Cannabis Group Weekly Alert – January 2020 #4 | Dentons – JD Supra

Updated: May 25, 2018:

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’Dabbing’ Marijuana a Gateway to Heavy Use of Pot – HealthDay

FRIDAY, Jan. 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — „Dabbing” cannabis concentrate is the type of marijuana experimentation most likely to lead teens into frequent and heavy use of the drug, researchers say.

„We really wanted to understand whether the type of cannabis that youth experiment with influences the likelihood that they will continue to use cannabis and use more heavily,” said Jessica Barrington-Trimis, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

„When we started this research, we were especially interested in the role of cannabis concentrates, which generally contain very high levels of THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis),” she explained.

Dosage of THC affects subsequent use. Dabbing delivers THC levels two to four times higher than that found in traditional cannabis products, often reaching concentrations greater than 80% THC.

In the spring of 2016, the researchers surveyed nearly 2,700 11th graders at 10 high schools in Southern California about their use of five types of cannabis products: combustible cannabis (pot, weed, hash, reefer); blunts (cannabis rolled in tobacco leaf or cigar casing); vaporized cannabis or hash oil via vaping device (liquid pot, weed pen); cannabis or THC food or drinks (pot brownies, edibles); and cannabis concentrate („dabbing” using wax, shatter, butane hash oil).

Follow-up surveys were conducted six and 12 months later.

The number of students who were dabbing was low, but those who did were nearly six times more likely to still be using concentrates at follow-up, and had used concentrates an average of nine more days in the past 30 days at follow-up, compared to those not using concentrates.

Combustible cannabis use was more common among the students, and they were also about six times more likely to still be using combustible cannabis at follow-up, and had used the drug about three more days per month, compared to those not using combustible cannabis.

The study, published online Jan. 24 in JAMA Network Open, could help guide cannabis control efforts and public education campaigns, the researchers said.

„It’s early exposure to the dose of THC used in adolescence that may be likely to drive continued use and increases in the frequency of use,” Barrington-Trimis said in a university news release.

„If someone picks up a vaporizer with a low level of THC, they may not be likely to keep using it,” she added. „But with concentrates, the high level of THC may increase the likelihood that they continue to use and use more frequently.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse offers marijuana facts for teens.

New Cannabis Products: CBD-Infused Instant Coffee, Weed-Infused Red Wines And New Pet Products – Benzinga

As the cannabis market expands, it’s hard to keep track of the many products that launch every week. Benzinga put together a short list of some of the most interesting new cannabis products launched recently.

Crazy Calm’s CBD-Infused Coffee

Crazy Calm launched a CBD-infused, organic instant coffee. CBD and coffee complement each other for a relaxing energy boost with no caffeine crash, the company explained.

Each box comes with 10 individual packets that can be instantly prepared when mixed with 8oz of (hot) water.

Each packet has 20mg of broad spectrum CBD, and no THC.

Foudner Matt Aaron told Benzinga, “I started brewing CBD coffee in January 2019 and loved the way it made me feel. I travel a lot and realized there wasn’t an on-the-go version, so I decided to make one.”

Viv&Oak’s Red Wines 

Viv&Oak announced the upcoming launch of its Shimmering Scarlett collection: cannabis-infused red wines, hitting shelves this February.

100% Zinfandel grapes have been de-alcoholized before being infused, resulting in notes of cherry, plum and blackberry.

After over two years in development, the bottles will be released in three dosing styles, giving consumers more choice on how to consume.

Like its Sparkling Rose collection, bottles are available in straight THC as well as a CBD and THC combination. New to the reds, and the market, a third bottle will consist of THCv, THC and CBD.

Each five-ounce serving contains just 16 calories and 3 grams of sugar. Onset may take effect as quickly as just ten minutes and may last for a few hours. 

“We want to offer our customers something truly unique, and with this release, we’re doing just that,” said Alana Burstein, founder and president of Viv&Oak.

“We strive to be on the edge of innovation, and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with Doug’s Varin to bring THCv into the mix for this release. We hope to give our fans something new to try and fall in love with.”

