Fresh concerns aired about Egremont cannabis store proposed by Holyoke developer – theberkshireedge.com

Egremont — New questions are being raised about a controversial marijuana shop proposed for a largely residential neighborhood on Route 23 not far from the New York state line.

Thomas McMahon. Photo courtesy Design+Tech Connection

Thomas McMahon, who owns property near 195 Hillsdale Road where Emerald River LLC wants to set up a cannabis store, has written an open letter to the town and its select board raising questions about environmental issues, traffic estimates, Emerald’s business model and the integrity of a community outreach meeting last week.

Click here to read McMahon’s letter, which has been making the rounds on social media, including the Egremont Forum, a Facebook group focused on town-related issues.

Emerald River, a limited liability corporation formed last year by Morriss M. Partee and Matthew R. Moriarty, both of Holyoke, proposes to open a marijuana store at the former Home interior design shop, across the road from the western intersection of Route 23 and Taconic Lane.

McMahon, an architect who was born in Pittsfield but practices in New York City, penned a memo of more than six pages filled with questions, observations, maps and portions of the Egremont zoning bylaw. He even included a screenshot of several tweets Partee had posted in 2012 in opposition to a proposed casino not far from downtown Holyoke.

McMahon acknowledged that he had a “negative reaction” to the proposed cannabis store in that location but that his opposition “crystalized” during the community outreach meeting via Zoom on July 2. See Edge coverage of the meeting here. See the video below of the three-hour meeting as recorded by The Edge:

“The presentation largely relied upon ambiguity, contradictory notions, wishful thinking, and really, claiming both sides of issues when they suited the moment,” McMahon wrote.

“For example — all activity would occur inside, but let’s make a nice porch out front, or, traffic won’t pile up out front because of a huge parking lot in the back, but this will be environmentally friendly because of gravel. The meeting was woefully short on facts, and out of this, came a desire on my part to analyze some of the presentation through publicly available facts.”

Wendy Linscott. Photo courtesy Lamme and Linscott

McMahon also took exception to a statement written by attorney Wendy Linscott, who is a member of the Egremont Land Trust, at the beginning of the meeting and read by Mary McGurn. Linscott’s letter, one of the few positive statements made about Emerald’s proposal, was read first during the discussion after the presentation.

“One letter, read at the beginning of the Q&A session, admonished the group to put down their pitchforks and keep an open mind,” McMahon said. “The letter was clearly pre‐arranged to be read first, but presented by Mr. Partee as chosen at random, in keeping with a level of distrust fostered by things like turning off the chat function during the presentation and claiming ignorance to doing so.”

In her letter, Linscott said Route 23 “is a heavily traveled major road that serves at least 6,000 vehicles per day, many of them tractor trailers.” Partee has estimated his store would serve 150 customers per day, an increase Linscott said “could easily be accommodated.”

But McMahon’s own research of state Department of Transportation data indicates that the total annual average daily traffic crossing the New York border on Route 23 is 3,002. So the effective traffic increase generated by the proposed store, he said, would be considerably larger relative to the figure suggested by Linscott.

An aerial view of 195 Hillsdale Road (Route 23) in Egremont, where Emerald River LLC proposes to locate a pot shop. Image courtesy Google Maps

“I was trying to show that there was a traffic impact that was being minimized,” McMahon said in an interview.

The property line of McMahon’s property is about 100 feet from 195 Hillsdale Road, so McMahon walks by it almost every day when exercising. In his wanderings, McMahon said he has noticed an abundance of wildlife.

McMahon also found that behind the building where Emerald proposes an overflow parking lot, a portion lies in an area defined by the Massachusetts Natural and Endangered Species Program as a core habitat area affecting species of conservation concern, according to data from the state.

Also called into question was Emerald’s business model. If approved, the store would be situated only a mile and a half from the border with New York, where adult-use cannabis remains illegal and which Partee has acknowledged is one of the strengths of the proposed location.

This leaves open the possibility, McMahon said, that Partee is “simply arriving to exploit an imbalance in legalities between states and hoping to profit on this location.” What then happens when, as expected, the state of New York legalizes recreational sales in two or three years?

Finally, McMahon published a screenshot of several tweets Partee had published in December 2012 in opposition to the proposed Mountain Park casino near Mount Tom in Holyoke, raising the question of hypocrisy on the part of Partee.

Partee referred questions to his attorney, Peter Puciloski of Great Barrington. In an interview, Puciloski acknowledged that Emerald River had been made aware of Linscott’s statement and that the Emerald team decided to lead off with it.

