Smoking Weed And Your Rights – A BC Cannabis Consumption Lounge Crossword

In Canada, you can legally buy a joint but there are few places where you can smoke it. At first glance, the issue might seem like a low priority when in fact it’s actually anything but. Smoking weed indoors is a luxury for some and a necessity for others. Clean air bylaws, strata councils and […]

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Exploring Cannabis Culture: Berlin

‘All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’ – John F. Kennedy

In the latest article in our series on cannabis culture around the world, we’ll be flying over to Berlin. As you may know, we define cannabis culture as the way that cannabis can be perceived and treated within a society, city or country.’  Of course this doesn’t just mean Cannabis alone, but also includes all of the separate cannabinoids that we find in the Cannabis plant – CBD and THC for example – So polish of your lederhosen, find your 99 red balloons and prepare to ‘sprechen sie deutsch‘ as we jet over to the capital city of Germany and investigate the weed culture in Berlin.

Cannabis is gaining popularity across the globe. In Europe, the laws are still a bit more strict than in the United States, but in many regions, recreational marijuana use is quickly becoming the new norm. To learn more about changing regulations and emerging trends, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related, including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.

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Berlin 

Berlin is located on the river Spree in the North East of Germany. A large city, with a lot of history, its population is nearly 4 million, making it the biggest city in the European Union, though not in Europe. Founded in the 12th Century, Berlin has seen its fair share of historical events. Under Frederick the Great’s rule it became the centre of the Enlightenment, it was also home to the expressionist movement and of course was integral both during and after World War Two. Famously being split between the West, a more liberal and capitalist city and the East, part of the USSR where life was a lot bleaker and tough. The Berlin wall became an iconic, but tragic reminder of the differences between the East and the West especially during the war. It prompted artworks and songs, such as Lou Reed’s Berlin:

“In Berlin, by the wall

You were five foot ten inches tall

It was very nice

Candlelight and Dubonnet on ice”

Since the fall of the wall, Berlin has now become one of the most lively and happening places in Europe and is full of famous clubs, bars and sights to see making it an unmissable stop on anyone’s road-trip through Europe and it’s attitude to Cannabis and drugs has lead to it becoming a mainstay on any drug trip around Europe too.

Here are some of the top places to visit in Barcelona, the beautiful horizon, some famous sites and scenes to see.

The Berghain 

Arguably the most famous club not just in Berlin, but in the whole of Europe, the Berghain has become a icon of exclusivity. People call it a church, a way of life, an institution. It’s near impossible to get in as the bouncers will assess everybody and only allow those deemed to have the right vibe are allowed to enter. Once inside an incredible, techno dream awaits, where liberal attitudes to sex and drugs keep the party going from Saturday to Monday… If you can get in, it’s worth the wait.

The Reichstag

The seat of the German government, this building is an iconic symbol of what Berlin has been through. It’s been re-built, it housed the Nazis, it was bombed and now, with its glass centre, it’s a must visit part of the city. Make sure you book a trip to the very top of the glass dome for a view over Berlin.

Cannabis in Berlin

So, what is the cannabis culture like on the streets of Berlin? It appears that Berlin’s relationship with Cannabis dates back quite far. An urn from around 500BC was found containing Cannabis plants and seeds, suggesting that the city has an ancient connection to Cannabis. It is not a rare sight to see and smell people smoking cannabis around the city and the attitude towards drugs in general in Berlin is quite relaxed. However, the possession and selling of Cannabis in Germany is illegal. This doesn’t stop the millions of Germans from smoking Cannabis, Statista found that Germans were the joint tenth highest population in Europe, and other studies have shown a general increase in young people smoking cannabis in Germany and in Berlin too, so let’s examine the laws in Berlin in a little more detail.

Is It Legal?

Simply put, no… Cannabis possession and selling is not legal in Berlin or Germany. The German Federal Narcotics act made sure of that. If caught in possession of any drugs, including Cannabis, you could face up to five years in prison. But, whilst possessing the drug is listed as an offence, using it isn’t. If someone is caught smoking Cannabis, the punishment isn’t always that severe. Germany use a ‘treatment over punishment’ approach which means you’re more likely to get a telling off than a severe prison sentence if you’re found smoking cannabis. What’s more, the law actually says that if you’re caught with a ‘small amount’ then you’re not really committing an offence. The term small amount varies from region to region in Germany, but in Berlin it is up to 15 grams, the highest amount in the whole of Germany, again making Berlin the hot spot of the country.

Illegal

So possessing a small amount of cannabis is legal, but what happens if you’re caught with more than 15g in the city. The punishment for the possession of drugs can range from a $30,000 fine, to up to two years in prison. Under the Narcotics Act, Cannabis is listed as Appendix 1, what this means is that it’s in the least severe category of drugs, but still if found with a large amount, a prosecution can occur. Even though it is illegal, anecdotal accounts of smoking Cannabis in Berlin is that often the police don’t take notice, or if they do you are more likely going to be asked to give up the cannabis rather than being directly punished, much like in London and Barcelona too.

Legal 

Some forms of Cannabis consumption are actually legal in Germany and Berlin. As stated above, having a small amount of the drug means you’re likely to escape prosecution, but there are also other forms of legal cannabis you can acquire in the city. As with all members of the EU, the use and sale of CBD is totally legal, and there are loads of great CBD shops around the city offering all sorts of useful CBD products. Also, medical Cannabis has been legal since 2017. Medical Cannabis is available to pick up from the pharmacy with a prescription for patients on chemotherapy and with certain disorders and diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. This was pushed through after lobbying from the Left and Green parties in the country and shows the forward thinking attitudes towards the benefits of Cannabis in the city.

The City’s General Attitude to Cannabis 

Even though the laws are a little tough on drug use, Berlin has become famous for its relaxed nature around them. People go to Berlin to rave and party and it is very easy to acquire drugs in the city. There are a number of parades hosted in the city, such as the love parade and the hemp parade that celebrate the city’s attitude to drug culture and party lifestyles. 

The Love Parade

The Love parade started in 1989 as a political protest against the Berlin wall, but quickly ended up being one of the most famous celebrations of rave culture in the world. People openly smoke cannabis and take drugs in this marching celebration of all things rave, that makes its way through the city.

The Hemp Parade 

As the English homepage for the event states: The Hanfparade (“Hemp parade”) is the largest and most traditional march for Cannabis as medicine, natural resource and recreational drug in Germany.” The march celebrates Cannabis for all of its glorious reasons. Thousands of people protest in the city for the legalisation of the drug and enjoy music, food and all the fun of a festival whilst also raising awareness of the properties of the cannabis plant. Again, this shows the fun loving attitude and relaxed, positive view of Cannabis in Berlin.

The Hemp museum

In the centre of the city you can even find a hemp museum, celebrating the multitude of uses the plan has, from pharmaceuticals to medicines, the museum showcases just how brilliant the Cannabis plant and its products are and offers an optimistic view of a future that focuses on getting the best from Hemp and cannabis.

