National Coalition Formed to Protect Small-Scale Cannabis Growers

The National Craft Cannabis Coalition, comprised of state-level advocacy groups from Oregon, California, Washington, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, was formed with the goal of promoting state and federal policies that support small-scale growers, starting with the SHIP Act introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA).

The SHIP (Small and Homestead Independent Producers) Act would allow craft growers to ship and sell weed directly to their consumers if and when marijuana is federally legalized. If passed, the bill would take effect once marijuana is removed from its current Schedule 1 status and once all criminal penalties are removed under federal law concerning marijuana.

“Too often, the federal government falls behind, and the gears of Congress work too slowly to keep up with the pace of a changing economy,” Representative Huffman said.

“Under my bill, folks in our state will be able to ship their products straight to consumers when the antiquated federal prohibition on cannabis is finally repealed. As large, commercial cannabis operations squeeze out local producers from the market, this legislation is critical for farmers to survive and expand their small businesses.”

Under the SHIP act, a qualifying cannabis grower would be anyone who cultivates:

  • One acre or less of 18 mature flowering marijuana plant canopy using outdoor cultivation
  • 22,000 square feet or less of marijuana plant canopy using greenhouse cultivation
  • 5,000 square feet or fewer of mature flowering marijuana plant canopy using indoor cultivation

Small and craft growers have lamented they don’t stand a chance in markets dominated by large multi-state operators capable of growing exponentially more canopy space for a fraction of the cost, especially when the final product has to be packaged and sold through third-party businesses. This results in a lot of large, vertically-integrated companies essentially pricing out the little guys who can’t afford to buy and operate their own dispensary, grow facility, and packaging facility.

“These producers operate on a much smaller scale than traditional agriculture with many cultivating less than an acre of total canopy,” said Amanda Meztler of F.A.R.M.S. Inc Oregon.

“With federal legalization on the horizon, it’s critical that craft cannabis producers organize across state lines to ensure that federal policy includes a level playing field for small and independent businesses.”

Thus, members of the NCCC have collectively proposed that the only way small growers can survive is if they are allowed to sell directly to their customers.

“The direct-to-consumer model is a necessary resource for any small-scale craft-producing community that is deeply tied to the land on which it creates — whether it produces wine, whiskey, cheese, beer, cannabis, or honey,” said Genine Coleman, Executive Director of Origins Council in a prepared statement.

“The legacy cannabis community that has worked so long in the shadows should have the opportunity to join the ranks of other artisan producers across the United States and enjoy the privilege of connecting personally with their adult customers.”

To date the NCCC represents over 1,000 small and independent commercial cannabis growers through their state-level organizations including Origins Council (CA), F.A.R.M.S. Inc (OR), Washington Sun & Craft Growers Association (WA), Vermont Growers Association (VT), Maine Craft Cannabis Association (ME), and Farm Bug Co-Op (MA).

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Retailers Count Down to Legalization in Vermont

It has been a long time coming, but Vermont is poised to finally enjoy cannabis legalization, and retailers are getting ready to be able to join the thriving new industry.

The Cannabis Control Board is gearing up to start giving out licenses beginning October 1, a date that is quickly coming into view. With this in mind, businesses have been getting ready and preparing for months now for the big day. 

Scott Sparks of Vermont Bud Barn, a retailer who is aiming to open in West Brattleboro, Vermont, is preparing and hopeful. He would like to see his business open as soon as legal cannabis can move ahead in the state, and he plans to become one of the first retailers in the industry. 

“Yeah, things are definitely moving forward,” he says of his work so far to get ready and open his doors. “I was planning on running it for two weeks. In three days, I had over 150 applications.” 

Sparks is no stranger to the world of cannabis. He has been in the CBD market for years, and now, if all goes well, he is preparing to also enter the legal cannabis market. His license for retail is being reviewed by the Cannabis Control Board in Vermont, and he has even begun the process of interviewing hopeful candidates to work at the dispensary.

While he has had no trouble locking in interviews and getting interested staff on the hook, he has had trouble with banking, not surprisingly. For the time being, he has opted to work with a virtual bank if he is able to open, as local banks have put a hold on working with cannabis clients. VSECU, the bank he was hoping to work with, said they will not be taking on future cannabis businesses. 