The exterior concept for the store. Image courtesy Emerald River

“I think it’s fair to say we wanted to start off on the right foot,” Puciloski said. “We had no communication with Wendy. We did not solicit the letter and did not review the letter before it was sent.”

Nor did anyone on the Emerald team disable the chat function on the Zoom platform, Puciloski said, adding that he, too, has used Zoom before and has “not always had great experiences with it.”

As for McMahon’s contention that the rear of the property is in an environmentally sensitive area, Puciloski said his research indicated otherwise. No vernal pools were detected and there are no endangered species that he is aware of. If it is discovered during the special permitting process that there are wetlands issues, then those will be taken up by the town Conservation Commission, Puciloski said.

And what of Partee’s tweets against the proposed casino for Mount Tom? Apple and oranges, Puciloski said: “A casino only survives if it attracts a very large number from a very large area.”

The line at Theory Wellness when it first opened for recreational cannabis sales Jan. 11, 2019, stretched almost to Route 7. Photo: Terry Cowgill

There is a perception in Berkshire County that marijuana stores also attract large numbers of people, perhaps because Theory Wellness, which opened its doors in January 2019 as the county’s first adult-use cannabis store, had long lines during most of its business hours.

But the landscape has changed considerably since then. Canna Provisions has opened in Lee and Great Barrington has five proposed stores that are in the state licensing process. The Pass in Sheffield is expected to open later this month.

“When these stores become as ubiquitous as drug stores, they will have the same traffic as drug stores,” Puciloski said. “We are burdened with the history of Theory because it was the only game in town.”

As for what happens to Emerald River after recreational marijuana is legalized in the state of New York, Puciloski was dismissive: “If we were opening a restaurant or retail store, no one would be asking that question.” He quickly added his client is investing a substantial amount of money into the venture (though he did not say how much), and in the unlikely event that the company fails, then “there will be a very nice building there.”

The previous business, Home, has closed but there are two occupied apartments upstairs. Puciloski said the tenants would most likely be relocated with the assistance of the company.

George McGurn, who chairs the Egremont Select Board, told The Edge in an interview that the town has no bylaw that addresses cannabis — neither medical, adult-use or cultivation.

The entrance to Taconic Lane across the street from the proposed store. Photo: Terry Cowgill

“With no bylaw, this is the wild west,” he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Almost all of Egremont is zoned residential. Click here to view the town’s zoning map. Egremont is also a so-called “right-to-farm” community, so agriculture is a by-right use in the town’s sprawling general residential district. But a retail cannabis business wishing to locate in that district would need a special permit from the planning board, McGurn has confirmed.

McMahon noted that Section 6.2 of the town’s zoning bylaws stipulates that the special permit-granting authority must find that the proposed use “is essential or desirable to the public convenience or welfare at the proposed location” and “will not be detrimental to adjacent uses or to the established or planned future character of the neighborhood.”

Another cannabis retailer has proposed to set up shop in the town. Egremont residents Ari and Heidi Zorn want to operate a cannabis store in the basement of the Egremont Spirit Shoppe building in downtown South Egremont, where several businesses already operate.

Puciloski said Emerald plans to complete the special permitting process by the end of the month.

Three Simple Ways to Sell CBD – CSPDailyNews.com

Consumer demand for hemp-derived CBD products has exploded since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Convenience stores are well positioned to take advantage of this trend, but ensuring they are offering high-quality products is imperative.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still working on their framework to regulate CBD products, so it is not currently monitoring the manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD. This has led to new brands popping up every day, with virtually no quality checks in place. However, there is no reason that c-store retailers need to settle for low-grade CBD products on their shelves. There are many good CBD companies committed to going the extra mile to regulate themselves and establish trust with consumers while the government catches up.

Figuring out which CBD companies are selling safe products takes a little time but doesn’t have to be a daunting task. “Retailers run the risk of carrying inferior CBD products and earning the industry a bad reputation in the consumers’ minds when it comes to where they purchase CBD products if they skip the step of vetting what they put on their shelf,” said Tim Van Epps, founder of Heritage CBD.

“Once you’ve found your quality brands, running a successful CBD program at your store involves training staff and merchandising the product,” explains Van Epps. He recommended three simple ways to sell the category at convenience stores.