Veritas Pets

Veritas Farms Inc. (OTC: VFRM) has custom formulated a line just for pets: Veritas Pets.

The full spectrum hemp oil products are more than just CBD, so your pet can benefit from hemp oil 100% grown, extracted, and formulated right on its farm in Pueblo, Colorado. 

Alexander Salgado, CEO and co-founder of Veritas Farms, stated, “Our team has spent countless hours on this new product line, and we believe that our Veritas Pets products are superior to many of the CBD pet products you may see on the shelf. In addition, we now have plans to distribute these products to pet stores across the nation and we expect to announce additions to and expansion of the Veritas Pets product line in the coming months.”

Images courtesy of respective companies.

© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

How to use marijuana for anxiety – Leafly

Bailey RahnJanuary 31, 2020



hen I first began using cannabis almost a decade ago, I found it worked wonders for my anxiety. Back then, it didn’t really matter which strain I was smoking—cannabis almost always helped regardless of set, setting, dose, or strain.

But as I got older, things got more complicated. I began to notice that certain strains made me more anxious than others. High doses made me paranoid. Using cannabis with unfamiliar people or in unfamiliar places almost always made me hypervigilant, self-conscious, and on edge.


Why More College Students Are Calming Anxiety With Medical Cannabis

Instead of taking multiple bong rips of potent strains like Original Glue and GSC, I moved toward strains with equal levels of THC and CBD—and taking just a few hits off a bubbler. I’ve found 5mg THC edibles to be a far better experience than one with 10-20mg THC. And instead of wake-and-baking with high-THC flower, I start my day with a CBD tincture.

Cannabis is complicated, and so is anxiety. Your ideal strain, product, dose, and regimen may not look like mine, and you should expect your relationship with cannabis as an anti-anxiety medicine to shift over the years. Anxiety evolves and changes, and so might how you treat it. There are also many different types of anxiety, and cannabis may affect each differently.

This guide is meant to help you understand your options. Finding the perfect product and routine for you will ultimately require personal experimentation, and we’ll walk you through all the first steps to get started.

Jump to section:

Research on marijuana and anxiety

When using cannabis for anxiety, research suggests that lower doses may offer greater therapeutic benefit. While this ideal dose differs from person to person, it’s generally recommended to start with a low dose (such as 2.5mg of THC) and gradually increase the dose—ideally adding just another milligram or two—until you feel optimal symptom relief. (Leafly)

Cannabis is relaxing. Well, it should be, but if you’ve ever smoked a little too much or underestimated an infused edible, you know quite well that THC can sometimes turn on this reputation.

When it comes to high-THC cannabis and anxiety, there’s one thing to keep in mind based on research: At lower doses, cannabis seems to help anxiety; at higher doses, it seems to worsen it.  So if opting for a high-THC variety, be sure to pay close attention to your dose (more on that below). However, high doses of CBD appear to reduce anxiety.


How to use CBD for anxiety

So why does cannabis soothe anxiety at some doses and exacerbate at others? Answering that requires a closer look at the biological system cannabis primarily interacts with: the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a vast system of receptors found throughout each of our bodies: in our brains, organs, guts, skin—these cannabinoid receptors are widespread and play an important role in ensuring that the body is operating in healthy balance. Our bodies naturally produce cannabis-like compounds—called endocannabinoids—that act similarly to cannabis compounds and also interact with the ECS, but sometimes their production goes awry. That’s where cannabis comes in as a potential therapy.

Studies show that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating anxiety, fear, and stress responses by regulating our behavioral response to stressful stimuli. Notably, cannabinoid receptors are abundant in areas of the brain involved in anxiety processing such as the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and areas of the amygdala. These studies also explain how THC can have opposing effects on anxiety as dosage affects neuron activity differently via cannabinoid type 1 receptors.

Another study published in Jan. 2020 showed that the endocannabinoid 2-AG (which activates the same receptors as THC) reduced anxiety-inducing connections between the amygdala and frontal cortex, suggesting another mechanism by which cannabis relieves anxiety in certain doses.

