Week In Review: Is DEA Issuing New Rules for Delta-8 THC?

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, the DEA considers issuing new rules for Delta-8 THC and CBD; country music star Paul Cauthen debuts new “Wild Man” single after drug arrest; bipartisan lawmakers in Ohio reintroduce cannabis legalization bill and Lil’ Kim announced plans to launch her cannabis brand Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas.

PHOTO Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP

DEA Could Issue New Rules for Delta-8 THC, Impose Regulations on CBD

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is suggesting revisions to federal drug-control laws that could effectively prohibit almost all currently available Delta-8 THC products. This proposal could potentially significantly disrupt the country’s $5 billion CBD industry.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, products that contain Delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids derived from hemp were federally legalized. These products gained immense popularity in states without regulated adult-use cannabis markets. CBD products, which can be converted into the intoxicating Delta-8 THC through a chemical process, have also gained substantial traction.

However, Delta-8 THC and other newly identified cannabinoids, many of which have either unknown or poorly understood safety profiles, have attracted increasing attention from lawmakers and law enforcement agencies. Although 14 states have outright banned Delta-8 THC, it continues to be sold online, in smoke shops and other retail establishments.

Hemp is defined as cannabis plants containing 0.3% THC or less by dry weight. Critics argue that the thriving trade in hemp-derived cannabinoids deviates from Congress’ original intent when legalizing hemp. They claim that the industry takes advantage of a loophole that the DEA now intends to close with its proposed changes.

The proposed changes to federal drug laws would encompass any cannabinoid “synthetically manufactured instead of extracted from the plant.” As most Delta-8 THC and other intoxicating cannabinoids derived from hemp are typically produced through a chemical process using CBD as the source material (referred to as “chemical synthesis” in the presentation), they’d be classified as controlled substances.

The specific schedule under the Controlled Substances Act that the DEA intends to propose for Delta-8 and other synthetic cannabinoids remains uncertain. Additionally, it’s unclear how committed the DEA would be to enforcing these regulations.

If implemented, the DEA’s new rules on Delta-8 THC would effectively ban almost all products containing the cannabinoid currently available. Furthermore, the proposal would significantly impact the CBD product market, leading to a drastic transformation.

Watch Paul Cauthen’s “Wild Man” video.

Paul Cauthen Shares “Wild Man” Single Four Days After Drug Arrest

Only days after being arrested for possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, country singer-songwriter Paul Cauthen surprised fans by releasing a new single titled “Wild Man.” The arrest occurred on the morning of Thursday, May 18, in Isle of Palms, SC, approximately 80 miles away from Cauthen’s scheduled performance that evening at Suck Bang Blow in Murrells Inlet, SC. Charges included possession of a Schedule I controlled substance and manufacturing and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute in Schedules I, II and III. Cauthen posted bail amounting to $27,275 and was released from custody later that day.

In a social media post on Monday, Cauthen corroborated that he was arrested for cannabis possession, stating: “I was arrested last week on tour in South Carolina for cannabis possession and want to clear up some of what’s being said. I’m not a drug dealer and I don’t “manufacture” drugs. The legal process will play out and my side of the story will be told, hell or high water. Amidst all the hell last week, a good friend reached out with his support (as did so many that I respect and love) and told me to keep my head up and ended it by calling me “a wild man.” So, I had to go ahead and put this song out today. This is for everyone that reached out and who has supported me. Love you all.”

As a result of the arrest, Cauthen had to cancel upcoming concerts in Knoxville and Hurricane Mills, TN, which were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. The cancellations were attributed to “extenuating circumstances.” The show at Suck Bang Blow on Thursday was also called off, although the venue cited weather conditions as the reason.

The incident unfolded on Thursday morning when an officer from the Isle of Palms Police Department noticed that Cauthen’s tour bus was illegally parked and detected the distinctive smell of cannabis as he passed by the vehicle. The officer approached two individuals outside the bus, including Cauthen himself. During their interaction, the musician admitted to having approximately an ounce of cannabis on the bus. However, according to the police report, the officers discovered and confiscated nearly four ounces, along with other items, including a white powdery substance in a small tube, three-and-a-half pink oval pills, two pink circular pills and a clear plastic bag containing another white powdery substance.

While at the scene, Cauthen confessed to the officers that the pills were Xanax and Diazepam and that he didn’t possess a prescription for them. He claimed ownership of all the cannabis found on the bus, which amounted to slightly less than four ounces, as well as the pills. However, no one on the bus took responsibility for the powdery substances. Due to the weight of the cannabis discovered, Cauthen was charged with manufacturing and possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute. He also received an additional possession charge for the pills.

A statue of William McKinley stands in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus Ohio.
Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. PHOTO Jack

Bipartisan Lawmakers in Ohio Reintroduce Cannabis Legalization Bill as Ballot Drive Moves Forward

A bipartisan group of Ohio state lawmakers reintroduced a bill to legalize adult use cannabis. Previous attempts by Ohio lawmakers to legalize cultivation and possession for adults aged 21 and older through the legislative process have been unsuccessful.