Conclusion

Berlin is a beautiful city, full of history and fun-loving city members. It’s seen its fair share of hardship over the many years of its existence, but now seems to be in a cultural glory decade, hosting some of the most famous clubs, the largest Cannabis marches and the most open minded attitude of most European cities. With the legalization of medical Cannabis, we can hope that over the next few years, the already relaxed attitude will grow even more so. Remember that if you visit the city, a ‘small amount’ is pretty much legal, but still do be careful as there’s a little way to go before complete legalization. Auf Wiedersehen… for now.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your top source for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.

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The Cannabis Industry: A New Haven for Workers Amidst the Pandemic

Amidst the pandemic, the cannabis industry has seen massive growth. In particular, the industry has become a haven for workers who have moved from other sectors. The cannabis industry expanding is nothing new. The sector has seen steady growth over the years. For example, in Canada, sales of legal cannabis managed to double in 2020, […]

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The Current Situation for BC’s Cannabis Smoking Lounges

It’s been a rough road since day one and the pandemic has made the struggle even harder; cannabis consumption sites, also known as lounges, do not have it easy. As one could imagine, a virus that attacks the respiratory system is a serious threat to a smoking lounge. With that in mind, here’s a look […]

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Canopy Growth to Acquire Wana Brands in $300M Deal

Cannabis industry powerhouse Canopy Growth Corporation announced that it has entered an agreement to acquire Wana Brands, the continent’s largest cannabis edibles brand by market share, in a deal worth nearly $300 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Canopy has secured options to purchase Wana and its related entities once THC products become federally legal in the United States. 

“As we establish Canopy Growth as the world’s leading cannabis company, acquiring the number-one cannabis edibles brand in North America will serve to strengthen our market position in both Canada and the United States,” Canopy Growth CEO David Klein said in a press release. 

“The right to acquire Wana secures another major, direct pathway into the U.S. THC market upon federal permissibility, and in Canada, we’ll be adding the top-ranked cannabinoid gummies to our industry-leading house of brands. We’re confident in the future growth of the edibles category and the tremendous opportunities with Wana.”

The agreement provides Canopy Growth the right to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding membership interests in Wana Brands and its related entities Mountain High Products, Wana Wellness and The Cima Group, upon the federal legality of THC in the U.S. market. 

When exercising the option, Canopy Growth will make an additional payment equal to 15 percent of the fair market value of each entity at the time it is acquired. The two companies will continue to operate independently until the options are exercised.

Deal Will Unite Two Major Players

Wana manufactures and sells cannabis gummies in Colorado and licenses its intellectual property to partners producing cannabis edibles in 11 other states including California, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan and Florida, as well as across Canada. 

Canopy Growth is a Canadian-based cannabis and cannabinoid consumer products company serving adult-use customers with an array of regulated marijuana products through its Tweed and Tokyo Smoke branded dispensaries in Canada. The company also operates the medical brand Spectrum Therapeutics, which is a market leader in both Canada and Germany. 

In the United States, Canopy Growth offers hemp-derived CBD products via the First & Free and Martha Stewart health and wellness brands, giving the company a global footprint in cannabis and cannabis-related products. Additionally, in 2019, Canopy Growth announced a deal giving it the right to acquire U.S. multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings. Canopy Growth also has a conditional ownership interest in TerraAscend, another U.S.-based MSO.

Adding Wana Brands to its portfolio gives Canopy Growth several strategic benefits, including strengthening its access to the U.S. market. The deal leverages Wana’s leadership position and continuing expansion in the U.S., where it has the largest multi-market presence of any independent cannabis edibles brand. 

When Canopy exercises the acquisition option, it will own and operate Wana’s vertically integrated production facility in Colorado as well as its licensing division, which currently has deals in 11 states with plans to cover more than 20 states by the end of 2022. 

The acquisition will also give Canopy Growth a strong position in cannabis gummies, which are one of the fastest growing segments of the Canadian and US edibles markets, accounting for 71 of all edibles purchased, according to data from Headset.

“Edibles play a key role in attracting new consumers and adding the number-one edibles brand in North America strengthens our competitive position on both sides of the border,” Klein told Forbes in an interview. “In addition to our existing relationships with Acreage and TerrAscend, the agreement with Wana furthers Canopy’s positioning for rapid entry post-permissibility to the US THC market.”

Nancy Whiteman, the co-founder and CEO of Wana Brands, said that the announcement of the deal with Canopy Growth “reflects the culmination of more than a decade of hard work, dedication and vision put forth by our employees and partners, as well as an unwavering commitment to the plant and -our customers.” 

“We have long considered what the next phase of our growth might look like, and this deal is not only a great testament to our focus on bottom line growth and fiscal diligence, but also to the value we believe Wana can bring to Canopy and its shareholders now and in the future,” Whiteman said. 

“We have met many partners along the way over the past 11 years, but none have felt like the best and right fit until today. We are incredibly humbled and honored to be part of what Canopy Growth is building in terms of the future of this industry.”

The post Canopy Growth to Acquire Wana Brands in $300M Deal appeared first on High Times.

Hip-Hop Mogul Jay-Z Invests in Cannabis Retail Platform Flowhub

Cannabis point-of-sale platform Flowhub announced on Tuesday the closing of a $19 million round of strategic funding, including significant participation from venture capital firms Headline and Poseiden as well as a personal investment from entrepreneur and hip-hop billionaire Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. 

The new round of funding for Flowhub brings the total amount of capital raised for the company to $50 million with a valuation of $200 million, according to a statement from the cannabis dispensary payment transactions processor.

“We are thrilled to announce this capital raise,” said Kyle Sherman, founder and CEO of Flowhub. “Headline is an incredible, Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, Poseidon is a pioneer investor in the cannabis industry, and Jay-Z is a cultural and creative global force no matter the industry he is involved in.”

“I couldn’t think of a better group to be working with as we take this company to the next stage,” Sherman added. “This funding not only underscores the significant value that Flowhub provides to our customers, but also the maturation of the cannabis industry at large. We remain committed to developing innovative products that help our retail customers run better businesses.”

Flowhub processes in excess of $3 billion in cannabis transactions annually, providing more than 1,000 marijuana dispensaries a retail sales platform to serve their customers while maintaining compliance with strict regulations. The company will use the new round of funding to accelerate its expansion into emerging cannabis markets while developing new products for its expanding line of services.

Supporting Cannabis Social Equity

The company also plans to use the new funding to support and grow its social equity program, which was launched by Flowhub in June to invest in communities adversely impacted by the War on Drugs. 

Through the program, eligible social equity cannabis business owners can receive Flowhub’s POS retail management and compliance software for only $4.20 per year, which represents a reduction of 99.97 percent over regular pricing. The discount is available for up to three years at the social equity owner’s first cannabis dispensary business location.

The Flowhub social equity program also provides participating cannabis retailers with the company’s Stash inventory management and Greet customer check-in mobile apps, as well as the View mobile analytics app and free implementation of the technology. 

