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Denver gives first cannabis transporter license to felon who trafficked plant

Denver gives first cannabis transporter license to felon who trafficked plant

first cannabis transport license issued in Colorado

Two days after Denver issued its first-ever cannabis delivery license to a dispensary, the first transporter license was granted to a company whose co-founder suffered legal consequences for trafficking the substance decades ago.

Ari and Karina Cohen, co-founders of the cannabis transportation company Doobba, were awarded the license Thursday.

Applicants who qualify for Denver’s social equity designation are the only ones who can apply for cannabis transporter permits until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed cannabis stores can conduct their own delivery services.

Established cannabis stores must obtain a delivery license and they must contract with a transportation license holder until the July sunset date.

Ari qualified as a social equity transporter because he was convicted of a cannabis-related felony about 30 years ago, Karina confirmed.

“Our business model is to partner with very specific dispensaries,” she said. “Our biggest thing in this whole journey is to end cannabis prohibition.”

Colorado law specifies social equity applicants must meet one of three criteria as well as have at least a 51 percent ownership of the company.

The applicant must have lived in the state for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in a census tract designated as an opportunity zone or disproportionate impacted area; or they, a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse or child were arrested, convicted or subject to civil asset forfeiture related to a cannabis investigation; or the applicant’s yearly income the year prior did not exceed 50 percent of the state’s median income.

She said Doobba has been talking to at least three cannabis companies about partnering with them for delivery services, and the company will start with two drivers.

Cohen said she’s not sure when her company will finalize a contract with a dispensary, but that she hopes to do so within the next couple of weeks.

She also said Doobba intends to help other social equity applicants navigate the licensing process because “it can be confusing.”

“Ari and I both have a lot of business acumen, and we want to pay it forward and help others stand up and be successful,” Cohen said.

Strawberry Fields received the first delivery permit for a licensed cannabis business on Tuesday, and representatives said they have been in talks with Doobba.

THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

What is THC-O Acetate and is it like Delta 8 THC?

As more states begin banning and regulating Delta 8 THC, manufacturers are looking for alternatives to skirt the rules. Bring in THC-O Acetate.

Before we dive into the latest designer cannabinoid that aims to replace Delta 8 THC as it becomes banned in several states and regulated in some others, let’s briefly run through what Delta 8 THC is itself.

All cannabinoids, from CBD to THC and beyond begin as CBGA. Because of the shared molecular structure of cannabinoids, manipulating them is simpler than it may seem. While Delta-8 is relatively new, producers have been using these methods to manipulate cannabinoids for a long time to find exotic new cannabinoids.

While Delta-8 THC exists in a wide range of cannabis strains, it is in minuscule, trace amounts. To extract and purify Delta-8 from raw plant material with less than one percent of the targeted cannabinoid is unprofitable. This is why producers have begun converting other, more prevalent cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC into Delta-8.

Through a synthetic isomerization process, CBD is combined with a solvent to create Delta-8 THC. This is why the most popular products are vape cartridges and gummies. Cannabis cannot produce enough Delta-8 on its own.

Why Delta 8 THC is being banned

If you read the above section and started thinking, “That sounds pretty similar to those designer cannabinoids like spice that hurt a lot of people”, you would be on the right track. That is why over a dozen states have already banned Delta 8 THC.

Due to grey areas in the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp and all of its derivatives (besides Delta 9 THC), producers of Delta 8 believe they technically aren’t breaking any laws. However unlike CBD which was immediately popular and thus regulated by the FDA for safety, Delta 8 has had no such treatment.

In 2020, the DEA released a set of rules for hemp production in the country. This ruling states that any naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinols in the hemp plant that has a Delta 9 THC percentage below .3% is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. In other words, it would seem like Delta 8 in the clear.

However the DEA also includes that for synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols (like Delta 8 which is created synthetically), the concentration of D9 -THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances. In other words, maybe Delta 8 is not so in the clear.

For the states that have already banned Delta 8 THC, it seems the easiest solution to a product that the FDA and DEA have made no mention of regulating. For producers however, THC-O Acetate is the solution.

What is THC-O Acetate?

While Delta 8 THC occurs in low concentrations in cannabis that must be extracted and isolated, THC-O Acetate — commonly called ATHC or THC-O — is not naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and can only be made synthetically.

THC-O is a man-made cannabinoid produced by using specific chemicals to acetylate THC. Acting as a metabolic prodrug for THC itself, THC-O works in the same manner as heroin does as a metabolic prodrug for morphine. That alone is enough to rub many cannabis users the wrong way, especially whole plant advocates.

THC-O Acetate can also be made from Delta 8 THC, so in states where it has been banned and producers may have a bulk supply of Delta 8, it can be converted relatively easily. And what truly makes THC-O so popular is the effects users feel.

Traditional THC Molecule:

Delta 9 THC vs THC-O AcetateTHC-O Acetate Molecule:

What is THC-O Acetate and is it safe?