Cannabis terpenes are another area of interest when it comes to unveiling answers around the plant’s anti-anxiety effects. Terpenes are fragrant oils produced by the plant that make up its aroma, and researchers are exploring to what degree they provide additional therapeutic benefits. For example, the terpene limonene has been studied for its anti-anxiety benefits. Further research is needed to understand how individual terpenes impact the overall therapeutic experience of cannabis.


A physician’s perspective on optimal cannabis dosing

Does marijuana interact with anti-anxiety medication?


When it comes to mixing cannabis with other anxiety drugs, there are a few things to consider.

There hasn’t been much research investigating the interplay of cannabis and anxiety medications, but based on available studies and patient reports, we have a sense for which medications are riskier than others when it comes to mixing. Due to the lack of extensive research, it is advisable to first consult your doctor before combining cannabis and other medications.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)—like Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro—are among the most common prescriptions for anxiety. Very few adverse interactions between cannabis and SSRIs have been reported by patients. This also seems to be the case with NDRIs (norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors) like Wellbutrin, Aplenzin, and Forfivo.


CBD and prescriptions: can the cannabinoid affect medicine absorption?

Other medications call for greater caution as cannabis could amplify adverse side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. These higher-risk combinations include:

  • Sedatives (e.g., Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., imipramine/Tofranil, amitriptyline, doxepin, trimipramine/Surmontil)
  • MAOIs (e.g. tranylcypromine/Parnate, phenelzine/Nardil, isocarboxazid/Marplan)

Another consideration is how cannabis may complicate symptom tracking. If you’ve just started taking anti-anxiety medication, you may want to hold on using cannabis so you can clearly see whether your anti-anxiety medication is working on its own.

Read our guides on Leafly for more information on how cannabis may interact with antidepressants and other drugs.

How to choose the right strain for anxiety

Although research shows that certain types of cannabis seem to generally work better than others for anxiety, we’re all different. Finding the strain that knocks out your anxiety will require a bit of exploration, which is made easier by Leafly’s Cannabis Guide.

Leafly’s Cannabis Guide is a visual system that helps us better predict the potential effects of a strain using shapes and colors. By noting which shapes and colors made you feel better (or worse), you can easily shop for similar varieties on your next dispensary visit.


The best cannabis strains for anxiety

Here are a few strains that are generally rated well for anxiety that you might consider trying.


Harlequin weed strain

Cannabinoid profile: Balanced CBD/THC

Terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Harlequin is a commonly found balanced 1:1  CBD/THC strain, but there are many other varieties out there that look a lot like this one. With a lower dose of THC and a moderate dose of CBD, Harlequin’s cannabinoid profile is well-suited for anxiety fighters who don’t mind gentle euphoria. Its most abundant terpene is myrcene, which is believed to have a relaxing effect and has been used throughout history as a sleep aid.

Find more cannabis strains like Harlequin using Leafly’ Cannabis Guide.


Cannabinoid profile: CBD-dominant

Terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Looking for a safe first step into the world of cannabis? A CBD-dominant strain like ACDC can offer anxiety benefits without the buzz. Containing only trace levels of THC, ACDC uses the force of CBD and terpenes like myrcene to invoke a clear, calm state of mind. If you’re new to cannabis and leery of feeling high, ACDC or a strain with a similar chemical profile is the ticket.

Find more cannabis strains like ACDC using Leafly’s Cannabis Guide.

Bubba Kush

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Terpenes: Caryophyllene, limonene, myrcene

This should be prefaced with one big caveat: When it comes to THC-dominant strains, there is a lot of variation in the types of strains consumers prefer. If you take a look at Leafly’s strain database sorted by strains highly rated for anxiety relief, you’ll see many different terpenes (colors), indicating that consumers may not agree on the “best” strain for anxiety. Imagine that.