To date, Flowhub has awarded more than $1 million worth of software products to eligible cannabis entrepreneurs participating in the program. More information about the Flowhub cannabis social equity program is available online.

Software Allows Debit Transactions at Cannabis Dispensaries

Because of the continued illegality of cannabis at the federal level, most banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions do not offer traditional banking services to cannabis businesses, even those operating legally under state law. As a result, most dispensaries are forced to conduct transactions with their customers and suppliers via cash.

“We’re still a cash industry, and it’s 2021,” Sherman told Forbes. “It’s hard to believe when we barely have cards in our pocket anymore with Apple Pay.”

Flowhub’s POS software addresses the cash issue by allowing customers to use their debit cards to make sales transactions at cannabis dispensaries. But instead of being processed as a debit card sale, the transaction is technically an ATM withdrawal.

“It’s not really debit, but it feels like it,” Sherman said.

Jay-Z and Cannabis

Jay-Z’s stake in Flowhub isn’t his first foray into the cannabis industry. In 2019, he became the brand strategist for Caliva, where he developed his signature high-end cannabis brand Monogram. The following year, Caliva, Monogram and Left Coast Ventures were acquired through a SPAC deal that produced the Parent Company, where Jay-Z heads the social equity venture fund.

“When Jay says, ‘I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man,’ it’s true,” said Sherman, recalling a sample of Jay-Z’s well-known lyrics. “He’s got incredible business acumen—he really knows how to surround himself with brilliant people and build great companies.”

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Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition

Everyone involved in the legal industry in California has seen, while being green with envy, the moves happening up in Canada. Our neighboring country to the north legalized cannabis seemingly ages ago at this point (almost four years?), though their roll-out hasn’t been without its challenges.

While I believe we all celebrate the increased access to the plant we care for so dearly, silly federal restrictions aimed at “protecting the kids” have certainly dampened the celebrations. Though they may have more access on paper, it’s actually been more restrictive to build a brand that resonates up there.

Down here in California, however, despite still facing a federal prohibition that requires all its THC wares to remain within the state, it’s clear that the sky’s the limit when building a brand name here. With many of our elite, commanding, top-dollar the world over, even the government can’t contain the hype that’s built off of what most consider to be the best bud in the world. In fact, many don’t even have to have thorough brand identities to pop—just the right goods.

So what would happen if Canada and California combined forces? Could the prolific BC bud make the same kind of waves down here that it has up north for so long? Could the California market make a Canadian brand pop in a way that resonates internationally? Could a brand that finds success down here ride the wave across the provinces? A new amalgamation of brands is betting on it.

Burb Co-Founder John Kaye
Courtesy Burb

Enter Burb

Founded in early 2018, Burb is a British Columbia-based, culture-minded cannabis retailer and merchandiser of quality goods. Led by John Kaye, who serves as the brand’s CEO and Creative Director, the brand was initially founded to support artists and creative movements.

As John tells me, “In a time of corporate cannabis takeover, we set out to build a brand that kept the bridge between cannabis and the arts alive, so we built weed stores that gave us plenty of cash flows to put back into the community.”

Originally born in Minsk, Russia, and having lived in Israel, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, Mr. Kaye is something of an artist himself. Having toured across North America playing in a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band in his youth, it was the business side of things that interested him the most.

After going back to school and getting his diploma, and after a brief gig in finance left him creatively starved, he called his BCIT classmate, Clayton Chessa, with the idea of building a cannabis testing lab.

After a successful exit with their lab, Northern Vine, Kaye saw an opportunity to get back to his roots while supporting a community that was losing its grip in the face of legalization. With Clayton by his side, and with the help of another childhood friend, Steve Dowsley, who had just sold his previous company, the trio started Burb.

“For me, a great brand is defined as a real community. It’s not the logo. It’s not the packaging. It’s on-the-ground relationships—late nights and being in the fucking trenches. You say you’re a ‘lifestyle’ brand? Show me,” John explained.

Burb
Courtesy Burb

What started as a Canadian pipe dream, a lifestyle shop and dispensary to lead, as opposed to follow, the culture, evolved into a full-fledged lifestyle brand. Now with five shop licenses, three of which are already operating Burb-branded dispensaries in Vancouver, with three more on the way—including the upcoming first-ever dispensary on a college campus at the University of British Columbia, Burb has rapidly established itself as a formidable player in the legal market up north.

Alongside their cannabis retail business, the team established a media arm to produce content from industry-leading creators like Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits, and a merchandise line that includes apparel and smoking equipment you’ll actually want to have around.

What’s better, each store aims to provide a unique experience compared to other cannabis retailers. The team is hard at work building their evolution of the retail experience, a creative exploration site, which, while providing retail and merchandise sales on the first two floors, will have two more above, built exclusively for artists, by artists. Featuring specific cultural cornerstones, like music studios, and even potentially basketball courts in the future, it’s clear that pushing things forward was always part of the game plan.

 “At Burb, we’re honoring the legacy and designing the future of cannabis culture” Kaye stated matter of factly.

“Creating My Own Destiny”

Although things have been moving quite well up north, the team at Burb couldn’t help thinking there was more room to flex, both creatively and culturally. In an effort to skirt some of the restrictions plaguing them back home, the gang started working towards establishing roots south of their border down here in California.

Problem Wearing Burb’s Forthcoming Fall Collection at Hall of Flowers
Courtesy Burb

Having been connected with Los Angeles artist and producer Problem for his ‘4 the Low’ music video shoot, it seemed like the stars had started to align.

“For us, there’s a big crossover to the music space. We were already doing it. When Problem’s team approached us to be in his video with Wiz, we started to consider the bigger opportunity, especially after learning about the cannabis business he was building in Cali.” John continued.

What started as a conversation around product placement in a music video quickly snowballed. Burb was looking to make a play down here, Problem was looking to further dip his feet into the space, and it just so happened that Problem’s wife Daphne knew a woman named Chanel, who had an opp set up with her friend Kelly and her husband, Jason McKnight, who he had already heard was a real OG. The pieces were falling into place on their own.

In that vein, let’s zoom out a second and take a look at the other players here.

Coffee & Kush

Problem, born Jason Martin, had already lived several lives himself by this point. Raised in Compton, he surprisingly never planned to be a rapper, or a cannabis entrepreneur. Problem actually grew up wanting to play basketball. In fact, that’s where his name comes from.

“They used to call me a ‘Problem’ on the court!” he told me.

After realizing that basketball might not go according to plan, music—which at first was purely for fun, and impressing women, of course—became something that took more and more of his time. Eventually, it became the focus.

Now, this isn’t a piece on his storied career as an independent artist, but it’s worth noting that after being monetized by other brands throughout his career, Problem saw an opportunity with his last contracted album to utilize all his efforts to build something for himself and for his community.

