Capitol Rally to Bring Cannabis Tax Crisis to Doorstep of California Lawmakers

A chorus of industry stakeholders and lawmakers representing “the two populations most harmed by the War on Drugs”—legacy farmers and BIPOC leaders—plan to descend upon the California Capitol steps in Sacramento, California on Thursday, January 13  for the #NODRUGWARV2 Rally and Press conference. The rally begins at 11 a.m. PST, and every local cannabis advocate who cares about the viability of the industry is invited.

The #NODRUGWARV2 Rally and Press Conference highlights two specific actions that the California State Legislature must take before its July 1, 2022 budget deadline: the repeal of the excise tax for equity retailers and the repeal of the cultivation tax for all growers across the state.

On January 1, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s tax hike on dry-weight flower took effect—ushering in the latest blow to cultivators. The rates rose by almost five percent, reaching over $161 per pound. Calling the current tax situation in California the “War on Drugs 2.0”—the idea is to bring a sense of urgency to the issue as farms fail and tax rates purge valuable industry members.

Rally speakers include, in order of appearance, Amber Senter, chairperson and executive director of Supernova Women; Assemblymember Mia Bonta (18th District); Genine Coleman of Origins Council;  Kika Keith of Gorilla RX Wellness; John Casali of Huckleberry Hills Farm; Chaney Turner of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission; Raeven Duckett-Robinson of Community Gardens;  Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms; Henry Alston of James Henry SF; Sam De La Paz of the Hessel Farmers Grange; Malakai Amen of the California Urban Partnership; Karla Avila of Trinity County Agriculture Alliance; Carlton Williams of New Life CA; and Senator Steve Bradford (35th District). Senter will be the final speaker and conclude the day’s remarks.

On Monday, January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom released the 2022-2023 California state budget—promising that he and his Administration will address cannabis tax reform and better support the state’s small licensed operators who are fed up with oppressive tax rates. The leaders behind Supernova Women and Origins Council are among those beating the drum.

“It is very oppressive. Really—we’re in a crisis,” Amber E. Senter of Supernova Women, a nonprofit that works to empower Black and Brown people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis space, told High Times. “Cannabis sales are down. The whole economy is a bit soft. Folks just have been dealing with these onerous taxes since 2018 and folks are really beyond their breaking point. They no longer have the ability to continue under what we’ve been dealing with—particularly in the Bay Area as well as in LA. A lot of operators—especially social equity operators—are dealing with robberies and burglaries as a result of the economy and people desperate and making acts out of desperation. Folks are getting robbed, and they’re just not able to recover from what’s happening. We need some relief.”

“Not only has the State fallen short on its promise to right the wrongs inflicted upon minority communities by the War on Drugs,” Senter stated, “but it has also perpetuated regressive War on Drugs 2.0 policies through oppressive taxation, which has to end.”

Supernova Women was behind the November 29, 2021, Oakland City Hall Rally and Press Conference, with help from the Origins Council, a nonprofit organization that represents and advocates for cannabis businesses in California’s historic farming regions. There, they addressed the rash of robberies hitting cannabis businesses.

Legacy farmers are among those hit the hardest by the burden of the tax structure. “From a small legacy farmer perspective in a rural area, it’s absolutely urgent. These businesses are starting to fold,” Genine Coleman, executive director of the Origins Council, told High Times. “These farmers are starting to put their properties up for sale and move away. The prospective extinction event has begun and time is of the essence—particularly for farmers who have to evaluate if they’re going to farm this year. It’s always a challenge to work with the pace of government and policy. Bear in mind that we’re farmers—so we’re on an agricultural schedule. And so exactly now is the time that these farmers are facing these painful decisions: are they going to plant or retire their license? Potentially close the farm? There’s other tandem advocacy that we’re doing that’s time-sensitive as well. The opportunity for farmers to fallow for a year—to retain their licensing but not have the cost associated with licensing, including some of the local tax structures that are irrespective of what your crop will look like that year.”

Origins Council represents nearly 900 cultivators and associates through its partnership with Trinity County Agriculture Alliance, Humboldt County Growers Alliance,  Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance and Big Sur Farmers Association.

“When the tax was enacted, it was in the vicinity of 10 percent of farm sales,” Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms told High Times. “With the market crash,  the tax now accounts for as much as 50 percent of farm sales. This is unacceptable, especially when California is running a multi billion dollar budget surplus. Farms are teetering on the brink of insolvency, now is the time for bold action.”

Johnny Casali, a multi-generational small farmer who was sentenced to 120 months in Federal Prison for growing this plant. Casali highlighted the specifics of how the dry-weight tax is impacting cultivators. “I used to sell our Huckleberry Hill Farm sungrown cannabis for around $1,400 a pound. Because of overproduction and the lack of market access, it has brought the value down to $3-400 per pound, depending on quality, and I’m paying 53 percent cultivation tax at $161.28 per pound. After the cost of production, I’m in the red. I hope that with this Rally, the legislators will see the small farmer as I do—as a rare, phenomenal group of hard-working, family farmers who worship the land, who are die-hard environmentalists, and who were taught by their parents and grandparents how to grow the best cannabis in the world with little to no carbon footprint. We are worth saving.”

