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Lax THC vape rules still allow toxins into your lungs

Lax THC vape rules still allow toxins into your lungs

THC vape toxins are still prevalent

In 2019 and 2020, vaping-associated lung injuries killed 68 people and injured 2,807 across the United States. As reported by Leafly and later confirmed by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those injuries and deaths were almost exclusively associated with unlicensed THC vape cartridges purchased from the illicit market.

 

At the heart of the health crisis was a relatively new vape cartridge additive known as vitamin E acetate. Unlicensed cartridge manufacturers were using the substance, a common ingredient in beard cream, to thicken the cartridge oil and boost profit margins.

After the poisonings, officials at the CDC said the number one thing state cannabis regulators could do to protect public health was ensure that “chemicals of concern” like vitamin E acetate did not enter the state-licensed THC vape cartridge supply.

As of early 2021, cannabis regulators have not done that.

 

A Leafly investigation into current and forthcoming regulations around THC vape cartridges in the 15 legal cannabis states reveals that more than a year after the vape lung (also known as EVALI or VAPI) crisis, a few states have banned vitamin E oil, but not a single state upgraded its THC vape cartridge testing requirements up to the standard currently required for all nicotine vape cartridges in Europe and Canada.

State cannabis regulators have generally done a great job of protecting the health of consumers by requiring tests for toxins like pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, mold, and bacteria. Manufacturers are also required to test and disclose the exact potency of every product on the label.

But sometime around late 2018, THC vape cartridges escaped the bounds of those safeguards. A new wave of novel cartridge oil additives, thickeners, thinners, diluents, and artificial flavors began flooding the market. The new additives were mostly limited to illicit-market vape carts, but a few seeped into the legal regulated market as well.

Those new additives included:

  • Vitamin E acetate, aka beard cream oil
  • Squalene, a shark liver oil substance
  • Thousands of food flavorings not approved for inhalation

What kept these toxins from flooding into the legal THC vape supply? Only the good conscience of many licensed vape cartridge manufacturers—and a bit of luck. Nothing in the regulatory system of any state would have prohibited most of the new wave of additives.

 

Even today, the existing patchwork of state rules—with their yawning safety gaps and a total absence of federal oversight—has experts throwing up their hands.

Vape chemistry and regulations expert David Heldreth Jr. stepped down as the Chief Science Officer of a vape flavoring company. “It’s painful,” he told Leafly. “It’s one of those things where the industry just popped up and grew so quickly, it’s really difficult to keep up with what people innovate.”

CannaCraft, California’s biggest vape maker, forbids non-cannabis ingredients in its products, citing a lack of safety data. But the only thing keeping the company from adding mystery flavorings is the integrity of company officials. Many in the industry are doing it right. Others have less scruples. Consumers have few ways to tell.

“I think we do a lot of things well, but there’s certainly room for improvement,” said Matthew Elmes, a molecular biologist and Director of Scientific Affairs for CannaCraft. “There are so many things that aren’t tested for, and we don’t know, as consumers, what’s going on there.”

Leafly’s comprehensive review of THC vape cartridge rules in the 15 legal cannabis states found loopholes where those chemicals can get in.

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle

Jamaican cannabis industry struggles due to supply and demand

Jamaica is running low on ganja.

Heavy rains followed by an extended drought, an increase in local consumption and a drop in the number of marijuana farmers have caused a shortage in the island’s famed but largely illegal market that experts say is the worst they’ve seen.

“It’s a cultural embarrassment,” said Triston Thompson, chief opportunity explorer for Tacaya, a consulting and brokerage firm for the country’s nascent legal cannabis industry.

Jamaica, which foreigners have long associated with pot, reggae and Rastafarians, authorized a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalized small amounts of weed in 2015.

People caught with 2 ounces (56 grams) or less of cannabis are supposed to pay a small fine and face no arrest or criminal record. The island also allows individuals to cultivate up to five plants, and Rastafarians are legally allowed to smoke ganja for sacramental purposes.

But enforcement is spotty as many tourists and locals continue to buy marijuana on the street, where it has grown more scarce — and more expensive.

Heavy rains during last year’s hurricane season pummeled marijuana fields that were later scorched in the drought that followed, causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses, according to farmers who cultivate pot outside the legal system.

“It destroyed everything,” said Daneyel Bozra, who grows marijuana in the southwest part of Jamaica, in a historical village called Accompong founded by escaped 18th-century slaves known as Maroons.

Worsening the problem were strict COVID-19 measures, including a 6 p.m. curfew that meant farmers couldn’t tend to their fields at night as is routine, said Kenrick Wallace, 29, who cultivates 2 acres (nearly a hectare) in Accompong with the help of 20 other farmers.

