Nevada Officials Award Final 20 Licenses for Cannabis Lounges

State officials in Nevada have announced the final 20 applicants who will receive licenses authorizing them to run cannabis consumption lounges.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board conducted a digital drawing on Wednesday “via a random number selector to determine the issuance of independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses for non-social equity applicants and social equity applicants,” the agency said.

State law opened the door for the board to “issue 20 independent cannabis consumption lounge licenses, half of which (10) are designated for social equity applicants.”

The board has said that the lounges are expected to open next year. 

On Wednesday, the regulatory board announced the following social equity applicants will receive licenses to open a lounge where cannabis consumption is allowed: NV Cloud 420 Lounge LLC (City of Las Vegas); GGCPA SE Inc (Nye County); MEDSnSIN (City of Las Vegas);

Sunflower Compassionate Company (City of Las Vegas); Lyxe Consulting LLC (City of Las Vegas); Greenwood Investment Group, LLC (City of Las Vegas); N&D Enterprises LLP (City of Las Vegas); City Lights Production LLC (Unincorporated Clark County); Royal Tree TLC LLC (City of Las Vegas); and GGCPA SE 3 Inc (Unincorporated Clark County).

The following non-social equity applicants were also selected via the random draw: FCWC Operations LLC (City of Las Vegas); Shanghai Lounge LLC (Unincorporated Clark County); Higher*Archy LLC (City of Las Vegas); The Limo Joint LLC (Unincorporated Clark County);

KV Group, LLV (Nye County); The Standard Lounge, LLC (Unincorporated Clark County); La Lounge LLC (Unincorporated Clark County); Cafecito SW LLC (Unincorporated Clark County)

Las Vegas Cannabis Industry Leaders (City of Las Vegas); and Rolling Cloudz LLC (Unincorporated Clark County).

Lawmakers in Nevada last year signed off on funding for the Cannabis Compliance Board to hire the necessary staff and support in order to implement the framework for the consumption lounges.

In June, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board signed off on the final round of regulations for the consumption lounges.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in the press release at the time. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

Local television station KTNV reported that a “handful of applicants gathered at Mariposa Restaurant [in Las Vegas on Wednesday] to watch the virtual drawings unfold.”

Tyler Kilmas, the executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board, told the station what now awaits the selected applicants. 

“We will do sit down interviews and make sure we understand their ownership structure and their business plan and then they will come in front of the board and the board will determine them suitable or not to proceed to perfecting their license,” says Kilmas.

According to the station, “the state opened an application period [in October], and in total 99 applications for a license were submitted.”

Voters in Nevada approved a ballot measure in 2016 that legalized recreational cannabis use in the state. 

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Blunt Brunch Las Vegas Delivers All The Feels

The 2022 Las Vegas Blunt Brunch brought together more than 220 women working in cannabis who all showed up to celebrate and encourage one another as they navigate the ever-evolving industry. Taking place on Nov. 15 at IPEC Las Vegas, the sold-out event featured speakers, an awards ceremony, live entertainment and small-group breakout sessions. 

Following brunch, the event opened up to another 100+ guests at the social mixer for Blunt Brunch’s largest event to date. 

“We definitely stepped it up a notch in our production value from the venue to the entertainment to the activations our sponsors curated,” says Adelia Carrillo, CMO/Co-Founder of EventHi and Co-Founder of Blunt Brunch.

The social mixer was set up in the IPEC lobby and featured fun brand activations, podcast recordings and “speed dating.” 

“I had a lot of fun at my first ever speed networking at the Blunt Brunch mixer,” says Maggie Tam-Clark, a media sales executive for Cannabis Now, LA Weekly, and The Village Voice. “It was a diverse group from the cannabis industry. I got to meet the co-founder of a data operations business, a mom-and-pop CBD brand company, and a marijuana-inspired jewelry artist.”

Meanwhile, The Behind The Leaf podcast with Alex and Cassie interviewed some of the women of Blunt Brunch for a special episode released on Nov. 27. 

Girl Power and Boss Babe themes were felt from every corner—especially when TENZU and her fellow dance troupe rallied guests to all join in on learning a choreographed dance. In roughly ten minutes, most attendees were dancing in unison. In Tenzu’s word, “This might just go viral.”

The ladies were all smiles while pumping each other up (and dancing!) as they prepared to step into their boss babe heels for the week ahead at the annual MJBiz Conference. 

Blunt Brunch founders Adelia Carrillo, CMO/Co-Founder of EventHi, and Parisa Monsouri-Rad, president of Fourtwenty Collections, are building a tribe—a sisterhood—of women who can lean on each other, ask questions and ultimately create more opportunities for female cannabis entrepreneurs. 

