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Cannabis Midterm: Here’s who won

Cannabis Midterm: Here’s who won

The 2018 midterm elections allowed citizens to vote on more than just house and senate seats.

On Tuesday November 6, 2018, three states voted to legalize cannabis in some form. Utah and Missouri have both legalize medical marijuana, and Michigan has fully legalized cannabis.

Every state differs greatly on how they set up and run their legal cannabis programs. Some do it very well (e.g. Colorado, Washington), others don’t handle it so well (looking at you Massachusetts and Vermont). That’s why it is important to know each state’s laws, especially if you are a medical or recreational cannabis consumer, as the laws you abide in your home state may be very different across the border.

Utah medical marijuana

everything you need to know about utah medical marijuana

Proposition 2 legalizes medical marijuana for individuals with qualifying conditions. Individuals can receive a Utah medical marijuana card with a recommendation from a physician. Under the measure, an Utah medical marijuana cardholder cannot smoke marijuana or use a device to facilitate the smoking of marijuana.

During any one 14-day period, an individual would be allowed to buy either 2 ounces of unprocessed marijuana or an amount of marijuana product with no more than 10 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Cannabidiol (CBD). Proposition 2 was designed to exempt marijuana from local and state sales taxes. It directs the state legislature to enact business license fees for marijuana business to fund the ongoing costs of the initiative’s implementation.

From the basic spread of the proposition, Utah medical marijuana will have some hurdles up ahead. One of the largest hurdles will be that of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the primary religious sect in the state with strong connection to the state legislature.

While the LDS has already voiced their disapproval of Proposition 2, it wasn’t enough to prevent its passing. So keep an eye out for plenty of attempted roadblocks of Utah medical marijuana by the LDS in the future.

For the full outline of Proposition 2, click here.

Missouri medical marijuana

everything you need to know about missouri medical marijuana

Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment to allow medical cannabis, passed by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent in Missouri on November 6th.

Under the new law, qualified patients who have approval from their physicians will receive identification cards from the state that will allow them and their registered caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants and purchase at least four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries on a monthly basis.

Unique to the Missouri medical marijuana program, doctors will be able to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they see fit; there is no specific list of qualifying disorders. Additionally, the state regulators will issue licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as cultivation, testing and infused product manufacturing businesses.

There will be a four percent retail tax on medical cannabis sales, with revenue being earmarked for services for military veterans once implementation and regulations costs are covered. It would seem that Missouri is definitely on the right track with their program. If they can stick to their timeline and work to open up their market, they could be very successful in the future.

For the full outline of Amendment 2, click here.

Michigan legal marijuana

everything you need to know about Michigan legal marijuana

On November 6th, Michigan became the 10th state to fully legalize the sale, possession and consumption of cannabis and cannabis-infused products in the country. This marks a big step for a state that only recently also legalized medical marijuana.

Under Proposal 1, people over 21 can hold up to 2.5 ounces, and store up to 4x that amount. A household (not per person) can grow up to 12 plants for personal use. The sale of Michigan legal marijuana will be taxed at the state sales tax of 6%, plus an additional 10% marijuana tax.

These taxes when put in place are expected to bring in anywhere from $100-200 million for schools, roads and public service programs. With an infrastructure already established through the Michigan medical marijuana program, it should be a smooth transition into the legal market.

Michigan has even put safeguards in place as to avoid mistakes similar to that of Massachusetts, where cannabis has been legal for two years but there is not a single dispensary open due to government pushback. Michigan has combatted this issue preemptively by including a 12-month window in which the government is to set up their system and begin accepting applications.

Should the government drag its feet for 12 months, applicants can then begin to apply directly to their municipality, and avert the state all together. This means in 12 months, regardless of how much pushback or knuckle dragging Michigan legal marijuana may endure, applications will start coming in, and the Michigan legal marijuana industry will begin its implementation.

For the full outline of Proposal 1, click here.