“Even though I got in all the paperwork on time and I have a longstanding relationship, I was not allowed to get an account,” Sparks says about his banking challenges. 

In the meantime, he is focusing on the construction of his business and installing a safe and security system, as well as meetings with farmers and growers. 

“A lot of the—I will call them top-tier growers—have actually approached us because they want to be a part of my continued branding down here, and they want to have a presence in southern Vermont,” he says about the folks he is trying to work with. 

And others in the area, even outside of the cannabis industry, are equally excited about the opportunities they hope it will bring. 

“I’m excited for this part of West Brattleboro,” says Larisa Volkaeichyute, owner of an art gallery in the same building that Vermont Bud Barn is hoping to open in. “I feel like that will give the opportunity to showcase my work and showcase the work of other artists.”

As soon as cannabis licenses are approved by the Cannabis Control Board, retailers can begin selling cannabis. So, interested retailers are gearing up and getting ready to sell as soon as they are able. Officials so far say they are on target to meet the October 1 deadline. 

“The day I get to turn the key on that door will be one of the best days of my life,” Sparks says about his hopes for the future. “Just very exciting to finally get to this point after all these years.”

In Sparks’ case, he is planning on having product available and for sale within four days of getting his license. As long as the process continues to go smoothly, Vermont can expect many recreational businesses to follow suit, and the local industry to explode. 

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New Vermont Guidance Looks to Eliminate Plastic Waste From State’s Cannabis Industry

While witnessing the legal cannabis industry continually blossom over the years has been an exciting and invigorating experience for many, it’s also becoming increasingly challenging to ignore the amount of plastic waste involved. As states are required to enforce cannabis compliance, which generally means child-proof packaging for any products leaving the building, the result is often an abundance of single-use plastic that is more challenging to recycle than materials you might find at the grocery store.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board is looking to change that. In new “Guidance on Packaging,” released earlier this month, the board states that “packaging that is intended for consumer purchase at a retail location shall be reusable and shall not be plastic.” The guidance gives examples for acceptable reusable materials, including glass, tin, cardboard, and bamboo.

The packaging for cannabis must be child-deterrent and opaque. The guidance defines cannabis as all parts of the plant, including seeds; resin extracted from any part of the plant; and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative or preparation of the plant, its seed or resin.

This is a new clarification, as “child-deterrent packaging” means tear-resistant packaging that can be sealed in a way that “would deter children under five years of age from easily accessing the content of the package within a reasonable time” while still being simple for adults to properly use and access.

Child-resistant packaging, on the other hand, includes packaging designed or constructed to be “significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open,” or to obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance in the container “within a reasonable amount of time,” also that adults can easily use.

It may seem like a small distinction, but child-deterrent packaging is generally a less burdensome requirement from a packaging standpoint, usually requiring less use of plastic or other hard materials.

The packaging for cannabis products, meaning concentrated cannabis and product that is “composed of cannabis and other ingredients,” intended for use and consumption, including edibles, ointments, tinctures and vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil, must be child-resistant and opaque.

It’s a rational distinction to make, given that there are less risks of danger for a young child accessing cannabis flower than a cannabis edible. For example, a child would have to figure out some way to smoke the flower to experience its effects, whereas an edible or anything with activated THC would have a psychoactive effect upon consumption.

The new guidance also says that a licensee may seek a waiver to the prohibition on plastic consumer packaging if they can demonstrate a hardship in securing non-plastic packaging, including unavailability of non-plastic packaging; inability to achieve child-resistance; or the necessity to preserve shelf-life stability, prevent cannabis or cannabis product contamination or avoid exposure of cannabis/cannabis products toxic or harmful substances.

For those attempting to secure a waiver, a licensee must propose a packaging alternative that uses “de minimis plastic,” meaning only the amount of plastic “reasonably needed” to overcome the hardship identified in the waiver petition.

Vermont became the 11th state to regulate adult-use cannabis sales and the second state to do so legislatively, rather than through a voter initiative, nearly two years ago. Governor Phil Scott announced on October 7, 2020 that he would allow S. 54—the bill that would regulate and tax cannabis sales in the state—to become law without his signature.