Known as the Ohio Adult Use Act, House Bill 168 is sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jamie Callender and Democratic state Rep. Casey Weinstein. Retail sales of cannabis would be subject to a 10% tax, aligning with the proposed rate in the ballot initiative. Furthermore, the bill offers the potential for expungement of criminal convictions related to marijuana cultivation and possession.

If passed, the newly renamed Division of Marijuana Control would regulate commercial cultivation, processing and sales of medical and adult-use cannabis in the Buckeye State. This regulatory body would oversee the implementation and enforcement of regulations in the industry.

“It’s time for Ohio to act on this before we fall too much further behind our neighbors,” Weinstein said in a news release. “Adult use [cannabis] is good for our economy, good for our justice system and the right thing to do.”

Simultaneously, a campaign is underway to gather signatures for an adult-use legalization ballot initiative that may be presented to voters in November. Ohio residents are actively engaged in a signature-gathering campaign to place an adult-use cannabis initiative on the ballot in November. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has submitted a proposal for legalization using an initiated statute, a lawful method that allows citizens to propose modifications to state law. To meet the July 5 deadline, the coalition aims to collect approximately 124,000 signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Many are optimistic that this goal can be readily accomplished, considering the level of support and enthusiasm surrounding the initiative.

PHOTO Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Lil’ Kim Launches Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas

Iconic rapper, Lil’ Kim and her Aphrodisiak partner Priscilla Vilchis, the self-proclaimed “Hollyweedqueen,” have launched their cannabis brand Aphrodisiak in Las Vegas, NV.

“As female entrepreneurs, we know how important it is to support other women and marginalized groups,” Lil’ Kim says. “We’re proud to be part of a brand that not only provides amazing products but also makes a difference in the world.”

Aphrodisiak’s premium product line features a diverse selection of strains and cannabis-infused products carefully crafted to enhance intimacy and pleasure. The brand debuted its offerings at the renowned Planet 13 dispensary in Las Vegas with a meet and greet for fans.

“We want to create a brand that empowers and uplifts women and promotes healthy, enjoyable relationships,” Vilchis says. “We’re proud to partner with Lil Kim, who shares our vision for creating a brand that is inclusive, empowering and forward-thinking.”

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Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference in New York City

On May 18 and 19, retailers, buyers, and investors attended the exclusive, invite-only Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference in Manhattan, NY. The prestigious two-day event, billed as the first B2B trade event of its kind, was an opportunity for luxury cannabis, CBD, and hemp wellness brands to connect with New York’s burgeoning adult-use market.

Unlike other tradeshows, LMCC’s aesthetic was akin to an Apple Store—spacious, white and inviting. Dozens of brands were in attendance, with sitting areas purposefully created for conversations. In addition to the retail exhibition, there were some high-profile speakers covering some hot topics, including “New York Cannabis Retail Comes Alive: OR Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were(n’t) Afraid to Ask,” presented by the New York State Cannabis Control Board and Bloomberg News and featuring Tremaine Wright, Cannabis Control Board Chair, New York State Office of Cannabis Management.

When I first walked in and began to make my rounds, I immediately noticed the packaging of what looked like a teddy bear falling asleep and I headed in that direction. I was greeted by a smiling man with a firm handshake. He turned out to be Kyle Paradiso, CEO of Sleepy Bear Gummies. The all-natural sleep aid products are redefining the word “wellness” and how it relates to selling cannabis and CBD-infused products.

Paradiso, a former army ranger, experienced multiple spinal cord injuries that led to his premature medical retirement from the military at the young age of 24 in 2016. Enduring chronic pain as a result, he faced numerous sleepless nights and sought solace in CBD and cannabis, which ultimately transformed his approach to wellness and provided significant relief.

Sleepy Bear Gummies at the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference.

“Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all approach and neither should CBD be for its use”, Paradiso says. “Getting the active material, albeit THC-v or CBD, into the bloodstream and doing what it needs to do for relief is what matters. My goal is to offer the fastest, most effective edible on the market”. And he’s not wrong, most people avoid gummies for their ambiguous dosage and onset time—I know I do.

Continuing around the show, a few other brands stood out to me including Dad Grass, Pamos beverages, and Drew Martin pre-rolls. Dad Grass for its nostalgic, approachable packaging, and its ability to be self-aware about its market position and X-factor as a CBD pre-roll that isn’t looking to get you high at all; rather, it wants to chill you out with a glass of wine, so you can stay in the moment while your friends partake in stronger cannabis. Pamos is a delicious well-branded infused beverage that left a minimal weed-like aftertaste, that really played well to the California sober crowd.

What I appreciate about the Drew Martin pre-roll is its ability to make a standard joint look and feel pretty. The brand infuses cannabis with natural botanicals, so you get a potpourri-smelling joint versus the standard aromas we’ve all become accustomed to. They offer both high and low doses, so you can relax with friends or with your thoughts while being grounded, engaged and immersed in the moment.

