Mountain High Suckers – September Q&A Session
Learn how the cannabis industry has changed over the last ten years in this Q&A with Chad Tribble and John Garrison. Chad and John founded Mountain High Suckers 2009, and as pioneers of CBD-infused cannabis edibles, they have a unique perspective on where the industry has been and where it’s going.
How Did You Get Started?
Chad and John both moved to Colorado in 1996 to pursue an outdoor lifestyle. They met while working for a painting contractor and bonded over rock climbing and other outdoor activities.
John was the first to develop an interest in cannabis. He started growing and registered as a caregiver, providing cannabis to some of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.
“One day John had me over to his house, and I hadn’t been over there in a while,” Chad explains. “John had a room dedicated to [growing]. He had all the patient names on the wall.”
The idea of providing for patients and growing cannabis appealed to Chad, so he started growing cannabis as a caregiver, too. While visiting dispensaries to sell his flower, Chad would see patients come in with cookie trays. They didn’t know how strong the cookies were, but they would trade the cookies for flower from the dispensary.
It clicked for Chad that there was more to cannabis than smoking flower, and he saw the potential for a whole range of cannabis products for patients. He went to the bookstore and bought a book on candy-making.
“Hard candy was stuck in my mind. I saw this picture of this really clear sucker, and I said, ‘How do you get an extraction or something into this sucker and have it still be a sucker?’
From there, Chad started learning more about the ethanol extraction process. “I learned it in my backyard like a lot of guys did, and we’ve taken it to a different level now. We know the science behind making a great extraction for what we’d like to keep in it versus what we’d like to remove…we try to keep it all whole plant and all together.”
What has been the key to your success after ten years in the cannabis business?
Mountain High Suckers has 34 flavors, each of which we worked on and perfected before they went anywhere near store shelves. The quality and consistency of our suckers is something that patients and consumers can count on.
More than anything, say John and Chad, “We’re a caring company.”
How has the industry changed from when you started vs. now?
“When we first started, there was no CBD on the market at all,” says John. “We were the very first company in America to have a THC-, CBD-infused product. Getting the word out was a little difficult.”
John explains how they used to try to educate doctors who were licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. “It was trying in the beginning. It took a couple of years to catch on. Now, of course, CBD is everything, everywhere.”
In the beginning, John says, “We were wondering if the FBI was going to be hitting us on the shoulder…to [now] having a bright future for our company.”
Rules and regulations have changed a lot in the last ten years, and it’s affected how cannabis companies like Mountain High Suckers interact with dispensaries and budtenders.
“In the beginning, it was a lot easier to get samples to people,” Chad says. “We do appreciate regulation, but obviously, there are pluses and minuses about how you can get things streamlined to people. It was a lot more fun back in the day. We could go to a dispensary with a delivery, ask how many employees were on staff that were brand new…and give samples out the same day and get a lot more response. It’s hard to get samples into places these days.”
What do you think is next for the future of cannabis?
“When it’s descheduled, big pharma is gonna come in and break it all apart and figure out what [cannabinoid] helps with each disorder,” John predicts. “On the rec side, I see a very fruitful, awesome future all around the world.” Medical and recreational cannabis are “always going to be separated, in my opinion.”
Chad says, “The future is bright. I feel the information that’s being provided to people today is very helpful. Back in the day, there was a lot of misunderstood information being put out there about cannabis. Back then, you wouldn’t have heard about its benefits. You’d only hear the negative propaganda.
“We’ve come so far: 10 years under our belt in Colorado, and that’s without true trials, but the testimonials and the data we’ve collected prove cannabis to be more beneficial than it is negative. I feel like that’s why the world is really starting to rally around cannabis.”
What’s next for Mountain High Suckers?
“We’re continuing to grow. Our footprint isn’t just Colorado anymore. We’ll be in a few different countries. We’ll be in a multitude of states and have larger brand exposure. The plan is to continue to make great products and expand around the globe.”
“I see next year being a big turning point for Mountain High Suckers,” says John. “HB-1090 just passed, allowing outside corporate money to come into the state to start buying up dispensaries and grows and whatever they want, so there’s going to be a significant consolidation and acquisitions.”
Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you for our next video sesh!
Come see Mountain High Suckers at one of our next events and ask for us by name at your dispensary!
Mexico, New Zealand May End Cannabis Prohibition
Mexico’s supreme court orders regulation of medical marijuana
After two years of delay from the health ministry, Mexico’s supreme court has ruled that the agency must issue medical marijuana regulations within six months. Medical marijuana was legalized in Mexico in 2017, but there’s been no movement on regulations, leaving patients’ access to medical marijuana in limbo.
The ruling was in response to a suit brought on behalf of a child with epilepsy who needs medication derived from cannabis to treat her condition.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known in Mexico as AMLO, campaigned on marijuana reform and has proposed legislation for both medical and recreational marijuana. One proposal put forward by AMLO’s Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero would establish the Mexican Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis, which would handle cannabis licensing and regulation. The plan would ban marijuana advertising but would allow individuals to grow up to 20 cannabis plants, as well as allow groups to create cannabis cooperatives of up to 150 members.
This isn’t the first time that Mexico’s supreme court has ruled in favor of cannabis. Last year, they ruled that marijuana prohibition infringes on an individual’s right to develop their personality and gave legislators until October 2019 to pass legislation to regulate both medical and recreational marijuana.
2020 could be the year New Zealand legalizes marijuana
New Zealand will hold a referendum on legalizing and regulating cannabis in 2020. Ending cannabis prohibition has been gaining momentum in the country, with even former prime minister Helen Clark urging voters to legalize marijuana.
In an editorial for The Guardian, Clarke wrote, “The time has come for New Zealand to face up to the widespread use and supply of cannabis in the country and to legalise it and regulate it accordingly. No useful purpose is served by maintaining its illegal status. A ‘yes’ vote in the 2020 referendum will be positive for social justice and equity, contribute to reducing the country’s excessively large prison population, and enable those health issues associated with cannabis to be dealt with upfront.”
New Zealand may have a reputation as a laid-back country, but their cannabis laws are definitely not chill. Under the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act, cultivating or supplying cannabis is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and possession can land you a sentence of up to three months behind bars.
Even medical marijuana is highly regulated, with only Sativex approved for the use of treatment of multiple sclerosis. All other medical cannabis is banned without ministerial approval.
Despite hardline cannabis laws, by age 25, 80% of New Zealanders will have tried cannabis at least once–clearly, prohibition isn’t working.