“I know it is difficult to take on these complex issues remotely and during this unprecedented Pandemic,” Scott said in a statement at the time. “Again, I thank the legislators who worked to move toward me over the past two years on this issue. Nevertheless, the Legislature has much more work to do to ensure equity in this new policy and to prevent their work from becoming a public health problem for current and future generations. For these reasons, I am allowing this bill to become law without my signature.”

In 2021, the legislature moved forward to act on the promise of centering social equity, as the House and Senate passed S. 25, which looks to strengthen social equity provisions, requiring regulators to reduce or eliminate licensing fees for applicants who have been negatively impacted by federal enforcement of cannabis laws.

The new rules for plastic packaging will be in place when adult-use sales begin in Vermont, sometime later in 2022.

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Vermont Lawmakers At Odds Over THC Limit on Cannabis Concentrates

Vermont lawmakers are at loggerheads over a measure that would establish a cap on the level of THC in solid cannabis concentrates sold at the state’s regulated cannabis retailers. 

Local publication VTDigger has the background, reporting that members of the Vermont state Senate “bristled Friday at a last-minute change to a key cannabis bill during a House vote Thursday—and speculated as to why the Vermont Department of Health abruptly reversed its recommendation to lawmakers on the measure last week.”

Members of the House “on Thursday imposed a 60% cap on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in solid cannabis concentrates to be sold at retail establishments when they open in October,” according to VTDigger.

“They held the damn thing for over a week and a half and then come up with this,” said Democratic state Senator Dick Sears, as quoted by VTDigger. “There isn’t much time to call for a conference committee.” 

Sears said he was “frustrated” with Democratic state House Representative John Gannon, who proposed the amendment imposing a 60% cap. 

Sears and other lawmakers contend that caps are counterproductive and will only prompt customers to seek products elsewhere––be it on the illicit market or in neighboring states with adult-use cannabis sales.

Calling the measure passed by the House a “stupid decision,” Sears said that Vermont continues “to invite people to go out of state.” 

“It gives the illicit market a monopoly on supplying the demand for these products,” Vermont Cannabis Control Board chair James Pepper told a state House committee during a hearing, as quoted by VTDigger

“There is a very broad consensus among regulators that caps are a bad idea,” Pepper told the publication. “A black market will fill this gap. They’ll do so using very dangerous products.”

Amid the back-and-forth among lawmakers has been a series of inconsistent guidance on the issue from Vermont’s Department of Health. 

VTDigger reported that the department’s senior policy and legal adviser, David Englander, told members of a state House committee late last month that the department agreed with the Cannabis Control Board in opposing the cap.

“The primary reason is that there is a likely significant market for high THC concentrates, and it is more dangerous for people to buy unregulated versions of these products as opposed to buying products that are regulated and tested in accordance with Board rules. Regulating instead of banning THC substances is in line with one of the purposes of creating a regulated market as envisioned by the General Assembly,” Englander said in a letter to the committee. 

“In addition, a complete ban on concentrates above 60% requires manufacturers to keep products below that limit at all times during the manufacturing process. Doing so will require the addition of additives to dilute the product down to a 60% concentrate or below. You may recall that there were recent illnesses and deaths that appeared to be associated with the ingestion of such additives.”

But the very next day, Englander pulled a 180, telling lawmakers that, upon “further consideration, with the lens of prevention and safety as the cornerstone for the coming adult use market in Vermont, the Department does not concur with the lifting of the THC limit and maintains that a foundational component of the original legislation remain in place.”

“The risk to users of high levels of THC are significant and we should not risk contributing to the known risks to consumers physical and mental health,” Englander said. “My communication of yesterday to you was based on incomplete information. All errors are mine, and please accept my apologies to you and the committee.”

Vermont legalized recreational pot use in 2018, but sales did not begin in the state until 2020.

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Claim of Fentanyl-Laced Cannabis Overdoses in Connecticut was False

Another alleged case of fentanyl-laced cannabis in Connecticut has gone up in smoke. 

In this case, the false alarm came out of Connecticut, where an investigation has revealed that “nearly 40 Connecticut overdoses [that] were possibly linked to fentanyl-laced marijuana—sparking widespread attention and concern—turned out to be one confirmed case and was probably caused by accidental contamination,” according to a story by CT Insider.

That marks a major walk back from a bulletin in November issued by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which said that it had “recently received reports of overdose patients who have exhibited opioid overdose symptoms and required naloxone for revival,” and that the “patients denied any opioid use and claimed to have only smoked marijuana.”

