New Orleans Bars Welcome THC Seltzer

Thanks to new cannabis laws in Louisiana, the city’s famous Hurricanes, Hand Grenades, and Big Ass Beers have some new competition. Crescent 9 THC Seltzer, the highly satisfying cannabis beverage from New Orleans-based Crescent Canna, is now available at select bars and venues throughout the city.

The growing list includes one of the city’s most iconic music venues, Tipitina’s, which has hosted legendary acts like Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, and the powerhouse funk band Galactic, which now owns the place.

“We’re happy to be carrying Crescent 9 THC Seltzer at Tipitina’s,” says Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio. “It’s a natural fit for a club like ours, plus it’s tasty and refreshing. Very soon we expect almost all of the bars and clubs in town to be carrying Crescent 9, and the Tipitina’s family is excited to be among the first in New Orleans to have it behind the bar.”

Although medical marijuana has been legal in New Orleans since 2015, recreational marijuana is still illegal. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to bring your medical card to bars. To order THC seltzer, you just need to be 21 or older with a valid photo ID.

How can this be? Well, although marijuana is illegal in New Orleans, hemp is fully legal. Delta-9 THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana, can also be derived from hemp—and the effects are the same. So New Orleans companies can use hemp-derived Delta-9 THC to make legal THC products.

Louisiana Cannabis Laws

In 2022, Louisiana passed Act 498 to affirm the legal status of hemp products and clarify how they are regulated. Legal cannabis products in Louisiana must contain exclusively hemp-derived cannabinoids and less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. 

All consumable hemp products need to be registered with the Louisiana Department of Health. To be registered, products must meet safety and quality standards, have accurate labeling, and be third-party lab-tested by an ISO 17025−accredited laboratory. 

Crescent 9 THC Seltzer was the first Delta-9 THC seltzer to be registered with the Louisiana Department of Health. With 6 mg of Delta-9 THC, 3 mg of CBD, and a touch of caffeine, Crescent 9 provides an uplifting psychoactive experience. This energizing beverage is perfect for a night out, and it won’t make you sleepy.

Low in calories but high in flavor, Crescent 9 THC Seltzer contains a refreshing tropical blend of fruit juice and puree with a hint of terpenes.

Benefits of THC Seltzer

Unlike THC gummies, THC seltzer provides fast-acting effects that you feel within 15 to 30 minutes, so you have more control over your experience, and therefore more power to ensure it’s a positive one. You can choose to coast on your current level of effects or elevate them by drinking more. 

Highly refreshing and delicious, drinking THC seltzer is a thoroughly enjoyable way to use cannabis—no inhalation required! It’s also sippable and sharable, enabling a more social experience.

A Better Way to Party in the Big Easy

THC seltzer provides an uplifting buzz without booze, so you can skip the unpleasant after-effects of alcohol and still keep the party going. When you’re done partying, you’ll get a more restful sleep thanks to the relaxing effects of cannabis and you’ll avoid the next-day hangover.

Recognizing the negative effects of alcohol, the California Sober movement—referring to adults who are replacing alcohol with cannabis—continues to grow. According to a 2020 poll, 45% of adults over the age of 21 have been making the switch. The surging popularity of cannabis beverages will indubitably help accelerate this trend.

Where to Get Crescent 9 THC Seltzer

Crescent 9 THC Seltzer is already available at many locations in New Orleans, including MRB, Rainbow Grocery, Ra Shop, Simply CBD, Crescent City Vape, Tipitina’s, Kajun’s Pub, Arabella Casa Di Pasta, Twelve Mile Limit, Health 4 NOLA, Mushroom, The Herb Import Company, Up in Smoke, Town Crier, Broad Theater, Bamboulas, and Market 45.

Not in New Orleans? Adults who are 21 or older can order Crescent 9 THC Seltzer online at Orders are eligible for $5 flat-rate shipping, and shipping is free if your order exceeds $99.

The post New Orleans Bars Welcome THC Seltzer appeared first on High Times.

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler

Do you suck at rolling joints? You need not worry, because most likely, the majority of casual smokers fall into the same category. Laissez les bons temps rouler—French for “Let the good times roll”—is today’s unofficial mantra.

Mardi Gras—French for “Fat Tuesday”—falls on February 21 this year, always taking place on a Tuesday. You may not be heading south to New Orleans or Lafayette, Louisiana, but chances are there is a holiday sale at a nearby dispensary or a cannabis-themed Mardi Gras party. There are a lot (we checked). 

You don’t have to possess the sleight of hand—the roll-and-tuck finger motions of rolling a joint or blunt—to get away with rolling a joint. Fact is, many of us do not possess that skill, even some of the ones who have smoked for years.

Before you graduate onto more advanced joints involving woven licorice papers and twaxxed out tips, here are a few hacks to get around the hardest parts of rolling a joint.

High Times put together not one but two newbie hacks for the rolling-impaired. And chances are that you’re gonna be impaired in some form today if you’re celebrating Mardi Gras. Plus, you might need some extra weed for the hangover.

Before you let your hair down and get your Mardi Gras beads, here’s some hacks if you’re too impaired to roll:


Credit Card Swipe Hack
The only tool you need for this hack is a debit card or a credit card—expired ones are fine in this case. I first learned this trick by watching the host of the TV show Wake and Bake with Dom Brown on @HiptrTV. Dom Brown called the trick a Life-Changing Joint Rolling Hack. He learned the trick while on tour in California with DJ Jelo, and swears that this hack changed his life forever. The main point of this hack is to avoid the roll-and-tuck step that causes some newbies to mess up.

