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Mexico puts legalization of marijuana on hold

Mexico puts legalization of marijuana on hold

Mexico cannabis legalization gets delayed until 2021

Mexican president says delay is matter of “form, not substance” and expects approval in early 2021

The Chamber of Deputies last week put the brakes on the legalization of marijuana in Mexico. However, that country’s president on Tuesday said he expects approval in early 2021 of legislation decriminalizing possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana.

“They asked the (Mexican) Supreme Court for an extension because the two chambers could not come to an agreement and they were running out of time to make revisions. But it’s an issue of form, not substance. I believe this will be resolved” in the next session, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in his daily news conference.

The Mexican Senate last month approved a landmark bill decriminalizing the possession of up to 28 grams (1 ounce) of the drug, allowing individuals to grow up to six plants and licensing production and sales. It also created a commission within the Health Department to regulate the cannabis law.

The Chamber of Deputies was under a Dec. 15 Mexican Supreme Court deadline to approve the law, but deputies asked for and got an extension through the end of April. The deputies are expected to pick up the discussion in early February.

​“There is no opposition to what the Senate authorized regarding the medicinal and limited use of marijuana. It’s just a matter of errors, lack of precision about the amounts and other contradictions in the law itself, and that’s what will be resolved,” Lopez Obrador said.

If that happens, Mexico would be the second country in Latin America – after Uruguay – to decriminalize recreational use of small amounts of marijuana.

The premise might seem odd in a nation plagued by drug cartel violence and with rising rates of addiction in northern border cities. But experts say it reflects a change of attitude in Mexican collective thought and won’t necessarily fuel more violence or addictions.

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association launches

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association launches

The Mississippi medical marijuana association launched this week

The Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association (3MA) is now accepting membership applications from business owners in the medical marijuana industry.

“We are so excited to officially launch this association,” said Ken Newburger, Executive Director for the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. “We already have over 50 members, and our goal is to make sure we give these businesses access to tools and information to give Mississippi a top-tier medical marijuana program. Our team worked so hard alongside Mississippi voters to pass Initiative 65 at the polls, and now we want to do all we can to assure the program operates in the best way possible for patients in Mississippi.”

The primary focus of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association is to monitor legislative and regulatory activity, to advocate for its members, and to be a single and coherent political voice representing the interests of the industry. Membership provides access to educational and informational resources, networking opportunities, and governmental affairs representation.

The association is holding its first event for members, the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Convention, on February 19, 2021.

“We worked tirelessly for two years educating voters to help get Initiative 65 passed,” said Newburger, “and now our team is moving forward to make sure patients who qualify to be treated with medical marijuana can get it in the safest and most secure way possible through prepared, reliable businesses. We have assembled a team of experienced professionals in the legal and communication industries, who also worked closely with the Initiative 65 campaign, to help assure that medical marijuana businesses in Mississippi are set up for success right from the beginning.”

Are You Ready for Your First Dab?

Are You Ready for Your First Dab?

What to consider before taking your first dab.

Shatter, wax, crumble, high terpene full spectrum, extractions and concentrates.

These are all different names and varieties of the same common-place term we’ve all heard way too many times thanks to social media; dabs.

So, let’s dive into the hottest product in the cannabis industry since cannabis and what to expect from your first dab.

What is a dab?

Simply put, a dab is a concentrated form of THC that is extracted from cannabis flower using some type of solvent, such as butane or CO2, as well as newer methods that don’t involve solvents like rosin and ice-water hash. There are even distillate options that isolate just THC while removing other cannabinoids and terpenes to create a more potent product. 

Concentrates are also consumed in a different, much more eccentric manner than simply lighting up a bong. A blow torch is used to heat up a metal, glass or ceramic element that takes the place of a normal bowl-piece that would be on a bong, called the nail. The bong that is used for dabs is commonly called an oil rig or just a rig. The concentrate is then dropped or “dabbed” into the nail using a “dabber” or narrow pointed tool with the concentrate on the tip. 

The high heat of the nail from the blow torch instantly evaporates or at lower temperature melts down the concentrates, which is then inhaled like a normal hit from a bong. The difference between a dab and a bong hit however, is blatant.

What’s the Difference?

Compared to dry flower, concentrates are much more potent, with certain concentrates surpassing 80% or even 90% THC, whereas the most potent flower rarely passes 30%. Suffice to say taking one dab compared to one puff from a pipe will yield much different, and typically much more intense results.

Imagine if there was a tiny little speck of cannabis about the size of a bread crumb, and consuming that one crumb did more than an entire bowl-pack. That is what a dab is in comparison to dry flower.

Whereas a few puffs from a pipe may lead to a nice effect that last a couple hours, a dab will provide stronger effects that may not last as long.

Additionally, the taste of concentrates in comparison to dry flower is much cleaner and smoother, though I promise it won’t seem that smooth after you exhale. Unless you’re a pro already in which case this whole article is irrelevant.