That press release detailed a total of 39 overdoses in the state between July and November of last year. In one such incident that took place in October, police in Plymouth, Connecticut were said to have responded to one overdose scene where they secured a sample of cannabis that later tested positive for fentanyl.

“This is the first lab-confirmed case of marijuana with fentanyl in Connecticut and possibly the first confirmed case in the United States,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani.

Now, the department is acknowledging that it overstated the extent of the problem in its initial reaction. 

According to CT Insider, Chris Boyle, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, said that at least 30 of the 39 documented overdose cases involved individuals with a history of opioid use. The website reported that the “the Plymouth sample was the only one that has tested positive for fentanyl,” and that the “state reviewed all marijuana samples submitted to the state Division of Scientific Services Lab from July 1 to Nov. 30 and found no other cannabis submissions that contained fentanyl.”

Boyle said that it’s believed that the contamination occurred when the dealer “failed to clean their instruments before processing the marijuana and cross-contaminated it with fentanyl.”

“Based on the information gathered since the positive confirmation of marijuana with fentanyl, the CT ORS [Connecticut Overdose Response Strategy] assesses that the positive confirmation of marijuana with fentanyl was likely accidental contamination and an isolated incident,” Boyle wrote in an email, as quoted by CT Insider. 

“Anything bought off the street, including cannabis, has the potential to contain other substances, one of those being fentanyl,” Boyle continued. “CT DPH has documented evidence, from not just the State Police Forensics Lab, but from the DEA lab as verification of the seized drug sample, that cannabis was contaminated with fentanyl.”

The findings are the latest splash of cold water on a mania that erupted late last year regarding this very same issue. 

Reports of fentanyl-laced cannabis emerged out of Vermont in November, with local news outlets causing nationwide hysteria over reports of the spiked weed being found in Brattleboro, Vermont.

But the following month, police in Brattleboro said that the seized cannabis “was submitted to a forensic laboratory where testing was conducted” and that the department “was notified no fentanyl was found in the marijuana in either case.”

“​BPD stands by its previous public safety advisory that it is wise for consumers of marijuana to know the source and history of any marijuana they ingest,” the Brattleboro Police Department said in a statement at the time.

The erroneous reports have left cannabis advocates frustrated. 

“Despite this claim receiving prominent headlines over the past several years, there exist few, if any, confirmed cases of these claims being substantiated,” Paul Armentano, deputy director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told CT Insider

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Can the Smell of Cannabis Get You Arrested?

The distinctive odor of cannabis has long been a give-away exploited by law enforcement to justify a search of one’s vehicle, home or person. Many lives have been destroyed by this self-revealing nature of the plant. The matter has been brought before the courts many times, with some rulings favorable and others not. But with growing legal and cultural acceptance for cannabis, is the mere smell of weed still sufficient cause for a search that could potentially land you in jail? Pennsylvania doesn’t think so; on Dec. 29, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Fourth Amendment, declaring that the smell of cannabis alone cannot be the basis to justify a warrantless search.  

Fourth Amendment Victory in Keystone State 

Last year’s ruling was prompted by events taking place in Allentown, Pa. in November of 2018, when state troopers stopped Timothy Oliver Barr II for a minor traffic violation—failing to stop at a solid white line. The officers said the cannabis smell was apparent at the car window. A loaded handgun and a small bag of cannabis—less than one gram—were found in the subsequent search of the vehicle.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana has been in place since 2016, and both Barr and his wife (who was driving) showed their cards, indicating that they were enrolled in the state program. But the cannabis was in a plain unmarked baggie, with nothing to indicate it was purchased at a licensed dispensary. And in any event, the Pennsylvania program bars actual herbaceous cannabis. Charges were brought against Barr. 

 Swayed by the testimony of Dr. David Gordon, who had issued the medical marijuana cards and stated that smell alone could not indicate illegally obtained cannabis, the Lehigh County Court issued an order to suppress the evidence. But prosecutors argued that cannabis “has not lost its ‘incriminating’ smell by virtue of its legality for some,” and appealed to the state Superior Court to vacate the suppression order. This was granted in September 2021.

The Superior Court decision was recently reversed by the Supreme Court, and the order suppressing the evidence is now reinstated. 