This week, the Helen Clark Foundation released a report with recommendations on cannabis legalization that would include limits on advertising, age limits, and expunging minor cannabis offenses.
“Our solution would be to be much more regulated than places like Colorado because of our experiences with tobacco and alcohol,” Clark said. “You don’t want to create another big tobacco and big alcohol [industry] that’s going to promote things that obviously have some potential for harm.”
DEA allows licensing of cannabis grows for medical research
After years of delay, researchers may soon have access to potent, high-quality cannabis for research and testing. A lawsuit brought by cannabis researcher Dr. Sue Sisley has forced the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to move forward with processing applications to cultivate marijuana for scientific research.
More than 30 organizations have filed applications to grow cannabis for research purposes since August 2016. Sisley filed one of those applications three years ago, but since then it’s been lost in bureaucratic limbo. None of the applications submitted to the DEA have even been processed, much less approved.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. Attorney General is required to publish a notice of application within 90 days of receiving an application and the associated fee. In Sisley’s lawsuit, her attorneys argue that the DEA is violating the law by holding up the process.
“We are also suing the Attorney General, not just the DEA because my gut tells me that the DEA is not responsible for impeding this,” said Sisley, who leads the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona.
Cannabis research has been difficult, if not impossible, for researchers who want to study marijuana’s effects in controlled experiments and clinical trials.
“On the one hand, you can’t do the research with good, high-quality cannabis because it’s a Schedule 1 drug. On the other, it’s a Schedule 1 because nobody can really do the research,” said Matt Zorn, who represents the Scottsdale Research Institute in the lawsuit.
Since 1968, the only way researchers have been able to gain access to cannabis was through the University of Mississippi, which is notoriously bad. It’s moldy, full of seeds and stems, and less potent than cannabis available through the medical or recreational markets.
“Scientists need access to options and we are handcuffed by a government-enforced monopoly that has only allowed me to study this really suboptimal study drug from Mississippi,” said Sisley. “The scientific community is concerned this is harming our data — our outcomes.”
The news that the DEA will begin processing applications for clinical-grade cannabis is welcome news, but many in the cannabis community are skeptical that the DEA will follow through.
“We’re cautiously optimistic, and this is a positive first step,” said Zorn. “But it took Dr. Sisley three years and a lawsuit just to get to this point, so I wouldn’t say the case is closed.”
Even if the DEA picks up the pace on approving research-grade cannabis grows, it will likely be several years before researchers have access to it.
“We haven’t really won anything until scientists are finally utilizing real-world cannabis flower in their clinical trials,” Sisley said.
Mountain High Suckers Invests in Sustainable Cannabis Packaging
The lack of sustainable packaging in the cannabis industry is becoming more of a concern as access to legal cannabis expands across the country. Marijuana-packaging regulations force cannabis manufacturers to be not only purveyors of weed but purveyors of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.
In an effort to attract customer attention, many cannabis brands have gone beyond child-resistant packaging requirements and embraced the “unboxing” experience, creating complex packages that generate even more waste. Plus, there are all of those pre-rolls in plastic tubes, 1/8ths in plastic pop-top containers, vapes in multi-layer, mixed-material boxes, and, yes, individual sucker packaging — most of which ends up in the trash.
All of that cannabis packaging adds up. Roughly 36 million tons of packaging waste goes to landfills every year. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of throwing out your bodyweight in packaging every 30-40 days.
What is Sustainability?
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Basically, if humans want to have water, materials, and natural resources into the future, we need to address how we produce and consume what we have now.
The idea of sustainable packaging is to reduce the waste. This can involve increasing the life cycle of the packaging, creating more functional packaging, using materials that are more recyclable, and investing in future technologies that are eco-friendlier.
Impact of Packaging on the Environment
Since 1950, the production of plastic has skyrocketed, creating 8.3 billion metric tons of waste, most of which ends up in landfills or the ocean. That plastic pre-roll tube you picked up at the dispensary? It’ll take more than 450 years to degrade. Plastic that makes it into the ocean never fully biodegrades, breaking down into microplastics that fish and other marine life mistake for food. A recent study found that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
You Asked, We Listened
Mountain High Suckers doesn’t want to be part of the packaging problem. We value feedback from our customers, and you’ve told us that sustainable packaging is important to you. Trust us, we’ve seen it too. Trash cans overflowing with single-use paper and plastic wrappers and containers aren’t an uncommon sight at cannabis events and social consumption lounges.
While reduce, reuse, recycle is important, we know it’s about more than what happens to a container after it’s used–it’s about using more environmentally sustainable packaging in the first place. That’s why Mountain High Suckers has partnered with Calyx Containers.
- Calyx Containers use plastic treated with organic additives that speed up the biodegradation rate of the containers after they’re exposed to a landfill’s microbial ecosystem.
- Calyx Containers use less material and take up less space than traditional cannabis packaging, plus all of their containers are fully recyclable.
- Calyx uses unique additives that are organic and FDA compliant. Calyx plastic begins to break down as soon as it enters biologically active landfills, as opposed to going through a decomposition cycle that would normally take significantly longer.
Our starting point will be with new packaging our lozenges and sweet pieces products. Look for them with a new style on shelves soon! We’re also currently looking into options to improve the recyclability of our single serving sucker packaging too.
Moving toward sustainability is definitely a huge task and it requires everyone moving toward a more balanced environment. We aim to encourage our partners and competitors to make the choice to switch to more recyclable materials. Live free, be well!
MHS & Josh Blue @ the 10th Annual Clinic Charity Classic
In its tenth year of raising money for multiple sclerosis research, The Clinic’s Annual Charity Classic is happening this Friday.
“Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body,” according to the National MS Society. While MS is not necessarily fatal, it decreases life expectancy by an average of seven years because of complications from the disease.
The tournament will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center. Registration for a 9-hole scramble is $1,250 per foursome, and single-golfer tickets are $325. The event includes breakfast, catered lunch, open bar, open practice range, and access to the after-party. Tickets for tee times are sold out, but interested in the after-party? No problem. Buy a ticket to the party for $175/person.
There will be a $10,000 prize for a putting challenge, a silent and live auction, as well as games and other entertainment during the tournament. The after-party will feature music from the Denver band The Motet and stand-up comedy from Josh Blue.
The Motet recently teamed up with the Clinic to release a band-themed strain, Starmatter 303. In 2017, Josh Blue partnered with Mountain High Suckers to produce a line of CBD-infused suckers called Josh Blue’s Dream.
