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The Real Dirt 420 Events Etiquette Guide

The Real Dirt 420 Events Etiquette Guide

With 4/20 happening on a Saturday this year, it’s bound to be a good holiday. But there’s some general rules of etiquette you should follow so you don’t ruin it for others.

4/20 is a great day. It’s one of the only days out of the year where cannabis is not only tolerated by the masses, but celebrated by the cannabis community.

With 420 events happening on a Saturday this year (compared to Friday last year when most people had to work until the evening), theres bound to be more people celebrating than last year. It also means there’s a higher likelihood of something stupid happening that could easily be avoided.

Here’s a few tips for making sure you have a safe and awesome time at your 420 events.

Pick Up After Yourself

When cannabis was first legalized in Colorado, the 420 events that happened that year were massive. However, with the new legalization came a new crowd of cannabis consumers excited to celebrate the plant throughout the city of Denver.

Unfortunately with so many people getting baked across the city, at a wide range of events in both private and public spaces, there was a huge buildup of trash. Not just trash, but also litter.

The event spaces were filled with trash once the festivities were over, with very limited crew to clean it all up. This led a lot of non-celebrators blaming “stoners” for leaving a mess around the city. Suffice to say, it didn’t make the community look good.

With that said, the community has stepped it up, starting 420 events cleanup initiatives to clean up event spaces. But you can still do your part. Don’t leave your roaches all around town, throw them in a trash can.

Recycle that water bottle that you just finished. Yes, it’s annoying getting all the little handouts from businesses at these events, but you can easily so no thanks, or just throw it out instead of onto the ground.

Pace Yourself

You might be thinking that 420 is basically the holiday of smoking as much weed as possible in one day. At least, that’s what I did in college. But as it becomes more accepted in broader society, it isn’t necessary to be so excessive for the sake of celebration at this year’s 420 events.

If you’re in a legal state like Colorado, there’s a ton of events going on across Denver. If you burn through a half ounce at 10 AM, it might make it more difficult to go out later in the day. But if you’re smart and plan it out, you’ll be fine.

Stay away from anything hybrid or indica before lunch. Stick with a straight sativa if you can (even though those labels are really just a myth), until you go out. Once you’re at the Mile High Festival or wherever you decide to go, you can transition to a hybrid. You can relax and enjoy the music without feeling too bogged down at your 420 events.

You should stick with hybrids or sativas as long as you want to be active during the day, and only switch to an indica when you’re winding down for the evening. Most of all, pace yourself.

Don’t pop a bunch of edibles then chase it down with a gram joint. Treat it like alcohol, and just be responsible.

The Smoke Circle

The smoke circle is a delicate ecosystem with unspoken laws especially at 420 events with potential strangers. As long as you know the rules, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you don’t, you don’t really have anything to worry about except for the glares you might get when you put half the joint in your mouth to hit it. Which brings us to the first rule.

Don’t slobber all over whatever you’re smoking, whether it’s a pipe, joint or blunt. A good technique to try with a joint or blunt if you just happen to be a slobbery individual is to hold the joint or blunt between your middle and ring finger and cup both hands to your mouth and pull, and you can hit it without even touching it with your lips.

This can take some practice if your new, but make sure you don’t crush the joint between your fingers when you cup your hands.

Second, and probably the most well-known (and enforced) is the “puff-puff-pass” rule. This rule has been interpreted through the times to mean one of two things. When your passed the joint or blunt, you can either puff-inhale, puff-inhale, or puff-puff-inhale. In close circles, you can get away with two puff-puff-inhales, but in most cases it’s one or the other.

Though to this day, it’s still up for debate among scholars.

The main purpose of the puff-puff-pass rule is to avoid breaking the last rule in the smoke circle, which is commonly referred to as “Bogarting”. Given this unique name from a man named Humphrey Bogart, it refers to holding onto the blunt or joint longer than your turn. Whether you puff-puff-puff-pass on accident or you hold it too long while you tell a rambling story, bogarting has many forms, all of which should be avoided.

