Michigan Considers Dropping Pre-Employment Cannabis Tests

Policymakers in Michigan are considering major changes to the state’s drug testing policy, particularly as it pertains to cannabis use. 

The potential changes come more than four years after voters there approved a ballot measure that legalized recreational pot use for adults aged 21 and older. 

In a letter sent earlier this month to human resources officers, the state Civil Service Commission asked for public comment as it mulls various tweaks to the Michigan policy.

“Recent years have seen changes across the country in state laws regulating controlled substances. Michigan voters legalized marijuana’s medicinal use in 2008 and recreational use by adults in 2018,” read the letter, which was sent on May 12. “In light of these changes, commissioners have requested circulation for public comment of potential regulation amendments to end the pre-employment testing requirement for marijuana for classified employees hired into non-test-designated positions. Ending this pre-employment testing for marijuana would not affect the availability of reasonable-suspicion or follow-up testing for marijuana of classified employees, including candidates who become employees.”

The letter explains how in the late 1990s, “collective bargaining agreements added provisions allowing similar reasonable-suspicion, follow-up, random selection, and post-accident drug-testing of exclusively represented employees. Federal law also requires pre-employment and employee testing of some test-designated positions operating certain vehicles.”

“The 1998 rules directed the state personnel director to establish prohibited levels of drugs in regulations. Those regulations—and collective bargaining agreements—called for testing under procedures established under federal law. While the regulations technically allow agencies to request approval to test for any drug in schedule 1 or 2 of the state’s public health code, the default testing protocol used by the state since 1998 has tested for five classes of drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine,” the letter read.

The letter also noted that, since the new cannabis law took effect in December of 2018, “approximately 350 applicants for classified positions have tested positive for marijuana in pre-employment testing.”

Under the current Michigan rules, those applicants are precluded from applying for another job with the state for three years. 

“While many of these sanctions have since lapsed, a few hundred remain in effect. The commission could adopt rule language allowing amnesty through rescission of continuing sanctions based on a pre-employment drug test for a non-test-designated position with a positive result for marijuana. Such action would not result in employment for these candidates but would allow them to apply for classified positions rather than waiting three years after being sanctioned,” the letter said.

As states have lifted their long standing prohibition on recreational pot use, lawmakers and regulators have recalibrated drug testing policies to bring them in line with the new cannabis laws.

Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that will enshrine protections for employees from getting tested for cannabis.

The legislation says that it is “unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in the initial hiring for employment if the discrimination is based upon: (a) The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace; or (b) An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.” 

Professional sports leagues have similarly followed suit. A new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players that was ironed out last month will remove cannabis from the list of banned substances. The new deal will also permit players to promote and invest in cannabis companies.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver telegraphed the reform as far back as 2020.

“We decided that, given all the things that were happening in society, given all the pressures and stress that players were under, that we didn’t need to act as Big Brother right now,” Silver said then. “I think society’s views around marijuana [have] changed to a certain extent.”

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STIIIZY Offers MJ Production Jobs to 400 Laid-Off Burger King Workers in Michigan

STIIIZY, a prominent cannabis brand best known for its vaporizers, has offered to hire laid-off Burger King workers after a franchise owner closed 26 locations last week, mostly in the Detroit metro area. More than 400 total workers were laid off as a result of the closures. STIIIZY is based in California and has three retail locations and a production facility in Michigan.

The cannabis company announced the move on Twitter Monday, “We recently offered 400+ jobs to Burger King employees that were laid off due to closures in/around Detroit!” The STIIIZY Twitter account also shared a link and screenshot to a Crime News Detroit Instagram post, which provides further details.

Ahead of the social media announcement, STIIIZY Managing Partner Ryan Jundt also appeared on WWJ 950 News Radio on April 22 to dive into the company’s decision.

“Last night, I actually read the Detroit News article, where it spoke about 400-plus people losing their jobs from Burger King,” Jundt told host Mike Campbell. “And, at the same time when there’s a depressing message, we wanted to bring a message of hope.”

The workers were offered jobs at the STIIIZY production facility in Orion Township, where the company produces a variety of cannabis products, including its pod vape line, infused blunts and pre-rolls. Jundt mentioned that positions within the manufacturing department have a very similar skill set to fast food work.

“So, they would be rolling blunts, joints and filling vape cartridges,” Jundt said. “So, they would be going from burgers to blunts and joints.”

According to Jundt, the company is offering to fill “a little over 200 positions near immediately.” Over the “next three to four months,” Jundt said, STIIIZY may also hire the remaining 200-plus former Burger King workers if there is enough interest. Workers would have the option to choose between part-time or full-time work.

