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California State Fair to hold first marijuana competition

California State Fair to hold first marijuana competition

Cannabis is coming to the California State Fair.

For the first time, the fair in 2022 will host a competition — open to all licensed cannabis cultivators in the state — to judge the finest flower in California.

Entrants will be divided into three divisions: indoor, mixed light and outdoor. Judges will evaluate the cannabis flower, with seven individual cannabis plant compounds being tested and identified for awards. That includes two cannabinoids — CBD and THC— and five terpenes, which are naturally occurring aromatic compounds that give the plant its characteristic smell and which are a source of plant essential oils and resins.

The California State Fair will hand out 77 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals to the winners, as well as seven Golden Bear trophies for the “Best of California” in each category.

“We are pleased to celebrate California’s legal and licensed cannabis industry as part of the California State Fair in 2022,” said Jess Durfee, chairman of the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors, in a statement. “For the past 166 years, the California State Fair has always been a first mover, leading the state fair circuit with innovative programming and large-scale competitions that celebrate the best the state has to offer, making the addition of cannabis cultivation a natural new category.”

Cannabis Fear Mongering is Alive and Well

Cannabis Fear Mongering is Alive and Well

The days of reefer madness and the devil’s lettuce are behind us…or are they?

If you don’t follow the politics and history of cannabis prohibition, I don’t blame you. Cannabis is legal in over a dozen states for recreational use, with only four states keeping cannabis and hemp (including CBD) completely illegal.

In other words, the majority of the United States has either legalized or decriminalized cannabis. One would think the industry is on the up and up, and the days of cannabis fear mongering were behind us.

But in a media landscape where fear is the best seller, our trusted news sources just can’t resist pushing a new form of reefer madness for the modern generation.

The Devil’s Lettuce Trope Returns

We are all adults here, and we can admit that burning and inhaling any sort of plant matter isn’t ideal for your lungs. But if the media spoke about the strength of alcohol today compared to the 1920s like they do with cannabis, many people would be scratching their heads wondering why the media is so focused on something people already know.

Yet with cannabis, it would seem the media is very concerned for all of our safety. But for some reason, I find that pretty hard to believe. See the aforementioned example, plus the lack of coverage on the nation’s crippling opioid epidemic.

That should be enough to prove that the media is blatantly cherry picking cannabis. But what are they saying?

Lucky for us, the idea of “Reefer Madness” and cannabis driving you insane after smoking it has been disproven enough times. But that isn’t stopping mainstream media outlets like CNN from trying to find the next best scare.

In the last two weeks, CNN has published two separate articles, alleging that young adult cannabis consumers are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack compared to non-consumers, and that uncontrollable vomiting from cannabis use is on the rise.

WOW! That’s some bad news for us cannabis lovers, we all better quit.

Except of course that it’s not as simple as the headlines love to make it out to be.

Cannabis Fear Clickbait

Let’s start with the first headline: “Young adult cannabis consumers nearly twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack, research shows”.

If you just read that headline you might think, “Wow, I feel like heart attacks are pretty common. If cannabis use doubles the risk, that must mean that it’s pretty dangerous!” Don’t worry, that’s exactly what the article wants you to think.

Now here’s the actual study: Researchers analyzed health data from over 33,000 adults ages 18 to 44 included in US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys in 2017 and 2018. Of the 17% of adults who reported using cannabis within the previous month, 1.3% later had a heart attack while only 0.8% of non-cannabis users reported the same.

Let’s just break down those numbers. 33,000 people. Only 17% use cannabis. That is 5,610 people. Of those 5,610, 1.3% — yes, 1.3% — had a heart attack. That’s 73 people if you round up. And we will just glance over the small detail that there is zero reference to any sort of preexisting conditions or co-morbidities that could have also played a role in those heart attacks.

It might be starting to sound like cannabis might not really do that much to increase heart attack risk, considering it’s only half a percent more than non-consumers (if you can trust the data). But that’s not even the best part.