Just Have Fun

Let’s get real now. 420 is just a simple holiday to celebrate how far we have come as a cannabis community, how much we have grown. Just look at how the industry is thriving; the boom of legal hemp and CBD, the expanding recreational and medical industries across the US with over half the country now legal in some form.

When I was a freshman in college (6 years ago) I remember saying that cannabis would be federally legal in 5 years. I’ve learned that progress is slow, and the only way to keep this industry thriving and growing is to keep the same enthusiasm we had when we were pushing for state legalization.

But more importantly, we need to appreciate how far we’ve come.

In that spirit, this weekend’s 420 events are about celebrating cannabis however you want. The connection is different for everybody, that’s what makes cannabis, and 420, so incredible. 

Why Are CBD Products Exploding?

Why Are CBD Products Exploding?

It’s a unique compound that has Facebook moms and media outlets mystified. But why is CBD all the sudden exploding?

There’s a few reasons CBD products are becoming more popular every day, especially in the United States. The first has already been mentioned; the media. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s start with the recent legality change of CBD.

The 2018 Farm Bill

CBD is a chemical compound found only in the cannabis plant. It is present in almost all varieties of cannabis, even if in just trace amounts. This means that CBD is also found in hemp.

Hemp has had a bumpy relationship with the U.S. government since the early 1900s. While the hemp industry was huge in the 1920s, the paper industry was quickly rising, and couldn’t compete, starting a propaganda campaign eventually leading to the criminalization of hemp and cannabis.

At least, that’s the theory.

While hemp was considered federally illegal much like cannabis (they are the same thing), states could still pass their own laws regarding hemp, much like states now that have legal cannabis laws. Colorado even added an amendment to their state constitution, giving citizens the right the grow hemp.

But in 2018, it all changed. The 2018 Farm Bill fully legalized “industrial hemp” at the federal level.

The Legalization of Industrial Hemp

What is industrial hemp? What makes it different from “regular” hemp? This is where some people get caught up.

While hemp and cannabis are the same thing, any cannabis variety that gets you “high” contains high amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Most cannabis strains you can get in the legal market are bred to have as high THC levels as possible, with little focus on the other compounds.

Hemp has always been seen as the weedy, wild version of cannabis. It isn’t bred to have high THC, but through its evolution of enduring tough climates in the wild, hemp varieties naturally have higher CBD levels. However, not all hemp is legal, hence the term “industrial hemp”.

Industrial hemp is strictly cannabis that has a THC content of .3% or less. Anything above is still illegal. So even though .4 or .5% THC wouldn’t have any real affect on a person, it is considered psychoactive cannabis, still illegal and classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

So, now industrial hemp is legal, as long as it doesn’t surpass .3% THC. However there is no regulation for CBD at the moment. This has opened up quite a lucrative opportunity for cannabis industry entrepreneurs and farmers alike.

The Rise of CBD Products

CBD started out slow. Products existed, such as hemp seed oil and other hemp derived products that contained CBD, but little was known about the actual benefits of CBD. Then came Charlotte’s Web.

Charlotte was a little girl in California suffering from intense seizures, sometimes having dozens a day to the point she was incapacitated. After a cannabis farm in Northern California developed a CBD specific strain that had extremely low THC, but high CBD, they turned it into a digestible tincture for Charlotte.

Her seizures all but stopped. This is where the snowball started rolling. 

More and more people started treating their children’s epilepsy with CBD, then more studies came out showing CBD potential in aiding with chronic pain. With its growing social acceptance,  plus the added boost of the Farm Bill, more CBD businesses are opening their doors.

While it is still currently unregulated, there is an entire CBD marketplace that has developed online. From Amazon to CBD wholesaler websites, anybody can buy CBD products online with a credit card. With massive availability and a growing understanding of its benefits, all CBD needed to push over the edge was some media attention.

cbd products are becoming popular in the media

The Today Show covering the extraction of CBD from cannabis in a March 2019 segment.

