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What Cannabis Can (and Can’t) do for Chronic Pain. Pot for Pain Relief?

What Cannabis Can (and Can’t) do for Chronic Pain. Pot for Pain Relief?

(Story by Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY) reprinted 1/26/2023. 
A growing, but still incomplete body of research suggests the cannabis plant, the source of marijuana, can help fight some kinds of pain.

Rob Sims grew up hearing stories about what opioid addiction could do. The former Detroit Lions guard, whose father, Mickey, also played in the NFL, watched a number of his dad’s friends get hooked. Some died. He vowed his own story would be different.

Then, playing for the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, early in his pro football career, Sims tore a pectoralis muscle in his chest. Primed for his best year ever, Sims was sidelined.

After surgery, he received an open-ended prescription for opioids. “Take when you have pain,” the bottle read. “That’s seared in my memory,” he said. As a football player, “I have pain all the time.”

Scared by the lesson he had learned as a child and with little to do besides focus on his recovery, he remembers thinking: “This could go in a bad way.”

That’s when he turned to marijuana.

It remains unclear whether cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain. Plenty of circumstantial evidence supports the idea, but exactly how, what kinds of products and what can be expected from them has yet to be determined.

“There’s some caveats before it’s ready for broad, prime-time usage for chronic pain,” said Dr. Devan Kansagara, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and a staff physician at the VA Portland.

It’s possible that cannabis helps with the psychological aspects of pain, said Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cannabis may improve pain indirectly, for instance, through decreasing anxiety so that someone may be able to deal with pain better,” she said.

Rob Sims was a guard with the Detroit Lions and now runs a cannabis business with fellow former Lion Calvin Johnson Jr., right. © Carlos Osorio, AP

Detroit Lions guard Rob Sims during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, Dec 9, 2012.© Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports

One recent examination of previous studies found the benefits of cannabis were equal to the benefits of a placebo, which means that if people thought it would help, it did.

“There’s very limited evidence out there to support that cannabis is effective against pain,” said Karin Jensen, the Swedish neuroscientist who led the study. So far, most of the information showing its usefulness is anecdotal.

“People who use cannabis to relieve pain may have the experience that it helps – there is no doubt about that,” she said. “What’s needed is solid scientific evidence to determine how much of the relief is due to the cannabis and how much is due to other things, such as the placebo effect.”

The general public is already largely convinced.

Marijuana remains illegal in 12 states, but as of 2019, 18% of U.S. adults reported using cannabis at least once in the previous year, and 4% to 5% use it daily or nearly daily, Kansagara said.

In a 2017 study, the majority of people who used medical marijuana or self-medicated with the drug said they did so to relieve pain, and 65% of those who requested medical marijuana licenses said they wanted it to treat pain.

The marijuana plant provides a wide range of chemicals, including THC, which has psychotropic effects/

But cannabis comes with cautions.

At least 5% of Americans ages 12 and up abuse or are dependent on marijuana, and the risk for dependence increases the younger someone starts. Marijuana use directly affects parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotion and reaction time. And long-term or frequent marijuana use, particularly at higher doses, has been linked to increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia.

It’s not possible to predict ahead of time who will react badly to marijuana, said Dr. Charles Berde, co-founder of a pediatric pain clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital.

THC, the part of the plant that has psychotropic effects, “has narrow uses for nausea and appetite stimulation in patients with severe weight loss due to AIDS or cancer,” but the data for CBD for treatment of chronic pain is “murky,” Berde said. “All the more reason to be hesitant to prescribe it.”

Cannabis and pain relief

When a body is in pain, the brain releases its own pain relievers. There are special receptors in the brain designed to take in these natural cannabinoids and offer relief.

Ingesting or inhaling weed fills up those receptors, too.

Providing more cannabinoids than these receptors can accept overloads them making the person’s own internal cannabinoids ineffective, said Dr. Jordan Tishler, a cannabis specialist physician in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and founder and president of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists.