Halfway through the fear mongering there’s this juicy snippet; “The study did not research how cannabis affects heart health.”

In other words, the study somehow concluded that cannabis increases your chance of heart attack, without doing any research into how cannabis actually affects heart health. That makes sense, right? Toward the end of this cannabis hit piece we get to the real old-timer fear mongering; “the cannabis of today is more potent than what your dad was smoking”.

Remember when alcohol content in beer rose from 3% in an old school ale to 8% in a modern IPA and the media lost it? Yeah, me neither.

If it’s starting to look like CNN might just be cherrypicking, you’re on the right track.

But Wait! There’s More!

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, The OG “Cannabis Illness”

I remember when I was a freshman in college. It was 2013, and I was just starting to dive into the culture and community of cannabis myself. My parents weren’t pro-weed by any means, and I had my fair share of talking to’s before I went to college.

But I always had a hunch that some of the cannabis fears pushed at the time might have been overblown, and I wanted to prove it to my parents. After all, if they had no issue with me drinking in college, they shouldn’t have an issue with cannabis either.

When I started looking for articles about the science and safety behind cannabis that I could send them — which was hard enough to find in 2013 as is — Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) was the first thing I stumbled upon. Uncontrollable vomiting, nausea, dizziness? NO THANKS!

But hold on a second…where’s all the research? Where’s the data? All I could find was a study from 2004 of 19 — yes, 19 — people who came into the ER with the issue.

Want to hear something funny? That’s the same study that CNN decided to cite when talking about the rising occurrences of CHS, in this article, in 2021.

Even better, halfway through the article after you read all the scary stuff, is an actual subheading that says “Research is Spotty“.

No I’m not joking. But for the sake of rubbing it in a little more, let’s dive into this article’s “research”.

From the article: “To do research, scientists looked at medical records for reported cases of repetitive vomiting and compare those to marijuana usage in an area. Wang’s analysis… found over 800,000 cases of reported vomiting in Colorado between 2013 and 2018. That was an approximate 29% increase since marijuana was legalized in the state.”

Wow. That sure is a lot of vomiting! You would think that with so many hundreds of thousands of Coloradans flooding emergency rooms with all their vomiting, doctors would start asking about their cannabis use. Not in this study!

While they mention a single anecdote of one doctor asking about cannabis use when a kid came in vomiting, that’s just what it is; an anecdote.

And that’s it. No more science, no more research. No numbers telling you what percentage of that 800,000 used cannabis, how many had actual uncontrollable vomiting or just normal vomiting and nausea. Oh, and of course we can’t forget that they just had to throw in the, “not your father’s weed” for good measure!

So….Why?

If things are starting to click in your head by now, you’re probably wondering, “Why the hell is a massive, mainstream media outlet like CNN pushing such bullshit stories?” Welcome to the club! We meet once a week.

But in all seriousness, cannabis fear mongering by the media is nothing new (see; the last 80 odd years of cannabis prohibition), and it likely won’t be going away any time soon.

Is there a chance that if we dug into the ad dollars received by CNN, a portion would be coming from pharmaceutical or alcohol companies? Probably. But does that mean that those ad dollars influence what CNN covers on their platform?

YES.

To ignore the fact that there are two massive corporate interests (Big Pharma and Alcohol) currently losing millions of dollars to medical and recreational cannabis (cannabis has nearly passed alcohol in tax revenue already) would be ignorant. We all know what’s going on there.

The reality is that these interests have very deep pockets, and outlets like CNN are always looking to have theirs filled. As long as cannabis remains federally illegal and listed as a Schedule 1 substance with no accepted medical use (Because what even is medical marijuana, right?), we can expect to see these stories continue.

What we can do as a community is combat misinformation from these outlets. Share these stories and blast them. Point out how blatantly wrong, or ignorant, or lazy they are with their research and studies.

This is just one example of the “most trusted name in news” pushing blatant anti-cannabis propaganda. So the real question is, who else is doing it?

