California Might Be Progressive with Marijuana, But Hemp and CBD is an Entirely Different Story

Although California is viewed as a liberal paradise – especially regarding cannabis laws – the way this state regulates CBD is still incredibly limited and regressive.

California has the oldest and largest legal cannabis market in the world. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state for 24 years now, recreational is legal, and you can easily find flower and other high-THC products in most localities. However, when it comes to CBD (cannabidiol), California dispensaries need a special license to sell hemp flower, it’s illegal to infuse CBD in edibles, and a bill is on the table that would prohibit anyone under 21 years old from buying any it.

Why the discrepancy when CBD is non-psychoactive and federally legal?

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Over two decades of medical marijuana

Back in 1996, the Golden State became the first to legalize the use of medical marijuana. It was uncharted territory, and putting Prop 215 – The Compassionate Use Act, into practice would be no easy task; but the main objective was “to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”

And the bill really meant ANY condition. This drew a lot of criticism, with many lawmakers believing that cannabis should only be prescribed for a very limited list of predetermined conditions. However, lawmakers are not doctors or scientists and are in no position to make assumptions on the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Questions of medication, treatments, and prescriptions should handled by healthcare practitioners and their patients.

Aside from ensuring that patients have easy access to cannabis, and that doctors are free to prescribe it as they see fit, Prop 215 also aimed to guarantee that patients and their primary caregivers were not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction for cannabis use.

First time visiting a dispensary? Here are a few things to keep in mind

It was truly one of the more progressive political movements of its time, and many states followed suit in the coming years. By the turn of the millennium, a total of 8 states had legalized cannabis for medical use, either through ballot measure or state legislature.

One of the main concerns that opponents of medical marijuana voiced relentlessly – the possibility of abuse and muddled line separating recreational users and true medical users. The program was strict and limited at first, but over time enforcement just gradually faded away and it became extremely easy, some would say too easy, to get access to “medical” marijuana.

Pretty much everyone I knew had a medical card by their 18th birthday, and none of us were chronically ill by any means. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely not against easy access to cannabis, I myself have been smoking since my teens. But at that point, with how easy it was for just about anyone to get a medical cannabis card, that only left one very obvious question… why not just legalize it for everyone?

Proposition 64

In November 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. As a result of recreational legalization, local governments (city and county) could no longer prohibit adults from growing, using, or transporting marijuana for personal use.

California Cannabis Businesses are Still Banned, Despite Legalization

Although it was a long time coming, and no longer prosecuting citizens for marijuana crimes is certainly an advancement, the new legal market presented its own set of challenges. Local control and bans (moratoriums) were put in place, leading to more than half of California cities banning recreational dispensaries before they even got their feet off the ground. That along with high taxes made it extremely difficult for new businesses to open and remain operational.

For dispensaries transitioning from medical only to medical and recreational, or only recreational, there were many hoops to jump through, and by “hoops” I mean money to paid in the form of taxes and licensing fees. Dispensary owners have to pass these costs on to the customers, which is why you’ll see 1/8s of flower for $80 at certain stores. These high costs continue to drive consumers to the black/grey market, which only means ongoing struggles for the legal industry.

No CBD Flower at California Dispensaries

One rule that’s incredibly odd, is that dispensaries have to get separate licensing to sell CBD/hemp flower. Normally, it’s the opposite way around, considering CBD flower is federally legal, but not in California.

Where to buy CBD Flower in California

Here, even after going through all the regulatory framework and paying all of your licensing fees to open a legal, recreational dispensary – you know, one of those places where you can buy concentrates with over 90% THC – you’re still prohibited from selling non-intoxicating hemp flowers unless you pay even more money to the state.

However, to make things even more confusing, if you don’t own a marijuana dispensary, but you own a regular store front selling CBD products, there are no restrictions on the sale of non-food, hemp products – including flowers. s

Restrictive Extract Laws

A piece of legislature drafted for review by various California state administrations, would prohibit interstate commerce of hemp extract as well as ban the sale of hemp/CBD products to anyone under 21 years of age. If passed, these would be the most restrictive hemp/CBD laws in the entire country, short of banning these products altogether. Hemp industry leaders are calling the draft language “draconian” and fear it could hinder the work done by many activists and organizers, who have brought the hemp industry as far as it is today.

Following California & Spain: Are CBD Edibles Legal?

According to Jonathan Miller, a hemp industry attorney based out of Lexington, KY, and a general counsel member f the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, “The challenge here is that the California General Assembly leaves town next week. We are running up against a deadline. There are three parties involved – the governor and his administration, including the California Department of Public Health, the state legislature, and the CBD/hemp industry. For two years, the Department of Public Health has said it is illegal to sell CBD as a dietary supplement or food additive, but they haven’t really enforced it across the board.”

He added that, “We have seen enforcement actions against stores on a county level. We would like to see legislation passed that explicitly says cannabinoids can be sold. We are now negotiating with the governor’s office and are optimistic we can get a good bill passed, but we are running out of time. In some of the drafts, we’ve seen some things that we thought were poison pills. We either reach agreement soon or we are going to fight. No bill is better than a bad bill.”