That’s why higher doses don’t provide any additional pain relief compared with lower ones and can have “all sorts of risks,” he said. Side effects from cannabis can include increased heart rate, dizziness, impaired concentration and memory, slower reaction times and, more rarely, increased risk of heart attack and stroke and dependence.

Tishler said many patients come to him taking far too much cannabis, which increases the risk for side effects. He works to convince them that 5 mg to 20 mg a day will treat their pain better than the 200 mg they’re using.

Cannabis is now sold in many different forms.

“Just because (cannabis) doesn’t lead to breaking the law and incarceration and those sorts of troubles doesn’t mean people can’t have their lives significantly altered by getting overly involved with this particular substance,” he said.

There are also open questions about cannabis, including whether the pain-killing benefits seen in short-term studies will last. Some painkillers, like opioids, can actually make people more sensitive to pain. It’s not yet clear whether cannabis can have this effect.

“You’d like to see what happens with these products over a longer period of time, ideally,” Kansagara said. “I would like to see that before recommending wholesale to patients.”

Although legalization and decriminalization are making a difference, cannabis remains hard to study. Until recent years, it was extremely difficult to gain access to cannabis for research, and there was little federal funding for such work. In early December, President Joe Biden signed a law that will make it easier to research cannabis.

Dr. Donald Abrams, speaking in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure in San Francisco on May 4, 2016. © Jeff Chiu, AP

Gold-standard studies compare a treatment versus a placebo, but it’s impossible to keep people in the dark about whether they’re getting high, said Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist and professor emeritus at University of California, San Francisco, who studies cannabis.

When Abrams studied cannabis use in his HIV patients, some critics thought patients must be too stoned to notice their pain. But Abrams said the patients reported that it did alleviate their pain.

Dosages of cannabis aren’t standardized, which adds to the difficulty of comparing one study against another, he said.

That’s why trials of cannabis for pain relief have shown mixed results, said Wil Ngwa, an associate professor of radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, who’s working to create such standards for drug trials.

This lack of standardization also means people have to use trial and error to find an effective dose for them, according to Staci Gruber, who directs the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at McLean Hospital, a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital outside Boston.

In one study, Gruber followed 37 volunteers using cannabis for chronic pain. After six months of treatment, participants reported lower levels of pain, better sleep, more coherence and less use of conventional painkillers.

‘Positives, not negatives’

Sims experienced the same benefits.

Daily marijuana use after his pec injury helped cut the pain, allowing him to lift more weight and recover faster. “I was able to come back stronger than I was before.”

Playing NFL ball, Sims said, is like living through a train wreck every Sunday. The best players – the ones whose careers last the longest, he said – “have learned how to recover quicker and get ready for that next train wreck.”

During his career, marijuana helped Sims rebound and improved his sleep, which allowed him to push his workouts.

Asked about side effects from his marijuana use, Sims pointed to his athletic and financial successes. “I wouldn’t call those side effects,” he said, laughing. “I see positives, not negatives.”

In 2021, Sims co-founded the cannabis company Primitiv Group with fellow former Lion Calvin Johnson Jr. Sims and Johnson acknowledge they used cannabis during their professional careers, though there was a zero tolerance policy then, which has loosened only slightly since. Both men believe the restrictions should be lifted.

About a decade ago, Sims persuaded his wife, Natalie, to try cannabis, when a bout with the bowel syndrome Crohn’s disease left her on a morphine drip in an emergency room.

“This can’t be how we live for the rest of our lives,” he told her. She uses cannabis now and finds relief, Sims said.

“It made me very passionate about pain and help for pain.”

Challenges of cannabis care

Cannabis doesn’t make pain go away, like Advil might get rid of a headache, Tishler said.

Instead, “it makes it so it doesn’t bother you so much,” he said. “It divorces the pain from the suffering.”

Whether it’s the THC or the CBD in cannabis or both that might be helpful against pain remains an open question, Kansagara said. THC is what makes people feel “high.” CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be useful to some.

Smoking joints isn’t a good approach for relieving chronic pain, said Tishler, who recommends his patients use edibles instead. The effect of inhaled cannabis wears off in three to four hours, while a gummy might last eight to 12 hours.