Overall, the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference was a great event with positive energy. I am glad I had the chance to attend and see first-hand the direction NYC is taking with the “luxury” narrative.

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100-Year-Old Candy Factory Becomes Largest THC Edible Manufacturer in the Country

Today’s candy comes infused with THC under the brand name XITE Edibles. This company has ignited business across the United States, found in more than 5,000 retail locations nationwide. Consumers 21 years and older can order their infused edibles of choice online and have them shipped directly to their homes without the requirement of a medical card. 

From rich chocolates and the nostalgic taste of candied popcorn to lip-puckering hard candies and mouth-watering chews, XITE Edibles has expanded the palates of THC edibles across the country.

The Classic Candy Story Continues with THC Edibles

The story of Patsy’s Candy, before XITE Edibles launched, began in the late 1800s with Patsy Mehaney. He created the best candied popcorn and salt water taffy, which loyal customers would say remains the best to this day. Patsy Mehaney developed what would become his legendary candy making process and sold his candied popcorn and salt water taffy at local fairs and events around Terra Haute, Indiana. 

As legend has it, a company called Cracker Jack got word of Patsy’s famous candied popcorn. A deal was ultimately made for this classic recipe. Afterwards, Patsy moved out west to Colorado in 1903 to the artsy town of Manitou Springs and Patsy’s Candies was brought to life. 

Courtesy XITE Edibles

The story of Patsy’s Candy moves forward now in Colorado Springs with the innovations and research of THC infused candies, produced and sold from the factory by XITE Edibles. The family’s mission of using the finest ingredients remains the same, only now used in XITE’s products made with Full Spectrum Hemp Extract containing Delta 9 THC which is legal to consume and sell in over 40 states.

XITE Edibles Infused with Colorado-Sourced THC, Full Spectrum CBD

XITE Edibles are, in essence, a prominent concoction of 100-year-old classic candy recipes and today’s innovation of THC oils for consumption. The Full Spectrum THC extract used in XITE Edibles is sourced from locally grown hemp plants in Colorado, then infused into a variety of the iconic Patsy’s Candies recipes. 

Full Spectrum Hemp Extract is full of terpenes, which contain a variety of cannabinoids that work simultaneously together to produce what researchers call the “entourage effect.” These cannabinoids may provide more relief than any average CBD product. Not only do customers all over the United States get a delicious, mouth-watering treat but a natural source of calmness and relief from XITE Edibles. 

The entourage effect is the process of the numerous cannabinoids included in Full Spectrum Hemp Extract that work together as a natural powerhouse in our bodies. Cannabinoids affect the body’s master regulatory system, called the endocannabinoid system. This bodily system plays a role in functions of our immune, digestive, and central nervous systems. 

XITE Edibles and Patsy’s Candies have joined forces to make their own chocolate with the highest quality ingredients available and an all natural Delta 9 oil that is identical to marijuana extracts. Delta 9 is legal throughout the United States for those 21 years of age and older. Customers of legal age can order directly from xiteedibles.com and have their edibles shipped in temperature-regulated packaging for a guaranteed satisfaction delivery.

Courtesy XITE Edibles

As various Patsy’s Candies are infused with the Full Spectrum Hemp Extract to craft XITE Edibles, customers 21 years and older enjoy a rich, great-tasting edible with the calming physical and mental effects.

The most popular reason why people consume THC edibles is that they tend to offer a more relaxed and mellow experience compared with smoking or vaping cannabis products. When digesting an edible, the THC is absorbed through the stomach rather than lungs, which means it takes longer for the THC to enter the bloodstream.

As a result, the psychoactive effects of THC will be felt gradually and last for a more extended period when consuming THC edibles. This may be preferred by those who want to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, as it may offer relief from unwanted symptoms without feeling too intoxicated or undertaking the risks of smoking and vaping.

Choose Your Favorite XITE Edibles Recipe

The THC edible industry no doubt continues to grow across the United States. First timers may be wondering which edibles to try first and how many milligrams is best to take. XITE Edibles is dedicated to sharing education and benefits of THC and CBD infused candies and snacks, from chocolates to candied popcorn. XITE takes the love of tried and true chocolate, popcorn, and taffy recipes of Patsy’s Candies and turns them into an elevated experience of not just making great-tasting edibles but creating a wonderful feeling from every bite.

XITE Edibles best sellers include the classic chocolate bars and square minis, infused with the combination of Delta 9 THC and Full Spectrum CBD. Customers have shared their creativity of making familiar favorites with XITE Edibles, like adult s’mores and using them as chocolate chips on ice cream. Another candy that goes neck-and-neck as a customer favorite are the Delta 9 Peanut Butter Nuggets. These bite-sized edibles are handcrafted with infused chocolate filled with smooth, creamy peanut butter.

Other XITE Edibles, which can be found in retail stores throughout the United States and bought online by consumers 21 years and older, include recipes like candied popcorn in which the caramel and chocolate are infused with THC oil; making them the perfect movie night adult munchies. For the sour-loving eaters, XITE Edibles crafts fruit gummies and hard candies infused with Delta 9 THC.

