The best weed grinders for every flower aficionado

When it comes to shopping for cannabis herb grinders, there are so many options that the process can be pretty daunting. You’ve got 2-piece grinders, 3-piece grinders, electric grinders, and that’s just the types.

Underneath those umbrellas, you’ve got a world of different materials and teeth — or no teeth, like grater grinders — and shapes that can altogether make it pretty tough for people new to cannabis, or even seasoned veterans, to know which grinders they should really be using to break down that good ass weed.

Luckily, we can help you learn what qualities to look for in a well-made grinder, and a few companies that are absolutely killing it in that realm.

The qualities that make a good grinder

The first thing to do when purchasing a grinder is to consider the needs you’re trying to fulfill. If you just want something quick and easy that will simply separate your flower and aren’t too concerned about the way the grinder affects the flower or your consumption experience, then any regular ol’ grinder from any random head shop will technically do the job.

But will it do the job well? Definitely not as well as the grinders created by companies that truly care about your relationship with cannabis and their products.

There are plenty of qualities to consider when purchasing a high-quality grinder. These include the materials that make up the grinder, the shape of its teeth, how it grinds, durability, and overall ease of use.

“Really, it’s how it’s manufactured,” said Matt Hansen, co-founder of Santa Cruz Shredder, when I asked him about the qualities that make up a good grinder. “There are a thousand grinders out there that just have different branding on them; they’ll all be cheap.”

What to look for in a quality grinder:

  • How the grinder’s manufactured
  • The materials used to build the grinder
  • The shape of the grinder’s teeth vs. your preferences
  • How it grinds (i.e the texture of your flower afterward)
  • Durability
  • Ease of use

How the grinder’s manufactured

We’ll never escape the fact that quality is always decided by how a product is made. “The #1 thing that makes a good grinder is accuracy in the manufacturing of the grinder, meaning the tolerances on the blade edges, where the blades are, how high/low they are, and the overall structure of the machine that’s going to be cutting up your material,” said Dave Richmond, Chief Innovation Officer of Banana Bros, makers of the OTTO grinder.

The materials used to build the grinder

There are so many different materials that people use to make grinders. You’ve got plastic, wooden, metal, and even hemp grinders — just to name a few. Most of the grinders in people’s stash boxes and travel bags are made of metals like aluminum and titanium. That’s because metal grinders tend to be the most durable and safe for consumption, i.e. pieces of them won’t break off into your flower and have you smoking contaminated weed.

Like everything in the world, the “best” choice comes down to personal preference. We advise choosing a four-piece metal grinder with a kief compartment from a reputable company if you’re in the market for a high-quality grinder, but the decision is really up to you, your needs, and your wallet.

The only truly wrong answer is buying a plastic grinder — never buy a plastic grinder. They are extremely cheap, frail, and poorly made. With every use, more pieces of the plastic will break off of the grinder and end up in your weed (and lungs). Don’t be out here smoking Plastic Piece OG, man.

The shape of the grinder’s teeth

There are so many different types of teeth, like pyramid teeth, diamond teeth, and nail teeth. There are also blade systems that slice your flower apart, along with grater-grinding systems that, instead of using teeth to break down your weed, use a milling-against-the-grain method.

In the end, the decision of “best” comes down to personal preference, but it’s worth knowing that, generally speaking, metal grinders with diamond-shaped teeth are most common.

How it grinds your flower

The effect a grinder has on your flower might be the most important aspect of purchasing a grinder. You never want a grinder that pummels your flower into super fine weed powder that will just shoot down your throat each time you inhale. Those types of grinders absolutely destroy the trichomes on the flower, which is where all the good cannabinoids and terpenes live.

You also never want a grinder that leaves such huge chunks of weed behind that you might as well just use your fingers. Those make your joints roll and burn weirdly. The goal is to find one that will produce a fine breakage that maintains the quality of your flower.

Durability

Grinders are like cars and humans: they can only handle so many miles before they break down. This always comes down to the materials used. Plastic grinders are the least durable of them all — they get super gunked up immediately after use, and even more undesirable, the pieces of them start to flake off as the number of uses increases.

You want a grinder that can stand the test of time, especially if you’re an everyday smoker. Double especially if you’re putting some big dollars behind it. Metal grinders are the most durable grinders out there, however, they definitely aren’t all created equal.

Ease of use

Ease of use is paramount with a good grinder. You want it to easily twist, regardless of how much cannabis is in there. Some grinders get stuck if you put some super frosty or sticky flower in them, which completely defeats the purpose of buying a grinder in the first place. Then you’ve got to bruise your hands trying to get the top off to free the weed that just cost you $50.

The best cannabis grinders to buy right now

Here are some of the best grinders you can get today. Whether you’re looking at the best grinders for kief, joints, or within a certain price range, these brands will always have you covered.

Santa Cruz Shredder 4-piece grinder

Santa Cruz Shredder’s name rings history bells. If you ask anyone what the best grinder is, this brand is always on the list. That’s because its patented tooth design grinds flower but doesn’t ruin the weed’s terp-filled trichomes, while also creating a consistency of flower that burns just right every time you smoke.

“When we came up with our grinder, the only grinder available had a diamond-shaped tooth design. We had a NASA engineer come out with this inverted square with serrated blades that no one had ever seen before. We just innovated, we don’t copy anybody,” said Hansen, Santa Cruz Shredder co-founder.

The 4-piece grinders are made of anodized aluminum with SC Shredder’s patented and recognized tooth design. They come in a wide variety of colors, with either gloss or matte finishes.

Price: $54.50

The Flower Mill Standard Edition

The Flower Mill is my favorite grinder to ever exist. Instead of “grinding” the weed, it “mills” it through a grate. This milling system not only preserves the flower’s trichomes but allows for a much higher flower capacity than traditional grinders. It allows you to grind so much more weed at once — and fast.

