fbpx
US to ban Backwoods, Swishers and other flavored blunt wraps

US to ban Backwoods, Swishers and other flavored blunt wraps

US government may ban blunts

Your illegal weed dealer might be adding menthol cigarettes and smuggled Backwoods and Swisher Sweets to their offerings next year.

On Thursday, April 29, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and all flavored cigars, starting in 2022. The FDA’s proposal responds to a lawsuit from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council calling for the national ban, which would target makers and sellers, not users, of menthols and flavored cigars.

Tobacco companies will likely challenge the decision in court, according to Stat News.

But such a ban would affect many cannabis consumers—primarily Black smokers—who roll marijuana into flavored tobacco or cigar leaves, commonly called a blunt. Half of cigar sales in 2020 were two flavored brands: Black and Mild, followed by Swisher Sweets.

A 2020 study found that a third of weed consumers smoke blunts, while almost two-thirds of Black weed consumers smoke blunts. A separate study of blunt wrap brand Backwoods-tagged content on Instagram found that half of #backwoods posts were marijuana-related.

FDA confronts a health inequity

The FDA wants to reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the US. The agency stated that banning menthols and flavored cigars would reduce the number of kids who start smoking, and encourage menthol smokers to quit.

The FDA also said it specifically wants to reduce the number of Black Americans dying from tobacco. Three-quarters of Black smokers smoke menthols.

“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

Banning menthols may cause 923,000 US smokers to quit, including 230,000 Black Americans in the first 13 to 17 months after a ban goes into effect. An earlier study claims the ban would prevent 633,000 deaths, including about 237,000 deaths averted for African Americans.

To do that, massive tobacco companies and distributors would face punishment for making, distributing, and selling menthols and flavored tobacco no earlier than next year.

Las Vegas Braces for Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Las Vegas Braces for Cannabis Consumption Lounges

Las Vegas cannabis lounges

Cannabis lounges, where patrons can smoke a joint, rip a bong, vaporize a dab or do just about anything else you can think of with the plant, appeared to be a certainty as part of a Las Vegas ordinance back in 2017—and then again in 2019. They’ve been talked about for over four years in the entertainment capital of America.

But this time around, after years of setbacks and political meddling from the rival gaming industry, a bill at the Nevada State Legislature is on track to settle the score once and for all.

Assembly Bill 341 would pave the way for an unlimited number of lounges to open across the state, in counties where local governments allow cannabis businesses to operate. That includes in Sin City, where over 40 million tourists visited each year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This would really open the floodgates for something marijuana users have wanted for a long time,” said Assemblyman Steve Yeager, a Democrat from Las Vegas who sponsored the bill. “And there’s a social equity part to it where we’re not restricting this just to licensed dispensary owners.”

Yeager, in his third term at the state’s biennial legislature, has felt the frustration himself. Long considered the heir apparent to former State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who was known as Nevada’s “Godfather of Marijuana,” Yeager watched as the fledgling industry offered all of its spoils to a tiny group of anointed business owners, most of whom were lawyers, doctors, casino operators, lobbyists and former public officials.

Less than 100 groups control almost all of the industry, as the state capped dispensary licenses from the adult-use program’s inception in 2017.  Many of the companies are also vertically integrated, meaning dispensary owners also hold the lion’s share of production and cultivation permits. Disproportionately left out have been women and racial minorities, the latter group of which was most harmed by cannabis prohibition.

The new bill runs so contrary to the state’s years of meticulously restricting licenses and hand-picking operators that many dispensary owners are wondering if opening a lounge is even worth the investment.

“You have to figure out if you can make any money with them,” said David Goldwater, owner of Inyo, a dispensary located just over a mile from the Las Vegas Strip. “There’s going to be a ton of new competition.”

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A hemp industry grey area

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A hemp industry grey area

Does delta-8 THC get you high?

Delta-8 THC is the latest cannabinoid to take over the hemp “grey” market, after CBD had its run in 2019 and 2020 before regulation on CBD products began. However D8 THC is likely to face a similar fate soon enough, and some states aren’t waiting around for the FDA to start regulating it.

So how does a hot new cannabinoid like this come about without regulation, and is Delta-8 THC legal?

What is Delta-8 THC?

What may be a surprise to some is that D8 THC is not a newly discovered cannabinoid. Pharmacological knowledge of D8 THC has been around since 1941 when its partial synthesis was discovered by Roger Adams. It is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, meaning that it has an identical molecular formula to Delta-9 THC, but Delta-8 THC is arranged differently which creates a variation in chemical properties.