The Influence Machine

To say that modern media outlets in America carry a large swath of influence would be a massive understatement. And with more news outlets than ever before in history accessible with just a few clicks, people are ingesting more information and influential content than ever before.

With the passing of the Farm Bill and increased public awareness about the benefits of CBD, people started talking online. What started as a niche group of mostly middle aged women sharing their experiences of helping their arthritis pain with a little CBD ointment, spread across the web like a bushfire.

Before long, CNN was covering the rise of CBD products. Soon after that, so was The Washington post. As did NBC, CBS, and even Fox News.

With the media machine pushing it into the mainstream, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram flush with CBD anecdotes and articles, its rise was inevitable.

The question now is, will it last?

The Future of CBD Products

The future for CBD is still vague. It isn’t currently regulated by the FDA, and its only claim to legality lies within the rulings of the 2018 Farm Bill. There have already been plenty of issues with CBD and industrial hemp since legalization, and most likely, there won’t be any shortage of issues throughout 2019.

That doesn’t mean the market isn’t growing. In fact, the CBD industry is growing at a rate that could put it on pace to surpass legal cannabis by 2022. With that said, regardless of new regulations or restrictions, the future of CBD products is most likely bright, and green.

Want to learn more about the rise of CBD and the legal hemp industry? Check out this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast, featuring Graham Carlson of Charlotte’s Web, Mike Leago of the International Hemp Exchange, and Hollis Carter of Lefty’s Hemp Co.

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Legal Hemp or Illegal Cannabis?

Legal Hemp or Illegal Cannabis?

Legal hemp may have been included in the 2018 Farm Bill, but that hasn’t stopped some serious issues from arising since its passing.

Farmers everywhere rejoiced when legal hemp was signed into the Farm Bill at the end of 2018. But the bill has yet to actually take effect, and it could be another year before federal law surrounding hemp actually takes hold.

This delay hasn’t stopped many from jumping in head first to the hemp industry in an attempt to get ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, state governments aren’t as eager to jump in.

Oklahoma Hemp Bust

In early January Andrew Ross from Aurora, CO was transporting several thousand pounds of what he claimed to be industrial hemp to Oklahoma to Colorado. Ross’ semi-truck was pulled over in Pawhuska after running a red light. 

The officer smelled what he claimed to be cannabis as he approached Ross’ van, at which point Ross told him that they were the security for the semi-truck transporting hemp. Ross was then instructed to open the semi-truck, revealing over 20 bags of the green plant.

After conducting a field test, which tests for any amount of THC, the officer believed the plants to be cannabis and not hemp. However, legal hemp can have up to .3% THC. This has led to a lengthy delay in the case as the local police have had to send the plants to be lab-tested, which was additionally delayed by the recent government shutdown.

Unfortunately, during this time, two of the four who were arrested — Ross and one other in the van and another two in the semi-truck were arrested in total — have remained in prison since they couldn’t afford bail. They most likely won’t be released until the conclusive results of the tests come back.

Legal Hemp In Oklahoma

Industrial hemp was legal in Oklahoma before the Farm Bill was signed. This means that the hemp Ross claims to be transporting, is perfectly legal in the state. But that isn’t the problem here.

The issue is that law enforcement and government officials alike cannot confidently judge the difference between “legal hemp” and “illegal cannabis”. When field tests will always say cannabis if there is any trace of THC, no police officer can realistically judge a situation in which they smell what they think is cannabis, even if hemp smells exactly the same.

A similar issue has arose in Idaho, where there are no such hemp laws on the books, and the government is in no hurry to abide by the new Farm Bill.

Biggest Bust In History (?)

Law enforcement officials are saying it could be the biggest cannabis bust in state history. If it is cannabis that they found in the back of Dennis Palamarchuk’s semi-truck, that is.