Additionally, because it presses the flower down versus twisting it from side to side, the sides of the Flower Mill rarely get so caked up that the device gets stuck. It lets you go a long time without needing to clean your grinder. Sure, the price of a Flower Mill will hit your pockets for about a hundo between purchasing and shipping, but it’s well worth it for how awesome it works.

The Standard Edition Flower Mill comes with 3 pieces: the top mill, grater, and bottom chamber. For those that want to enhance it, the Premium Edition Flower Mill comes with an added mesh screen that transforms the flower chamber into a kief chamber.

Price: $74.99 – 99.99

Banana Bros OTTO Go

otto go grinder

If you want something fancy, the Banana Bros OTTO Go is a great option. It’s an electronic grinder that uses a mill system to break down your buds. Richmond told me that the technology in the Banana Bros OTTO allows it to adjust to any condition of cannabis, whether super wet, dry, airy, dense, whatever. He also told me, that since the inside is spring-loaded, the grinder never squeezes down and crushes your bud into too fine of a consistency. “[Weed]’s not cheap, man. We want you to enjoy it, it’s a fine thing to have in our lives. Take care of it while you’re milling it,” he said.

If you want added automated pre-roll capabilities, the OG Otto comes with a cone-packing system that will dump your ground flower directly into a cone-filled tube. For the flashy folks who want to stunt with an electronic grinder that everyone will recognize, this might be the one.

Price: $99.99

HOJ: KLIP

hoj klip grinder

The KLIP from HOJ is a grinder with blades that slice up your flower. It allows for a fluffier consistency that smokes nicely and burns well. It has four magnetic pieces: the top, blades, flower chamber, and kief chamber — it’s also extremely easy to clean. Just pull all the pieces apart and drop them in some alcohol.

I know you’re looking at the price and wondering if $150 is worth it, and I’d never force your hand that way. But, I will tell you that this grinder does work very well and it definitely makes people say “wow” when you pull it out.

If you like to stunt, the KLIP could be worth it just for that.

Price: $150

Zeus Bolt 2

zeus bolt 2 grinder

If you’re chasing kief, the Zeus Bolt 2 is one of the best grinders you can buy. It’s a 4-piece grinder with three chambers and an airtight, magnetic top. It’s made of aluminum and grinds with diamond-shaped teeth. I used to toss a coin in the middle of mine, and just a couple of little shakes would absolutely coat the bottom chamber with dusted trichomes. Of course, you expect that trick to work with any grinder, but sometimes even the coin won’t make your kief drop through that lil’ mesh screen.

The Zeus Bolt 2 wasn’t even advertised as a big kief grinder, but the results are there. Plus, it’s pretty cheap for a high-quality grinder that’s definitely going to last for years. I’ve had mine for over three years now and it still breaks up bud like the best of them.

There’s also a larger option called the Zeus Bolt XL for just $10 more. It’s worth the investment if you’re going to be rolling huge blunts or joints.

Price: $24.99

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Maryland Court: Cops Can Stop, Question Someone Who Smells of Pot

Officers in Maryland may stop and question an individual who smells of cannabis, a court ruled last week.

In a divided ruling, the state’s Court of Appeals said “the drug’s aroma provides police with ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the person may have 10 grams or more, thus permitting the officers to conduct a brief ‘investigatory’ stop,” the Daily Record reported.

But the ruling does not give law enforcement carte blanche in those circumstances. According to the outlet, those officers “must end the stop if they do not quickly obtain information that gives them probable cause to believe the person has at least 10 grams or has committed another criminal offense.”

And the Daily Record noted that, despite the ruling, “possession of less than 10 grams of the drug is not a crime in the state.”

The ruling stems from a case involving a 15-year-old who was found to have a handgun in his possession. Officers found the weapon on the juvenile’s waist after conducting a frisk that was prompted by the odor of cannabis.

Last year, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals––an intermediate appellate court––took up the case and ruled that the smell of weed does not justify a cop to conduct a search, citing the decriminalization of possessing 10 grams or less of cannabis in Maryland.

“Because possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is no longer a crime, the suspicion required to support a stop for the crime of possession of marijuana, therefore, is that the person is in possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana,” Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff wrote in her opinion, as quoted by local news outlet WTOP. “And because the ‘odor of marijuana alone does not indicate the quantity, if any, of marijuana in someone’s possession,’ [citing a previous case], it cannot, by itself, provide reasonable suspicion that the person is in possession of a criminal amount of marijuana or otherwise involved in criminal activity.”

But last week’s ruling from the state’s Court of Appeals undoes that opinion.

In a 4-3 decision, the majority “public interest in investigating and prosecuting criminal offenses, balanced against an individual’s freedom of movement and reasonable expectation of privacy in their person, leads us to conclude that the odor of marijuana by itself justifies a brief investigatory detention,” according to the Daily Record.

“Given the important governmental interest in detecting, preventing, and prosecuting crime, the Fourth Amendment allows a brief seizure, based on reasonable suspicion, to attempt to determine if criminal activity is afoot,” Judge Jonathan Biran wrote in the majority opinion, as quoted by the Daily Record. “An officer who lacks probable cause to arrest is not required ‘to simply shrug his shoulders and allow a crime to occur or a criminal to escape.’”

Judge Michele D. Hotten, writing for the minority, said that the “smell of odor on a person, alone, makes it impossible for law enforcement to determine whether the person has engaged in a wholly innocent activity, a civil offense, or a crime.”

“While reasonable suspicion is a relatively low barrier, law enforcement may not rely on a hunch that a person may possess 10 grams of (marijuana) odor in a non-medicinal capacity to form a basis of reasonable suspicion,” Hotten wrote in the dissenting opinion, according to the Daily Record.

