Goldkine: The Midwest’s Gold Standard in Cannabis

In 2018, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational cannabis. Michigan Proposal 1, Marijuana Legalization Initiative passed with 56-44% in favor, allowing residents to grow, consume and possess cannabis. The first dispensaries in Ann Arbor and Morenci opened their doors to residents of the Great Lakes State in December 2019. It has clearly been a popular move; since legalization, Michigan has become the third largest cannabis market in the U.S., behind California and Colorado, with recreational sales up 115% to $128.4 million. Luxury cannabis brands like Goldkine are driving those sales.

Goldkine was founded with the goal of creating premium craft cannabis products through unmatched genetics and premium branding.

“Legalization gave us the chance to start a business together, a dream we always had,” co-founder Jimmy Smith told Cannabis Now, referring to the three other co-founders and close friends. “The dream became Goldkine.”

Each of the four Goldkine founders brings a unique skill set to the table, enabling them to better serve their customers.

“In a rapidly changing, expanding industry like this, that diverse knowledge base is key,” Smith said. “It allows us to adapt and push through the many obstacles of a growing segment—the fastest growing industry in the world.”

Goldkine Genetics Are Golden

Goldkine’s cultivar catalog features genetics that have been specifically bred for indoor cultivation. At its sophisticated grow facility in Warren, Michigan, state-of-the-art equipment and a team of cultivation experts follow carefully choreographed harvest schedules to ensure their customers always have Goldkine products on hand. 

Attention to detail is everything, and the Goldkine team pays special attention to the drying and curing process to preserve the delicate terpene profiles of their flower. The resulting flower is more than a product—it is a symbol of life’s finer things.

According to Smith, Goldkine’s curated product offering focuses exclusively on top-shelf flowers, including Apple MAC, Mimosa and Zkittlez Kush Mints.

Apple MAC

Apple MAC is a cross of Alien Cookies, Starfighter and Columbian strains with all the tasty richness of an apple pastry. Time is known to slow down for a while with this strain, leaving the consumer with a clear but intensely sedative feeling.

“Apple Mac is an exclusive strain developed in-house and selected by Surfr,” explained Smith. 

“MAC1 combined with Trophy Wife has flavors that explode. The gasoline-rich pheno of Triangle Mint, with hybrid landrace genetics, makes for a very euphoric high like you are traveling through space.”

Mimosa 

Mimosa is a cross of Purple Punch and Clementine, creating a unique flavor profile of strong citrus with hints of Hawaiian punch. The strain’s uplifting, clear-headed effect and sense of focus has made it a favorite strain for many across the country. It’s no surprise that Mimosa is the recipient of multiple Cannabis Cups. 

“The Goldkine Mimosa is the best in the state with unique aromas claiming top-shelf everywhere,” Smith said. “This sativa-dominant hybrid by Symbiotic Genetics is known for its euphoric and pleasant cerebral high.”

Zkittlez Kush Mints

Zkittlez is one of the most popular and award-winning cannabis strains on the market. An indica-dominant mix of Grape Ape and Grapefruit crossed with another undisclosed strain leaves consumers feeling calm, focused, alert and happy while unwinding at any time of day.

”Zkittlez Kush Mints (also called KmintZ) was bred by Ripper Seeds and is a combination of Zkittlez and Kush Mintz,” Smith explains. “The top reported aromas of the Zkittlez Kush Mints strain are candy, fruit and mint. It is said to taste of mint, sour and sweet citrus, and berries.” 

Creating a Gold-Standard Experience

From the branding to packaging, each facet of the Goldkine experience has been driven by a passion for delivering luxury cannabis and a true “One of a Kine” experience. 

“The current success we have, and will continue to have, comes from a lifetime of trust—and the fact that we all strive for perfection,” Smith said.

But the Goldkine brand is more than just a label. By marrying top-shelf flower with best practices and consistent service, the Goldkine team has pledged to support local charities. For Smith and his co-founders, a combination of passion for the plant and their dedication to upholding their values and standards will continue to grow Goldkine’s place in the market. 

“The cannabis business is fun, and the people in it and the customers have such passion for this product,” Smith said. “It’s inspiring. It really makes you want to work endlessly to provide the people what they want. Love for the brand on their end drives love for the process on our end—and that’s important.”

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Ohio Program Trains Cannabis Offenders for Industry Jobs

An Ohio nonprofit organization providing services for formerly incarcerated people has teamed up with a medical marijuana cultivator to develop a cannabis jobs training program for individuals with past  marijuana convictions.

Dubbed URC Grows, the collaboration between United Returning Citizens and Youngstown, Ohio licensed growing operation Riviera Creek Holdings LLC aims to pair past cannabis offenders with industry jobs in the state’s legal cannabis market.

“This program will give [the past offenders] an opportunity to get back into the workforce,” Brian Kessler, chairman of Riviera Creek Holdings, told The Business Journal.

