Minnesota Groups Bind Together to Oppose Legal Cannabis

With Minnesota set to become the next front in the battle over cannabis legalization, a coalition of opponents is banding together to keep prohibition in place.

Under the straightforward name of “Minnesotans Against Marijuana Legalization,” the coalition “consists of the Minnesota Trucking Association, the state’s police and peace officers association and the Minnesota Catholic Conference, a policy arm of the Catholic Church of Minnesota, among others,” according to the Associated Press.

The group of likeminded, anti-pot groups is targeting a bill that passed the state House of Representatives last May. That bill would have legalized recreational pot use for adults in Minnesota, while also expunging previous low-level cannabis-related convictions.  

It also would have created “a responsible regulatory structure focused on developing micro-businesses and a craft market… fund[ed] public health awareness, youth access prevention and substance abuse treatment; provide[d] grants, loans, technical assistance and training for small businesses; require[d] testing and labeling of products; restrict[ed] packaging based on dosage size; and allow[ed] limited home grow abilities,” according to a press release last year from Minnesota Democrats.

But after passing the Democratic-controlled House, the legislation went nowhere in the state Senate, where Republicans hold the majority.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Ryan Hamilton of the Minnesota Catholic Conference said that the “marijuana bill that passed the Minnesota House last session wasn’t a justice bill, it was a marijuana commercialization bill.”

“As we’ve seen from other states that have opened the doors for the marijuana industry, the promises made to justify marijuana legalization rarely come true, particularly for communities of color,” Hamilton said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The Minnesota legislative session is slated to convene on January 1, and as the Associated Press noted, the bill that passed the state House last May “is technically still alive, though it’s unclear whether Republicans in the Senate will take up the measure.”

The author of that bill, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, is one of the most vocal advocates of marijuana legalization among lawmakers in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“The failed criminalization of cannabis has resulted in a legacy of racial injustice that can no longer go unaddressed,” Winkler said in a statement after the bill was introduced last year. “Adults deserve the freedom to decide whether to use cannabis, and our state government should play an important role in addressing legitimate concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety. Veterans and Minnesotans with serious illnesses like PTSD deserve better access to our medical program, which is not working well for most people. It’s time to legalize, expunge, and regulate.”

According to the Associated Press, Winkler “told the Minnesota Hemp Growers Cooperative at an event on Wednesday [that] his goal is to reexamine parts of the bill this session to improve the proposal and attempt to get senators on board,” but he acknowledged its outlook in the state Senate is “up in the air.”

After Winkler introduced his bill in the state House last year, Republicans in the legislature were dismissive. 

Paul Gazelka, the GOP leader in the state Senate at the time, said at the time that he “would not consider legalizing recreational marijuana as a Minnesota priority.” 

Gazelka stepped down as majority leader in September and is now running to challenge Democratic Governor Tim Walz in this year’s gubernatorial race. It could set the stage for legalization to emerge as a dominant issue in the campaign, with Walz a full-throated supporter of ending pot prohibition. 

“I support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use by developing a system of taxation, guaranteeing that it is Minnesota grown, and expunging the records of Minnesotans convicted of marijuana crimes,” Walz said when he ran for governor in 2018.

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Sisters of the Valley Plan to Mail 13,000 Hemp Seeds to 1,000 Customers

Perhaps due to fate, The Sisters of the Valley—the nun-like hemp bearers of Central Valley, California—are mailing approximately 13,000 high-CBD hemp souvenir seeds to 1,000 customers under a new program designed as a “thank you” to their customer base.

The Sisters are pulling a list on February 1 from their store of the last 1,000 customers who purchased from them, and each of them will receive a thank you card and a packet of hemp seeds in the mail this spring. They expect to send out 500 in February and another 500 in March.

The Wee Bairn seed strain was “born of adversity,” as the Sisters were under the threat of having their crops pulled out due to a sudden local law change that appeared to impact their farm. The Sisters let the males live, go to seed—and ended up with their own proprietary CBD-rich seed strain. The seeds are not guaranteed feminized, nor are they guaranteed anything else, but customers report decent cannabinoid levels from the seeds.

“For a brief moment in time—2018 to 2019—they made it illegal to grow on anything less than 20 acres,” Sister Kate told High Times. “So when they first opened the hemp laws they said, ‘Okay, but you have to have 30 acres.’ So here we were, and we’ve already three to four years into operating, and every year growing a big crop in our backyard—a one-acre farm, so we can’t grow more than like an eighth of an acre outside. So it’s not a lot of plants.”