“Blunt Brunch evolved organically through a simple act of bringing women together over brunch,” Carrillo says. “In turn, it led to Blunt Brunch, an event series to empower women executives and entrepreneurs in cannabis, through blunt conversations, collaboration and community. Our goal is to provide a safe space for women to speak candidly with each other over brunch, to offer advice, to learn from each other and to be there for each other when times are tough.”

Notable speakers included Marvina Thomas, the Honorary Mentorship Speaker, who is CEO and founder of Fourtwenty Collections, as well as Tyneeha Rivers of Cura Leaf, the main event sponsor.   

Tyneeha Rivers of Cura Leaf.

While the event provided a space for female entrepreneurs to connect, it also served as a productive segway into MJBizCon, boosting women up and perhaps giving them an extra dose of confidence as they head into the male-dominated MJBizCon event.

Mansouri-Rad says this was an intentional move. 

“With the sea of men you’ll find at MJBiz, it was imperative that we set the tone of empowering this group of outnumbered individuals,” she said. “We not only allowed women to be inspired by our guest speakers and our topic of blunt conversation, but we also allowed women to meet and connect and continue to work those new connections throughout the week.”

Blunt Brunch socials currently take place in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Phoenix, San Diego and Tucson. A vital component of the Blunt Brunch community, socials enable women from all career states in the cannabis industry to connect with one another in a fun and safe space. Carillo emphasized that the guests’ energy, kindness and positive outlook helped make Blunt Brunch Las Vegas so successful this year. 

“They were receptive to what we created, and it truly shined throughout the event,” she said. “We can’t wait to do it again next year, this time opening the brunch up to 400 women.”

Stay up to date on all Blunt Brunch networking events at bluntbrunch.com.

The post Blunt Brunch Las Vegas Delivers All The Feels appeared first on Cannabis Now.

In Conversation with Skateboarder Braydon Szafranski

Braydon Szafranski’s first skateboarding experience at age seven resulted in 30 head staples, a traumatized teenage babysitter, and a confiscated board by Mom. Where most would consider that the culmination of their skateboarding endeavors, it was simply the start for young Szafranski, unphased by the whole ordeal.

Ten years later, he fled his hometown of Las Vegas to settle in the arguable industry mecca of skateboarding, Los Angeles. By a stroke of fate, he ran into Chad Muska, one of skateboarding’s biggest talents and personalities, in front of Brooklyn Projects skate shop on Melrose Avenue. Having mutual friends from Sin City, the pair struck up a conversation, which led to watching a footage tape that Szafranski had with him. Blown away after seeing the first trick, Muska sponsored him on the spot. From that point on, Szafranski’s career took off, eventually earning himself coveted spots on the Baker skateboards and Emerica footwear teams before turning professional in 2006.

As much as skateboarding is integral to Szafranski’s existence, so is the same with marijuana. Since the early days of his career, he has been a steadfast proponent of the plant, as is most evident in the introduction of his Baker 3 video part. In our interview, we discuss how legalization has changed Nevada, the secret to achieving Zen-like clarity while trying a trick, and why the skateboarding culture has always been so closely associated with weed.

Photo by Sam Muller

Do you remember the first time you smoked weed?

In school I remember that the D.A.R.E program affected people differently. There was a cop there explaining marijuana, that it’s the “gateway drug” that “changes you and makes your personality crazy.” I remember my neighbor—my best friend since age three—and I looked at each other and we were like, Oh my god, we need to try this!

My neighbor’s older sister, who was in high school, was having a party. She came over, grabbed me, and said, “Hey, I want you to come to the side of the house with me.” Of course it was two high school dudes who were smoking her out and asked if we wanted to hit it. We both smoked and realized, Wait a minute, this isn’t anything like what the cop said—this is very mellow and casual and we don’t feel like psychos! We’ve literally been smoking ever since.

In previous interviews you mentioned that you and your dad have weed tattoos. How did those come about?

My dad knew that I smoked since I was younger, but he wouldn’t talk about it or anything because [he] was just smarter than that. When I turned 18, he came over and gave me a 12-pack of beer and an eighth of weed. He said, “If you are old enough to die for this country you are old enough to do either of these in this country—fuck what they say.”

The next thing that came out of his mouth was: “But if it was up to me, I would throw away that 12-pack and smoke this the rest of your life. I’ve never heard of anyone smoking a joint and doing a mass murder, but I see drunk people doing dumb shit every day,” he said.