He noted that a lack of roads forces many farmers to walk to reach their fields — and then to get water from wells and springs. Many were unable to do those chores at night due to the curfew.

Wallace estimated he lost more than $18,000 in recent months and cultivated only 300 pounds, compared with an average of 700 to 800 pounds the group normally produces.

Activists say they believe the pandemic and a loosening of Jamaica’s marijuana laws has led to an increase in local consumption that has contributed to the scarcity, even if the pandemic has put a dent in the arrival of ganja-seeking tourists.

“Last year was the worst year. … We’ve never had this amount of loss,” Thompson said. “It’s something so laughable that cannabis is short in Jamaica.”

Tourists, too, have taken note, placing posts on travel websites about difficulties finding the drug.

Read the Full Story from AP

Will 2021 be the year of cannabis delivery?

Will 2021 be the year of cannabis delivery?

Cannabis delivery could become more available in 2021

With more sales than any other year and demand for cannabis higher than ever, will 2021 be the year cannabis delivery becomes widespread?

2020 was a difficult year, as if that even needs to be said. But there was one thing that helped millions of Americans get through the year.

Cannabis.

That’s not an exaggeration either. Americans bought 67% more cannabis in 2020 than the year before to deal with the stress of COVID-19, record unemployment and peak division in the country.

However despite the huge increase in sales, only a handful of states offer delivery options for recreational cannabis consumers.

Cannabis Delivery

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, are all technically states that offer some form of delivery service for consumers.

Strict regulations and limitations however have made it so only a few of the states listed actually have a current, implemented delivery system. For example, Massachusetts has been dealing with resistance to their new delivery rules, with the cannabis dispensary association in the state going so far as to sue. Colorado, while passing a law allowing delivery in 2019, has yet to implement it for medical patients, while recreational consumers might have to wait until 2022 for access to the same service.

Other states in the list have only recently legalized medical or recreational cannabis with inclusions for delivery in their legislation. These states such as Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico and others, while passing legalization bills in 2020, have yet to begin sales of cannabis in general, meaning delivery also hasn’t begun.

The question that a lot of consumers are asking, especially after going through a year of the country’s worst pandemic since the early 1900s and bolstering cannabis sales like never before, is where the hell is the delivery option?

COVID and cannabis

The impact of COVID-19 on businesses across every industry in the country has been stark. Yet while thousands of businesses suffered and even closed down, cannabis businesses everywhere thrived. But almost every single sale was done in-person.

This doesn’t seem to fit the overarching narrative of the last year that social distancing and avoiding others is all but paramount. In this same time Drizly, an alcohol delivery app, became available in 26 states.

In other words, half the country can get alcohol delivered to their door, yet only a couple states allow those with legal access to cannabis to have it delivered. And that is all missed revenue. Bud.com, a delivery service that operates in Northern California, experienced a 500 percent increase in sales after lockdown orders in mid-March, according to Dean Arbit, the chief executive of the company.

So if there’s no shortage of evidence that cannabis delivery can be highly profitable, what are we, or more accurately, what are states waiting for?

Will 2021 be the year?

The events (and profits) of 2020 definitely have more states and cannabis businesses talking about delivery. With no end to social distancing and COVID restrictions in sight, we should expect cannabis sales to continue to grow through 2021, with demand for delivery options growing as well.

Similarly to legalization in general, no state has the same cannabis delivery laws. In other words, there is no single template for states to follow that has seen continued success. Like legalization, some states may be waiting to see another implement delivery successfully from the start, and copy them.

Other states have issues with the laws they already have, such as competition against brick and mortar stores in states that allow delivery straight from distribution centers.

There is little doubt the more states will legalize some form of cannabis delivery in 2021. To expect every state with recreational or medical cannabis to make it available however is a big ask. One that is highly unlikely to happen in just one year.

But if there is any way to describe the cannabis legalization movement, it’s unpredictable.

Czech medical cannabis sales surge, but market remains small

Czech medical cannabis sales surge, but market remains small

czech medical marijuana sales surge but industry remains small

The Czech market for medical cannabis flower quadrupled last year compared to 2019, according to data published by the State Agency for Medical Cannabis.

However, the market remains very small.

In 2020, roughly 68 kilograms (150 pounds) of medical cannabis flower was sold to patients in Czech pharmacies, compared with 17 kilograms the year before, the data shows.

Expectations that the market would see a tremendous boost after medical cannabis was included in the country’s public health insurance in early 2020 have so far failed to materialize.

