fbpx
Colorado Cannabis Delivery and Social Consumption Makes Big Moves

Colorado Cannabis Delivery and Social Consumption Makes Big Moves

Cannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012. But it’s been hard to figure out where it’s safe to consume it.

Unless you owned a home or had a cool landlord, you would be at a loss trying to find a safe place to consume the cannabis you just bought. Since legalization, it has been illegal to consume cannabis in a public setting in Colorado. 

The only place that was legal to consume was a private residence. As mentioned before, if you’re renting and your landlord puts a “no cannabis” rule in the lease, you’re out of luck (as someone in that situation I can vouch for the inconvenience).

But finally, that’s all about the change.

House Bill 1230

Under this new bill, dispensaries will be able to apply for a tasting room license similar to the one used for breweries in this state, while businesses such as hotels, restaurants, music venues, art galleries and yoga studios can apply for private consumption licenses and limited cannabis sales.

Mobile cannabis lounges such as tour buses and limousines would also be licensed but could not sell cannabis. Social consumption businesses would have to apply for a license through the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, and would be exempt from the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, a state law that bans public indoor smoking.

“In expanding access to regulated spaces for adults to consume cannabis, we are taking the responsible approach to cannabis consumption in a safe environment,” says Senator Vicki Marble, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, in a statement about the bill. “HB 1230 protects the will of voters who asked for the freedom to choose marijuana as an alternative and to curb dealing and use in parks and on the street.”

Nothing is Final

There are still some hurdles before cannabis cafes can open in your town. Governor Jared Polis still needs to sign the bill into law, which appears to be pretty likely at this point.

However, even if Polis signs the bill, local governments would have to opt in to the new licensing program, and could modify it to ban certain forms of consumption, such as indoor smoking. And the City of Denver’s social marijuana consumption licensing program, which already has its own location qualifications and bans indoor smoking, would remain unaffected by new stipulations in the bill, unless Denver City Council or the mayoral administration decide to alter it.

Baby Steps are Still Steps

If there’s anything the members of the cannabis community have learned through the years, it is that cannabis regulation moves slow. While counties in Colorado will be able to begin the application process in January of 2020, should Polis sign the bill, counties can still make their own regulations.

It’s likely that many places will still ban indoor smoking even with the new law permitting this with the proper licensing. However a big driving force behind this bill specifically was the cannabis tourism industry in the state. With current laws, out-of-state visitors who legally purchase cannabis cannot consume it in hotels.

With House Bill 1230, hotels and other local businesses could gain additional tourism revenue by getting on board and applying for a public consumption license.

cannabis delivery in colorado could soon be legal

Dispensaries in Colorado could start using free delivery as a sell point if the new cannabis delivery bill passes.

Cannabis Delivery in Colorado

The day before the passing of House Bill 1230, House Bill 2019-1234 passed the state Senate with a vote of 20-14, and the state House with a vote of 38-27. The bill allows for “marijuana delivery permits” for licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and “transporters” to deliver their products to private residences once a day only.

Should the bill get the final signature from Polis, medical cannabis delivery would start in 2020, with recreational delivery following soon after in 2021. A $1 surcharge would be tacked on to each delivery made and would then be funneled back into local law enforcement for the sole purpose of administering local marijuana laws. 

Those licensed to make such deliveries would also be protected from criminal prosecution while on the job. Similarly to the other bill, local county governments and city councils could still restrict deliveries.

Proponents of cannabis delivery in Colorado site those medical patients that cannot make it to a dispensary due to immobility or other issues and a desire to eliminate the illegal delivery market currently operating in the state, while opponents worry that cannabis delivery could damage in-person dispensary sales and even open the opportunity for big players like Amazon to eventually take over.

Nevertheless it looks like a bright future lies ahead for cannabis consumption in Colorado, and it’s about time. For over 6 years cannabis consumers in the state have had to hide or find somewhere secluded enough that they wouldn’t get caught.

Hopefully these bills will get the final signature from Polis and we can begin to move forward into the next phase of legal cannabis in Colorado.

The Hemp Industry in Oklahoma: What you need to know

The Hemp Industry in Oklahoma: What you need to know

The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program is taking off. There’s some important laws and rules to know so you don’t get left behind.

Oklahoma’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program allows universities and institutes of higher education to work with Oklahoma farmers to cultivate certified hemp seed for research purposes.  The state defines industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis Sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”

So already, Oklahoma has some serious restrictions on who can grow industrial hemp. But because they are still within the federal law put forward by The Farm Bill, they don’t need to change it.