Originally conceptualized as a merchandise line, Coffee & Kush has always been more of a lifestyle brand—despite how overused that term has become, this one’s it. The thing is, this wasn’t always his lifestyle, so just how much of a difference that equation makes is all the clearer for him.

Courtesy Burb

You see, Problem didn’t start to consume until he was having his first child. While he has memories of the plant dating back to childhood, having grown up with a mother who was growing and smoking as long as he could remember, he didn’t see the allure when he was young, especially with an eye on the NBA. However, it was ironically his mother who eventually got him to give it a shot.

“My mom was the one who was like, ‘You need to smoke. You’re taking on a whole lot at a very young age.” He explained, “So I tried it, and it became part of my lifestyle, in my day to day. All that shit I’ve seen since the early 80s, so to me, weed has never been wrong, I just didn’t want to do the shit my mom did,” he continued. “But the system was running me through it … Then it all happened at the same time. I’m smoking, doin’ music. Smoking, doing music.”

“Let Me Pimp Me For A Second”

Having found success with his music career, Problem began to set new sights for himself. Understanding how his creative content could be used to propel products, the rapper set his sights on diversifying his offering.

“It just came to me: Coffee & Kush. This is what I’m rapping about all day, because this is what I’m doing all day. What I’m using to finish this album.” Problem explained.

“It was really just a unique way to brand the music. Then I figured, so many companies have used me to sell their products, if I’m going to start talking about Coffee & Kush all the time, I need to have my own products. I use my own content to push my own products, not the other way around.”

Before even exploring the cannabis route, Problem had two products almost immediately ready to launch alongside the project: Coffee & Kush mugs (with a bowl fashioned into the mug so you can smoke while you drink), and Green Hour Coffee (sold exclusively through Harun Coffee in LA).

It wasn’t until his friend Mike Asseraf suggested a preroll line that things really started to take off. After putting the pieces together for the Burb video, Problem remembered a story his wife had told him about Kelly’s husband …

Green Label Rx Founder Jason McKnight
Courtesy Burb

Becoming A Pharmacist

Of all the players in this new squad, likely the most deserving of his spot is legacy operator Jason McKnight. Born in Los Angeles, and having moved to Northern California at a young age, Jason has been proliferating the plant since 1996—long before the glamorous industry we all hear about today.

Although he didn’t begin to build his own cultivations until 2001, much like Problem, Jason became familiar with the plant at a very young age. Living with family members who dealt as their primary source of income, cannabis was originally just a way for him to make ends meet.

“It was a survival tool.” Jason explains. “I wanted to make some money. It was a hustle, I didn’t even smoke weed at first. I didn’t want to do drugs. I had seen drugs destroy lives. I was going to play football.”

“But it became something that I loved,” he continues. “I remember the day I smoked … Football doesn’t always pan out. So I was stressed out; I was by myself, and I smoked some weed. My life changed, instantly. It was the medicine I needed in life to really calm me down. And then that became something that I loved.”

His love, plus his fortunate position of being in the right place at the right time, lit the fire.

“I was someone that was from Northern California at a time when there wasn’t good weed in LA. I already knew everybody from Football, but then I became the plug!” Jason recounted excitedly. “I was always wanting to try to advance myself in life, whether through cannabis or hard work. Whatever it is, I’m gonna work hard at it, but I just felt like cannabis was the thing, the future.”

A feeling that he doubled down on when a friend approached him with a $6,400 pound of OG, and he realized that the need for indoor cultivation would skyrocket.

“2001 is when I got my first plants … I was self-taught at that point because indoor cultivation, that wasn’t information that people shared. It was very hush-hush. I perfected it, learning the hard way, going through the ups and downs. It wasn’t always a success.”

“But back then, if you had five, or man, 10 pounds of [indoor] product, buyers would go crazy. There was not enough flower.”

It was at a High Times Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, ironically the event where Problem performed, that Jason realized he needed to begin branding his work, and Green Label RX was born.

Courtesy Burb

The Dues Paid for Green Label

Despite following the rules set forth by the state at that time, scaling up proved to be a devastating blow for McKnight. After obtaining a delivery license with his wife Kelly, he was raided by the LA County Sheriff Narcos on January 19, 2016.

Having seized his products and property, the state even took his three children. It was clear, despite being only months from adult-use legalization in the state, that the government was trying to make an example out of the trailblazers of this burgeoning industry. However, despite the setbacks, the McKnights didn’t quit.

Though it took four-and-a-half years, the McKnights fought the case tirelessly. After 11 months, their children were returned—which they were told was a fast turn around. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that their now four children are all flourishing in their home, with both of their parents).

That was only the beginning of the battle, though. Upon the return of their children, prosecutors charged Jason and his wife with 30-plus felonies and used a swath of low brow tactics to try and break up their family and make an example out of them. While this also isn’t a piece on the disturbing realities of the criminal justice system in America, it’s worth looking up for yourself.

Again, though, the McKnights didn’t quit. Since Proposition 64 had passed during this process, Jason and his wife began to apply for licenses to become legal cannabis operators while on trial. Although it certainly seems like the whole case should have been thrown out after the state legalized the very products they were selling, that didn’t happen, and the McKnights ended up losing their case.

It was while he was in jail, waiting for sentencing, that Jason found out he was awarded his license—ironically because of the case he had just faced. Jason, with the help of his wife Kelly, built the foundation for his new legal business while locked up for participating in the legacy industry.

Flash forward to today, and it’s a much different picture for the McKnights. Jason is now running multiple facilities, growing some of the best cannabis in the state, and is partnered with some of the most amazing brands and breeders in the world. In his eyes, he went from his absolute rock bottom, to as high as he could imagine, in just a few years. He had already been whitelabelling for others when some Canadians, and Problem approached him to talk, so the deal just made sense.

Courtesy Burb

“You Gotta Become the Avengers to Go Against the World”

“When you know somebody has been through something, you can kind of talk to them in a different kind of way, so I just said I think we can do something really special,” Problem recalled of his first conversation with Jason.

With Burb understanding retail logistics and branding in a way their new partners couldn’t fathom, Green Label’s legacy cultivation skills earned on the back of trial and error, and the creative and marketing engine that is Problem and his team, the synergy between the three groups was almost instantaneously realized.

Although they’re quick to point out that there isn’t one parent company running the whole show, this partnership represents their collective understanding that there’s room for everyone to eat, and everyone to grow.

“It’d be impossible to push that through one brand, in one bag, the way I was thinking about it,” Problem noted.

“And that’s kind of the social equity thing, like you have two groups that come together. You have one person that, obviously he’s gone through the system, whether it’s a conviction or whatever, an arrest that’s cannabis related, and then you have another group that’s supposed to bring the financing, or someone that knows how to run a business. That’s the main thing they’re trying to add. We already got that,” Jason explained.

“This right here is a different crew of guys. I see what everybody else is doing. I get excited just watching how things get rolled out. But this—this is not built in fluff. This is built in a very very true story, and that, that’s what’s going to attract people to us. And then when you get here, the weed is so fucking fire that you’re going to stay,” Problem joked.