You’ll need:
Credit or debit card
Rolling papers

  1. Grind Your Bud

Using a four-piece grinder or a mill, grind up your herbs into a crumbly consistency, but not quite sawdust powder. It needs to be ground up fine enough to not stab and tear the rolling paper, but you also don’t want it to burn up like tinder.

  1. Make a Paper Canoe

Grab your papers of choice, take one out, and make a canoe shape—first ensuring that the gum side is facing upwards, or in the right place it needs to be in order to seal your joint properly.

  1. Grab a Tip

Get a crutch, filter, tip, or whatever else you call the end of your joint that goes into your mouth. You can use cardstock and make a spiral or accordion shape, or something more creative. Place it on the rolling paper canoe. You’ll have to roll it tightly around it to secure.

  1. Fill the Canoe

Fill the paper with your ground up bud. You don’t want to pack it too tightly or you won’t be able to suck the smoke through. Try to make a cylinder shape.

  1. Slide Your Credit Card

Then use the credit or debit card to tuck in the outside of the paper closest to you, sliding it down the length of the joint to tuck in the paper. As you can see in Dom Brown’s video, the paper will probably fold and that’s OK. It makes the roll-and-tuck part much easier, which is really the hardest part of rolling a joint.

  1. Lick and Seal

The final step is the same as any joint: lick the stick edge and seal. Alternatively, if you’re germ-conscious, use a paintbrush with water or a sponge.

Backwards Pencil Joint Hack
Most likely you’ve heard about using a pen or pencil to roll a joint. Basically the core of this concept is that you do it backwards: You make the paper tube before you even put weed inside. Then you fill it with ground up bud. The downside is that it takes a bit of time and patience to pack in the weed in a manner that will burn consistently.

You’ll need:
A pen or pencil
Toothpick or skewer
Rolling papers

  1. Grind Your Bud

Using a four-piece grinder or a mill, grind up your herbs into a crumbly consistency, but not quite sawdust powder. It needs to be ground up fine enough to not stab and tear the rolling paper, but you also don’t want it to burn up like tinder.

  1. Grab a Tip

Get a crutch, filter, tip, or whatever else you call the end of your joint that goes into your mouth. You can use cardstock and make a spiral or accordion shape, or something more creative. 

  1. Form a Paper Tube

Place the tip at the end of the pencil, holding together. Roll the rolling paper around the pencil or pen, wet, and seal. You want it to be semi-snug around the crutch but not too tight, or you won’t be able to pull the pencil out. Pull out the pen or pencil but leave the tip secured.

  1. Fill the Tube and Pack

First, get a tray underneath your working area, because you’ll probably spill a lot of ground-up bud. Then slowly fill the paper tube. You’re going to have to use a skewer or a toothpick to pack the tube at about every half inch or so. Repeat this process until the whole tube is filled.

The post Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler appeared first on High Times.

Legalization Bills Prefiled in Louisiana

Louisiana Rep. Candace Newell recently prefiled a package of bills that would legalize adult-use cannabis. According to the Louisiana Radio Network, Newell has introduced three bills: HB-17, HB-24, and HB-12. Each of the bills targets a specific area of regulation. “I’ve separated the three bills. It’s legalization, regulation, and taxation. So each bill does its own thing,” Newell explained.

HB-17, which Newell has filed twice in the past, would allow the Department of Agriculture to manage and issue 10 cultivation and processing licenses and 40 permits for retail dispensaries. “We want to have a handle on who’s growing it, so we know where it’s coming from…and you’re just not willy-nilly growing it in your back yard,” Newell told Louisiana Radio Network. Applicants would be required to undergo criminal background checks.

HB-24 would decriminalize cannabis possession and distribution. “Just as alcohol. You have a license to sell alcohol. If you don’t have a license you can’t sell it. The same will be with recreational marijuana…if I can get this bill passed.” Finally there’s HB-12, which has not yet been prefiled.

According to the Louisiana Illuminator, Newell wants to start setting the foundation for legalization now in preparation for the future. “More and more states are legalizing it, and it seems the federal government is leaning towards legalizing it,” Newell said. “I want to ensure that when it is legal, that it’s Louisiana citizens that have the opportunity to take part in this economic opportunity—that it’s people right here in Louisiana that’s making the money.”

While the effort to legalize adult-use cannabis begins, the state’s medical cannabis program has taken much time to expand. The state’s medical cannabis program has been around since June 2015 when former Gov. Bobby Jindal signed two bills into law—one that set up a basic foundation for a medical cannabis program, and another that reduced penalties for cannabis possession. However, it has taken years of additional bills to be passed in order to expand the program further, frequently due to opposition from legislators.

It wasn’t until May 2016 that former Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill that officially made Louisiana the 25th state to legalize medical cannabis though. Patients waited years until August 2019 for medical cannabis sales to actually begin, after the final round of testing was conducted on cannabis grown by Louisiana State University. 

In June 2020, Edwards signed a bill into law that expanded the state’s qualifying conditions. While previously, medical cannabis was only legal to those who suffered from severe medical conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, or glaucoma), the expansion allows doctors to certify a patient with any debilitating condition.

It wasn’t until June 2021 that the state finally allowed patients to consume smokable forms of cannabis. By August 2021, the state ended jail time for possession of small amounts of cannabis. Anyone in possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis would receive a misdemeanor crime, with a fine of $100.