  • Training. Tap your CBD brand partners for staff samples and information to educate employees on the products. “Some chains have had good luck designating a few key staff to be CBD ambassadors,” Van Epps said. “These ambassadors are comfortable speaking to customers in depth about CBD products and can train new workers on the product basics as well.”
  • Merchandising. Don’t make it difficult for customers to find your CBD products. Put it front and center on the counter to entice impulse purchases. “Pump toppers, window clings and signage in the candy aisle letting people know CBD gummies or chocolate are available at the counter can also work well,” he said.
  • Promotion. CBD products should be folded into a store’s regular promotional calendar, with special emphasis during the initial launch. “Tying the CBD deals into your existing rewards programs and offering an introductory discount can spark interest in the category,” Van Epps said. “Reputable CBD brands also understand the need for c-store retailers to run promotions and want to support you in these efforts.”

By carrying quality CBD in their stores and implementing a successful sales program, retailers will garner repeat sales in this high-margin category. “Retailers will also help establish c-stores as a safe and logical place to purchase CBD on the go,” Van Epps said.

 

 

This post is sponsored by Heritage CBD

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Cannabis Innovator Conception Nurseries Raises $12M In New Capital – Benzinga

Cannabis micropropagation company Conception Nurseries has raised $15 million with the addition of $12 million in a Series A funding round. 

Viridian Capital Advisors led the effort.

The new financing is expected to help optimize the company’s Sacramento, California facilities.

„Our focus at Conception is not only to provide a far superior plant when compared to traditional propagation, but to do so at or below what it would cost a cultivator to do in house,” Kevin Brooks, Conception’s CEO stated. „The only way to achieve this is through scale and automation.”

This $12 million round adds to the previously raised $3.1 million seed round, which was led by Cresco Capital Partners last year.

While Conception aims to be the principal cannabis plant provider on the West Coast, it is also scaling up operations with a Massachusetts facilities, which is currently under construction.

“Conception Nurseries, led by its CEO, Kevin Brooks, is at the forefront of the adoption of tissue culture technology as the standard for cannabis cultivators,” Scott Greiper, President and founder of Viridian Capital, stated. „Conception’s technology, combined with Kevin Brooks’ track record as a growth-company CEO, is why we were excited to represent Conception as a Viridian client.”

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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

Illinois Recreational Dispensaries Sell Record $47.6 Million of Cannabis in June – THCnet

cannabis-cultivation-2

Sales of adult-use cannabis in Illinois hit a new record high last month, as recreational marijuana dispensaries sold more than $47.6 million worth of legal products — a 7.5% uptick versus the previous month.

According to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), which tracks sales at licensed adult-use shops, nearly $240 million worth of recreational cannabis has been sold in Illinois through the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, sales of medical cannabis from 55 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Illinois totaled $29.6 million in June, down slightly from the previous month. Concentrates and infused products made up roughly $15.9 million worth of sales, while dry flower accounted for about $13.7 million.

Medical marijuana sales in Illinois have topped $170 million on the year, according to the state, bringing total statewide cannabis sales (recreational and medical) to about $410 million through the first six months of 2020.

The record-breaking recreational sales in June comes as cannabis firms have wrestled with difficult operating conditions throughout much of the year. When adult-use dispensaries first opened in January, they struggled to maintain adequate inventory levels as initial demand outstripped supply.

“Growth is being driven the amount [of cannabis] licensed growers can produce,” said Andy Seeger, an economist who studies the cannabis industry and runs the „Canna-conomist” blog. “Growth in Illinois will continue to be dependent on the capital outlays expended and realized by the select few legally registered growers.”

Inventory shortfalls have persisted throughout the first six months of 2020, even as many Illinois stores have introduced coronavirus-induced social distancing protocols such as limiting walk-in business, offering curbside pickup for medical patients, or requiring customers to place orders online before arriving to purchase items during a designated pickup window.

According to Jason Erkes, the chief communications officer at Cresco Labs — which owns and operates five Sunnyside dispensaries in Illinois — several large-scale Illinois cultivation facilities have recently been expanded to supply the marketplace with greater quantities of cannabis.

“New consumer-focused retail stores, like Sunnyside, have also opened which is helping provide greater access while eliminating the stigma some consumers associated with buying cannabis,” he added.

Nevertheless, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, citing the coronavirus pandemic, recently signed an executive order delaying the issuance of more than 80 cannabis business permits that were slated to be awarded on July 1, 2020.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 40 craft growers, 40 infusers and several transporters were expecting to be issued licenses. The delay sets business owners and the entire industry back at a time when both cannabis products and the tax revenues they generate are in high demand.

The state previously delayed awarding 75 dispensary licenses that were set to be issued on May 1, 2020, further slowing the expansion of the burgeoning Illinois cannabis market.