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic Anti-Doping Group Will Review Cannabis Ban

Olympic anti-doping group with evaluate the cannabis ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency will review its ban on cannabis, in what the agency says is a response to “requests from a number of stakeholders” in international athletics. But it’s not clear when, or if, a change to the controversial policy might take effect: cannabis will remain forbidden for the 2022 athletic season.

The news comes after WADA’s ban on cannabis prevented U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, despite her victory in the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials.

WADA’s executive committee has approved a plan to organize “a scientific review of the status of cannabis” that will start next year, the group said. But it reiterated that cannabis remains on its list of prohibited substances — a new version of which is due to come out by Oct. 1.

Richardson was hit with a 30-day suspension this summer after she tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The decision triggered an outpouring of support for Richardson, at a time when dozens of U.S. states have legalized marijuana to some degree.

The ban also prompted widespread confusion over why marijuana might be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

“I didn’t think the evidence base for marijuana would be particularly strong,” Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic told NPR in July. “But as I looked at the papers yesterday, I was surprised at how weak it is.”

Viola Launches Harrington Institute For Cannabis Education

Viola Launches Harrington Institute For Cannabis Education

Viola cannabis company starts cannabis education institute

The multi country cannabis brand has partnered with the Black-owned cannabis school to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry through delivering high quality education to its community

Viola, the premium Black-owned cannabis brand rooted in equity, announced the launch of the Harrington Institute, a school for cannabis education created in partnership with Cleveland School of Cannabis, which is currently on pace to be the first cannabis focused school accredited by the Middle States Association.

Aligning with Viola and its commitment to excellence, the mission of the Harrington Institute is to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry by providing high quality education to its community. With cultivation in ColoradoMichigan, and Oregon along with long-standing partnerships across the greater U.S. and CanadaHarrington Institute provides unique access to a vast network of industry professionals, cutting-edge information, and community investment.

Harrington Institute is something that’s very important for me and something that’s needed,” said Al Harrington, CEO of Viola Brands. “I feel like right now the cannabis industry isn’t seeing all of the talent available, so we wanted to create a platform and program that educates on all verticals within the industry. It’s really important to us to provide access for young entrepreneurs and people from our community looking to get into the space.”

Harrington Institute will offer the Viola Build Scholarship to students of color who have been affected by the War on Drugs up to $3000 toward tuition. While classes are available to take individually, scholarships will be prioritized to students taking the full 6-course program. To create more access to education, Harrington Institute will also provide student loans that will protect the students from predatory situations. The first classes will begin on November 8, 2021. Interested donors are invited to invest in this life-changing opportunity to meet the growing demand for cannabis industry professionals.

About Viola:

Viola is the leading Black-owned producer and licensed wholesaler of premium cannabis products rooted in purpose. Founded in 2011, NBA veteran Al Harrington was inspired to launch the brand by his grandmother, Viola, who suffers from glaucoma and diabetes and found solace in cannabis remedies. The brand integrates the latest cutting-edge technology with its own proprietary processes designed for every stage of cultivation, extraction and production. Viola is known for its wide variety of product offerings, from high-quality flower to premier butane extracts. From regulation to representation and reform, Viola’s mission is to create opportunities for communities of color in the cannabis industry.

Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

Is Weed Legal in Italy? Yes and No.

is weed legal in Italy?
Like a lot of European countries, Italy has a complex history with cannabis.

Since 1990, Italy has had a relatively relaxed stance on cannabis use and possession. It was that year that the country passed a Consolidated Law which basically decriminalized cannabis use, but kept possession illegal. This made the question, is weed legal in Italy, seemingly less clear.

As confusing as this adjustment was, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Italian government clarified their position on cannabis. Law 79 was introduced, which essentially granted the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) the power to authorize off-label use of medicinal products (under certain conditions) if warranted by public interest (including for financial reasons) even where a valid therapeutic alternative was available.