Sister Kate let the males go to seed—thinking they were bound to get ripped anyways. But their crop never became an issue, and the 20-acre-law was dropped. 

By then, the Sisters had given birth to their own proprietary strain of hemp, unplanned. The Wee Bairn seeds were bred from plants of only high-CBD strains that had been bred with other hemp strains—Charlotte’s Web, Suzy Q, Cherry Pie and Remedy to be precise.

Hemp and cannabis farmers in California are already burdened with regulations and taxes that make business nearly impossible. Adversity is nothing new for the Sisters. The Sisters, for instance, battled the City of Merced in 2016 in order to keep growing hemp.

The Sisters have been giving away seeds with bigger bundle purchases of their salve and tinctures since 2019. Customers who grow the plant and have it tested report getting from 12:1 THC:CBD ratio to as wonderful as a perfect 1:1—which The Higher Path calls “The Golden Ratio.”

Souvenir Hemp Seed Packets. Photo Courtesy of Sisters of the Valley.

“It’s actually very interesting—the person who tested the flower at a perfect 1:1 was a Catholic nun!” – Sister Kate

“It’s actually very interesting—the person who tested the flower at a perfect 1:1 was a Catholic nun!” Sister Kate laughed. The Sisters of course are in no way affiliated with the Catholic church.

Before becoming Sister Kate, Christine Meeusen (her birth name) followed advice from a doctor to use cannabis to treat symptoms of menopause. 

“We’re not in the seed business,” Sister Kate says. “We never felt it was right to sell them for very much, but we did sell them for about $3-4/seed and put them in bundles. We gave them away in bundles in products. Now we have so many, and with COVID causing a scare on some people, we thought it was a good idea—just to get the seeds out of the house and to say thank you to our customers.”

She explained the benefits of strain rich in CBD and THC, which often need to work together synergistically. “We are always seeking the 10:1 or 12:1 ratio of CBD to THC as that is best for our products. But neurologists and people dealing with illness prefer the 1:1 ratio,” said Sister Kate. 

In order to make $1 million in sales in a year, the Sisters need one thousand customers to spend one hundred dollars a year in The Sisters of the Valley store—which is the model she would like to build other sisterhoods upon. “This is our thank you to the 1,000 customers who buy from us every year,” she said.

“We aren’t shipping internationally,” said Sister Sophia, “because, firstly, there won’t be a lot of them since our international sales have fallen from 20 percent to three percent during COVID. And secondly, we don’t want to get anyone in trouble. We will reach out to those international customers and see if they want us to mail them, before we do.” 

Sister Quinn added, “We have a strong calling to be the Johnny Appleseed of the hemp industry and share our seeds. If we could sell them, we could make a million dollars, but the seeds were a gift to us from the Goddess and we need to re-gift them to the people.” 

Sister Quinn and her other sisters used to take seeds along during bike-riding, to spread along the canals, and let Nature take her course, but she said they never saw any plants sprouting. “I suspect that the surrounding Mennonite farmers pull them as soon as they are recognizable. Or maybe the dogs eat them,” said Sister Quinn. “Mailing them to customers who already appreciate the medicine is a more certain way of knowing those seeds will be nurtured.”

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The Origins of Skunk – Roadkill, Uncle Fester, and Sam in the 60s

Skunk is a strain of cannabis with notorious origins. Skunk #1 is credited to a breeder referred to as Skunkman Sam, although, Roadkill is an even older Skunk phenotype bred by the much more mysterious, Uncle Fester. (1) 1969, Hollywood, Sam (David Watson) began breeding Skunk phenos under the nickname, Jingles. Skunk is simply a […]

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Is The Underground Cannabis Industry Over?

Cannabis legalization is on the rise and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As the market opens its arms to the world of cannabis, long-time users started wondering about dealers legitimizing their business. When people think about buying weed, images of dark alleyways and secret locations to avoid cops come to mind. Now fast forward […]

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South Carolina Senate To Debate Medical Cannabis Bill

South Carolina senators will debate a bill to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis this week after an eight-year effort to bring the proposal to the floor of the state Senate. If passed, Senate Bill 150 would allow patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical cannabis products. A companion measure, House Bill 3361, is also pending in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Last week, Senators unanimously agreed to assign special order status to the bill, which faces strong opposition in deeply conservative South Carolina. As a legislative priority, senators will be required to approve or reject the bill before moving on to other legislation. Debate on the bill is expected to begin Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, according to media reports.

