Grind Time

A good grind of the flowers is as essential to rolling a good joint as it is for making a good cup of coffee. We prefer the Mendo Mulcher, which has round-edged teeth that grind, rather than cut the flower. The Mulcher also delivers a homogenous texture that helps create a joint that burns better.

Get Your Roll On

Rolling papers are also important. We use Elements Rolling Papers, which can handle a lot of manipulation during the rolling and not tear, plus they leave no ash. A clean burn is imperative to enhancing your smoking pleasure and, of course, the less paper the better. If you are rolling a very thin joint, you would use 1” papers, while a real Swami Joint requires the full 1-¼”.

While rolling, make the final assessment of the cure. If there is a lot of “dust” on the rolling tray, it’s too dry; if it is too sticky, it may still be too damp; a really potent bud will feel slightly oily or greasy, not damp.

Savor the Flavor

Before lighting the rolled joint, take a “dry” hit. That is, take a big puff on the unlit joint. Pass it around. Savor it. This is the final judgment on the fragrance. Most often, the dry hit flavor mirrors the smell, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker.

Catch a Fire

Now comes what everyone has been waiting for: the smoking of a truly high-grade cannabis joint. It will be a journey — a savory, olfactory, gustatory adventure offering new insights with every succeeding half-inch of smoking pleasure.

The advanced way of lighting a joint is with hemp-beeswax string. Light the joint like you would a cigar, rotating it to make sure it is evenly lit. When lighting the joint, don’t make any evaluation until the igniter’s second hit, again waiting for everyone to taste before commenting.

Check out the color of the ash. Fine white ash indicates purity. Black ash may mean contaminates.

Swami smoking a joint during cannabis tasting

Inhale slowly and carefully, feeling the smoke fill all the respiratory chambers, but don’t take too big of a hit. Check for lung expansion: is it barely possible to hold in the smoke? Exhale slowly through nose and mouth, tasting and sampling and smacking your lips. Does it taste like the aroma, the nose, or is it different? Once again, let your culinary imagination range with a free association of flavors — the name of that taste will be right on the tip of your tongue!

Can You Feel It?

After a few hits, as you are puzzling over the flavor, tune yourself into the effect the herb is having on your body. Take a roll call of your appendages: are there tingly sensations, points of heat or cold? What is going on behind your eyes, between the ears, in the neck?

Now move on the the metaphysical stimuli: is it a body stone or a head high? Social, giggly, quiet, couch-lock, creative, musical, intellectual, introspective, get up and get some chores done? How do you feel? Are you inspired? Combine that inspiration with your heightened sensory, spiritual and social awareness.

May every joint be a journey for you!

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, does this inspire you to gather your buds and host your own blind cannabis tasting?

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Ever After music festival, fans react to 2020 cancellation.

This year’s Ever After’s adventures has been postponed as we all know. But we took an adventure of our own into the comments and wanted to hear what the fans had to say about it. This is what the fans had to say about the 2020 music festival cancellation. Questions that fans asked after 2020 […]

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Patriotic Pot: 10 Strains For the Fourth Of July

Today’s the day to show off your chef skills and help keep everyone’s spirits high with a nice strain or two inspired by the holiday. Take a look at some of these options and see which Fourth of July inspired strains you’d like to try to give your celebration that extra edge.

Red Haze

Stay excited and inspired with this uplifting and euphoric sativa made from a cross of Neville’s Haze and Columbian Red. It’s great for dealing with body pain and also helps to alleviate stress, making it a good option for a carefree day.

White OG

If you’re planning for a chill weekend around the house, this relaxing indica will keep you happy and peaceful. It has a strong, pungent aroma with a tasty, lemon flavor profile that assists with beating the blues and issues with insomnia.

Blue Train

Two classics came together to make this deliciously sweet and fruity hybrid. Thanks to Trainwreck and Blue Dream, Blue Train has all the common characteristics of a super dank strain with a pleasant high and calming body stone.

Americano

Piney and musky, this Canadian strain is a good pick for an end of the night smoke for people who need help getting to sleep. Go for Americano after the fun of the day has died down to help mellow out.

Morning Star

If the idea of entertaining a house full of guests seems overwhelming, Morning Star can help reduce some of the stress associated with hosting holiday shenanigans. Deliciously sweet and potent, this hybrid strain is good for dealing with pre-party jitters.

Obama Kush

Like the current commander-in-chief, this strain is known for its balanced high. Made from a cross of Afghani and OG Kush, this indica offers both cerebral and physical effects for a relaxing and euphoric experience.

Danky Doodle

Give your palette something new to try with this nutty, earthy strain with hints of coffee that helps combat depression, anxiety and stress. Perfect for a small, intimate gathering of people who are looking for a low-key way to celebrate.

Big Bang

This power-packed indica combines not two, but three potent strains into one mega strain. Skunk, Northern Lights and El Nino make up the trinity that is the Big Bang, a sweet-smelling, pain-reducing flower that soothes the body and calms the mind.

Kaboom

Keep your energy up with this mood-boosting, creativity-inducing strain known for its enjoyable cerebral buzz and ability to get rid of headaches, fatigue and nausea. It has a zesty, citrus smell thanks to its parents: Jack’s Cleaner and Vortex.

Presidential OG

This strong indica has a highly sedative effect, making it a good choice for people who like strains that hit hard and fast. With deep, earthy flavors and piney undertone, this patriotic strain will have you pleasantly sleepy in no time.

TELL US, what are you smoking this Fourth of July?