Industrial Hemp in Oklahoma

Industrial hemp grown pursuant to the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is excluded from the definition of “marijuana” in the state’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.  The definition of marijuana also expressly excludes CBD derived from the mature stalks (including cannabidiol [CBD] derived from the fiber, oil, or cake of the mature stalks), of the cannabis plant.

At this time, it is not clear whether CBD produced from industrial hemp flower would qualify as “industrial hemp” and therefore be excluded from the state’s definition of marijuana, or whether CBD must be produced from the mature stalks of the cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp) to be exempt from the definition of marijuana.

This mish-mash of laws is going to make it difficult for those trying to enter the legal hemp and CBD industries in the state. It seems to be a grey area regarding where CBD can be derived from, with no clear “yes or no” answer on deriving it from the actual hemp flower. People can get away with a lot of things in grey markets, you just need to be willing to take that risk.

Selling Hemp in Oklahoma

 On February 19, 2019, the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued an announcement stating that businesses that manufacture or sell food products containing CBD are required by state law to obtain a food license. The agency indicated that it would give businesses until April 26, 2019 to comply with the law before initiating further action.

Suffice to say, if you are manufacturing or selling CBD edibles or other food products and don’t have your license already, you could be in some trouble. While commercial sales are permitted in Oklahoma, a product-specific legal analysis should be undertaken to fully understand the risks of operation in the state for your product.

More information on the rules regarding hemp sales and manufacturing can be found on the Oklahoma Agriculture, Food and Forestry website. 

Be Prepared

It is important to keep in mind that Oklahoma hemp laws are different from the federal law. It doesn’t matter if you abide by federal law to the tee in Oklahoma, you can still get in trouble if you don’t go through the proper application process to join the Pilot Program.

Another aspect of cannabis industries (including hemp) is that they are mostly new. Each state establishes their own laws surrounding hemp, and those laws can change. Under those laws could be additional regulations that also change over time.

As a business owner in the hemp industry, you need to be able to adjust your business to meet these new regulations, sometimes on short, strict deadlines. However, Oklahoma is starting off on the right track. Regulations should loosen over the next year or two as more is learned about hemp’s potential, and more opportunities will be opened to the general public to enter the industry.

Ready to apply? Here’s the link to the application.

Learn more about the legal hemp industry, the laws surrounding it and the economic opportunities that are available on The Real Dirt Podcast, featuring Shawn Hauser and Andrew Livingston from Vicente Sederberg LLC. Shawn is the head of V.S.’s Hemp Division, and Andrew is the Director of Economics and Research for the firm.

Get exclusive legal advice that would costs thousands anywhere else, only on The Real Dirt.

Oklahoma Hemp Bust (Update)

Oklahoma Hemp Bust (Update)

Four men were arrest during an Oklahoma hemp bust back in January. Now two men are finally free, with the other two with unsure futures.

The Real Dirt reported on a story back in January that involved a company transporting hemp through Oklahoma. The hemp was poorly stored, resulting in odor that could be smelled 2 miles down the road, by police.

What happened next cause quite some controversy in the new legal Oklahoma hemp industry.

The Original Oklahoma Hemp Bust

In early January Andrew Ross from Aurora, CO was providing security for the transport of several thousand pounds of what he claimed to be industrial hemp from Oklahoma to Colorado. Ross and the semi-truck he was assisting was pulled over in Pawhuska, Oklahoma after running a red light. 

The officer smelled what he claimed to be cannabis as he approached Ross’ van, at which point Ross told him that they were the security for the semi-truck transporting hemp. Ross was then instructed to open the semi-truck, revealing over 9,000 pounds of hemp or cannabis.

After conducting a field test, which tests for any amount of THC, the officer believed the plants to be cannabis and not hemp. However, legal hemp can have up to .3% THC. This led to a lengthy delay in the case as the local police had to send the plants to be lab-tested, which was additionally delayed by the government shutdown in January.

During this time, two of the four who were arrested — Ross, one other in the van and another two in the semi-truck were arrested in total — have remained in prison since they couldn’t afford bail. They most likely won’t be released until the conclusive results of the tests come back.

The Update

While four men were arrested back in January, only the two truck drivers who couldn’t afford bail have remained in prison, until about a month ago. In late March, all charges were dropped against the truck drivers Tadesse Deneke and Farah Warsame.

But for Andrew Ross and his partner that provided security for the transport, the legal battle is not over. While a local man from Tulsa actually offered to pay the bond for Deneke and Warsame to get them out of jail, setting them free, The DA is still pursuing charges aginst the security company.