Another judge in the majority addressed the particulars of the stop involving the 15-year-old, saying that the “officer in this case was justified in stopping [the juvenile] because police were responding to a call that a males [sic] were smoking a controlled dangerous substance in the basement of an apartment complex, which would indicate an amount of marijuana of at least 10 grams,” according to the Daily Record.

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Oregon County Proposes Ban on Psilocybin Therapy

Local leaders in Linn County, Oregon are advancing a proposal that would ban psilocybin therapy centers authorized by a statewide ballot measure legalizing the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms. Under a proposal adopted by the Linn County Board of Commissioners last week, a ballot measure banning psilocybin production, manufacturing, and therapy facilities will appear before voters in the November 2022 general election.

In 2020, Oregon voters approved Measure 109, Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, a bill that legalized the therapeutic use of psilocybin. State officials are currently drafting regulations to enact the legislation, which authorizes centers where trained facilitators dispense psilocybin for therapeutic purposes.

Under Measure 109, local jurisdictions such as counties, cities, and towns were given the authority to regulate psilocybin therapy centers or refer a decision on the issue to voters in the community. On June 21, the three-member board of commissioners voted to put a measure banning the psilocybin therapy centers in Linn County before voters in this year’s general election.

“My fear is of young people taking mushrooms and going out and doing things that may cost them their life,” Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist told the Albany Democrat-Herald.

“I just think it’s appropriate to refer this measure to the voters in Linn County and allow them to have a say in this, particularly because they did not vote to support this measure in the first place,” he added.

Commissioner Will Tucker said that he is concerned that first responders will not be able to reach the scene quickly enough if a patient receiving psilocybin therapy in the remote county in central Oregon has a medical emergency.

“I have people who are miles and miles from a service like a grocery store,” he told Filter.

Tucker noted that if passed, the ballot measure would only apply to the unincorporated areas of Linn County. The proposal would not affect the incorporated cities and towns in the county including the largest city, Albany, although local officials there are considering a similar ban on psilocybin therapy centers. 

“I would love to see it done carefully and in controlled ways,” Tucker said. “My son suffers PTSD; an Iraq War sniper, he has 100 percent disability … If there’s a way his mental health can be affected by marijuana or other drugs including mushrooms, I’d be all for it.”

Few Counties Moving To Ban Psilocybin Therapy Centers

Evan Segura, president of the Portland Psychedelic Society, says that it does not appear that counties taking steps to ban psilocybin therapy is becoming a trend. But at least one county along the Idaho border, Malheur County, has proposed a ban. He noted that the jurisdiction is already the home to several cannabis dispensaries that draw customers from neighboring states that have not yet legalized cannabis.

“I think these counties are anticipating there will be a huge wave of interest from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, jumping over the state border to access psilocybin services,” Segura said. “These conservative counties are just not interested in being guinea pigs for this program, and I’m sure there’s a lot of drug-war prohibitionist hysteria that’s causing fear for them.”

Statewide, Oregon voters approved Measure 109 in the 2020 general election with 56% of ballots cast in favor of the initiative and 44% against. But in rural Linn County, only 45% of the electorate voted in favor of psilocybin therapy centers while 55% opposed the ballot measure. Statewide, 21 of 36 Oregon voted against Measure 109, although the initiative’s success in more populous counties secured its passage.

Linn County Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger said she does not believe Measure 109 will achieve the stated goal of curbing the illicit market for psilocybin, an argument made for legalizing cannabis that she characterizes as “naive and ill-informed.”

“The situation many rural folks in Oregon find themselves in frequently is this idea that our voice wasn’t heard and our voice wasn’t taken into consideration,” Sprenger said. “Sometimes we feel like the metropolitan areas, i.e. Portland and Eugene, make decisions for the rest of us. Local voters need to have a say in their own community.”

Segura said that many of those opposed to psilocybin therapy centers are concerned that someone will get behind the wheel of an automobile immediately after an all-day session, particularly those who might not have the means to afford overnight accommodations. But he does not see a significant risk in the argument.

“I think that situation is extremely rare,” Segura said. “I think if people can afford the session, they can afford a hotel, if not just stay at a service center that provides lodging. I think there’s minimal risk of someone going to do psilocybin then getting in their car and driving away.”

“We don’t ever hear of stories of people eating mushrooms and then doing something dangerous,” Segura added. “We would hear more of it if it happened more often.”

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UN Report Dramatizes Uptick in Global Cannabis Use

The UN has just issued a report about cannabis that will no doubt in the near future look as alarmist as it is dated. Namely, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued its annual world drug report.

Here are the high level takeaways—which are hard to read with a straight face.

  1. Legalizing cannabis appears to increase regular use of the drug. No kidding. When someone can buy something legitimately rather than risking criminalization via black market purchases, chances are that they will buy more of it. That said, even the UNODC had to admit that the prevalence of cannabis use among teenagers “has not changed much.” In fact, legalization (in Canada and the U.S.) not to mention the semi-legit markets in places like Holland, have not suddenly seen an uptick in use by underage individuals.
  2. The Pandemic (unsurprisingly) also increased usage. The world has just gone through an unprecedented shock the likes of which had not been seen in a century. It is no surprise that the use of a drug that lowers anxiety and alleviates many kinds of mental stress and illness might increase.
  3. Cannabis is “getting stronger” with regards to THC content. This is a bugbear. Yes, there are some strains available in the new commoditized market that might have a higher level of THC than outdoor guerrilla grown skunk by hippies back in the day. There are also widely used strains of cannabis with deliberately lower levels of THC. This is another aged spectre of prohibition that long ago outlived its shelf life.
  4. Both cocaine production and U.S.-based opioid deaths hit new records. This may be true, but it has little to do with cannabis legalization or use. In fact, the association in the UNODC report is what is alarming. Cannabis is increasingly being seen in legitimate medical circles as a gateway drug off of other, more harmful substances. Not a gateway to them.
  5. “The proportion of people with psychiatric disorders and suicides associated with regular cannabis use has increased.” Don’t let this kind of anti-cannabis propaganda scare you, even if it is emanating from the UN. There is no link between mental illness, much less suicides from regular cannabis use. In fact, for many people suffering from both physical and psychiatric disorders, like depression and PTSD, cannabis use considerably relieves the stressors that lead to self-destructive behavior.