The measure, known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, was first proposed in 2015 by Republican Sen. Tom Davis. In 2018, the Senate Medical Affairs Committee advanced the bill to the Senate floor but senators opposed to the measure blocked the legislation from coming up for debate. At the close of the 2021 legislative session, Republican leaders promised Davis that the bill would come up for a vote this year.

“If you pound at the door long enough. If you make your case. If the public is asking for something, the state Senate owes a debate,” Davis told The Post and Courier. “The people of South Carolina deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.”

South Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Contains Strict Limits

The Compassionate Care Act would allow patients with one or more qualifying health conditions to use cannabis medicinally. Qualifying debilitating medical conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease or disorder (including epilepsy), sickle cell disease, glaucoma, PTSD, autism, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cachexia, a condition causing a person to be home-bound that includes severe or persistent nausea, terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year, a chronic medical condition causing severe and persistent muscle spasms or a chronic medical condition for which an opioid is or could be prescribed based on accepted standards of care.

Smoking cannabis would not be allowed. Instead, patients would have access to medical marijuana products including vaporizers, topicals, and patches. Patients would be allowed to purchase up to a two-week supply of cannabis products at a time.

The bill also establishes rules for physicians to recommend medical cannabis and regulations for the production and sale of medical marijuana, including a requirement that cannabis dispensaries complete a licensing process every two years. Dispensaries would be required to contract with a state-licensed pharmacist, physician’s assistant or clinical practice nurse with training in the medicinal use of cannabis. Cannabis products would be subject to testing and labeling requirements and a seed-to-sale tracking system would be established to monitor transfers of medical marijuana products. Davis said the legislation would create the nation’s strictest medicinal cannabis program.

“I want to empower physicians. I want to help patients who could benefit from cannabis to alleviate their medical conditions,” Davis told reporters. “But I want it to be tightly regulated and controlled. I don’t want it to be a precursor to adult recreational use.”

Advocates Back Legislation

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act is supported by medical cannabis advocates including Jill Swing, the founder and president of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance. She believes her daughter would benefit from medical cannabis.

“Mary Louise shouldn’t have to continue to suffer and other patients across the state shouldn’t continue to suffer when this medication is available in 36 other states,” said Swing.

“I genuinely hope that every single Senator that walks into that chamber opens their minds and their hearts,” she added.

But Davis’ bill is opposed by law enforcement leaders, who cite public safety issues and the fear that permitting medical marijuana will lead to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

“If marijuana is medicine, it should be regulated as every other medicine is regulated. We are aware of no other medication that has to be approved by the General Assembly,” said Jarrod Bruder, executive director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association. “This (bill) includes a lot of other things — including vaping, including edibles. This is not going to your local pharmacy — it’s going to a dispensary. This is not being treated like every other medicine is.”

Kevin Tolson, the executive director of the law enforcement group, said in a statement that legalizing medical cannabis in South Carolina would lead to increased traffic accidents and financial crimes by cannabis businesses.

“I understand supporters of this bill are seeking to bring comfort and relief to friends and family members who are suffering from debilitating illnesses,” Tolson wrote. “But I can’t endorse or even ignore the attempt to provide relief through illegal methods, especially when those attempts will jeopardize public safety.”

Davis, however, believes that public opinion is on the side of reform. In December, a poll of 300 registered voters found that 54 percent favored legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, with another 14 percent undecided on the issue.

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Oregon Cannabis: New Rules, Part 5 – License Cancellation Criteria

This post focuses on recent changes to OAR 845-025-8590, which addresses when the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission (“OLCC”) may cancel or suspend a marijuana business license. It continues our discussion of recent OLCC changes to the regulations governing marijuana in the State of Oregon. You can review the changes to OAR 845-025-8590 and all other rules here.

The new rule applies to marijuana license cancellations under ORS 475B.256(1)(a)

So what conduct falls under this statute?

The text of the statute includes a wide swath to conduct. It provides that OLCC may revoke, suspend, or restrict a license, or require a licensee to or licensee representative to undergo training if the OLCC finds or has reasonable grounds to believe that the licensee or licensee representative:

(A)        Has violated a provision of ORS 475B.010 (Short title) to 475B.545 (Severability of ORS 475B.010 to 475B.545) or a rule adopted under ORS 475B.010 (Short title) to 475B.545 (Severability of ORS 475B.010 to 475B.545).

(B)       Has made any false representation or statement to the commission in order to induce or prevent action by the commission.

(C)        Is insolvent or incompetent or physically unable to carry on the management of the establishment of the licensee.