According to another California lobbyist who wished to remain anonymous, “It’s also a matter of existing jobs in hemp and agriculture. Hopefully the administration and legislature will be mindful that some businesses will leave the state, and some will go bankrupt. And consumers may not understand that their access to hemp and CBD products could be cut off,” the individual said.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis laws are confusing, but this seems to be particularly true in California, despite the fact that the Golden State has had the most time to figure it out – 24 years to be exact. When it comes to marijuana and THC, the black market has the advantage. If these new laws regarding CBD pass, it will drive a federally legal cannabinoid to the state’s thriving illegal market as well.

Thanks for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Stop by regularly and make sure to subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter to keep up-to-date on all the most interesting industry topics.

RESOURCES:

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Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

Not Just For Getting High (the underreported health benefits of THC)
Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market

Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)
DELTA 8 THC Medical Benefits (The medical background of using DELTA 8 THC products)
DELTA 8 THC Business: Risks and Rewards (Read it before opening a DELTA 8 THC business)
DELTA 8 THC Legal loophole (Explains the legal background of the DELTA-8 THC business opportunity)
DELTA 8 THC Testimonials (What people have to say about DELTA-8 THC)
DELTA 8 THC Legal Paper
DELTA 8 THC Newsletter (The DELTA 8 THC Weekly Newsletter)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe
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The Complex Issue of Cannabis and Hemp Business On Tribal Land
Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19

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NUG Grows Cannabis & Communities

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, competition to innovate and stand out from the pack has never been more crucial for survival. Cannabis companies that flex cutting-edge ideas, products and services are finding themselves out in front as leaders within the industry, simultaneously growing amazing cannabis and changes in public perception of the plant. One such company is Oakland-based NUG, Inc., a premier, state-licensed company on a mission to normalize the cannabis experience while playing a key role in supporting communities most impacted by prohibition.

It’s not hard to see why the company is considered one of the fastest-growing cannabis brands in California. Founded in 2014, NUG are pioneers and innovators in the space. Their ongoing commitment to equity and community involvement to help normalize cannabis’ place in society is as important to them as their reputation for developing an industry-wide standard for handcrafted cannabis cultivation and manufacturing technology in line with California’s strict compliance codes.

Inside one of NUG’s grow rooms

NUG Grows Cannabis

NUG’s vertical integration business model allows them to be across every facet of the company. World-class facilities in Oakland house the company’s trailblazing R&D, while industry-leading technology combined with state-of-the-art cultivation, extraction and distillation facilities has allowed the company to consistently scale up production and stock their retail destinations via their distribution arm.

A proprietary track and trace system follows the life of a plant from clone to product. This seed to sale view allows NUG to better meet their consumer needs and provide more detailed information on their extensive product line that features award-winning flower including Premium Jack, which took home the coveted “Best Flower” award at the 2012 High Times Cup, concentrates, vape carts, pre-rolls and edibles. The recently released freezer pops demonstrate the brand’s continued advancement of innovative cannabis consumables.

NUG Grows Communities

NUG has two retail destinations; NUG Sacramento that stocks the brand’s portfolio of award-winning products including concentrates, edibles, flowers and pre-rolls and NUG Wellness San Leandro, which features a sectioned-off, dedicated Wellness Center offering CBD products from top brands including Papa & Barkley, including topicals, tinctures and pet products.

“Combining NUG’s commitment to create premier cannabis retail stores with our company mission of normalizing the cannabis experience, the new NUG dispensaries serve as a showcase for ‘best of the best cannabis’ grown and products manufactured in California,” said Dr. John Oram, founder and CEO.

“Equally important, the dispensary functions as an oasis for adult patients and consumers alike to feel comfortable, safe and knowledgeable before making a purchase,” he continues. “We are thrilled to make our mark in Sacramento, which will set the stage for four additional retail stores scheduled to open in California.”

NUG’s third retail store is planned to open in 2020 in collaboration with equity partners in downtown Oakland.

Cutting the ribbon at the NUG Equity Partner Greenhouses opening

NUG Grows Change

Being based in Oakland gives NUG a unique position to empower members of the cannabis community and help motivate and embrace cannabis normalization, helping to showcase the positive effects cannabis can have on local communities. NUG were early adopters of the Oakland Equity Program that works to reverse the damage inflicted on communities throughout the United States as a result of the War on Drugs.

From patented cutting-edge technology to award-winning branded products and dedication to equity and community involvement, NUG is helping grow cannabis.

TELL US, have you tried Premium Jack?

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5 Busted Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer

For
decades, growers from Northern California’s Emerald Triangle — the area encompassing Mendocino,
Humboldt and Trinity counties — have been the epicenter of America’s cannabis
scene.

The Golden State had the first legal medical marijuana market with the passing of Prop 215 in 1996. Proposition 64, the Adult Use Act, legalized growing, selling and using cannabis recreationally in November 2016.