The #NoDrugWarV2 Rally and Press Conference with Supernova Women and Origins Council is slated for Thursday, January 13, at 11 a.m. PST on the steps of the Capitol building, West side. Please arrive masked and prepared to employ best COVID-19 avoidance practices. 

Live far away from Sacramento? Remote attendees may watch the Rally live via Facebook or Instagram.

The post Capitol Rally to Bring Cannabis Tax Crisis to Doorstep of California Lawmakers appeared first on High Times.

He Loves It Yeah Yeah Yeah: Paul McCartney on Growing Hemp

Regardless of whether it really makes sense, we regular people often look to celebrities to see what they’re doing, to reinforce our own decisions, and to ascertain whether something is ‘cool’ or not. For this reason, the publicized stories of celebrities and their actions are always big news, even if not real news. To go in line with this, here’s a bit on Paul McCartney, and what he says about growing hemp.

We might not all be able to be like Paul McCartney and grow our own hemp, but luckily, plenty of people do, and plenty of products are available. The hemp-derived cannabinoids market is quickly expanding, with options like delta-8 THC, THCV, HHC, and THC-O-A lining store shelves. We’ve got great deals to kick off the holiday-buying season, so take a look through our expansive products listing and deals, and start shopping today! Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC along with delta-9 THCTHCVTHCPdelta 10HHC & THC-O, so go ahead, and check out our always-updated selections.


Who is Paul McCartney?

Maybe this section isn’t necessary, but times change, musical fads come and go, and sometimes younger generations are not as up-to-snuff on what happened many decades ago. And that’s fair. Though the Beatles tend to have a reputation as the band that everyone knows everywhere, I’ve already encountered plenty of totally-with-it younger kids who are wholly unfamiliar with the band, or only know it as a name in passing. To be fair, I won’t recognize much that Mozart wrote, so it suffices to say that we can’t expect anything to stay current forever, or at least not for everyone.

As such, here are the basics. Paul McCartney was the bassist and vocalist for what might be considered the most popular rock band ever, the Beatles. This statement is not necessarily true, but the band still ranks as one of the biggest money-making bands ever, with a reputation known all over the world. In fact, even though the band existed over a half century ago, it still claims the top spot in terms of albums sold (286 million), and money brought in ($500-600 million).

Formed in Liverpool, England in the 1960’s, the Beatles did well to captivate the youth of the world, led by primary songwriters Paul McCartney and the late John Lennon. The most notable and long-lasting lineup of the Beatles included McCartney (vocals, bass) , John Lennon (vocals, guitar), George Harrison (vocals, guitar) and Ringo Starr (vocals, drums).

the Beatles

Together the band earned more number one albums and singles on the UK charts than any other act, as well as being touted by Rolling Stone in 2004 as being the most influential and important rock band of all time. The Beatles have won countless awards, made movies, and were even appointed as members of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England in 1965.

Paul McCartney (born in 1942) didn’t stop making music when the Beatles ended in 1970, but continued on with then-wife Linda McCartney in the band Wings until 1981. In all, McCartney has cowritten 32 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 (as of 2009), has been inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame twice (with the Beatles and as a single performer), won 18 Grammy awards, and was knighted in 1997. He is worth approximately ₤800 million (over $1 billion).

Paul McCartney on growing hemp

Finding celebrities that not only support the use of cannabis, but who are actively involved with it somehow (owning a business, growing large quantities, investing in the industry), is about as easy as throwing a rock into a group of celebrities. It’s become commonplace for celebrities to use their star power to promote topics that are important to them, and to help grow their own weed-related enterprises. From Snoop Dog to Mike Tyson to Martha Stewart to Calvin Johnson, the number of celebrity-run operations increases every day.

So, it’s not that shocking that a musician who was in a band known for its members usage of drugs, like cannabis and psychedelics, would be taking advantage of loosening laws on cannabis, to grow his own. And that’s exactly what Sir Paul McCartney is doing, growing hemp on his farm in Peasmarsh, UK, near Rye.

According to McCartney on a recent River Cafe Table 4 podcast, the farm is about growing all sorts of crops. Said the singer-songwriter, “We grow crops, I like doing things like spelt, wheat, rye, we grow peas.” He then added in that they have also began growing hemp. What did he have to say about it?

“We’re actually just getting into growing hemp, the funny thing with government regulations is you’ve got to keep it where people can’t see it, because you get all the kids coming in and robbing it!”

hemp farm

Yup, Paul McCartney is growing hemp up on his farm, and he needs to hide it from kids who would seek to steal his crops. Of course, hemp grown in the UK must meet the regulation of having .2% THC or less in dry weight, so it suffices to say that though its still illegal for teens to get at the plants and use them, that they wouldn’t be getting anyone high.

Paul McCartney seems to have a green thumb overall, and says he gets a lot of satisfaction from running his own farm and growing his own food. His entire operation is organic as of 20 years ago, a decision McCartney made despite the misunderstandings of those around. Says McCartney about going organic, “The local farmers said, ‘Oh, you’re stupid, what are you doing there?’ Of course nowadays they get it and they think it’s a good idea.”