Exacerbating supply issues is increasing demand from out-of-state consumers who live in markets where the sale of adult-use cannabis is not legal, Seeger added.

Of the record $47.6 million in cannabis sold in June (994,545 items), about $35.2 million was sold to in-state residents. The remaining $12.4 million was sold to out-of-state customers who crossed borders and spent $2.1 million more on cannabis products last month versus May.

“Consumer demand is being driven by an ever-increasing acceptance of cannabis across the socio-demographic map,” Seeger said, noting that younger female consumers as well as older baby boomers are driving many of the current growth trends.

According to Seeger, cannabis brands are also getting better at identifying consumer need states and innovating with products tailored to personal experiences, which is driving increased purchases among existing users, canna-curious customers, and individuals “returning to THC after years spent addressing their need states elsewhere,” he said.

Erkes agreed, saying that sales will continue increasing as “more people feel comfortable buying cannabis, as more stores open, and as more product comes to market.”

“There have been a lot of new consumers entering the cannabis marketplace and existing consumers are spending more as new product comes to market,” he added.

According to cannabis market research firm BDSA, sales of marijuana in Illinois are expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2025.

The legal cannabis industry must reckon with systemic racism – Mashable

The legal and medical cannabis industry has long been complicit in the systemic oppression of Black people. As Black Lives Matter protests continue around the country, activists, doctors, and entrepreneurs are calling for those in cannabis to dismantle the systemic racism the industry is built on.

In the wake of the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, all facets of American culture are forced to rethink its approach to race. The cannabis industry, which has a projected economic impact of $77 billion by 2020, is steadily growing. But the effects of the generations-long war on drugs are still prevalent in marginalized communities, particularly Black ones.

A report by American Civil Liberties Union this year concluded that even though white people and Black people consume cannabis at “roughly equal” rates, Black people are 3.64 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Since 2010, the report found, the increasing number of states legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana “has not reduced national trends in racial disparities.” The ACLU reports that there were actually more arrests for marijuana in 2018 than in 2015, despite the fact that eight states had either legalized or decriminalized it in the time since. In some states, Black people were six to 10 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Cannabis is currently recreationally legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C. and three states are voting on whether or not to legalize marijuana, medically and recreationally, this November. Six more are fighting to get the issue on the ballot. The industry is set to continue booming as legalization efforts make progress.

But how can those in the cannabis business ensure a more equitable way forward?

Breaking into the cannabis industry is for the privileged

In 2017, Black entrepreneurs made up roughly 4.3 percent of cannabis business owners, Marijuana Business Daily reported. White people, for comparison, accounted for 81 percent of cannabis business owners. 

Systemic racism isn’t just intertwined with the criminalization of cannabis, but in the legal industry, too. Breaking into this business as an entrepreneur is an uphill battle unless you’re privileged with financial security and connections.

If you have a felony conviction for marijuana possession, you’ll have a rough time obtaining a cannabis business license in many states. California, for example, forbids anyone with a felony controlled substance offense within the past three years from obtaining one. To obtain a license in Colorado, applicants can’t have any controlled substance felonies within the past decade. Nevada requires anyone working in the industry, in both medical and retail, to undergo a criminal background check. Those convicted of “excluded felony offense” in Nevada are not allowed to work in cannabis.

Dasheeda Dawson, a cannabis activist and author of the workbook How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry was recently selected to serve on the Oregon Cannabis Commission to shape policies around the plant. She’s the third Black woman in the country to hold a position of power in cannabis regulatory practices.

“Most markets were started by purposely keeping out people who have prior convictions with marijuana.”

“Most markets were started by purposely keeping out people who have prior convictions with marijuana,” Dawson told Mashable in a phone call. “And as you know, Black people are almost four times as likely on average to be arrested for cannabis possession.”

And aside from explicitly keeping those with substance-related felonies out, those trying to break into cannabis also face extreme financial “barriers of entry.” Dawson noted that obtaining a license is a laborious process, both legally and financially. Since most banks won’t finance cannabis businesses because it’s still federally illegal, many of the upfront costs have to be self-financed or backed by venture capital. If you’re rich and well-connected, you already have a leg up.

“These are things that oftentimes are insurmountable for new, young, Black entrepreneurs who have the degrees, who have the corporate experience, but maybe not the financing,” Dawson continued.

Dorian Morris, the founder of a CBD company called Undefined Beauty, struggled to find partners to invest in her business. Despite years of experience in corporate retail at major beauty brands, she said she had to network for connections to “get her foot in the door” in order to obtain a license in California. She also faced challenges marketing Undefined Beauty, because major social media companies like Instagram and Facebook forbade promoted content from CBD brands.