The yo-yo effect, when pain comes and goes over a few hours, can exacerbate suffering, Tishler said. “Short-acting actually turns out to be a bad approach in general in pain management.”

In Massachusetts, where medical cannabis has been legal since 2013 and recreational since 2016, doctors are more comfortable giving their patients permission to use cannabis, Tishler said. But they rarely bring it up themselves.

So, Tishler is trying to educate his peers. “If you were thinking the patient needs opioids, think cannabis first. Don’t wait for the patient to bring it up – it’s your job to bring it up,” he tells them.

Similarly, he’d like to get cancer patients on cannabis early in their care, rather than waiting until agony sets in. “Once people are at the end of their rope, things are worse and harder to treat than if we had started when things were still kind of OK.”

Most of the advice on what product to use now comes from the patient care advocates or “budtenders” who work behind the counter at dispensaries, Gruber noted with some concern. They typically don’t know the person’s medical history or history of cannabis use or whether they use other substances such as alcohol, other drugs or prescription medication. Product labels can often be misleading about their THC and CBD content.

The trial-and-error approach can be difficult and challenging for patients with major medical problems.

“Knowing what’s in your weed is critical, but also how you’re going to respond to it is an important consideration. And that’s something we don’t spend a lot of time on,” Gruber said. “You have to educate patients. They’re desperate for it, but it’s not easy, because we’re all different and cannabis is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution.”

Research may change future use.

For cannabis to reach its full potential as a painkiller, more research is needed, experts say.

“It’s really untapped right now, because of that lack of research,” Johnson said.

That’s why NFL players and owners have been supporting cannabis research. Owners have donated more than $1 million this year to two cannabis research programs.

“We need to become better educated about all these issues,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer© Rebecca Blackwell, AP

Ngwa, at Hopkins, collaborates with Sims and Johnson to lead some of that research.

He’s also looking at better ways to treat cancer pain with cannabis.

His studies suggest that not enough of the painkiller gets to a tumor when the cannabis is inhaled or ingested, so he has been exploring smart-drug delivery systems than can target the drug directly to the tumor. So far, he has tested only pancreatic tumors but hopes to rapidly expand to other cancer types.

Ngwa is concerned that preliminary research like his will encourage people to self-medicate, taking doses that may not be helpful. “You really have to wait for the clinical trials, but when people are desperate, they just do (anything). I definitely worry about that,” he said.

Until more is known, Sims will keep up his cannabis routine.

Now 39, he has dropped 50 pounds from his 320-pound playing weight, which has helped reduce the lingering bone-on-bone pain in his right knee. He rubs a Primitiv topical on it knee every day.

“My passion behind the plant and what it’s done for my family reigns supreme.”

Contact Karen Weintraub at kweintraub@usatoday.com.

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

Consuming medicinal cannabis oil improves sleep in adults with insomnia

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What is CO2 Extraction? What Hemp and Marijuana Growers Need to Know.

 

 

What is CO2 Extraction? The Supercritical CO2 extraction process creates phase changes in carbon dioxide utilizing temperature and pressure.

CO2 is known as a “tunable solvent” making it extremely versatile for creating a multitude of end products by controlling temperature and pressure.

These phase changes create an environment to drop out differing weights of components in the plant material.

The unique design of the Hi-Flo™ Series systems allow for separation and collection of these constituents during a single extraction.

This enables collection of light essential oils separately from other desirable constituents and heavier lipids.

Supercritical CO2 fluid extraction (SCFE) methodology delivers a clean, unaltered, consistent-yet-flexible product.

Removable Molecular Components is a Positive Clean Alternative for CBD Extraction

CO2: Clean, Safe, Quick CO2 Extraction is good business.

It allows you to create a pure, clean, quality oil that is safe to produce with little-to-no post-processing.

Processes that use toxic solvents may require many hours to purge the solvent trapped in the oil.

Multiple industries have proven that the highest efficiencies in commercial processing utilize CO2. CO2 offers you the ability to “tune” the extraction process, especially with a system that will separate constituents during an extraction.

You can target specific compounds, like terpenes (terpenoids) and THC/CBD (cannabinoids) through different operational parameters.