Paul McCartney and cannabis

Paul McCartney, and the Beatles in general, were widely known for their drug use, which often popped up in their songs. Think Lucy in the Sky of Diamonds, an LSD reference. Or the words in the song A Day in the Life, ‘I’d love to turn you on’ which got the song temporarily banned in 1967 by the BBC because of the thought that the line – and rising musical montage after it – implied drug use. And then what about ‘I get high with a little help from my friends’ from With a Little Help From My Friends. Couldn’t get more obvious than that.

According to McCartney, he was introduced to marijuana by none other than fellow rocker Bob Dylan in 1964, and soon after became a regular user. McCartney has even had problems with the law over his marijuana use, getting arrested in 1972 in Sweden, 1975 in Los Angeles, 1980 in Tokyo, and in the Barbados in 1984. Actually, though Paul McCartney is growing hemp now, back in 1973 he was arrested by Scottish police for growing weed on his farm back then. He received an ‘illegal cultivation’ conviction, and paid a fine of $240.

Though McCartney grows hemp these days, he says he doesn’t smoke marijuana anymore, citing his family responsibilities, and setting a good example for children. He said, “I don’t do it anymore. Why? The truth is I don’t really want to set [a bad] example to my kids and grandkids. It’s now a parent thing.”

McCartney didn’t stop at cannabis, but grows hops as well on his organic farm. He brews his own ale named Old Stinkhorn. The name comes from the stinkhorn fungi which grows all over his farm.

Paul McCartney hemp

On the podcast he stated: “We do make our own ale. Through the years, I’d hear like a neighbour would be selling some land that was next door to ours so I went to one and said, ‘I hear you’re selling a hop garden…’ Long story short, I got it, and then I thought, ‘I’ve got to start doing hops,’ that’s because the region we’re in out in Sussex was a very big hop growing area.” McCartney gives away his homemade ale to friends.

Conclusion

When you get as rich as Paul McCartney, things like growing hemp, making one’s own ale, and well, doing whatever you want, seems par for the course. And though it might not really matter to the rest of us in our own lives, we sure love to know all about what our favorite musicians are up to, especially when it has to do with the world of marijuana.

Not only is McCartney outwardly promoting the growing and usage of hemp with his personal operation, but he’s also promoting organic farming, and generally cleaner living.

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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 He Loves It Yeah Yeah Yeah: Paul McCartney on Growing Hemp appeared first on CBD Testers.

After Harvest: From Drying to Selling Cannabis

The joys and challenges of being a small farm cannabis cultivator are myriad. Beginning in the spring, when we first “crack” our seeds in preparation for planting, the thrill is there. Each delicate little sprout is carefully placed in living soil, and for the following seven months, we have the supreme joy of watching those tiny shoots develop into glorious big girls, laden with luscious buds.

Naturally, there can be setbacks along the way, whether from climate, bugs, disease, predators or basic human errors. Generally, the pleasure overrides the problems. By autumn, the time comes to harvest the crop and begin the drying and curing process.

Drying and Curing Cannabis

Just when you think you are in the clear because the harvest is in the barn, now is when the conscious cultivator must really be aware. All too often we hear of farmers losing their entire crops to mold or mildew due to improper drying and curing. We also see many supply chain problems.

Once the cannabis is properly cured at the farm, it’s sent off to the processor for trimming and packaging, and it’s no longer in the cultivator’s control. During the long journey from garden to consumer, any number of issues can cause even the highest quality flowers to degrade.

Nevertheless, the first step after harvest is the proper drying, curing and bucking down of the cannabis. At the Swami Select farm, located in California’s Emerald Triangle, we hang our cannabis branches upside down on nylon netting for at least two weeks in the dark in our timber frame barn. The temperature and humidity should both hover just around 60 degrees to ensure proper drying. If it’s wet outside, we use dehumidifiers to maintain the humidity levels. We also have a fire burning in the wood stove when the outside temperatures dip too low, which also helps to control the humidity.

When the tiny stems break instead of bending, it tells us that the buds are dry enough. Then we gently take the branches down off the drying nets and place them on long sheets of unbleached Kraft paper, which are rolled up like burritos open at the top. We keep them stored in the barn, and after a few more days of careful observation, we roll up the top of the “burritos” so they are enclosed. When fully dried and ready for the curing process, we place the rolls into non-scented contractor bags and store them in the barn until ready to be bucked down.

Bucking Cannabis

A “turkey bag” of bucked cannabis.

Swami and I do our own bucking here at the ranch. Bucking means cutting the full buds off of the branches and removing any large fan leaves—the ones that you would never want to smoke because they have no “sugar” on them. We leave the smaller sugar leaves around the buds to protect them until the final trim when they become “trim shake.”

Once bucked down, the buds are placed in turkey bags (also known as “oven bags”) and then into large tubs which are labeled with the Metrc numbers of the plants inside. We are required to weigh the buds of each plant when they leave the ranch and report the weights to Metrc. We also have to report the weight of the stems and leaves that are cut away and put on the compost pile.