He then offered to buy me a tattoo. He wanted to get some weed leaves with some handcuffs, so we both got that, with “Legalize” underneath. He always made this joke that if it ever became legal that we would add the “D.”

He never registered to vote in his life, but when legalization was on the ballet, we both registered and voted. When it passed and weed became legal, we went to a tattoo parlor the same day and added the “D.” He was jumping up and down, screaming, “It’s fucking legal!”

Photo by Sam Muller

Nevada is coming up on six years of being marijuana-friendly. How has Las Vegas, as a microcosm of the state, changed since then?

To tell you the truth, it’s something that should have happened a long time ago out here. People come to Vegas to experience all of their desires—everything they can’t do in their normal day-to-day life.

I don’t think that it’s changed; I just think that no one is paranoid anymore. If you have an ounce in the trunk of your car and it doesn’t reek, you can drive to a friend’s house without looking over your shoulder, thinking that it could be the end of everything.

I think the original argument is that people would be going crazy if weed was legalized; but clearly it’s not like that.

If anything, it calmed down the city. I’ve talked about it with people that have law enforcement in their families that have said that since it became legal, the amount of DUIs and DUI deaths have gone down because more people are smoking. Think about all those people that were super shitfaced, wasted, but instead took two hits from a joint and thought, Ah, I’m just gonna sit on the couch tonight. I don’t even care about going out. 

How, if at all, has smoking helped your skating?

It 1000% helps. Anyone that knows skateboarding understands that it’s as much, if not more, of a mental game than it is a physical one. The mental game is the strongest part of skateboarding, the hardest part. 

I think Jon Miner [Emerica footwear videographer] explained it perfectly to me. He said, “Your ADHD would always get a hold of you, where you would get close on the first try, but then get so excited and mentally in your head that you might try the trick for four hours and not make it.”

If I’m in the middle of trying a trick [that is becoming a battle], and I take a hit or two, all of sudden my mind goes from What was I losing? to What can I gain? I instantly focus in: Okay, slow it down. You know what you are doing. You know how to make this happen. You wouldn’t be trying this if it wasn’t for you knowing that you can do this. And within a try or two I usually ride away. It has everything to do with not just taking that approach from the beginning. 

It seems like what you are describing is something involving being present, almost a Zen state. 

I think a lot of people who use it as medicine in the right way can get into a Zen moment and it can honestly change your perspective of what you are doing through skating, and a lot of different things, as a whole.

Why is skateboarding and weed so closely associated with each other?

I think that weed is in every culture. However, skateboarders, before this new era, were bandits. Everything came from an outlaw perspective. Skateboarding, from the beginning, is a crime. It should always be an outlawed thing because, you know, it’s what we do. We do the funnest things in places that you are not supposed to, and that’s what makes it so spectacular.

Despite weed being considered an outlaw thing in the past, most skaters weren’t scared to hide it. Athletes in any category that wanted to be in the Olympics were scared of blowing sponsors if they got caught, even though they smoked weed in their off time! Skateboarding didn’t have drug testing and not being able to be on a team if you smoke. Skateboarding is about being who you are. I think that’s why skaters have shown the world that we smoke weed and can be open about it.

Photo by Sam Muller

You mentioned the Olympics. What are your thoughts on skateboarding being involved since Tokyo 2020?

I don’t care. Just like Jake Phelps (RIP) said, “One week every four years, and then it’s done and no one seems to give a shit again until the next four years.”

It’s the same fifteen, elite skaters that actually care over the millions of skateboarders that are out there. If you want to be part of that world, that’s awesome. I think that it’s wonderful that it’s going to be in the Olympics if that’s what skateboarding wants to be. I’m still not, to this day, going to say if skateboarding is a sport whether it is or isn’t considered one now. It’s still always what it was to me.

What are you most interested in these days?

Skateboarding. I still try to get out as much as I can. I’ve broken every bone in my body so many times, so it’s whatever. I’m 39 years old, so when I’m not sore from the last session, it’s time to get back out there.

Now I have days in between skating when I’m sore as shit, so I started thinking about other things that inspired me in my life. I always loved art, drawing, and tattoos. It fell into my lap when a friend who had a shop said, “Why don’t you just start apprenticing under me?” I thought it sounded fun. Now it’s become an addiction, just like skating. It can be nerve-racking to think, If I fuck up, this is something that is there for this person’s life. I get this same feeling of rush when I am tattooing that I do when I’m doing anything else. 

Besides that, my interests include painting, side projects, and woodshop stuff. Anything that can keep me moving and going forward.

