How To Make A Bong Out Of Pretty Much Anything

Was arts and crafts ever your strong suit? Did you used to enjoy making papier-mache objects? Or, like many of us, are you pretty bad at making anything with your hands? Well, not to worry, making a bong doesn’t require a degree in fine art or a course in cannabis related items. It doesn’t even require you to spend 7 years studying architecture at Harvard.

The bong has been around for centuries, and still to this day it is used to consume cannabis. They are made from many different materials, but really, they all work roughly the same. So how can you make a bong out of pretty much anything? Well, by understanding how bongs are made and how they work, you should be able to turn almost anything into one. So, if you wanna be the person at a party who turns a carrot into a smokable bong, then read on. 

Although cannabis paraphernalia has taken a modern and even futuristic turn in the last few years, the basic bong has been around for centuries and it remains a staple in most cannabis-users’ glass collections. For the best Delta 8Delta 10THC-PTHC-OTHCVHHC and even Delta 9 products subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.


What is a Bong?

If you’ve ever watched Pineapple Express – one of the greatest stoner films of all time – then you’ll know exactly what a bong is. If you’re unsure, then let’s quickly define it. Within the world of cannabis, people have always been searching for new and excitable ways to enjoy the beautiful plant. Some people smoke it, some people eat it, some people drink it, some people vape it, some people rub it into their skin – there are essentially unlimited ways to consume cannabis. Even those that enjoy smoking it have found various ways to do that. It has become its own sub category. That’s where bongs come in. A bong – or water pipe – is a filtration device that is used to smoke and inhale cannabis. But how does it work?

How Does it Work?

A bong might look like a complex device, but it’s actually very simple. Each part is essential in allowing the bong to work. There are a few major parts to a bong that – without – would make the bong inactive. Bongs are used to create much more smoke than you would get from a usual joint, and to cool down the smoke. So, let’s take a look at some of the major elements of the bong. 

The Base

The base is the central core of the bong. It’s like the lung of the device. In a common water bong, the base is where the water sits. The cannabis is lit, the smoke is inhaled, and this passes through the water, it is cooled down and then inhaled. The bigger the base, the more smoke is able to build up and the bigger the hit will be for the user. 

The Bowl

The bowl is where the cannabis sits to then be subsequently lit. In a common bong, the bowl will be on the edge of a stem, which sticks out of the base. The bowl will usually have small holes in it so that the smoke can be sucked from the lit cannabis; but the holes must not be too big or the cannabis could fall into the device. The bowl is the home for the cannabis, and the bigger it is, the more cannabis can be used at any one time. 

The Neck

The neck is the mouthpiece or the inhalation station. As previously mentioned, the neck will look very different depending on which bong you have. Some will be small holes that you can inhale through, whilst others will be long pipes. They all do the exact same thing. The neck is inhaled from, which sucks the smoke from the cannabis, which then travels through the base and eventually into the mouth. 

The Carb

The carb is probably the most undervalued part of any bong, and probably the element that is most often forgotten. The carb is an extra hole that is used to create circulation or to stop circulation. When inhaling from the bong, the carb will be covered so that the smoke can build up in the base, and then it will be uncovered when the smoke is finally sucked into the lungs. This helps the process go smoother. The carb also allows for leftover smoke to drift out of the bang and not build up in the bottom. Every bong needs a carb. 

Types of Bongs

Whilst the common image of a bong is usually a glass, tall and transparent looking device, the truth is that bongs come in many shapes and sizes. As long as a bong has a workable base, bowl, neck and carb, it can be made out of pretty much anything. Here is a list of some of the most common, but also crazy, bongs. 

Glass bong

The glass bong is made from – you’ve guessed it – glass. They are probably the most popular bong type as the glass doesn’t erode easily from the smoke, they are always sturdy and they maintain the flavour and aromas of the cannabis. Of course the danger is that you can drop it and it will be smashed but – if you take care of it – a glass bong can last you years. 

Ceramic bong

Ceramic bongs are almost as tasty as glass bongs. In addition, they look very stylish. Ceramic bongs can look like great big vases, and pieces of artwork. People may choose a ceramic bong over a glass bong due to preferred aesthetics. 

Dry herb vaporizer bong 

A dry herb vaporizer is an electrical device that heats up cannabis at a low temperature, which creates vapor instead of smoke. It works much like an e-cigarette, but instead it’s used for cannabis. Some vapes allow you to attach a vape bong. These are very small and sort of look like elaborate iPhone attachments. The important thing to remember is that even dry herb vape bong – be it small – will have all of the elements of a usual bong.