Processing and Packaging Cannabis

Loading up the Distro Van at Swami Select.

Finally, the time has arrived to send the girls off to school, or that’s what it feels like. After eight or nine months of carefully tending our precious plants, a large white unmarked van will show up at our ranch, and the tubs full of bucked flowers will be driven away. At this point, we have little control over their journey through the supply chain and pray the flowers are in good hands and not mistreated by the time the consumer receives them.

We used to trim and package it all at home, but now, because of Department of Cannabis Control regulations which prohibit commercial cannabis operations in residential dwellings, as well as city and county zoning ordinances and building codes, most farmers can no longer perform their own trimming and packaging. Instead, the flowers will be trimmed by a professional crew at a processing center that typically packages them as well.

When specifying hand-trimmed bud, many farmers complain that no matter how much they instruct the trimmers to only hold the buds by the stem to keep the trichomes intact, many ignore these instructions. Some processors use a machine to buck or remove leaves and then do a hand finish in order to claim that the cannabis is “hand-trimmed.” However, this treatment can knock off the trichrome heads as well. Packaging is also a delicate operation which involves properly weighing out and placing the buds into their final jars or bags for sale.

Once the flowers have been packaged, the distributor will keep them in storage while waiting for test results and order placements. To maintain the quality of the flower and prevent it from becoming too dry, the temperature/humidity parameters during both the operations and storage phases are critical. How many storage areas, on a boiling hot California summer day, for example, are truly kept at 60 degrees or cooler? Not many is what we’ve discovered. How many delivery vans are refrigerated properly? It’s rare to find a processor and distributor who will give the flower the same love and care as the farmer would have.

Maintaining Control of Your Craft Cannabis

Nikki gives instruction to the Seed2Soul Trim Crew.

Even with a perfect curing operation, once the flowers leave the farmer, there’s not much the farmers can do to protect them. Hence, by the time consumers purchase their flower, it may no longer be at optimum quality. This dilemma is a very real problem.

So, what is the solution? For starters, farmers must keep as close an eye on their processor/distributor/retailer as possible to ensure proper trimming and packaging techniques, as well as monitoring transport and storage conditions. This can be a real challenge considering many farms are miles away in distant rural communities.

The other option is to invest in a microbusiness license which allows growing, processing and packaging at the farm, as well as a being your own distributor with a retail location or non-storefront retail delivery license. But this is an expensive proposition; it requires commercial buildings and extensive security measures and ADA access, as well as a delivery vehicle and driver. Several small farmers are considering alternative ways to form collectives to make it more possible.

The old days of just growing great weed, trimming it at home, and driving a few pounds in turkey bags down to the city are long gone. But that doesn’t mean that craft farmers, who insist on the highest quality, cannot still maintain control. It is a challenge, but well worth it.

The post After Harvest: From Drying to Selling Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

New Mexican Supreme Court Ruling & the Start of a Commercial Cannabis Market

The Mexican government might be dragging its feet, but the court system isn’t. A new Mexican Supreme Court ruling has now signaled the start of a commercial cannabis market in the country by way of a low-THC industry, done through a ruling in favor of the company Xebra Brands.

The Mexican commercial cannabis market has been waiting to commence for nearly three years. Now, a new Supreme Court ruling is getting it on its way. Luckily, cannabis markets are already set up in 18 states of the US, with tons of products, both regulated and unregulated, to take advantage of. Like the new cannabinoid market which boasts a host of compounds from delta-8 THC to HHC to THCV. It’s the time of year again to think of Christmas trees and stocking stuffers, so check out our deals on cannabis compounds to get the holidays going right.


A little background on the Mexican cannabis conundrum

At the end of 2018, a fifth consecutive Supreme Court ruling was made in Mexico related to the recreational use of cannabis. As all five consecutive rulings were somehow in favor of recreational use, this set off something called jurisprudencia. Jurisprudencia happens when five consecutive rulings override stated legislative law, to make new legal precedent. In this case, it was decided that the stated laws of cannabis prohibition were unconstitutional.

When this happened in 2018, the Supreme Court essentially commanded the government to come up with new legislation that was in concert with these court rulings, which had just become law by way of jurisprudencia. Otherwise, the written laws, and the new stated laws would be in contrast, with one set saying prohibition is unconstitutional, and one set saying that the cops can arrest a person for possession and use.

This was all fine and good, except the government has been wriggling out if its responsibility since it was given it. At the first deadline, one year after the rulings, the government could not pass a bill, and asked for an extension by the court, which was granted. Deadline two came in spring of 2020, at which point the government asked for and received, once again, an extension. Third deadline came in December of 2020, and for the third time, an extension was asked for and granted. This brought us to April 2020, when not only did the government not have the work done, but it didn’t even ask for an extension.

Mexican Supreme Court

By not asking for an extension, it was sort of like the government flipping the bird to the Supreme Court. But apart from being a rude gesture (or showing of incompetence), it also kicked it back to the Supreme Court to do something to maintain its ruling. So, on June 28th 2021, the Supreme Court – without a bill passed to institute laws or a regulated industry, dropped the laws of prohibition around personal cultivation and use making Mexico the 4th legalized country. Nothing else changed though. At least, not until the Supreme Court was forced to make a new decision.