The most recent study to examine such issues, emanating from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last year had to concede that they could not “establish that cannabis use caused the increased suicidality we observed in this study,” and that “these associations warrant further research.” The same study also noted that cannabis use by adults more than doubled in the United States between 2008 and 2019—precisely the years that normalization became a multi-state campaign politically.

It is also worth noting that one of the most recent studies about cannabis and PTSD, which includes episodes of depression leading to suicide, found that cannabis use dramatically decreased PTSD symptoms to the point that many patients no longer met the diagnostic criteria for the condition.

Veterans are perhaps the population most at risk for suicide, even in the best of times. According to most national estimates, there are 22 veteran suicides a day in the U.S. Deployed veterans serving in either Iraq or Afghanistan had a suicide risk 41% higher than the average population. Even more intriguingly, non-deployed veterans had a 61% greater risk of committing suicide than the average person.

It is also worth noting that economic and other conditions since 2008 have actually worsened for many people—from the overhang of the global recession to a flat recovery.

COVID-19 was just a piece of icing on an already overburdened cake.

Using cannabis to help relieve some of these symptoms seems like a very sane, logical, and increasingly legal option.

Global Scare Tactics and Propaganda

While it is unsurprising that UNODC would produce this kind of report, even after the UN moved cannabis to a list of less dangerous drugs, including an apparent parroting of highly suspect U.S. government data, it is a telling development. This is the same kind of distortion and misapplied association that dragged prohibition out as long as it has.

Using a drug’s legalization combined with a disastrously disconnecting event like a global Pandemic to make unfounded associations about cannabis use is disingenuous to say the least.

To appear to parrot a U.S. national study which reached similar conclusions while being equally light on the data and association front is just another sign that the UN is still overwhelmingly influenced by U.S. policymakers—and anti-reform ones at that—who will stop at nothing to try and halt the green tide of change.

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5 cannabis chefs to hire for your next dinner party

If you love edibles, then you’ll definitely love an entire multi-course meal centered around them. Cannabis-infused foods and dinners are one of the coolest ways to evolve your relationship with the plant and they’re also an excellent way to promote your brand and grow your network.

There are many chefs out there who are doing great work in connecting the worlds of weed and food for consumers of all levels.

Here are five chefs that you should hire for your next cannabis-friendly event.

Amanda Jackson

Chef Amanda Jackson is a personal chef who’s been cooking professionally for over two decades. Her talents have been hired by many big names like Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, and HBO.

Chef Jackson attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina before she stepped into the world of restaurants. In 2017, she went into business for herself and has been cooking with weed since 2016.

Her mission is to enhance her dishes with the herb, not to simply get you high off a fancy edible. One of her signature dishes is an infused fried okra salad, consisting of fried okra, pickled onions, and pickled sweet peppers over a bed of greens with an infused balsamic vinaigrette.

Find Jackson on Instagram @chefamandabusy.

Leather Storrs

Chef Leather Storrs is a beast in the kitchen, straight up. He is the host of the Netflix show Cooked with Cannabis, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, the former owner of Noble Rot in Portland, and the maker of the best steak I have ever tasted in my life.

Storrs has been cooking professionally for over 30 years. He was led to the intersection of food and weed by necessity. A fan of edibles, he was never able to find ones that satisfied him, so he started making his own THC-infused caramels called Wezzer in 2014. A year later, he was hosting full-on infused dinner parties.

Chef Storrs takes extreme pride in using humor to guide his menus, which is why one of his signature dishes is a homemade infused version of Lucky Charms. “Successful infused food is food that’s playable,” he said about why he started whipping up a weed cereal.

Find Storrs on Instagram @leatherstorrs.

Hawaii Mike

Fabian
Photo credit: Fabian

Hawaii Mike is a chef that’s been rocking out in New York’s legacy market since 2014. His brand is Chef for Higher, and Supper Club Flights is his infused dinner series.

Hawaii Mike started doing supper club events in August 2015 and rocked with them all the way up until March 2020, when the pandemic shut down all gatherings. Now, they’re back and killing shit just like old times.

To date, Mike’s done around 175 infused dining experiences with over 200 guests. With his dinners, the goal is to educate consumers about how edibles work, and more so, how they can implement digestible cannabis into their wellness routines. Hawaii Mike’s menus center around comfort food — one of his signature dishes is an infused Korean twice-fried chicken. “My language is food, so I just want to share how we integrate cannabinoids into a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “I use food as the language to share our perspective.”

Find Mike on Instagram @chefforhigher.

Jorden Lutzky

Chef Jorden Lutzky has been a professional chef since 2016. Her food has blessed people in LA, NY, and now Miami, where she’s been working with many luxury hotels on cannabis-infused offerings as the Florida cannabis market continues to blow up.

A former budtender in LA, Lutzky has been working in cannabis since 2008. She put on her first cannabis supper club in her Brooklyn apartment in 2016, where she hosted 12 friends at a time. Her last supper club events were with Sauced, a wine bar in Brooklyn, in both August and September 2021. There, she helped infuse the bar’s whole wine menu by pairing cannabis terpenes with wine tannins.

Tangie is one of Chef Jorden’s favorite strains to cook with, and her signature dishes include a kief-infused focaccia bread and infused vegan shawarma made out of oyster mushrooms.

Find Lutzky on Instagram @chefjorden.

Shawn Hamilton

Shawn Hamilton is a New York chef with a brand called Ham’s Kitch which launched in 2015. Through this brand, he hosts an infused-dinner series called Summer Nights. “To be able to do my own thing is the best thing about it. That’s my favorite part — there’s so much more freedom,” he said.