(D)       Is in the habit of using alcoholic liquor, habit-forming drugs, marijuana or controlled substances to excess.

(E)        Has misrepresented to a customer or the public any marijuana items sold by the licensee or licensee representative.

(F)        Since the issuance of the license, has been convicted of a felony, of violating any of the marijuana laws of this state, general or local, or of any misdemeanor or violation of any municipal ordinance committed on the premises for which the license has been issued.

ORS 475B.256.  As should be apparent from this language, the statute gives the OLCC wide latitude in the exercise of its enforcement powers. However, the new rule cabins this power in some respects.

The new rule allows the OLCC to cancel a marijuana license only when the conduct poses a significant risk to public health and safety

The new rule is found in OAR 845-025-8590(2).  It states that the Commission may cancel a license under the statute cited above “only when the conduct poses a significant risk to public health and safety.”

Conduct that constitutes a “significant risk” to public health and safety includes:

(a)        Exercising licensed privileges while the license is suspended, or in violation of restrictions imposed on the license;

(b)        Allowing minors at a processor license;

(c)        Prohibited conduct involving a deadly or dangerous weapon or conduct that results in death or serious injury;

(d)        Prohibited use of pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals;

(e)        Diversion of marijuana, inversion of marijuana, or other conduct described in ORS 475B.186;

(f)         Transferring or providing adulterated marijuana or hemp items to a licensee or consumer;

(g)        Prohibited conduct by laboratory licensees as described in OAR 845-025-5075;

(h)        Failure to meet testing requirements as described in OAR 845-025-5700, 333-007-300 to 333-007-0500 and 333, division 64;

(i)         Intentionally destroying, damaging, altering, removing or concealing potential evidence, or attempting to do so, or asking or encouraging another person to do so.

Importantly, this list is not exclusive. So there may be other kinds of conduct that also poses a significant risk to health and safety.

The new rule is a good change for OLCC licensees

This language ought to be seen favorably for licensees facing cancellation. That is because the new language means that a mere violation of the ORS 475B.256(1)(a) is not enough. The OLCC must also establish that the conduct poses a significant risk to public health and safety. This changes part of the OLCC’s attempt to shift from enforcing the rules strictly (some may say punitive) manner, to more of a partnership approach with licensees. (See Oregon Marijuana: OLCC to Adopt “Fix-it or Ticket” Approach for Some Rule Violations). Let’s hope the OLCC sees it that way too as we move into 2022.

For previous posts in this series, check out the following:

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The Emerald Conference: 7th Annual Interdisciplinary Cannabis Science Event – Ticket Discounts Available!

The Emerald Conference (7th annual) is the longest running interdisciplinary cannabis science event, and the place to be for cultivators, extractors, physicians, product manufacturers, and anyone else interested in learning more about all the most important research going on behind the scenes of this multi-billion-dollar industry.  

Science and research are the backbone of the legal cannabis industry, especially in the medical sector. Without cannabis science, not only would we stay lagging on best practices in cultivation, production, and safety standards; but much of the western world would be still in the dark, largely unaware of the therapeutic potential of cannabis.  

For a 10% discount on tickets, make sure to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter, your top source for industry news, all the latest information, and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.  


Over the years, The Emerald Conference has become a who’s-who event of decision-makers in many cannabis industry niches including extraction methodology, analytical testing, research and development, formulations and blends, and clinical research.  

Aside from the connections to be made, the wealth of knowledge and expertise at this event is unmatched. In addition to some incredibly educational presentations and sessions, event curators make sure to provide plenty of time for open dialogue, so attendees can discuss the topics in depth.  

The goal is to “overcome black-market paranoia” through irrefutable scientific data and education of the masses. And the best way to do this is by bringing as many from the scientific community as possible to put things into perspective.  

According to David Dawson, Ph.D. Senior Scientist at Via Innovations, “The Emerald Conference is integral to this process, as its high standards for peer-reviewed work and desire for open collaboration amongst participants sets it apart from the vast majority of cannabis conferences.” 

This year’s conference 

This event is more tight-knit than other conferences, so don’t expect a turnout in the tens of thousands like MJ Biz Con. In my opinion, the low-key environment makes it considerably easier to stay focused. Plus, it’s better for meeting people, learning, and making those lasting industry connections.  

Hundreds of people from around the world are expected to attend. During the event, there will be more than 20 speakers, 25 presentations, and 50 exhibitors and sponsors. Furthermore, there will be 3 scheduled networking events, a welcome reception, and evening reception, and a “mimosa & Bloody Mary bar break”.   