Supreme Court ruling opens Mexican commercial cannabis market

The initial ruling in 2018 did nothing to establish a Mexican commercial cannabis market; such structures generally come from written legislation. Even the dropping of the laws of prohibition this past June also did nothing to institute a commercial market. So now, two years after the first deadline, no law exists, and no market has been created, even though private cultivation and use have been legalized for adults.

A lot can be wagered as to the reason for this delay. According to the government itself, it has to do with infighting over issues like protections for local farmers, and restrictions of use. To those less trusting of government lines, it appears to have more to do with going up against cartels, or making decisions that could put politicians at odds with different illegal organizations.

Considering over 100 politicians were killed in the lead-up to the 2018 elections in Mexico, it’s hardly far out there to assume individual politicians are afraid to anger the very organizations which have already been running these black-market industries for decades. This is what I think, but you can form your own opinion on the situation.

Anyway, though the government continues to stall, the Supreme Court has once again pushed forward in favor of its own ruling, making yet another ruling in a different case, which starts the process of opening a Mexican commercial cannabis market. The ruling, made on December 1st, was in favor of the company Xebra Brands, whose Mexican subsidiary Xebra Mexico, went to the Supreme Court over what it said was the unconstitutionality of not allowing cannabis to be grown commercially with 1% THC or less. Xebra Brands can be found on the Canadian Securities Exchange as XBRA.

The case

On December 1st of this year, the Supreme Court ruled in an unappealable ruling, that it was indeed unconstitutional to bar the production of low-THC cannabis. This ruling now means that Mexico’s Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) – its national health agency, must implement this decision.

cannabis industry

COFEPRIS was challenged in court by Xebra Mexico, over the legality of production for medical and scientific purposes, but not for commercial use. Technically, Mexico is supposed to be instituting such a system – complete with regulation, but since the government hasn’t turned in its homework, the stated laws have remained that commercial cannabis cultivation is illegal. Xebra used the five consecutive rulings, and the announcement of cannabis laws being unconstitutional, to go after COFEPRIS’ ban on commercial production.

It’s not shocking that Xebra won. The Supreme Court has to keep in line with its own ruling, and its own ruling stipulates this should be okay. That there are no laws to govern such an industry is a failing of the government, but shouldn’t erode the peoples’ ability to use  the laws afforded them. And that’s what Xebra did by going up against COFEPRIS in court.

The company now plans to put out a line of low-THC products involving CBD and CBG, in the form of topicals, tinctures, oils and beverages. As can probably be imagined, this should open a floodgate of companies following suit, which should put that much more pressure on the legislature to get its act together if it doesn’t want pandemonium. Or, more realistically, if it wants to be able to tax the industry. That, of course, will mean making real decisions, which the legislature is going to have to buckle down and do.

The future of the Mexican commercial cannabis market

If you’ll notice, I didn’t say ‘Mexican regulated commercial cannabis market’, though that’s what it should be. Usually, laws are put on paper to establish rules and oversite for an industry, which include the government’s own cut of it through taxes. Without having laws on the books, not only is there nothing to guide the industry in terms of safety measures, operating guidelines, or industry restrictions and consequences, but it also means the government gets nothing out of it, which governments don’t tend to like.

While it technically could continue this way, it leaves the door wide open for all kinds of abuses. Allowing for abuses within an industry can result in more than simply faulty or fraudulent products, it can lead to real harm and death, and the subjugation of populations. Think of what diamonds did to the people of Africa. Without any form of regulation, no company is beholden to anyone about business practices, and what is used in products never has to be disclosed, or can be lied about profusely. Now think of vape deaths from added chemicals, and how easily that could have been avoided by simply not using the additives that made people sick.

When Mexico’s legislature gets it together, it will provide the laws to regulate the industry, which should then be expanded to include a high-THC market as well. Though Xebra just won the right to produce products, it should be remembered that buying and selling those products still remain illegal.

Mexican commercial cannabis market

Xebra will have to do more to get products to market, though perhaps the company is banking on the government doing its job by that time. As of right now, Xebra has no cannabis industry guidelines to go by, and can do what it wants on many fronts. In the future, Xebra will be held to certain requirements, but as of right now, those requirements don’t exist, at least not for cannabis production. In fact, it has not been made clear what government agency will oversee such production, and what preexisting laws related to farming and product production, might apply. Some laws undoubtedly will.

Perhaps Xebra intends to export all products out of the country to be sold elsewhere, or maybe it’ll be waging a new lawsuit to gain the ability to sell in Mexico. Either way, commercial production of low-THC cannabis products is now a thing in Mexico.

Conclusion

With this Supreme Court decision which begins to establish a Mexican commercial cannabis market, Mexico is plunged even more deeply into confusion and disarray. Hopefully this new ruling will light a fire under the collective butt of Mexican Congress, and get it to do its job. If it doesn’t, a new free-for-all is likely to surface and become incredibly intense, and what that will ultimately lead to? Who knows…

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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 New Mexican Supreme Court Ruling & the Start of a Commercial Cannabis Market appeared first on CBD Testers.