But like many other cannabinoids including Delta-9 THC, scientific data surrounding Delta-8 THC was suppressed soon after its discovery, with the Marihuana Tax Act already being in effect since 1937. That changed with the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018.

Following the federal legalization of hemp, a lot of farmers hopped on the CBD trend and saturated the market with biomass. But just like CBD, Delta-8 THC can also be extracted.

D8 THC is not as prevalent in hemp as CBD, and not as potent as Delta-9 THC. But that hasn’t stopped producers and consumers from capitalizing.

More money, more effects

If Delta-8 THC was all made up by illicit market producers trying to take advantage of the uneducated consumer, it surely wouldn’t be as popular as it has become. That is to say in the mind of consumers, D8 THC is a “legal” replacement for Delta-9 THC.

For someone living in a state with no access to medical or recreational cannabis, hemp is more than likely legal. Since Delta-8 can be extracted from hemp, and hemp is legal, Delta-8 is technically legal too, for now.

With the CBD market completely oversaturated, D8 THC also presents a unique opportunity for hemp producers to still make a profit off their hemp. Being a very close relative of Delta-9 THC, a massive market for those trying to get the “high” of Delta-9 without breaking the law in their state has been created.

Just since the beginning of 2021, Delta-8 THC has grown massively in popularity. It has become available in vape carts and edibles in head shops across the country and also gives consumers the option to have it shipped right to their door online.

However that may all be changing quicker than consumers and producers hoped.

States start taking action

While the FDA might just be catching wind of Delta-8 THC and are considering looking into the new hot cannabinoid, individual states have already taken notice, and they aren’t waiting to take action.

Vermont is the latest state to pass rulings that state D8 THC is now illegal, and they aren’t alone either. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah have all banned the sale of Delta-8 THC.

With so many states jumping to ban D8 THC so quickly, it isn’t a good sign for the future. Ultimately the reason that Delta-8 may fail is because of the lack of regulation. Without regulation, there will always be bad actors in the industry pushing fake and dangerous products.

A clear example of this issue gained nationwide attention in 2019 after several people died from ingesting illicit market Delta-9 vape cartridges, and hundreds more wound up in the hospital. The same problem could easily plague the rising Delta-8 industry, and that has lawmakers and consumers concerned.

While many are willing to take the risk and have Delta-8 THC delivered from an online service without knowing the true contents or lab results of the product, just as many are not. While there are a handful of reliable Delta-8 suppliers with lab testing provided, there are just as many if not more that don’t include lab results.

So what’s the solution?

Regulate Delta-8 THC or make it illegal

The question that many are asking right now is, will Delta-8 THC be regulated or just made illegal?

Unfortunately for consumers and producers, the latter is much more likely. Compared to CBD which has very little to no psychoactive effects, Delta-8 is described as a more subtle version of Delta-9 THC by consumers.

In a state like Utah where recreational cannabis is still illegal, Delta-8 is no different than Delta-9 in the eyes of legislators and regulators because the consumer can still get high from consuming it. So why would they allow one and not the other?

At least we can’t argue that they aren’t being consistent.

As for the potential for regulation, it is possible but unlikely in the near future. For example, despite being legalized in 2018, the USDA’s final ruling regarding hemp production wasn’t released until January of this year. The FDA has only recently begun cracking down on the unregulated CBD industry, sending out multiple emails to producers in March of this year warning about false advertising and making medical claims about CBD products.

But the USDA ruling doesn’t even address Delta-8 THC, let alone set a limit on its production. There is no evidence that the FDA is currently investigating Delta-8 either. So while we don’t expect there to be a federal ban on Delta-8 in the near future, we are likely to see more states take action on their own.

Colorado passed medical and recreational cannabis and has a thriving legal industry, yet is still choosing to keep Delta-8 THC illegal. Other states are going to take notice, and many may follow suit.

For now, if you want to try Delta-8 for yourself, make sure to search for a verified producer that provides detailed lab results from a certified lab. While the science may still be out on the safety of D8 THC itself, as long as the product is made properly with clean ingredients and certified by test results it may be the best alternative to Delta-9 for those who can’t get it for the meantime.