During a routine highway semi-truck safety inspection, the conducting officer smelled strong odor of what they suspected to be cannabis. Much like Ross’ story, the truck statement claimed that the 31 bags in the truck all contained industrial hemp. However, since this happened in Idaho, where there are no laws on the books regarding hemp at the state level, it has caused more problems.

legal hemp bust in oklahoma and idaho

Over 6,000 pounds of hemp that supposedly tested positive for THC. The amount of THC has not been specified.
Photo courtesy of Idaho State Police

According to the Farm Bill, states that do not have hemp laws on the state level have two options. Propose a plan to the federal government for their own hemp laws that still stay within federal guidelines, or follow federal law on the state level. Idaho has neither submitted a plan nor assumed the laws put forth in the Farm Bill as of yet.

This means that whether or not Palamarchuk was transporting hemp or cannabis is irrelevant. In Idaho, both are currently still illegal. Thus, Dennis was arrested for trafficking, and as it stands, police have seized over 7,000 pounds of what they consider to be cannabis. While testing positively as hemp may help Dennis legally, it appears that there is little to be done for him in this situation.

What Happens Next?

These two separate but similar issues have highlighted serious problems in law enforcement’s ability to recognize and distinguish differences between now federally legal hemp, and illegal cannabis. Current technology does not allow police officers conducting a normal stop and search to confidently judge the results of a field test.

As laws change, state governments will have no choice but to follow federal law in some manner and allow transportation of industrial hemp. How the states will enforce this while keeping hemp separate from cannabis is yet to be seen. If these two busts are any sign of things to come, however, we have a long way to go.

Rosin Explained: How It’s Made

Rosin Explained: How It’s Made

Rosin can be made a couple different ways. These techniques will produce vastly different results.

It carries a hefty price tag compared to other concentrates. It’s usually three times the price of your run of the mill wax and shatter. Rosin became extremely popular in 2018 as concentrates became more accessible in the legal industry.

With more people using concentrates now compared to any time in the past, many seek the cleanest option. Most concentrates are made with some type of solvent like butane or propane. Rosin is the exception.

Early Days of Rosin

The discovery of rosin is fairly recent, with widespread knowledge not becoming easily accessible to the home-extractor until around 2015. The new concentrate exploded because it is easy to make at home; all you need is a hair straightener and some parchment paper.

While pressing a nugget of cannabis between the hair straightener will get results, it is very minimal. Eventually, people invested in larger heat presses that could press large amount of cannabis for higher yields. While this was more effective, it wasn’t always the cleanest.

A problem with early rosin technology wasn’t so much the technology itself, but the product being used. Rosin is normally made from freshly harvested cannabis, that is then frozen for a period of time. This preserves the plant as close to its live state as possible, maintaining stronger terpene profiles prior to curing

While it might have been fresh, the flower used was not always clean due to pesticides and other chemicals that aren’t flushed out prior to pressing. This is much more strictly regulated now, but many transitioned to a much more effective way of making rosin: Bubble hash.

Bubble Hash Rosin

how to make bubble hash

Ice water hash being made.

Bubble hash is actually a usable concentrate on its own. While not as concentrated as waxes, shatters or live resins, bubble hash is one of the most basic and oldest methods of extraction.

Using micron filtered bags, the fresh frozen cannabis is submerged in ice water and stirred constantly to separate the trichomes from the buds. After the cannabis is separated and removed, you are left with a whitish-tan paste that eventually dries. This end product is bubble hash.

However, rosin makers in all their ingenuity discovered that you can avoid the excess plant matter that was normally pressed for rosin by using bubble hash instead. By first making bubble hash from the cannabis flower, extractors could get just what they wanted from the buds; their trichomes.

Pressing bubble hash into rosin was easier, more efficient, cleaner, and produced a superior product. This is also why rosin carries such a high price on a dispensary shelf. Not only is the cannabis extracted into bubble hash, but then extracted again for the cleanest, purest product possible.

The Future of Concentrates

Rosin and the methods and technology that has evolved with it has opened the door for many new concentrates to enter the market. The desire for “live” concentrates has grown exponentially, with more and more people willing to spend a little more for higher quality products.