“We are not growers ourselves; we always come from the consumer mindset, and we know what we like. We partner with the best—we’re curators first and foremost. When I came down here, and I saw what was happening, I was convinced. This is an incredible team,” John noted.

“We’re basically bringing the future here. These guys, Burb—they’re living in the future. So you’ve got to exchange information. It’s not about who gets what, it’s about the minds melding,“ Problem continued.

“I’m looking at this like, if Martin Holdings is Interscope Records. I know what it’s like when you get a Kendrick Lamar. You can leverage everything. So what if you get a Kendrick AND Drake? Oh wow, they (consumers) are going to buy everything.”

Courtesy Burb

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So what did this new crew claiming Compton, NorCal, and BC turn out? So far this alliance of brands has seen a handful of their ideations enter the market, and thanks to Jason’s cultivation skill, they’re all smoking proper.

First, there was the California launch of Burb’s cannabis products at Hall of Flowers, including cultivars Butter Tarts and Beaver Tail. Then there was Green Label’s own branded eighths, as well as their new hemp blunt line, which also powers Burb’s Beaver Tail Blunts (which include a plastic beaver tail mouthpiece).

This was followed by Problem’s Coffee and Kush cannabis line, which was released exclusively through Wonderbrett in Black, and Cappuccino, and Mocha varietals. It’s clear the squad has hit the ground running in just a few short months working together.

With plenty of other projects on the horizon, including Benny’s prerolls, Roots Genetics (which will serve as Jason’s breeding and development company), as well as Burb retail stores within California’s state limits, I expect we’ll all be seeing and hearing more from the weed avengers soon.

“I’m pinching myself because, this is it. This is the dream.” Jason concludes. “I’m so excited for these next few years in the cannabis space, just to grow, and to try and achieve even higher goals. Whatever it is, I just want to always have a blunt in my hand like this.”

The post Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition appeared first on High Times.

Which Cannabis Cannabinoids Will Survive Into the Future?

There are a ton of new cannabis products coming out all the time now, some with more relevance and staying power than others. Which will really survive this stage and go into the next? It’s hard to say. Some cannabis discoveries have caught on better than others. Which cannabinoids will survive the current industry, any new decriminalization or legalizations that might occur, and prosper into the future? This still remains to be seen.

Is delta-8 one of the cannabis cannabinoids that will make it into the future? Of all the alternate cannabinoids on the market, delta-8 is the most popular, and most likely to make it big. We’re ahead of the game with tons of delta-8 THC products and deals for you to look into. But delta-8 isn’t alone in the game, other hemp-derived THC products, such as delta-10 THCTHCVTHCO, THC-PHHC are also selling very well and might survive into the future.

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Cannabis cannabinoids

Everyone knows about delta-9 THC. This is the main psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, and the part that makes a person feel euphoric. THC was first isolated in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam, but it was first found by Roger Adams in the early 40’s, around the time that CBD was isolated. CBN was the first cannabinoid to be isolated, in an attempt to find the ‘intoxicating factor’ of cannabis, which it didn’t end up being. CBN was discovered by Thomas Easterfield at the end of the 1800’s.

Everyone also knows about CBD at this point, the other major cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, which is the primary cannabinoid of the low-THC hemp plants. Significantly less CBD is found in high-THC marijuana plants, and vice versa. CBD was discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams, although Alexander Todd discovered it at about the same time in the UK, making for dueling research and discoveries for several years.

The whole reason Roger Adams investigated cannabis at all, was at the behest of the US government. The US government, often through the military and CIA, has done all kinds of drug research and testing, from the Edgewood Arsenal Experiments, where THC-O-Acetate was given to military personnel, to MDMA tests during the Cold War era for use as psychological warfare. There are even various unconfirmed reports of unleashing chemicals like LSD in public places. That compounds like THC-O-Acetate and LSD were found on the streets at the time of such testing even indicates that street use might have been started by these organizations in an attempt to study the compounds further.

cannabis plant

This, of course, is supposition on my part, but in the 1940’s, the government did sponsor research into cannabis, with a main factor being the isolation of the intoxicating agent. In so doing this, and in the follow-up research when THC was isolated, several different cannabinoids were found, including other delta THC’s, like delta-8, delta-7, and delta-6, some naturally occurring, and some entirely synthetic. Other compounds were found around this time including CBL, CBC, and HHC.

Most of what has been mentioned are cannabinoids, but what exists in the actual cannabis plant, before decarboxylation, oxidation, or any other chemical process that changes the chemical structure, are phytocannabinoids. THCA and CBDA are the precursor acids to CBD and THC, and a range of other cannabinoids. These cannabinoid acids also have tons of medical benefits, but are different from their cannabinoid counterparts. THCA, for example, is not psychoactive, and does not cause the same response as its decarboxylated version, delta-9 THC.

Research into the cannabis plant has turned up tons of naturally occurring cananbinoids like delta-8 THC, THCV, CBC, CBG, and 11-hydroxy-THC, what delta-9 becomes after being ingested. There are also a range of purely synthetic compounds that can’t be found in nature. These include delta-10 THC, delta-7 THC, THC-O-Acetate, and HU 580.

How popular are these alternate cannabis cannabinoids?

This is an interesting question, and one without a formal answer, as there isn’t much data out on buying patterns for these products. This might be partly because this is an unregulated market, and a relatively new one, where that kind of information has not been collected as of yet. The best indication for establishing interest, come from individual sales statistics, mentions and conversations online, and overall population know-how about these compounds. Different researchers might turn up different opinions, since even these metrics involve personal research methods, and subjective analysis.

If a person is to blindly believe the marketing hype of an industry, delta-8 is about the biggest thing out there. But marketing campaigns are rarely real life, and looking at real metrics, (and over a period of time), is the better way of establishing where something actually fits into the grand scheme. Maybe delta-8 has raised in popularity, but if it has, will this be a passing fancy, to disappear in a year from now? And how big is this popularity to begin with?

It’s always good to remember that while it’s great to take the plant apart and find new ways to access different aspects of it, we never lose the original cannabis plant itself, which has been doing just fine keeping people happy for millennia. Whether these compounds really become stable market representatives or not, will likely do little to effect a worldwide cannabis industry that has propelled itself along, even under worldwide prohibition. This means, regardless of which currently out cannabis cannabinoids make it to the future, we’ll always have our standby.

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Sales statistics – there aren’t any

When it comes to sales, I don’t see any massive breakthrough reports about any of these compounds. Delta-8 THC gets the most press, but mainly only within the world of weed itself, and as a niche part of the cannabis market. For the most part, even delta-8 goes unnoticed in terms of sales statistics. Even in the articles where delta-8 is mentioned as a growing fad, none of them can offer any backup for this. In fact, an article like this one in Fortune Magazine, show this well. The article refers to delta-8 as the “fastest-growing segment of the market for hemp chemicals for roughly the last year.”