A better high than Delta 9?

According to user reports and the little science behind it, THC-O Acetate has been shown to be two to three times stronger than Delta 9 THC. You read that right. THC-O can be 300% more potent than traditional Delta 9 THC.

Users have claimed that THC-O Acetate is a much more introspective and psychedelic experience compared to Delta 9 or Delta 8 THC, which is likely due to the extreme potency. Similarly to Delta 8 THC, THC-O can only be made through isolation, which means most products will be either a vape cartridge or edibles.

While for most, normal Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC does the trick just fine and taking such a concentrated product would be excessive, there is a real appeal for medical applications of THC-O Acetate. For some, traditional Delta 9 doesn’t provide enough relief from pain, anxiety or other issues.

Due to its potency, many believe that THC-O could be a great beneficial medicine for those who want to use cannabis but need a more concentrated dose that isn’t easily attainable through traditional consumption. With that said, THC-O Acetate is treated similarly to Delta 8 currently.

That means in states where Delta 8 has already been banned, you may be unable to have THC-O products delivered, or find them at smoke shops. However since there is so little information on THC-O, few states actually know about it, which means distributors may be able to get away with it for a while.

Is THC-O Acetate the new designer drug?

Of course for now it is too soon to say if THC-O is likely to end up in a similar grave to Spice or K2. These were synthetically created cannabinoid products that ended up hurting a lot of people, leading them to be banned across the country. However the way these products skirted the law was by minutely adjusting their chemical makeups every time one was banned.

Because the government would ban specific makeups of these products, small adjustments made them different products technically. It is always possible, being a fully synthetic creation, that THC-O befalls a similar fate. In grey markets, profits typically rise above safety. As competition grows, just like Delta 8 became more widespread, the same will likely happen to THC-O Acetate.

Producers will try to create stronger and cheaper versions of the drug, the latter effort being that which leads to danger. We all saw what happened when illicit market vape cartridge producers tried to cut costs by including Propylene Glycol and Vitamin E Acetate in their products. This resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations and even deaths.

With any grey or black market cannabis products, it is always on the user to ensure they are getting a safe and reliable product. If demand for THC-O Acetate grows enough, you can bet there will be a market for it.

However as a non-natural cannabinoid, THC-O isn’t measured with most testing methods used for cannabis currently. While some have claimed to created a reliable process for measuring THC-O, nothing has become the standard. Due to this it might be a while before there are truly reliable providers of THC-O products, but that hasn’t stopped consumers before, and likely won’t this time around either.

Denver grants first cannabis delivery license

Denver grants first cannabis delivery license

colorado cannabis delivery
Ever had one of those lazy days where you don’t want to get off the couch, even to buy cannabis? Soon, you won’t have to.
Strawberry Fields, a marijuana cultivation company with five Colorado dispensaries, including one at 3453 S. Yosemite St., was awarded Denver’s first cannabis delivery license Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to open up a lot of different avenues and outlets, more availability for our (medical cannabis) patients and consumers,” said Ethan Shean, chief retail operations officer for Strawberry Fields.

The service will not be immediately available, however.

Retail cannabis outlets must contract with companies that have obtained a cannabis transportation license, and none of those have been issued, although city officials told BusinessDen those applications could be approved within the next couple weeks.

Shean said the ability to deliver products will help Strawberry Fields connect with homebound medical cannabis patients and to people who have limited transportation.

“That is part of the inclusion that we want,” Shean said. “The customers and the patients who may not have access to come to one of our locations could be patients who rely on public transportation. We want to be accessible and convenient.”

Strawberry Fields opened in 2010 as a medical dispensary before adding recreational sales when it became legal in Colorado. The company is in communication with a few people who have applied for cannabis transportation licenses, Shean said.

State law governs how much cannabis can purchased per day, which is up to one ounce of “flower” per person or eight grams of concentrate with more than 800 milligrams of THC.

The city of Denver will only allow people who qualify as a “social equity applicant” to apply for medical and retail cannabis transportation licenses until July 1, 2024. Transporters can contract with multiple cannabis stores for their services. Deliveries must take place between 8 a.m. and midnight.

Existing retail and medical cannabis stores must contract with transportation licensees until July 1, 2024. After that, licensed dispensaries will be able to conduct deliveries themselves.

California opens new marijuana agency 5 years after legalization

California opens new marijuana agency 5 years after legalization

california department of cannabis control

Five years after California legalized recreational marijuana, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law aimed at simplifying how the state regulates the growing industry.

The new law creates a single Department of Cannabis Control, consolidating enforcement, licensing and environmental oversight that had fallen under three different departments.

Industry representatives praised the change, which Newsom first proposed in January 2020.

We “are excited to see the consolidation,” said Lindsay Robinson, the executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, representing over 400 licensed businesses across the state. “We see this as a big win for the industry.”