“It’s a great work environment, full-time hours. You get benefits after 90 days, and people seem to enjoy it,” Jundt said.

The new jobs start at $16 an hour for the day shift and $16.50 for the night shift, plus benefits, more than Burger King’s average pay for non-managerial positions. Campbell mentioned that the rate is a “nice start” but still challenging for employees to make a living on.

Jundt replied, estimating that about 80-90% of the company’s management team started in entry-level positions.

“We’re growing crazy,” Jundt said. “Here in Michigan, we’ve actually only been able to launch about half of our product lines. So we need many, many jobs. And when there’s more jobs, we need more managers. So as long as you’re willing to work hard and be dedicated to what you do, you can move up very quickly in this company.”

According to the Texas-based Burger King franchise owner, EYM King of Michigan, the closings were due to “unforeseen business circumstances” and failure to reach an agreement with Burger King Corp., according to a WARN notice sent to Michigan’s labor department and a Detroit Free Press report. 

In the letter, EYM King of Michigan stated the 26 locations would close beginning March 17 and be completed by April 15. Burger King Corp. are also alleging “breaches of written agreement,” in a lawsuit filed against Eduardo E. Diaz, EYM King of Michigan, LLC and EYM King, L.P.

Jundt said laid-off Burger King workers simply need to send their full name, phone number and email address to mioffice@shrynegroup.com. Resumes can also be attached via email, but they aren’t required. 

“We’re really excited to have people apply,” Jundt added.

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Week in Review: Illinois Reports Record Cannabis Sales; Switzerland ‘Tries Out’ Legalization

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Kentucky residents now have access to medical marijuana; Switzerland moves ahead with trialing an adult-use market; Illinois records best first quarter sales in adult-use since sales began; and a former Michigan House Speaker is charged with accepting bribes for licenses.

Illinois Reports Record Cannabis Sales

Cannabis retailers in Illinois have experienced their best first quarter on record since sales began in January 2020, making nearly $4 billion since the market came online, reports Cannabis Business Times.

According to sales data supplied by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, licensed dispensaries in the Prairie State sold more than $383 million worth of adult-use cannabis in the first three months of 2023, indicating a roughly 6% increase over 2022.

The most recent quarter’s revenue was supported by $134.8 million in sales for March, the fourth-best month on record. Customers made approximately 3.3 million purchases during the month, and five Fridays—the busiest day of the week for cannabis retailers—during that 31-day span helped boost those numbers.

Rick Johnson. PHOTO AP Photo/Al Goldis

Former Michigan House Speaker Charged with Accepting Bribes for Cannabis Licenses

A former Republican speaker of the Michigan House collected more than $100,000 in bribes from would-be cannabis business owners in exchange for assistance in acquiring licenses, reports Politico.

According to the case’s prosecutors, Rick Johnson received more than $100,000 in cash bribes and free flights while controlling which businesses could enter Michigan’s marijuana industry. It’s reported to be the biggest public corruption scandal to hit the state’s capital in 30 years. Johnson served as speaker of the House for three years from 2001 to 2004. After leaving office, he operated a lobbying company in Lansing before chairing the Michigan marijuana licensing board from 2017 to 2019.

Three other defendants are charged alongside Johnson: Business owner John Dalaly is charged with paying bribes, and lobbyists Brian Pierce and Vincent Brown are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery. All four defendants signed plea deals admitting guilt to the charges.

“[The marijuana industry has] been held out as an equalizing opportunity,” says Mark Totten, US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan. “Yet what we’ve learned today is that one of its key leaders…acted corruptly and did so at a moment that mattered most for those who want to get ahead in this industry.”

Kentucky Capitol building. PHOTO Sherman Cahal

Kentucky Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill into Law

Kentucky became the 38th state to enact medical marijuana access after Democratic governor Andy Beshear signed the measure on March 31, reports Marijuana Moment. Gov. Beshear, who had repeatedly called on lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, signed Senate Bill 47 at a ceremony in the capital city of Frankfort.

“Far too many of our people face the obstacle of having chronic or terminal diseases like cancer, or those like our veterans suffering from PTSD or Kentuckians living with epilepsy, seizures, Parkinson’s or more,” Gov. Beshear said. “These folks want and deserve safe and effective methods of treatment.”

In accordance with SB 47, patients who meet specific criteria can access medical marijuana for diseases including cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The legislation permits the selling of unprocessed cannabis flower for vaporization but forbids patients from smoking. The bill also permits the use of other cannabis forms, including capsules, tinctures and topical applications. Patients will be allowed to keep 30 days’ worth of cannabis at home and 10 days’ worth on their person.