According to NBC Philadelphia, Chief Justice Max Baer of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote, “The odor of marijuana alone does not amount to probable cause to conduct a non-warranted search of the vehicle, but rather, may be considered as a factor in examining the totality of the circumstances.”

The Supreme Court ordered the case remanded to the Lehigh County Court “for proceedings that are consistent with this opinion.”

Confused Case Law 

This matter has been batted about by the courts for years—with widely varying results among states. In a ruling hailed as landmark by rights advocates in the Green Mountain State, the Vermont Supreme Court in January 2019 found unanimously in favor of an African American motorist who challenged a March 2014 stop by a state trooper as unlawful and racially motivated. The ruling found the police may be held liable for the improper search, which was carried out with the justification that the officer smelled cannabis.

The motorist, Gregory Zullo, was pulled over in Rutland County for a minor traffic violation. But again, the state trooper said he smelled cannabis, and on that basis had the car towed and searched. The search turned up a small pipe with cannabis residue. Zullo was not charged, but he had to pay $150 to recover his vehicle. 

The case wound up before the state Supreme Court when Zullo, represented by the Vermont ACLU, sued for damages, arguing that the stop was racially motivated. The high court remanded the case back to the lower court for reconsideration in light of its ruling.

In June 2019, the state of Vermont reached a $50,000 settlement with Zullo.

On the other hand, in December 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a cannabis conviction in a case that similarly relied on supposed olfactory evidence to justify a search. Worse, this case actually extended to a private home the accepted police practice in Kansas that the odor of cannabis can justify the search of a vehicle.

Douglas County resident Lawrence Hubbard was found guilty of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, which led to a term of probation. Thanks to the state’s high court ruling, his conviction stands.

The case began in November 2013, when a police officer followed Hubbard home, mistaking him for someone with an outstanding arrest warrant. But as they cleared up the misunderstanding at his front door, the officer allegedly detected the smell of cannabis and carried out a “security sweep.” This turned up a roach and bongs—which were then used to justify obtaining a warrant for a more complete search, which uncovered 25 grams stored in a closed Tupperware container locked inside a safe in Hubbard’s bedroom closet.

Then there was the horrific case of Bob and Teresa Almond, who had lived in their home in the Alabama town of Woodland for 27 years, raising children and running a small business there, with back-yard chicken coops. Their modest dream of comfortable retirement in the house came crashing down on Jan. 31, 2018. That day, the Randolph County Drug Task Force raided their home, supposedly on the basis of cannabis smell.

Their home was ransacked during the raid, which revealed a small quantity of cannabis, estimated to be worth $50. The charges brought against the couple were all dismissed, but the home was forfeited—seized by the county. The Almonds have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, which remains pending.

There have been two relevant US Supreme Court rulings—and they went different ways. In March 2013 the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Florida v. Jardines that evidence from a search warrant obtained on the basis of a drug-sniffing dog alerting to a home from the outside was inadmissible. Charges were dropped against Joelis Jardines, whose Miami indoor grow operation was uncovered in the search.

But in an April 2014 decision in Navarette v. California, the US high court ruled 5-4 that a traffic stop leading to a cannabis arrest was constitutional because police had reasonable suspicion the driver was intoxicated. Charges for 30 pounds of cannabis found in the truck were upheld against Lorenzo Prado Navarette of Mendocino County.

The firm Pot Brothers at Law, based in California’s Orange County, really is made up of a couple of brothers—Marc and Craig Wasserman, specializing (as one might imagine) in cannabis cases. They’ve developed a seminar on the “etiquette of engaging with law enforcement and how to shut the fuck up when cops ask questions,” in the words of Marc Wasserman. He tells Cannabis Now that they most recently gave the presentation earlier this month at the CannaCon Northeast Cannabis Expo in New York’s Javits Center. “We’re looking to do our seminar all over the place,” he says.

Asked about the cannabis smell factor, he says: “The case law is divided, and it varies from state to state. Here in California, smell alone is no longer considered probable cause for a search. And when legalization passed in New York last year, a directive similarly went out to the police that they can no longer use smell to justify search.”

“That’s why it’s so important to not consent to a search, and to keep your mouth shut,” he continues. “If you consent to a search, you will never be able to fight the search. The more someone talks or consents, the more you wipe away defenses that you might be able to use.”