“It’s always been important to us that we help people, and we saw a critical need to help those with MS by funding research,” said Clinic CEO Max Cohen. “We are gearing up for the most successful Charity Classic yet, with our very first after-party including live music and comedy from fantastic performers like Josh Blue.”
Over the past nine years, The Clinic’s annual golf tournament has raised over $700,000 for MS research, and the National MS Society named them one of their Top 100 Corporate Team of total historic fundraising in the country.
The Clinic Charity Classic will take place Friday, August 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton.
Cannabis Regulations, Laws & News: July 2019
Alaskan capital says yes to on-site marijuana edible consumption, outdoor cannabis smoking areas
A city ordinance passed by the Juneau Assembly will allow customers to consume cannabis edibles inside licensed dispensaries as well as smoke in designated outdoor areas. The ordinance was approved 6-2, and an amendment that would have allowed only vaping in outdoor smoking areas failed.
Local cannabis business owner John Nemeth approved of the Assembly’s decision.
“This is a great step in the right direction,” Nemeth said. “It’s something we never thought we’d see here in Juneau and it’s giving people a safe place to consume.”
Medical marijuana could hit shelves in Louisiana next week
It’s been four years since Louisiana lawmakers legalized medical marijuana, and next week patients could finally have access to therapeutic cannabis.
“If there are no problems, no contamination, and we don’t expect any, then hopefully by the end of the week or early next week, there will be products moving to the market. That’s kind of the timetable,” said Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.
Only cannabis grown at Louisiana State University and Southern University is authorized for use in the state’s medical-marijuana program, and nine pharmacies will dispense cannabis in liquid form. Patients can use liquid cannabis applied as drops under the tongue, or into an inhaler. Louisiana also plans to allow patients access to cannabis oils, pills, and topical applications.
Oklahoma dispensary owners sue Facebook
Seven medical marijuana dispensaries have filed a suit against Facebook for putting them in “Facebook jail” for posting about their businesses. The owners say that Facebook has “a pattern of targeting the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry” and that the social media giant is censoring their business pages.
“Facebook jail” is when a page or profile is temporarily disabled for allegedly violating standards.
The petition claims that “Facebook has an arbitrary, subjective, discriminatory and archaic policy and their policy does not apply to all. It is just random. Or at least it appears to be random. There is no way for an individual or a business to contact anyone within Facebook to get assistance. They hide behind their keyboards and mete out whatever punishment they feel if they find that you have committed an infraction to their subjective community standards.”
The marijuana business owners are seeking a court order preventing Facebook from censoring their bushiness pages, as well as more than $75,000 for the “economic harm” caused by the censorship.
Short-Term MMJ Cards Will Expand Access to Medical Marijuana in Colorado
Governor Jared Polis, a vocal cannabis advocate who campaigned on supporting the marijuana industry, has made big changes to cannabis regulations in Colorado since he was sworn in back in January.
In May, Polis signed several cannabis bills into law: autism spectrum disorder was added to the state’s list of qualifying MMJ conditions, cannabis delivery to private residences was given the green light, and tokers will finally have a place for social consumption in hospitality establishments.
Polis also signed a bill that will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis instead of opioids for acute medical conditions, as well as allowing more medical professionals to prescribe medical marijuana. So, for instance, if you have your wisdom teeth removed, your dentists could recommend medical cannabis instead of addictive opioid pain medication.
“Adding a condition for which a physician could recommend medical marijuana instead of an opioid is a safer pain management tool that will be useful for both our doctors and patients,” said Ashley Weber, executive director of Colorado NORML.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been resistant to adding new medical conditions to the MMJ program, but the new law circumvents the CDPHE board. The board met on July 17 for an emergency rulemaking session ahead of the law’s implementation. One of the rules up for debate was whether short-term medical marijuana cards should be valid for 30 or 60 days.
According to Westword, at least one board member thought sixty days for a short-term MMJ card was too long, especially in cases where an opioid would only be prescribed for seven days. Anna Weaver-Hayes, who testified at the meeting on behalf of the Colorado Psychiatric Society and Children’s Hospital Colorado, also recommended a shorter prescription window of thirty days.
Cannabis Clinicians Colorado director Martha Montemayor argued for a sixty-day short-term MMJ prescription, explaining that patients on the Western Slope often have to apply for their cards by mail and that “By the time they get their approval back in the mail, more than half of their recommendation could be done already,” she said. “We can’t forget those people.”
The board unanimously voted to approve a sixty-day minimum for short-term MMJ cards. Final rules will be decided by the board in September.
Summer Fun with Mountain High Suckers
Happy Summer edibles fans! We can’t believe this season is going by so fast….
This month, come check out one of our biggest events of the Summer that we’re always proud to sponsor:
The 10th Annual Clinic Charity Classic
Friday August 9th @ Arrowhead Golfcourse.
Every year the Annual Clinic Charity Classic Golf Tournament at Arrowhead Golf Course benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society + Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center.
Last year, the event raised $250,000, and since 2019 will mark the 10th year of this event, we want to swing big and with your help hit a goal of $500,000. This year, there are some exciting changes!
A 9-hole scramble format with after party featuring
- Stand-up comedy with our friend, comedian Josh Blue
- Music performances by Colorado’s own The Motet
- Full Open Bar to keep everyone refreshed
- Catered Food by a Colorado based restaurateur
- $10,000 putting challenge
- Silent & Live Auction
- Games and activities provided by our partners to keep everyone entertained
Sponsorships are already filled but tickets are still available to the public at:
We hope to see you there!
More on Location, In Dispensary Pop-Ups
This Summer, we’ll also be upping our pop-up game!
Come check us out with some of our brand new marketing at LivWell Dispensaries for DEALS across Colorado on the following dates:
8/15 Broadway 3-5pm
8/16 Garden City 3-5pm
8/17 Ft Collins 1-3pm
8/23 Larimer 1-3pm
8/24 Pearl 3-5pm
9/14 Stapleton 1-3pm
9/20 Franklin 3-5pm
9/21 South Pueblo 1-3pm
9/21 North Pueblo 4-6pm
9/27 Evans 3-5pm
See you around the scene!
Teen Cannabis Use Drops in States with Recreational Legalization
Cannabis use among teens has declined in states with legal recreational marijuana, according to a new paper published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers found that in states with legal adult-use cannabis, there was an 8% drop in the number of youths who said they used marijuana within the last 30 days and a 9% drop in the number of high-schoolers who said that they had used at least 10 times in the past 30 days.