There are a couple other states that voted on cannabis-related measures in the midterm as well, including Colorado and Florida. Check out the new Real Dirt Harvest Special to hear all about Amendment X in Colorado.

Canada Cannabis Packaging Problems

Canada Cannabis Packaging Problems

Canada cannabis legalization is already facing some problems. One is the amount of plastic packaging.

For every gram of Canada cannabis sold there can be as much as 70 grams of packaging waste, according to some of Canada’s first cannabis customers.

The amount of plastic, cardboard, foil and wrap that’s being used to package and market cannabis seems excessive to many.

“It’s really shameful,” said Remi Robichaud of Moncton. “Being a coastal province, they should do something about the amount of plastic that goes into our ocean.”

Canada cannabis packaging excess

Robichaud says a friend of his used a food scale to compare the weight of a gram of cannabis purchased at Cannabis NB to the 70 grams worth of plastic, foil, and packaging that it came in.

“Seeing the amount of plastic being used for such small quantities, it’s really shameful.”

In Nova Scotia, the issue is similar, according to Greg Mac who purchased his cannabis from an NSLC store.

“I think the packaging is pretty excessive,” said Mac.

“Look at what comes with one gram of weed — you’ve got a cardboard box that comes in a bottle. That bottle is sealed with more plastic. And you open it up and see how much weed actually comes in the bottle and you think “Wow, there’s a lot that’s going on there.”

Mac purchased four grams of cannabis then shared a photo online of the excess plastic bottles, wrappings and cardboard that was used to package it.

That photo was shared hundreds of times resulting in many voicing their displeasure with what they consider to be excessive plastic packaging.

“I’ve been buying from medical dispensaries for two years now,” said Mac. “And all I ever get is Ziploc bags of different variations. And that’s always been pretty good for me.”

Packaging mandate

On its website, Health Canada mandates that Canada cannabis “be packaged in an immediate container that is tamper-evident, child-resistant, prevents contamination and keeps cannabis dry.”

It also states that “regulations would require that the immediate container be opaque or translucent. Products could have both an inner and outer package, but every package would need to be labelled in accordance with the proposed requirements.”

It also states that each order of cannabis include an informational document developed by Health Canada that includes health and safety information.

​Robichaud argues cannabis packaging could be made of glass, instead of plastic, and reused, similar to how craft beer producers use “growlers, “or glass jugs that can be refilled with beer.

Mac agrees and says being able to bring back enough plastic bottles for a discount of their next purchase would be smart in an age where companies and governments around the world have pledged to reduce their own plastic waste and even ban the plastic straw.

“It’ll give somebody an incentive and is the smart way to go about it,” said Mac.

Read the original story on CBC News.

Check out our Canadian Cannabis Legalization Guide!

Canada Legalization Guide: Things to know

Canada Legalization Guide: Things to know

It’s October 17th. Canadian cannabis is now fully legal. And it’s a big deal.

What makes the legalization of Canadian cannabis so important is that Canada hasn’t just decriminalized cannabis like some states in the US and other countries. They fully legalized it.

That makes Canada the second country in the world (behind Uruguay) and the first G7 country to legalize the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis.

Being a first-world country with a very large economy, it’s fair to say that all eyes will be on the nation up north to determine the viability of widespread cannabis legalization. While big business and governments are watching for success, we the people get to enjoy legal, Canadian cannabis anytime we visit the Great White North.

But before you grab your jacket and head to Ontario, here’s the essential information to know about Canadian cannabis legalization.

Where to buy legal Canadian cannabis

Each province in Canada is different when it comes to how cannabis will be sold. In some, consumers can only buy their cannabis from the government through an online store. Other provinces will have privately owned and operated dispensaries opening their doors to Canadian cannabis lovers.

For now, it would appear that most cannabis sales starting out will be through the government. Quebec now has 12 government-run dispensaries open, with government employees taking up the positions of budtenders. Saskatchewan will have 51 privately owned stores, and Alberta will have 17 as well as online sales through the government.

What’s the legal age for Canadian cannabis?