Later in January 2022, cannabis flower sales finally began, but only products cultivated by state affiliated university programs would be allowed for distribution. At the time, only nine dispensaries were licensed for legal medical cannabis sales.

In July 2022, the University of Louisiana Monroe’s School of Pharmacy was given approval to conduct cannabis research and testing, which includes the construction of a 20-acre facility.

August 2022 brought the launch date for a number of other cannabis bills, which included improving affordability for cannabis dispensaries, preventing law enforcement from using cannabis scent as cause to search a person’s home, and making consuming cannabis and driving illegal. It also addressed positive drug test discrimination, and allowed patients from other states to access medical cannabis in Louisiana.

The post Legalization Bills Prefiled in Louisiana appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Legalization Could Make New Strides in 2023

The effort to reform the nation’s cannabis laws made new strides in 2022 with the passage of recreational marijuana legalization ballot measures in Maryland and Missouri in the November midterm elections. Success was not universal, however, as similar propositions on the ballot in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota failed to gain the approval of voters. 

Looking at 2023, new milestones have already been achieved this year, with Connecticut launching regulated retail sales of adult-use cannabis on January 10, a move that was preceded by the expungement of nearly 43,000 marijuana-related convictions in the state at the dawn of the new year. And as we head further into 2023, several states across the country are likely to make new ground in the struggle to end cannabis prohibition.

A New Focus

Brian Vicente, a founding partner at the cannabis and psychedelics law firm, Vicente Sederberg LLP, says that despite spending millions of dollars on lobbying federal lawmakers in 2022, the efforts of cannabis activists were unable to result in the passage of any meaningful marijuana policy reform at the next level. With the change in the political climate in Washington, D.C., efforts this year will take a new focus.

“With Republicans taking over the House, any federal reform in the two years seems exceedingly unlikely. Fortunately, movement leaders have begun coalescing around a strategy to cut back on federal lobbying and instead push resources toward state-level reform,” Vicente said in an email. “These efforts are aiming to flip as many as 10 states to adult-use in just three years, which would not only open new markets for consumers, but also create intense pressure on Congress to pass legislation aligning federal law with the thirty-odd states where cannabis is legal for adults.”

As the new year begins, more than a half-dozen states are likely to consider legislation to reform their marijuana laws, with most activity centering in the South and Midwest regions. Outside those broad areas, Hawaii could be poised to make progress on the issue with a new governor at the helm, Democrat Josh Green, who included support for expanding the state’s current legalization of medical marijuana to include adult-use cannabis as part of his campaign for office last year. On January 11, Democratic state Rep. Jeanné Kapela announced her plans to introduce a recreational marijuana legalization bill, saying, “this year, we stand on the precipice of history.”

“We now have a roadmap for legalizing recreational cannabis in our islands,” Kapela said in a statement quoted by Marijuana Moment. “Legalizing cannabis is not just a matter of money, it is a matter of moralities.”

Snowden Stieber, a regulatory analyst with cannabis compliance technology firm Simplifya, notes that the bill has some hurdles to clear before it can get to Green’s desk, however.

“The Hawaii Senate President, Ron Kouchi, has already come out with statements expressing skepticism on any fast movement for cannabis legalization, and many elected officials are still waiting on the upcoming report from the Dual Use of Cannabis Task Force to guide their votes in the new year,” he said in an email. “While it is of course possible that the task force recommends full legalization, prior experience in other states would suggest that legislators will take their time with any report’s findings and that a sudden move toward legalization is unlikely.”

The South

Vicente believes three states in the South—Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina—could pass legislation to legalize medical marijuana this year. With the nearby states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida already demonstrating that a regulated marijuana industry can provide jobs and tax revenue, other states in the region are likely not far behind.

South Carolina, where Rep. Nancy Mace has become one of the few Republicans in Congress advocating for cannabis policy reform at the national level, is one of the few remaining states that still hasn’t legalized marijuana in any form. But reform is popular with the state’s residents, with a Winthrop University poll conducted before last year’s midterm elections showing that more than 75% of voters support the legalization of medical cannabis. This year, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have pre-filed separate medical marijuana legalization bills for the 2023 legislative session. But Simplifya regulatory analyst Justin Bedford isn’t optimistic about the fate of the legislation.

“Though these may seem like promising developments, history suggests that South Carolina still has a long way to go before any form of commercial legalization occurs,” he wrote in an email. “All 14 cannabis-related bills that were deliberated during the 2022 legislative session failed to pass, with most dying in the early stages of development. Nothing has changed in the state’s sociopolitical environment that would suggest anything will be different this year.”

In North Carolina, the state Senate passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in June 2022, but the House of Representatives declined to take up the legislation. Brian Fitzpatrick, chairman and CEO of cannabis software developer Qredible Inc, notes that public support for medical marijuana legalization is strong, and if a bill makes it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, he’s likely to sign it into law.

“A poll carried out in January 2021 by Elon University found that 73% of North Carolinians supported medical cannabis,” Fitzpatrick said in an email. “A subsequent poll in May 2022 showed that support had increased to 82% across bipartisan lines. I believe that the governor is aware of this and will fully support the legalization of a medical cannabis bill in 2023.”