The research was led by D. Mark Anderson, an economist at Montana State University, along with colleagues from the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, and San Diego University. Researchers analyzed data that spanned 25 years, from 1993 to 2017, that included data from about 1.4 million high school students. The data was collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which are administered to students every two years.
Researchers did not find a significant decrease in teen marijuana use in states with legal medical cannabis.
“Consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth. Moreover, the estimates reported [by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys] showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes.”
The researchers acknowledged that while there’s an association between legal adult-use marijuana, there isn’t a causal connection.
“Because many recreational marijuana laws have been passed so recently, we do observe limited post-treatment data for some of these states,” Anderson said. “In a few years, it would make sense to update our estimates as more data become available.”
One possible reason for the decline in teen pot use is that a regulation cannabis market reduces the availability of black market marijuana. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, “it is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.”
Nationally, teen cannabis use has increased from 0.6% in 1991 to 6.3% in 2017, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The Many Healthy Benefits of CBD
When it comes to marijuana, CBD is the darling of cannabinoids. But beyond being a buzzword that even your grandma knows, what is CBD, and what are some of its therapeutic uses? Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:
So What Exactly is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the 60+ compounds found in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD produces little to no psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD can actually lessen, or balance out, the psychoactivity of THC.
One of the reasons cannabis is so effective in treating illness has to do with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in both humans and animals, and scientists estimate that it evolved in our primitive ancestors over 600 million years ago. The system plays a big role in our immune systems, healing, and maintaining homeostasis. Receptors are found throughout the body–in our brain, organs, connective tissues, and glands. In the brain, cannabinoids “control emotional behavior, mood, stress, and fear.”
The ECS even allows communication between different cell types. In an article for NORML, Dr. Dustin Dulak explains that the “endocannabinoid system, with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body’s organs, is literally a bridge between body and mind.”
What are the therapeutic benefits of CBD and which conditions does it help treat?
According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following therapeutic effects:
- Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Suppresses seizure activity
- Combats psychosis disorders
- Combats inflammatory disorders
- Combats neurodegenerative disorders
- Combats anxiety and depression disorders
Cannabis is being used to treat a number of conditions, including Dravat’s Syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, epilepsy. Research has even shown that CBD may help slow down tumor growth and prevent cancer from spreading.
CBD may also be an effective antibiotic that can be used to treat superbugs. Many bacteria are becoming resistant to traditional antibiotics, but preliminary research shows that CBD has a similar potency to common antibiotics and is less likely to cause resistance.
CBD and THC work best together
Often described as the “power couple” of cannabis compounds, and commonly referred to as the “entourage effect”, used together CBD and THC actually enhance the therapeutic effects of cannabis. Researchers have found that together, THC and CBD synergistically enhance anti-inflammatory properties, anti-tumoral effects, and neuropathic pain.
Despite having no lethal dose or known serious medical side effects, both cannabis and CBD are still illegal under U.S. federal law.
Mountain High Suckers uses a 3 THC to 1 CBD mix in our infused suckers/lollipops and sweet piece lozenges.
We’re launching a brand new line of 100% CBD products very soon! Follow our social feeds for more info coming ASAP.
California Launches Social Media Campaign to Combat Cannabis Black Market
California is launching a new campaign to combat black market cannabis and support the legal marijuana industry.
The campaign, dubbed “Get #weedwise,” is meant to encourage cannabis consumers to buy their marijuana from licensed dispensaries.
“This public education campaign is the first to focus on educating consumers about the differences between cannabis purchased from licensed retailers and that from illegal businesses,” said Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Consumer safety is a big part of the campaign since unlicensed cannabis doesn’t undergo the same safety and quality control process as licensed cannabis retailers. Illegal cannabis is often tainted by heavy metals, mold, pesticides, and even human waste. Unlicensed grows regularly use banned or restricted pesticides, and it’s led to increased pollution and toxic waste.
U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar, who has been a lawyer on multiple marijuana-related environmental damage cases, said many of these illegal grows “are like superfund sites.”
“We believe that this campaign will directly impact consumer safety by clarifying that only cannabis purchased from licensed retailers has met the state’s safety standards, while sending a clear message to unlicensed businesses that they need to get licensed or shut down,” said Ajax.
The black market is a huge problem in California that’s undermining the regulated cannabis market and costing the state millions of dollars in lost tax revenue. According to New Frontier Data, as much as 80% of the cannabis sold in the state comes from the black market. The company estimated that California’s black market marijuana is worth $3.7 billion, more than four times the size of the legal cannabis market.
“We are going to start having a more aggressive enforcement stance to come after the illegal market,” said Ajax.
The two-year campaign will include $113 million in state funds to enforce state marijuana laws, crack down on illegal cannabis operations, and encourage unlicensed businesses to enter the regulated market. California will spend an initial $1.7 million on a series of ads on social media and billboards to encourage cannabis consumers to check if a shop is licensed at CApotcheck.com.
More Than Half of Arthritis Patients Have Tried Cannabis
A new survey conducted with more than 1,000 patients with arthritis found that 57% had tried marijuana or CBD, and more than 90% found it had a positive impact on their symptoms. There have been an increasing number of studies related to cannabis and its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. This newest survey was conducted by CreakyJoints, a non-profit support community for arthritis patients.
“Despite best efforts by rheumatologists and patients to find an effective arthritis treatment and management strategy, there are still many patients who seek additional relief for chronic symptoms,” said W. Benjamin Nowell, Ph.D., Director of Patient-Centered Research at CreakyJoints.
The survey was sent to 1,059 patients with arthritis and included 77 questions related to their usage of cannabis and CBD. The average age of participants was 57, and the majority were female. The majority of patients (46%) reported a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, followed by osteoarthritis (22%), psoriatic arthritis (9%), fibromyalgia (9%), and ankylosing spondylitis (5%).
Here’s a breakdown of the survey results:
- 45% of patients said they used marijuana or CBD to alleviate symptoms despite also taking medication.
- 97% or patients who tried marijuana said it improved their symptoms, while 93% of patients who tried CBD said it improved their symptoms.
- In addition to treating pain and swelling, the top symptoms arthritis patients managed with marijuana or CBD were pain, nausea, inability to sleep, physical function, relaxation, fatigue, and depressed mood.
- 62% of patients who used marijuana to treat symptoms did so at least once daily.
- Only 29% of surveyed arthritis patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their current treatment.
“Our study underscores the urgent need to conduct randomized controlled trials to study their effectiveness at addressing symptoms common to arthritis as well as their potential to interact with other medications,” Nowell said. “Only sufficiently powered, double-blinded randomized controlled trials that minimize bias on the part of both researchers and participants will be able to indicate whether medical marijuana and CBD products are safe and effective for rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease. To date, there are no studies underway in the United States, with one of the biggest barriers being that marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 substance.”
Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended removing CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, and the World Health Organization recommended earlier this year that cannabis be rescheduled as a Schedule IV substance.
Colorado Cannabis Sales Generate $1 Billion in Tax Revenue
Since recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado in 2014, the state has collected $1.02 billion in tax revenue, according to the latest numbers released by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Adult-use cannabis sales in the last five years have exceeded $6.56 billion. Legal cannabis has created jobs for 41,076 people who work in the industry, and there are currently 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses in the state.
“Today’s report continues to show that Colorado’s cannabis industry is thriving, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We can and we must do better in the face of increased national competition. We want Colorado to be the best state for investment, innovation and development for this growing economic sector,” said Governor Jared Polis (D) in a press release. “This industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety and investing in public school construction.”
Colorado and Washington state were the first states to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2012 (with the first recreational dispensaries opening in 2014), but since then 11 other states have fully legalized cannabis as well. That means increased competition from states with larger populations and fewer regulations. Cannabis sales in Colorado have begun to level out, in part due to a decline in medical marijuana sales. In 2018, recreational marijuana sales were up 11%, but medical cannabis sales were down 20%.
Governor Polis told CNBC being the first state to sell recreational cannabis has been an advantage for Colorado, something that he hopes to leverage in the coming years.
“We are always going to be relatively small potatoes on the actual sales. … We are just not going to be as big as states like California or New Jersey. … We want to make sure that 10 years from now, point-of-sales systems, chemistry, genetics — all those pieces — are housed here in Colorado with successful companies that power a multibillion national industry.”
California is Still Cracking Down on Illegal Cannabis
California police carried out multiple raids on illegal marijuana grows Wednesday in an ongoing effort to tamp down on black market cannabis. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department served 80 search warrants in Anza Valley and made several arrests. They seized an estimated 140,800 plants valued at $189 million, along with 3,00 pounds of processed marijuana, 17 rifles, and 10 handguns.
“There are legitimate concerns in Northern California particularly as it relates to illegal cannabis grows. They are getting worse, not better,” Governor Gavin Newsom said.
California has a comprehensive regulatory framework for legal marijuana, and cannabis growers are required to go through a step-by-step licensing process, including background checks. However, according to New Frontier Data, as much as 80% of the cannabis sold in the state comes from the black market. The company estimated that California’s black market marijuana is worth $3.7 billion, more than four times the size of the legal cannabis market.
A report from the state Cannabis Advisory Committee found that “Lack of enforcement is creating a thriving environment for the unregulated ‘underground market.”
The problem isn’t just limited to marijuana grows. The state Bureau of Cannabis control has sent 2,842 cease-and-desist letters to cannabis shops operating without state licenses.
“It’s difficult to say how many of those letters resulted in action,” Bureau spokesman Alex Traverso said. “Businesses could shut down and relocate.”
In June, local law enforcement raided five properties in Sonoma County that were producing medical marijuana oil. The owner of the company was using “illegal and hazardous production methods” in addition to breaking a number of city ordinances.
Cannabis is easy to get in the state: 1 in 5 Californians have purchased marijuana from illegal sources in the last three months, and 84% of those people said that they were highly likely to purchase cannabis from the same illicit source again.
In order for a regulated cannabis market to thrive and for consumers to get safe, high-quality cannabis, enforcement of marijuana regulations, and convincing non legal operations to go through the licensing process is essential.
“We believe that this governor is committed to addressing our concerns, and he has a Legislature that is showing their willingness to author bills that will strengthen the regulated market while minimizing the illicit market,” said Josh Drayton, a spokesman for the California Cannabis Industry Association.
Colorado Legalizes Cannabis Social Use Venues & Marijuana Delivery
Cannabis consumption in hospitality establishments
Five long years after the state’s first recreational dispensaries opened, Colorado tokers will finally have a place to consume cannabis publicly. Governor Jared Polis (D) signed HB 1230 into law on Wednesday, legalizing licensed marijuana hospitality spaces in which cannabis can be consumed on site.
Before signing the social consumption bill into law, Polis said, “Colorado has many tourists and residents who choose to participate [in legal cannabis use]. Up until this bill, there’s been no way to have safe public consumption. I’ve smelled it walking my dog. For many of us with kids, we want to make sure we don’t have that in our neighborhoods.”
The new rules open the door for a variety of businesses to cash in on cannabis consumption, including hotels, spas, art galleries, cafes, lounges, and more. After purchasing medical or recreational cannabis at a dispensary, tourists and residents will be able to try out their purchases at on-site marijuana tasting rooms. The law will make an exception to the Colorado Clean Air Act, which prohibits indoor smoking.
The law won’t go into effect until 2020, and cities and counties have the option of banning social-use establishments. Local governments will have the option of adjusting the regulations to allow vaping, for example, but not smoking.
House Bill 1230 passed in the state legislature on May 2 and was signed into law on May 29. Last year, then-Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed similar legislation.
Don’t leave home, get your marijuana delivered
Polis had a busy day of signing marijuana legislation into law Wednesday, including HB 1234, which allows licensed marijuana dispensaries to deliver cannabis to private residences.
Medical marijuana deliveries would be allowed to begin starting Jan. 2, 2020, and recreational cannabis deliveries would be allowed to start on the same date in 2021. Deliveries cannot be made to college campuses, and private residences can only have cannabis delivered once per day. A $1 surcharge will be added to each delivery and go towards local law enforcement costs related to marijuana enforcement.
Licensed transporters will undergo marijuana delivery training and will be protected from criminal prosecution for making cannabis deliveries.
The sponsors of HB 1234 argued that the bill would help stamp out black-market cannabis delivery as well as help patients who can’t always leave home for medical marijuana.
“This is a bill of compassion [for medical marijuana patients],” said Polis.
Study Finds CBD Effective at Treating Heroin and Opioid Addiction
CBD could help those addicted to heroin and opioids break the cycle of addiction. A study conducted at the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai found that patients treated with CBD oil had reduced cravings and anxiety levels.
Dr. Yasmin Hurd, the lead researcher on the study, said, “the intense craving is what drives the drug use. If we can have the medications that can dampen that [craving], that can greatly reduce the chance of relapse and overdose risk.”
Drug overdose deaths outnumber peak annual deaths from HIV, car crashes, or gun violence and are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Since 2000, nearly 400,000 people have died of opioid-related causes.
“Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” said Hurd in a statement. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”
The 42 study participants had used heroin for an average of 13 years and had gone less than a month without using. Participants were divided into three groups and given either 800 milligrams of CBD, 400 milligrams of CBD, or a placebo. All three groups were dosed for three consecutive days and shown three-minute video “cues.” “Neutral cues” included relaxing nature scenes, and “drug-related cues” included scenes with syringes, intravenous drug use, and packets of white powder.
Researchers measured opioid craving and anxiety by monitoring skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and other vital signs throughout the video sessions.
CBD “significantly reduced both the craving and anxiety induced by drug cues compared with neutral cues,” researchers found. Additionally, the positive effects of CBD were evident up to one week after the last CBD dose.
“[CBD is] not addictive. No one is diverting it. It doesn’t get you high, but it can reduce craving and anxiety… [T]his can really help save lives,” Hurd said.
May Cannabis Industry & Legalization News
Colorado bomb cyclone causes a spike in cannabis sales
In Colorado, preparing for a blizzard isn’t complete without hitting up a marijuana dispensary. Ahead of the bomb cyclone that hit the state in March, cannabis sales in both medical and adult-use retailers spiked. Medical marijuana dispensaries saw an increase in sales of 27% on March 11, and 25% on March 12. Sale of flower on those days increased by 14% and edible sales increased by 10% above average.
Total cannabis sales saw a 22% increase overall on March 11 and a 4% increase in the average transaction amount, from &62.23 to $64.95. On March 12, sales were up 25% higher, with the average transaction amount slightly increasing from $64.04 to $64.51. Altogether, statewide sales on March 11-12 increased by 21%.
Nebraska legislature nixes medical marijuana bill
Hopes for medical marijuana in Nebraska were dashed after a bill failed to garner enough support from state legislators. Sen Anna Wishart (D) sponsored the medical cannabis bill and agreed to all of the amendments proposed by opponents of the legislation, including prohibiting patients from smoking cannabis or home-growing marijuana plants. Another proposed amendment would have prohibited cannabis edibles, and Wishart said she would have supported that too. Despite those compromises, state senators rejected the bill.
“Honestly, this was my colleagues’ chance to do something, and I was giving them the decision on whether they wanted to take action or not,” Wishart said.
Opponents of the bill argued that legalizing medical marijuana would lead to pressure to legalize recreational cannabis use. They also argued that cannabis remains federally illegal and lacks approval from the FDA.
While the bill was up for debate, Wishart pointed out that cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and supporters of the bill referred to marijuana’s effectiveness in treating conditions like epilepsy.
“Why not just deal with a practical reality, where instead of doing it in the dark, they can go through a highly regulated medical system. Go through a doctor and make the right choice if cannabis is right for them,” Wishart said.
Industrial Hemp, CBD Coming to Texas
Texas lawmakers have approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp production and hemp-derived CBD that contains less than 0.3% of THC. The bill was introduced by Rep. Tracy King (D) and the Senate voted unanimously in favor of it. Next, the bill will head to the House for any amendments and a vote.
King’s bill would task the Texas Department of Agriculture to enact regulations in accordance with the Farm Bill that Congress passed last year, including a licensing and inspection process.
Some senators were concerned that legalizing hemp would be a slippery slope to marijuana use.
“Can this stuff be smoked?” asked state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D).
“No, sir,” said Sen. Charles Perry (R). “I guess you could theoretically smoke it; you’d get no effect from it, and the bill specifically prohibits manufacturing for the purpose of smoking.”
“Nowadays people can smoke anything,” Hinojosa said.
Denver Decriminalizes Psilocybin (Mushrooms)
Denver has become the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin, more popularly known as magic mushrooms. Early results on election night didn’t look good for Initiative 301, but by the final tally on Wednesday afternoon, the measure eeked out a win by about 2,000 votes.
While I-301 doesn’t legalize hallucinogenic mushrooms, it does make the cultivation and possession for personal use of psilocybin for those 21 and older the lowest possible law enforcement priority for police. Once the mayor signs the initiative, city code will prohibit Denver from using public funds or resources to prosecute people for psilocybin possession. An 11-member panel will be created to analyze the public safety and health impacts of decriminalizing magic mushrooms.
“No one should be arrested or incarcerated simply for using or possessing psilocybin or any other drug,” Art Way, Colorado State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Washington Post. “If anything, this initiative doesn’t go nearly far enough. Given the scientific and public support for decriminalizing all drugs, as Portugal has done successfully, we need broader reforms that can scale back the mass criminalization of people who use drugs.”
Hallucinogenic mushrooms remain illegal to distribute or sell anywhere in Colorado, and use or possession of psilocybin outside of the city and county of Denver remains illegal.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” in the treatment of depression. And other studies have shown that magic mushrooms can be useful in treating PTSD, addiction, anxiety, chronic pain, and depression. Last September, John Hopkins University published a study recommending that psychedelic mushrooms be reclassified as a Schedule IV substance, which is a drug with a low potential for abuse and dependence.
Kevin Matthews, the campaign manager for Decriminalize Denver, which spearheaded I-300, says hallucinogenic mushrooms helped him manage his severe depression.
“It helped me put my life back together,” Matthews said. “It felt like a part of me had been awakened from the depths of the challenging mental state that I had been in.”
Mountain High Suckers was extremely proud to help our friends at the Decriminalize Denver / Denver Psilocybin Initiative by handing out flyers and support materials – every single dispensary we approached gladly accepted and supported us. Huge THANKS to our community for coming together!
More Advances in Colorado Cannabis Legislation
Cannabis, not Opioids
A bill that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in place of opioids is one step closer to becoming law in Colorado. In its third hearing, Senate Bill 13 passed the House on Tuesday. The Senate passed the bill in February.
Many of the conditions covered by Colorado’s medical marijuana program are chronic, meaning that they can last months or years, but for acute conditions, physicians often prescribe opioids. SB 13 would give physicians an alternative to highly addictive opioids, allowing them to prescribe medical marijuana for acute pain and other temporary medical conditions.
Rep. Kim Ransom (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “[The opioid epidemic] affects all ages, all income levels, all areas of the state. We were trying to give doctors an additional option.”
The bill is heading back to the Senate for approval of changes made by the House. After that, the bill heads to Governor Jared Polis to be signed into law.