Montana Marijuana Legalization Bill Passes in Senate

Montana Marijuana Legalization Bill Passes in Senate

Montana marijuana legalization implementation passes through the senate

Tax revenue from marijuana sales is estimated to be more than $48 million annually by 2025

HELENA – The Montana Senate on Friday passed a bill to implement a recreational marijuana program in the state, which would reserve tax revenue from sales for addiction treatment and statewide conservation efforts.

Voters approved a ballot measure last year to legalize recreational marijuana sales. The ballot measure also sought to divert a significant portion of tax revenue toward conservation efforts.

The bill passed out of the House earlier this month along party lines, with House Democrats united in their opposition to the measure, which did not follow the voter-approved revenue plan. But a Senate committee amended the bill to track more closely to what is included in the ballot measure, earning the support of most Senate Democrats.

The bill passed the Senate with a 34-16 vote. It next heads back to the House, which will vote on the Senate amendments.

As outlined in the bill, recreational marijuana sales would be taxed at a rate of 20%. Of the state revenue generated by sales, $6 million annually would go towards a drug addiction treatment program backed by Gov. Greg Gianforte; 20% would go toward conservation efforts; 4% or up to $650,000 each would go to state parks, trails and recreational facilities, and wildlife protection; up to $200,000 would go to veterans services and improving veterans’ cemeteries; $300,000 would go toward a one-time purchase of drug detection canines; $150,000 would fund a one-time police training; and the remaining money would enter the state’s general fund.

Tax revenue from marijuana sales is estimated to be more than $48 million annually by 2025.

The original ballot measure directed 10.5% of revenue towards the state general fund, with the rest for conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, health care costs and localities where marijuana is sold.

Under the plan, in counties that voted in favor of the ballot measure, recreational marijuana sales would be automatically legalized. But in counties where the ballot measure did not pass, voters would have to separately approve recreational marijuana sales to opt-in to the program.

The plan also includes a provision under which those serving sentences for illegal marijuana possession in the state could apply for their convictions to be expunged.

The state’s eight federally-recognized Native American tribes would receive sales licenses, which could be used within 150 miles (241 kilometers) of a reservation. Because recreational marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, sales remain prohibited on reservations, which are governed by federal law. Native American lawmakers advocated for the provision in the bill, saying it would allow them to benefit financially from legalization.

“It’s going to allow them to get into the game finally,” said Sen. Jason Small, a Republican and a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation who carried the bill on the Senate floor.

The measure includes a clause that would nullify the law if the ballot measure is found to be illegal. Several Republican lawmakers have said they object to legalization and have floated the possibility of challenging the ballot measure in court.

“Whether or not deep down inside you want to see this marijuana industry happen in Montana, the fact of the matter is it’s been voted on, it’s going to happen,” Small said.

Playboy Celebrates National Cannabis Awareness Month

Playboy Celebrates National Cannabis Awareness Month

LOS ANGELESApril 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration of National Cannabis Awareness Month taking place throughout April, Playboy Enterprises today announced a month-long initiative supporting nationwide cannabis reform and advocacy. Building on the success of their legalization and expungement campaign in September, Playboy will continue its decades-long work championing the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis using a multifaceted approach focused on the three levers of people, policy and culture. In addition to making notable contributions to the Marijuana Policy Project and tapping into partners like Eaze Momentum, Playboy will also host a series of Twitter takeovers handing the mic over to notable members of the cannabis community throughout the month to discuss cannabis culture and important issues facing the industry today.

“Playboy has been fighting for cannabis rights for over six decades, and today we are closer than ever to achieving our goal of full federal legalization. Now is the time to make sure we do this right,” said Rachel Webber, Chief Brand Officer and President of Corporate Strategy at PLBY Group. “We are proud to support the amazing work our partners at Marijuana Policy Project are doing to ensure that the new laws enacted around legal cannabis are humane, combat injustices, and promote equality.”

“As we continue the fight to end cannabis prohibition nationwide, MPP is proud to partner with Playboy in celebration of National Cannabis Awareness Month,” said Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project. “Our shared vision for humane and equitable cannabis policies will help to ensure a diverse and inclusive future for legal cannabis that roots out injustices and empowers individuals and communities all across the country.”

Playboy has been engaged with cannabis reform since the 1960s and continues to use its platform to push the conversation forward today. As a proud founding donor of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) over 50 years ago, Playboy has been a pioneer in the cannabis space since the brand’s beginning. Today, once again, Playboy is doubling down on its efforts in support of cannabis reform and advocacy programs, and working to bring conversations surrounding cannabis mainstream.