What’s it Like?

Now it’s story time. My first dab experience was intense, scary, relaxing, and exhilarating all at the same time. It wasn’t necessarily what happened to me, but what happened to the friend I was with, we’ll call him Todd. The two of us were very different in our enjoyment of cannabis, mine being much more prevalent than his, his being very little outside of special occasions.

While hanging out at Todd’s place, another friend from down the block came by with some wax, we’ll call him Jack. This was back in the early days when concentrates first started hitting the market, so I had very little info about them and Todd was clueless. I had smoked with Todd maybe one other time prior to this, and it was pretty tough to convince him then.

I managed to convince Jack to take a dab with me so I wouldn’t be alone taking one for my first time. I was first to take my dab and was instantly struck with awe and confusion upon seeing how it worked. Jack turns on a small blow torch and begins to heat up the nail while I stare like a caveman that just discovered fire.

Jack hands me the dabber with the wax on the tip, at which point I said, “That’s it?”, thinking there was no way a tiny little speck could actually be that effective.

“Trust me,” Jack replied. “This will be plenty.”

I take the dabber as Jack hands me the rig with the red hot nail on top. After waiting about 30 seconds, I rub the dabber inside the nail as smoke billows from within. I inhale and pull the hit in through a central hole in the middle of the nail. The taste was like an exemplified cannabis flavor without the harshness of plant matter tasted in dry cannabis, followed by an instantaneous attempt by my body to expel my lungs.

Imagine taking the biggest bong rip of your life, only to cough your brains out for minutes afterward. Compared to the coughing I endured from my first dab, that bong rip is nothing. I coughed my brains out for five minutes, easy. Todd followed up with what looked like a slightly bigger dab than mine, which was the first sign that things were about to take a dark turn.

Todd smoked once a month tops, and had even less of a clue about dabs than me. With the knowledge that he is just supposed to pull as hard as he would from a bong, Todd ripped the dab faster and harder than anybody I’d ever seen. By the will of some greater power he managed to hold it in for a few seconds before exhaling a massive cloud.

Now, I thought my coughing fit was bad, but Todd made me look like a champion once he started. Imagine watching a sitcom on TV, but instead of a laugh track it’s a cough track. That’s what it was like after Todd took his dab. Non-stop coughing ensued as his face turned bright red. What followed is the reason you should always do your research before trying something new.

Todd went into the bathroom after he’d been coughing for probably 10 minutes, and comes out a few minutes later and says in-between coughs, “Am I not supposed to be able to breathe?”, to which everybody replies a resounding “No”. Panic ensues (mainly from Todd), while everybody else giggles quietly knowing he couldn’t actually die from a dab. We manage to calm him down enough as his coughing starts to fade, which gives way to a sedated horse effect.

Now at this point I was feeling terrific. The effects of a dab compared to dry flower are much more noticeable immediately after, which fades into a lighter feeling high that isn’t as cumbersome as dry flower. It’s like getting all the great effects of a bong rip without the cloudiness that sometimes comes along with it.

Todd on the other hand, was on a whole different level. He had forgotten how to use his limbs, and at this point was under a blanket on the couch cuddled up to another guy, who was giving him water through a straw because he couldn’t move his arms to take the cup. This brings us to the conclusion of this wild first dab, and the reality is that it isn’t nearly as crazy or extreme as it’s been made out to be.

It’s all about the individual. Todd and I’s tolerances were much different and so we both handled the dab in very different ways, and I was much better suited to tolerate the extreme difference in affect due to my experience.

Your First Dab

Now you know what a dab is, what makes it different from normal cannabis, and an anecdotal story that shares both sides of the experience. When it comes to your first dab I cannot stress enough, always start small. Dabs are already very small, so if it looks too small to you, it’s probably just the right size to start with. 

Be aware that you are consuming a much more potent form of cannabis and THC, and you will notice the difference instantly. Due to the potency, you can also quickly build a tolerance, and going from dabbing all the time back to normal smoking might be less rewarding than before you started taking dabs as it won’t provide the same strong effects.

Lastly, just have fun!

Dabs are always getting better with new methods of extraction coming about all the time, and your local dispensary will always have a bunch of options to pick from. Pick the brain of your budtender and figure out what strain would be best for your first dab. Just don’t do the stupid dab gesture afterward, you’ll look like an idiot.

Illinois cannabis tax revenue nearly surpasses alcohol

Illinois cannabis tax revenue nearly surpasses alcohol

Illinois cannabis taxes

The nearly $23 million in revenue was just a few million less than what the sale of alcohol brought in last month.

Amid skyrocketing demand for legal weed in Illinois, statewide tax receipts from recreational pot sales are now rivaling those from booze.