The Emerald Conference will take place from February 27 – March 1, 2022, at San Diego Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, California.  

For a 10% discount on your tickets, subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter for a coupon code! 

The main areas of focus at this year’s event will be pre-clinical/clinical research, cultivation and alternative strategies, extraction and separation, formulation and fill/finish, and analytical testing solutions. 

MJ Biz acquisition  

In January 2020, Marijuana Business Daily purchased Emerald Conference from Emerald Scientific, who established the first event in 2015. The deal highlights the growing importance of legitimate research in the industry, as it continues.  

“When looking at where cannabis is going, we identified science as a pillar of the industry’s future,” says Chris Walsh, CEO and president of MJBizDaily. “With the legalization of hemp and inevitable changes to federal marijuana laws in the coming years, the amount of scientific research is going to balloon – as will the needs of the scientific and business communities. 

MJ Biz Daily has been partnering with Emerald to put on this conference ever since its second year running, and this partnership is what led to the eventual acquisition years later. MJ Biz is known for putting on excellent events, and the merger has proven to be beneficial for everyone involved. 

Get your tickets now! 

If you’re an industry stakeholder or another interested party that would like to learn more about cannabis science, The Emerald Conference is an event you don’t want to miss.  

Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter for a 10% percent discount on your tickets to The Emerald Conference – February 27th to March 1st, see you there! 


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Arizona Cannabis Generates Over $1B of Revenue in 2021

Cannabis is officially a billion dollar business in the state of Arizona.

Voters in the Grand Canyon State passed a measure at the ballot in 2020 that made recreational pot legal for adults ages 21 and older. Medical cannabis, meanwhile, has been legal in the state since 2010.

That made 2021 the first year with both markets open for business, and the results were lucrative for Arizona.

According to figures released by the state Department of Revenue, medical and recreational cannabis sales combined to generate more than $1.23 billion in revenue last year.

“Rarely does an industry produce over $1.2 billion in revenue in its first year. This number shows that the legalization of cannabis is something Arizonans believe strongly in and the many benefits it contributes to the state’s economy,” said Samuel Richard, the Executive Director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association (ADA), as quoted by azfamily.com.

The Department of Revenue provided a detailed breakdown of the sales data, revealing that recreational adult-use pot brought in $528,001,278 in revenue, while medical cannabis generated $703,803,194.

According to the figures, November brought in $60,299,191 in adult-use sales, making it the highest-grossing month for recreational pot. It was also the only month of the year in which recreational sales topped $60 million. 

April was the top month for medical cannabis, with $72,944,477 generated then. Complete sales figures for December were not provided.

Moreover, the state raked in $196,447,570 in taxes on the combined sales last year, and that does not include sales in December. 

According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, “there is a transaction privilege tax (TPT) rate and an excise tax (16 percent) on the retail sales” of adult use recreational cannabis in the state.

In 2020, 60 percent of Arizona voters approved Proposition 207, a ballot initiative that legalized recreational pot use in the state. (Arizona was one of four states that year where voters approved legalization measures at the ballot, joining Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey in moving to end prohibition.) 

In August, Arizona launched a social equity program for aspiring cannabis dispensary owners as part of Prop 207’s commitment to “promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana testing facilities by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

Through the program, the state’s Department of Health Services will award 26 dispensary licenses to applicants who come from communities most adversely affected by anti-drug policies.

“The social equity ownership program is intended to promote the ownership and operation of licensed Marijuana Establishments by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws,” the Department of Health Services explained. “Social equity license holders will be required to comply with all statutes and rules that govern Adult-Use Marijuana Establishment licenses, including obtaining approval to operate before opening their retail location. Additionally, social equity license holders will be required to develop and implement policies to document how the Marijuana Establishment will provide a benefit to one or more communities disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous marijuana laws.”

But that effort has also faced scrutiny, with a group of female investors filing a lawsuit in November targeting the program. The plaintiffs, a pair of organizations known as the Greater Phoenix Urban League and Acre 41, assert that the rules governing the program are inconsistent with the goals of Prop 207.

Defendants in the suit are the state of Arizona, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, the state Department of Health Services and Don Herrington, the director of the Department of Health Services.

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Top 7 Cannabis Themed Party Games

Okay, so the pandemic sort of killed parties. Still, maintaining connection is more important than ever right now. Gatherings between our loved ones are clear for the most part, and research shows how a good joint is beneficial for not only our physical ailments but emotional wellbeing too. So forget drinking games; for those of you who’d […]

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