Of the seized material that was tested, eight of the eleven tests conducted came back “hot”. In other words, the THC levels of the samples tested above the legal amount of .3%, with the hot samples testing between .38% and .5% THC. That is no longer considered legal hemp under federal law.

According the DA’s ongoing investigation, the security drivers for the truck may have had more knowledge about what they were transporting compared to the truck drivers. Implicating that they could have know they were transporting illegal hemp, and let the drivers, who had no experience with hemp, transport it anyway.

What Comes Next?

While the security guards are not being held in jail since they posted bail, their charges have still not been dropped. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison for transportation of illegal cannabis.

And this is case is still far from over. The next court appearance for the security guards is not until August 8th, 2019. The evidence is starting to point toward foul play. If the security guards knew they were transporting illegal material, they will be held responsible, along with the company that grew the hemp to begin with.

If it really is true that almost none of the hemp on the truck was .3%, then this is a case of someone trying to skirt the law, but not getting close enough to do it. This is a weeding out process, and people will try to take advantage of a new, infantile industry with little regulation or state oversight currently.

The Real Dirt will continue coverage of this case as it develops.

For the latest hemp and cannabis industry news, join The Real Dirt Facebook Group! Get exclusive content, discussion and more when you join.

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Alabama Hemp (Pt. 1)

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Alabama Hemp (Pt. 1)

Wow. Finally by the grace of God, hemp is finally legal. In Alabama, this is an exciting time and opportunity for many people.

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now considered a legitimate farm crop in the US. The problem is that hardly anyone knows how to grow hemp, and the people that have been growing hemp have only grown limited amounts, in limited environments.

Now Alabama and a number of other southern states have “legalized it.” But what does that mean?

What is hemp?

Hemp is considered any cannabis plant that has less than .3% THC. This is the only thing that defines what makes hemp legal in the US. With the new Farm Bill of 2018 comes the ability for farmers and states that have regulated the production of hemp to legally farm it.

Even though it’s called industrial hemp, there is very little industrial use of hemp today.

Out of hemp you can make everything from paper to plastics, cement to chipboard. We are on the cutting edge of this technology and we have yet to see industry spring up around it. In the future we will see the above and more utilized for industrial hemp. But until then farmers will have to settle on growing hemp for CBD extraction and potentially seed for food.

Growing hemp for grain can be lucrative. The seeds are inexpensive, however you have to be mechanically geared for the scale of this type of production. Think hundreds or thousands of acres.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most lucrative side of industrial hemp today. It is a medicinal component of the cannabis plant that doesn’t share any psychoactive affects with its relative, THC. CBD is used in everything from skin creams to anti-seizure medications. It truly is a wondrous natural supplement.

As of today, CBD is the only way that you’ll be able to be cash positive from any hemp farming activity. If you’re lucky enough to have applied and received an Alabama Hemp License to grow hemp, then it’s time to get started.

The Plant

CBD hemp has many growth patterns and harvest times. It can be planted from June to August in most of the US. Alabama hemp is no different.

Unlike its cousin (i.e. ganja, marijuana, herb), Alabama hemp is grown on a considerably larger scale, with very different techniques.

The first thing you need decide before starting in Alabama hemp, is whether you want to grow from clones or seeds. High-CBD hemp seeds are available for approximately one dollar a seed on the current marketplace. These are feminized seeds that only produce female plants (or at least 90% or female plants).

That’s right. You still can have some percent of males show up, but that’s a little more complex science than we want to get into now. Basically, if you buy 10,000 feminized seeds you’re mostly going to get female plants. Don’t worry if you get a little seed in your hemp either.

You can just as easily purchase traditional seeds that will randomly be male and females. On a small scale of 5 to 10 acres this could be an excellent choice. It is easy enough to cut down all the males as they show their sex, leaving only the females in your field.

However if you do this you have to plant at twice the density in order to compensate for losing half of your plants.

Clones are by far the best way to have consistent yields and performance.

In part 2 of this guide, we’ll go over tips for planting properly, keeping your Alabama hemp plants healthy and maintaining your fields.

You can also hear from somebody who’s breaking into the Alabama hemp industry right now, Brett Terry, on The Real Dirt Podcast.

Why Are CBD Products Exploding?

Why Are CBD Products Exploding?

It’s a unique compound that has Facebook moms and media outlets mystified. But why is CBD all the sudden exploding?

There’s a few reasons CBD products are becoming more popular every day, especially in the United States. The first has already been mentioned; the media. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s start with the recent legality change of CBD.

The 2018 Farm Bill

CBD is a chemical compound found only in the cannabis plant. It is present in almost all varieties of cannabis, even if in just trace amounts. This means that CBD is also found in hemp.