The new jobs program will be open to those with prior marijuana-related offenses including cannabis possession, sales or cultivation on their records. Dionne Dowdy, executive director of United Returning Citizens (URC), told a local television news team that URC Grows is an attempt to address the harms caused by the failed War on Drugs while ensuring that the economic benefits of legal cannabis are shared with the most impacted communities.

“There were so many people that were jailed by this and now that everyone is making money off something that they are already sitting in jail for, we want to give them an opportunity. Everyone needs a second chance and these are the things that they can do that [are] just natural to them, that they will thrive in, so why not give them this opportunity,” Dowdy said.

Dowdy added that she has already signed up two prior cannabis offenders for what she hopes will be an initial class of 10 students. Graduates of the cannabis job training program will be prepared to work in Ohio’s growing medical industry, which currently serves approximately 200,000 registered patients.

“We already have a problem with workforce now but if we’re taking the next people that are coming and we’re training them and giving them an opportunity; to have a job, to have a career, to take care of their family, not only would it help them – it would help our city, it would help our community, it will help with the crime,” Dowdy said.

Developing Cannabis Entrepreneurs

URC Grows will provide cannabis education and job training in three focused areas, with a certificate of completion awarded upon graduation from the program. Areas of study include: an agriculture program concentrating on hydroponics and aquaponics; an industrial hemp program designed to teach prospective farmers how to grow, process and sell hemp for fiber, grain, or CBD. The third track, a marijuana program, will provide education on cultivating medical-grade cannabis.

After completion of the first phase of focused education, students will begin a second phase that includes entrepreneur and business development training. This means, assistance with developing a business plan and the filing of required business documentation. Those who complete the initial two phases of training will be offered a job or internship with Riviera Creek Holdings or the opportunity to maintain and grow a hemp crop for their own hemp-based business. To support the program, URC has received a grant from the Hawthorne Social Justice Fund to help students buy land or cover the startup costs of their business.

“We at Riviera are intending to help build the overall course work, what it looks like and as they graduate, Riviera is intending to bring some of those in-house so they wind up with jobs right after graduation and we’re excited for that program to begin,” said Daniel Kessler, COO of Riviera Creek Holdings.

More Jobs Would Come with Adult-Use Legalization

Although Ohio’s cannabis industry is currently limited to serving medical marijuana patients, legislators and activists are currently working to legalize cannabis for all adults. In July, two Democratic state representatives from the Cleveland area introduced legislation that would legalize, tax and regulate adult-use cannabis. A separate effort by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol was given approval to begin circulating petitions by state officials last month.

“It’s at the phase where it needs signatures,” said Daniel Kessler, who supports the effort to legalize recreational cannabis. “The goal is to approve adult use over the age of 21.”

Daniel Kessler said that Riviera Creek Holdings supports legal cannabis for adults as a way to replace the current system that forces consumers to accept untested and potentially unsafe cannabis while illicit cannabis operators face the threat of imprisonment.

“All of that becomes problematic for everybody,” he said. “If we can replace that with something that generates tax dollars for the state, controlled by the legislative body, works much like the medical program, and has social justice aspects to it – it shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

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Cannabis Legalization Makes New Advances in the Midwest

The push to legalize cannabis in the Midwest is making new advances, with lawmakers in Wisconsin introducing a new bill and Ohio activists amending language for a proposed legalization measure. Meanwhile, regional early adopters Illinois and Michigan continue to post strong recreational marijuana sales with record-breaking months in July.

Last week, a group of Wisconsin lawmakers appeared at a cannabis dispensary in Illinois (where adult-use cannabis is legal) to unveil a bill that would legalize marijuana in the Badger State. Under the bill, adults 21 and over would be permitted to purchase and use recreational cannabis while adults 18 and up with debilitating health conditions would be allowed access to medical marijuana. Younger patients would be permitted to use cannabis medicinally with parental consent. Wisconsin currently has no provisions for legal cannabis, even as it is surrounded by four states with at least some form of legalized marijuana.

The lawmakers gathered at the Sunnyside dispensary in South Beloit, Illinois — only about 1,000 feet from the state border — to illustrate how many of the business’s customers are coming from Wisconsin. On an average day, half of the cars in the Sunnyside parking lot have Wisconsin license plates, according to South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl. At last week’s unveiling of the bill, Democratic Sen. Melissa Agard, who is the sponsor of the bill in the state Senate, said that cannabis legalization would be a good move for Wisconsin.

“Legalizing and taxing cannabis in Wisconsin just like we already do with alcohol ensures a controlled, safe market for our communities,” Agard said.

Fellow Democrat and Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. David Bowen noted that Wisconsin’s drug prohibition laws have not been enforced fairly and equitably.

“Under the failed war on drugs, enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws have disproportionately impacted communities of color,” said Bowen, the lead author of the legalization bill. “When an individual is arrested for nonviolent possession of marijuana, they are driven from their jobs, from their families and driven from their communities.”

