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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?
60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

In this episode of The Real Dirt Chip talks about the Cultivate Showdown, a secret cannabis competition hosted by The Real Dirt. The best of the best growers from all over came to showcase their cannabis, with only one winner being chosen.

Check out the entries below as Chip and his guests analyze them on this episode!

You walk into the dispensary. There are a dozen different strains on the shelf, some are labeled as the “bottom shelf” strain choices, others are the supposed “top shelf” strain options.

You ask to see one of the bottom shelf strains — because let’s be real, if you can get solid cannabis at a cheap price, why not? — and they bring the jar closer for inspection. The bud might not look super frosty or appealing, but when they open the jar, you’re hit with a wave of smells that linger in your nose. Fruitiness, gassiness, dankness. All the smells you want.

Then you ask to see one of the top shelf strain options. It looks great; the bud structure is what you look for, it has a nice crystal to hair ratio. It’s everything you would look for in a top shelf bud. The keyword being “look”.

The budtender brings the top shelf jar over and cracks it open. You aren’t smacked in the face with the same smell explosion as before. In fact, this strain seems to be very mild in smell compared to the bottom shelf option. It might even smell a little bit like hay. This is where the average cannabis consumer gets lost.

The top shelf bud should be better. It looks way better, but most importantly, there has to be a reason it is priced higher than the bottom shelf stuff, right? Not always. One of the most important things to remember about cannabis, especially when it comes to dispensary cannabis, is that looks are not all that matters.

Dispensaries do not allow customers to touch the cannabis. Obviously this is due to contamination concerns, but an added benefit of this rule is just that; you aren’t allowed to touch the cannabis. An essential way of being able to judge the quality of cannabis is through touch.

A bud could look super dense and sticky in the jar, but once you get home you find out it was just a fluffy bud that looked dense, and it’s dry to the point you don’t even need a grinder. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to touch the cannabis at a dispensary, you must utilize your other senses, sight and smell, for the majority of your judgement. So you better make sure they are fine tuned!

In this episode of The Real Dirt, Chip sits down with Jess Baker, Jacob Sarabia and Travis Crane to go through a dozen different strains to analyze them all. Learn what to look for, what to smell for, and what to avoid before you decide to light up that next strain you see at the dispensary or in your smoke circle.

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.

Is the Boutique Dispensary in Trouble?

Is the Boutique Dispensary in Trouble?

Big money is slowly starting to sink its teeth into the cannabis industry.

 

This should come as no surprise, as the industry is projected to reach a valuation of $50 billion by 2026, and big money is known to get involved when more money can be made. For the local dispensary with one location, this could mean problems.

This urges the question; as a grassroots movement that has gotten to where it is because of the people, will we let the industry become commercialized and commoditized by these big time players? This could already be happening in California, where new regulations and costly fees are pushing out the small business owners and opening the door for big players to come in and clean up.

The commercial dispensary

Just in Denver, there are already several dispensary chains with multiple locations throughout the city, who get their supplies from large-scale commercial growers who are pumping out hundreds of pounds in a single harvest and distributing to multiple stores. There are still those small-scale, artisan or craft grows that focus on providing a quality product to their customers, whether it’s a boutique dispensary with it’s own operation, or a small-scale grower that works with small dispensary businesses.

But will they be able to withstand the exponential growth that continues to bring in entrepreneurs with more money, and the demand for even more product?

Quality vs. Quantity

The shift from traditional forms of cultivation like outdoor, seasonal cultivation, to newer indoor methods has put a wedge between the cannabis community. There are those who think pumping out as much cannabis as possible to get the best prices and highest sales is what is important. Then there are those who want to grow small-batch, quality product using less chemicals and additives for a more organic and natural product, usually at the cost of quantity.

The issue arises when these small-scale growers can’t get their cannabis into storefronts because the commercial growers offer their product at a fraction of the price that the store will be able to make a greater profit from. This puts small businesses in a hard spot as well.