Illinois Reports Record Cannabis Sales

Switzerland to Legalize Cannabis in Trial Program

The Swiss government has authorized plans to legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis in Zurich, the country’s biggest city, in a trial intended to evaluate the social and economic advantages of regulating adult-use cannabis, reports Forbes.

Beginning this summer, 2,100 Zurich residents who are participating in the trial will be able to purchase the medicine in predetermined amounts for personal use from pharmacies, medical facilities and social clubs across the city.

As part of the study, which is carried out in partnership with the University of Zurich, participants will be required to respond to a questionnaire every six months regarding their consumption patterns and health impacts.

“The idea is to get robust real-world evidence that serves policymaking for new [national] regulation on cannabis,” said Barbara Burri, project manager at Zurich’s municipal health department. Evidence from the trial will be published on a rolling basis from next year.

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Michigan City Decriminalizes Psilocybin, Other Psychedelics

City leaders in Ferndale, Michigan voted this week to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms and other natural psychedelics, making the city in the Detroit metropolitan area the fourth municipality in the state to reform laws prohibiting the promising drugs. The Ferndale City Council voted unanimously on February 27 to approve a resolution decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), all of which are psychedelics that show promise as treatments for a variety of mental health conditions.

The resolution passed by the city council does not legalize psychedelic drugs outright. Instead, the measure directs that the “investigation and arrest of persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds which are on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Ferndale,” according to the text of the resolution.

The city council resolution was sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Kat Bruner James. The measure was supported by Decriminalize Nature, a national organization working to reform psychedelics policies from coast to coast, and the Ferndale chapter of the activist group. 

“The Ferndale community continues to demonstrate mindfulness and integrity as we move towards collective well-being and community healing in allyship with nature and her medicines,” Decriminalize Nature Ferndale wrote in a social media post after the city council passed the resolution. “We are grateful for all the community support and to Ferndale City Council for passing the resolution to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.”

Psychedelics As Plant Medicines

The two-page resolution includes findings from the city council recognizing that natural psychedelics have been used as plant medicines by humankind for thousands of years. The measure also notes that research has shown that the use of psychedelics can be beneficial to the health and well-being of communities and individuals.

“The use of Entheogenic Plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” the resolution reads.

After Monday’s vote, psychologist Billy Horton, the co-chair of Decriminalize Nature Ferndale, thanked the city council for the members’ unanimous support of the psychedelics decriminalization ordinance. The activist added that the group would continue to educate the public on the safe use of plant medicines.

“I just want to continue to emphasize the importance of psychedelic and entheogenic plants and the work that’s going on, the research and the science that’s supporting it for psychological and for physical wellness,” he told the council in a statement quoted by the Detroit Metro Times.

Ongoing research has shown that psilocybin has the potential to be an effective treatment for several serious mental health conditions, including PTSD, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and substance misuse disorders.

A study published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was a quick-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. And separate research published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

This week’s approval of the psychedelics decriminalization measure in Ferndale marks the fourth time a Michigan city has decriminalized natural psychedelic drugs. Ann Arbor became the third city nationwide to decriminalize psychedelics with the city council’s adoption of a resolution in September 2020. That was followed by a similar move in Detroit in November 2021, while Hazel Park approved a measure last year. After Monday’s vote in Ferndale, the national headquarters of Decrimalize Nature took to social media to mark the occasion.

“Congrats again to the @decrimferndale team for all of their hard work and effort to pass the resolution in support of entheogenic plant practices in Ferndale Michigan last night,” the group wrote on Instagram. “That’s 4 wins in Michigan so far! Let’s get some statewide decriminalization legislation on the table!!! Go team Nature!”

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Michigan Cannabis Market Nets $60M Windfall for Local Governments

Tens of millions of dollars have been doled out to local governments across Michigan as a result of the state’s cannabis industry. 

FOX 2 Detroit reports that the state sent out nearly $60 million to counties and local governments.

“Local governments that have approved the recreational sale of weed in their county, city, village, or township will see approximately $51,800 for every retail store and micro-business that it’s handed out licenses to,” the station says.

According to FOX 2 Detroit, “Only 30% of total adult-use sales go to local governments, with the other 70% going to schools and roads. When contributions from last year are paired next to figures from 2021 and 2020, they show an industry that shows no signs of slowing down.”

Voters in the state legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, when they approved Proposal 1. 