This makes it sound pretty big, right? But then it goes on to state that this happened only after “wholesale CBD prices plummeted amid oversupply and other issues.” This merely implies that with CBD leveling off (or possibly losing value), that delta-8 has taken its place as the top hemp chemical product. Even the comparison is weak, and shows a changing fad, from CBD to delta-8, with the inability to keep that trajectory long-term. Considering delta-8 isn’t likely to produce anything substantially new for users, the expectation of it getting to the point where it could threaten the longstanding regular cannabis industry, is sort of short-sighted.

One of the biggest indicators, which the authors of the Fortune article seemed to gloss over, is that if cannabis cannabinoids like delta-8 THC follow in the footsteps of CBD, they’re not going to make it into the future, especially if they don’t hit the same volume before leveling off. That CBD has lost momentum, is an indication that delta-8 is just a passing fancy too. 2021 numbers for CBD sales (when released) might help us understand how cannabis cannabinoids like delta-8 THC might fair in the future, better.

Mentions and conversations

Without sales statistics, one of the other ways to see how big something is, is simply in how much its mentioned and talked about. The internet is a huge place, so finding mentions of a subject is never that hard. But the questions become, how often is it mentioned, where is it mentioned, and what is being said? When it comes to delta-8 THC, the most popular of the alternate cannabis compounds, there are plenty of mentions online. Many of these mentions come from large scale publications that are non-cannabis related. Most mentions are of the fear variety, talking about the possible detriments, or mentioning new regulatory measures to keep it out. As an untaxed item with any amount of popularity, this makes sense. Delta-8 THC is undesirable for governments that can’t tax it.

But the general conversation is limited. Apart from what seem like pre-emptive fear-marketing campaigns, people aren’t talking about it all over the place. There aren’t a huge number of questions being asked, or reviews being given. Even a site like reddit, has some, but not too much. When I changed my search results to just the last month, only one reddit mention came up, and as a news article about issued warnings. A search for ‘Acapulco Gold’ turned up several mentions on Reddit just from the last month. And that says a lot. Since delta-8 proposes an issue to the government as an unregulated and untaxed product, the issues of legality and regulation are among the bigger talking points, when it does show up on-line.

Realistically, if the stuff is sitting on store shelves, at least some people are bound to buy it. Most of what’s written, however, seems like a reaction to the possibility of an out-of-control market, more than the reaction to an actually out-of-control market. This is also backed up by very few arrests being made, or government intervention beyond these articles.

cannabinoids

Do people know about it?

I find this question to be the most interesting one. It’s possible to get the wrong idea by something being seen online. It’s easy to forget how big the internet is, and how much is necessary to show real engagement with an industry or product. Marketers can fill internet pages with content that isn’t backed up by anything, and governments can put out campaigns in an effort to stop something before it starts. Neither has to indicate mass appeal, though they can be a factor in it. So, one of the best ways of assessing whether something has an influence, is to see if its actively influencing people. And this is where I see the biggest issue.

The vast majority of people have no idea what delta-8 THC is. Had I not been a writer in the cannabis industry, I probably wouldn’t know about it either. I know a lot of weed smokers, and somehow, not a single one has heard of this compound. First off, it’s only a US product that hasn’t gained popularity anywhere else, and that means we’re only looking at a US audience. On top of that, cannabis – as stated – is a stable industry, and its been there for a while. Even now it exists as bigger black markets than legal ones, which means, we already have a version we can use. It’s not like delta-8 is the answer to not being able to get any weed at all. We can all get it, and this will always be a roadblock to delta-8 sales.

Having said all this, I will point out one countering factor. Governments are making specific legislation to rule out delta-8 THC, even with other legalizations. This could indicate that sales are high enough to cause worry and necessitate these laws. But, it could also be a reactionary measure meant to stifle a possible industry, whether it would actually meet the potential indicated, or not. That it would be singled out by governments does say something for its existence, and ability for at least some popularity. However, even this doesn’t indicate that it’ll stick around.

Cannabinoids Future – Conclusion

None of this article really answers the question of what can be expected for all cannabis cannabinoids in the future. However, the most useful point comes from the fact that delta-8 seems to be following in the footsteps of CBD, which itself has been leveling off after a few years of being the golden product. If this is any indication, none of these products will last it out, not even delta-8 THC. In the end, there realistically isn’t a great reason for it. Does this mean it doesn’t have good or alternate benefits? No, it doesn’t mean that. But it’s also quite possible that the slightly lesser high and clearer head are more important  for medical patients, and might not be as desirable by those looking for a full effect. On top of that, reports of causing less anxiety have never been totally confirmed meaning it might not provide these effects the way we read about them.

Though this doesn’t mean something can’t catch on further, my best bet is that none of the newly released, bottom-feeding (let’s be honest) attempts to capture a greater part of the industry, will work. Alternate cannabis cannabinoids might be fun to try, but if they don’t provide a better answer, and if they come at a higher price, they’re likely to be dropped fast and never see the future. Luckily for us though, we’ll always have our regular weed. And if the last few years is any indication, our black markets for that aren’t going anywhere.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Which Cannabis Cannabinoids Will Survive Into the Future? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Leading the Charge: Stephanie Arakel aka Cakes, Vice President of Strategy and Product at Viola Brands

It’s no secret that if you’re working in the cannabis industry, you need to be on top of everything coming your way. One woman who’s dominating her role in the industry is Vice President of Strategy and Product at Viola Brands, Stephanie Arakel, affectionately known across the industry as Cakes.

Arakel’s journey into cannabis grew organically starting with her culinary college career, to a few post-college cannabis enterprises after recovering from cancer, which eventually lead to the current position she now holds at Viola Brands.

Highly successful and tenacious, Arakel manages various happenings behind the scenes at Viola Brands. Aside from the daily management requirements of those markets, Arakel was also given the responsibility of choosing the first strain to be a part of the recently released Iverson collection, aptly named ’96, which celebrates the official partnership of Allen Iverson with Viola Brands’ Founder Al Harrington (’96 being the year that Iverson joined the NBA). In fact, she very proudly shared that she took over the role of working on Viola Brands’ products in all markets earlier this year.

High Times spoke with Arakel about her cannabis industry roots, her experience being diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, how she ended up at Viola Brands and the state of women in the industry.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Did you attend college? Was it with the intention of pursuing a career in cannabis, or something else?

Well, I am a born and raised California valley girl. I grew up in Chatsworth, California, [and went to] Chatsworth High School. I went to culinary school as college. That’s how I kind of got into marijuana; I started making edibles. I majored in pastries and cakes, and I had a friend that was really into weed, so I started experimenting with his shake, and before I knew it, I paid off my college tuition selling brownies, candies and eclairs. I ran a bakery out of my house for a little bit. My major clientele was either moms who needed cartoon cupcakes for their kids’ birthdays, or just straight stoners.

Would you say you had more moms as customers, or more stoners as customers?