A graduate of the Monroe College culinary program, Chef Hamilton specializes in Jamaican-Asian fusion foods. His signature dishes include infused jerk chicken lo mein, infused curry dumplings, and infused egg rolls. He’s also known for Johnny Cakes, which are fried dumplings cut in half, with jerk chicken, scallions, and pickled onions on top.

Find Hamilton on Instagram @chefshamwow.

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New Vermont Guidance Looks to Eliminate Plastic Waste From State’s Cannabis Industry

While witnessing the legal cannabis industry continually blossom over the years has been an exciting and invigorating experience for many, it’s also becoming increasingly challenging to ignore the amount of plastic waste involved. As states are required to enforce cannabis compliance, which generally means child-proof packaging for any products leaving the building, the result is often an abundance of single-use plastic that is more challenging to recycle than materials you might find at the grocery store.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board is looking to change that. In new “Guidance on Packaging,” released earlier this month, the board states that “packaging that is intended for consumer purchase at a retail location shall be reusable and shall not be plastic.” The guidance gives examples for acceptable reusable materials, including glass, tin, cardboard, and bamboo.

The packaging for cannabis must be child-deterrent and opaque. The guidance defines cannabis as all parts of the plant, including seeds; resin extracted from any part of the plant; and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative or preparation of the plant, its seed or resin.

This is a new clarification, as “child-deterrent packaging” means tear-resistant packaging that can be sealed in a way that “would deter children under five years of age from easily accessing the content of the package within a reasonable time” while still being simple for adults to properly use and access.

Child-resistant packaging, on the other hand, includes packaging designed or constructed to be “significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open,” or to obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance in the container “within a reasonable amount of time,” also that adults can easily use.

It may seem like a small distinction, but child-deterrent packaging is generally a less burdensome requirement from a packaging standpoint, usually requiring less use of plastic or other hard materials.

The packaging for cannabis products, meaning concentrated cannabis and product that is “composed of cannabis and other ingredients,” intended for use and consumption, including edibles, ointments, tinctures and vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil, must be child-resistant and opaque.

It’s a rational distinction to make, given that there are less risks of danger for a young child accessing cannabis flower than a cannabis edible. For example, a child would have to figure out some way to smoke the flower to experience its effects, whereas an edible or anything with activated THC would have a psychoactive effect upon consumption.

The new guidance also says that a licensee may seek a waiver to the prohibition on plastic consumer packaging if they can demonstrate a hardship in securing non-plastic packaging, including unavailability of non-plastic packaging; inability to achieve child-resistance; or the necessity to preserve shelf-life stability, prevent cannabis or cannabis product contamination or avoid exposure of cannabis/cannabis products toxic or harmful substances.

For those attempting to secure a waiver, a licensee must propose a packaging alternative that uses “de minimis plastic,” meaning only the amount of plastic “reasonably needed” to overcome the hardship identified in the waiver petition.

Vermont became the 11th state to regulate adult-use cannabis sales and the second state to do so legislatively, rather than through a voter initiative, nearly two years ago. Governor Phil Scott announced on October 7, 2020 that he would allow S. 54—the bill that would regulate and tax cannabis sales in the state—to become law without his signature.

“I know it is difficult to take on these complex issues remotely and during this unprecedented Pandemic,” Scott said in a statement at the time. “Again, I thank the legislators who worked to move toward me over the past two years on this issue. Nevertheless, the Legislature has much more work to do to ensure equity in this new policy and to prevent their work from becoming a public health problem for current and future generations. For these reasons, I am allowing this bill to become law without my signature.”

In 2021, the legislature moved forward to act on the promise of centering social equity, as the House and Senate passed S. 25, which looks to strengthen social equity provisions, requiring regulators to reduce or eliminate licensing fees for applicants who have been negatively impacted by federal enforcement of cannabis laws.

The new rules for plastic packaging will be in place when adult-use sales begin in Vermont, sometime later in 2022.

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First Amendment May Help Cannabis Companies Beat Trademark Infringement Claims

Editor’s Note: A version of this article by Fred Rocafort was first published on Law360.

The U.S. Constitution’s free speech protections, found in the First Amendment, may present a legal recourse for cannabis brands in trouble for using marks that are similar to famous trademarks.

To be clear, a free speech argument will not be of help to those who simply copy a famous trademark, making no effort to differentiate between their mark and the famous one.

In the case of trademarks that simply evoke famous ones, however, the First Amendment could help preclude infringement claims.

Famous trademarks are a not-uncommon source of inspiration for brand creators. At times, brands take that inspiration too far, effectively appropriating a famous trademark.

For example, candymaker Ferrara Candy Co. sued a company called Akimov LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in May, alleging that it was selling THC-containing products bearing some of Ferrara’s registered trademarks, including those for its Nerds and Trolli candies.

Assuming the allegations are true, Akimov was not using marks inspired by Ferrara’s, but rather using Ferrara trademarks without authorization.

The harm presented to Ferrara and the public by the presence in the market of Nerds and Trolli products not made by Ferrara should be self-evident. Consumers could be misled into buying Nerds and Trolli products of unclear provenance, possibly of lower quality than the genuine products made by Ferrara.

That is without even taking into account the risks posed by the alleged presence of cannabis in Akimov’s products. For Ferrara, its reputation could suffer in case of any problems with Akimov’s products, as the problems could be associated with Ferrara’s trademarks, even if they were not in fact produced by Ferrara.

Moreover, sales of unauthorized Nerds and Trolli products to misled consumers, who in fact wanted the genuine article, would represent a loss of revenue to Ferrara.

In other cases, the inspiration drawn from a famous trademark might be obvious, but the potential for harm minimal or inexistent. For instance, last year Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. sued a company, Terphogz LLC, that sells Zkittlez products in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging infringement of Wrigley’s Skittles trademarks.