Courtesy XITE Edibles

Made fresh by hand from Patsy’s Candy factory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, all XITE Edibles can be shipped to customers 21 years and older in every state. Products are packaged and stored in premium materials, including insulation to guarantee products will not melt upon delivery. 

From wholesale shipments to small orders, XITE Edibles promises a fresh product every time. The packaging is also child-resistant. One of the core missions of both Patsy’s Candies and XITE Edibles is honesty. Each edible is tested for accurate dosing and labeled accordingly. These edibles deliver a consistent taste and feeling among each bite.

If you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy the benefits of THC products, look no further than XITE Edibles. Gone are the days of off-tasting infused chocolates and candies, as XITE Edibles are crafted with the legendary Patsy’s Candy recipes.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease.

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Pennsylvania House Members Introduce Bill To Protect Medical Cannabis Users From DUIs

If a bill passes in Pennsylvania, medical cannabis patients will no longer be at risk of being charged with a DUI just because drug tests show the presence of THC in their system, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. However, that doesn’t mean you can drive while impaired if you have a card, nor does it apply to anyone who uses cannabis without a medical card. 

Rather, the introduced legislation attempts to address a long-standing problem since cannabis legalization. As many readers know, THC can show up in your urine 30 days after you consume it and up to 90 days for heavier users. Therefore, arresting people for DUIs because their drug test shows the presence of THC would be like issuing out DUIs to a driver who hasn’t had a drink in a month. The bias in drug testing against cannabis, one of the safest drugs, doesn’t only come up regarding alcohol. Cocaine leaves your urine after about three days, as does heroin. Meth can hang around for six days. When a person fails a drug test for any reason, it’s often just because they smoked some weed. 

We know that cannabis is generally safe to consume, and a recent Canadian study even found that weed legalization does not lead to more car crashes. However, it’s understandable that folks are concerned about impaired drivers. But, under current Pennsylvania law, police can charge drivers with a DUI when marijuana use is detected, regardless of the level of impairment or time of consumption. 

“In 2016, the PA General Assembly voted to legalize medicinal use of cannabis. Sadly, the legislature failed to provide these patients the same privileges afforded to others who have legal prescriptions for a scheduled medication,” reads a cosponsor and bipartite memo from Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia, and Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne. “Medicinal cannabis patients regularly contact our offices concerned that state law makes it illegal for them to drive,” they continue. 

Currently (and thankfully), Pennsylvania is an outlier and only one of a handful of states which have zero tolerance for controlled substances. Thirty-three states (even somewhere cannabis is still mostly outlawed) require proof of actual impairment at the time of being pulled over. Last session, Pennsylvania representatives introduced similar legislation but got stuck in the government’s quicksand and didn’t make it out of the Transportation Committee. Additional attempts to solve this issue arose in the state Senate. The Senate Transportation Committee approved Senate Bill 167 last June. However (more government quicksand) the bill didn’t even get a vote in the full Senate before the 2021-22 legislative session closed.

“During a Senate Transportation Committee meeting last September, representatives of the Pennsylvania State Police testified that the bill would not adversely impact their mission to keep the highways and byways of the Commonwealth free of impaired drivers,” Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, the prime sponsor of SB 167, said in a statement at the time of that committee vote, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Considering more than 425,000 Pennsylvania residents have active patient certifications allowing them to use medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, let’s hope this issue resolves sooner rather than later. 

Reasonable Pennsylvania officials are currently trying to make cannabis laws more rational in other ways. Sen. Mike Regan, R-Cumberland, and Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport announced plans earlier this year for legislation allowing doctors to certify patients to use medical cannabis for any condition rather than the state’s current limited medical list. On a map of which states have legalized adult-use, Pennsylvania sticks out like a sore thumb that hasn’t.

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Tennessee Governor Signs Bill to Regulate Delta-8 THC

While medical and adult-use cannabis remain illegal in Tennessee, it’s pretty easy to find hemp-derived delta-8 THC products that are marketed as psychoactive including vape carts and dabs. But a new bill will regulate delta-8 THC products for adults 21 and over with testing and tax requirements.

State House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) and Sen. Richard Briggs, (R-Knoxville) introduced a bill on Jan. 25 to regulate products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as delta-8 and delta-10 THC, the second time such a bill was introduced.

Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) signed the bill to regulate delta-8 THC products in a similar manner to cannabis products. Senate Bill 0378 and its companion bill in the lower chamber House Bill 0403 will implement a tax and regulate cannabinoids derived from hemp via what some describe as synthetic processes. 

The bill will ensure that delta-8 THC products and other hemp-derived products are inspected by the Department of Agriculture.

While in the wild, cannabis has trace levels of delta-8 THC, in order to get high from the compound, “high levels of delta-8 THC are produced artificially by chemically converting CBD or delta-9 THC through a process known as isomerization,” NORML’s Dale Gieringer explains

Often the concern is potentially dangerous residuals that could be avoided if the products are regulated in a similar manner as products made with cannabis-derived cannabinoids.