In Kentucky, where an executive order from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear decriminalizing medical marijuana went into effect on New Year’s Day, a bill to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis was unveiled by lawmakers on January 7. The measure, Senate Bill 51, would legalize and regulate the “possession, cultivation, production, processing, packaging, transportation, testing, marketing, sale and use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis,” according to a report from the online resource Business Insurance. With Kentucky being one of the nation’s largest hemp producers, industry insiders believe the legislation has a good chance of success this year.

The Midwest and Surrounding States

Several states in the Midwest could make advancements in cannabis policy reform in 2023. In Ohio, voters could get the chance to vote on a cannabis legalization measure championed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which was kept off the ballot for the November midterm election after legal challenges. Last week, Secretary of State Frank LaRose reintroduced the proposal, which would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and levy a 10% tax on commercial cannabis products. If the state legislature doesn’t approve the measure within four months, the coalition can collect signatures to put the proposal before the votes in the fall. Trent Woloveck, chief commercial director of cannabis commerce platform Jushi, believes legalization efforts have an even chance of success in Ohio this year.

“It is very unlikely that the legislature acts on the initiated stature in the next four months, but reasonably likely that the Coalition will be able to gather the additional required signatures for the effort to make the ballot,” he says. “While polling would suggest a ballot initiative legalizing cannabis would pass, the Senate president and other legislators disagree. And, even if voters approved an initiated statute, the legislature would have unrestricted authority to repeal or materially revise legalization.”

Like Hawaii, Pennsylvania has a new governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, who has expressed support for legalizing recreational marijuana. The issue has been stymied in years past by Republican lawmakers, but a new Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives may help the chances at success.

“While we’ve heard some interest from both sides of the aisle in previous years, conversations about legalization seem to be happening among a much larger group of legislators with increased frequency and specificity,” Woloveck says. “It also sounds like many legislators, including several previously unwilling to engage in any cannabis-related discussions, now acknowledge something has to be done about the illicit market and to stop revenue from flowing to neighboring states where people can buy legal, regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.”

After legalizing low-potency THC edibles last year, cannabis policy experts say Minnesota could be the most likely state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2023. The state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) is now in charge of both the legislative and executive branches of government, and party leaders including Gov. Tim Walz have said that cannabis legalization will be a priority for 2023. Last Wednesday, a bill sponsored by DFL lawmakers Rep. Zack Stephenson and Sen. Lindsey Port received the approval of a legislative committee, with more hearings on the measure to come.

In Oklahoma, where 10% of adults hold cards to participate in the state’s liberal medical marijuana program, voters will decide on a ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in March. If passed, State Question 820 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The measure also contains provisions to expunge past convictions for marijuana-related offenses. Proponents of the measure had hoped it would appear before voters during the November midterm elections, but a delay in certifying petition signatures and legal challenges from opponents prevented its inclusion on the ballot.

Lawmakers in other states including Georgia and Delaware could also take up measures to legalize marijuana this year, although the prospects for success in 2023 seem unlikely given the political climate in those states. But progress in cannabis policy will probably continue if the trend seen over the last decade goes on.

“Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis, we’ve seen an average of two states per year pass adult-use laws,” Vicente notes. “I predict that 2023 will continue this trend with both Oklahoma and Minnesota looking very likely to legalize.”

The post Cannabis Legalization Could Make New Strides in 2023 appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Legal THC: Your Questions Answered

Signs bearing “Legal THC” have been popping up in the windows of vape shops, gas stations, and wellness centers around the country. For many, especially those in states where marijuana continues to be illegal, this has caused confusion. After all, if marijuana is illegal federally, and in a particular state, how are stores openly selling THC?

The confusion stems from the misconception that THC per se is illegal. It’s not. Marijuana is illegal, federally and in some states. On the other hand, THC in hemp is lawful. When THC is derived from hemp rather than from marijuana, it is federally legal for adults to buy across the country—without a prescription.

Hemp, Marijuana, and the 2018 Farm Bill

As cannabis business lawyer Rod Kight explains, “The terms ‘hemp’ and ‘marijuana’ are mostly misleading. Both are the plant Cannabis sativa and, in fact, are biologically indistinct from each other. The sole difference between them is their respective concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC.” By definition, hemp can contain no more than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC.

The 0.3% rule first appeared in the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “2014 Farm Bill”), which allowed states to create pilot programs to research industrial hemp. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”) kept the 0.3% rule and broadly legalized hemp throughout the U.S., ushering in the current market for commercial hemp products, including hemp derivatives like CBD, CBG, and the various forms of THC.

Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill created a large opening in the cannabis industry for businesses to develop and market hemp products with high levels of cannabinoids other than CBD. This includes products with enough THC to cause psychoactive effects, while still complying with the federal limit of 0.3% Delta-9 THC by weight.

Delta-9 THC versus “The Deltas”

The best-known form of THC is Delta-9 THC, the most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana and the reason that marijuana gets you high.

But Delta-9 THC is not the only form of THC. Both marijuana and hemp contain other forms of THC as well, like Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC—albeit only in very small amounts.

Since only trace levels of THC are present in hemp, they were not a factor in the hemp market until the Farm Bill opened the door to innovations in extraction and processing. Manufacturers are now able to work with hemp-derived THC in much higher concentrations.

Rocket Bites THC Gummies are bursting with fruity flavor and packed with 30 mg of Delta-8 THC. / Courtesy of Crescent Canna

Delta-8 THC, which has effects similar to, but less potent than, the effects of Delta-9 THC, was the first hemp-derived THC to gain traction in the market. But Delta-9 THC has quickly become the most popular form of hemp-derived THC, since it produces effects that are identical to those of marijuana.

