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?
What Are Dabs? Concentrates Explained

What Are Dabs? Concentrates Explained

Concentrates are almost as popular as flower cannabis now. But what is a concentrate?

It’s simple at first glance. A dab or concentrate is just that; the concentrated form of the main chemical in cannabis that produces psychotropic effects, THC. Due to it’s potency, all that is needed to get the full effect of concentrates is just a dab. But how those inevitable dabs are made can vary from the methods to the solvents used in the extraction process.

Extracting concentrates

When extracts — which would eventually be more commonly referred to as concentrates or dabs at dispensaries — first started their rise to popularity, the main solvent used was butane. Because butane is so cold, the gas iss able to stick to the THC crystals of cannabis flower and pull them off the plant, without taking any other chemicals or plant matter.

Through this process of butane extraction, we got the first concentrates that would push them into the spotlight for their clean, pure taste, with effects that pack a punch.


what are dabs like wax and crumble

Two types of wax. Photo by @sens.media

The simplest and earliest form of concentrate, wax is most commonly made with Butane, although CO2 and even propane extraction has become more prevalent. The way wax is made is very similar to shatter or crumble (another form of wax), but the results vary significantly.

The difference in wax compared to other concentrates, is that it is purged of solvents at a higher temperature and then whipped like a batter toward the middle or end of the purging process. Avoiding the whipping results in another concentrate still very popular; shatter.


Shatter concentrate

what is shatter dabs

A slab of shatter. Photo by @bigcat_concentrates.

Shatter is most popular for how it looks. It’s name comes in part from those looks. Shatter typically looks like a piece of golden-brown glass. This happens when extractors let the concentrate sit during the purging process without any agitation (as opposed to wax which is highly agitated), allowing the concentrate to harden into a thin sheet of glass that eventually becomes shatter.

Due to its structure, shatter can be very brittle and break at the touch like glass, but it can also be made more malleable, which makes it easier to manage. Shatter with a more sappy consistency can also have more terpenes and other beneficials that might be carried over if made more brittle.

Live resin

what are dabs? Like live resin

A jar of live resin from Green Dot Labs

One of the newest extraction methods on the market, live resin is different from any concentrate that came before it, and because of this, is taking over the concentrate shelves at local dispensaries. Live resin is made in the same way as wax or shatter, but the plant matter used is what makes the difference.

To make a live resin concentrate, extractors will try to keep the plant as close to alive as possible after cutting it down in order to preserve its living terpene profile. This is usually done by cryogenically freezing the plants as soon as they are chopped, preserving all the oils, cannabinoids and terpenes that are normally purged out during the curing and aging process.


what is rosin

Live rosin being pressed. Photo by Green Dot Labs.

Rosin rose to popularity very quickly, simply due to how easy it is to make. What started as a small basement trend of people sharing videos of them pressing their cannabis with a hot hair straightener in order to press out the natural oils from the plant, has evolved into an entirely new subset of the concentrate industry.

Rosin is one of the first solvent-less extracts, meaning there is zero risk of encountering any leftover butane, propane, or CO2, because it was never used in the first place. Making rosin is as simple as getting a hair straightener and some parchment paper, leading to one of the largest home-extraction movements of the booming industry.

While rosin may not be as potent as other concentrates, and its consistency can be difficult to deal with, many flock to dispensaries for this clean concentrate for the peace of mind in knowing there were no potentially harmful solvents used in the making of the product. The flower itself that is actually pressed to make rosin, is a different story.


what are dabs like distillate

A glob of distillate from @TheClearConcentrate

Distillates are made through a process called molecular distillation. Distilling hash requires taking winterized concentrates — butane or CO2 hash oil refined with alcohol or ethanol and then chilled at extreme temperatures — and then distilling them to concentrate the THC further. Commercial extractors use a machine called a “wiped film evaporator,” which takes advantage of the different boiling points in cannabinoids to thermally separate them.

Extractors will then repeat this process to remove more and more impurities like leftover solvents. The result of this process is a clear, clean concentrate with no smell and virtually zero solvents. By taking a butane hash oil with a THC content between 70 and 85% and distilling it, the result can reach potencies of up to 95%. However, for the big punch this concentrate packs, it lacks the flavor and diversity of the other concentrates in this list.

No matter what type of dabs or concentrates you decide to enjoy on 7/10, the national holiday of concentrates, remember to start small and pace yourself with dabs. A little too much and you’re holiday will be ending early with a nap.
California Cannabis Laws and Growers

California Cannabis Laws and Growers

The majority of Californians celebrated the passing of Proposition 64 on New Years which officially legalized cannabis use for adults 21 and older. For some, it’s causing serious problems.

The main parties affected by these new laws are the small-time growers and farmers that have been growing cannabis in an under-regulated market for years. These farmers must now meet new standards in pesticides, chemical levels and more regulations for their plants.

California Cannabis Laws: too strict?

Some are starting to claim that these standards are so strict that even organically grown cannabis is unable to meet certain standards. The other issue with these chemical limits is that pesticides and chemicals can drift from other farms that don’t have the same restrictions, contaminating cannabis farms in the area.