Now for the most important question of the interview: Does weed save lives?

Weed does save lives. I’ve been saying this since the beginning of time and now the fucking world is starting to see it.

How many times have you talked about that with skaters?

It doesn’t matter what country, city, restaurant, or whatever. If a skater recognizes me, it’s always, “Weed saves lives! All right, Braydon, woo!”

Follow along with Braydon’s skateboarding and tattooing here.

The post In Conversation with Skateboarder Braydon Szafranski appeared first on High Times.

High Times To Bring Biz Bash Back to Las Vegas for MJBizCon 2022

High Times will bring together buds, business, and bowling at this year’s Biz Bash 4.0, an official after-party for MJBizCon to be held at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas later this month. With a special performance by Redman & Method Man, this year’s event promises a night of music, partying, and fun for those attending the cannabis industry’s biggest trade show.

Billed as “the most anticipated after party during MJBizCon week,” the High Times Biz Bash 4.0 is sponsored by Zig-Zag, the iconic rolling paper brand that has helped stoners stay high for decades. The event will feature a brand activation by LED grow light leader Spectrum King and a special welcome by UltraTrimmer, a manufacturer of state-of-the-art bud trimmers for commercial cannabis growers.

High Times plans to pack the Brooklyn Bowl with fun for the anticipated 1,500 party-goers, who are promised a night of networking, bowling, and musical performances. Mark Kazinec, High Times director of competitions and events, said that this year’s event will be one of the highlights of the cannabis industry’s annual gathering in Las Vegas.

“We’re thrilled to bring back the High Times Biz Bash as an official afterparty of MJ Biz Con. We have Method Man & Redman performing which will fill our event with cannabis enthusiasts from all walks of life to bowl, eat, drink and be merry,” said Kazinec. “We’ll find top cannabis executives, retail buyers, brand marketers, and the heady crowd that’s sure to be rolling up donuts outside. We always fill up the venue, so get yourself a guaranteed bowling lane or get there early, otherwise stand outside wishing you did!”

MJBizCon is the cannabis industry’s premier trade show, bringing together brands, professionals, investors, and other members of the cannabis industry each year just steps away from the infamous Las Vegas Strip. This year’s conference includes a keynote address from hip hop icon and cannabis mogul Berner, co-founder and CEO of the Cookies cannabis and lifestyle brand. Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz, will also deliver his traditional “State of the Industry and Predictions for 2023” address on Wednesday, November 16. Other notable speakers for 2022’s event include Nancy Whiteman, co-founder and CEO of cannabis edibles company Wana Brands; Peter Caldini, CEO of Acreage Holdings; Toi Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project; and Troy Datcher, CEO of The Parent Company.

“MJBizCon is a great place to collectively support each other and the industry as we look to brighter days ahead. We will capitalize on emerging opportunities, learn from new powerhouse states like New York and New Jersey, and build on momentum coming out of federal changes to come,” Walsh said in a statement on this year’s event. 

Founded in 1974, High Times has grown from an underground magazine exploring marijuana and its surrounding culture into a global brand with a leading print, digital, and multimedia presence in the evolving cannabis industry.

The High Times Biz Bash 4.0 will be held from 8:00 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, November 17 at the Brooklyn Bowl in The Linq Promenade, 3545 South Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas. Tickets are available from Eventbrite. MJBizCon 2022 kicks off on Tuesday, November 15 and wraps up on Friday, November 18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The post High Times To Bring Biz Bash Back to Las Vegas for MJBizCon 2022 appeared first on High Times.

Report Breaks Down the Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Cannabis Vacations

Upgraded Points, a travel information site, released a data report on Oct. 24 detailing which U.S. states are best and worst for a “canna-cation.”

For the top best places, the first three included Colorado cities of Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs; followed by Oakland and San Jose, California; Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada; and lastly, Portland, Maine (the only east coast state to make the list). “In these states, economies of scale have been built over the last decade, bolstered by a booming weed market that includes dispensaries, farm tours, and cannabis lounges,” said Alex Miller, Upgraded Points founder. “The industry supports over 83,000 jobs in California alone.”

Upgraded Points analysts based their report on a four-day cannabis vacation for one person. They based their results on numerous averages, such as roundtrip airfare, fast food meats and other meal prices, nightly lodging, local rideshare rates, the current price of 1/4 ounce of weed, and the cost of a 100 mg pack of edibles.

The report shows that in western states, cannabis flower prices are more affordable than eastern flower, and northern states also have a higher price for vacation factors as well. The top most expensive states include Burlington, Vermont; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Boston, Massachusetts. “Canna-cations in eastern states like Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts can be much pricier… as the infrastructure for using, purchasing, and producing cannabis is far less established in these areas,” Miller said.