That initiative made it legal for adults 21 and older to toke up, and cleared the way for a regulated cannabis market that launched in 2019. 

But despite strong sales numbers, Michigan, like other regulated cannabis markets, has become oversupplied with pot.

Politico reported last year that the “number of cannabis grow operations serving the state’s recreational market has almost doubled in the past year,” and that the “number of active marijuana plants now exceeds 1.2 million, roughly six times the volume seen in 2020.”

“Michigan has way too much weed,” Politico said then.

“By one estimate, Michigan has enough cultivation capacity to supply three times as much weed as the state’s consumers are buying — and that doesn’t include the huge illegal market that by all accounts commands a large share of sales.”

That, according to Politico, makes Michigan “emblematic of what’s been happening across the country all year — and why the industry’s been in a funk even as legalization spreads: Ill-fated hopes that a Democratic-controlled Washington might loosen decades-old restrictions on the drug have given way to a market glut and plummeting prices that have put scores of businesses at risk of collapse.”

But that is not to say that Michigan’s recreational cannabis industry hasn’t experienced growth.

As FOX 2 Detroit noted, “224 municipalities had registered 1,148 business licenses” last year. That’s up from 163 municipalities and 748 licenses in 2021, and 104 municipalities and 356 licenses in 2020. 

The station has more details on the state’s latest cannabis sales figures:

“The latest figures come from the Michigan Department of Treasury which reported $198.4 million in revenue from recreational pot last year. Another $69.4 million will go to School Aid Fund, while $69.4 million will go to the transportation fund. In total, $1.8 billion in sales from weed came last year. To put that in context, there were $341 million in total sales in 2020. In 2021, the state reported $1.1 billion in sales.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, supported Proposal 1.

Late last year, Whitmer vetoed several Republican-sponsored bills that, among other things, aimed to ease access to the state’s medical cannabis program, which began in 2008, for both patients and prospective operators.

In her veto message, Whitmer said that the proposals were passed hastily by lawmakers and required closer examination.

“I look forward to working with the new Legislature in January on priorities that will continue our economic momentum, help lower costs, and expand education supports for Michigan students. It is time to be serious about solving problems and getting things done that will make working families’ lives better right now,” Whitmer said at the time.

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Michigan Regulator Suspends Cannabis Processor’s License

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency this week suspended the license of one of the state’s licensed marijuana processors, alleging that the company used illicit cannabis extract to manufacture some of its products. In an announcement from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) released on Tuesday, the regulator announced that it has issued formal complaints against TAS Asset Holdings, LLC in Lansing and placed a summary suspension on the firm’s license to process medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis.

The CRA said that the processor’s marijuana flower coated with cannabis concentrates known as space rocks was manufactured with illicit isolate that had not been tested for purity and safety and had not been entered in Metrc, the seed-to-sale cannabis tracking system used to monitor the movement of licensed cannabis throughout the state. The agency also issued a marijuana consumer advisory bulletin warning the company’s customers that the products, which were marketed under the Fwaygo Extracts brand name and manufactured between November 10, 2022, and November 17, 2022, were not produced in compliance with state statutes and administrative regulations and may be unsafe. CRA advised consumers who have experienced adverse reactions after using the products to report their symptoms and product use to their healthcare providers.

“The conduct alleged in the formal complaints is a significant risk to the public health and safety of marijuana consumers in Michigan,” CRA executive director Brian Hanna said in a statement from the agency. “While we work through the process to seek revocation of these licenses, it is vital that all licensees throughout the state realize that the CRA will continue to do what it takes to protect the public from bad actors in the regulated market.”

The CRA noted that in September, two packages of vape cartridges handled by TAS had tested positive for the presence of bifenthrin, a chemical insecticide that is banned from use in Michigan’s regulated cannabis market. Before they were transferred to and processed by TAS Asset Holdings, both packages of cartridges had passed full safety compliance testing with no bifenthrin detected.

The agency then began an investigation to determine the cause of the safety compliance failure. A review of surveillance footage recorded at the TAS facility showed that the cannabis product used to make the vape cartridges was not the same product recorded in Metrc that had passed compliance testing. The product used to make the vape cartridges had not been properly processed as part of the regulated market or entered into Metrc.  

“During the investigation, CRA staff noted that the business had many areas that were dirty and cluttered and had leaking containers of various process stages of marijuana and waste,” the regulator maintains. “The CRA investigators observed an unapproved, unlicensed warehouse being utilized as a part of the licensed business. The CRA investigators also observed various untagged marijuana products including flower, distillate, concentrates, and THCa powder in the unapproved warehouse.”