Hemp has had a bumpy relationship with the U.S. government since the early 1900s. While the hemp industry was huge in the 1920s, the paper industry was quickly rising, and couldn’t compete, starting a propaganda campaign eventually leading to the criminalization of hemp and cannabis.

At least, that’s the theory.

While hemp was considered federally illegal much like cannabis (they are the same thing), states could still pass their own laws regarding hemp, much like states now that have legal cannabis laws. Colorado even added an amendment to their state constitution, giving citizens the right the grow hemp.

But in 2018, it all changed. The 2018 Farm Bill fully legalized “industrial hemp” at the federal level.

The Legalization of Industrial Hemp

What is industrial hemp? What makes it different from “regular” hemp? This is where some people get caught up.

While hemp and cannabis are the same thing, any cannabis variety that gets you “high” contains high amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Most cannabis strains you can get in the legal market are bred to have as high THC levels as possible, with little focus on the other compounds.

Hemp has always been seen as the weedy, wild version of cannabis. It isn’t bred to have high THC, but through its evolution of enduring tough climates in the wild, hemp varieties naturally have higher CBD levels. However, not all hemp is legal, hence the term “industrial hemp”.

Industrial hemp is strictly cannabis that has a THC content of .3% or less. Anything above is still illegal. So even though .4 or .5% THC wouldn’t have any real affect on a person, it is considered psychoactive cannabis, still illegal and classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

So, now industrial hemp is legal, as long as it doesn’t surpass .3% THC. However there is no regulation for CBD at the moment. This has opened up quite a lucrative opportunity for cannabis industry entrepreneurs and farmers alike.

The Rise of CBD Products

CBD started out slow. Products existed, such as hemp seed oil and other hemp derived products that contained CBD, but little was known about the actual benefits of CBD. Then came Charlotte’s Web.

Charlotte was a little girl in California suffering from intense seizures, sometimes having dozens a day to the point she was incapacitated. After a cannabis farm in Northern California developed a CBD specific strain that had extremely low THC, but high CBD, they turned it into a digestible tincture for Charlotte.

Her seizures all but stopped. This is where the snowball started rolling. 

More and more people started treating their children’s epilepsy with CBD, then more studies came out showing CBD potential in aiding with chronic pain. With its growing social acceptance,  plus the added boost of the Farm Bill, more CBD businesses are opening their doors.

While it is still currently unregulated, there is an entire CBD marketplace that has developed online. From Amazon to CBD wholesaler websites, anybody can buy CBD products online with a credit card. With massive availability and a growing understanding of its benefits, all CBD needed to push over the edge was some media attention.

cbd products are becoming popular in the media

The Today Show covering the extraction of CBD from cannabis in a March 2019 segment.

The Influence Machine

To say that modern media outlets in America carry a large swath of influence would be a massive understatement. And with more news outlets than ever before in history accessible with just a few clicks, people are ingesting more information and influential content than ever before.

With the passing of the Farm Bill and increased public awareness about the benefits of CBD, people started talking online. What started as a niche group of mostly middle aged women sharing their experiences of helping their arthritis pain with a little CBD ointment, spread across the web like a bushfire.

Before long, CNN was covering the rise of CBD products. Soon after that, so was The Washington post. As did NBC, CBS, and even Fox News.

With the media machine pushing it into the mainstream, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram flush with CBD anecdotes and articles, its rise was inevitable.

The question now is, will it last?

The Future of CBD Products

The future for CBD is still vague. It isn’t currently regulated by the FDA, and its only claim to legality lies within the rulings of the 2018 Farm Bill. There have already been plenty of issues with CBD and industrial hemp since legalization, and most likely, there won’t be any shortage of issues throughout 2019.

That doesn’t mean the market isn’t growing. In fact, the CBD industry is growing at a rate that could put it on pace to surpass legal cannabis by 2022. With that said, regardless of new regulations or restrictions, the future of CBD products is most likely bright, and green.

Want to learn more about the rise of CBD and the legal hemp industry? Check out this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast, featuring Graham Carlson of Charlotte’s Web, Mike Leago of the International Hemp Exchange, and Hollis Carter of Lefty’s Hemp Co.

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify

Los Angeles cannabis permit problems

Los Angeles cannabis permit problems

California had the right idea when they legalized cannabis in 2017. But with incredible delays, lack of resources and a surplus of entrepreneurs hoping to make a name for themselves in the industry, the state and cities like Los Angeles are struggling.

Over four million people live in the city of Los Angeles. It’s no surprise then, that the inhabitants would try to work in the new legal system. But it hasn’t been as simple, or profitable, as originally projected.