CO2 is also a sanitizing agent, prolonging shelf life, and, with t

he proper system and environment, yields food and medical grade oils.

CO2 extraction is a safe, clean, and highly versatile method of extracting plant botanicals, nutraceuticals, hops, and hemp.

For the Originality in Extraction

Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) is the most widely used fluid for the Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) process across the globe. Not only is sCO2 capable of extracting the required ingredients in their pristine form, the prime reason for the surging popularity of SCFE, it also makes the process more manageable, economical, and safe.

Buffalo Extraction Systems Carbon dioxide (CO2) Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) Plant

These days, “clean label” products are selling like hot cakes. Increasingly health-conscious customers are placing a premium on natural ingredients in the food, pharmaceutical, beverage, and neutraceutical products they consume. Now, clean label is a broad term with various meanings – organic, natural, locally grown, non-GMO . . . the list goes on. Some even take it to link its maker to more transparent work practices.

Alternative processes such as Solvent Extraction and Hydro distillation leave behind harmful residues. Plus, they distort the ingredient being extracted. That is, the ingredient does not retain its natural purity. Regulations have caught up with public demand and impose exacting conditions to ensure the quality and safety of products by limiting toxic residues. One more reason to rely on CO2 SCFE.

What Makes Supercritical Carbon dioxide (sCO2) an Exceptional SCFE Solvent?

Carbon dioxide and water are the most widely employed supercritical fluids. sCO2 makes such a useful supercritical fluid because:

  • Has a critical temperature of 31.10C, which is around the ambient temperature improving its compatibility with temperature-sensitive compounds.
  • Has a more manageable critical pressure of 73.9 bar.
  • Is non-flammable and non-toxic.
  • Has a customizable density to upgrade its solvent power.
  • Is available in ample quantities and in pure form; and
  • Has a comparatively low cost.

Although CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG), the SCFE process using CO2 becomes eco-friendly if the gas is captured from the atmosphere and recycled.

Carbon dioxide Supercritical Fluid Extraction (CO2 SCFE)

Solvent Extraction employs organic solvents to dissolve the ingredient from the raw material. Later, it separates the organic solvent from the dissolved ingredient. The problem is, organic solvents do not completely disassociate from the ingredient, leaving behind residues.

Parameter Solvent Extraction SCF Extraction
Solvent traces in final product Yes Zero
Heavy metal content in final product Yes Zero
Inorganic salt content in final product Yes Zero
Similarity with the actual components to be extracted in terms of Colour and Flow Characteristics Less: because polar compounds get dissolved. More: because low operating temperatures and selective extraction of CO2.

Table 1. SCFE Vs Solvent Extraction

That is, the ingredient loses its natural purity. What is more, it may develop a certain degree of toxicity. But the concerns on using organic solvents for extraction go beyond toxicity for the individual. Some solvents are ozone depleting substances, and their use negatively impacts the environment.

Hydro distillation i.e., the use of water and steam distillation inherently employs heat, something that thermally degrades the ingredients. Again, the ingredient, when extracted, is no longer available in its pure form.

Parameter Steam Distillation SCF Extraction
Extraction of essential, non-volatile oils Not possible Possible
Extraction of highly volatile oils Not possible Possible
Oxidation and Hydrolysis (undesirable) Possible Not possible
Similarity of essential oils with the extracted component in terms of Form, Aroma, and Physical Characteristics Less More

Table 2. SCFE Vs Steam Distillation

As a process that holds the United States FDA’s “Green Technology” approval, CO2 SCFE enjoys sizable international clout. One reason for its eco-friendly nature is that it does not generate effluents, automatically eliminating pollution control hassles and costs.