Definitely the stoners. Honestly, back then I was younger, I was in my early 20s, so I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what I was actually doing. I grew up in a very strict Middle Eastern household. Any type of drinking or drugs or you know, it was forbidden. So when I did move out and I got a little acclimated to college lifestyle, everything was a real big shock. I didn’t realize, like, “Oh, I’m a drug dealer.”

How did you end up working at Viola Brands?

I was diagnosed with cancer a little over five years ago now. Prior to being diagnosed, I had worked in Hollywood, so during the day, I was selling my baked goods, going to pre-ICOs, and getting acclimated to a lot of the heavy hitters that you would talk to in the industry now. And basically, my network just kept growing and growing. At night, I worked at the clubs in Hollywood. I was dealing with bottles and dealing with DJs and everything, so I learned who the trappers and all that kind of stuff were, and then I was selling to them during the day.

During that time frame, I stopped working in Hollywood. I’ve always had this really raspy voice, but it aggressively got worse instead of better. I thought it was actually bad because I was always yelling over music and stuff, so for an entire year, I was misdiagnosed. 

When I finally got diagnosed correctly, they diagnosed me with laryngeal cancer. My whole life completely went from being the underground baking trapper to “you have cancer, and you’re locked in an isolation room in the hospital, and none of your friends can come into the room and see you,” and [it was just a] fiasco. So naturally, during my time, I couldn’t smoke; no edibles, like nothing could come into me, and I literally lost my mind.

When I got out of there, I launched the delivery service with a couple friends that took off pretty quick. We catered to a very, very large portion of Southern California, and it caught the attention of a couple people. I was already following Al [Harrington] on Instagram, so he kind of saw what I was doing but he never realized the magnitude of it. You know, no one’s really just on Instagram like, “Hey, I sell weed.” 

So two associates of his that he had teamed up with to get the licensing and everything to go for California knew me from my prior life, and they basically told Al and the president at the time that “we need this girl, we need this girl.” They were trying to get me to come in, and I kind of brushed them off. Why would I want to go to the legal market? 

I actually talked it over with one of my business partners. We knew at some point, we were gonna have to transfer over if we want our delivery to be legal, or I want my edible company to be legal or anything, it would be good to kind of have the inside source. So naturally, I slowly decided “All right, I’ll do it.”

I started out as the brand director for the state of California [for Viola]. I opened way, way too many stores than we could have even thought to have in the first 90 days, and it just kept growing and growing. Over the course of the last three years, I’ve taken on many roles and many hats, and now, I’m the vice president of strategy and product for all of the markets.

You know they say when you love what you do, it’s not work. Although it’s work, and it definitely does feel like work, I am very happy and blessed to be where I am right now.

Courtesy of Juliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

What are some of the noteworthy challenges that you’ve encountered during your time at Viola?

I think being a woman in this industry is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Really, being a woman in any industry, but this industry specifically, because there’s not that many of us especially in authoritative positions. Adjusting to personalities is something that I have not mastered, but I’ve definitely maneuvered. I think this industry requires a lot more energy from women than it would a man, and I don’t think we are recognized for it how we should be.

What do you think about the current state of women in the cannabis industry?

I think there needs to be more women-focused campaigns from a product perspective, and just in general. But really, more women-focused products. At the end of the day, when people spend money, it’s usually to impress a woman or a woman is buying it.

I think just women having the opportunities to be in roles like the one I’m in or higher, just in general. It’s imperative, and it doesn’t happen as often as it should. I’m really blessed and lucky to be where I am at with Viola because Al definitely values me. He sees the work that I put in, and he understands, like, “She’s about us.” He recognizes it, you know? I just hope that for other women and other companies, they get that same recognition.

What do you hope changes for women in this industry in the future?

Who run the world? Girls! I would just like to see more women in these higher roles. I want to see more women-driven brands, whether it’s their own brand, or they’re running it for somebody else. 

I want to see more campaigns with women that are dressed. Though, I think that the community has done a really good job of steering away from that. There’s a few, like, accounts here and there, brands here and there that are still stuck in that mindset. Which I mean, I get it,—sex sells—but I would love to see women portrayed in a more you know, professional, wholesome way.

Viola
Courtesy ofJuliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

Who or what inspires you?

I think overcoming everything that I did. I think I kind of push myself knowing what I went through to continue going so that I could help people the way I needed to be helped when I was sick. I’m also completely obsessed with Dr. Sebi. He’s an herbalist. When I was diagnosed the first time, I went through chemo and radiation, and it literally nearly killed me. I got re-diagnosed three years later; they told me “Oh, you know, we caught it early,” [they] caught it on, like, one of my scans. And I literally told everybody to fuck off. I came home; I cleared out all my kitchen cabinets of everything. And I literally only followed Dr. Sebi’s food list, and I cured my cancer, along with a boatload of other things that happened to me. 

During the course of going to chemo, I developed weird skin rashes. My hair fell out; my hair grew back, stronger. So I look up to Dr. Sebi the herbalist, and I think more people should look into natural remedies, which is also why I love working in the industry that I do, because it’s a plant. [Dr.] Sebi actually touches on weed a little bit too, and how beneficial it is for helping people and curing people. That’s who I look up to, and [also] my dad. I’m first generation here, so both my parents came here and started from scratch.

Do you have any advice for other women who are looking to get into the cannabis industry?

Always be cognizant of your surroundings. That would probably be the best advice. You never know who’s in the same room as you. So, just be cognizant of who you are around at all times.

I get a lot of heat for being aggressive, or I was labeled, like, “the bitch.” Everyone that works with me knows how caring I am, but at the end of the day, [if] something needs to be done, it needs to be done, and it needs to be done correctly. So I catch a lot of heat for like, “Oh, you don’t know how to talk to people.”

Don’t ever take anything personally. Keep being a beast, tunnel vision and keep going. Obviously, be nice; make sure people are taken care of and whatnot, but at the end of the day, don’t deter from what your goals are because of other people’s chatter.

Viola
Courtesy ofJuliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

What can our readers expect from Viola Brands now that Allen Iverson has joined Al Harrington?

So we’re launching in Canada next week. We are ramping up in the state of Oregon. We have a rosin launch coming in Colorado. We just launched Harrington Institute, which is a program through Cleveland University in Ohio. I believe open enrollment is right now, where we teach people the ins and outs of the business, how they can get into it, from cultivation to manufacturing, managing stores, inventory; we go through the whole gamut. We have a couple of other really cool collaborations we’re going to be announcing, too.

The post Leading the Charge: Stephanie Arakel aka Cakes, Vice President of Strategy and Product at Viola Brands appeared first on High Times.

Legal Delta-9 THC, Is It Worth It?

The 2018 US Farm Bill created quite a stir by legalizing the production and manufacture of hemp products. With it came a possible loophole for products like delta-8 THC, which can be sourced from hemp. Now, that legal conundrum has gotten even more intense as products containing what is called ‘legal delta-9 THC’ are now available. Are these products legal? And are they worth it?