In the majority of provinces the legal age for cannabis consumption is 19. Quebec has their current legal age at 18, but will most likely raise the age to 21 in the near future.

Just like alcohol, supplying cannabis to minors carries a heavy offense, with up to 14 years in Canadian prison.

How much can I buy?

This one is simple enough. Country-wide, Canadian cannabis consumers will be allowed up to 30 grams (just over an ounce) of legal cannabis. Since Canada will not be allowing the sale of edibles or concentrates for another year, there is no need for a policy like that of Colorado.

Colorado’s policy allows consumers to purchase one ounce of flower per day, or the THC equivalent. That means that instead of an ounce of flower, a Colorado consumer could instead get 8 grams of concentrates or 800mg of edibles, roughly the equivalent THC of an ounce of dry flower.

Where can I smoke?

Similarly to how age limits in provinces are set, so are the local laws regarding consumption of Canadian cannabis. Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta will allow people to smoke cannabis wherever cigarette smoking is allowed. This makes streets and parks fair game in Ontario, but British Columbia has blocked smoking in parks or community beaches.

Halifax will actually have designated smoking areas on municipal properties that consumers can find through a Google Maps-esque website with green smoking signs signifying the safe zones. While there aren’t any legal cannabis clubs for social consumption, there have been many operating in the black market for years.

Vancouver and Toronto are a couple of Canadian cities known to have thriving cannabis cafes and lounges that fly under the radar. So for most, the enjoyment of legal Canadian cannabis will be at home or a friend’s in a private setting.

If you live in Canada, there’s more to know about growing you own cannabis, driving high and criminal records that you should read up on. And while you enjoy that tasty, legal, Canadian cannabis, tune into the new episode of The Real Dirt Podcast!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

Refugee Squirrels Wreak Havoc on Cannabis Farmers

Refugee Squirrels Wreak Havoc on Cannabis Farmers

400,000 acres burned in California this year from wildfires. In those fires, squirrels lost their nuts.

Hundreds of thousands of refugee squirrels have made their way up north from Southern California to escape the fires, finding new homes in the many cannabis farms in the area. As funny as it sounds, it’s bad.

What these squirrels do is nothing short of murder…plant murder.

The refugee squirrels problem

While most are happy that the squirrels are safe from danger now, many aren’t so thrilled with where they have taken up. Mainly on cannabis farms.

Climbing on the plants, breaking off branches when they climb, and even chewing on the cannabis plants is making the  refugee squirrels a not-so-welcome guest in the Emerald Triangle. But this is a new problem, with no well-known solution.

This is where the problem comes in. Mites, aphids or other small critters are easy enough to deal with, every grower has to deal with them at some point. But no grower has ever really had to deal with squirrels, let alone so many.

Desperate times

Farmers in NorCal have resorted to pellet guns and small arms in so instances to eradicate the squirrels. There are still too many refugee squirrels to get rid of them all.

Compared to other small rodents growers might have to deal with, the sheer amount of squirrels sent there by the forest fires is too much for most to handle. Some have lost their entire crop to the influx of squirrels.

It’s rough in the Emerald Triangle right now. Nut-starved, weed-hungry squirrels are wreaking havoc on farmers all over, and a lot are still trying to figure out how to deal with them.

Will there be a war? Who knows. Maybe the squirrels will realize they like nugs more than nuts. Let’s hope not.

Hear more on the new episode of The Real Dirt! Part 3 of the Harvest Special addresses the squirrel issue, talks trimming and more.

Massachusetts Legalization Lags

Massachusetts Legalization Lags

Massachusetts legalization supposedly when into full effect on July 1st. Why aren’t there any dispensaries?

The first of July marked what should have been the first day of recreational cannabis sales in the state of Massachusetts. Yet, almost a month later, there isn’t a single dispensary that has opened its doors for business.

At this point, there is one dispensary that has been given permission to open already, Cultivate. However, the owner of Cultivate has said that they are not putting a hard date on when they will be opening. This isn’t all their fault though, as a lot of the blame falls on the local jurisdictions in the state.