Cannabis consumption in “hospitality” establishments
While a social-use bill failed to get enough votes in Denver City Council, there’s still hope that Colorado will soon have more places to toke. House Bill 1230 would allow legal cannabis hospitality spaces in which marijuana could be sold and consumed. This would allow the creation of a new kind of space – likely next to or within a dispensary (or legal licensed cannabis business) to have a specific space dedicated to public consumption. The bill would make an exception to the Colorado Clean Air Act, which prohibits indoor smoking.
“The intent, really, is to solve a problem that we’ve had since Amendment 64 passed,” Rep. Jonathan Singer (D) said during a hearing for the bill. “Don’t consume it in the dispensary, don’t consume it in a street or in a park, don’t consume it in a hotel or a restaurant — and, by the way, if you’re a tourist, make sure you dispose of it before you leave the state.
The state licensing authority would be responsible for hammering out the final rules for cannabis “hospitality” establishments.
The bill passed the House on April 18 and is now headed to the Senate.
Finally, another new bill is ready for Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who hasn’t 100% committed but likely will sign, that would allow licensed cannabis businesses to deliver to local residents. House Bill 1234 passed the Colorado Senate after being approved by the House on April 18.
The bill creates a new licensed to allow for dispensaries and transporters to make legal drops to residents directly to their homes. If signed legal deliveries would begin as soon as 2020 for medical patients and in 2021 for recreational buyers.
Denver City Council Rejects Cannabis Social-Use Proposal
Hope for more social consumption venues in Denver was dealt a blow after an initiative that would have eased location restrictions failed to get enough votes from Denver City Council.
In 2016, Denver voters approved I-300, which allowed businesses to establish indoor cannabis consumption areas. As approved by voters, I-300 required cannabis-consumption venues to be 1,000 feet from schools. However, Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses expanded that list to include daycare facilities, drug-treatment centers, city pools, parks, and recreation centers.
Councilwoman Kendra Black’s proposed initiative would have kept the 1,000-foot restriction for schools but changed the restrictions for the added locations to 500 feet. The rules on where cannabis businesses can set up shop have limited the number of potential properties available, and since licensing began in 2017, only two social consumption establishments have opened their doors.
“We collect a lot of tax revenue, which we all welcome. This council voted unanimously to increase the marijuana sales tax for affordable housing. It seems contradictory that we heavily tax the industry, we welcome the sales to tourists, but don’t give them a place to consume,” Black said before the vote on the proposal.
Mayor Michael Hancock was opposed to the proposal as were organizations like the Children’s Hospital, Denver Public Schools, and the Denver Police Department. Opponents of the proposal cited public safety and protecting children.
“Denver voters have approved multiple marijuana measures, both locally and at a state level. Amendment 64 passed in a landslide, with two-thirds of Denver voters in support,” Black said. “The purpose of this initiative was to protect kids from seeing and smelling consumption in parks, on sidewalks on the 16th Street Mall and along our rivers. I’m really perplexed by people who are opposing this in the name of kids.”
Because the proposal would have changed a voter-approved initiative, Black’s proposal needed the approval of at least nine council members, rather than a simple majority. Seven of 12 council members voted in favor of the proposal, while five voted against it.
Mountain High Suckers Available in Puerto Rico
Happy 4/20 Week Mountain High Suckers Fans!
We’re extremely proud to announce that our cannabis (3:1 THC and CBD) infused suckers and lozenges products will be available on medical dispensary shelves in Puerto Rico starting this week!
Depending on delivery, distribution times, and actual inventory stocking, these products will be available to Puerto Rico medical cannabis patients soon and are working along with the 1919 Clinic – a licensed 25,000 square foot cultivation and manufacturing facility located in San Juan.
Legalization in Puerto Rico
In May 2015, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order permitting the use of medical cannabis. “We’re taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life,” said Gov. Padilla. “I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope.” Administrative Order Number 352, created regulations for the possession, cultivation, manufacturing, production, fabrication, dispensing, distributing, and ongoing research in medical cannabis to support the relief of pain, and disorders from MS to glaucoma and more. Patients are required to register for a medical license and all shops are required to register for official licenses with the state Dept. of Health.
About Mountain High Suckers
Mountain High Suckers has produced handmade suckers and lozenges since their beginning in 2009.
Not afraid to be bold, we infuse spiciness, mango and even coconut into suckers, too. We’re the pioneers of CBD in medical marijuana products in Colorado, providing edibles that offer a more balanced effect and a wide range of benefits.
Chad Tribble and John Garrison started the company back in 2009. Within months they began testing their strains and discovered their genetics provided a fair amount of CBD. Since then we’ve tested every batch of our hash oil to ensure proper potency and consistency within our products. We’ve continued at a steady pace, hand making our products the same way today as we did in the beginning.
Check out a full list of our PRODUCTS here >
Events for 4/20 Week in Colorado
Adult-use marijuana has been legal in Colorado for nearly five years, and the annual high holiday is bigger than ever. Celebrate cannabis culture at some of our favorite events in the Mile High City:
Mile High Chess (Not Checkers) Championship – April 11
Show off your chess skills at the first Mile High Chess (Not Checkers) Championship at Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge. Presented by 0420Inc, this cannabis consumption event will have a DJ bumpin Wu-Tang, kung fu flicks, and dabs rolling while our community dukes it out for top chess champ. 6 pm -10 pm. RSVP early for 1/2 off the door cover. 0420 Inc. will also host a comedy night @ Dean Ween’s on April 22nd!
Sensi Night Denver – April 17
Celebrate Sensi Magazine’s 3rd anniversary at the EXDO Event Center in Denver’s RiNo Art District from 7 pm – 11 pm. Sensi’s free event will feature live artists and performers, massage and acupuncture stations, giveaways, brand exhibitors, and swag.
2019 Cannabis and Psychedelic Symposium – April 17
Learn about the latest science and issues surrounding cannabis and psychedelics at CU Boulder’s annual public education forum. The free event runs from 8:30 am – 9:30 pm. See a full schedule of panels and speakers here.
Snoop Dogg & Ice Cube at Red Rocks – April 18
If it’s 420 in the woods and Snoop Dogg isn’t there, is it really 420? This year he’s playing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Ice Cube, Warren G and Tha Dogg Pound.
Mile High 420 Festival – April 20
The Mile High 420 Festival in Civic Center Park draws thousands of people every year and is one of the biggest cannabis celebrations in the state. The lineup this year includes T.I., Jermaine Dupri, Eye Am Shane, $Subxrox MetaOx, and Big Legion & Hurox. The festival starts at 10 am and continues until 6 pm. The Mile High 420 Festival is free and will feature local music, comedy, food trucks, cannabis craft vendors, and more than 20 local charities.
