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Texas Hemp Harvested For First Time in 80 Years

Texas Hemp Harvested For First Time in 80 Years

farmers are harvesting hemp in Texas for the first time in decades

Hemp is being harvested in Texas for the first time in 80 years. 

The state created its own program as part of the Federal Farm Bill and this is the first year farmers in the Lone Star State are able to give it a shot and cultivate Texas hemp.

One of those farmers is Aaron Owens. He’s a first-time Texas hemp farmer but he’s not new to cannabis or tending to land. He spent 15 years ranching in Ozona, Texas, before moving to Central Texas to focus on hemp.

Besides being among the first to harvest in Texas, what makes his company, Tejas Hemp, unique is the type of hemp it’s growing.

“This particular cultivar has never been grown in the United States. No one has ever had it before. It’s the first-ever sativa hemp, meaning that where an indica will slow you down and help you relax and reduce shaking and make you go to sleep, a sativa actually increases awareness and focus and takes you into the other direction. It’s more of a stimulating thing,” explained Owens.

It’s not the type of cannabis that’ll get you high – that’s still illegal in Texas. But Democrats at the Texas State Capitol are again working to change that, saying legalizing and taxing marijuana could help the state’s economy recover from the pandemic. For now Texas hemp will have to suffice for farmers and consumers.

“It’s inevitable at this point, we’re going to federally legalize marijuana, there’s no question. Is it this year, next year, five years? We don’t know. What we do know is that every year that goes by in Texas that we don’t legalize, that’s another year that the other people get ahead of us,” said Owens.

Republicans have been hesitant to loosen restrictions on cannabis. But in the meantime, Tejas Hemp will be farming what is legal and even has plans for a Texas hemp “tasting room” on their land as the state’s laws around the plant also grow.

The Texas Hemp Coalition has been advocating legislators and consumers across the state on the different benefits of the crop. One of the things Hemp farmers would also like to see is for the state’s ban on smokable hemp to be lifted.

Next session they hope lawmakers will make it easier for farmers like Owens to reap the benefits of their crops here in Texas.

Read the original story on Spectrum News 1

The Future of Legal Cannabis in Florida

The Future of Legal Cannabis in Florida

legal cannabis in Florida

The passing of the MORE Act in the House has gotten Floridians talking about their future.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to decriminalize marijuana. Most Democrats supported the bill that would enact that change. Most Republicans did not. The bill is unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.

Was Congress’ historic vote an early sign of momentum to legalize marijuana across the United States? Or is was it a low-stakes move on a splashy issue that’s unlikely to go anywhere?

Florida is home to plenty who are interested in the answer.

“We talk all the time on the right about the need to empower people and empower states,” U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said in an impassioned speech on the House floor in support of the bill, the MORE Act. “Right now, the federal policy on cannabis constrains our people. It limits our states.”

Gaetz, who helped author Florida’s very first medical marijuana program as a state representative in 2014, was one of just five Republicans to support the bill. Another Florida Republican, Brian Mast, R-Palm City, also voted for the measure. Mast’s office did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

In addition to essentially legalizing marijuana at the federal level, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act establishes a federal tax on cannabis products. That tax money would be set aside in a trust fund for people and businesses that have been affected by the federal war on drugs. A 2020 study by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that Black Americans are nearly four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite using the drug at a similar rate.

The MORE Act, if signed into law, would also start a formal process for expunging federal marijuana convictions. People serving federal sentences for cannabis-related crimes would get review hearings.

It’s unclear how many Floridians are in federal prison for marijuana-related crimes. But FBI data showed that in 2018, 40 percent of all state and local drug arrests were for marijuana-related offenses. More than 90 percent of those arrests were for possession, according to the Pew Research Center.

How Oklahoma Became the Nation’s Hottest Weed Market

How Oklahoma Became the Nation’s Hottest Weed Market

How oklahoma became the largest cannabis market in the country

Oklahoma entered the world of legal cannabis late, but its hands-off approach launched a boom and a new nickname: ‘Toke-lahoma.’

WELLSTON, Oklahoma—One day in the early fall of 2018, while scrutinizing the finances of his thriving Colorado garden supply business, Chip Baker noticed a curious development: transportation costs had spiked fivefold. The surge, he quickly determined, was due to huge shipments of cultivation supplies—potting soil, grow lights, dehumidifiers, fertilizer, water filters—to Oklahoma.

Baker, who has been growing weed since he was 13 in Georgia, has cultivated crops in some of the world’s most notorious marijuana hotspots, from the forests of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle to the lake region of Switzerland to the mountains of Colorado. Oklahoma was not exactly on his radar. So one weekend in October, Baker and his wife Jessica decided to take a drive to see where all their products were ending up.