“Delta-8’s been completely unregulated up to this point, and what the bill is trying to do is trying to assure the public and the consumer that the product they’re buying is what it says it is, that it doesn’t have contaminants,” Sen. Briggs said. “We’re not going to sell it to people under 21 years of age.”

“We started off to where we have one side that says, ‘Let’s do nothing.’ You have the other side that says to ban it,” Sen. Briggs said. “By working together, we were able to meet in the middle.”

Brigg’s co-sponsor simply wanted delta-8 THC products to be out of reach for minors.

“Delta-8 is a legal substance that can be sold and packaged in the form of candy or gummies; it often has a very high concentration of THC,” Rep. Lamberth stated. “There are no regulations and no legitimate way for anyone to know exactly what they are buying. Nothing in our current law prohibits a child from purchasing delta-8.”

New Rules for Hemp-Derived Cannabinoids in Tennessee

The bill will ban the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoid products to people under the age of 21; add a 5% additional sales tax to any product sold at a store; and create a licensing, quality testing, regulatory, and enforcement process through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The bill will establish regulations to ensure inspection and packaging requirements. Companies will be subject to testing from a third-party lab and be required to put their product in child-resistant packaging.

“Basic food-grade things,” Devin Aracena, co-founder and CEO of CANVAST Supply Co., told WKRN. “The same standard you would want to see your packaged food in a grocery store be held to, we’re going to hold these products to it, as well.”

Some hemp sellers in the state support the new law.

Aracena joined forces with Cultivate Tennessee, a coalition of cannabis and hemp-promoting businesses and professionals, to help draft the legislation.

Tennessee House Rep. G.A. Hardaway is a sponsor of the bill on the House side, and told ABC 24 that this is what hemp companies need to do if they want to be taken seriously.

“This gives us a chance to take a serious approach to hemp and CBD oil, and in doing so, to kind of get our foot in the door to start a real discussion—[an] intelligent discussion—about marijuana,” Hardaway said.

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Review: The Hitoki Saber: Portable Laser Power

When the laser-powered Hitoki Trident vaporizer debuted, it caught the attention of cannabis aficionados from Long Beach to Long Island. The patent-pending device offered the ultimate vaping experience with an uber-modern edge. Now, founders Joe and Jack Tran are at it again with their new Hitoki Saber, which is a smaller, portable rendition of the Trident. The Saber claims to be the world’s first modular laser that can be attached to a water pipe.

I wanted to learn more about the Saber, so I spoke to the Tran brothers to get some solid tips on using the device for maximum results before trying it myself.

The Saber’s Top Features

The Saber uses the same laser technology as the Hitoki Trident, so it’s an excellent choice for health-conscious consumers—no need for butane or even hemp wicks to burn your buds. Like the Trident, the Saber offers you the cleanest and most flavorful smoking experience by combusting cannabis with light energy, giving a clean hit that lets you taste the flavor of your flower. The terp-tasting experience is Joe’s favorite thing about the Saber, and he says it has to be experienced first-hand to understand the difference.

“The super potent, pungent, tasty aroma and aftertaste that lingers when you use lasers as a combustion source is unmatched as far as anything I’ve tried,” Joe says. “When you have some excellent stuff and you hit it with the laser—even after the hit, when you inhale and exhale—every breath brings back the smell and taste. You have to try it to understand and appreciate the experience.”

The Hitoki Saber’s modular design allows for easy use with any 14 mm or 18 mm glass piece. This adaptability is Jack’s favorite aspect of the device. “I love seeing how seamlessly the Saber fits into all types of rigs,” he says.

The unique modular design makes using and cleaning it a breeze. The Saber is multi-functional, meaning it works with both flower and concentrates. Additionally, it has three temperature settings with blue being the highest for concentrates; green for fresher, denser blends; and red for drier flower.

According to Joe, part of what makes the Saber so user-friendly is that it was specifically designed around feedback from Hitoki Trident customers. “Our customers wanted glass instead of acrylic, something that didn’t tip over as easily, and more compact and easier to handle. So, we designed the Saber to be lighter and more compact,” Joe says.

The Hitoki Saber is the world’s first modular water pipe.

Hitoki’s dedication to satisfying its customers is evident with the new Saber.

“We always want to create things everyone can enjoy, and the smaller size fits into people’s lifestyles,” Jack adds.

Not only is the Saber easy to use and take with you, but it’s also extremely efficient. (It is powered by lasers, after all.)

“Hitoki laser products are designed for customers to get the most out of their flower or extracts,” Joe says. “A huge chunk of our customers have told us that they consume less with the same effect.” 

Like with anything new, there’s a learning curve to using the Hitoki Saber. And when it comes to getting the most out of your device and having the best experience possible, the Tran brothers remind customers to remember these three things for a great draw every single time:

Always use the device’s dual tool: “The pointy end is for clearing air holes that may get clogged. The flat end flattens the surface of your flower, which will allow the laser to get an even ignition. This means the glowing ember will spread evenly throughout the loading chamber as you draw.” 