But many experienced consumers would recommend something like Bubba Kush. This strain is known for its calming, blissful high that helps you sink deeply into your relaxation routine, whatever that may be. With warm flavors of earthy coffee and black pepper, Bubba Kush brings a sense of coziness to mind and body for those accustomed to a fairly strong THC high.

To explore more strains rated highly for anxiety relief by other Leafly users, browse our database.

You can also check out our hand-curated staff suggestions in this article.


Got anxiety? Study finds cannabis strains to try, or avoid

Find the right cannabis product for anxiety

Click to enlarge. (Leafly)

Stepping into a cannabis shop full of bud, edibles, oils, lotions, and capsules can be overwhelming for someone new to cannabis. Where do you even begin?

To summarize the general effects of different cannabis consumption methods and product types:

  • Inhaled methods (vaporization and smoking) offer the most immediate relief, but the effects don’t last as long as ingestible methods.
  • Ingestible methods (edibles, tinctures, capsules, etc.) take a while to kick in, but offer longer-lasting effects.
  • Inhaled and ingestible cannabis should both be dosed with caution, but edibles especially require care as their effects can be intense and last several hours if too large of a dose is consumed.

Above, we explored the ways CBD and THC affect anxiety differently—keep that in mind when choosing a product, and always make sure you select a product with the CBD and THC levels that suit you.


How to Assess THC and CBD Levels in Cannabis Strains and Products

Here’s a brief overview of things to know about cannabis products commonly used to counter anxiety.

  • Cannabis flower — Dried buds that you can smoke or vaporize. Find a strain you like (probably one with moderate to high levels of CBD, but that’s cool if a high-THC strain is your cup of tea), and inhale it for fast-acting relief. Inhalation methods take effect much faster than ingestible methods.
  • Pre-filled oil vapes — A vaporizer pen that comes preloaded with cannabis oil so you don’t have to hassle with setup. Take a small puff and gradually take more if needed; the effects are fast-acting, but if you’re new to cannabis, wait a several minutes before trying another puff to ensure the dose is right.
  • Cannabis tincture — A liquid extract that is applied and absorbed under the tongue. It typically takes effect faster than other ingestible methods, but takes longer than inhaled cannabis. It offers the benefits of precise dosing and a clean, smoke-free experience. CBD oil is a particularly popular choice for anxiety relief.
  • Cannabis edibles — Foods and beverages that are infused with cannabis oils. Cannabis edibles can take up to two hours to take full effect, and can be felt for several hours afterward. If using cannabis for anxiety, consider taking a very small dose to start. A “microdose” (that is, a dose too small to induce euphoric effects) has been useful for consumers looking to dull anxiety while keeping a clear head. 


Ingest or inhale? 5 differences between cannabis edibles and flowers

Dosing marijuana for anxiety

Dosing guidelines for cannabis varies depending on two things:

  1. How you consume it
  2. The THC and CBD levels of your product

Dosing CBD

High-CBD products are a highly recommended starting point. Not only has CBD been found to effectively relieve anxiety, it’s also non-intoxicating so you don’t have to be as careful about dosing as you have to be with THC products.

With CBD oils and edibles, consider starting with 10mg and increase or decrease your dose until you’ve found the sweet spot for your symptoms. Or puff on a CBD vape or CBD-rich flower until you feel anxiety starting to lift.


Is More CBD Better? The Science Behind CBD Dosing for Anxiety and Other Conditions

Dosing THC

If you want to fold a little THC in, here’s what you should know about dosing:

  • If you’re ingesting it, the dose will usually be written in milligrams (mg). For example, you might find edibles that contain 10mg of THC or CBD per serving.
  • A liquid tincture may show the total milligrams per bottle and suggest a serving in milliliters. It may recommend taking one or two droppers-full.
  • Inhaling via smoking or vaporization is a little different—flower and oils typically present potency as a percentage by weight. So a flower may have, for example, 16% THC, while an oil could contain somewhere around 80% THC. New consumers should aim for smaller THC percentages and higher CBD percentages.