Plastic bottle bong

You’ve probably seen a couple teenagers try to make a plastic water bottle bong at a dodgy party. However, making a plastic bottle bong is the first step on anyone’s journey into making a bong out of pretty much anything. These types of bongs are made by cutting two holes in a water bottle, one which you can stick a joint into, and the other which you can use as the carb. The mouthpiece of the bottle becomes the mouthpiece of the bong and the base of the bottle becomes the base of the bong. It’s a pretty simple transformation and it works like a charm. 

Bamboo bong 

A bamboo bong, much like the plastic bottle bong, requires a level of finess. However, once you have the imagination of a bong-maker, you’ll realise that making one out of lots of materials is almost easy. A bamboo bong uses much the same ideas as the bottle bong – you create the holes for the carb and a hole for the joint to fit into. The entire shoot of bamboo is used as the base. Whilst there is no water inside it, the size of the bamboo shoot allows for clouds of smoke to build up, and then be inhaled. 

Apple bong

The apple bong, again, is an art form. Who would ever have thought you could smoke cannabis through an apple? Perhaps that’s what Adam and Eve wanted to do all along. The apple bong uses the core of the apple as a base, and the top dent as a place to put the cannabis. Mini holes through the top and on the sides act as the circulation holes. The natural water from the apple gives a tasty flavor to the smoke inhaled. Although the apple bong doesn’t last longer than a day, the process of making it and using it is a joy. 

How To Make a Bong Out of Pretty Much Anything

As you can see with the bongs mentioned, as long as the item has the most integral parts, a bong can be made. Of course, there are a few important things to consider. A bong cannot be made from something that could burn and create dangerous toxins. The reason why a rolled joint is usually poked through a plastic bong is to avoid the plastic from burning and creating toxic humes. Therefore, make sure whatever you use is not dangerous. Other than that, as long as you have circulation, a place to put the bud and a place to inhale the bud, then the world is your oyster. Let yourself be creative. You can make a bong from almost any vegetable or fruit you want. You could even create a bong out of a house if you had enough people to help you and very nice neighbours. Just remember: make sure there’s a neck, make sure there’s a base, make sure there’s a carb and make sure there’s a bowl. The rest is up to you. 

What will you make a bong out of next?

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

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

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First Nevada Cannabis Dispensary Approved at Border of Idaho

The Nevada-Idaho border is about to get a little bit greener. 

Officials in Elko County, Nevada last week signed off on a proposal for a marijuana dispensary to open in Jackpot, Nevada, which straddles the border between the two western states.

Commissioners in Elko County unanimously approved the license for the business, according to the Associated Press, adding that the shop could open as early as Monday.

“We have no issues moving forward with the license,” Elko County Undersheriff Justin Ames said Wednesday at the commissioners’ meeting, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The Elko Daily reported that the business, known as Thrive Cannabis Marketplace, “passed background checks” and had “interviewed nearly 60 candidates to work in the dispensary, giving preference to Elko and Jackpot residents.”

As of a month ago, 35 people had been hired and paid, according to the Elko Daily.

The dispensary’s proximity to Idaho, where marijuana is still illegal, brought attention to the licensing approval process.

The Thrive in Jackpot will be “Nevada’s first along the Idaho line,” according to the Associated Press, and that its opening aroused anxiety among law enforcement officials in Idaho.

Across the border from Jackpot, commissioners in Twin Falls County, Idaho “had raised safety concerns about the dispensary on U.S. Highway 93, which connects Jackpot and the town of Twin Falls,” according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that authorities in Idaho “expect to increase patrols in the area once the pot shop opens.”

In a statement, the Idaho State Police said that anyone “engaging in illegal behavior should be aware they risk attracting attention from law enforcement.”

Historically, conservative Idaho finds itself surrounded by neighbors that have embraced legalization: to the south, regulated marijuana sales in Nevada began in 2017; to the west, sales opened in Washington and Oregon in 2014 and 2015, respectively; and to the east, voters in Montana passed a ballot proposal last year to legalize recreational pot use for adults. 

The discrepancy in those laws has sparked some tension among officials in Idaho—and, in some cases, increased sales along the border. 

A report released last year from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis found that marijuana sales along the Oregon-Idaho border were about 420 percent the statewide average—a data point that was almost too on the nose.

“Obviously, recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho, but even after throwing the data into a rough border tax model that accounts for incomes, number of retailers, tax rates and the like, there remains a huge border effect,” Oregon Office of Economic Analysis economist Josh Lehner wrote in the report. “Roughly speaking, about 75 percent of Oregon sales and more like 35 percent of Washington sales in counties along the Idaho border appear due to the border effect itself and not local socio-economic conditions.”