How to Tell if Your Cannabis Plant is Male or Female

Cannabis cultivators the world over know the obsessive, purgatorial feeling of waiting for their plants to mature to discern sex – female, male or hermaphrodite. A male plant, while essential for reproduction, can also run rampant across a garden and devastate an entire crop of flowering female plants — intended for consumption — by inadvertently pollinating them and causing hermaphroditism. If culled and managed correctly, the male becomes a key part of this sustainable, perpetuating reproduction process.

There’s no way to ascertain if a seedling is male or female with the naked eye. Growers often find themselves on the edge of their seats waiting for plants to mature while telltale signs of sex slowly reveal themselves.

As they mature, plants express themselves physically in characteristic ways. Size is a great indicator of sex. Males tend to grow faster and higher in the first stage of growth than do the females. Male plants have a longer intermodal space as well. The intermodal space is the space between the limbs of the plant that originate from the main stalk. Females are smaller than a male plant in the beginning growth stages, with shorter intermodal spaces and a squatter appearance.

Male plants also get a woodier stalk sooner than do females. This is needed to support the taller plant. The male plant is usually the source of fiber that is used in fabrics and other industries. While the female plant is also used as a source of industrial fiber, the male plant is preferred. Male cannabis plants look more like hemp than does a female cannabis plant. Its fibers are almost as tough, but the cellulose that the male cannabis plant contains isn’t as robust as is the male hemp plant.

The goal is usually to raise a crop without seeds. This is known as a sin similla plant. It’s a Spanish word that aptly translates as “without seeds.” Most people bunch the two words into one, making it sinsimilla to the foreign tongue. A sinsimilla plant, then, is an unpollinated female plant.

Flowering in both sexes usually starts within the third to fourth week of growth. There can be more recent signs that a plant is male, but the clincher is when they start to flower. The first buds will usually begin where the limb reaches the main stalk.

A male plant will have a purely green bud. The flower comes later. It looks like it’s a rolled up flower that hasn’t unrolled yet. A female plant will have a sprout that looks more like a pair of long thin flowers as it sprouts. The sprouts on the males will eventually open into a pollinating flower. If the male isn’t culled it will pollinate the females and cause seeds to appear. The female plant will be less potent and will harvest less bud. Plus you’ll have to pick out all of the seeds or the pipe will periodically explode as it burns a seed.

For situations when seeds are the desired result, there is always a male in the crop. To have the females produce copious amounts of seeds, just leave the male crop where it is and with the help of a good strong fan to circulate the male’s pollen, you’ll have bunches of seeds hanging from the females in eight to 10 weeks.

Know a mature seed by its texture and appearance. Its texture will be firm and light, usually with spots of some amount. Once all of the seeds look alike it is time to harvest the seeds.

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Solar Power As An Energy Source For Cannabis Growers

Cannabis production is an energy-intensive activity. Producers must maintain the right conditions of temperature, light, and humidity for the plant to grow. The process requires an electrical system with sufficient capacity to power operations such as lighting, HVAC system, drying, CO2 inject, space heating or water handling. Solar power for cannabis growers can be a […]

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Luxembourg to Become First EU Country to Legalize Cannabis Cultivation and Consumption

The European country of Luxembourg (also called the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), which shares borders with Belgium, Germany and France, has a population of approximately 62,000 people. As one of the 27 countries that make up the European Union (EU), it could officially become the first in the EU to legalize cannabis cultivation.

The Luxembourg government announced on October 22 that it would be changing its laws on cannabis, with the intention of legalizing cultivation as well as personal consumption. The changes are included in a defense measure (which includes a total of 27 measures targeted at drug-related crime) that is targeting drug crimes in the country, according to Minister of Justice Sam Tanson.

“We thought we had to act, we have an issue with drugs and cannabis is the drug that is most used and is a large part of the illegal market,” Tamson said at a press conference. “We want to start by allowing people to grow it at home. The idea is that a consumer is not in an illegal situation if he consumes cannabis and that we don’t support the whole illegal chain from production to transportation to selling where there is a lot of misery attached. We want to do everything we can to get more and more away from the illegal black market.”

Adults over 18 years old would be allowed to cultivate up to four of their own cannabis plants at home. The location of these plants would be permitted in any residence, both indoors or outdoors, as well as on balconies, terraces and gardens. According to The Guardian, cannabis seeds would also be legal to obtain. Cannabis seeds would eventually be sold in shops, or purchasable online. Luxembourg officials also altered the punishment of possession.

The consumption or possession of cannabis under three grams is now a misdemeanor instead of a criminal offense. Prior to these new changes, a possession fine ranged from €251 to €2,500. “Above three grams, nothing changes, you will be considered a dealer,” Tanson said at the press conference. “Nothing changes for car drivers either: there is still zero tolerance.”

The reasoning behind Luxembourg officials’ decision to embrace cannabis is to curb the growth of illegal sales on the black market. However, this is only the beginning of the country’s path toward legalization. Tanson described the October 22 announcement as “a first step in our project to legalize recreational cannabis.” No announcement was made in regards to an official launch date, since this legislation is not yet set in stone. It must pass through the Chamber of Deputies next. According to translated text from the Luxemburger Wort, a local Luxembourg newspaper, Tanson expects “further measures to be taken by the end of the term, in 2023.”