Despite a 2019 Marquette University Law School poll showing that 59% of Wisconsin’s registered voters support cannabis legalization, approval of the bill in the state’s Republican-led legislature does not seem likely, according to media reports. Agard said that the sponsoring lawmakers will be circulating the bill for two weeks in order to gain co-sponsors before moving forward with the legislation.

Ohio Activists Resubmit Cannabis Legalization Petition Summary

In Ohio, citizens rather than lawmakers are leading the drive to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The cannabis reform group the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol resubmitted petition language for a proposed legalization measure. In early August, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected an earlier draft of a summary of the proposal, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess, purchase, use and grow marijuana. After reviewing the proposal to ensure it was a “fair and truthful” description of the law, Yost cited a list of seven deficiencies in the summary and returned it to supporters for correction. The attorney general wrote, for example, that the summary did not adequately explain the “cannabis social equity and jobs program” and did not clearly indicate that home growers are limited to possessing up to six cannabis plants.

“In total, the summary does not properly advise a potential signer of a proposed measure’s character and limitations,” Yost wrote in a letter to the group’s attorney.

Last Friday, supporters of the proposal resubmitted the summary after addressing the deficiencies noted by Yost.

“We appreciate the attorney general’s feedback on our initial filing, and have fully addressed the issues flagged in this updated filing” coalition spokesman Tom Haren said in a news release.

Once the summary is approved, supporters of the legalization proposal will be able to begin collecting petition signatures from Ohio registered voters. If the group collects at least 132,887 valid signatures, the proposal will head to the Ohio General Assembly for consideration. If lawmakers fail to approve the measure, supporters could collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place the proposal before voters, perhaps as soon as the Nov. 2022 general election.

Midwest Cannabis Sales Break Records

If Wisconsin and Ohio successfully join the ranks of the states that have legalized cannabis in the Midwest, they will be able to tap into a market that continues to grow for the region’s early adopters of marijuana policy reform. On Aug. 3, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that adult-use cannabis sales totaled $127.8 million in July, breaking a state record set only two months earlier by 10 percent. Jason Erkes, spokesman for Chicago-based cannabis multistate operator Cresco Labs, said that visitors attending the Lollapalooza music festival at the end of the month helped fuel the strong showing.

“Summer tourism and the Lollapalooza attendees were strong contributors to July’s out-of-state sales,” Erkes said.

Legal marijuana sales are breaking records in Michigan, as well. Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released cannabis sales figures for July. Together, medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis sales totaled $171 million, generating more than $23 million in tax revenue. MRA executive director Andrew Brisbo characterized July’s cannabis sales as “Another record month!”

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22 Midwesterners Hospitalized for Breathing Problems Linked to Vaping

More than 20 people have been hospitalized across the midwestern United States due to severe breathing problems linked to vaping.

The hospitalizations occurred to individuals in three different states: four in Minnesota, 12 in Wisconsin and six in Illinois.

The exact reasons for the illnesses aren’t yet clear. Doctors are still determining what devices were used, where they were purchased, or what was in them. But many of the patients were apparently young adults–little surprise given the popularity of e-cigarettes like Juul. And some were vaping both nicotine and THC.

“We know there are certain characteristics in common with these cases, but we have not been able to get to the bottom of exactly what aspect of the vaping habit or product or solvent or oil is causing the injury,” Dr. Emily Chapman, chief medical officer for Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system headquartered in Minneapolis, told NBC News. 

Chapman said that the four teenaged patients who were admitted to Children’s Minnesota were originally diagnosed as having a respiratory infection like pneumonia, but that they got worse when given treatment.

“They have progressed to have significant difficulty with their breathing and increasing lung distress,” Chapman told NBC. “They’ve ended up needing our intensive care unit and in some cases assistance with their breathing.”

In a particularly frightening case, Dylan Nelson, a 26-year-old from Wisconsin, fell ill after using a new vape cartridge. After checking into the hospital the following morning, his condition worsened as his lungs filled with fluid, prompting doctors to put him in a medically induced coma.

According to Nelson’s brother, Patrick Degrave, Nelson purchased the cartridge off the street.

“People will buy them from the states where it is legal and they’ll bring them back to states such as Wisconsin where it’s not legal,” DeGrave told NBC. “You don’t know if you’re buying something from a middle man that picked it up from a dispensary or if you’re buying it from somebody who has tampered with it and made their own mixture.”

Vaping has skyrocketed in recent years, particularly among younger people. A survey from Gallup released last month found that nearly 20 percent of Americans 30 and younger said they had vaped in the last week. The same poll found that cigarette smoking among Americans had plummeted to an all time low. 

Billed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, there is still little understood about the health risks of vaping, though medical officials have sounded the alarm over its dangers. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration requested comments on a proposal that would add a number of chemicals to the list of harmful ingredients in tobacco products, including certain compounds formed when e-liquid is heated in vaping devices.

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