Voters in the staunchly conservative state had just four months earlier authorized a medical marijuana program and sales were just beginning. The Bakers immediately saw the potential for the fledgling market. With no limits on marijuana business licenses, scant restrictions on who can obtain a medical card, and cheap land, energy and building materials, they believed Oklahoma could become a free-market weed utopia and they wanted in.
Within two weeks, they found a house to rent in Broken Bow and by February had secured a lease on an empty Oklahoma City strip mall. Eventually they purchased a 110-acre plot of land down a red dirt road about 40 miles northeast of Oklahoma City that had previously been a breeding ground for fighting cocks and started growing high-grade strains of cannabis with names like Purple Punch, Cookies and Cream and Miracle Alien.“This is exactly like Humboldt County was in the late 90s,” Baker says, as a trio of workers chop down marijuana plants that survived a recent ice storm. “The effect this is going to have on the cannabis nation is going to be incredible.”Oklahoma is now the biggest medical marijuana market in the country on a per capita basis. More than 360,000 Oklahomans—nearly 10 percent of the state’s population—have acquired medical marijuana cards over the last two years. By comparison, New Mexico has the country’s second most popular program, with about 5 percent of state residents obtaining medical cards. Last month, sales since 2018 surpassed $1 billion.
To meet that demand, Oklahoma has more than 9,000 licensed marijuana businesses, including nearly 2,000 dispensaries and almost 6,000 grow operations. In comparison, Colorado—the country’s oldest recreational marijuana market, with a population almost 50 percent larger than Oklahoma—has barely half as many licensed dispensaries and less than 20 percent as many grow operations. In Ardmore, a town of 25,000 in the oil patch near the Texas border, there are 36 licensed dispensaries—roughly one for every 700 residents. In neighboring Wilson (pop. 1,695), state officials have issued 32 cultivation licenses, meaning about one out of 50 residents can legally grow weed.
How Weed is Measured: A guide to quantities and labels

How Weed is Measured: A guide to quantities and labels

Understanding the most common weed measurements

Cannabis has come a long way since it was made illegal in the 1930s, with new methods of growing, cultivating, and manufacturing sprouting up over the years.

There is one thing about cannabis that has changed very little over the years, however, and that is weed measurements.

While the different names for different weed measurements may have been upgraded since the 20th century, the actual amounts and measurements of weed sold in dispensaries today are very similar to those once found on the prohibition-laden streets of America. But what are the most common weed measurements and what are the terms to know before you go asking your local budtender for “hella weed”? 

Let’s start with how weed is measured before we jump into all the different names.

Fun fact; measurements of cannabis start low in grams from the metric system, but move into ounces from the US or imperial system as weight increases. Confusing, right? Just how we like it here in the states!

Basic Weed Measurements

The lowest amount you can purchase (although most dispensaries don’t go this low anymore) is what is commonly called a “dime bag”. A dime bag almost always equals a half of a gram and costs on average $10, hence the “dime” in the name. However nowadays most dispensaries will sell one whole gram for around $10, reaching up to $20 for top shelf cannabis.

So, a gram is the most common small amount of cannabis that you can purchase at most places in a variety of ways, whether in flower form or pre-rolled joints. Simple enough, right? Well, this is where weed measurements can get confusing.

From a gram or two, we jump up to an eighth, or one-eighth of an ounce. This comes out to roughly 3.5 grams, and prices range from $15 on the low end to $60 for top shelf quality cannabis. Most people who don’t want to run to the dispensary every day for a gram will pick up an eighth at a time to last them through the week. For those that want more, we move up to a quarter in the weed measurements scale.

Commonly known as a “Q”, a quarter is self-explanatory. It equals a quarter of an ounce or seven grams. Prices vary on quarters anywhere from $20 for very low-end shake up to around $90 for the highest quality bud. When you want a larger quantity that will last a while longer than a quarter, you can purchase a half ounce or an ounce.

Twenty-eight grams make up one ounce, so fourteen makes up a half. Most people won’t go above this range as 28 grams is plenty to last one person quite some time, ranging between $80 for low end product to over $200, though some places may charge more for their top shelf ounces. Common names for an ounce are “O” or “zip”, which comes from the old days when an ounce would usually take up a whole zip-lock bag. Luckily in recreational places like Denver, just asking for an ounce is perfectly acceptable.

There is always more that can be purchased, although the most one can buy in Colorado is an ounce per visit. This isn’t to say you can’t just go to three different dispensaries and pick up three separate ounces, but a single person won’t need much more.

Quantity vs Quality

So, we’ve covered the amounts and names for the most common cannabis purchases, but what about how weed measurements regarding actual THC content? There is a plethora of different chemicals that make up the cannabis plant, but THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive ingredient that gives users the euphoric and relaxed feeling that is commonly associated with cannabis. 

The measurement of THC content in any given cannabis plant is taken as a percentage that the compound makes up of the plant’s flower compared to the other lesser known compounds. Average THC content in Colorado varies between 15% and 30%, with more potent strains being created every year. 

When it comes to concentrated forms of cannabis like wax, shatter, hash and edibles, the weed measurements switch from a percentage to milligrams. A gram of concentrate such as shatter may be 80% THC, but it is labelled as 80mg of THC per dose. Similarly, edibles are given a THC per mg dose, with the average dose for edibles begin 10mg. Suffice to say, concentrates are much stronger and work much faster than an edible, but the effects of an edible can last much longer.