Regulators discovered several mason jars filled with oil and three barrels and two black totes that were filled with an unknown substance in the unapproved warehouse. The unlicensed area did not have surveillance cameras, and none of the marijuana products in the room had Metrc tags as required by state regulations, the CRA alleged in its announcement.

“A TAS representative admitted that the business’s signature product, “Space Rocks,” is produced using the untagged THCa powder,” the CRA wrote. “The investigation also showed that TAS was storing and interchanging illicit marijuana products with regulated product found at the business. A safe on the premises contained three jars of distillate and five jars of marijuana concentrate that did not have Metrc tags affixed.”

Video surveillance also showed that TAS employees had brought unlicensed cannabis product into the manufacturing from a personal vehicle. The product did not have a Metrc tag and could not be traced back to a licensed business.

The formal complaint from the CRA alleges 23 regulatory violations against each of TAS Asset Holdings’ cannabis processor licenses. The company is permitted to request a hearing to contest the allegations in the complaint. State law also provides for a hearing to determine whether the summary suspensions ordered by the regulator should remain in effect.

The CRA’s action against TAS is the second time this month the regulator has suspended a cannabis processor’s license. On February 3, the CRA suspended the licenses held by Candid Labs, a processor in Corunna, Michigan operating under the name Layercake Farms. During an investigation, the CRA discovered jars of cannabis distillate that did not have required Metrc tags.

“Based on its investigation of the conduct alleged in the formal complaints, the CRA determined that the safety or health of patrons or employees is jeopardized by Candid Labs’ continued operation and that the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action,” the CRA said in a statement at the time.

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High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023

We’re excited to see the product lineup as it begins to develop, but we’re even more excited to announce that we have pumped our number of categories to 20 this year—that’s three more categories than last year! This year we welcome the expansion of Solvent Gummies and Non-Solvent Gummies to the Edibles categories. We’ve also expanded our Medical categories as well to include Medical Concentrates and Medical Infused Pre-Rolls, but you can check out the whole list in its entirety here:

Entry Categories

  1. Rec Indica Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  2. Rec Sativa Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  3. Rec Hybrid Flower (4 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  4. Rec Pre-Rolls (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  5. Rec Infused Pre-Rolls (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  6. Rec Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  7. Rec Non-Solvent Concentrates (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  8. Rec Distillate Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  9. Rec Non-Distillate Vape Pens & Cartridges (2 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  10. Rec Edibles: Solvent Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  11. Rec Edibles: Non-Solvent Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  12. Rec Edibles: Non-Gummies (3 entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  13. Rec Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals (3 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Adult-Use)
  14. Medical Indica Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  15. Medical Sativa Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  16. Medical Hybrid Flower (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  17. Medical Pre-Rolls (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  18. Medical Concentrates (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  19. Medical Infused Pre-Rolls (4 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)
  20. Medical Edibles (3 Entries Max per Company) (State-Licensed Medical-Facility)

The winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2022 revealed an outstanding selection of products well-known throughout The Great Lakes State. Brands and companies such as Pro-Gro, FLWRpot, Local Grove, and Canna Boys were just a few of the winners. Feel free to check out the winners from 2021 as well, and you can also look back at the winners of our in-person cannabis cups between 2015-2019.

Can’t wait to get started? Neither can we! Participation for the High Times Cannabis Cup Michigan: People’s Choice Edition 2023 begins on between March 20-30 as the window for submissions. Just in time for 4/20, we’ll have kits available starting on April 15 at participating locations. We’ll give our honored judges just over two months to properly sample and review all of the submissions in their kit, with a deadline of June 25. Finally, just a few weeks after that, we’ll announce the winners on July 9.

Winners receive the coveted High Times Cannabis Cup trophy, a longtime symbol of quality in the cannabis community. It was designed by Alex and Allyson Grey, made from zinc and 24k gold plating.

Judges will analyze the products in their kits through a variety of criteria. For Flower, Pre-rolls, Vape Pens, and Concentrates, judges will take note of a product’s aesthetics, aroma/scent, taste/flavor profile, burnability, effects/effectiveness, and terpene profile. Edibles have a slightly different list of considerations, including packaging and labeling. Finally, Topicals, Tinctures + Capsules judges are asked to review the “ease of use” in addition to other criteria.