Examined in the context of the limitations of hydrodistillation and solvent extraction, CO2 SCFE delivers a much better performance on all fronts during the extraction of:

 

  • Plant-based Ingredients: Solvent extraction oxidizes the ingredient that lends color and aroma. Similarly, steam distillation acts strongly and ends up altering the component’s aroma. SCFE acts mildly, thereby avoiding such unwanted changes while also delivering cleaner, fresher, and crispier extracts.
  • Herbal Medicines: CO2 SCFE is preferred over hydrodistillation when extracting essential oils because it does not thermally degenerate the oil. It is also replacing solvent extraction for seed oil separation as the solvent cannot be completely disassociated from the seed oil.
  • Astaxanthin Extraction from Haematococcus pluviales: CO2 SCFE gives superior results vis-à-vis solvent extraction that employs acetone and hexane. These solvents cannot tell between astaxanthin and the astaxanthin-lipid mixture, both of which occur inside Haematococcus pluviales. As a result, these solvents deliver a low-concentrate extract.
  • Beer, Wine, and Blended Alcohol: CO2 SCFE lowers the alcohol content of wine to a bare minimum while leaving its organopletic features undisturbed. The process also extracts the original versions of hop flavors while extending their life, thereby acting as a natural preservative for beer.

Organopletic properties of wines are their aroma, fruitiness, crispiness, sweetness, and freshness. Hop is the plant whose flower imparts the prized bitter taste to beer.

  • Phytochemicals: Because supercritical CO2 is naturally nonpolar, it can better distinguish between volatile, non-polar, and low molecular weight phytochemicals [14].

The selectivity of SCFE is an asset here as it can separate anthocyanin from the pulp of Euterpe oleracea at a certain pressure while extracting phenolic phytochemicals from that very pulp at another pressure.

  • Algae:
  • Carotenoids: Hiking the pressure and temperature of the CO2 SCFE process boosts the efficiency of carotenoid extraction. Utilizing the solvent extraction process for the same consumes large quantities of solvent, takes longer, and delivers impure and deficient yields.
  • Antioxidants: Employing CO2 SCFE on Haematococcus pluvialis, a microalgae, gives good yields of lutein, astaxanthin, and fatty acids.
  • Fatty Acids: CO2 SCFE is able to better differentiate between different fatty acids as compared to pyrolysis / thermal liquefaction and solvent extraction via hexane, the traditional methods for fatty acid extraction. Besides, these conventional techniques are slower.
  • Sterols: CO2 SCFE enables solvent-free extraction of phytosterols that are safe for use in the food and beverages industries.

The Verdict

People the world over are shifting to natural alternatives – natural medicine, natural food, natural beverages – in realization to the long-term side effects that synthetic products, possibly laced with toxic residues, can unleash on health and overall wellbeing.

Effectively this means, the SCFE process and, more specifically, the CO2 SCFE process, are here to stay . . . for ages.

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Happy Holidaze – NYC Starts Legal Weed Sales in Time for the New Year, and the Profits Go to Charity

NYC Starts Legal Weed Sales in Time for the New Year, and the Profits Go to Charity

New York state will kick off legal recreational marijuana sales on Dec. 29, just in time to meet its goal of launching regulated, taxed sales before the end of the year.

Housing Works, a New York City-based nonprofit that runs a chain of thrift shops, will launch sales at a 4,400-square-foot Manhattan dispensary at 1 Astor Place, Governor Kathy Hochul said on Wednesday. All proceeds will be directed to the nonprofit. The charity, which provides services to people who were formerly incarcerated and those living with HIV or AIDS, is one of three dozen groups and individuals awarded the state’s first retail licenses last month.

Housing Works, a New York City-based nonprofit that runs a chain of thrift shops, will launch sales at a 4,400-square-foot Manhattan dispensary at 1 Astor Place, Governor Kathy Hochul said on Wednesday. All proceeds will be directed to the nonprofit. The charity, which provides services to people who were formerly incarcerated and those living with HIV or AIDS, is one of three dozen groups and individuals awarded the state’s first retail licenses last month.

“Their decades of work with marginalized communities make them a perfect partner in the effort to ensure that New York’s cannabis market provides meaningful opportunities to those most impacted by the failed cannabis criminalization policies of the past,” said State Senator Liz Krueger in a statement.