While these other crops are allowed to use fungicides and pesticides, cannabis growers cannot use any due to the plant’s Schedule 1 status on the federal level. Due to these new California cannabis laws, pesticide manufacturers, whether organic or synthetic, cannot register their products for use for a commercial cannabis crop.  

More harm than good?

The fear for many is two fold; that these new California cannabis laws and regulations will either force growers to conform to the new standards, spending copious amounts of money to comply, or force them back into the private market. Due to this, the California market will likely still see a decrease in “clean” cannabis. Prices may rise in the legal market, and continued access to the private market will remain steady.

Growers in California are now working to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for everything from inventory and quality control to transportation, security and cannabis waste disposal. All of these procedures and regulations must be met by July 1, 2018 to ensure a smooth transition into a newly regulated market.

It is too soon to say what affect these new California cannabis laws and regulations will have on small growers, but we are already starting to see changes. Demand for cannabis is increasing every day, and with the new regulations, supply will decrease. That sounds like potential market share and profit to me.

Listen to Craig Nejedly of Talking Trees Farms in Humboldt talk with Chip about California laws and the changing industry in the new episode of The Real Dirt Podcast! You can listen right here on The Real Dirt website, or go to iTunes and subscribe to get notifications of new episodes every week.

What is CBD?

What is CBD?

If you walk into a dispensary or a smoke circle, you’re more than likely going to see or hear about CBD, and rightfully so.

This wondrous compound has gained a lot of attention recently, mainly for its aid in fighting seizures in children and adults, but its uses are broadening. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found largely in hemp, known for its excessively low THC levels. But it is also found in the everyday psychoactive cannabis you might find at a dispensary.

What is CBD?

The difference between the two types of CBD is mainly that of where it comes from. Not necessarily the genetic makeup of the cannabinoid. In order for hemp to be legal, it must have THC contents lower than .3%. Compared to the cannabis you might find in a store with THC levels surpassing 20%, one can see where the difference starts to show.

Hemp is known to have much higher levels of Cannabidiol compared to its sister plant, making it perfect for pure CBD products like cosmetics, creams, and medications like tinctures. Female cannabis is known for its potent THC, but it does not lack CBD altogether. While still much lower, almost all cannabis has this chemical in it in some quantity.

However, in today’s rising hemp industry, hemp is overwhelmingly supported for its CBD content over it’s sister plant.

The Entourage Effect

THC may potentially increase the effects of Cannabidiol when used in combination, leading many organizations to promote “full plant medicine”, which utilizes all of the different cannabinoids within cannabis to provide a full range of medicinal and psychotropic effects. However, the jury is still out on whether THC and CBD in combination provide a more complete medicinal effect compared to each cannabinoid on its own.

For those that want medicinal benefits without the high that comes with THC, Cannabidiol from hemp is the solution. The benefits of CBD are becoming more well known as access becomes easier, and most dispensaries will have products in stock.

Be careful when you search for CBD products, and if you can’t consume THC for any reason, ensure you’re CBD comes from hemp and not from female cannabis flower to avoid potentially higher THC levels.

Oregon Cannabis Overload

Oregon Cannabis Overload

Oregon is facing an issue that a lot of people never though would rise in our time. They have too much cannabis.

There is currently over a million pounds of unsold Oregon cannabis sitting idle. Just for fun, that million pounds breaks into over 120 million eighths, or over double the amount of Oregon cannabis consumed in 2017. With the overflow of product and lack of demand, prices are noticeably dropping.

All supply, not so much demand

The average cost of a gram in Oregon has dropped to just $4, compared to another legal state such as Colorado, where the cheapest gram averages around $10. While Colorado has been experimenting with legal cannabis since commercial sales starting in 2014, legal Oregon cannabis is still new, only taking effect in 2015.

While it was slow to pick up at first with just 99 licensed recreational dispensaries at the end of 2016, new regulations propelled the industry through 2017, seeing that number rise to over 260.

The best Oregon cannabis

With so many stores opening so fast, competition is fierce. Breeders and retail stores have to compete with dozens of other businesses in their area, and it has quickly become a race to the bottom.

While more people try to get involved in the Oregon cannabis industry, those already with their hands in the pie are beginning to wonder if they should take them out. Coupled with the inevitability of big business coming into the industry with investor backing, those already involved either have to beat out the competition to stay in business, or bail.

It’s too soon to say what might happen with the Oregon cannabis industry. After all, it’s young, and Colorado went through a similar stage in its legalization infancy in which the bad business models were quickly filtered out.

While for the consumer it might seem like a great time to move to Oregon for super-cheap cannabis, there’s no way to know how long the low prices will last, and if the quality will still be maintained with the inflation. For now, we can just watch and see who the top Oregon cannabis producers are as they compete to stay alive.

Hear first hand what one of the top breeders in Oregon is facing on The Real Dirt Podcast. Fletcher Watson works at Archive Seed Bank and Archive Portland, and he shares his experience in the Oregon cannabis industry.

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