In what could offer a glimpse of things to come in Elko County, Nevada, Lehner noted that the jump in sales along the Oregon-Idaho border is likely linked to the presence of three stores along that state line.

“Initially the closest retailers to Idaho were located in Baker County, [Oregon], however that changed last summer,” Lehner explained. “There are now three retailers in Ontario, [Oregon] (Malheur County) which is right at the border. These new retailers are 30-60 minutes closer each way to any potential customers traveling into Oregon along I-84 than the retailers in Baker County. 

“As one might expect, as these new stores in Malheur County came online, sales plunged in Baker County by around 80 percent. This is a knock-on impact of the border effect. Proximity or distance traveled matters as do product availability, prices, and taxes.”

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Senators Call on AG Merrick Garland to Decriminalize Cannabis

Two U.S. senators recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. In the letter, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on Garland to remove cannabis from the nation’s list of drugs regulated under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

“Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level via this descheduling process would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin to remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws and facilitate valuable medical research,” Warren and Booker wrote in their October 6 letter to Garland. “While Congress works to pass comprehensive cannabis reform, you can act now to decriminalize cannabis.”

The Democratic senators wrote that under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Garland has the authority to “remove a substance from the CSA’s list, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).” Booker and Warren said that the move would be in line with public opinion, noting that 91 percent of American adults support legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

The senators’ letter also notes that more than two-thirds of the states have initiated cannabis reform, with 36 legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana. Of them, 18 have also passed laws that legalize cannabis for adult use. The reforms have come without a spike in traffic accidents, violent crime, or use by teenagers “paving the way for much-needed action at the federal level.”

Racial Inequality and the War on Drugs

Warren and Booker also cited data from the American Civil Liberties Union that showed that Black Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite similar rates of usage among the groups. The effects of the disparate enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws include not only arrest, prosecution and incarceration, but also collateral damage such as the loss of jobs, housing, eligibility for financial aid, child custody and immigration status.

“Federal cannabis policy has disproportionately affected the ability of people of color in the United States to vote, to pursue education, and to build intergenerational wealth,” Booker and Warren maintain. “You can begin to repair the harm that the criminalization of cannabis has wrought on communities of color by using your statutory and regulatory authority to deschedule this drug.”

The senators also noted in their letter that legalization will facilitate cannabis as a treatment option for serious medical conditions including chronic pain, PTSD and terminal illnesses. Noting that federal agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have acknowledged that THC and CBD have proven medical applications, Warren and Booker argued that the decriminalization of “cannabis is crucial to facilitating scientific research and would be invaluable to doctors and patients across the nation.”

Summing up their rationale for marijuana policy reform, Booker and Warren urged “the DOJ to initiate the process to decriminalize cannabis.”

“Doing so would be an important first step in the broader tasks of remedying the harmful racial impact of our nation’s enforcement of cannabis laws and ensuring that states can effectively regulate the growing cannabis industry, including by assisting small business owners and those most harmed by our historical enforcement of cannabis laws,” they continued.

Keeping a Campaign Promise

Rescheduling cannabis under the CSA or removing it from the list entirely by action from Garland and the executive branch would allow the Biden administration to follow through on pledges to reform marijuana policy during the 2020 presidential campaign. While running for office, President Joe Biden promised to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.”

In an April press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Biden’s support for cannabis reform at the federal level. But she noted that the president prefers marijuana decriminalization over full legalization.

“The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states; rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts; and, at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” Psaki told reporters. “He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana.”

Critics, however, say Biden’s stance on cannabis is behind the times.

“His policy on marijuana is a very antiquated one, very out of date,” Martiza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Portland Press Herald. “I think that’s just his personal belief. If he were persuaded by science, the science tells us that marijuana does have positive therapeutic and medical effects, but he still seems very reluctant to just embrace it.”

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Los Angeles County Earmarks $5M to Combat Illicit Cannabis

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has allocated nearly $5 million to combat illicit cannabis, earmarking the money to address the proliferation of unlicensed dispensaries across the county and illegal marijuana cultivation sites in the region’s Antelope Valley. Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced the approval of the funding last week, characterizing the illegal cannabis growing operations and retailers as dual “crises.”

“Illegal cannabis operations continue to threaten the well-being of our residents, water supply and environment,” Barger said in a press release. “By empowering and equipping our law enforcement partners with the resources they need, we can better protect our communities.”