Yoga with a View – April 20
If you’re looking for a more relaxing 420 experience, chill out with this 21-and-up, yoga-meets-cannabis brunch event. Hosted at Space Gallery in Denver from 11 am – 3 pm, the event begins with a yoga session followed by brunch prepared by Chef Kevin Grossi.
The Puff Ball with the Dean Ween Group – April 20
The Puff Ball with the Deen Ween is a giant dab party featuring Dean’s band, The Dean Ween Group and The Color Red All-Stars featuring Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds), Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic), and Gabe Mervin. This 21+ consumption event will be hosted at Deen Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge from 6 pm- 11:55 pm.
Also Coming in April – Mountain High Suckers in Puerto Rico!
Puerto Rico legalized medical cannabis in July, 2017. For the last year, Mountain High Suckers have been working with partners in Puerto Rico to release our products to medical dispensaries and we’re proud to announce that our first products will begin production shortly and will be ready to go around 4/20 (depending on availability / where you shop). We’re extremely proud to bring our favorite suckers and lozenges products to the Puerto Rico market! We’ll follow up with more details on social media throughout the month.
Colorado Legalizes Cannabis For Autism, Adds Bill for Medical Delivery
Cannabis Delivered to Your Door
There’s renewed hope for marijuana delivery in Colorado as a new bill that would legalize the service received approval from a state House committee. HB1234 would allow home delivery of medical marijuana starting in January 2020. Recreational marijuana delivery would be delayed until January 2021.
Rep. John Singer (D), one of the bill’s sponsors, said that the legislation is “an opportunity to stamp out a black market and provide a service for people who are sick.”
The bill includes a $1 delivery surcharge that will go to local law enforcement, and cities and counties must opt-in to the program. Delivery vehicles would be tracked by GPS and follow state-mandated safety rules. Medical marijuana dispensaries already in operation would have the first opportunity to apply for delivery permits. After a year, delivery permitting would open up to third-party transporters.
Matt Kahl, a veteran who uses medical cannabis, told lawmakers, “There are a lot of people out there who really need it. They have no other way to get cannabis.”
Last year, a similar measure was defeated in the Senate, but advocates of HB1234 hope that changes to the bill and Colorado’s new weed-friendly governor will improve its chances of becoming law.
“We have bipartisan support on this bill. We also have bipartisan opposition on this bill,” said Rep. Singer.
Medical Marijuana for Autism
On Autism Awareness Day, Governor Jared Polis (D) signed a bill that adds autism spectrum disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The new law enables children under the age of 18 with autism to be treated with medical cannabis, provided they have the approval of two physicians.
“It’s National Autism Day today, and we are acting by expanding patients’ access to cannabis products that help those with autism,” Polis said before signing the bill. “We know that not just anecdotally, but with a mounting amount of good scientific data that is coming in.”
Colorado’s former governor, John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed several cannabis bills last year, including one that would have given access to medical cannabis to people with autism.
End of March Cannabis Industry News
CVS puts CBD topicals on stores shelves in 8 states
The largest drug store chain in the U.S. has started selling CBD products in eight states. CVS is partnering with Massachusetts-based Curaleaf to supply its hemp-derived CBD topicals, sprays, lotions, ointments, and salves. The CBD products are available in 800 stores in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee.
“Anecdotally, we’ve heard from our customers that have used those products that, gee, it’s helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo told CNBC. “So we’re gonna walk slowly, but we think this is something that customers are going to be looking for as part of the health offering.”
New Jersey lawmakers cancel vote on recreational cannabis
Legislation that would have legalized adult-use cannabis in New Jersey was pulled from a vote on Monday after failing to secure enough support from lawmakers. Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that he had reached an agreement with leaders in the state legislature to legalize recreational marijuana and it seemed like legal weed in New Jersey was a sure thing. However, despite Democrats controlling both the state Assembly and Senate, there ultimately weren’t enough lawmakers committed to a yes vote.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said in a press conference that he and the governor are committed to passing cannabis legislation. “I may have underestimated the challenge of getting this passed,” Sweeney said. “We’ll be back at this. Anybody who thinks this is dead is wrong.”
On of the provisions of the proposed legislation would have expunged low-level marijuana convictions, and now that the bill won’t get a vote, residents will continue to face arrest and conviction for marijuana possession.
“I know that the biggest loss here is in terms of social justice and racial justice. We arrest 32,000 every year in New Jersey just for marijuana possession,” said New Jersey state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, Roseanne Scotti.
West Virginia passes law to provide cannabis banking
On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed a bill that allows banks and other financial institutions to provide services to West Virginia’s medical marijuana industry.
“I will say, adamantly, I am 100 percent against recreational marijuana. But we have a lot of people and families out there who are truly hurting and if medical cannabis can help, we need to do everything we can to make life better for those West Virginians,” said Justice.
House Bill 2538 also created the Treasurer’s Medical Cannabis Fund to allow the state treasurer to collect funds for banking services as well as the Medical Cannabis Program Fund to collect fees related to the medical marijuana program.
Florida Lifts Ban on Smoking Marijuana
Smoking medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill on Monday lifting a ban enacted in 2017 on smokable cannabis products.
“Over 70% of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016 and today I signed SB182 ‘Medical Use of Marijuana’ into law. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld,” DeSantis tweeted. “Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
While the new law is effective immediately, cannabis flower and other smokable products most likely won’t be available until this summer. The Florida Department of Health must create guidelines for physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.
Under the new law, medical marijuana patients wishing to smoke cannabis flower must sign an informed consent form acknowledging the health risks associated with smoking. Smoking in public spaces or at private businesses subject to a cigarette smoking ban is prohibited.
Patients under the age of 18 are prohibited from smoking marijuana unless the patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness and receives a second recommendation from a pediatrician.
Qualified medical marijuana patients can buy up to a 210-day supply at a time, which amounts to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 35 days.
Florida has nearly 200,000 registered medical marijuana patients, and the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries expect to see an increase in sales in the tens of millions. Marijuana Business Daily estimated that medical marijuana in Florida earned $200 million-$300 million in 2018. Comparably, in 2017, medical marijuana sales were at $20 million-$40 million.
Florida sets a cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate, but that rule is likely to be challenged. According to the Florida Department of Health, 85% of the state’s 107 dispensaries are operated by just five businesses.
In 2016, voters in Florida approved Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana. Florida’s former governor, Rick Scott, signed a bill in 2017 banning smokable medical marijuana.