The world is definitely a changing place when legal delta-9 THC can be found on shelves. Truth is, it might not be completely legal, but it definitely is available. This is also true of compounds like delta-8 THC, delta-10, THCP, THCO, THCV, HHC and more. The cannabis world has gotten so big, that new products are coming out nearly every day. We’ve got a great overall selection of deals, and plenty of other products for you to check out and try for yourself.

Delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC, sometimes just referred to erroneously as simply ‘THC’, is the primary psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, and is responsible for the feelings of euphoria that come with use of the plant. Delta-9 is actually only a version of THC, which itself stands for tetrahydrocannabinols, and refers to several different compounds, not just delta-9. Often the term ‘THC’ will be used in place of ‘delta-9’, but in reality, the true name of the compound is not ‘THC’.

Plants that are higher in delta-9 than CBD, are called marijuana, with the federal cutoff being over .3% delta-9 in dry weight as the standard for ‘marijuana’. Cannabis with less delta-9 than this, is referred to as ‘hemp.’ Whereas hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, high-THC marijuana, was not.

Delta-9 THC has been on the Controlled Substances list since its inception in 1970. Prior to that, the new age of prohibition started in 1937 with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, which stopped medicinal and recreational use, as well as stunting the hemp market. At that time, the hemp market contributed to tons of different industries, from building, to clothing, to paper, and so on. Delta-9 THC has this chemical formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂, which is the same as CBD, as well as other cannabinoids like CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBL (cannabicyclo), and even the sex hormone progesterone.

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Is it legal?

No, and I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure where the debate on this one comes in. Here’s why… According to the 2018 US Farm Bill: ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.’

This definition includes extracts, so if something is extracted, like delta-9, it couldn’t legally be extracted in a higher percent than .3. To make matters worse for the claim, not only does the definition apply to the plant in question for production, but all products produced from it, and all parts of the processing procedure. If the delta-9 amount rises above .3% at any given point, then the product becomes illegal. Since these products are above .3% delta-9, they are automatically illegal.

There has been an ongoing debate about compounds like delta-8 THC, a naturally occurring oxidized version of delta-9. Though delta-8 occurs naturally through this oxidation process, it occurs at extremely low rates. This means, in order to make products with it, it must be synthesized in a laboratory, and this can then mean the use of chemicals or processes that can be dangerous. Since delta-8 can’t simply be extracted, it brings up the question of whether it should be considered natural or synthetic. Sure it occurs naturally in nature, but any product we use of it is synthesized. As a synthetic, it’s automatically illegal. Of course, there are other issues with delta-8, but this is a big one.

The difference with delta-8 and delta-9 in this regard, is that delta-9 is specifically mentioned in the definition of hemp, and so there is no question. It doesn’t matter where delta-9 is produced from, as any product that has over .3% of it would be illegal anyway on a federal level. Whereas the Farm Bill creates what appears to be a loophole for delta-8 (which really isn’t technically there), there’s really no such illusion with delta-9.

Is something illegal if you can’t do anything about it?

This, of course, brings up the question of why ‘legal delta-9 THC’ products are being advertised as legal, when there is no legal basis for them. And the answer, as far as I can tell, is actually pretty basic. Vendors can get away with advertising legal delta-9 THC, because no one’s going to do anything about it. And this begs the question, if there are no actual repercussions to an illegal activity, is it actually illegal?

The idea of ‘illegal’ depends on punishment. After all, if something is stated as illegal, but there’s never a punishment for it, it creates a form of a loophole. It’s not technically legal, sure, but anyone participating also won’t have to worry about criminal repercussions. It’s a strange loophole that exists, which can be created by different factors. In this case, the factors seem to be related to the ability to police the industry, which considering how many unregulated cannabis compounds are being sold from illegal dispensaries, isn’t happening.

cannabis cannabinoids

Taking a step back, and looking at the whole war on drugs, confirms that point further. The US government was never able to stop any kind of illegal cannabis trade, and has been generally weakened by the majority of its states adopting policies that go against federal mandate. Plus, the government has gotten plenty of backlash in the past for continuously attempting to give criminal penalties to people legally using by state law. It’s honestly hard to imagine the government really being able to do anything about it at this juncture.

What about actual legal THC?

Truth is, the US government knows it has to pass a bill very soon since it can’t keep its states under control. This can be seen in different places. One big giveaway is a state like North Carolina, and its republican-led medical cannabis bill. Republican representatives have made no bones in that state about understanding that the population wants it, and that they must comply if they want to keep their seats.

On a bigger level, the US government has two bills currently working their way through Congress, which would each work to end cannabis prohibition, though in slightly different ways, and with different laws and regulatory measures. The MORE Act, is a decriminalization act, which would also work as somewhat of a legalization measure. This is because it institutes tax rates on cannabis products, something that can’t be done in a simply decriminalized market.

A tax rate makes it on the up and up. Decriminalization only refers to a lack of criminal penalties; and decriminalization measures generally come with some kind of minor, non-criminal punishment. This bill passed the House last year, but didn’t make it to the Senate before adjournment. It’s up for another House vote this year to continue on.

Then there’s the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which is a full-on legalization bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. This would go further than the MORE Act, though they would both drop cannabis from the Controlled Substances list. This bill would also drop Section 280E from the IRS tax code, which would work to allow cannabis operators to access the same tax deductions as other businesses. Both bills come with their own structures for tax and regulation, with the Opportunity Act proposing much higher tax rates, but allowing for things like interstate sales.

Is it worth it?

In my opinion, absolutely not! And I doubt many people will care much for it. We have a stable and working black market for good weed in America, and 18 states with legal dispensaries (or which soon will have them if they haven’t gotten there yet). It’s not the idea of it being technically illegal, so much as simply unnecessary. Weed is accessible, that’s why the government has always had such a hard time stopping the industry.

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The more confounding issue in my mind, is that rather than just using the plant to access delta-9, this would mean using synthetization techniques, which in this case, are sort of ridiculous. The debate exists with delta-8, because you can’t access a large enough amount naturally, and it has good enough qualities to make synthesizing it worthwhile. We can access delta-9. Pretty much anywhere in the world.

This doesn’t mean it can’t be useful, especially if its sold in places where cannabis is illegal recreationally, and perhaps harder for some to get. Although I have to question if in such places, it would be wise to expect to see these products on any shelves. If so, then perhaps its something in place of nothing. Otherwise, apart from mild curiosity, my best guess is that this is a misplaced venture that will be invalidated before it has time to really catch on anyway.

Conclusion

Legal or not, it seems like delta-9 THC is being sourced from low-THC hemp, and sold as a (legal) product. Maybe I’m wrong and legal delta-9 THC will be the next big thing, but in a country on the brink of a legalization/decriminalization, and with the ability to easily get real cannabis in most places, I don’t think this is anything more than a gimmick, and not the best one I’ve seen.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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