While the federal legality of hemp-derived THC has been challenged several times since 2018, the Farm Bill’s definition of hemp has so far been affirmed.

In 2021, the Drug Enforcement Agency stated that cannabinoids extracted from cannabis with a Delta-9 THC concentration of “not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis meet the definition of ‘hemp’ and thus are not controlled under the CSA [Controlled Substances Act].”

By legal definition, hemp products are products containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Because of this, hemp products can contain any quantity of Delta-8 THC and still be federally legal.

In a unanimous ruling in 2022, a California Federal Appeals Court ruled that the Farm Bill “is silent with regard to delta-8 THC” and that “regardless of the wisdom of legalizing delta-8 THC products, this Court will not substitute its own policy judgment for that of Congress.”

State laws

Although federal law seems clear for the moment, some state governments have imposed restrictions on hemp-derived THC.

Since Delta-9 THC is explicitly part of the definition of hemp, it would be difficult to restrict hemp-derived Delta-9 products without also restricting full-spectrum CBD products in the same way.

Crescent Canna’s Delta-9 THC gummies are full-panel lab-tested and available in blue raspberry, peach, and green apple flavors with 100% vegan ingredients. / Courtesy of Crescent Canna

But states can restrict or ban forms of THC like Delta-8, Delta-10, and THC-O without also challenging the status of full-spectrum CBD products that contain trace amounts of Delta-9 THC. Unlike Delta-9 THC, these other forms of THC aren’t directly tied to the definition of hemp.

State laws are changing all the time. Moving forward, expect to see more states banning various forms of THC, even as they allow hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products to remain on the market with regulations around potency, testing, and labeling.

What’s the difference between hemp-derived THC and marijuana-derived THC?

Aside from the source, hemp-derived Delta-9 THC and marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC don’t differ at all. Chemically, they are indistinguishable.

Do hemp-derived THC products get you high?

Because hemp-derived THC is identical to marijuana-derived THC, it has the same psychoactive effects and wellness benefits. 

Of course, products, strains, and complementary ingredients can vary. But all other things being equal, a gummy with 10 mg of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC has the same effect as a gummy with 10 mg of marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC. 

Crescent Canna Delta-9 THC gummies provide a delightful THC experience and are available for adults without a prescription. / Courtesy of Crescent Canna

Where can you get hemp-derived THC?

Because hemp-derived THC edibles are federally legal, you can order them online from just about anywhere in the country.

For adult consumers in states where marijuana remains illegal, this development has been revolutionary because hemp-derived THC products are far more accessible. You don’t need a prescription to order them. 

Moreover, they are usually less expensive than the products available at marijuana dispensaries and are usually not subject to the same excise taxes. In Washington state, for example, customers pay a 37% excise tax on recreational marijuana products.

What to look for in hemp-derived THC products

When states legalize marijuana, either medicinally or recreationally, they set up significant regulations. While a few states have enacted regulations around hemp-derived products to ensure their quality and safety, most states have not.

As a result, some bad actors have taken advantage of the lack of regulation with hemp products that aren’t thoroughly tested or have dishonest labeling. 

Before purchasing hemp-derived THC products, it’s a good idea to make sure that the company selling them has full-panel certificates of analysis posted on their website. These certificates should report cannabinoid content that is accurately reflected in the product label and should report that the product has zero harmful contaminants.

In addition to federal compliance, Crescent Canna’s THC gummies have been reviewed and approved by the Louisiana Department of Health. / Courtesy of Crescent Canna

The Louisiana Example

Another way to know that you’re getting a high-quality and legal THC product is to purchase it from a Louisiana hemp company. Louisiana has adopted the most robust requirements for registering consumable hemp products in the country. The requirements pertain to testing, ingredients, packaging, marketing, and a 21-year age limit for intoxicating hemp products, among other considerations.

In order for hemp-derived THC products to be sold in Louisiana, they must meet all of these requirements and be approved by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). You can see the full list of products approved for sale in the state of Louisiana at the LDH website.

Louisiana currently allows all forms of hemp-derived THC as long as the finished product contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Going a step further than federal law, the state also caps the percentage of total THC at 1%, one of several limitations intended to keep consumers safe while allowing the new market for hemp-derived THC products to grow.

Adults across the country can order federally legal THC gummies registered with the Louisiana Department of Health. Order a free THC gummies sample here.

The post Legal THC: Your Questions Answered appeared first on High Times.

Louisiana University Gains Approval to Conduct Cannabis Research and Testing

The University of Louisiana Monroe School of Pharmacy has gained the approval to conduct cannabis testing and research under legislation passed last month by state lawmakers. Under the bill from state Representative Mike Echols, ULM will become the third university in Louisiana authorized to perform research into cannabis and hemp.

“Louisiana State University and Southern University have been the only two schools in the state that can do research around hemp and marijuana but not anymore,” Echols said. “We were able to add to some of the bills flowing through the process to give ULM the opportunity to do some of that strategic research.”

The legislation also allows the School of Pharmacy to provide lab testing services for purity and potency to the state’s medical cannabis industry. Echols said that his bill amends Louisiana’s medical marijuana statute to allow the university to provide laboratory testing services and study new applications for cannabis and hemp.

“They have the School of Pharmacy at ULM, the state’s only publicly-funded school of pharmacy…and so there was a real key relationship between some of the products that are being produced out there now, and the new pharmaceutical products that could be produced. We wanted ULM to have a chance to do some research in that space,” he explained.