The funds allocated by the Board of Supervisors includes $2.4 million dollars Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to reinforce its efforts to eradicate unlicensed cannabis cultivation sites in the Antelope Valley and stop water theft in the area. The board cited environmental damage and quality of life nuisances as reason for the move.

The money allocated to the sheriff’s department includes $1.2 million for overtime pay for the department’s Marijuana Eradication Team for efforts to eliminate unlicensed cannabis cultivation. Another $503,000 will be spent on overtime for patrol deputies at the sheriff’s department’s Lancaster station to deter ongoing water theft in the area, and $707,000 will be spent on trucks needed to conduct investigations of illegal grow sites and other operations often carried out on dirt roads and in rough terrain. 

The sheriff’s department also received $2.5 million for its Cannabis Consumer Health and Safety Task Force to combat illegal cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas across Los Angeles County, as well as unlicensed marijuana growers in the Antelope Valley. Barger’s office noted that since last year, the number of illegal cannabis cultivation sites in the Antelope Valley area has increased from approximately 150 to more than 500.

Massive Bust of L.A. County Illicit Pot Farms

During a 10-day operation this summer, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and law enforcement officers from other federal, state and local agencies seized about 16 tons of harvested marijuana and nearly 375,000 unlicensed cannabis plants in the Antelope Valley. Officials stated the plants and pot seized in the bust were worth $1.19 billion, although critics claim that estimates of the value of illicit marijuana operations are often exaggerated by law enforcement agencies.

“Inflating valuations of drug busts in the press” is a “fairly common tactic in law enforcement,”  Alex Kreit, a law professor at Northern Kentucky University and director of the school’s Center on Addiction Law & Policy, wrote in a July email to Forbes after the massive Antelope Valley bust was announced by the sheriff’s department.

“That’s not to say it is legitimate; I think it is incredibly misleading,” he added. “But I do believe it’s common.”

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department 2021-2022 budget also includes an additional $500,000 in previously approved grant funding for cannabis eradication efforts from the Drug Enforcement Administration for the county’s participation in the Domestic Cannabis Eradication Suppression Program for the elimination of unregulated marijuana cultivation. 

In a memo to the Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County chief executive officer Fesia A. Davenport “recommended that LASD continue to explore grant opportunities to expand their ability to combat illegal cannabis grows, water theft and illegal cannabis dispensaries.”

Despite the legalization of cannabis with the passage of Proposition 64 by California voters in 2016, illicit marijuana production continues to be an issue in the state. Late last month, law enforcement officers in the San Francisco Bay Area seized more than 100,000 cannabis plants, at least six tons of harvested pot and millions of dollars in cash during raids at more than a dozen illicit marijuana cultivation sites across Alameda County.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you end up working at Viola Brands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Juliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viola
Courtesy ofJuliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

Who or what inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viola
Courtesy ofJuliana Civitate / @jujufilm_

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

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

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Oregon State University Hemp Center Receives $10M Grant

The Global Hemp Innovation Center at Oregon State University announced last week that it has received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study and define the economic opportunities for hemp in the western United States. 

Provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems grant program, OSU scientists plan to use the funding to partner with eight institutions across the country in a five-year research program.

The research will be designed to address the needs of businesses in Native American and rural communities in a vast region of the Western Pacific United States covering four states. Jeffrey Steiner, associate director of the hemp center at OSU, told reporters that the funding received for the research program is one of the largest grants to study hemp ever awarded.

“We just feel really fortunate to get it,” Steiner said. “It’s a very competitive program, and we’re among the elite institutions to get the money.”

Establishing a Robust Hemp Economy

Although hemp agriculture and products made from hemp were legalized with the 2018 Farm Bill, developing a comprehensive industry to produce grain and fiber from hemp as well as CBD and other cannabinoids has had a sluggish start so far. More research is needed to study where different types of hemp can best be grown and the best genetics and farming techniques to use. 

Researchers also plan to study where to best process the hemp materials grown in the region, likely growth markets to support the expansion of the hemp industry, and how to incorporate the crop into existing production systems in order to complement rather than disrupt markets.

“We established the Global Hemp Innovation Center in 2019 to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders to address big unanswered questions about the hemp industry,” Steiner said in a statement from the university. “While enthusiasm for hemp has grown, there is still a tremendous lack of knowledge about the crop.”

The research funded by the USDA grant will focus on the rural transportation corridor that runs through Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, from the southern to northern borders of the United States. The immense region encompasses a variety of mostly arid environmental conditions with large areas of both irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural production.