Bubble hash extraction has seen growth as well, since most serious rosin makers will use bubble hash.The desire for tastier, cleaner and more cost-effective concentrates will continue to rise, and as rosin becomes more common it too will become more accessible to the average consumer.

But with everything in this industry, from flower to edibles to concentrates, you get what you pay for.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Rundown

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Rundown

In June of 2018, Oklahoma surprised the country. The state voted to legalize medical marijuana.

Oklahoma medical marijuana State Question 788 was passed by the majority of people in the state, allowing the people to consume, grow and if licensed, sell medical marijuana.

The program is run by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to ensure regulatory oversight. Compared to other medical marijuana states, the Oklahoma medical marijuana program is pretty progressive.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Laws

Submitted as State Question 788, the people of Oklahoma passed a new section of law to be added to the Oklahoma Statutes. Section 420 of Title 63 permits an individual to posses a state issued medical marijuana license.

An Oklahoman with a medical marijuana license is allowed the following:

  • To consume marijuana legally
  • To possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person
  • To possess 6 mature marijuana plants
  • To possess 6 seedling plants
  • To possess 1 ounce of concentrates
  • To possess 72 ounces of edibles, and
  • To possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence.

However there were also changes to how possession of marijuana is handled in general. Being in possession of up to an ounce and half without a medical marijuana license is punishable by a $400 fine and a misdemeanor, if the subject can provide a medical condition. How strictly this will be enforced is yet to be seen.

Individual and Business Licensing

Licenses for both Oklahoma medical marijuana patients and businesses are obtained through a straight forward application process. The applications are easily accessible on the OMMA page of the Oklahoma government website. It costs $200 for an individual to apply for a medical marijuana license, and only $20 to apply for those on Medicare and Medicaid.

To apply for dispensary, commercial growing, or processing permits, one must pay an application fee of $2,500. The requirements for obtaining these three business licenses are the same:

  • Applicants must be 25 or older
  • Applicants applying as an individual must show residency in the state of Oklahoma
  • All applying members, managers and board members are Oklahoma residents
  • An applicant can show ownership of non-Oklahoma residents, but that percentage of ownership cannot exceed 25%
  • Applicants must be registered to conduct business in Oklahoma
  • Applicants must disclose all ownership
  • Applicants with nonviolent felony convictions in the last two (2) years, or applicants with any other felony conviction in five (5) years, inmates or anybody currently incarcerated is not qualified for a license.

In addition to these requirements, retailers must submit monthly reports to the Department of Health to keep track of weight sold, revenue and taxes. Commercial growers are restricted to only selling cannabis wholesale to licensed retailers. Growers will also submit monthly reports, detailing monthly yields, amount harvested in pounds, drying or dried marijuana on hand, amount sold to processors, amount of waste in pounds and more. However, there is no limit on the amount of cannabis a licensed grower can grow.

Processors are no different, and much submit a monthly report detailing the amount of marijuana purchased, amount of waste and wholesale sales to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Applications

As of December 2018, over 22,000 people have been approved for personal Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses, 785 dispensaries have been licensed, and there are more than 1,200 licensed commercial growers and 270 licensed processors in the state. It hasn’t even been a year since Question 788 was approved, and Oklahoma is already kickstarting its medical marijuana industry.

Growers are pumping out close to 50 pounds a month already thanks to the regulation’s strict deadlines included by the people of Oklahoma that forced the state to accept applications within 60 days of Question 788’s passing. The state has already brought in $7.5 million from registration fees, and now that dispensaries have opened, the 7% sales tax will begin getting collected for additional revenue.

Is Oklahoma Ahead of The Curve?

Oklahoma medical marijuana has taken off more quickly than any other state program in the country. Less than 6 months after being passed, growers are growing, dispensaries are selling, and the people of Oklahoma are buying.

It’s possible that Oklahoma may be moving too fast. With no limit on how much a licensed grower can produce, the state may end up facing a similar issue to Oregon. Having too much marijuana and not enough people to buyl it might result in a collapse of the marketplace as the price of medical marijuana drops.