One of Luxembourg’s three political parties, The Greens, posted a press release expressing the party’s approval of cannabis legislation. “The war on cannabis has failed. The announcements by Justice Minister Sam Tanson represent a fundamental reorientation of Luxembourg’s drug policy,” the press release states. “Finally, the use of cannabis is being regulated and a legal alternative to the black market is being created. This sets the course for a comprehensive regulation of cultivation and distribution. We expressly welcome the fact that the government will continue to push ahead with the coalition agreement project.”

Luxembourg has been previously committed to cannabis legalization in the past, having announced in August 2019 that it wanted to be the first EU country to legalize cannabis production and consumption. At the time, former Luxembourg Health Minister Etienne Schneider cited the failures of prohibition, and called upon other EU countries to loosen their own drug laws in relation to cannabis. Some reports shared that Luxembourg was using Canada’s approach to legalization. Schneider and other officials also toured a Canopy Growth Corporation facility in Smith Falls Canada back in 2018.

Previously, Luxembourg legalized medical cannabis in 2017, with its program having launched in 2018. The country could soon join other countries such as Uruguay, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2013, and Canada, which legalized in 2018, as well as numerous states in the U.S.

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What to Know to Harvest Cannabis Like a Pro

The first rains have come and gone, the mornings are getting frosty, cannabis harvest is in full swing and it’s all hands on deck! The cutting down of the girls can extend for four or five weeks depending on the weather and how many different cultivars are being harvested. Preparation beforehand is the key to a successful harvest because improper drying and curing can ruin a good crop.

An important thing for every cannabis farmer to remember is that it takes almost as much square footage to dry cannabis as it does to grow it. So, if your number of plants has increased, so must the drying area. At Ganja Ma Gardens, we hang the full smaller plants and cut branches from the bigger ones, placing them on nylon netting hung vertically in our barn. Hauled up out of the way in the off season, this netting can be reused for many years.

The barn is at the edge of a Douglas fir forest which shades the building and helps keep the temperature from fluctuating too much. The trees also perfume and purify the air. It is a timber-frame barn built of wood, much of it harvested from fallen trees on our land. Cannabis drying in a wooden barn is rather like fermenting grapes in a wine barrel.

What Month Should You Harvest Your Cannabis Plants?

We always choose a few cultivars that mature early, (starting in late Sept./early Oct.) some that are ready for harvest in mid-Oct., and others that ripen late in the month. We like staggering the harvest because it requires less drying space.

The big question is: What is the absolute best day to cut a particular plant? 

The key indicator is the look of the pistils – the little hairs that protrude out of the flowers. When the plant is ripening, these pistils are a pale whitish to translucent yellow-green, curving upward at the very top of the bud and around the bracts. When the majority of these pistils are rusty-brown and crinkled looking, the flowers are near their peak.

Swami inspects the plants with a headlamp during early morning harvest.

To make the final decision for the day of harvest, I have my own special way of asking the plant herself if she is ready to come in. On the day before the cut I go around to each plant that looks ready and, while gently touching a leaf, ask her: “Are you ready to come in tomorrow? Do you want to come in tomorrow? Should I leave you to be cut on a later day?”

If she says yes to the first two questions and no to the third one, she will come in the next morning. If she says no and no, leave me to a later day, I won’t cut her.

At this point you must think I am crazy, talking to my plants, or rather, listening to them. My technique involves kinesiology, something I learned years ago from a favorite acupuncturist. By trying to pull my index finger apart from my thumb as I ask the question, my body gives me the answer. If I can’t pull my fingers apart with all my strength, the answer is “yes.” If I can’t hold them together no matter how hard I try, the answer is “no.”

Once the plants for harvest are selected, the team goes out and pulls off any remaining yellow or brown leaves. Yellow leafing has been an ongoing process starting in early September, but this final clean up helps to reduce the drying time in the barn.

What Time of Day Should You Harvest Cannabis Plants?

Harvest starts before first light at five thirty in the morning when the terpenes and cannabinoids are at their peak. We usually take about 20 plants a day, so with our 200 plant count there will be 10 harvest mornings.

For the cut, the team is all bundled up, wearing headlamps, gloves, long johns and overcoats. It’s cold and dark – only 25 at times. Occasionally, frost sparkles on the trellis poles. A heavy frost can damage or even kill a plant, especially if there are two or three frost days in a row. We lost about 10 plants last year, so if the weather report issue a frost advisory, we cover each plant with a piece of frost cloth, supported by bamboo trellising.

Plants at Ganja Ma Gardens with frost protection.

For trellising in the garden, bamboo poles six feet long are attached horizontally with zip ties to eight foot vertical poles, which if kept dry, can be used for many years. If the frost cloth is used, that comes off first. If there is no frost cloth, the first step at the crack of dawn is cut the zip ties on the bamboo poles holding up the heavy branches.