Marc went on to explain the importance of knowing what your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights are. 

“The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment protects us against self-incrimination,” he said. “But people have to learn to utilize their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. It’s so important. Even when you think you’re doing something legal, you’ve got to shut the fuck up.”

In a video posted to the Pot Brothers’ Instagram page in October 2019, Marc expounded on this point with an example: “We had a client today who was sitting in a car outside a hotel when a cop came up on him and said she smelled weed… And she asked him, ‘Do you have any weed in the car?’ And he answered, ‘I’ve got a little.’

He should have said, ‘I’m not discussing my day.’ When she searched the car based on that statement, to see if he had a little—he had five pounds in the trunk. The judge specifically said that if he hadn’t said he had a little, the case would have been dismissed. It would have been unreasonable search and seizure if it was based on the smell alone.”

The post Can the Smell of Cannabis Get You Arrested? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

No Fentanyl Found in Cannabis After All, Vermont Police Say

In the latest chapter of an ongoing pattern, a fentanyl-laced cannabis scare in Vermont turned out to be a false alarm. Two cases of cannabis suspected of being laced with fentanyl in the state were cleared of the drug by a lab weeks later, after first causing a false-positive for the drug.

“Fentanyl-laced marijuana blamed for overdose in Vermont,” local station WCAX reported on November 21. Brattleboro Police Department (BPD) told the media they revived a patient using CPR and several doses of Narcan—the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone—after the cannabis reportedly tested positive for fentanyl. The person told police they hadn’t taken any opioids—just cannabis.

The news quickly went national. Police searched a residence in Brattleboro on November 30 and said that they found several containers of what they believed to be fentanyl-laced cannabis, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. Three people in Brattleboro were arrested in connection to the crime, US News reported on December 2.

The cannabis was sent to a lab for confirmation of the presence of the drug, police said. But both samples from the two incidents turned out to have no fentanyl, after all. “The seized marijuana in both incidents was submitted to a forensic laboratory where testing was conducted,” the Brattleboro Police Department said in a statement. “BPD was notified no fentanyl was found in the marijuana in either case.”

“​BPD stands by its previous public safety advisory that it is wise for consumers of marijuana to know the source and history of any marijuana they ingest,” the department added. Vermont legalized recreational marijuana in 2018 for adults 21 and older, and the topic is frequently a headline.

The same thing happened a year ago in New York state, when officials said they found the drug in cannabis, and then a week or so later determined it wasn’t. “Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl has not been found mixed into cannabis in New York City,” the city health department clarified. The New York State Department of Health also clarified “it is unlikely to be in weed.” 

Harvard-trained Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is an Internist and medical cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is author of books such as Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction and son of cannabis activist Dr. Lester Grinspoon.

When unverified leads of fentanyl-laced cannabis emerge, “It creates fear,” Dr. Grinspoon told High Times. “Whenever there’s information about drugs—particularly cannabis—which is incredible, it makes it much harder for public health officials to get information that is credible out there. It’s likeThe Boy Who Cried Wolf—so it’s like the D.A.R.E. program. They said that cannabis does this, this, this and this, and teenagers didn’t believe it because it was against their lived experience. It sort of disqualified their other messages about drugs which are actually more dangerous—like heroin or alcohol. It just discredits the ‘official’ sources of information.” 

“It also confuses people when they get conflicting messages,” Dr. Grinspoon said. Dr. Grinspoon added that administering Narcan, however, is not dangerous to a non opioid-user.

Is Fentanyl-Laced Pot Feasible?

One factor is the profitability—whether or not it makes sense financially for a drug dealer to spray fentanyl on cannabis. In addition, it would be extremely wasteful on the part of a drug user to consume the drug in that way.

“The story is bizarre anyways, because it’s unclear if you can consume fentanyl in that way—by smoking,” Dr. Grinspoon said. “Some drugs you can smoke, like cocaine, freebased as crack. But fentanyl tends to disintegrate starting at about 500 degrees [F], and it fully disintegrates at about 1000 degrees. When you smoke—you’re talking about 2,000 degrees.” 

He didn’t completely rule out the credibility of these stories. “Maybe you can absorb some of it,” he said. “But it’s not really an obvious way for people to be ingesting fentanyl.” Fentanyl, however, is readily available on the streets and is frequently—and dangerously—mislabeled as other opioids.