Because the competition includes both recreational and medical products, the entry requirements differ slightly. From maximum weight limits on products and number of units submitted, we highly recommend that interested participants who want to submit their products adhere to the following requirements:

Entry Requirements


  • Flower: (228) 1g units. We will not accept any 3.5g entries. 
  • Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (228) units. Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each.
  • Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at 3g flower-equivalency or 1g concentrate-equivalency each by METRC equations.
  • Concentrates & Vape Pens: (228) .5g units. We will not accept any 1g entries. Batteries required for Carts.
  • Edibles: (100) units with 100mg THC max.
  • Sublinguals, Capsules, Tinctures + Topicals: (60) units with 500mg THC max.


  • Flower: (228) 1g units. We will not accept any 3.5g entries. 
  • Pre-Rolls & Infused Pre-Rolls: (100) units: Pre-Rolls will be capped at 2g flower-only each.
  • Infused Pre-Rolls will be capped at 5g flower-equivalency or 5g concentrate-equivalency each by METRC equations.
  • Concentrates & Vape Pens: (100) .5g units. We will not accept any 1g entries. Batteries required for Carts.
  • Edibles: (100) units with 200mg THC max.

The cost of entry is set at $250 for one entry and $100 each for two (both non-refundable); for entries of three or more, it’s $100 each but the deposits per entry are refundable. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, there are varied levels of sponsorship including Presenting Sponsorship, Silver Sponsorships, Bronze Sponsorships, and General Sponsorships.

Michigan really came out of the gates strong at last year’s Cup, so we can’t wait to see what these local brands bring to the table this year.

A huge thank you to our official intake partner Green Pharm.

Questions? Email Competition@hightimes.com.

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The 2022 Cannabis Cup Tour Report

Twenty-one Cups, 339 brands, 1,389 batches of entries, all judged by about 15,000 judges who helped crown 249 award-winners for best products in their state. Our industry is going through a tough recession, restrictive regulations, and plenty of other woes, but one thing that’s for certain is that people want to find out who has the best weed, and we’re here to help. 

As a refresher on the new model, the Cannabis Cup People’s Choice concept opened up the competitions to a whole new world of possibilities. Switching from having a small pool of hand-selected judges, the People’s Choice model allowed consumers from all walks of life and palette types to be a judge. Now with up to 228 judge kits per category, judge kits are no longer reserved only for the Snoop Doggs and Frenchy Cannolis of the world (RIP Frenchy). 

Ever seen people waiting in line for that new Supreme drop? You’ll find the same thing when the judge kits drop. Each Cannabis Cup consists of anywhere between 1,800-3,300 judge kits available across the state via hand-selected dispensaries that get a rush of consumers ready to grab their bag. With categories ranging from Indica Flower to Sativa Flower, Non-Solvent Concentrates to Edibles, and Topicals to Tinctures, there is something for every cannabis enthusiast. Judge kits come packed with products submitted into the Cup from brands well-known and obscure, all in hopes that judges will score them highest on Aesthetics, Aroma, Taste, Effects, Burnability, Terpene Profile and other criteria. Most importantly, we gather detailed comments from all judges, or at least the caring ones, on their experience – all impactful for the growers and processors to see what people truly, and anonymously, think. If you haven’t been a judge in the past because you were never selected, now is the time to get in on the action. Visit CannabisCup.com/Preregister to get updates. 

Courtesy High Times

To many’s surprise, we started the year off in one of the most bustling cannabis markets, the state of Michigan. During 4/20 week, from Detroit to Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo to Crystal Falls, crowds of judges lined up early to be the first to get their hands on their judge kits, which varied between 17 different categories including medical and recreational products. With 3,300 judge kits, this was the biggest Cannabis Cup in history. I spent 26 cold days in Detroit for this one. Local community favorite, LocalGrove, came back with first place wins in several Flower categories with their Runtz and Brain Stew, while newcomers FLWRPot and Society C slid in to take home 1st place wins for Tropicanna Cherry under Rec Hybrid Flower and Spritzer under Rec Indica Flower, respectively. We saw the infamous CannaBoys come out from the darkness to win Best Medical Pre-Rolls and Rec Non-Infused Pre-Rolls with their Zhits Fire Cannonz, while fresh collabs stole the Concentrates show including Pro Gro x Element plus Glorious Cannabis Co. x Superior Solventless. Afternoon Delite, KIVA, Binske, Church x Pressure Pack, Pro Gro, and Hypha all came home with 1st place trophies.