“Black women get basically zero funding,” Morris said, who is Black herself. 

Project Diane, a study by social enterprise DigitalUndivided, found that in 2017, women received only 2.2 percent of VC funding for the year. Between 2009 and 2017, firms founded by Black women only raised 0.0006 percent of all VC funding. 

„It’s kind of this self propelling model where a lot of minorities aren’t tapped into that community.”

“And that comes down to access to network, because a lot of the VCs are funding people who have access to them,” Morris continued. “They’ve gone to their school, they’ve worked for their tech companies. It’s kind of this self propelling model where a lot of minorities aren’t tapped into that community.”

That doesn’t account for the implicit bias that those in positions of power already have against minority communities. 

Morris recalled once sitting on a panel of “mostly old white men” at a business conference, and challenging them to step up.

„I definitely did challenge the conversation and my perspective was [that] everyone in this room has the power to invest in Black-owned businesses and not keep putting their money behind white bros,” Morris remembered. „So it’s like, let’s put fire under people’s feet. Because if not, they’re gonna continue to do what they do and not feel like they have to be part of the solution.”

How the industry can step up 

What do solutions look like? Beyond pledging donations to nonprofit organizations that benefit BIPOC causes, Morris and Dawson believe the industry as a whole has to rethink its approach. 

While a number of legal states have implemented social equity programs intended to give minority entrepreneurs a leg up, they’ve been criticized for being ineffective. In Los Angeles, a wealthy businessman used the social equity program to partner with Black entrepreneurs and built apparent „predatory” language into the partnership contracts. In Massachusetts, only two Black applicants from the state’s social equity program managed to obtain licenses. The state issued a total of 105 provisional and 79 final licenses. 

Social equity programs may be well-meaning, but Morris and Dawson have ideas for more tangible change.

In addition to running a CBD beauty brand, Morris also operates a physical storefront in Oakland, California that sells a selection of cannabis products from minority-owned companies. Tired of seeing luxury brands co-opt cannabis as an expensive commodity, rather than something accessible, Morris sought to create a line of CBD products under $50.

“It’s a beautiful ingredient, but it shouldn’t cost your firstborn child,” Morris said. She hopes that by capping the price, more people of color will be able to afford CBD. 

Aside from making cannabis products more affordable, while still maintaining quality, Morris wants to see cannabis brands try to achieve other goals to ensure diversity. For one, dispensaries and other cannabis companies should strive for diversity all the way through the supply chain, from sourcing cannabis flower from Black-owned farms, to buying from Black-owned distributors, to supporting Black-owned cannabis processors. 

“So thinking about your hiring practices, are you giving opportunities and jobs to those that have been impacted by the war on drugs?” 

“And then it’s about who you’re choosing to bring into your talent,” Morris added. “So thinking about your hiring practices, are you giving opportunities and jobs to those that have been impacted by the war on drugs?” 

Dawson would like to see restrictions lifted on obtaining cannabis business licenses for those with criminal records. The onus is on cannabis companies, she said, to step up and begin lobbying lawmakers to legalize and reimagine regulation around the product they profit off of. Finally, Dawson is pushing for more people of color, especially Black people, to be involved in regulating it. 

“We need more people of color to be in the position to make the laws and regulate them,” Dawson said. “The last four years, I’ve spent a lot of time educating lawmakers, and oftentimes actually Black lawmakers who are the most reluctant because we’ve had the most pain distributed in the community as a result of being involved with cannabis.” 

But if the American cannabis industry was to really begin atoning for the war on drugs, it needs to reform the medical front as well.

Cannabis is medicinal

A staggering majority of cannabis brands are founded by white people, while Black people continue to be criminalized for possessing it. Cannabis is proven to treat a plethora of conditions and benefit the human body. The federal legalization of hemp, or cannabis that does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC, opened up a largely unregulated market of CBD products marketed as a luxury wellness item.

Dr. Rachel Knox, an endocannabinologist who specializes in the way cannabinoids like THC and CBD affect the body, notes that cannabis is medicinal and can be used for wellness. But she’s skeptical of privileged brand founders shilling it as a luxury commodity. 

„Wellness is a white construct. People of color do not have the luxury to pursue wellness.”

„Wellness, the whole concept of wellness, is a white construct,” Knox told Mashable. „People of color, by and large, do not have the luxury to pursue wellness.”