Don’t hit it like a bong or a pipe; hit it like a vaporizer: “For the best results, take a medium-to-long comfortable inhale to give the laser time to build an ember. The resulting exhale produces nice thick vapor clouds and the best-tasting experience.”

Keep it clean. “After every 10-30 hits, clean it thoroughly. Doing this will make it easy to clean the next time you need to clean it and keep everything tasting the way the craft growers intended it to.”

My Experience Using the Hitoki Saber

Full disclosure: I’m already a fan of Hitoki’s flagship Trident laser bong and was excited to try the new Saber to see how the smaller version would hold up compared to the original.

The first thing I noticed when unboxing the Saber was the noticeable size difference compared to the Trident. It’s a much more portable device, making it perfect for tokers on the move. You can throw the Saber into your backpack and easily take it wherever you go. But don’t be fooled by its compact size—the Saber still packs plenty of punch and can be used 60 times per charge. It takes 45 minutes to fully charge.

The next thing I noticed was how luxe the device felt. The upgrade to a glass chamber makes it feel sturdy and has a good weight. 

Ok, so five stars for form, but how well does it function?

I quickly disconnected the laser chamber by turning it counterclockwise and loaded the ceramic heating chamber with some delicious organically grown Wedding Cake. Jack’s words echoed in my ears as I remembered to even out the flower with the flat side of the metal dual tool. The loading chamber can take .2, .3 or .5 grams of flower. I then reassembled the base and connected it to the Hitoki glass bubbler. The stage was set—it was time to ignite the lasers.

Following the instructions, I clicked the button on the top five times to power on the Hitoki Saber and heat up the laser. Depending on your preference, you can switch between three power levels by clicking the button to rotate to your favorite temperature setting. I decided on green for my deliciously resinous ground buds. I double-tapped the button again to activate the laser, which lasted for ten seconds (alternatively, you can hold it down while you inhale and release it when you’re finished). I remembered Joe’s advice and drew in long and slow, fully realizing the delicious taste of the flower. The resulting exhale was a cloudy plume that left me feeling relaxed and euphoric.

The high-quality Hitoki Saber is packed with features that make it an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable, efficient and conversation-starting device. The updated modular design is user-friendly and while it is small, this super cool cylindrical device provides a truly elevated experience.

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Washington Governor Signs Bill to Protect Employees from Drug Testing for THC

Washington state will soon provide measures to protect employees from pre-employment drug tests for cannabis in many situations.

On May 9, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5132 to lay out broad protections for employees who consume cannabis while imposing limitations on employment drug testing for cannabis.

Employers must prepare to comply by January 1, 2024, the bill’s effective date. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) who serves as chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee.

“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,” the bill reads.

With i502, Washington legalized adult-use cannabis sales in 2012. During the 2022-2023 legislative session, lawmakers in Washington worked to implement a bill that will bridge the gap between hiring practices and current law.

SB 5132 provides exemptions for jobs that involve federal security clearances or background investigations, in law enforcement, the fire department, first responders, corrections officers, the airline or aerospace industries, or in safety-sensitive positions.

Why Drug Testing for Cannabis Doesn’t Work

The Spokesman-Review reports that cannabis metabolites can be detected long after impairment, lasting up to 30 days or more. But cognitive impairment only lasts from three to 10 hours, according to a 2021 study by the University of Sydney. Those researchers found that drug tests for cannabis are likely an inaccurate way of determining impairment.

“Urine screening for off-the-job cannabis consumption has never been an evidence-based policy,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Rather, this discriminatory practice is a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs. But times have changed; attitudes have changed, and in many places, the marijuana laws have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality and to cease punishing employees for activities they engage in during their off-hours that pose no workplace safety threat.”

Armentano added, “Those who consume alcohol legally and responsibly while away from their jobs do not suffer sanctions from their employers unless their work performance is adversely impacted. Those who legally consume cannabis should be held to a similar standard.”

Nevada enacted a similar law to ban employers from drug testing for cannabis in 2019. California, Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island enacted workplace protections limiting employers’ ability to either test for THC or to sanction employees for their use of cannabis while off the job. At the local level, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the District of Columbia approved bills to limit employers’ ability to pre-screen job applicants for past cannabis use. 

The effects of cannabis wear off within hours. Numerous studies show that employees who consume cannabis off the clock perform no differently than their non-cannabis-consuming peers. 

The new law means that employers in Washington must review and revise their drug testing policies to align with the protections provided by SB 5132. They must remove any pre-employment cannabis drug testing requirements that test or report non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites and ensure that policies clearly outline the exemptions for drug testing, such as post-accident or suspicion-based situations.

New York issued similar guidelines. In October 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) released new guidance regarding legalized recreational marijuana use and the workplace including the new worker protections. The new guidance makes it clear that off-the-clock cannabis use should be tolerated by employers in most situations. It defines mandatory pre-employment drug testing for cannabis as “discrimination.”