“At the same time, fentanyl is turning up in all kinds of places where it hasn’t before—something like two-thirds of the pills people are buying on the streets,” Dr. Grinspoon said. “Oxycodones, Vicodins now have fentanyl in them, which is really awful. A lot of patients are testing positive for fentanyl and they’re not on any opiate use. Then it turns out they’re on cocaine and that’s where the fentanyl is coming from. So it is true that fentanyl is everywhere, which is awful and dangerous.” 

Taking any sort of opioid off the street is quite literally rolling the dice, with the sheer prevalence of fentanyl.

“Given that fentanyl is practically everywhere else, it’s not difficult to imagine it in cannabis—but at the same time, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Dr. Grinspoon said. “Cannabis users aren’t per se generally interested in fentanyl. It’s always been an urban myth. It’s not impossible, but usually turns out to be an urban myth.” 

In a separate incident in Connecticut, a rash of overdoses across the state since July may be linked to cannabis laced with fentanyl; a recent overdose in Plymouth, is the first lab-confirmed case of fentanyl mixed with cannabis ever found in Connecticut “and potentially across the country,” according to the state health commissioner. That case is still developing.

The post No Fentanyl Found in Cannabis After All, Vermont Police Say appeared first on High Times.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New York Lawmakers May Vote For Legalization On Tuesday (Green Market Report)

// New Mexico GOP Senator Circulates Draft Marijuana Bill Ahead Of This Week’s Special Session (Marijuana Moment)

// Mexican Senate Will Pass Marijuana Legalization Bill As Revised By Deputies Top Lawmaker Says (Marijuana Moment)


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// Virginia gets real on legalization aims to move up start date to 2021 (Leafly (AP))

// Ohio’s growing medical marijuana market poised to reach $400 million in sales a year (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ayr Wellness Buys Garden State Dispensary For $101 Million (Green Market Report)

// New Bill Would Scrap Controversial Changes To Maine Medical Marijuana Program (Marijuana Moment)

// Kansas Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill Clearing It For Floor Vote (Seven Days VT)

// Scott Announces Picks for Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board (Boston Globe)

// Can landlords really ban marijuana edibles? Usually not but that hasn’t stopped them from trying ()

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Arizona adult-use cannabis sales hit $2.9 million during initial 10 days (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New York Inches Closer To Legalization (Green Market Report)

// D.C. Psychedelics Decriminalization Initiative Officially Takes Effect (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Agilent, a Fortune 500 company known for providing top-notch testing solutions to cannabis and hemp testing labs worldwide. Are you considering testing your cannabis in-house for potency? Agilent is giving away a FREE 1260 HPLC system for one year! If you are a Cultivator, processor, or cannabis testing lab you may qualify for this giveaway. Open up bitly.com/cannabis-contest to answer a few quick questions to enter to win!


// Dozens of adult-use cannabis shops coming soon to Portland (Portland Press Herald)

// Greenrose SPAC Buys Four Properties In $210 Million Move (Green Market Report)

// Vermont Would Decriminalize Drugs Under New Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Cannabis Technology Platform dutchie Raises $200 Million and Acquires Greenbits and Leaf Logix (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Sundial to Contribute $100 Million to Cannabis Investment Joint Venture (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Senators deadlock over cannabis legalization as session nears end (Albuquerque Journal (AP))

// North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Bill Receives First Senate Committee Hearing Following House Passage (Marijuana Moment)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Whitmer signs ‘Clean Slate’ criminal justice package (Michigan Radio)

// Bernie Sanders Celebrates His Home State’s New Marijuana Legalization Law (Marijuana Moment)

// Maine Office of Marijuana Policy releases preliminary sales info (News Center Maine)


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// With eye on election and beyond, marijuana industry spends millions on lobbying (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Senate Candidates In Three States Pressed On Marijuana Issues At Debates (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana sales decline slightly in August, still reach over $200 million (Colorado Politics)

// Study: Nearly one in three U.S. college students smokes pot (UPI)

// Colorado marijuana rules will require testing of vapor, not just oil (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Harborside Projects Q3 Revenue to Exceed $18.5 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// New Jersey Voters Back Legal Marijuana Referendum By Two-To-One Margin Another Poll Shows (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Austin_Slack/Flickr