The launch represents more than just what could be the world’s second-largest legal marijuana market outside of California’s, but a stab at getting regulations right where other states have failed. New York has taken a novel approach that aims to include African Americans — disproportionately arrested for marijuana in the past — in the legal industry. It’s also pledged to separate suppliers from retailers in a so-called two-tier system, in order to try and create a lot of “mom-and-pop” small businesses.

Retail licenses were granted to people who have a cannabis conviction and organizations that provide services to people who were harmed by past drug enforcement. There are plans to let those licensees do delivery by bike and scooter. New York has also given out licenses to 280 farmers to grow the first adult-use cannabis in the state.

growing tide of illicit sellers have opened storefronts to make inroads with customers who don’t know the difference between their cheaper — but sometimes tainted products — and licensed, contaminant-tested weed. The state passed legislation in 2019 to decriminalize marijuana and has since loosened restrictions on purchase and consumption of cannabis. However, it took months to formulate regulations and grant licenses, leading to the proliferation of illegal storefronts that popped up across the state.

 

Now, regulators and law enforcement are trying to rein in the $2 billion market in illegal sales by providing support to licensed sellers. Measures so far include a verification tool that will be posted in the window of licensed sellers, and a universal symbol on each product to show it meets standards set by the state.

“We are eager to take the lead as a social equity model for America’s cannabis industry, specifically with our hiring practices and continued support of individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by the unjust war on drugs,” said Sasha Nutgent, store manager of Housing Works Cannabis Co., in a statement.

The launch represents more than just what could be the world’s second-largest legal marijuana market outside of California’s, but a stab at getting regulations right where other states have failed. New York has taken a novel approach that aims to include African Americans — disproportionately arrested for marijuana in the past — in the legal industry. It’s also pledged to separate suppliers from retailers in a so-called two-tier system, in order to try and create a lot of “mom-and-pop” small businesses.

Story-Tiffany Kary key contributor

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the idea behind the banking legislation is not to make pot legal but to allow businesses that represent the legal cannabis market to use banks, instead of having cash everywhere

##########################New York state will kick off legal recreational marijuana sales on #Dec.29, just in time to meet its goal of launching regulated, taxed sales before the end of the year.

#Marijuana #CropGrowth

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Paying Taxes With Duffel Bags Of Cash Like Scarface. SAFE Banking – It’s Not About Legal Pot.

As the cannabis industry holds its breath while waiting to hear if marijuana banking reform will be part of a must-pass omnibus spending bill, James Hagedorn, a CEO of the lawn care giant Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE: SMG) shared

Paying Taxes with Duffel Bags of Cash Like Scarface, Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO On Need For SAFE Banking Act© Provided by Benzinga

his thoughts on the importance of this bill.

Scotts Miracle-Gro’s 2014 development of subsidiary Hawthorne Gardening Company “to meet the demands of hydroponic (cannabis) was considered one of the first large investments by a major U.S. corporation in the marijuana space. Nevertheless, Hagedorn wants to see the SAFE Banking Act passed for more than merely personal reasons.

It’s Not About Legal Pot

In an exclusive interview with Fox Business, Hagedorn pointed out that the idea behind the banking legislation is not to make pot legal but to allow businesses that represent the legal cannabis market to use banks, instead of having cash everywhere.

“It’s very dangerous. It’s inefficient. It’s really dysfunctional for the banking industry, not to be able to take this money in, allow people to deposit in, make capital investments in illegal businesses,” Hagedorn said.

The interview came on the heels of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the banking bill a “poison pill.”

It looks like the SAFE Act needs the support of both McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the reporter said and asked Hagedorn what he’d say to them if they were listening.

“Well, first of all, I think there are 60 votes to get this out of the Senate. It’s been passed multiple times on a bipartisan basis in the House with a lot of Republican support, and there are some really good people out there. The co-sponsor on the Republican side in the Senate is a guy named Steve Daines. He’s a really good Republican. I’m a Republican, out of Montana, and what he told me is – ‘Jim, I’m not in favor of marijuana,” Hagedorn said. “What I’m not in favor of is dysfunction and banking. In my state, by voter initiative, they made it legal. And if it’s going to be legal, my citizens should be able to bank.’”