The most cost-efficient locations were Oakland, California ($1,068 per day) and Spokane, Washington ($1,135 per day). Both of these locations were noted as 22% cheaper than the national average, which is $1,262.

Unsurprisingly, Denver was at the top of the list because of its many cannabis-related attractions, such as bus tours and a plethora of licensed dispensaries. Other more affordable locations include states on the west coast, especially those with an adult-use market that has been in place for anywhere between 6-10 years.

Locations such as Washington, D.C., Illinois, and Vermont record some of the highest flower prices, such as $590.50 for one ounce.

According to Miller, the U.S. cannabis tourism industry will only continue to grow. “Cannabis tourism is flourishing. The U.S. cannabis industry now supports more than 428,000 jobs and is anticipated to exceed $72 billion in sales by 2030. Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam, and weed tourism will only grow as more states are poised to legalize recreational retail sales of marijuana later this year. If you’re looking for the ideal destination for your ‘canna-cation’ this year, the grass is greener in cities like Denver, Oakland, Boulder, and Portland.”

A report released in June 2022 projected that the U.S. cannabis tourism industry could be valued at $17 billion. “By 2025, 50% of travelers in the U.S. are going to be millennials,” Cannabis Travel Association Founder Brian Applegarth. “And their relationship to cannabis consumption is extremely normalized compared to the stigmatized industry leaders of today.”

On an international scale, the tourism industry is beginning to open up. While Canada’s adult-use program is thriving, bringing cannabis over the border was prohibited, as of July 2021. In Amsterdam, cannabis tourism is being discouraged. However, in November 2021, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates ended jail time for travelers with THC.

Aside from the usual cannabis attractions, such as grow tours and having multiple dispensaries to choose from, cannabis-themed museums have continually begun to grow. In June, a hemp museum opened in Spain, and continues through February 2023. A Croatian museum also opened up back in April in the city capital of Zagreb. In 2019, the University of California, Berkeley had a limited exhibit called “Pleasure, Poison, Prescription, Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances.” Of course, Las Vegas will soon become home to a museum called the Cannabition Cannabis Museum, and the city council also recently approved consumption lounges in September which is expected to boost tourism numbers.

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Las Vegas City Council Approves Cannabis Consumption Lounges

The Las Vegas strip is about to get even more lit.

Members of the city council cleared the way for the opening of cannabis consumption lounges, voting 5-1 on Wednesday against a motion that would have had Las Vegas opt out of allowing those businesses, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The vote came after the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board in June gave its final sign off on the establishments.

The board laid out procedures for would-be lounge owners at the time.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in a June release. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

That final regulatory approval came nearly a year after Nevada state lawmakers approved funding for the Cannabis Compliance Board, which has been charged with overseeing the consumption lounges in the state.

Cities in Nevada could opt out of allowing the consumption lounges in their jurisdictions. According to the Review-Journal, by “not responding to a letter from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board earlier this month, the city automatically opted in to the licensing process, but still had an opportunity Wednesday to change course.”

Councilwoman Victoria Seaman filed the motion to opt out, but it was voted down 5-1 on Monday.

Seaman said constituents had told her that “they would rather not have them in the residential areas and have them more in the tourist areas, so, I’m not going to be supporting this,” as quoted by the Review-Journal.

But others view the lounges as yet another boon for Las Vegas’ vibrant tourism industry. It will also provide refuge for the thousands of out-of-towners who descend upon the city each week. As local news station KSNV put it, the state’s “current law leaves many from out of town consuming the drug illegally, either on the streets or a hotel room,” but the cannabis lounges will change that.

According to the Review-Journal, the lounges “will allow marijuana customers to smoke the drug legally for the first time outside of private homes since voters legalized recreational use in 2016.”

“I think it’s important for the city to consider the business opportunity that consumption lounges will bring, and also some relief of issues we’re currently hearing about a lot because we’re not offering a place for folks to actually consume when they buy,” Councilwoman Olivia Diaz told the Review-Journal after the vote on Wednesday. “We have still some way to go and some more work to do.”

The newspaper reported that there will be 20 licenses awarded throughout the state for cannabis consumption lounges, half of which will be given to social equity applicants, individuals from communities that have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.

The Cannabis Compliance Board announced earlier this month that the application period for prospective cannabis consumption lounge owners will open on October 14 and conclude on October 22.