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Nashville Jams With THC Seltzer

Attracting countless bachelorette parties clad in pink cowboy hats and tourists looking to stumble through line dances, Nashville’s nightlife is famously fun. 

Whatever your jam is, Nashville’s got it. With incredible Bluegrass, Rock, Indie, and of course, Country, the Music City is sure to strike the right chord with you. Nashville has plenty of music options, and now it’s adding a new note to the music with a refreshing beverage option, Crescent 9 THC Seltzer.

A growing list of bars — including one of the city’s most famous music venues, Exit/In — are embracing THC drinks as the perfect beverage for the Nashville party scene. 

“Exit/In is known for curating a diverse concert calendar appealing to all music lovers,” said Jess Speer, the club’s General Manager. “We want our bar menu to complement this concept. With Crescent 9 THC Seltzer, we’ve added the same diversity to our bar menu.”

Debuting at their sold-out Hozier show in early May, Crescent 9 THC Seltzer made a huge splash with the Exit/In crowd.

THC and the Music City

Nashville is ready to embrace cannabis. A 2019 survey of Nashville residents found that 94% supported marijuana being legalized either recreationally or medicinally. Despite the overwhelming support for marijuana legalization in the state, recreational and medicinal marijuana are still not legal in Tennessee

While the marijuana industry in Tennessee remains limited, the hemp industry is flourishing. 

After Tennessee passed SB357 in 2019, hemp-derived THC products became officially legal in the state. Further supporting the hemp industry, the Tennessee General Assembly passed HB 403 this year, which will further regulate and establish it.  

“By passing HB 403, the Tennessee General Assembly has recognized the legality and presence of hemp-derived cannabinoid products in Tennessee,” says attorney Curtis Harrington, chairman of the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission. “The bill provides a regulatory framework, which is great news for Tennessee. It allows industry members to operate with clearer regulations and consumers to have more confidence in hemp products.”

Hemp products are federally legal if they contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC and adhere to federal regulations along with the safety and potency standards established by Tennessee hemp laws. Despite restrictions, the industry is poised to thrive with hemp-derived THC beverages in particular experiencing an exponential surge in popularity.

Crescent 9 THC Seltzer

Facilitating a deeper connection to music, enhancing the flavors of food, and reducing social inhibitions, THC drinks have the potential to elevate your Nashville experience.

One of the first Delta-9 THC drinks to be available in Nashville was Crescent 9 THC Seltzer, a low-calorie alternative to alcohol flavored with mango puree and natural fruit juices. With 6 mg of Delta-9 THC, 3 mg of CBD, and a splash of caffeine, it provides delightfully uplifting effects. 

THC seltzer acts fast. You feel the effects within 15 to 30 minutes and, as is true of alcohol, you can enjoy them all night long. When the night’s over, get a restful sleep and wake up with no nasty hangover.

“Bars are always looking for new beverages to offer, and we’re seeing a ton of interest in cannabis drinks like THC seltzer,” reports Jason Eskind, Executive VP at Best Brands, Inc., a Tennessee beverage distributor. “It’s a win-win. Consumers get access to safe, quality cannabis products, and bars earn revenue from customers who don’t want to drink alcohol.”

Exit/In was the first bar in Nashville to carry Crescent 9 THC Seltzer.

Best Brands Inc. began distributing Crescent 9 THC Seltzer in April, and the product is now available at dozens of bars, music clubs, and retail locations throughout Nashville. If you are an adult who is outside of Nashville, you can order Crescent 9 THC Seltzer online at CrescentCanna.com.

THC Seltzer Is the Next Big Thing for Bars

The cannabis beverage market is expanding rapidly. According to Fortune Business Insights, the value of this market is expected to grow from $915 million in 2021 to a whopping $19 billion by 2028. 

Largely, this impressive growth is fueled by an increased demand for beverages that satisfy non-drinkers. A National Health Survey in 2018 found that a third of adults in America don’t drink alcohol.

Bars across the country are embracing cannabis drinks as a much-needed alcohol alternative. Leading the charge are cities known for their nightlife, like New Orleans and Nashville, which recognize the potential of THC drinks to elevate their unique party scenes.

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Doctors Warn Seniors About Consuming Too Much THC

Due to an uptick of incidents involving seniors consuming too much cannabis, doctors are warning older citizens about how to consume the plant correctly. Eating edibles in particular, without the proper guidance, is notorious for causing panic, though the risks are rarely physical.

KOMO News in Seattle reports that doctors want to inform seniors about ways to avoid panic and an unnecessary emergency room visit. This can be solved with simple education about the differences between edibles, topicals, and smokable products and how they affect us differently.

It’s the responsibility of any consumer to properly research before eating an edible, or consuming a high-THC product.

“There are a number of different situations where you could end up in the emergency department, because of a combination of cannabis and a medication or cannabis and another product,” Dr. Lianne Hirano of the Geriatrics department at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, told KOMO News. 