November’s tax revenues from adult-use cannabis, which reflect the record $75.28 million in sales tallied in October, reached nearly $22.88 million, according to figures released by the Illinois Department of Revenue.

That’s less than $3 million shy of the roughly $25.74 million in taxes collected through alcohol sales last month. That’s the smallest deficit since recreational marijuana was legalized in January.

Pot sales have skyrocketed in the 11 months since the drug was fully legalized, resulting in an almost steady increase in monthly returns for the state, according to a Sun-Times analysis. Taxes have pumped nearly $153 million into the state’s cash-strapped coffers, including nearly $100 million in the past five months.

Why have weed sales — and taxes — increased so much?

First of all, state levies on cannabis are far higher than those tacked on the price of booze (not including local or federal taxes).

On pot sales, the state charges a 6.25% sales tax and an excise tax of up to 25%, depending on the amount of mind-altering THC in what’s being sold.

While there’s no apples-to-apples comparison, alcohol is also subject to the general sales tax of 6.25% and an excise tax of 23 cents per gallon of beer, $1.49 per gallon of wine and $8.55 per gallon of liquor.

That means the state’s share of the price of a joint is much more than its share of the cost of a six-pack of beer. A $15 six-pack, for example, would net 69 cents for the state, while two high-potency joints priced at $16 would generate $5 for the state.

What’s more, pot sales have steadily increased since the program launched Jan. 1 — which was to be expected. But COVID-19 has also played a role, experts said.

The pandemic has “had a big impact on sales numbers,” said Alyssa Jank, an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a Loop-based firm that researches the cannabis industry.

“People have been at home more. People are looking for things to do [and] people don’t have to worry about being functional or capable to go and do stuff. So I think that’s part of it,” said Jank. “I think another part of it is that people have been way more stressed out and anxious this year, so they’re looking for something as a solve for that.”

Meanwhile, tax revenues from alcohol sales have fluctuated and returned to pre-pandemic levels. Though some research suggests consumers are spending less overall because they aren’t paying for the markup at restaurants and bars, total alcohol sales still trump the state’s pot sales totals.

Jay-Z Cannabis Brand Monogram Launches

Jay-Z Cannabis Brand Monogram Launches

Jay-z cannabis brand monogram launches luxury cannabis products

Jay-Z just became the latest celebrity to launch a pot business.

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter — the billionaire rapper and global business mogul behind a multitude of successful companies including D’Usse cognac, streaming service Tidal and entertainment firm Roc Nation — can now add premium cannabis brand Monogram to his portfolio.

Monogram’s core collection rolled out Thursday. Retailing between $40 and $70, the products include several cannabis strains designated as light, medium and heavy — available in pre-rolled cigars and joints and tins of cannabis flower.

In a statement obtained by CNBC, Jay-Z said his vision for the brand is “cannabis redefined.”

“Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, yet it is still an industry whose legacy of skilled craftsmanship is often overlooked,” he said. “I created Monogram to give cannabis the respect it deserves by showcasing the tremendous hard work, time and care that go into crafting a superior smoke. Monogram products are next level when it comes to quality and consistency and we’re just getting started.”

Jay-Z — who once famously referred to himself as a “business, man” not a “businessman” — joins a growing list of artists getting into the pot industry.

Arizona Recreational Cannabis Marijuana Regulations Draft Released

Arizona Recreational Cannabis Marijuana Regulations Draft Released

Arizona recreational cannabis regulation drafts have been released

One month after Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use, regulators have already put forward draft regulations to implement the program.

They’re working on a tight schedule to develop rules for the recreational cannabis market, as the measure stipulates that license applications must be accepted starting January 19. But industry stakeholders are optimistic that they will be able to accomplish that given experience in the existing medical marijuana program.

The new draft regulations cover licensing fees, the timeline for license approvals, the structure of the regulatory body, product labeling, public safety protocols and other technical matters. This is the first of what’s expected to be at least one if not more versions of draft regulations that the Arizona Department of Health Services will put out before finalizing rules.

Arizona’s secretary of state officially certified the Election Day results on November 30, which initiated the process of putting these regulations together. Now that they’ve been released in their initial form, stakeholders can use an online survey to submit feedback that regulators can use to amend the proposal. Responses are being accepted through December 17.

Samuel Richard, executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association, told Marijuana Moment that medical cannabis operators have an “open and collaborative” relationship with regulators and they expect that the department will be receptive to their input.

“Just a week and a half after Governor Ducey officially certified the will of Arizona voters, the Department is already hard at work to ensure the smoothest transition possible to adult-use in Arizona,” he said.

But again, this is a preliminary step and the provisions outlined in the draft rules are likely to be amended. Richard said he anticipates the department will put out at least one more proposal based on feedback they get and that the rules won’t be finalized until early January.

“They just want to give operators a sense of what the program will look like” before applications go live, he said.

Under the new legalization law, adults will be able to possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

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