The post Las Vegas City Council Approves Cannabis Consumption Lounges appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Knockout

Steve Cantwell spent the first two and a half decades of his life defying the odds, so it’s not entirely surprising seeing him do the same thing as a licensed cannabis cultivator. The 35-year-old former Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) fighter is living his best life as one of Nevada’s most innovative and pioneering growers in the Silver State’s legal cannabis industry. As co-owner and co-founder of Green Life Productions (GLP), along with his wife Kouanin, Cantwell and his dozen team members have built the privately-owned, boutique indoor farm near Las Vegas into one of the region’s most popular cultivators.

Selling to more than half of the Las Vegas Valley’s 85 open dispensaries, GLP is known for its superior quality created by a one-of-a-kind growing method. Since opening his grow house in 2015, Cantwell has pioneered and mastered the art of cultivating in no-till living organic soil that has been described as the purest, most natural way to grow cannabis.

“We’re the closest thing to nature for an indoor cultivation,” Cantwell says. “We don’t use any chemicals whatsoever, just the soil’s food web.”

Chasing Unicorns strain.

That food web, Cantwell says, creates a soil ecosystem in which organisms break down other organisms to create a healthy and resilient home for marijuana flower to grow. In abiding by the 12 principles of permaculture, he adds natural organisms to the soil—including compost tea, with natural fish and seaweed emulsions—to keep the ecosystem thriving.

Also key to Cantwell’s success: finding the right LED lights. GLP’s setup for its first few years in business produced above-average yields, but Cantwell knew he could do better. After connecting with Las Vegas-based Fohse in 2018, he found the answer to his prayers. With Fohse’s F1V model LED lights, which use 1,000 or 600 watts of electricity depending on the configuration, Cantwell says his yields increased by almost 25 percent compared to his old LED setup. Months later, he tried Fohse’s A3i model, which uses 1,500 watts at maximum power and is more suited for GLP’s high-bay single-level grows. The A3i outperformed even the F1V, all while using less energy than any other setup Cantwell had ever experimented with. Needless to say, he was a believer.

“Fohse changed the game for us,” Cantwell says. “The A3i is the best light source besides the sun for organic growing and nutrient cycling.”

Unlike most other LED lights designed for cannabis growing, Fohse’s FIV and A3i lights allow for a number of incredibly specific adjustments in timing and power. Those capabilities allow Cantwell to cultivate his plants and care for the soil based on his exact needs at any given time. For example, GLP starts a growth cycle using lower-power lighting during the first few weeks of a plant’s life. But by the end of the cycle as the trees near harvest, Cantwell and company intensify the lighting based on their desired yield volume and how they want to care for the soil. The first few cycles with Fohse yielded so much extra flower that GLP had to expand its facility to fit it all.

“It’s that good,” he says. “We have to pay attention now so that we don’t overgrow
the flower.”

Chasing Unicorns.

By paying close attention, Cantwell has been able to use the same soil for an incredible 27 cycles and counting. And the clean, sustainable grow does more than just help the environment. “The cannabis we produce is second-to-none because it’s completely organic,” he says. “Consumers can taste the difference, and that’s why we’ve been successful.”

Shopping for Green Life Productions products can feel almost like buying limited edition sneakers. You can find them just about everywhere in stores, but Cantwell posts about new and exclusive launches via a “drops” page on his company’s website. There, he lists dates for product debuts at up to 20 different dispensaries at a time. Want to be the first to cop Green Life’s MXBX or Miss Vegas strains? The drops page has exactly where and when buyers can find the new flower.

“The dispensaries love it, too, because they get people lining up outside the store on our launch days,” Cantwell says. “It’s been cool to see just how many people share our passion and excitement for new strains and products.”

Mac 1

Cantwell declined to share GLP’s revenue and profit tallies, but assured the numbers were big enough for the company to consider expansion. He admitted the pandemic has stalled several new projects and ideas for expanding the company, but hopes the coming year offers more opportunities as supply chain issues shore up and inflation slows down.

The sky’s the limit for GLP, but regardless of how big the business becomes, Cantwell knows making it this far has been a miracle. Afterall, his life didn’t start off all that promising.

Cantwell was born in Long Beach, CA, but moved with his family to Nevada when he was ten years old. He says his chances of making anything of his life looked slim back in his teenage years. A self-described “troubled kid,” Cantwell got booted from the city’s lone high school for fighting, leading him to confront the real world without a job or an education.

Luckily, he landed a job at a kickboxing gym in nearby Las Vegas, where he worked and trained from the age of 16. Within a couple of years, Cantwell was fighting professionally.