The Department of Cannabis Control will now take over responsibilities from the Bureau of Cannabis Control under the Department of Consumer Affairs, CalCannabis under the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch under the Department of Health.

Cannabis companies had often expressed difficulty navigating three different agencies with varying protocols and processes, according to Robinson.

“I think that having all of this housed under one agency is going to help with communication, it’s going to help with transparency and hopefully with process time for applications too,” Robinson said.

The department will also manage California’s track-and-trace system, following the movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the legal supply chain.

The Newsom administration wants to make it less likely someone will choose to operate in the illicit market, Christina Dempsey, the Acting Deputy Director for the DCC, told The Sacramento Bee by email.

Robinson called the licensing of California’s cannabis industry when voters approved recreational cannabis use in 2016 a “behemoth project” from the start.

Michigan Governor Signs Legislation to Regulate Delta-8 THC

Michigan Governor Signs Legislation to Regulate Delta-8 THC

michigan delta 8 law has been passed

MICHIGAN — Today Gov. Whitmer signed legislation that will regulate, and cover delta-8 THC derived starting October 11, 2021.

This bill will update definitions regarding cannabis plant products making sure all intoxicating substances will be safety-tested and tracked through the MRA’s statewide monitoring system Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.

“This package of bills continues to show Michigan is the model for the nation in regard to protecting its residents and making sure that those who consume marijuana products do so in a safe manner,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I am glad to see Michigan continuing to lead on the implementation and regulation of a safe, secure marijuana industry, which has already brought tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the state, as well as thousands of well-paying jobs.”

“The team at the MRA has always been committed to transparency and forward thinking and this was once again the case regarding delta-8,” said MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo. “We were proud to work with legislators and industry stakeholders to pro-actively address this issue and move an untested, unlicensed intoxicating synthetic product into our licensed and regulated system.”

“The voters of Michigan chose to legalize and regulate marijuana in the interests of justice and public health,” said Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor. “We know that banning these substances is not the best way to keep the public safe. But we also know that these psychoactive compounds are currently being sold with no public health standards to anyone, regardless of age. Instead of allowing these new hemp derivatives like Delta 8 to circumvent our world-class regulated system, this new law will apply the same rigorous testing and commercial standards that currently protect consumer safety in the legal marijuana marketplace.”

“I appreciate the support of Governor Whitmer and my legislative partner Representative Rabhi in helping Michigan take an important step in streamlining regulations for the safety of cannabis businesses and people around our state,” said Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Twp. “By mirroring Michigan’s existing liquor dram shop law and clearly defining the requirements for a proper injury lawsuit, we are bringing clarity to a previously murky area of our cannabis laws. I am extremely excited to see the Governor not only sign these bills, but also sign bills to protect Michigander’s from unregulated and untested Delta-8 hemp products. This legislation does the right thing by taking these products out of the unregulated marketplace and bringing them under the purview of a well-functioning Marijuana Regulatory Agency.”

$1.19 billion worth of marijuana seized in California bust

$1.19 billion worth of marijuana seized in California bust

california cannabis bust

Authorities in Southern California have seized more than 16 tons of marijuana worth an estimated $1.19 billion, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Wednesday. The 10-day sting is the largest eradication of illegal marijuana cultivations in the history of the department. 

The operation, which began on June 8, resulted in 22 felony arrests, 109 misdemeanor arrests, and 19 arrests from water theft enforcement teams, officials said. More than 200 locations were served with search warrants. Nearly 375,000 marijuana plants and 33,480 pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, along with 65 vehicles, 180 animals and $28,000.

Officials say they believe international cartels are behind the illegal large-scale marijuana farms.

“We’re talking about the cartels,” Lancaster, California, Mayor Rex Parris said at a Wednesday press conference. “We are not talking about mom and pop people selling marijuana that they grew in their backyard. This is the cartels. We are very very close to driving down the freeway and seeing bodies hanging from the overpasses. That is what’s coming.” 

While California legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018, illegal grows of the crop have been on the rise in the state. Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Narcotic Bureau identified over 500 illegal marijuana cultivations in 2021, increasing from the 150 identified in 2020, according to a June statement. Detectives found that the average size per cultivation at farms increased to 15 greenhouses, up from eight per farm in the year prior.

“What we want to do is send a clear and loud message to the cartels and anyone doing an illegal operation in the high desert: Your days are over and we’re coming for you,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation by cartels include water theft, human trafficking, pollution and threats to safety and security.

“This illegal activity is impacting the quality of life for residents and businesses and if left unaddressed will have long lasting and devastating affects in the region,” Barger said.

 

She called on the district attorney to prosecute those arrested in the operation. Villanueva said that he will share the district attorney’s prosecution decision publicly once it’s made available.

“This is an issue that is plaguing, and will continue to plague, if we do not make it very uncomfortable and one way to make it uncomfortable is to prosecute,” Barger said.

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