Returning to our backyard here in California, we brought together 150 entries across 57 brands that came in with unique strains and product types for our judges. Thanks to our 7 High Times dispensaries, plus Green Dragon shops, we had 2,000 judges voting across 11 categories. Top-Shelf Cultivation returned with 1st Place trophies for Indica Flower and Pre-Rolls for their Whoa-Si-Whoa strain, while Team Elite Genetics and SENSE took 1st in Sativa and Hybrid flower, respectively. Jeeter, Bear Labs, PAX, Sensi, Bhang, Mari Y Juana, Dr. May, and Kan-Ade are amongst the 1st Place winners as well. Honestly though, there are too many great cultivars in CA that aren’t competing and simply letting other people take home the gold. We’re hoping to change that.

We ventured off into the mountains of Colorado in June to see who’s been bringing the fire since our last Denver Cup in 2020. High Level Health kept their streak going with 1st Place Indica Flower, Hybrid Flower and Solvent Concentrates, while Veritas took 1st Place Sativa Flower. I have to give a nod to D’Z Trees Honolulu Choo Choo which took 2nd Place Sativa and kept me running like a train during this laborious 3-week process. The AKTA Tropicanna Banana Live Rosin was a huge fan favorite; taking home 1st Place Non-Solvent Concentrates. High Country Cones, Nectar Bee, Evolab, Mountain Select, Smokiez, Incredibles and Escape Artists joined the 1st place podium as well. 

Excited to return to my Midwestern stomping grounds (I lived in Cleveland for 5 years), we ran the 3rd-ever Cup in Illinois, launching it with a small judging session at the RISE Consumption Lounge in Mundelein where judges came together as a community to smoke and discuss terpene profiles of each entry. Highly-regarded Fig Farms expanded into the state this year and took home 1st Place Sativa Flower, while behemoths Rythm and RevCanna took home 1st in Indica Flower and Hybrid Flower, respectively. RevCanna won several awards including 1st Place for Concentrates with their Gorilla’d Cheese Rosin which one judge describes as “Hands down the most potent and volatile terpenes in the kit” while another judge claims “The smell is so weird it may polarize a household worse than the 2020 election.” Other 1st place trophies went to Nature’s Grace and Wellness, Superflux, Mindy’s, Verano Reserve, Beboe, Incredibles and Bedford Grow. 

Courtesy High Times

Next up, we froze our butts off and explored the beautiful ranges of the Last Frontier up in Alaska, where the sun was shining until 10:30pm everyday. No MSOs, just local craft cultivators putting their hearts into their products. High North was a huge standout with all of their flower, but their Black Koffee takes the cake for Indica Flower. One judge noted that “The robust dark roast flavor comes through smoothly” and “the aches and pains drift away as you melt into the surroundings.” I’ll take some of that please. AM Delight and Flower Mountain Farms respectively brought home trophies for Sativa Flower and Hybrid Flower, while the highly sought-after Refine Alaska wowed judges with their Royal Gorilla Loud Resin for first place. GOOD Cannabis, Enlighten Extracts, Einstein Labs, Dosed Edibles, and Great Northern Cannabis were amongst the 1st place winners as well. 

Last Cup of the year, but not least, the Commonwealth called us back for the 2nd annual Cannabis Cup in September. People in Massachusetts are very discerning and don’t take kindly to bullshit; it was very apparent in their judging comments. That said, Happy Valley powered a winning streak with Hybrid Flower, Sativa Flower, Beverages and Sativa Gummies, while Northeast Alternatives brought in 1st Place Indica Flower for their Runtz OG. First place trophies also went home with Treeworks, Triple M, Munchèas by GGG, Smokiez, Incredibles, Sticky Fish as well as Church x Pressure Pack.

Courtesy High Times

The Cannabis Cups are for consumers to learn about all of the products they have access to and to determine who is the best of the best in their state. They’re also for the brands to learn more about their customer base and improve their products so that consumers get what they deserve. We will continue to plan and execute Cannabis Cups in territories where it’s legal, and continue to shine a light on the Cannabis Cup-winning brands around the world in 2023 and beyond. Thanks to everyone involved in each and every one of these Cups. 

To see all Cannabis Cup People’s Choice winners and upcoming competitions, visit CannabisCup.com
Interested in competing? Email Competition@hightimes.com
Interested in Judging? Sign up for updates at CannabisCup.com/Preregister
Stay tuned on social media @hightimesmagazine

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Muha Meds Dials In With the NFT Community

After Muha Meds‘ most recent launch in the California cannabis vape market, they have yet to stomp the breaks and have now collaborated with Bored Ape #8532 to debut their “Bored & Stoned” product launch and emulate the brand through the NFT community and culture. 