The whole Knox family is spearheading endocannabinoid treatment in the United States; Rachel Knox’s mother, Dr. Janice Knox, founded the American Cannabinoid Clinics in Portland, Oregon. Her father, Dr. David Knox, and sister, Dr. Jessica Knox, also practice treating the endocannabinoid system with natural exogenous cannabinoids like CBD and THC. But while the effort to legalize marijuana, both recreational and medical, makes headway in states across the country, many Black patients are wary of its prescription. 

The Knox sisters believe that to combat the racist and classist stigma against cannabis, all doctors should be required to take a class on the endocannabinoid system. While the system was discovered in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it’s largely unknown in the medical community. What clinicians have concluded about the endocannabinoid system is that it’s involved in a variety of bodily functions, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, sleep, and metabolism. Although cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years, the Knox sisters are frustrated with the medical community’s dismissal of it. 

„People of color don’t want to go to jail,” Dr. Jessica Knox added. „So if their brother, their sister, their mom, or dad, or cousin, or friend was arrested for simple possession or public consumption, they’re not gonna want to use it. Even in a legal market, even as medicine.” 

She added that medical professionals themselves are skeptical about the medicinal properties of cannabis, which is a bias steeped in generations of racism. 

Even the word „marijuana” is racially charged. Mexican laborers in the Southwest rolled the plant into cigarettes and used it to unwind during the era of Prohibition. Although Mexico banned weed in 1920, elitist Americans associated it with Mexican immigrants flocking to the south. Anti-cannabis propaganda pushed by newspapers and movies like Reefer Madness convinced millions that the plant would force users into raving lunacy. Decades of alarmist content about cannabis and those who used it followed. President Richard Nixon’s infamous „War on Drugs” perpetuated the demonization of both recreational and medical marijuana. While the crusade against American drug use was largely seen as a failure, many doctors are still skeptical of cannabis use. 

That sort of thinking only hurts patients, as it makes them either unwilling to disclose their cannabis use or hesitant to use it medicinally. 

“If your patients are using it, it is your duty to understand the pharmacology of that substance impartially,” Dr. Rachel Knox said. “It is your duty to understand the physiology of the endocannabinoid system so that when your patient comes into your emergency department, your family practice… you understand how to assess that patient.” 

In addition to calling on doctors to educate themselves, Drs. Jessica and Rachel Knox want clinicians to be able to study federally cleared cannabis from sources other than the University of Mississippi. The University of Mississippi holds the only license to grow cannabis for federally funded research. The product it grows, though, is considered low-quality. An investigation by the University of Northern Colorado concluded that the cannabis samples from the University of Mississippi actually shared a “closer genetic affinity with hemp samples in most analyses’ than with commercially available marijuana,” according to Marijuana Moment. As of last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow clinicians to study commercial cannabis. The bill still needs to pass through the Senate. 

By being allowed to investigate commercially available cannabis, researchers will be able to further prove its medicinal value. While cannabis has been federally approved to treat a variety of conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, epilepsy, anxiety, sleep disorders, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the Knox sisters believe that being able to present doctors with evidence-backed facts will encourage them to unlearn their bias against it. But as long as it’s considered a Schedule 1 substance, many in the medical community will be skeptical of its clinically proven uses over traditional pharmacological medication. 

Atoning for the war on drugs

A number of cannabis brands have recently stepped up to right the wrongs of the war on drugs. Kush Queen, which sells CBD and THC bath bombs, pledged $5 from every $12.99 bath bomb in its Pride collection to BYP100, an organization of young Black activists that focuses on community mobilizing. Emjay, a weed delivery service based in Los Angeles, promised to round up every purchase to the nearest dollar and every month, donate the sum to four organizations dedicated to fighting racial inequity. Eaze, another California-based delivery service funds an accelerator program for underrepresented cannabis business founders, and Cannaclusive advocates for greater diversity in the cannabis industry.  

But the fight against racial inequity in cannabis means completely dismantling and rebuilding it from the ground up. It may take years, but the nascent industry can still be reformed for the better. 

„We almost have to flip our current way of life completely on its head so that we’re serving everybody equitably.”

“Right now, we have an infrastructure that is systemically biased,” Dr. Rachel Knox said. “So, we almost have to flip our current way of life completely on its head so that we’re serving everybody equitably.” 

That change — whether on the legal front, business front, or medical front — must happen to facilitate a more inclusive future of weed. 