“If you are a first time user, or if you are somebody who is used to using products from the 60s and 70s, today’s products are way more potent. Your body and your metabolism might not be used to that level of potency,” she said, “That can be quite scary.”

Wall Street Journal reports that seniors are often susceptible to consuming too much cannabis if they’re used to lighter doses.

There are a number of reasons seniors are trying out cannabis for medical purposes. Some seniors turn to cannabis to help with sleeping. Researchers found that overall, cannabis helped seniors get, on average, an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Study participants used smartphones and actigraphy watches to log their sleep patterns

Some seniors believe cannabis can help when battling aging itself. Seniors are turning to cannabis to treat common symptoms of aging, with nearly 80% of those who reported using cannabis saying they did so for medicinal reasons, according to a study from researchers at the University of California San Diego. Results of the study, “Cannabis: An emerging treatment for common symptoms in older adults,” were published on Oct. 7, 2020 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Today’s Weed is ‘A Different Animal’

Hashtag Cannabis Marketing Director Christine Bryant described today’s more potent weed as “a different animal.”

“The difference is when using a topical, you’re not going to feel the intoxicating effects of THC. But you will feel some of the anti-inflammatory effects that THC can provide for the skin barrier. That’s the difference with an oral (product), like a gummy or a chocolate, something like that. Is this going to affect your whole system? You’re going to process it through your liver, you’re going to feel whole body effects,” she said.

In the event that you consume too much THC, sniffing black peppercorns is an old hack that can reduce some, but not all, of the effect.

Studies show both improvements and setbacks due to senior cannabis use. Last January, researchers from the University of California San Diego published a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, suggesting that emergency room visits involving people 65 and older who use cannabis have increased 1,804% in the past 15 years.

Another study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society also reported an uptick in seniors who are consuming cannabis. In a survey of nearly 600 adults in the age range found that 15% reported using marijuana products in the last three years.

Anyone getting into cannabis should be aware of the proper titration in order to prevent panicked calls to the emergency room.

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The Healer

Culture is multifaceted and encompasses many disciplines including the arts, food, sports and pop culture, each with its share of larger-than-life celebrities and thought leaders. When the lives of these personalities intersect with cannabis culture, their experiences can shed light on how the plant can be integrated into the lives of others, giving new insights into the benefits and pleasures of cannabis. Riley Cote, a former National Hockey League player who now teaches yoga and advocates for a naturally healthy lifestyle including plant medicines, is no exception. 

Cote spent four seasons with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. He largely filled the “enforcer” role on the team and has become an outspoken advocate for cannabis and hemp, as well as other natural medicines. He’s also the co-founder of Advanced Alchemy Labs, a project developed in conjunction with Cheney University in Pennsylvania, the oldest historically Black college in the US. The enterprise is helping the university develop a cannabis curriculum for its students and is building a hemp-derived cannabinoid lab and processing facility to serve the growing hemp industry.

As one of its enforcers, Cote was often part of the fighting that the league is known for, and the sport took a heavy toll on his well-being. As he learned about different cannabinoids, Cote says he began experimenting with THC-rich strains and high-CBD varieties and tinctures to help manage some concussion-related issues he was dealing with.

Riley Cote with the 2005 Calder Cup, a trophy awarded to play-off champions of the American Hockey League.

As one of its enforcers, Cote was often part of the fighting that the league is known for, and the sport took a heavy toll on his well-being. As he learned about different cannabinoids, Cote says he began experimenting with THC-rich strains and high-CBD varieties and tinctures to help manage some concussion-related issues he was dealing with.

­­Instead of just “smoking out” or consuming an edible with 50 to 100 milligrams of THC to get high, Cote started focusing on cannabis’ medical and therapeutic benefits. Now, he’s more apt to microdose with gummies containing 2.5 to 5 milligrams of THC.

“I still enjoy flower, but I use it more mindfully and more ceremonially,” he says. “I like to have a little ritual around it.”

As his knowledge grew, Cote tried other natural medicines, including psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, which is currently receiving wide attention as a potential treatment for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. The journey has been worth taking for Cote, who says, through mindful application, he has “been able to work through my concussion-related issues and mental health issues with cannabis and psilocybin in different forms.”

Cote says he uses cannabis more mindfully and more ceremonially these days.

Cote says he’s eager to share his knowledge, and his story, with others. “I feel like my role in this, in one small way, is to be the bridge back to this spiritual component of this, the true essence of natural plant medicine.”

Cote recalls when he got serious about plant healing. “Upon retiring from the game I love at 28—and leaving my last year of my one-way contract on the table—I was committed to healing myself holistically and instantly became a devoted student of the world of wellness,” Cote, co-founder of BodyChek Wellness, a CBD company, says.

“I read a book called Hemp For Health that changed my life. I began to understand and tap into the world of the various non-psychotropic cannabinoids—such as CBD—as well as the world of functional mushrooms and other healing plants. I knew I wanted to be in this plant medicine space, and I began to build out what that could actually look like.”

This story was originally published in issue 47 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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