A clean 10 x 12 tarp is placed on the ground next to the plant and the cutting begins. We harvest the whole plant at once, cutting each branch off the trunk and placing it gently on the tarp. If it is a very small plant we cut the whole thing, trunk and all, with loppers or a pruning saw. The corners of the tarp are then hooked together with a carabiner through the grommets, the Metrc label attached, and the tarp is carried to the trailer parked outside the garden gate. When the trailer is full it is pulled to the barn and each plant is weighed in its tarp, then carried into the barn for hanging.

How to Dry & Weigh Your Cannabis Harvest

For legal cannabis in California, each plant needs to be weighed immediately after cutting and that weight needs to be reported to Metrc. This little dance needs to be choreographed into your harvest plan. The scale needs to be checked and certified each year by the County Agricultural commissioner, so make sure your annual scale certificate is up to date.

Figure that each batch harvested on a particular day needs at least 10 days and often two weeks to dry. Of course, the actual drying time depends on the inside and outside humidity and temperature. This is where fans and dehumidifiers come in.

The rule of thumb is harvest at 60 degrees and 60% humidity. If you are caught harvesting in the rain, its best to first hang the plants to drip off outside the final drying area before hanging. In this case, set the dehumidifier to drop the humidity to about 45% for the first day or two.

Plants hanging to dry in the barn at Ganja Ma Gardens.

After two weeks of drying, you can tell it’s time to take down the plant if a little twig holding a bud snaps instead of bends. For take down, a sheet of brown kraft paper, about six feet long, is cut from a 40 inch wide roll and laid on the floor under the hanging plant. After taking down 15 to 20 branches, we roll up the paper like a burrito, fold over one end and tape it with packing tape.

Be sure to tape the blue Metrc tag to the roll, write the plant name and number the rolls for each plant with a Sharpie. We keep all the paper “cannabis burritos” in the barn, even if some plants are still hanging. The bags stay in the climate-controlled barn until the buds are bucked down off the branches.

Soon the whole floor of the barn is filled with standing paper cannabis burritos. This makes it easy to estimate the yield of a particular plant just by counting the number of brown paper bags for each plant. Bucked buds are then stored in Ostrich Bags – giant turkey oven bags – which are also kept in the climate controlled barn in the classic yellow-top black-bottom tubs awaiting trimming. You may need to “burp” the tubs from time to time so that all the branches inside end up with the same residual moisture content.

Harvest is a stressful time with early rising and lots of hard work, but there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when all the girls are cut and hanging in the barn. Seven months of work has come to fruition. Then you get to roll up a fatty of the new harvest and sample the first nugs of the new crop! Mind you, it is still not really fully cured for another month or so at least, but I can never resist firing one up as soon as it is dry and trimmed.

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New Licenses Awarded to Expand Cannabis Industry in New Jersey

Regulators in New Jersey last week voted to significantly increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. 

In a four to one vote on Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission agreed “to issue 10 new licenses for medical marijuana cultivators and four new licenses for vertically integrated businesses, which grow, manufacture and sell medical marijuana at dispensaries,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

With the approval from the commission, the “number of legal cannabis growers in the state will more than double,” according to the newspaper.

The publication noted that by “the state’s own estimates, there should be 26 medical marijuana cultivators and 61 dispensaries to handle that number of patients,” but instead “the state has just 23 active dispensaries selling cannabis grown by only 10 operators.”

New Jersey legalized medical cannabis in 2010, when then-governor Jon Corzine signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, which cleared the way for qualifying patients to receive the treatment. Today, those qualifying conditions include: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Anxiety, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Dysmenorrhea, Glaucoma Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease, Intractable skeletal spasticity, Migraine, Multiple sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy and Opioid Use Disorder.

The list of qualifying conditions broadened in 2018, when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a slate of reforms designed to “expand access to marijuana for medical purposes and to reduce barriers that patients face when they are seeking access to medicinal marijuana.” Some of the recommendations in Murphy’s reform push included establishing “new categories of qualifying debilitating medical conditions,” among them: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders and chronic visceral pain. 

Last year, New Jersey was one of four states where voters passed ballot proposals legalizing recreational marijuana (Arizona, Montana and South Dakota were the others), and lawmakers in the Garden State have been busy implementing a regulated system.

New Jersey Medical Cannabis Industry is a Work in Progress

In February, Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, which officially legalized pot use for adults aged 21 and older.

Murphy, a Democrat, said the legislation will “establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters.”

“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible,” Murphy said in a statement. “This November, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model.”

In addition to that bill, Murphy also signed also signed S3454, which clarified “marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old.”

“Today, we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the Legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue,” Murphy said at the time.

In the vote on Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission also hammered out new terms for license holders, including one provision requiring them to “wait at least one year before applying for a permit to transition into recreational sales and cannot change ownership for two years,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

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How to Cultivate Weed the Old School Way

Continuing from our guide to growing weed the old school way, follow along with this week’s guide to cannabis cultivation and learn how to cultivate weed the old school way! Step One: Harvest (Continued) The first step is to cut the cannabis plant from the ground. You should cut or saw the stalk (base of […]

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