Echols said that the facility will create new jobs at ULM and up to $1 million in revenue from testing services alone, with research into new applications for cannabis and hemp providing additional economic opportunities.

“Now, as far as pharmaceutical research goes, if they are able to find new drugs and new potential for that particular strain then there’s … unlimited potential,” Echols told local media.

New 20-Acre Research Facility To Be Built

ULM’s cannabis testing and research operations will be carried out at a 20-acre facility that is a collaboration between the School of Pharmacy and the non-profit Biomedical Research and Innovation Park (BRIP). The new research park will provide a home for hemp and cannabis research and testing services and other scientific enterprises. BRIP board member Susan Nicholson noted that while the project is in the early planning stages, developers expect the new research facility will require about $35 million in funding. The engineering and construction phase of the park is scheduled to begin early next year.

“The endgame is to try and work with researchers at ULM College of Pharmacy to build a number of facilities to enhance what we have at the school of pharmacy facility with biomedical developments,” said Nicholson. “That is when we will begin mapping out the road system for the facility, which is where we’ll be starting first. It should happen fairly quickly.”

The new facility will position the ULM School of Pharmacy to conduct state-of-the-art cannabis research, which Nicholson says is expanding nationwide.

“There are too many positive potential usages in various drug protocols to pass up,” she said. “The discoveries that are being made in hemp and marijuana research about its uses and proven medical benefits are too great not to move forward.”

Dr. Ray Armstrong, another BRIP board member, said that hemp is a very versatile resource, with companies interested in exploring applications including fiber and hempcrete, which he said is “even stronger and lighter than concrete.”

Echol’s bill requires the state to conduct oversight of the universities conducting cannabis research and the partners they collaborate with.

“The contractor selected by the licensed university through a competitive bid process to cultivate, extract, process, produce and transport therapeutic marijuana shall be subject to oversight and inspections by the Louisiana Department of Health,” reads the text of the legislation.

Under the legislation, the health department’s oversight responsibilities include requirements for the inspection of research facilities, inventory reporting, security and compliance with state building, plumbing, and electrical codes.

Echols’ legislation, House Bill 697, was passed by the Louisiana state legislature and signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards in June. The bill goes into effect on August 1.

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Louisiana Senate Approves Bill Allowing Public Employees to Use Medical Pot

The Louisiana state Senate voted 26-8 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would protect public employees who use medical cannabis from job discrimination. The measure, House Bill 988, was approved by the Louisiana House of Representatives last week and now heads to the desk of Governor John Bel Edwards for his consideration.

Under the bill, public employees using medical cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation and in accordance with state law are protected from being fired for using medical pot. The bill also protects medical cannabis patients who are applying for state positions from being denied employment or other job discrimination based on their use of cannabis.

“This would basically be a first step to having laws on the books to protect people who have medical marijuana cards,” state Representative Mandy Landry, the sponsor of the bill, said last month after introducing the bill.

The bill does not apply to private employers or local government agencies, including police and fire departments. Landry told reporters that the legislation was limited to state employees to address likely opposition from politically powerful law enforcement and business lobbyists in the state Capitol.

Medical Cannabis an Alternative to Opioids in Louisiana

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 60-32 on May 24. While the bill was up for debate in the House, Landry told her colleagues that the legislation would help prevent state workers from becoming addicted to opioids, an argument that was echoed in the upper body of the state legislature by Senator Stewart Cathey.

“There are a lot of people who don’t want to take opioids for their long-term PTSD and pain management because of the high possibility of addiction to opioids,” Landry said when the bill came up in a House committee last month. “This has proved to be a better option than them.”

The bill faced opposition from some lawmakers in the House, who argued that the legislature should not be drafting policy for state workers. Representative Larry Frieman said that such tasks should be carried out by the state Department of Administration. Jacques Berry, the communications director for the agency, noted that the Department of Administration has policies that protect its employees that use medical cannabis. But he added that the department does not have the authority to create employment policy for all state agencies.

State Representative Ed Larvadain supported the bill, suggesting that more work on cannabis policy reform is yet to come.

“We’re going to have to change how we deal with medical marijuana,” Larvadain said. “But this is a first step.”

Larvadain offered to work with Landry in the future to find a path that makes law enforcement officers and firefighters also eligible to use medical cannabis.

“A lot of those men and women have chronic pains because over the years they’ve had to climb through windows and police officers have been abused,” Larvadain said.

Medical cannabis advocates including Kevin Caldwell of the Marijuana Policy Project also supported the bill.

“The fact is we have an opioid problem that gets discussed in this building all the time,” Caldwell said. “We are seeing that for a lot of patients, medical cannabis is an exit strategy.”

Tony Landry of the Veterans Action Council noted that police officers and firefighters are not able to take CBD because of the risk that trace amounts of THC “can accumulate in your body over time and cause a positive test. I’m in favor of this bill, and I just think we need to leave no employee behind.”

Louisiana legalized medical cannabis for patients with debilitating medical conditions in 2015, and sales of medicinal weed began in the state in 2019. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy reports that the state has more than 43,000 registered medical cannabis patients. Last year, the governor signed legislation to decriminalize possession of up to 14 grams of pot, making such offenses only punishable by a fine of up to $100.