  • People: Playboy will produce a collection of Instagram Stories and tweets to introduce and update their audience on Eaze’s Momentum program, a business development incubator for under-represented founders in the cannabis industry. Playboy supports Momentum and its 2021 class of entrepreneurs through monetary and in-kind donations. 
  • Policy: The Playboy Foundation will make a donation of $25,000 to the Marijuana Policy Project to support their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work and further their advocacy for fair and equitable cannabis policy in the fight for federal legalization and expungement. Marijuana Policy Project activates people and mobilizes resources to create lasting policy solutions that improve the quality of life for patients and their families, empower individuals with personal choice, combat injustices, and promote equity.
  • Culture: Throughout the month, Playboy will continue to use its media platforms to drive conversations around cannabis, as they have done for almost 70 years. In doing so, Playboy will pass the mic to notable members of the cannabis industry, partnering with Brian KaremAshlee Marie PrestonMatt Barnes and dream hampton to take over their Twitter channel the week of April 19th and engage with Playboy’s audience of 1.5 million followers around the newest information in the cannabis space. Playboy will also be hosting the class of Eaze Momentum startups, whom the company has sponsored and been mentoring, at their company happy hours, where these cannabis entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the Playboy team for support and feedback.

In honor of its legalization and expungement campaign in September, Playboy made a charitable donation of $25k to Eaze Momentum, kicked off its mentorship program with both Eaze Momentum and the Last Prisoner Project, urged Congress to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act via a Medium piece written by Playboy CEO Ben Kohn, commissioned eight artists to create work inspired by the inequities of federal cannabis prohibition, and more. 

Playboy remains committed to pushing boundaries through its lifestyle and consumer product business, and driving important conversations that bring topics like cannabis reform, social justice and free expression out from the shadows, doing the work to ensure Pleasure for All. The company has also rolled out a line of pleasure-forward CBD products and smoking accessories over the past year on its sexual wellness hub, www.pleasureforall.com.

Jaleel White (AKA Urkel) Launches Purple Urkle Cannabis Brand

Jaleel White (AKA Urkel) Launches Purple Urkle Cannabis Brand

Jaleel White also known as Urkel from Family Matter is releasing a new cannabis brand

Actor Jaleel White, famous for his role as Steve Urkel in Family Matters, is entering the cannabis industry just in time for 4/20, with his own cannabis line called ItsPurpl.

Through a partnership with 710 Labs, White’s brand features variants of the popular cannabis strain Purple Urkle, Forbes reports. It is set to launch on April 20, and will be available on dispensary shelves in California to start, potentially growing to more marketplaces in the future.

White said, “The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed. It made no sense to me, that no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?”

710 Labs founder Brad Melshenker met White on a flight, and they connected over their passion for cannabis. “710 has never been a brand that pursued celebrity deals or endorsements as our agenda has always been quality above all else,” Melshenker said. “We tend to let the product speak for itself. But over the years Jaleel and I became friends and organically our conversations developed into a project. He was on a journey to find the real Purple Urkel from back in the early 2000’s. Not only that, he wanted to find the most flavorful purple cultivars and had been collecting seeds with his friend Sean over the years just for this purpose.”

The series of Purple Urkle strains will be sold as eighths, vape pens with 710 Labs’ proprietary live rosin pods, as well as Noodle Doinks (a fat, hand rolled joint that uses a fusilli noodle as the crutch.)

44-year-old White said, “To smoke the end result from such a quality pod has been surreal. I feel a little bit like Willy Wonka, the flavor came out so similar to grape candy.”

Melshenker said of the collaboration that comes “from the heart,” was determined to help Jaleel make it happen. He added, “Hunting for certain traits and genetics is time-consuming and challenging but it was worth it when it all came together in the end and the vision was realized.”

When it comes to smoking, White prefers not to partake when he’s acting. He said, “A lot of acting is about timing and you don’t want anything disrupting that. But when it comes to writing, that’s a whole different story. A good smoke sesh with some naturally funny cats can be just the creative spark you didn’t know you all needed. Beyond that, a good noodledoink before an amazing meal just makes everything taste that much better. Music for me is also greatly enhanced by cannabis consumption. Songs just slow all the way down and you hear every nuance.”

 

 
 
Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
error

Like The Real Dirt? Please spread the word :)