It is hard to argue that the Zkittlez name is not a play on Skittles, but whether the use of Zkittlez trademarks infringes on Wrigley’s Skittles marks is another matter.

In fact, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allowed the registration of two marks incorporating the word “Zkittlez,” not finding a likelihood of confusion between these marks and the Skittles ones.

In cases where their mark is not identical to the famous trademark, brand creators can argue that there is no likelihood of confusion. At the same time, the Constitution and its free speech protections might constitute another arrow in the quiver of brands that seek inspiration from famous trademarks, and find themselves as defendants in a trademark action.

In relevant part, the First Amendment to the Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” There is tension between the First Amendment’s mandate against abridgments of freedom of speech, on the one hand, and federal trademark rights provided for under laws made by Congress, on the other.

In particular, the Lanham Act prohibits the registration of a trademark that so closely resembles a registered mark or a mark that was previously used by another “as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods of the application, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.”

Strictly speaking, brand owners’ freedom of speech is limited by this prohibition, as it means they cannot use certain words, phrases and logos in connection with their products.

Recognizing this tension between trademark rights and freedom of speech, courts look to strike a balance. In Iancu v. Brunetti, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 held that a provision of the Lanham Act prohibiting the registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks infringed on the First Amendment.

Previously, in Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court in 2017 reached a similar conclusion regarding a prohibition on disparaging trademarks.

By contrast, courts have generally considered that the curtailment of First Amendment protections is acceptable when denying protection to a trademark that is likely to be confused with one previously used in commerce.

In its 1987 San Francisco Arts & Athletics Inc. v. U.S. Olympic Committee decision, the Supreme Court recognized that the suppression of certain words in the interest of trademark protection can have the unfortunate effect of also suppressing the expression of ideas.

At the same time, the court considered that this risk had to be weighed against the importance of protecting the value added to words through the efforts of parties who use these words as trademarks.

This calculus changes where artistic expression is implicated. In Rogers v. Grimaldi, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1989 adopted a test under which, if free speech interests are implicated, a plaintiff claiming trademark infringement will only prevail under two circumstances. One is where the infringing trademark has “no artistic relevance” as used. The other is where the infringing trademark is explicitly misleading as to source or content.

It may seem like a stretch to view punny names like Zkittlez as artistic expressions. Yet in 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had no problem determining that a dog toy was an artistic expression in VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. The “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” toy resembled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, and bears the phrase “the Old No. 2, on your Tennessee Carpet” instead of “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” as on actual bottles.

In its reasoning, the Ninth Circuit made clear that an expressive work need not be the sort of work to be exhibited in a gallery. Rather, the key is whether the use of the famous mark serves to express a point of view or communicate an idea. In the Ninth Circuit’s view, the use of elements associated with Jack Daniel’s brand image on a dog toy conveyed a humorous message entitled to free speech protections.

The Ninth Circuit’s reasoning above could be applied to some of the trademarks used by some cannabis brands that parody, or are inspired by, more famous trademarks. While not everyone will find trademarks such as Zkittlez to be amusing, it is reasonable to speculate that at least some people will be amused.

To be sure, not all cannabis trademarks being challenged by the owners of famous trademarks will cross the threshold of artistic expression, but arguably some do. This in turn means that, under the Rogers test, the use of these cannabis trademarks will only constitute infringement of more established brands under very limited circumstances.

Applying the Rogers test to the Zkittlez marks, its use has artistic relevance — there is no joke otherwise. Meanwhile, it is hard to argue that these explicitly mislead as to the source or content of the work.

The letter substitutions that differentiate the Zkittlez trademarks from the Skittles ones are significant. As such, they send an immediate signal to consumers, to the effect that these trademarks are not identifying the Skittles candies well known to the public. If anything, it can be argued that the Zkittlez trademarks seek to lead consumers away from confusion.

Contrast this to the facts in a lawsuit filed earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Hermes against Mason Rothschild, the creator of a nonfungible token collection named MetaBirkins.

Hermes has registered the BIRKIN trademark in connection with handbags. As Hermes alleges in the lawsuit, with many established brands entering the metaverse, consumers would expect that NFTs bearing famous trademarks would in fact be affiliated with the owners of said trademarks.

On the other hand, it would be far harder to make that argument if the chosen name for the collection was MetaVirkins, for example.

While decisions such as the one in Bad Spaniels provide legal inspiration for some cannabis brands in infringement hot water, it is critical to keep in mind that cannabis products are not chew toys. Courts might view free speech issues differently in cases where the allegedly infringed trademarks are used on products that are unlawful at the federal level, such as marijuana, as defined in the Controlled Substances Act, or CBD products whose introduction into interstate commerce violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Owners of famous trademarks could argue that parodical or other similar marks should not enjoy trademark protection if they are used on unlawful products. The logical counterargument would be that the word, phrase or logo at hand is a First Amendment-protected expression first, and a trademark second.

For our purposes, however, it suffices to highlight this potential opening for a court looking for a legal distinction upon which to base a decision favorable to the famous trademark’s owner.

It is also worth noting that VIP Products applies only to the Ninth Circuit; other circuits may take different approaches.

Finally, it is worth stressing that the First Amendment will not come to the rescue of those cannabis brands that cannot register their trademarks at the USPTO because they are used in connection with products that are unlawful. For a brand facing a trademark infringement or dilution action, though, the Constitution might offer deliverance.

The post First Amendment May Help Cannabis Companies Beat Trademark Infringement Claims appeared first on Harris Bricken Sliwoski LLP.

The Winners of the Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2022, the BIGGEST Cannabis Cup in High Times history! The competition was fierce, which is no surprise since Michigan is one of the most quickly growing cannabis markets in the country. Over 30 participating dispensaries offered the People’s Choice judge’s kit this year, from Crystal Falls and Traverse City to Kalamazoo and Detroit. This year’s competition also made history as the largest pool of judge participants that we’ve seen so far.