However as a medical marijuana program as opposed to Oregon’s recreational market, Oklahoma medical marijuana will be more strictly regulated by the Department of Health, which will hopefully push growers toward quality over quantity. 

At the rate the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry is moving, it won’t be long before we see the first results of the new industry. 

New Year, New Industry

New Year, New Industry

2018 was a big year for the cannabis industry. 2019 is poised to change the industry even more.

The cannabis industry grew on a global scale in 2018. Not just in the United States, but around the world. More places are starting to accept cannabis as medicine and recreation, with even more planning to get on board in 2019.

While there are plenty of small or local changes to cannabis in the US, here some of the biggest changes in the cannabis industry that came in 2018.

Canada Legalization

Canada legalization of cannabis was a major victory for the industry in 2018. The government of Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis across the entire country, with local governments still being able to limit the law. 

However compared to legalization within some states of the United States, Canada legalization is run entirely by the government instead of private businesses. All licensed grows, manufacturers and retailers are government run. This has had a split impact on the industry as a whole in Canada.

While access to cannabis has become much easier — consumers can order cannabis online, for delivery, directly from a government website — supply currently cannot meet demand, causing backorders, long delays, moldy and stale product, and other problems.

The biggest problem Canada legalization has adversely caused is an increased use of the private market. If they government can’t supply its people but says it can be the only source, people will go to the private market to get the products they want without the long delay and risk of bad product.

Farm Bill and Industrial Hemp

difference between hemp vs cannabis CBD

At the end of December 2018, Donald Trump surprisingly signed the Farm Bill of 2018, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Among many other adjustments to the agricultural industries in the US, the farm bill also separated the definition of industrial hemp to be different from that of cannabis.

Before the bill was signed, hemp and cannabis were under the same definition, with a sub-definition of hemp being any part of the cannabis plant with less than .3% THC. However, as sub-definition, it was still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The farm bill separated industrial hemp from the traditional cannabis definition, and created a federal definition of industrial hemp, being the same definition as before, but off of the controlled substances list. This has opened up the possibility for a massive hemp and CBD industry to develop.

While it’s too soon to say where the industry is headed — it will most likely be a year before the new bill takes full effect — the Farm Bill and legalization of industrial hemp means big things for the future of the cannabis industry.

First Year of California Legalization

california legalization needs to be controlled by farmers

California has a population with over 10 million more people than the second place contender, Texas. It was expected for the legalization of cannabis in California to expand the already developed marketplace in the state to great new bounds. However the new laws in place have had almost the opposite effect.

The cannabis marketplace in California was already the biggest in the country, despite the majority of growth occurring in the private market. It was inevitable, then, that the new, legal market would work its hardest to eradicate this competition. 

Extremely limited licenses available to the highest bidder resulted in hundreds of farms and private operations having to shut down, simply by not being able to afford a legal license. This was the case for a large portion of the cannabis community in California, opening up the door for larger companies with more capital interests to enter the market.

With the biggest companies buying as many licenses as possible, the OGs of the industry are left with little options. Either continue to operate in the private market and hope to get a license before getting caught, or leave the industry in California. 

It’s been a tough year for a thousands of growers across California, and 2019 most likely won’t prove to be much different. Despite its flaws however, California will still be a huge legal cannabis marketplace, and most likely surpass all other states, with the end result being the eradication of the private market entirely in the state.

An Eventful Year

2018 was a year full of surprises. Colorado passing Amendment X, The Farm Bill, California’s industry revelations and more. This year had its ups and downs, it’s issues that split the community, but overall the industry is in a better place than it was a year ago.

More states have legalized both recreationally and medicinally, cannabis is more acceptable in social culture than ever before, and more people are learning about the lies they were told during the drug war movement. Some are already saying 2019 will be the year of weed, while others think the bubble is bound to burst any day now.

We’ll just wait and see what’s in store for cannabis in 2019!

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