Experts say that is partly because insurance coverage is only one of many factors guiding the market’s development.

As Marijuana Business Daily previously reported, bureaucratic hurdles and limited participation in the medical marijuana program by doctors and pharmacies represent challenges that were not resolved with the introduction of the health insurance-coverage scheme.

Despite that, the market is growing with improved access.

October and November saw record sales of medical cannabis, with about 7 kilograms sold each month.

The number of unique patients, which was below 500 at the end of 2019, doubled to 1,103 in December 2020.

The number of doctors prescribing cannabis products also increased.

In December 2019, 78 doctors prescribed cannabis. That number grew to 123 by December 2020.

Since the beginning of last year, Czech patients have been entitled to insurance coverage on 90% of the retail price for 30 grams of flower per month for medical use, regardless of THC content.

In exceptional cases, doctors may authorize quantities exceeding the monthly limit of 30 grams for reimbursement, up to a maximum of 180 grams per month.

In practice, however, patients received roughly 6 grams per month on average during the final months of 2020.

Almost 80% of the cannabis prescriptions last year were to treat chronic pain.

Elkoplast Slušovice remains the only domestic producer, with the rest of the supply coming from Canadian producers Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth.

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam doubles down on plans to restrict tourist access to cannabis coffee shops

Amsterdam likely to restrict tourist from coffee shop access in the future.
When international tourists finally return to the canal-lined historic streets of Amsterdam, one of the city’s main travel attractions might be off limits. Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema has proposed a new policy that would ban foreign visitors from accessing the city’s coffee shops.
 
 
There are 166 cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam, accounting for almost 30% of the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
In a letter to councilors on January 8, Halsema proposed introducing the “resident criterion” — a policy that permits only locals to use coffee shops — with the goal of making tourism in the city more manageable and to control the coffee shop supply chain. Halsema will discuss the measures with Amsterdam’s city council later this month.
 
 
 
In line with Covid-19 lockdown measures, nonessential shops, including coffee shops, are currently closed in Amsterdam, although coffee shops are able to do takeout and delivery.
 
 
 
The city’s website currently advises tourists not to travel to the city unless necessary, but Halsema is looking ahead to how Amsterdam might function after the Covid threat subsides.

Cannabis in the Netherlands

Different municipalities in the Netherlands have different coffee shop rules, and discussions on barring everyone except Dutch residents are not new. This conversation became heated back in 2011 and 2012, with Amsterdam fighting back against the proposed introduction of a residents-only rule across the Netherlands’ coffee shops.
 
 
 
 
Today, this rule still exists in Maastricht, in the south of the country. To add to the slightly confusing setup, buying cannabis from a coffee shop is legal in the Netherlands, but producing cannabis remains illegal.
Back in July 2019, Halsema wrote to councilors saying the city’s coffee shops can put “the quality of life in the city center under pressure.”
 
 
This preempted an August 2019 survey which questioned 1,100 international visitors between the ages of 18 and 35 who were visiting Amsterdam’s Red Light District, an area of the city that’s been the focus of much of Amsterdam’s most recent tourism regulations.
 
 
In this survey, referenced in Halsema’s most recent correspondence, over half of those surveyed said they chose to visit the Dutch capital because they wanted to experience a cannabis cafe.
 
 
The results were that 34% indicated they’d come to Amsterdam less often if they weren’t able to visit coffee shops, and 11% said they wouldn’t come at all.
12 Cannabis Industry Predictions for 2021

12 Cannabis Industry Predictions for 2021

Cannabis industry predictions for 2021

2020 was a crazy year in more ways than one.

Beside the obvious factor that impacted everybody’s lives for the last 10 months, cannabis has also seen some huge changes. From industry trends to overall growth, 2020 was the most progressive and profitable year for the industry so far.

There were still some lows however, like the MORE Act being passed in the House but stalled indefinitely in the Senate. California has had its fair share of issues with their legal market as well due to bad regulation and local government mishandling.

But we aren’t here to look back on the bad, but to look forward to the future of the industry and everything that may bring. Here are 12 predictions for the cannabis industry in 2021.

1. Cannabis consumption increases

This is probably the most obvious to predict. As more states legalize medical and recreational cannabis or decriminalize the plant, consumption will rise as people gain more safe and legal access to quality cannabis. This includes all forms of cannabis; concentrates, edibles, topicals and others.

2. We still won’t see federal legalization

Considering that the senate currently won’t even vote on a bill that would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level, it is very unlikely that we will see full scale legalization on the federal level in 2021. There’s a chance that we see more legislation passed through the House that will give cannabis businesses better access to banking.