A decorated seven-year mixed martial arts career would go on to include almost four years fighting professionally in the UFC.

The road from high school dropout to pro fighter was a brief, albeit surprising one. Injuries forced Cantwell to retire at just 25 years old, leaving him to question what he’d do for the rest of his life. The money he’d earned and the notoriety he’d built offered a platform, but the lingering aches and injuries from his time in the Octagon threatened to limit his potential. Like so many others suffering from chronic pain, Cantwell ditched the addictive opioid meds and switched to cannabis. That decision helped him find his calling.

“I knew right away I wanted to help other people experience the same relief and healing that I was experiencing,” he said. “Thankfully, I had the right team to do it with. We’ve helped so many people and learned so much over the past few years, but we know our mission is still just beginning.”

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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Tommy Chong Electrifies Vegas at Cannabis Conference

Legendary comedic actor and musician Tommy Chong is no stranger to the big stage, whether it be the silver screen, a packed music hall or a podium before thousands of people. He’s earned more accolades than he can even pretend to remember, yet something felt different in Las Vegas on Aug. 24. There was a cannabis award to win.

On hand to receive the Cannabis Conference’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, the 84-year-old marijuana advocate cracked a smile in front of a packed ballroom at the Paris Las Vegas, then looked over at a table where his wife, son and two-year-old granddaughter sat taking in the moment.

“The reason I’ve been very successful is because I know there’s a higher power,” said Chong, one half of the renowned Hollywood comedy duo, Cheech & Chong. “It’s a dream for me to be here.”

Chong was one of six industry leaders honored with a cannabis award at the packed show, part of the three-day annual business-to-business conference held by Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower that’s known as the more intimate alternative to larger marijuana conventions such as MJBizCon. Sponsored by Fohse, a Las Vegas-based indoor horticulture lighting application and research firm, the leadership awards portion of the event returned for its second consecutive year.

Also honored with cannabis awards were Wendy Bronfein, Co-founder of Curio Wellness; Drew Duval, Cresco Labs’ Senior VP of Cultivation; Ian Hackett, President of Napa Valley Fumé; Kema Ogden, Co-owner of Top Notch THC dispensary; and Lindsey Renner, Owner of Native Humboldt Farms.

Fohse President Ben Arnet said the company backed the leadership awards as a way of giving much-deserved credit to people making positive change in the legal industry.

“We saw people doing cool stuff whether that be through charity or social equity programs, and we wanted to shout it from the rooftops,” Arnet said. “We believe it’s good for people to pull their head up every once in a while from all the work and just get a little recognition for all that they’ve done.” 

Love, Vegas Style

The Cannabis Conference is no stranger to Vegas; this week was the third edition of the event in Sin City after two years in Oakland dating back to 2017 and a pandemic-forced hiatus in 2020. It regularly draws more than 2,500 attendees and 180 exhibitors across its 85,000 square feet of convention space.

Largely thanks to Fohse’s involvement, the bustling convention has added more star power and flare every year. 

Tommy Chong was in Las Vegas just two days before receiving his cannabis award for a lifetime of achievement for Clark County’s declaration of an official “Cheech & Chong Day.” Yet the chance to be recognized for a lifetime of destigmatizing the plant was enough to convince him and his family to hop on another plane from Los Angeles to the desert metropolis.

Chong spent the majority of the day he received the cannabis award signing autographs, shaking hands and posing for photographs at Fohse’s booth on the showroom floor. A smoked-out SUV limo ride to NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on tribal land near downtown Las Vegas offered the legendary cannabis advocate a first-hand look at Vegas’ only operating cannabis consumption lounge.

PHOTO Courtesy of Fohse

“I loved the spot,” Chong said of NuWu. “I admire the Native [American] culture so much. It’s refreshing to see Native Americans leading the way in cannabis, and I believe there’s a lot that the rest of the [cannabis] culture can learn from them.”

Throughout the day, wide-eyed fans and fellow exhibitors greeted the comedy legend as he walked through the Paris and Cosmopolitan Hotels.

Oregon resident Ari Novak snapped a quick selfie with Chong in the Paris casino walkway as Chong and his entourage headed back toward the venue’s convention center. Novak, a 56-year-old engineer, cracked that he “grew up” with Chong.

“I’ve seen every one of [Cheech & Chong’s] skits and I just wanted to tell him that,” Novak said. “So surreal to be here and just randomly see one of my childhood idols walking by.”