Now you’re ready to stomp into the dispensary and ask for whatever amount you want to match your desired price point, whether its flower or concentrates.

Street Measurement Metric Equivalent About the size of a/an…
1g 1 gram Grape
1/8 ounce 3.5 grams Kiwi
¼ ounce 7 grams Apple
½ ounce 14 grams Grapefruit
1 ounce 28 grams Coconut
1 pound 16 ounces or 448 grams Watermelon

 

 

 

 

 

Retail sales drive application surge among Missouri medical cannabis patients

Retail sales drive application surge among Missouri medical cannabis patients

Missouri medical cannabis

Patient, caregiver applications increase more than 60 percent as dispensaries open statewide.

The continuing rollout of retail medical cannabis sales across Missouri appears to be fueling a new surge in prospective patient and caregiver interest, state records show.

On Monday, the state Department of Health and Senior Services reported approving nearly 70,000 patients and caregivers — with another 17,000-plus application (including those deactivated or that expired without renewal) pending review.

The six weeks since the state’s first sale of medical cannabis by St. Louis County dispensary N’Bliss on Oct. 17 have seen a weekly average of more than 1,600 new patient and caregiver applications to the state.

By comparison, the state had received roughly 1,000 such new applications each week since the program’s June 2019 start. Excluding the shortened holiday week of Thanksgiving, the short-term increase tops 70 percent.

“As the Missouri medical cannabis industry literally takes shape before our eyes, it’s no surprise that more patients and caregivers are signing up,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “Patient participation has already exceeded levels seen in other states at similar junctures, and we fully expect interest to only grow as more businesses come online.”

As of Wednesday, Nov. 25, the state had approved 30 medical cannabis businesses for operation, including 16 retail dispensaries and 10 cultivation sites. Another 35 businesses are awaiting final state inspections.

The end-of-2020 green rush also means the rollout of thousands of new jobs for Missourians. Through Monday, DHSS reports receiving more than 900 agent ID application requests as part of the screening process for medical cannabis workers, with 857 approved to date.

US House passes historic bill to legalize cannabis at federal level

US House passes historic bill to legalize cannabis at federal level

US house passes historic cannabis legalization bill MORE Act

In a groundbreaking vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a comprehensive bill that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, ending the federal government’s decades-old prohibition on the plant.

Lawmakers in effect voted to legalize marijuana by approving the social justice-focused Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act by a margin of 228-164 after an hour of debate. A handful of Republicans voted for the measure.

The vote – while largely symbolic because the bill still must pass the Senate – comes only two days after the United Nations took the historic step of reclassifying cannabis as a less dangerous drug.

Opponents of the MORE Act criticized Democrats for prioritizing marijuana during the coronavirus crisis and voiced concerns about health risks for youth.

The MORE Act

The legislation could potentially open up an already fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry to billions of dollars of additional business opportunities and interstate commerce over time.

However, the vote Friday will prove to be emblematic unless Democrats gain control of the U.S. Senate by winning two run-off races in Georgia on Jan. 5.

Even then, the more conservative Senate might be resistant to such a major change in federal marijuana policy.

“I have been waiting for this historic moment for a long time. It is happening (Friday) because it has been demanded by the voters, by facts and by the momentum behind this issue,” U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and a Democrat from Oregon, said in a statement distributed late Thursday.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill a year ago in what then was seen as a landmark development.

What’s misunderstood about the MORE Act

The measure wouldn’t create a federal licensing or federal regulatory framework. States would, however, continue to regulate marijuana as they see fit, without federal interference.

The MORE Act decriminalizes and deschedules cannabis,” said Randal Meyer, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce.

“It would allow state-legal businesses to operate in a federally legal environment, with business-tax deductibility and access to legal processes, and permit states to set their own cannabis policy, be it total prohibition or not.”

Steve Fox, strategic adviser to the Cannabis Trade Federation, said: “The MORE Act is a wonderful piece of legislation that would end cannabis prohibition at the federal level and take some critical and much needed steps toward restorative justice. It would provide major benefits to cannabis businesses, which would become legal at the federal level.”

Businesses, he said, would have greater access to financial services and be freed from Section 280E of the federal tax code, which currently prevents marijuana companies from taking deductions for ordinary business expenses.

“The MORE Act does not, however, establish a regulatory framework for cannabis at the federal level. So, from an industry perspective, the MORE Act is just one step in a longer process,” Fox said.

Vincent Sliwoski, a cannabis attorney at Harris Bricken in Portland, Oregon, echoed Fox, noting that licensed marijuana commerce will remain in place unless changed by states or local jurisdictions.

“What the MORE Act actually does is remove marijuana from control under the federal Controlled Substances Act while adding a 5% federal excise tax and tacking on key provisions like expungement for past marijuana convictions under federal laws. As with alcohol, there will be no federal business licensing element.”

He also emphasized that there would be “a lot of benefits here for state-licensed cannabis businesses, including everything from banking options to tax relief under (Internal Revenue Service) code 280E to federal trademark availability.”

Experts also note that they expect a number of federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Treasury and the Department of Agriculture, to weigh in on various issues, including health claims, cultivation standards and banking issues.

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