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Louisiana Bill to Allow State Employees to Use Medical Cannabis Receives Unanimous Vote

House Bill 988 was passed through the Louisiana House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations on May 19. If the bill becomes law, it would create protections for state employees who seek to use medical cannabis. While it would prevent employees from being fired, and prevent discrimination against those who seek to apply, it does not apply to public safety employees such as firefighters or law enforcement.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mandie Landry, strongly believes that her bill is a healthier choice for Louisianians. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to take opioids for their long-term PTSD and pain management because of the high possibility of addiction to opioids,” Landry said, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. “This has proved to be a better option than them.”

The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy estimated that there are 43,000 medical cannabis consumers in the state, and currently only nine pharmacies to serve them.

At the committee meeting, Louisiana Department of Administration Communications Director Jacques Berry noted that his own department already has regulations in place to prevent discrimination for medical cannabis consumption. In support, he shared his thoughts on unifying regulations across the board with an example about a workplace harassment bill that is operating similarly. “Every agency had a sexual harassment policy, but they were all over the place, and Dr. [and Rep. Barbara] Carpenter wanted stricter, more consistent standards,” Berry said. “She wrote a very good law, and it is working very well.”

Similarly, Rep. Ed Larvadain spoke about looking ahead. “We’re going to have to change how we deal with medical marijuana. But this is a first step.” He also requested that he be invited to work with Landry about finding a solution that would protect firefighters and law enforcement officers as well. “A lot of those men and women have chronic pains because over the years they’ve had to climb through windows and police officers have been abused,” Larvadain said.

Many advocates who spoke publicly in support of the bill at the meeting. Tony Landry, a council member of the Veterans Action Council, commented that neither law enforcement or firefighters are allowed to consume CBD, since “it can accumulate in your body over time and cause a positive test. I’m in favor of this bill, and I just think we need to leave no employee behind.”

Last summer, Louisiana decriminalized cannabis with Act 247, which imposed a fine of $100 (or a court summons) for possession of 14 grams or less. At the time, Peter Robins-Brown, policy & advocacy director at Louisiana Progress provided a statement about the news. “Marijuana decriminalization will truly make a difference in the lives of the people of our state,” Robins-Brown said. “It’s an important first step in modernizing marijuana policy in Louisiana, and it’s another milestone in the ongoing effort to address our incarceration crisis, which has trapped so many people in a cycle of poverty and prison. Now it’s time to make sure that everyone knows their rights under this new law, and that law enforcement officers understand how to properly implement it.”

However, earlier this year House Bill 700 was introduced to imprison minors who possessed small amounts of cannabis. On March 23, the Louisiana Progress Tweeted a response to the bill’s approach in keeping minors away from cannabis. “In #lalege Admin. of Crim. Justice, the cmte is hearing HB700 by @LarryBagleyLA, which would actually criminalize juveniles for possessing less than 14 grams of marijuana more harshly than adults, incl. potential jail time. Very very very very very very very bad idea. #lagov”. Currently, it is still waiting for discussion in the House.

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Politicians Supporting Cannabis and Putting ‘Fools’ in Their Place

Today is April Fool’s Day. While we could tell you some fake story about how weed is falling from the sky, we’d prefer to go in a different direction. The cannabis industry has come such a long way, and rather than discuss the fools who are still pushing against cannabis, we’d rather celebrate those who continue to shine a light on the plant while calling it like it is, unrelenting in their efforts to expand access to cannabis across the board. Here are just a few political advocates who are shooting for change.

Courtesy of Gary Chambers for Louisiana

Gary Chambers, Running for Senate in Louisiana

Although Gary Chambers is not yet a member of the Senate, we’d be hard-pressed not to include him given his advocacy on the subject of cannabis, among other topics. He announced his candidacy in January this year with a video of himself smoking a blunt and talking about the harms caused by the War on Drugs. Most recently, he spoke at the Chamber of Cannabis in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 10 about the long-term imprisonment of Kevin O’Brien Allen for a cannabis conviction and his approach to politics. 

“I didn’t get into politics to be a politician,” he shared. “Most of the people who came into my community with a suit and tie was lying … I don’t talk the way that the average politician talks, and I don’t produce content to tell voters what our message is, in the way that [an] average politician does so. Because I don’t think it’s transformative, and I don’t think it works.” 

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York

Many politicians approach their jobs with a no-nonsense approach, and Kathy Hochul has made some waves in favor of New York state’s cannabis program. In August 2021, she was appointed as the state’s first female governor and vowed to launch the cannabis industry that former Governor Andrew Cuomo stalled. 

In a press release on September 1, 2021, Hochul confirmed her intention to make cannabis a priority. “One of my top priorities is to finally get New York’s cannabis industry up and running—this has been long overdue, but we’re going to make up for lost time with the Senate confirmation of Tremaine Wright as Chair of the Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander as Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management,” she stated. Most recently, she also implemented a Seeding Opportunity Initiative on March 10, which sets a goal for cannabis sales to begin by the end of 2022.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor

Former Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania and current state Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman has long been advocating for cannabis legalization to help those who have been negatively affected by the War on Drugs. In May 2021, he questioned the country’s ban on the plant. 