To reiterate, someone using cannabis for anxiety should start with a small dose. If you buy a 10mg THC edible, take half or a quarter of it to start—you can always add more if you’re not feeling anything in an hour or two, but undoing overly intense effects is an entirely different (and difficult) challenge.

Likewise, with flower or vape oils, take just a small puff and wait.

You might even consider microdosing cannabis—that is, taking a very small dose (such as 2.5mg THC)—one that’s too low to induce any euphoric effects, but still provides benefits by stimulating our natural endocannabinoid system.

For complete guides on dosing cannabis, check out the following:

Making cannabis helpful, not harmful

Cannabis is a tool, not a cure. Like other medications prescribed for anxiety, cannabis can be helpful in dulling symptoms of anxiety, allowing us the ability to functionally move from day to day and foster healthy habits.

Ideally, cannabis will ease stress and motivate you to take care of yourself. It can spark creativity and curiosity, fueling projects and hobbies that help you stay present. It can inspire you to cook a healthy dinner that tastes ridiculously good after a bowl of Purple Kush. It can ignite interest in getting outdoors with friends and family, or allow us to sit in meditation for a few minutes each day.

That’s not to say cannabis has to motivate you to join a gym, create art, hike a mountain, or be around other people in order to help you. Sometimes, relaxing with your favorite strain and a video game is exactly what we need, especially when we feel overworked and burnt out.

When using cannabis for anxiety, take note of how you’re using it. Honestly assess whether it’s helping you achieve your goals—or if it’s enabling you to avoid them.


Smoking Weed Cures All Diseases, According to People Who Love Smoking Weed – VICE

Any real pothead knows being sick is no obstacle when it comes to getting high. A sore throat, chest cough, or upset stomach might stop an amateur, but the truly dedicated know that smoking weed through whatever ails isn’t just possible—it can actually make you feel better. There’s gotta be some science behind that, right?

Thanks to the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal, not so much. But thanks to a new study, published earlier this month in the American Journal of Health Promotion, there is evidence suggesting that people who are already excited about weed have an inflated view of the plant’s proven medicinal properties.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo surveyed attendees at the Ann Arbor Hash Bash, an annual weed-centric event that began as a pro-cannabis demonstration in 1972. Around 500 attendees were given a quiz that asked them how often they used cannabis, where they received their information about cannabis, and then asked them questions about what illnesses marijuana had proven to be effective in treating. The results showed a wide gap between participants’ knowledge of weed and conclusions about cannabis from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, with the majority of responders believing weed was effective in treating epilepsy, depression, and some forms of cancer—beliefs the NASEM says are not backed by sufficient evidence.

“There were considerable discrepancies between cannabis users’ knowledge and available evidence, highlighting the need for more research and education,” the study concluded. This is undeniably true—there is a ton of conflicting information about what cannabis can do and what the risks of cannabis use may be, and it can be hard and time-consuming for even the most passionate pro-pot advocates to parse.

But, as researchers noted in a statement about the study, that doesn’t mean respondents were totally off-track. Instead, they drew from personal experience rather than established medical data, the bar their answers were measured against. “Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance, which prohibits scientists from conducting the clinical trials necessary for properly informing NASEM conclusions,” the statement said.

Even though anecdotal experience isn’t generally the soundest basis for medical knowledge, it remains a viable option due to the structural barriers that prevent cannabis from being studied. It stands to reason that people with decades of experience with the plant might know more than what the limited scope of government-approved research encompasses; people with PTSD and parents of children with autism form two robust groups of medical cannabis advocates, despite the fact that the results they testify about are not backed by “sufficient” research (yet).

So, is smoking weed the answer to every health woe? No, and until more clinical trials are conducted, we won’t know exactly what it is good for. But if I know anything about people who love weed, I know that’s not going to stop true believers from conducting their own experimental medical marijuana trials whenever they get sick in the meantime.

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Cannabis execs anticipate expanded legal markets in 2020 – and ensuing challenges – Marijuana Business Daily

(This is an abridged version of the cover story for the January issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

Cannabis executives, professionals and financiers can expect 2020 – and the rest of the new decade – to have at least as much impact on their businesses as any year in the past 10.