Great Turnout

The US cannabis industry has undergone a number of significant setbacks in recent months. Besides the failure of federal authorities to make meaningful progress on banking and decriminalization laws, growers in California have been suffocated by high state taxes and government red tape. As inflation has skyrocketed, California’s bureaucratic hurdles have already put dozens of legal cannabis small business owners out of work. Media reports suggest dozens more could shut down in the next few months. 

Cannabis Business Times director Noelle Skodzinski said the majority of Cannabis Conference exhibitors and attendees come from the Golden State, and event organizers were holding their breath as this week’s event drew closer. The expo saw more on-site registrations than ever, a sign that many exhibitors waited until the last minute to ensure company budgets allowed them to attend.

PHOTO Courtesy of Las Vegas Event Photography

“Honestly, we’re pleasantly surprised with the turnout,” Skodzinski said. “With all that’s going on, we didn’t know exactly to expect.”

Looking forward, Skodzinski said she’s optimistic the California industry’s weed tax and bureaucratic hiccups will be mitigated, if not solved, by the time of next year’s Cannabis Conference. If not, both Skodzinski and Fohse’s Ben Arnet believe massive expansion in other cannabis-legal states—Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio, Connecticut and others—will help fill the void.

Conference organizers have again reserved the Paris Resort for next year’s expo but say increased demand for more exhibition space could eventually force them to move the annual expo to the much larger Las Vegas Convention Center.

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Nevada Cannabis Lounges Announced

Nevada cannabis lounges are coming. Cannabis lounges bring legalization to a new level by allowing consenting adults to openly use cannabis socially. Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board announced the news in late June. A statement reads: “Today, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) voted unanimously to approve regulations surrounding the licensing and operation of cannabis consumption […]

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Nevada Regulators Give Final Approval for Cannabis Lounges

Regulators in Nevada on Tuesday gave the final sign-off to cannabis consumption lounges, paving the way for the establishments to perhaps open up by year’s end.

The state’s Cannabis Compliance Board voted on a slate of regulations for the lounges, a crucial regulatory hurdle in a process that has been nearly a year in the making.

According to local news station KLAS, some of the regulations approved by the board on Tuesday “included safety protocols at lounges, training requirements for staff, and location requirements for the lounges,” such as “certain distances from locations such as schools and community facilities.”

It was last August when Nevada lawmakers approved funding that had been requested by the Cannabis Compliance Board to hire staff and provide other support in the regulation of the lounges.

The Nevada Independent reported at the time that a legislative committee “unanimously approved three items that will provide the [Cannabis Compliance Board] with funds to hire more staff, work with the state attorney general’s office to hammer out regulations, and direct cannabis revenue toward education funding.”

Tyler Klimas, the executive director of the Cannabis Compliance Board, told the legislative committee at the time that the additional funding helped put the state on track to have the lounges open “at least the first quarter, or the first half of 2022.”

“Not only to see the lounges open, but then also the first part is where we would start to realize that revenue,” he said at the time.

Tuesday’s vote apparently keeps that timetable in place, with the Las Vegas Sun reporting that the board said the “first state-sanctioned cannabis consumption lounges could potentially open before the end of the year.”

It has been a long time coming for the Cannabis Compliance Board, which noted in a press release on Tuesday that it held 15 public meetings to go over potential regulations for the consumption lounges.

The board also provided details for prospective lounge owners.

“In addition to outlining the licensing and operation of consumption lounges, regulations approved today lay the groundwork for greater inclusion within Nevada’s cannabis industry,” the board said in the press release. “All applicants must submit a diversity plan, summarizing actionable steps and goals for meaningful inclusion. Additionally, half of the independent consumption lounge licenses in the initial round must be awarded to social equity applicants.”

“Prior to an open licensing period, the [Cannabis Compliance Board] plans to roll out tools and resources including worksheets, video tutorials and live webinars in order to ensure interested parties have access to the same information and are able to successfully submit an application,” the release continued. “The CCB expects to open the first licensing round for consumption lounges in the Fall, allowing for the first consumption lounges to open as early as the end of the year.”

Local news outlet KLAS reported that the Cannabis Compliance Board expects “40 to 45 applications for lounges attached to retail shops and 20 independent shops, 10 of which will go to social equity applicants.”

“What we are looking for is the impacts of drug policy on individuals and members of the community. We are looking at poverty level, we are looking at any past convictions of cannabis,” Klimas said, as quoted by KLAS.

Nevada legalized recreational cannabis use for adults back in 2017, but consumption has been confined to the private homes of individuals. That, of course, hasn’t stopped people from toking up in public. As The Street said, “while it is not technically legal to light up a joint while walking the Strip…the aroma in the air suggests that it’s happening quite regularly.”

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