“This isn’t controversial,” he shared on the topic of legalization. “Canada, the whole country has legalized, and somehow they managed to keep doing pretty darn well … they haven’t descended into anarchy, you know?” In an interview with Forbes in September 2021, he shared that cannabis legalization has “always been the right thing to do.” He’s currently running for Senator of Pennsylvania, the ballot window of which is approaching on May 17, 2022.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader

On the congressional level, Chuck Schumer is a familiar name with those following the many attempts to make cannabis federally legal. He introduced a bill for federal decriminalization in June 2018, and federal legalization in May 2019. In April 2021, he was done waiting for President Joe Biden to take a stance on cannabis and was ready to bring a cannabis bill to the senate floor. 

“We will move forward,” Schumer said. “[Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.” As of February 4 while attending a press conference, he stated that he will once again focus on introducing another bill to tackle the issue this April. 

“In the coming weeks, we’re ramping up our outreach—and we expect to introduce final legislation. Our goal is to do it in April,” Schumer said at the press event. “Then we begin the nationwide push, spearheaded by New York, to get the federal law done. As majority leader, I can set priorities. This is a priority for me.”

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US House of Representative of New York

The initials “AOC” have been seen in many headlines since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assumed her office in January 2019. During this time, she has been a vocal advocate on many issues, including cannabis and psychedelic therapies. In July 2021, she advocated for an amendment to allow the further study of substances such as MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine as a potential medical treatment for certain conditions. 

In December 2021, Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Dave Joyce introduced the HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement) Act with the hopes of encouraging states to support cannabis expungement programs. “As we continue to advocate for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, this bipartisan bill will provide localities the resources they need to expunge drug charges that continue to hold back Americans, disproportionately people of color, from employment, housing and other opportunity,” she said of the bill.

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Louisiana Mulls Locking Up Kids For Weed Again

Lawmakers in Louisiana are considering a bill that could put minors behind bars for possessing even small amounts of pot, less than a year after the state enacted legislation to end jail time for low-level cannabis possession convictions. The measure, House Bill 700, was introduced in the Louisiana House of Representatives by Republican state Representative Larry Bagley on March 4 and approved by a legislative committee last week.

Last year, the Louisiana legislature passed House Bill 652, a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. The bill was passed in June and went into effect in August, ending the possibility of jail time for possessing less than 14 grams of weed. The legislation was hailed by cannabis reform advocates including Peter Robins-Brown, policy and advocacy director at Louisiana Progress, a partnership between the Coalition for Louisiana Progress and Louisiana Progress Action Fund.

“Marijuana decriminalization will truly make a difference in the lives of the people of our state,” Robins-Brown said after the decriminalization bill was passed last year. “It’s an important first step in modernizing marijuana policy in Louisiana, and it’s another milestone in the ongoing effort to address our incarceration crisis, which has trapped so many people in a cycle of poverty and prison. Now it’s time to make sure that everyone knows their rights under this new law, and that law enforcement officers understand how to properly implement it.”

But now some of that progress is in jeopardy from Bagley’s bill, which would once again put jail time on the table for minors caught possessing small amounts of cannabis. The legislation would amend Louisiana’s decriminalization bill to resurrect jail time as a possible sentence for weed possession by young people, but would not affect the penalties imposed on adults convicted of the same offense.

Hard Labor for Half a Lid

Under HB 700, people under 18 caught with less than 14 grams of cannabis can be placed on probation or “imprisoned for not more than fifteen days” on the first conviction, according to the text of the legislation. For cases involving amounts of cannabis greater than 14 grams, a first conviction can put a kid behind bars for up to six months.

The penalties become more severe upon subsequent convictions. A minor’s second conviction for possessing up to 14 grams of cannabis can result in six months in jail. A third and fourth conviction subjects children to sentences of two and four years imprisonment, respectively, “with or without hard labor,” for possessing less than a half-ounce of weed.

Bagley has said that HB 700 is needed because schools in the state are having trouble keeping cannabis off of school grounds, according to the Louisiana Illuminator. He said that prosecutors have no way to force children into drug rehabilitation programs without the threat of incarceration and that judges are unlikely to incarcerate a minor for possession of small amounts of pot.

“It was presented like this bill is about trying to put people in prison. It’s not,” Bagley said.

But Robins-Brown, who is now the executive director of Louisiana Progress, said that school disciplinary action including suspension, expulsion or exclusion from athletics and other activities is a more appropriate way to address the problem.

“We don’t think we should be criminalizing youth more harshly than adults,” Robins-Brown said.

Megan Garvey with the Louisiana Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers noted that other options exist to compel minors into drug treatment. Under state law, family court judges can mandate parents or guardians place their children in treatment programs.

But the bill is receiving bipartisan support from lawmakers. State Representative Nicholas Muscarello voted in favor of HB 700 in committee despite generally supporting laws relaxing cannabis prohibition.

“We are trying to rehabilitate children. This allows our courts to kind of keep them in check and put them in drug courts,” said Muscarello. “No judge is putting a kid in jail for six months for marijuana.”

Although he also voted for the bill in committee, Republican state Representative Danny McCormick expressed concerns about HB 700’s revival of jail time for kids caught with weed. He questioned why the penalties were more severe than laws prohibiting possession of alcohol or tobacco by young people. Under Louisiana law, people under 21 can be fined up to $100 and lose their driver’s license for up to six months for possessing alcohol, while minors possessing cigarettes can be fined $50.

“Alcohol, in my opinion, would be greatly more harmful than marijuana,” McCormick said.

Last week, the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice approved HB 700 after amending the measure to include exceptions for minors who are registered medical cannabis patients possessing regulated cannabis products. On Monday, the bill was scheduled for a floor debate by the full Lousiana House of Representatives to be held on April 5.

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