New legal recreational and medical cannabis states have come online – or are poised to – in Illinois and Michigan as well as unexpected markets such as Missouri and Arkansas.

And then there’s the real prospect in 2020 that voters and/or lawmakers in Northeast states such as New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will approve recreational markets.

Growth in the cannabis space will not be limited to the United States in 2020, however.

Mexico is making huge strides in recreational cannabis legalization, and medical marijuana markets are gaining momentum overseas from Australia to Italy. Even more countries appear to be moving toward legalizing either medical or adult-use cannabis.

And then there’s the hemp sector.

Hemp farmers began 2019 with federal approval to operate, but they faced a CBD glut, so they now are trying to expand their opportunities by branching into minor cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN and CBD-V.

From a financial standpoint, the industry saw marijuana investors becoming more frugal, which led cash-poor businesses to cut employees by the hundreds and walk away from planned mergers.

In an attempt to help marijuana entrepreneurs prepare for what might lie ahead in 2020, Marijuana Business Magazine spoke with cannabis industry experts to explore some of the pressing questions facing the sector in 2020.

Among them:

Letter: Legal cannabis vapes are not the problem – Sky Hi News

The other day, I had a chance to talk with a member of the Fraser town board about their concern regarding the vaping crisis. So far, the CDC has reported 2,602 confirmed and probable cases nationwide of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with recently inhaled aerosol products.

This has been a setback for the cannabis industry, but not in the way you might think. If you only pay attention to major news outlets, you may have been led to believe that the cartridges your local dispensary sells are the cause of all the problems. That’s simply not the case, and even the CDC has said more research is needed to pinpoint the culprit.

It is believed that one of the potential causes of the vaping illnesses is a compound known as tocopheryl-acetate, or vitamin E acetate, which is found in illicit THC diluents. They key word here is “illicit” — a.k.a., the black market.

The legal cannabis industry is one of the most tightly regulated industries in the U.S. Not only do manufacturers and dispensaries have to attain many licenses in order to operate, they also have to abide by strict product testing protocols before they’re allowed to release them to the public. The same cannot be said for the illegal production of vape cartridges.

Black market production does not nearly have the same oversight — or care — for the safety of consumers. The California lab, Cannasafe, reported that 10 out of 10 vape carts from illicit stores tested positive for tocopheryl-acetate, some as high as 40%. As I mentioned this is a setback for the legal industry, as we continue to strive for access to safe cannabis products.

I urge the town board of Fraser to keep this in mind when considering what actions to take regarding vape cartridges. Raising taxes, setting harsh limitations, or banning vapes will only push consumers to continue to seek out black market products, undoing a lot of the progress the legal cannabis industry has been making. Thank you!

— Alejandro Perez, Fraser

What’s the deal with CBD? – East Idaho News

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There’s a lot of buzz about CBD right now. From celebrity doctors to next-door neighbors, many people are talking about this new health product. But what is it? What does it do, and most importantly, is it legal in Idaho?

What is CBD?

The human body has a natural system of neural transmitters known as cannabinoids. According to the newest research, this endocannabinoid system helps the body regulate many of its basic functions, such as mood, hunger, pain management and sleep.

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is referred to as a phytocannabinoid. These plant-derived molecules also act as neural transmitters when introduced into the human body and can interact with our physiology in interesting and beneficial ways.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Though testing is still preliminary, CBD has been shown to help with many common health concerns. It can support the body in the management of pain, especially when it is caused by inflammation, as is the case with arthritis or injury. It seems to be effective in managing anxiety and depression as well, and it can help regulate sleep. There is evidence that it is effective at aiding people to quit smoking or other substance abuse, and it may be a treatment for some skin issues as well.

The real benefit of CBD, however, is that it lacks most of the major side effects of other medications and treatments. Unlike the opioid family of medications, CBD is nonaddictive, and it doesn’t increase the chance of depression or sexual dysfunction when taken for anxiety.