Local roadblocks

Over 200 towns ands counties have blocked Massachusetts legalization, with the only chance of letting up coming in the form of extremely high payments from legal cannabis businesses and other attempts to blockade the industry. Additionally, despite the legal market officially opening on July 1st, Cultivate didn’t get their license to grow recreational cannabis until the 12th.

If that isn’t enough explanation of the delay in Massachusetts legalization, add the fact that the first recreational cannabis testing facility won’t be licensed until the end of July. Every producer in the state must have their cannabis tested before it can go to the shelves, yet they won’t even be able to send it to a facility until August at the earliest.

Massachusetts legalization process lagging

Another reason for the current Massachusetts legalization lag is the delay in application reviewing and approval by the state’s cannabis commission. According to recent reports, the commission is currently reviewing 29 applications, with another 39 applications still waiting to be reviewed.

While some counties have banned submitting applications altogether, others that allow submissions are still moving slow to send them in for review. So who is really to blame for the delay? Government of course! But not just the state government, it’s the local governments too.

Delay after delay

Suffice to say there won’t be any recreational cannabis sales happening in Massachusetts in July. The owner of Cultivate, which is set to be the first dispensary to open since Massachusetts legalization took effect, says that they won’t be opening until September at the earliest. This is disheartening to say the least.

As a progressive state, it is a surprise to see state and local government drag their feet so heavily in Massachusetts. Some states just take time however, and Massachusetts certainly isn’t the exception. We can only hope that as they move further into legalization, state and local governments will adjust and recognize the potential profit to be had by allowing Massachusetts legalization to proceed uninhibited.

California Bans CBD Oil

California Bans CBD Oil

California just banned CBD in food products. What does it mean for patients?

In an unprecedented and shocking decision, California — yes, the same state that just finalized regulations for a legal cannabis industry — has moved to ban CBD oils from being sold as part of any food product. Oddly enough, this memo was released on July 9th, yet there has been no major news coverage until now, halfway through July.

California bans CBD oil

According to the memo, the public health department’s Food and Drug Branch (FDB) “has received numerous inquiries from food processors and retailers who are interested in using industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD products in food since the legalization of medicinal and adult-use marijuana (cannabis) in California.”

The memo continues from there, making clear that the public health department’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) “regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products,” while “food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”

cbd banned from food in california

CBD infused coffee products from a store in Los Angeles.

While California has no issue going against Federal Law by legalizing recreational cannabis, which the state has deemed safe for consumption by humans, the state apparently doesn’t want to risk it with CBD:

“Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”

Distinguishing factors

While hemp and cannabis are the same plant, there has grown a distinction between the two due to how they are categorized. Hemp must contain .3% THC or less. Any more and it is considered psychoactive cannabis. This all has to do with specific breeds of cannabis that have been bred over generations to have as little THC as possible.

Even then, the FDA still considers CBD from either hemp or cannabis to be a schedule 1 controlled substance. This is despite the fact that the FDA just approved a CBD drug produced by a pharmaceutical company for seizures, even though they consider CBD a federally illegal, schedule 1 controlled substance. The smell of hypocrisy is flagrant.

Hypocrisy Abound

At The Real Dirt, we know all the legal jargon, acronyms and hypocrisy can be too much. Here are the basics of the new CBD oil ban in California so you know exactly what’s going on.

The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH) recently released a statement entitled FAQ – Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol CBD in Food Products, which declares that in California, hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in any food products.
The prohibited ingredients in food products include:
1) any CBD products derived from cannabis;
2) any CBD products including CBD oil derived from industrial hemp;
3) hemp oil that is not derived from industrial hemp seeds; and
4) industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids.
This new CDPH guidance does not impact the ability of cannabis businesses to produce and sell cannabis-derived CBD products, including cannabis edibles, in licensed dispensaries under the regulated cannabis system. 
What do you think of this new memo? Do you think it will hold up, or will the people of California push back hard?
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