The post Patriotic Pot: 10 Strains For the Fourth Of July appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Amid Government Corruption, Macedonia Waits on Legislative ‘Go-Ahead’ to Export Cannabis Flowers

For more than 14 years, the tiny, poor Balkan country of North Macedonia has been trying to edge its way into the EU. Now, with just over two million inhabitants, and legislation to run a global medical cannabis market, North Macedonia is fighting corruption to prove that big things can come in very small packages.

In Macedonia, cannabis is illegal for recreational use. There are no personal use or decriminalization laws. It cannot be bought, sold, grown, or used legally by private residents for recreational purposes. Prison sentences for being caught breaking cannabis laws can go up to 10 years.

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Medical cannabis in North Macedonia

In 2016, a North Macedonian Health Committee approved an amendment to the laws governing the control of psychotropic substances, allowing for cannabis to be used legally for medicinal purposes. Both ruling and opposition parties were in favor of the change. Part of the reasoning behind the necessity of the law, was to make it so that people who were already using such products illegally to self-medicate, could get better results with medical supervision.

The new laws allowed oils and extracts with .2% THC or lower to be sold without a prescription, and those containing greater than that amount to require a prescription. According to the law, the only doctors capable of writing prescriptions for cannabis products are: radiologists, oncologists, neurologists, and infectious disease specialists.

To give an idea where North Macedonians themselves stood on the issue of legalizing for medicinal use before it happened, a poll from the previous year published by the M-Prosepekt agency, found that 70% of those polled were for the legalization. This number was up 20% from a similar poll done in 2013.

Medical cannabis production in North Macedonia

Along with opening up the laws to allow for residents to have access to medical marijuana, North Macedonia also opened up its laws for the cultivation, production, and exportation of cannabis products.

Will European Medical Cannabis Shift From Flowers To Oils?

As of January of this year, over two dozen private companies have already received licenses for growing cannabis, with many more applications in the pipeline. But gaining access to Macedonia’s cannabis industry is no cheap feat. Even without the cost of a license, investors should expect to shell out anywhere between $750k-$1 million, and will need a registered entity in the country.

The licensing process is multi-step. After the initial one is granted when cultivation conditions are met, along with residency stipulations, a prospective grower must also gain another approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy to have the right to plant seeds.

Another interesting stipulation of the licensing and growing process in North Macedonia, is that every new business must hire at least four people, one of them being a pharmacist, and one of them being an agriculture expert with a degree in agronomy.

Other stipulations for growing include having security in the form of four-meter-high walls complete with security cameras on top, along with actual security guards to watch the crops. And for all crops to be grown in greenhouses or halls.

North Macedonia has a free market structure to its cannabis industry which allows private companies to grow and sell their product.

The problem

North Macedonia has been building up its medicinal cannabis export industry in the last few years, but according to the county’s laws, only extracts, oils, and tinctures can be exported, the combination of which makes up about 30% of the available market. Smokable hemp flowers and CBD flowers make up the other 70% of the market, making Macedonia only appealing to a small portion of it. In order to gain access to a larger population of buyers, Macedonia would have to start exporting flowers as well.

The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

Of course, fixing a small issue like this shouldn’t be a problem, right? Especially when both leading political parties are on board. Just a simple amendment to current legislation, and – poof! – hemp flowers can be exported abroad. And that’s exactly what should have happened in 2018 when it was realized just how much revenue was being lost by not accounting for this market. In anticipation of this legal change back in 2018, new licenses were given out as more foreign investors took interest, waiting for the legal update and the ability sell low-THC flowers abroad. However, it never happened. Because what’s one of the best ways to stymie anything useful happening in government? Corruption!

Cannabis corruption in Macedonia?

The root of the issue has to do with former prime minister himself, Zoran Zaev, who has been a huge force in building a medical cannabis industry in North Macedonia, stating: “Let me tell you, this country has huge potential, and I’m excited to be a part of turning Macedonia into one of Europe’s first cannabis superpowers.”

The issue is that members of the opposition party made claims that Zaev was showing a major preference when handing out licenses, giving special predilection to a few companies run by his own family members, and that the new legislation to amend current laws to allow for dried cannabis flowers to be sold, was aimed at specifically helping them. In light of this, and some other concerns, revisions to the Law on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was removed from the immediate agenda late last year until revisions could be made.

Along with Zaev’s actions, there were general concerns from non-governmental organizations which want more context concerning obtaining licensing, producing drugs, and the regulation of new drugs. These organizations take issue with the government having sole control of who is granted licensing (without any outside input), the requirement of a €500k bank guarantee, and the overall fear that these reforms would knock smaller players out of the market.

This wouldn’t be the first time in history that contracts have been awarded, and laws manipulated, based on illegal, self-benefitting measures of politicians and businessmen. These measures are not generally met with a favorable reaction by those not on the receiving end of the benefit, and while Zaev denied these claims, the issue helped freeze further discussion on including hemp flowers as exportable products.

Zaev is no longer prime minister. As the Corona pandemic subsides, issues like this that have been pushed to the back burner will once again come out. The draft bill is currently with the Ministry of Health, and will re-enter the legislative process once appropriate revisions have been made. With Zaev out, it should make for smoother sailing once the government is reconvened on the issue. Macedonians and investors are all holding their breath waiting to see, with several businesses relying on this legal change for the operations they’ve already set up.

Are Smokable Hemp Flowers Getting Banned in Your State?

Conclusion

Macedonia is a country poised and ready to fully jump in. After starting with exports of cannabis oils and extracts, investors are waiting for the final go-ahead in the form of a legal amendment, so that they may start exporting cannabis flowers as well. Perhaps the burgeoning medical cannabis industry will give Macedonia the final push it needs to officially enter the EU, but if nothing else, the sale of flowers could boost overall revenue and give a much needed monetary-injection to the country’s economy.

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