However this will likely also be stalled in the Senate. In short, as long as Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader of the Senate, don’t expect any sort of federal progress when it comes to cannabis.

3. Rise in popularity of minor cannabinoids in hemp

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has seen a massive increase in popularity and use in 2020. Through marketing and education efforts, people have learned of the benefits of CBD and how it is entirely different from THC. This has led to more curiosity about the wide variety of other cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis. CBN and CBG have already begun breaking into the forefront of cannabinoid research with more on the way in 2021.

We’ll see new mixed cannabinoid products that advertise different experiences for the consumer start to become much more popular.

4. Extraction and dosing technology increases

Cannabis extracts and concentrates continue to grow in popularity, with rosin taking over the scene in 2020 as the cleanest and tastiest dabs. 2021 will be no different as the technology for creating extracts advances even more. Solventless extracts will likely remain the most popular for health-conscious and connoisseur consumers, while vape cartridges and pens will stay popular for the average consumer.

It will also become easier to understand the dosing of concentrates, especially with cartridges and dabs. There is currently no widely known dosage for either, just general suggestions from the local budtender or industry blogger.

5. Increased presence of national cannabis industry brands

We’ve seen the rise in popular brands like Cookies and Runtz from California’s recreational market to Maryland’s medical market, and that trend is bound to continue. With the success of these brands, others will try to replicate their marketing style to also become popular nationally.

Cookies and Runtz are likely just more “flavors of the month”, and new products will likely take their place in 2021.

6. US stock market for cannabis

Investors in the US have seen that cannabis is essential and pandemic proof. With the huge boost to industry revenue in 2020, investors will be looking for more ways to invest in the United States cannabis industry. While Canada’s cannabis industry saw much less success than the US in 2020, their model for investing in cannabis stocks could be used a template to implement a similar system in the US.

With so many ancillary (non-plant touching) businesses in the industry and expansion growing every year, there may soon be an investment market for companies that work with the cannabis industry but don’t actually process or touch the plant.

7. Ancillary cannabis business transactions increase

Speaking of ancillary cannabis businesses, transactions for these companies are going to increase in 2021. Equipment supply stores, consulting and marketing firms focused in the cannabis space all will see more sales as more people get into the industry across the country driving a need for more of these businesses.

8. Oklahoma and Mississippi continue to expand

Oklahoma was one of the highest grossing states in terms of cannabis revenue despite being medical only in one of the most red states in the nation. Following their model, Mississippi will likely follow the same path as long as demand is the same.

Oklahoma will continue to hone its market and weed out cheap producers with low quality product that took advantage of an infant market with consumers lacking necessary education to choose better products. We will see a few producers rise to the top in 2021 and become available across the state.

9. Michigan explodes with huge operations

Michigan had a slow start after they legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, however sales have been rising consistently since dispensaries began opening and selling cannabis in late 2019 and through 2020. With Detroit announcing that it will be handing out licenses beginning Summer 2021, we are going to see a massive increase in grow operations and dispensaries in the area.

As the most densely populated area in the state, Detroit is going to launch Michigan into the next phase of its legal industry by the end of 2021.

10. Supply chain for hydroponic and grow industry becomes more limited

Due to shipping complications that arose in 2020 from China, 2021 is likely to be a rough year for the grow industry supply chain. While more people will be growing cannabis than ever before, the supply of the products they need to do it are going to be more limited than ever before as well.

Inevitably the low supply and high demand will lead to increased prices and decreased availability of many fertilizers, lights and media.

11. The exotics hype trend continues

The community of connoisseur cannabis consumers has driven a niche market of exotic and exclusive cannabis strains driven by media marketing campaigns and hype. This trend will continue in 2021 with brands we’ve already mentioned like Cookies and Runtz leading the way.

In states where cannabis is recreational or medical but Cookies and Runtz don’t operate, new breeders will rise with exclusive strains that you can only get from them at a specific dispensary on a specific drop date, increasing hype and demand. These strains will remain the most expensive option on the shelf in terms of flower.

12. More states will legalize cannabis

Following the trend of the last few years, more states are going to legalize cannabis recreationally or medically in 2021. New York is a state a lot are looking toward to make a move in the new year since their neighbor New Jersey approved a legalization ballot in November. With no competing industry, New York is bound to lose a lot of tax dollars to New Jersey’s legal cannabis over the border.

Other states like Pennsylvania and Virginia have had their governors voice support for a recreational cannabis industry more than once in 2020. While these states may have a legalization vote in 2021 it’s unlikely that either will pass in the near future. Other states to follow in 2021 are Connecticut and New Mexico.

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