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AT-CPC Separates From Calyx and Rebrands to Become Klutch Cannabis – Cannabis Business Times

A federal court case involving plaintiffs Solace Enterprises LLLP, Aether Gardens and Telloni Holdings Limited and defendants Trinidad Consulting and Cannadips has been stayed following mediation on June 18, according to federal court records. The parties are working together on a settlement.

The plaintiffs alleged the defendants owed them $1.2 million in loans, according to the original complaint, while the defense claims Trinidad and Cannadips expected royalties.

Solace Enterprises LLLP does business as Aether Gardens and in some court documents is referred to as Solace Holdings LLLP. The company holds two active production licenses and two active cultivation licenses in North Las Vegas, Nev., to service the adult-use and medical cannabis markets, according to Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board. A Solace Enterprises LLLP hemp processing license has expired, according to Cannabiz Media.

Founded in 2018, Aether Gardens aims to become “the leader in brand development, white label manufacturing & research providing both medical & recreational cannabis consumers with the best experiences,” according to its website, where the company describes plans to develop a 90,000-square-foot “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” for cultivation, extraction and production.

Cannadips possesses an active “Manufacturer Annual Infusions” license in Arcata, Calif., according to Cannabiz Media. Two Cannadips “Manufacturer Temporary Infusions” have expired, along with all other licenses of the same type in the state, according to the site. A Trinidad Consulting LLC “Manufacturer Temporary Infusions” license in Humboldt County has also expired, per the website.

Established in 2016, Cannadips manufactures a cannabidiol (CBD) dip product and is “shifting the paradigm of tobacco by providing a great-tasting, nicotine-free alternative tobacco product,” according to its website. The product is formulated with “American hemp” and “rooted in Humboldt.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and defense declined, through public relations representatives, Cannabis Business Times’ and Hemp Grower’s requests for comment about the mediation or settlement.

AT-CPC Separates From Calyx and Rebrands to Become Klutch Cannabis – Cannabis Dispensary

California-based Success Centers launched roughly 40 years ago to assist youth released from detention centers with life skills and employment. Now, the organization has expanded to the cannabis industry, where it helps connect employers with qualified job seekers in the Bay Area with a focus on social equity.

Success Centers assists job seekers in multiple industries, from construction to the arts, and hosts Employer Spotlight hiring events to connect employers with job seekers. To serve the cannabis industry specifically, Equity for Industry Program Manager Angela White has created the Budding Industry Job Shop, where several employers give presentations about their companies and what a day in the job looks like.

“We’ll have the job description pulled up, and what’s different is we’ll have questions from the audience of job seekers,” White says. “We want to have a good retention rate. We don’t only want people hired at these companies, but we want them to feel comfortable and safe and … to be a good fit there.”

Following the events, employers interview potential candidates, and Success Centers is an active participant in the process, ensuring job seekers have all the necessary resources.

Under San Francisco’s Equity Program, cannabis dispensaries must staff 35% of their operations with social equity applicants, and Success Centers works specifically with these companies to connect them with verified candidates.

The organization also assists social equity applicants who are trying to launch their own businesses through its Equity for Industry Workshops, which connect entrepreneurs with cannabis industry professionals who can help them set their plans in motion.

“If you’re affected by the war on drugs, that means you didn’t go to college—a lot of folks didn’t—your family was separated and you don’t know a lot of the business acumen,” White says. “We bring in industry professionals to teach [entrepreneurs] about the different aspects of the business. We have all kinds of workshops [covering topics such as] how to understand contracts, understanding nondisclosure agreements, managing a cash-only business [and] insurance.”

Success Centers recently hosted a workshop on extraction, as well as a presentation on California’s track-and-trace system.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the organization’s events have shifted to the virtual space, and White says she has seen an increase in out-of-state participants.

“I have people from Georgia joining in and Alabama because they want to know about this industry,” she says. “As the industry becomes legal across the country, … the equity community is all over, and we want them to be ready and understand … how they can get their foot in the door.”

Another aspect of Success Centers’ budtender education focuses on the terminology of the legal cannabis industry. Job seekers learn about terpenes, for example, and how to talk with customers and patients about terpene content.

“Some of the dispensaries, they’ll have these three qualifying questions when people go to apply,” White says. “If you don’t know those terms, … you’re denied right away, so I wanted to eliminate that. Learning the lingo is very important for folks from our community.”

Success Centers has partnered with Eminent Consulting in Oregon to provide a budtender training course that teaches the science behind budtending, and the organization offers a scholarship to help with the cost associated with the program.