Thousands of cannabis businesses have emerged since, all trying to establish themselves in an already saturated and highly regulated market. The industry has seen unparalleled innovation and investment across categories like product development and technology, causing a so-called “Green Rush.” It has been predicted that by 2024, the California cannabis market will comprise 25% of the entire market for cannabis in the U.S.

However,
due to the immaturity of the market, little data is available to help support
the industry. In order to help shape product development and strategic
decision-making, companies need to ask fundamental questions, like who buys the
product and what do they use it for?

To
help fill these knowledge gaps, NorCal Cannabis Company undertook a first-of-its-kind
study of California’s cannabis consumers. Using an online panel, the survey
questioned 1529 people and represents of all California cannabis consumers 21
years and older.

The result is Five Myths of Today’s California Cannabis Consumer.

Jeffrey
Graham is the VP of Business Intelligence at NorCal Cannabis Company. He helps
the company make smarter business decisions using data. According to Graham,
they decided to carry out this research because “there were many fundamental
questions about the California cannabis consumer that were unanswered, so we
decided to conduct research on our own.”

According
to Graham, the most surprising thing he discovered during the research process
was that many of the preconceptions about cannabis aren’t true. So they decided
to group their findings into five myths:

Myth
1
: Recreational users
get high for fun, while medical users are focused on their health.

The
reality is, most cannabis consumers use cannabis for both recreational and
medical reasons.

Myth
2
: Women are an
emerging market segment of new cannabis consumers.

In
fact, women already use cannabis as much as men.

Myth
3
: A handful of brands
are dominating the California cannabis market.

The
truth is that no brand has achieved a significant foothold in the market.

Myth
4
: All Californians
have access to legal cannabis.

Unfortunately,
in reality, they don’t.

Myth
5
: Consumers are
migrating from dispensaries to delivery.

In reality, consumers want an omnichannel experience to maximize their experiences.

“What
concerns us is the lack of availability that exists for regulated cannabis for
so many people,” says Graham on the finding. “The research shows how cannabis
gives relief for so many people for things like pain, insomnia and depression.
California voters approved the legalization of cannabis, but people still do
not have legal access throughout most of the state.”

Graham
believes that the study is important because it shows that cannabis helps with
“a variety of fundamental and important ways” and it isn’t a simple case of
‘recreational’ and ‘medicinal’

“I
would like people to understand that many of the assumptions they have about
cannabis consumers, cannabis usage, and cannabis availability may be wrong,”
says Graham.

To read the NorCal Cannabis Company’s report in full, visit norcalcann.com.

TELL
US
, do you smoke Californian
cannabis?

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Where to Buy CBD Flowers in California

California is typically leading the herd when it comes to cannabis-related trends, so one might be surprised to discover that CBD flowers – one of the more popular items on the scene today – can be pretty difficult to find.

For some time now, I’ve been on the hunt for the elusive, high-quality hemp buds. Living near the Coachella Valley, a veritable haven of cannabis dispensaries, I thought I could walk into one of the many storefronts in my area and find some Harlequinn, Charlotte’s Web, or other high-CBD flowers. But to my disappointment, this was not the case. Naturally, I turned to Weedmaps to see if any of the delivery services offer such strains. Once again, I hit a brick wall.

 

So I set out on a mission to create a short list of the best places to buy CBD flowers in California, in case anyone else was running into the same issues that I was. Below are a few top-notch dispensaries and delivery services, from SoCal to the Bay area, where you can find high-CBD strains.

  1. Goddess Deliveries – Goddess has a nice assortment of strains, and they’ll deliver to most areas of California within 1-2 business days. If you live anywhere between San Diego and Sacramento, this place is worth checking out. You can also get free delivery on orders of $75 or more.
  2. Organic CBD Nugs – Although this company actually is nationwide and their farm is based in Oregon, this is a very popular delivery service among Los Angelenos. Each batch of flowers from here is tested and approved by the US Department of Agriculture prior to distribution. Organic CBD Nugs is highly reviewed on Yelp.
  3. Barbary Coast Dispensary – Barbary Coast was established in 2013 and is located on Mission street in San Francisco. It’s a high-end dispensary with lab-tested products (including amazing CBD buds), a dab bar, lounge, and patient education facility.
  4. Santa Cruz Naturals – A family-owned, boutique-style dispensary, Santa Cruz Naturals is a great place to find organic, wholesome, and ethically sourced CBD flowers. They are well-reviewed on Weedmaps and even mentioned by High Times and Leafly.
  5. Seven Stars Holistic Healing Center – Another Bay area gem, 7 Stars is not only a top-rated dispensary in the area, but they have an impressive history of patient advocacy. They boast a nice selection of menu items, including some wonderful CBD buds.

So there you have it, we’ve got you covered from the Bay area to the Southern border. If you know of any good places to procure CBD flowers in California, drop us a comment in the section below. We’d love to hear about your favorites!

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