California is the biggest state in the country, as well as the largest supplier of cannabis. When the state legalized, it virtually leveled the main supplier in the state; the private market.

Unprepared, Understaffed, Overwhelmed

While strict requirements, exorbitant application fees and an originally-one-man advisory board made the legal industry all but unattainable for smaller growers and farms in the state, the process was made much simpler for retailers. Medical retailers, that is.

In Los Angeles, priority was given to owners of retail medical dispensaries in the application process. Since they already had the location, the storefront and the brand, all that was needed was a transition to the new regulatory requirements for recreational cannabis.

Second in line for application review came those that legally supplied the medical cannabis to the dispensaries in Los Angeles. It makes sense because once the retail locations are transitioned to recreational, they can continue to use the same growers and suppliers, maintaining their business relationships in the new, legal industry, with minimal delay. At least, that’s how it went on paper.

In reality, the situation isn’t going so smoothly. In February of 2018, the city gave out about 180 temporary permits to allow medical dispensaries to operate recreationally. For the growers and suppliers, the same was to be done by April. Those temporary permits weren’t issued until the end of August.

This shouldn’t be surprising considering the total lack of manpower the Department of Cannabis Regulation had then and now. The directory board of the department started with just one member. Now, over a year since legalization, there are only 13 members on the board. Now imagine those 13 people handling every single application process for the hundreds of retailers, growers and processors.

The picture starts to become pretty clear. As if the city didn’t have enough on its plate, it also included a social equity program in its local laws, aimed at helping repair some of the damage done by the war on drugs.

Los Angeles Social Equity Program

This is where the state of California and the city of Los Angeles could have set a great precedent for new and current legal industries. The city established a social equity program that would give priority to those most negatively affected by the drug war prior to legalization.

People of color in the city were disproportionately arrested for small drug crimes involving cannabis compared to their white counterparts, despite statistical data showing no difference in cannabis use between the two groups. This group and other minority groups negatively impacted by the drug war were meant to be some of the first allowed into the new, legal industry.

Unfortunately that isn’t how it has worked out for Los Angeles. While the social equity program gave priority to these minority groups, the Department of Cannabis Regulation gave higher priority to already-established medical retailers, growers and processors. And with the — to put it mildly — severe lag of the application process, these groups still haven’t had one single approval.

Mind you these are people who do not currently have a business, and want to open one in the recreational market. Many leapt for storefront dispensary locations, despite the low availability. Los Angeles put a cap on how many storefronts can be opened in a neighborhood, in addition to strict requirements for location (e.g. can’t be near schools, other dispensaries, public parks), greatly limiting the options for would-be entrepreneurs.

When it comes to timeframes, the city hasn’t been shy on the issue either;

“Bringing cannabis above ground is an incredibly complex process, and L.A. is doing it on an unprecedented scale,” Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a statement. “Our goal is to do this the right way, not the quick way or the easy way — and we’ve always been very clear about that.”

It’s a rough road ahead

Los Angeles is way behind schedule. It’s a fact. And the local government isn’t doing much to speed up the process. The Department of Cannabis Regulation currently sits at 13 members. Multiple additional position have been filed, but due to the slow city hiring process, anyone new has yet to be hired.

The head of the city council Herb Wesson insists that everything will basically sort itself out. Even with reports of many potential entrepreneurs leaving the city to open up shop elsewhere, Wesson isn’t fazed. “I have no time for folks that want to go somewhere else. Let ’em.”

Instead, as months have passed, industry groups and consultants have complained that many cannabis entrepreneurs are stuck paying steep prices for multiyear leases, after landlords hiked prices on eligible storefronts. 

“You had a lot of people who followed the city’s guidance and signed leases,” paying upwards of $10,000 a month in rent, said Larry Mondragon, vice president of zoning and entitlements for Craig Fry & Associates, a consulting firm helping cannabis businesses. “People are holding onto leases, paying exorbitant checks, not even knowing when they’re able to turn in applications to the city.”

Equity applicants are supposed to get a helping hand from the city through “business, licensing and compliance assistance.” But more than a year after recreational cannabis sales became legal, there are no city programs providing such aid.

So far, the only funding the city has approved for social equity is $250,000 for a fee deferral program. Department officials say they now are seeking more than $4 million for the program, hoping to roll out support services, such as business development training, no sooner than July.

Los Angeles needs to step up. California needs to step up. There are a lot of problems in the state with little to no solutions. Something needs to be done at the city level to change that. How, and even if that will be done, is still unknown.

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
error

Like The Real Dirt? Please spread the word :)