Included in those medicinal products is cannabis. However the new law only legalized medical marijuana and clarified punishments for non-medical cannabis possession. First-time offenders for cannabis possession would just get a warning, while a follow-up offense leads to suspension of a driver’s license for one to three months.

After legalizing medical cannabis production in Italy, only the Ministry of Defence were permitted to grow it. As a result, the military-owned Institute of Pharmaceuticals in Florence is the only place that cultivates cannabis for medicinal use. Astonishing as it may seem, the Italian military are responsible for growing cannabis!

So you’re probably still asking, “is weed legal in Italy?” The short answer would appear to still be no. But in 2016, there we some big changes.

Italian hemp legalization

While hemp is actually native to certain regions in Europe, few countries have really regulated its production. In 2016, Italy decided to do just that.

In the United States, the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, which legalized industrial hemp on the federal level. The government defined industrial hemp as any part of the cannabis plant containing less than .3% THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

When Italy passed their hemp production law in 2016, they set the limit at .6% THC. This created a new booming grey market industry of hemp flower in Italy.

In shops across the country, jars of hemp flower are sold as “collectibles” that are meant to be used for “technical purposes”, not to be consumed by humans (wink, wink). While the hemp flower being sold was not psychoactive due to its low THC levels, many still sought the hemp flower for its high CBD levels which provide some therapeutic effects.

In the same year that Italy legalized hemp production, the country’s parliament threw out the idea of allowing the cultivation of 5 cannabis plants for personal use. This idea was quickly shot down by Catholic lawmakers and right-wing politicians.

However just recently in September of 2021, Italy decided to move forward with a slightly adjusted version of this idea.

Is weed legal in Italy?

As of today, cannabis possession and consumption is more or less legal. This reform decriminalizes the cultivation of four cannabis plants at home. Since consumption is already decriminalized, private possession has more or less been decriminalized as a result.

However, the parliament also increased the penalties for trafficking and distribution. In other words, the sale of cannabis in Italy still remains illegal (except for hemp flower). This is why the question, is weed legal in Italy, is tough to answer.

Italians won’t be buying recreational cannabis in dispensaries any time soon, however it is likely that a strong grey market will develop with the new lax restrictions.

To use Washington D.C. as an example; the District of Columbia legalized cannabis recreationally in 2014, however a rider in the bill prohibited any district funds from being used to implement a retail industry. In other words, it was legal to grow and possess cannabis, but there was nowhere to buy or sell it recreationally.

This created a grey market in which consumers would “gift” cannabis to each other in exchange for a “donation”, skirting around the law prohibiting the sale of cannabis. If we can assume anything following the rise in popularity of hemp flower, it is that there will likely be a similar grey market that develops in Italy.

Panama medical marijuana bill passed by Congress in unanimous vote

Panama medical marijuana bill passed by Congress in unanimous vote

panama medical marijuana has been passed by congress

The National Legislative Assembly of Panama has approved this Monday a bill that legalizes the medicinal use of cannabis with 44 votes in favor and none against. It thus becomes the first country in Central America to regulate the consumption of this substance.

The new law, which will come into force after its approval by President Laurentino Cortizo, will create a regulatory framework for the use and controlled access of cannabis “for therapeutic, medical, veterinary, scientific and research purposes”, as stated in the approved text.

This measure responds to a historical claim of patients from different pathologies, to which this substance could help mitigate pain, and to which they only had irregular access. Those who will see their quality of life improved are people with glaucoma, epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines or seizures and those who suffer from different types of pain, including those caused by cancer.

From now on, in Panama the import, export, cultivation, production and commercialization of cannabis and its derivatives will be allowed through licenses granted by the state. Its cultivation will take place in established areas with limited access and only pharmaceutical companies or companies specialized in therapeutic services will be able to acquire and commercialize it. Its illegal production and sale will be punished with penalties of 10 to 15 years in prison.

Thus, the sale of cannabis at home, through the Internet or outside authorized establishments is prohibited. Likewise, its advertising in the media or social networks will also be prohibited.

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