With business already suffering due to big players getting involved, boutique dispensaries either save money by getting commercial cannabis, or they provide better quality products at a higher price and risk going out of business even faster.

It will be the latter dispensary that the people want in the end.

The people’s choice

Voters and cannabis consumers have a choice to make in the future. Do we want to keep our small businesses that may cost more, but provide a better, full experience? Or do we want cannabis to become like alcohol, where no matter where you go you will always see the same product, from the same brand, for the same price? Seems like an easy choice to me.

California Cannabis: get on board or get out

California Cannabis: get on board or get out

So I have been in Northern California on and off for the past couple of months. I mostly live in Denver these days, but I still have my home up in Humboldt.

 

For 15 year’s I’ve supplied the cannabis industry with soil, nutrients and lighting. I sell grow equipment to people all over the country. So I’ve seen several states go legal, so to speak. Maybe regulated is the better term. 

The end, or the beginning?

I saw what happened in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. All three states with cannabis history, but marginally regulated or unregulated cannabis. All of those states progressed in their cannabis movement, cannabis growing, and general awareness about the plant.

Price per pound dropped in those regulated states, and I also stopped having to buy anybody out of jail or refer them to an attorney. Now, there is so much doom and gloom here. So many people think, “the California cannabis industry is over.”

Unfortunately if you’re quitting on California cannabis, or don’t want to be involved in what comes next, it’s over for you. But more people smoke weed every day, and demand for cannabis increases every day. The opportunity to sell regulated cannabis or be involved with regulated cannabis is exploding; and it’s just begun.

Get on board with California Cannabis

What is over? The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle? The endless buckets of cash? The untaxed income? The vacations, the toys? Yes, It’s a lifestyle change. Now it’s gonna be more like normal farming, but still profitable.  

Four out of five people I talk to are selling their properties and quitting (or they say they are today, let’s see what happens if their properties don’t sell).  I have never seen this much inventory of real estate in Humboldt, Trinity or Mendocino Counties.

Now, in the largest concentration of cannabis production in the world, the government says there are as many as 13,000 commercial farms in Humboldt County alone. This will be a significant impact to the supply chain of the entire cannabis market.

Do it for the right reasons

So here it is. We’re separating the men and women from the boys and girls so to speak. People who were in it for the greed and the people who are in it for the weed.

No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making money, but you have to work for it. Regulations, taxes, government control, or in any business you could ever think about being in. Being involved with several other businesses, these new cannabis regulations are not difficult. They may be confusing, but try to get a USDA composting permit. That is difficult.

My suggestions:

– PTSD’s a bitch. You might have to conquer that one in order to get into the regulated market.

– Stop whining. Put a smile on your face that you’re not going to jail.

– Curtail your lifestyle and spending. This one is also difficult.( turn those month-long vacations into long weekends)

– Learn some computer skills. If you don’t have them already going to need them.

My predictions:

– The market is currently flooded with properties for sale throughout Northern California. Half of those who don’t sell will go back to work, growing unregulated ganja.

– At least in Humboldt County, a chunk of those people are going to be regulated by the county and forced to stop growing. They put up zoning restrictions that fine people $10,000 a day. The helicopter didn’t work but I think this will.

– The price of California cannabis is going to rise. Both in the private market and unregulated market. It’s simple supply and demand. If the private cannabis market is separated from the regulated market, there will not be enough weed for the potential 15 million puffers in California.

– Most of the counties in California are not going to regulate cannabis, leaving the potential production to a smaller and smaller area. Mendocino and Trinity County have limited it to 10,000 ft.². San Luis Obispo is limited to 22,000 ft.².

– Many people that enter the legal cannabis industry will not succeed. They are farmers, not businessman. It’s important to find your place. I’m definitely better at business than farming (Yet my thumb remains Green).

Times are changing, and the California cannabis industry is rapidly changing with them. You can either get on board, go legal and pursue an honest career in the regulated market. Or, you can complain about things changing, quit the unregulated market because you have to, and avoid the new industry for the sake of your pride. Remember it isn’t ALL about your profits, it’s about the plant.

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