Creating Equity in the Hemp Industry

The four-state area to be studied includes a significant number of Native American Tribes and leading researchers including Native American farmers and tribal leaders in the research project, specifically Laurie Danzuka, the cannabis project coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon. Through this collaboration, researchers plan to include the cultural and economic needs of tribal communities as part of business development efforts for the region.

“The Warm Springs Tribe has interest in exploring and expanding our agricultural opportunities in hemp production and this is one avenue to achieve this,” Laurie said. “This collaboration will allow us to identify potential sustainable uses for hemp, utilize best farming practices and provide learning opportunities to the membership.”

Steiner added that including tribal communities in the research will introduce Native American students to different aspects of the emerging hemp industry while addressing the historic inequities in American agriculture.

“The up-front involvement of tribal communities along with other rural communities in this work is critical to its success,” Steiner said. “The potential economic opportunities this new commodity may have presented tremendous potential for rural communities, and our project has set out to ensure those opportunities are equally available and relevant to all kinds of farmers.”

Scientists with Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and researchers from OSU’s colleges of Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and the university’s Extension Service will collaborate with Global Hemp Innovation Center scientists in the research program. 

They will be joined by research partners from the University of California, Davis; Washington State University; University of Nevada, Reno Extension; the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Volpe National Transportation Systems Research Center, the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program; 7 Generations, a Native American-owned firm that specializes in business development for tribal communities and the USDA’s National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service and Western Rural Development Center.

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Petition to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis Filed in Oklahoma

Cannabis policy reform advocates in Oklahoma filed a petition on Thursday for a ballot initiative that would legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. The group, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action, also submitted a petition for a separate initiative proposal that would modify the state’s current medical marijuana program.

“A lot of this is stuff that has been advocated for by a lot of folks in the community and industry over the last three years, and I don’t see it’s going to make it through the legislative process any time soon,” Jed Green, an organizer of the group, said about the content of two proposed ballot measures.

The recreational petition initiative, known as the Oklahoma Marijuana Regulation and Right to Use Act, would legalize cannabis for all adults 21 and older. The proposal would allow adults to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana purchased from licensed retailers. 

Purchases of adult-use cannabis would be subject to a 15 percent excise tax, with revenue dedicated to regulating the industry. The tax on medical cannabis, currently at seven percent, would be eliminated in stages over the span of one year. Excess taxes collected for either program would be used for cannabis research, water resources, and law enforcement training.

The initiative also allows for the home cultivation of up to 12 cannabis plants, which would not be subject to the eight-ounce limit on possession. The measure also includes provisions for those with past convictions for marijuana offenses to have their records expunged or apply for judicial review.

“Until we pass recreational (marijuana legalization) we will not be able to truly bring stability to our program. Legalization prevents diversion,” Green said. “Folks have been and are going to use marijuana. Have been for decades. It is in the best interest of our state to get ahead of the curve on this issue. We must put this issue to rest.”

Medical Marijuana Reform Petition also Filed

Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action also filed a second petition to reform the state’s current medical marijuana program. The measure, titled the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Act, would amend the state constitution to create the Oklahoma State Cannabis Commission. 

The new agency would serve as the regulatory body for medical cannabis patients and businesses. The State Health Department, at the discretion of the OSCC’s board, would retain oversight of food permit and safety regulations with cannabis products. 

The commission’s board would be made up of representatives of state agencies that have regulatory authority over any aspect of the cannabis industry. The commission would also allocate funding to those agencies to support their regulatory and oversight duties.

Green also campaigned to get State Question 788 to legalize medical marijuana on the 2018 ballot. Since the initiative’s passage, Oklahoma has licensed more than 375,000 cannabis patients, more than 2,300 dispensaries, 8,600 cultivators and about 1,500 cannabis processors. But he says that a lack of enforcement of the cannabis industry has made it difficult for legal businesses to operate effectively while allowing the state to become a hotbed of illicit activity.

“What we’ve seen with that not being done is a big problem,” Green said. “The efforts that the (Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control) is making right now to clean up this variety of, especially illegal grow ops we have; that does not happen overnight. That level of infrastructure does not get built overnight.”

Both petitions include language stating that the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s bodily fluids or hair is not on its own proof of cannabis impairment. Additionally, screening tests showing the presence of such metabolites can not be used to deny a person housing, health care, public assistance or other rights.

If the petitions are not challenged within 10 days, Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action will have 90 days to gather at least 178,000 signatures for each proposal to qualify for the 2022 ballot.

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