Muha Meds is available in a chain of retail stores in California and Michigan and continues to grow its footprint in the licensed market. Following its release of all new formulated product lines on 4/20, featuring single source flash frozen sauce and liquid diamonds incorporated in their “Diamond Reserve” and “Exotic Reserve” line, the company continues to innovate and provide the best “full spectrum” cannabis experience to the consumer past a regular cannabis vape. Company leaders have steered from the stereotypical high THC potency agenda and strive to provide the most full spectrum raw cannabis experience available backed behind extensive R&D and terpene case studies. With over 30 skus featured on their most recent drop, some of the company’s most trending strains are Goji OG, Razz Tazz, and Diamond Peaches.

Courtesy of Muha Meds

The company’s most recent product venture named the “Muha Mavricks” just launched, and features a half gram miniscule rechargeable disposable filled with single source flash frozen cold cured rosin. As craft cannabis and solventless extracts slowly become the most desired products, Muha Meds wanted to make sure they give this launch the limelight it deserves.

“We wanted to introduce the new era of solventless extracts the right way with this new launch, so we collaborated with BAYC to debut the new Muha Mavricks product line” said Muhammad Garawi, Founder and Chief of Sales of the company. “We are going to give you guys the most luxurious compact true to strain solventless half gram disposable in the market… at the best price!”

Muha Meds is getting dialed in with the NFT community and culture by choosing one of the most rare and sought after NFT collections to partner up with Bored Ape Yacht Club. The all-new “Muha Ape” is featured on several new skus. The Bored & Stoned collection can be purchased in multiple stores.

Courtesy of Muha Meds

Muha Meds is also verified on Weedmaps and Leaflink. To get the most recent updates on Muha Meds and their next moves check out their website muhameds.com and follow them on Instagram @muhameds_live!

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Weed Delivery Driver Robberies Spike in Michigan

A noticeable uptick in cannabis delivery driver robberies is being reported in Michigan, as authorities scramble to control the problem before it snowballs into something worse. The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) issued a bulletin Tuesday notifying cannabis businesses there’s been a rise in criminal activity.

Macomb Daily reports that authorities are concerned about the rise in crime in the metropolitan Detroit area. As delivery drivers are forced to carry around dangerous amounts of cash and/or cannabis, they are like sitting ducks with a target on their heads.

According to a recent bulletin issued by the CRA on Jan. 17, officials have “identified a pattern in reported criminal activity involving the drivers,” reporting 13 thefts of cannabis products, all within the past six weeks. The MRA regularly posts bulletins when an issue arises, including when a dangerous pattern emerges.

A rash of burglary incidents have been reported in Hazel Park and Ferndale in Oakland County, Utica in Macomb County, Westland, Hamtramck and Detroit in Wayne County, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Lansing. The burglaries began piling up since the beginning of December 2022.

The data shows that the thefts typically occurred at houses at the time of delivery. In some cases, armed robberies took place in which the drivers were assaulted and their vehicles were stolen.

When a robbery takes place, time is ticking for the victims involved. “Licensees and applicants are reminded that the administrative rules require they notify the CRA and local law enforcement authorities within 24 hours of becoming aware of—or within 24 hours of when the licensees should have been aware of—the theft or loss of any product or criminal activity at the marijuana business,” the CRA said in a press release.

“All suspicious activity should be reported to the CRA (using the form available here) and local law enforcement. Questions can be sent to the Cannabis Regulatory Agency Field Operations.”

Licensees are also reminded to watch for and report suspicious activity to police and the CRA. The reporting form is available online.

Not Just the Delivery Drivers are At Risk

Delivery drivers aren’t the only ones being targeted by criminals. Just last November, the CRA said 117 break-ins took place at cannabis businesses from April through November 2022. Authorities also said that the incidents took place primarily at adult-use stores rather than medical cannabis dispensaries.

The CRA says the following tactics were common among break-ins: A suspect vehicle parked in the far reaches of the parking lot or across the street; use of a tool such as a hammer or crowbar to enter the back door; or suspects enter the business and take as much as they can and leave before authorities arrive. A majority of the break-ins took place between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. throughout West Michigan this year, according to the CRA.

It’s not just happening in Michigan, but in Oregon and Washington state as well. Earlier this year, about 30 robberies happened in a one-month span in Washington.

The surges in robberies at licensed cannabis shops and among delivery drivers adds to the urgency for a need for a bill such as the SAFE Banking Act. The SAFE Banking Act, which did not go as far legislatively as people initially suspected in 2022, would solve many of these problems.

“It makes absolutely no sense that legal businesses are being forced to operate entirely in cash, and it’s dangerous—and sometimes even fatal—for employees behind the register,” Washington Sen. Patty Murray said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

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