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New Jersey Regulators Ban Nearly All Edible Cannabis Products

New Jersey Regulators Ban Nearly All Edible Cannabis Products

New Jersey regulators ban cannabis edibles

Nearly a year after passing a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis, New Jersey has yet to open a single retail cannabis store. While the industry has yet to take off, that isn’t stopping regulators from preemptively banning one of the most popular cannabis products.

When it comes to the cannabis products that consumers want, flower remains king. Vaporizer pens and concentrates for dabbing have been slowly catching up with flower as consumers seek a quicker way to get the desired effects of cannabis without burning the plant itself.

However, cannabis edibles have also been gaining popularity. Avoiding the need for any sort of inhalation at all, edibles are great for consumers who don’t want to vape or smoke, but still want the effects of cannabis.

Cannabis beverages have seen the greatest growth since the beginning of 2020, when cannabis sales skyrocketed across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis capsule products have also grown noticeably in popularity, showing that consumers are seeking a way to consume cannabis without, well, consuming traditional cannabis.

With such growth in the edible cannabis market, it would seem obvious to any potential industry that is about to open that edibles will be a high-demand product. Higher demand means higher profits, which is what any state is seeking when legalizing cannabis.

Unless you’re New Jersey.

Ban on almost all cannabis edibles

Despite having no functional legal cannabis industry to base their decision, regulators in charge of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis have decided to ban all forms of edible cannabis products except for lozenges. This means traditional products consumers would likely be familiar with — cookies, brownies, gummies, beverages — are all prohibited.

The reasoning behind the ban is the same used by many states when they first legalize; the children. Concern over edible products that might appeal to children is a consistent issue in the legal cannabis industry.

While other states passed new regulations requiring child-proof packaging and prohibiting edibles from being designed in a manner that would be appealing to kids (i.e. gummy bears, star-shaped cookies, etc.), New Jersey has decided to take a much more restrictive approach.

According to the new set of regulations passed by New Jersey cannabis regulators, “ingestible forms of cannabis… shall only include syrups, pills, tablets, capsules, and chewable forms.”

A growing and thriving grey market

Just because regulators are dragging their feet in getting a functional legal cannabis industry up and running doesn’t mean that the people aren’t already taking advantage of the new law. Seemingly taking a tip from the Washington D.C. playbook, New Jersey has begun to develop a thriving grey market industry.

While there is nowhere to legally buy or sell cannabis directly, there’s a workaround. Similar to how D.C.’s grey market operates, New Jersey currently has a gift/donation system in place to skirt the current regulations.

In this grey market, a consumer may find a delivery service online. One the website one might see several different cannabis products, or “packages” as they might be called. However that isn’t technically what the consumer is buying.

Instead, the cannabis product is simply a “gift” that is included with the purchase of another item on the website. This might be a sweatshirt, a t-shirt, or even something as small as a sticker. The price of the sticker may be around $40, which conveniently is the same price as an eighth of cannabis.

Within a couple hours, a delivery driver will be at the door with the sticker and the included gift, and bam you just “bought” legal cannabis in New Jersey. But just like D.C.’s grey market, the grey market in New Jersey is completely unregulated.

Although a legal cannabis company has to follow strict regulations on manufacturing and packaging, an unregulated market like that which is blooming in New Jersey has no such restrictions. So while regulators may think they are making progress by banning various forms of edible cannabis products, these new rules will be all but ignored by those operating in the grey market already.

In other words, the new regulations can’t possibly have any sort of impact until there is an actual legal industry to enforce them. As regulators take their time getting the legal cannabis industry up and operational in New Jersey, the grey market will continue to thrive only making it more complicated to get legitimate businesses licensed and running.

If you are interested in learning more about the New Jersey cannabis industry, need assistance with licensing, planning and implementation of your business plan, Greener Consulting Group can help you stay on top of the latest regulatory changes, fees and best practices for getting ahead of the competition when the industry takes off.

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.”

U.S. House Approves Bill to Ease Cannabis Banking

U.S. House Approves Bill to Ease Cannabis Banking

The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday night approved a bill that would let banks to do business with cannabis companies without fear of penalty, giving traction to the least-disputed reform sought by the growing industry. 

The so-called SAFE Banking Act would be a boon for marijuana companies, which have so-far been stymied by the necessity to deal in cash because of federal restrictions. That has meant they have extra security costs and logistical problems, even as marijuana increasingly becomes legal. Some three dozen states now allow medical or recreational use, according to New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm.

The measure, which has been passed by the House before with bipartisan support, was this time approved by voice vote as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Representative Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, who had re-introduced the bill, has said that allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would bring more money into the economy and offer the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. The American cannabis industry had $20.3 billion in legal sales in 2020, according New Frontier Data.

The bill’s prospects are unclear in the Senate.

Yet it’s still a far cry from the wish-list of legal reforms that the industry seeks, including all-out legalization, and relief from tax burdens.

The U.S. Cannabis Council, a trade group that represents companies in the industry, called the current rules that require marijuana firms to be all-cash a security hazard.

“Over $17 billion in legal cannabis was sold in the United States last year, overwhelmingly through cash transactions. Forcing legitimate, well-regulated cannabis businesses to conduct most of their business in cash is anachronistic and a clear threat to public safety,” the council’s chief executive Steven Hawkins said in a statement before the bill passed.

BTIG analyst Camilo Lyon said in a research note this week that the SAFE Act’s inclusion with the defense authorization might enhance its prospects.

“Discussions with our D.C. contacts suggest it has an easier pathway of getting through the Senate, largely because no senator wants to be viewed as holding up the massive 1,700 page must-pass NDAA simply because of SAFE banking,” Lyon wrote.

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?

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey Cannabis Commission Approves New Grow Site, More Waiting on Approval

New Jersey’s cannabis regulators on Tuesday moved to streamline the licensing of new weed businesses and approved another marijuana grow site — but it did not announce the recipients of some two dozen businesses that have sat in limbo for nearly two years.

The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission met on Tuesday evening to approve the transfer of an existing medical marijuana license, a new marijuana grow site and a system to help it process applications for new cannabis businesses.

All signal the state is gearing up for legal cannabis sales.

The commission unveiled its initial rules to guide the legal weed industry last month. That set the clock ticking down to launch sales to those 21 and older — according to the law, they must start within six months of the commission adopting its regulations.

But the commission gave no word on the 2019 request for applications to operate new medical marijuana facilities. Some 150 entities saw a review of applications paused in late 2019 due to a lawsuit. But a court ruled earlier this year that the commission could resume its evaluation and award those 24 licenses.

So far, the commission has not issued any of the new licenses. Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, has said licenses will come soon, but regulators have not given a date by when they will announce the new licenses.

“It is not lost on us that everyone is eager to get that moving forward, as are we,” Dianna Houenou, the commission’s chair, said during the meeting. She said the commission was working quickly to score them, but emphasized the need to “double” and “triple” check each.

Still, frustration dominated the meeting.

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.”

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