Photo courtesy of Success Centers

Many of Success Centers’ in-person workshops have transitioned to the virtual space since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help teach job seekers and entrepreneurs the fundamentals of business, Success Centers also collaborates with Oaksterdam University.

“We have a cannabis scholarship for folks that want to learn the business side, and they learn everything from how to purchase the plant to how much moisture should be in it to how to lay out their building,” White says. “They cover all of that in their seminars, and they also have an exam … at the end so they can get their certificate for completing the program.”

Oaksterdam University also offers a 14-week horticulture class that teaches the fundamentals of indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation, from lighting to pH levels.

“It’s a wonderful program, and we’re happy to be partnered with them,” White says. “They understand what it means to our community to have this opportunity, so I really appreciate the team at Oaksterdam University.”

Although Success Centers’ cannabis programming is still fairly new (White says the program launched roughly two and a half years ago), it has already celebrated its first award-winning budtender. William Brown, one of the first cannabis clients White ever worked with, was named the 2019 Budtender of the Year for his work at Harborside’s Oakland dispensary.

RELATED: Budtender Awards Wrap Up First Ceremony

“I’m really excited about that,” White says. “It’s been an awesome journey, having someone actually win something like this. … When he got his trophy, it was so funny—I drove to meet him over in Oakland, and he had his trophy with him, and I was smiling harder than he was. I felt like I won the trophy.”

In order to reach more people, Success Centers recently launched a pilot program called Entrepreneurship in a Nutshell, which supports those looking to launch businesses in the industry.

“It gets people in the entrepreneurship mindset, and it helps them work with business models [and] put their ideas together so that they’re ready to start a business at the end of that,” White says. “They win prizes and have an opportunity to get out and pitch their business in front of investors. We just keep trying to grow the program, growing people who want to participate and work.”

Looking ahead, White would like to create a mentorship program where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to discuss their business plans with industry professionals, who can then offer their experiences and guidance.

“We’re just really excited about the future of this industry,” White says. “It’s a rough journey, and we want to be here to make sure our folks are getting in. We would love to move this across the nation, building a model for how things should be done.”

The majority of CBD products have CBD content consistent with labels says Leafreport – Nutritional Outlook

A new market report published by Leafreport, in partnership with Las Vegas’ Canalysis Laboratories, measured the accuracy of CBD-content claims on a sample of 37 hemp-derived CBD products.

A new market report published by Leafreport, in partnership with Las Vegas’ Canalysis Laboratories, measured the accuracy of CBD-content claims on a sample of 37 hemp-derived CBD products. Most of these were CBD oil tinctures, but some were edibles, topicals, and pet products, states the report. Results of the third-party CBD tests showed that out of the 37 products, 27 (73%) contained CBD levels within 10% of the claims amount. Five products (13%) had variation in CBD content greater than 30% from their labeled content. Two products contained less than the stated amount, while 3 contained more than the stated amount.

The report graded the products on a scale of A-F. Of the remaining products, four products (11%) has CBD content within 20% of the labeled content, resulting in a grade of B, and one product (3%) was within 30% of their labeled CBD content, resulting in a grade of C. Interestingly, 84% of the CBD products contain more CBD than stated on the labeled, rather than less. The report also showed that 12 (33%) of the products also has significant levels of other cannabinoids besides CBD, a sign of quality.

“These findings suggest that the CBD industry is becoming more mature and transparent, resulting in accurate, higher quality products,” explained Noa Gans, head of product at LeafReport.com. Indeed, there are a number of reputable products and brands on the market that utilize independent third-party testing, but consumers should continue to be wary of lesser-known brands as those have been proven to not have the consistency in quality.

Vanguard Scientific Inks Deal For THC Removal Technology – Benzinga

Vanguard Scientific Systems has inked a deal with REM Technologies to become the preferred reseller of its harmonic distillation remediation technology.

Dubbed the D970L system, it assists hemp extractors in conducting effective remediation — or removal — of THC from oils.

Hemp extractors now have the capacity to process from 40 to 70 liters of winterized oil per day.

Vanguard Scientific, in turn, has paired its potency testing equipment and SOPs with the REM Technologies remediation platform, which effectively ensures that hemp extractors are fully compliant and know exactly when their oils have reached the targeted THC levels.

“Until now THC remediation has been extremely costly, but this technology uses far less energy consumption and no volatile chemicals or recurring consumable costs, making it legally compliant for inter-state and international export,” said Vanguard Scientific CEO Matthew Anderson. „This really is game changing for hemp extractors who are very sensitive to pricing as the global market stabilizes itself in the coming years.”

Courtesy photo

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