What is its legal status?

Idaho is not just unique in its wonderful outdoors and friendly people — it has particular laws governing the sale and possession of items containing CBD. Whereas most states allow for a small amount of THC in CBD products, Idaho does not, and any THC will find you in violation of state law. For this reason, it’s very important to be vigilant when looking for a CBD source, and most reputable vendors will have documentation showing that their products are legal.

Overall, CBD is a promising and exciting new development in the field of medicine, and, though still in the early years of testing, it has shown great promise in managing many of the health issues prevalent in modern society, such as pain, anxiety and sleep management, without any of the major side effects that come with commonly used treatments.

Berkeley to allow vaping lounges where patrons can consume cannabis – Berkeleyside

In 2011, onsite consumption of cannabis was allowed in Berkeley. It was later prohibited when Berkeley tightened its smoking laws. Above: the lounge of CBCB back then. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Smoking, vaping and consuming cannabis will once again be allowed in the city’s dispensaries, the Berkeley City Council decided Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously to permit cannabis lounges in storefront retailers (previously referred to as dispensaries) after dozens of people spoke in favor of a practice that was once legal but became prohibited after Berkeley enacted stronger smoking laws.

Councilmembers talked about how cannabis lounges would allow people who are banned from smoking in their apartments or workplaces to have a spot where they could consume marijuana, and how the lounges would create community.

A few people opposed the change, in part because it would be exposing workers to secondhand smoke.

Consumption won’t start immediately, however. The council asked staff to return with rules on what kind of ventilation systems must be installed to clear the lounges of harmful smoke and product. An administrative use permit will also be required before lounges open — a process that can take up to a year.

The council will also have to vote to change the city’s smoking laws before allowing the vape lounges to operate.

The approval of on-site vaping was one of a number of votes the council took to update Berkeley’s municipal laws. City staff has been working on updating and enhancing cannabis regulations since the summer of 2017, and the council has voted twice since then to update various regulations. The council still has to vote about how to choose a seventh, equity dispensary, meaning licenses will be given to those who have been disproportionally impacted by the war on drugs.

The new rules, adopted Jan. 28, include:

  • Berkeley will allow seven delivery-only cannabis businesses. Four of those will be equity businesses. Three licenses will go to non-equity businesses. These businesses must locate in the “M” or manufacturing district in West Berkeley and must be 300 feet from any schools or youth centers. Current law allows storefront retailers to have delivery options. Berkeley residents can already get cannabis delivered to them by businesses that operate outside of Berkeley.
  • The buffer zone between middle and high schools and storefront cannabis businesses will increase from 600 to 1,000 feet. The new regulations add a 600-foot buffer zone to six youth centers and skate parks as well. This won’t impact the proposed seventh Berkeley dispensary, reserved for equity businesses. But it will impact any dispensary that moves. The council said it will revisit this rule in three years.
  • A requirement to post a new warning in storefront operations on top of the five already required. The new sign will warn of the intoxicating effects of cannabis, how it can impair someone’s ability to drive or operate machinery, and the dangers of consuming cannabis while young or pregnant.
  • New companies will not be allowed to display their logos outdoors if they incorporate cannabis leaves. This is grandfathered in, so it does not impact existing businesses. The council did not impose the same rule on packaging because the state already has strict rules on this. Last year, the council voted to prohibit the depiction of cannabis leaves or products on exterior signs.

The City Council declined to expand the area in which commercial cannabis-grow businesses can operate. Voters agreed in 2010 to allow these kinds of businesses in Berkeley’s “M” or manufacturing zone. Nobody has applied for a permit yet, leading some cannabis activists to push to allow those businesses in the “MULI” or “MM” districts.

The council also put off banning the sale of artificially flavored cannabis and cannabis-infused drinks at storefront retailers. Council also asked city staff to more fully explore the issue and return with a more fleshed-out definition.

The council voted unanimously to adopt Mayor Jesse Arreguín’s motion on which items to accept. City Councilwoman Sophie Hahn was out sick.