The judges were provided with a captivating selection of unique entries to the market. Michigan cannabis producers have made quite the name for themselves by creating some of the most impressive cannabis products in a wide variety of categories, both for recreational and medical consumption.

Keep an eye on Cannabiscup.com to see where the High Times Cannabis Cup: People’s Choice Edition will appear next!

AU Indica Flower

First Place: Society C – Spritzer

Courtesy of Society C

Second Place: Pro Gro – Garlic Breath

Courtesy of Pro Gro

Third Place: Pressure Pack – Super Pure Runtz

Courtesy of Pressure Pack

Medical Indica Flower

First Place: Local Grove – Brain Stew

Courtesy of Local Grove

Second Place: Pro Gro – Cherry Lime Runtz

Courtesy of Pro Gro

Third Place: Flower Power – Sherb Cake

Courtesy of Flower Power

AU Sativa Flower

First Place: Hypha – Tropical Runtz

Courtesy of Hypha

Second Place: Pro Gro – Lunar Lemon

Courtesy of Pro Gro

Third Place: Dutch Touch Genetics – Lilac Diesel

Courtesy of Dutch Touch Genetics

Medical Sativa Flower

First Place: Pro Gro – Lunar Lemon

Courtesy of Pro Gro

Second Place: Local Grove – Ice Cream Cake

Courtesy of Local Grove

Third Place: Heavyweight Heads – Sunfuel

Courtesy of Heavyweight Heads

AU Hybrid Flower

First Place: FLWRpot – Tropicana Cherry

Courtesy of FLWRpot

Second Place: Kai Cannabis – Tropicanna Cherry

Courtesy of Kai Cannabis

Third Place: Local Grove – Runtz

Courtesy of Local Grove

Medical Hybrid Flower

First Place: Local Grove – Runtz

Courtesy of Local Grove

Second Place: Pro Gro – Moonbow #112

Courtesy of Pro Gro

Third Place: Canna Boys – Zhits Fire

Courtesy of Canna Boys

AU Non-Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: Canna Boys – Zhits Fire Cannonz

Courtesy of Canna Boys

Second Place: Hyman – Soñando Handcraft Pre-Roll

Courtesy of Hyman

Third Place: Pressure Pack – Zerbert Pre-Roll

Courtesy of Pressure Pack

AU Infused Pre-Rolls

First Place: Element x Pro Gro – Lunar Lemon Live Resin Joint

Courtesy of Element

Second Place: North Coast x Pressure Pack x Mitten Canna – Rainbow Melonz Rosin Donut

Courtesy of North Coast

Third Place: Packwoods – Animal Cookie Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy of Packwoods

Medical Pre-Rolls

First Place: Canna Boys – Zhits Fire Cannonz

Courtesy of Canna Boys

Second Place: North Coast x LSF – Electric Peanut Butter Cookie Joint

Courtesy of North Coast

Third Place: Pressure Pack – Jet Fuel Gelato Pre-Roll

Courtesy of Pressure Pack

Solvent Concentrates

First Place: Element x Pro Gro – Lunar Lemon Live Resin

Courtesy of Element

Second Place: Uplift’N – Half & Half Raspberry Parfait Solvent Diamonds & Live Resin

Courtesy of Uplift’N

Third Place: Society C – Gummiez Live Resin Badder

Courtesy of Society C

Non-Solvent Concentrates

First Place: Glorious Cannabis Co. x Superior Solventless – PebbleZ Live Rosin

Courtesy of Glorious Cannabis Co.

Second Place: Fresh Coast x Hypha – Tropical Runtz Live Rosin

Courtesy of Fresh Coast

Third Place: North Coast x Pro Gro – Rainbow Beltz Rosin

Courtesy of North Coast

Distillate Vape Pens

First Place: Church x Pressure Pack – Super Pure Runtz Distillate Vape

Courtesy of Church

Second Place: Rove – Skywalker Indica Distillate Vape

Courtesy of Rove

Third Place: The Clear – Grapevine Vape Cart

Courtesy of The Clear

Non-Distillate Vape Pens

First Place: Binske – Puna Orange Live Resin Cart

Courtesy of Binske

Second Place: North Coast x Kai – Orange Push Pop Rosin Vape

Courtesy of North Coast

Third Place: Element Pure Live x High Level Health – Grape Breath Live Resin Cart

Courtesy of Element

Rec Edible: Gummies

First Place: Afternoon Delite – Blue Lemonade Gummies

Courtesy of Afternoon Delite

Second Place: KIVA – Wild Cherry Camino Gummies

Courtesy of KIVA

Third Place: Choice – Cherry Berry Gummies

Courtesy of Choice

Rec Edible: Non-Gummies

First Place: KIVA – Milk and Cookies Terra Bites

Courtesy of KIVA

Second Place: High Life Farms – Red, White & Boom Royal Chocolate Bar

Courtesy of High Life Farms

Third Place: Banned – Oatmeal Cream Pie

Courtesy of Banned

Medical Edibles

First Place: Afternoon Delite x Kola Farms – Starberry Gummies

Courtesy of Afternoon Delite

Second Place: UBaked – Blueberry and Maple Bar

Courtesy of UBaked

Third Place: Banned – Oatmeal Cream Pie

Courtesy of Banned

Topicals, Tinctures, Capsules + Sublinguals

First Place: RISE – RSO + OG Kush Live Resin Sublingual Syringe

Courtesy of RISE

Second Place: Chill Medicated – Extreme X Pain Relief Body Rub

Courtesy of Chill Medicated

Third Place: Michigan Organic Rub – Vegan Capsules

Courtesy of Michigan Organic Rub

Thank you to our partners and sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor
Silver Sponsor
Bronze Sponsor

Exclusive Brands – Dispensary Partner
JK Logix
Rove
Pressure Pack
North Coast
High Life Farms
Chill Medicated
Hyman
Covert Cups
LivWell
Alvarez Cultivation
Nirvana Center
Superior Selections
Exclusive Brands

Official Intake Partner

The post The Winners of the Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2022 appeared first on High Times.

Relieve Day-To-Day Stress With Five CBD

Shop relief and shop sleep is a promise made by Five CBD. The company, which produces a wide range of delicious products, delivers on that promise and ships their 5mg gummies to all 50 states. It’s a hemp-derived product that has a 5:1 CBD:THC ratio and similar effects to products any shopper would find in a local dispensary.

Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies is one of Five CBD’s most recent popular products. They’re high in a full spectrum blend of other cannabinoids and terpenes. Five CBD is able to ship these beautiful little gummies all across the United States because they are derived from federally legal industrial hemp.

CBD+THC gummies are produced in cGMP compliant facilities. The company prides itself on quality manufacturing. These gummies feature the highest quality CBD+THC extract and up to 6x the minor cannabinoids compared to the competition.

CBD

These gummies are perfect for vegans as well since they are pectin-based and contain natural ingredients. The company uses natural ingredients, such as organic MCT oil, and has no heavy metals and pesticides.

Five CBD calls the effects of their products pleasant but noticeable but not over-plowing, plus recommends starting with one dose per night and/or morning. Don’t dig into a box or container all at once, although it’s tough not to devour these gummies for their delicious flavors. Start nice and easy and go from there until the right dosage is discovered.

The company recommends their gummies for hikes, road trips, yoga, or starting or ending one’s day. Even for a business meeting, these gummies provide a sense of clarity and ease to get work done. The products are soothing and provide a low-key euphoria with a tasty kick. There are a wide range of flavors to choose from, as well, with the Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies. The original is represented by Blue Razz, Berry, Lemon, and Orange. For Buzz, there’s Blue Razz, Redberry, Lemon, and Orange. In need of a touch of sour, go with Sour Blue Razz, Sour Lemon, Sour Orange, or Sour Redberry. Lastly, for anyone seeking sound sleep, go with Berry.

These gummies are immensely helpful when it comes to restfulness. Five CBD is a company that wants to help its consumers rest peacefully, not only party peacefully. The Daily Buzz CBD + MG THC gummies are worth consuming for that reason, but there’s also the Full Spectrum CBD+THC Sleep Gummies with 3 milligrams of melatonin to help.

CBD

Another highly recommended edible from Five CBD is full spectrum CBD+THC chocolates. “Say hello to your new favorite feeling,” that’s how the company describes these delicious treats. They are fully-powered, full-spectrum premium CBD chocolates that pack a lot of taste and feeling. There are two flavors, milk chocolate and sea salt dark chocolate. The milk chocolate is a pleasant feeling that’ll satisfy the taste buds, especially for anyone with a late-night sweet tooth. All Five products are available by subscription and come with a hefty discount of up to 50%.

The chocolates provide an enjoyable feeling. They are 50 milligrams in CBD and 2 milligrams in THC. A couple of these chocolate wonders will have one in a relaxing state for hours, depending on their dosage and tolerance. They’re recommended for a good time and certainly creative activities from home. Savor one of these chocolates, wait shortly for them to kick in, and enjoy a low-key feel-good time.

Five CBD also sells CBD oil, CBD gummies, and CBD capsules. The company provides a wide range of benefits and options, depending on what a consumer is seeking from their products. On their website, the company asks right off the bat if someone is looking for relaxation, a sleep aid, relief, enhancing one’s wellness routine, or simply put, a nice buzz. Their products check all these boxes and more.

For years, the company has been attempting to ​​redefine full-spectrum CBD. Through proper distillation and chromatography, Five CBD produces nothing but high-quality products that are U.S. Hemp Authority-Certified and third-party lab tested. For anyone mindful of the edibles they ingest, Five CBD’s products pass all the major tests when it comes to safety and quality with flying colors.

CBD

Based in Irvine, California, all products are made and sold in the United States. Because the company offers the consumer their CBD directly from the source via online, the prices are more affordable than the competition as well. There are always deals and subscriptions without typical markups on the products.

Over the last few years, the company has been offering discounts to active military, health care workers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and veterans. It is a 35% discount on already reasonably priced products. Five CBD is on a mission to help relieve day-to-day stress for all, notably for those in high-pressure and physically taxing jobs, in every state.

Five CBD only continues to grow. Last summer, the company announced a new line of products, including the Daily Buzz 25mg CBD + 5mg THC Gummies and the Five CBD is full spectrum CBD+THC chocolates. “Five CBD has seen tremendous growth and success by putting innovation at the forefront – we’re continuously evolving the brand at an accelerated pace to meet our customers’ needs and interests,” J.P. Larsen, the Chief Operations Officer, announced at the time. “From new product introductions to packaging redesigns, providing our customers with an understanding of the quality of CBD products they are purchasing is a large goal of this brand. We want to create the best CBD experience possible while providing it at an affordable price point and delivering directly to their door.”

Not only do they deliver directly to the consumer’s door, but they ship fast. The products are cheap, but far from cheap in quality. The gummies are potent, the taste is top shelf, and they are right for a wide range of activities, thanks to the variety of products. Five CBD values simplicity and transparency, as well as deliciousness.

The post Relieve Day-To-Day Stress With Five CBD appeared first on High Times.

US Government to Lower Nicotine Content 

The US Government intends to lower the nicotine content in commercial tobacco. The Biden administration claims it’s for public health and safety, but the unintended consequences of such a decision are apparent. Canada has a similar cap on how much THC one can put in an edible cannabis product. This policy reveals some insight into […]

The post US Government to Lower Nicotine Content  appeared first on Cannabis News, Lifestyle – Headlines, Videos & Cooking.