Hagedorn continued. “This is not about pot. This is about dysfunction in banking, people today have to pay taxes on legal businesses with duffel bags of cash and counting machines like Scarface. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be in America. There are almost a half million people that are employed in this space. Americans that vote. They have problems getting mortgages this way. These are all people who are working in legal industries. This is dysfunctional and bad, and all the Senate has to do is allow legal businesses legal access to banking. “

Ifs the bill passes during the lame-duck session, Hagedorn says he doesn’t believe that big financial names like JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Fifth Third (NASDAQ: FITB), are going to embrace the industry in the same instant because there’s “a lot of sensitivity about compliance.”

While many believe the SAFE Act is a small step in much-needed marijuana reform, Hagedorn agreed with Senator Danes that it is indeed a big step forward in rationalizing banking for legal businesses.

“Let’s remember one thing when you have a lot of cash, it brings crime. There are people killed every day, where they have a lot of cash lying around. And people have to take this money in cash.”

Price Action

Scotts Miracle Grow shares were trading 0.39% higher at $48.50 per share during Monday’s pre-market session.

UPDATE ON OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL

Marijuana advocates were given a massive setback after the Senate did not include a provision to remove federal restrictions on cannabis businesses from receiving banking services in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill.

The provision, which would have been modeled after the House’s SAFE Banking Act, was excluded from the Senate’s spending bill, likely thanks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has been a fierce opponent of the legislation.

The CEO of the U.S. Cannabis Council, a pro-marijuana group, said of the provision’s exclusion, “To say that we are disappointed is an understatement.”

US Cannabis Council Names Cannabis Veteran Khadijah Tribble as CEO

August 19, 2022

WASHINGTON–Today, the US Cannabis Council (USCC) named Khadijah Tribble, a leading figure in the cannabis reform movement and expert on equity and inclusion, as the organization’s CEO. Tribble succeeds Steven Hawkins, who led USCC since its founding in February 2021.

 

“We thank Steven Hawkins for his integral role in launching USCC, and we are thrilled to welcome Khadijah Tribble’s to the role of CEO at this critical juncture for the cannabis industry,” said Jessica Billingsley, chair of USCC and CEO of Akerna. “She is deeply respected for her leadership, expertise and wide-ranging experience and is well-positioned to advance our mission of ending prohibition and creating an equitable, values-based industry.”

 

Tribble serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at USCC member company Curaleaf, a role she will continue in during her interim term as CEO. She previously founded Marijuana Matters, a cannabis education and advocacy incubator, and served as CEO of the Marijuana Policy Trust, which helps develop and run DEI programs in the cannabis industry. Tribble, who has advocated for fair and equitable policies on behalf of marginalized communities throughout her career, also serves on USCC’s DEI Task Force. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

 

“The US Cannabis Council unites my deep commitment to cannabis legalization with my passion for addressing the harms of prohibition,” said Tribble. “My priority is advancing meaningful cannabis reforms through Congress this year that will provide the foundation for achieving our ultimate goal of federal descheduling while fostering an equitable and inclusive legal cannabis industry.”

 

Since launching last year, USCC has established itself as the leading voice for cannabis reform in Washington, DC. The organization has brought cannabis industry CEOs to meet with lawmakers in Congress, partnered with the sponsors of leading cannabis bills to advance reform and launched a campaign to advance passage of the SAFE Banking Act. Earlier this year, USCC launched its DEI Task Force with leaders in law, business and civil rights and partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to create an internship program for Black college students and recent graduates at leading cannabis companies and organizations.

 

US Cannabis Council Names Cannabis Veteran Khadijah Tribble as CEO (uscc.org)

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Marijuana Crop Growth Report for 2021. Green Lighted 2022?

‘Cannabis Harvest Report’ values US crops 5th in the nation in 2021. What is up for 2022?

David Downs and Bruce Barcott

Updated December 18, 2022

America has begun winding down its disastrous, century-long war on marijuana. We’re beating swords into plowshares. So, what’s coming in from the fields? The answer: America’s 5th most valuable crop.

The first-ever Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report, counted 13,042 cannabis farm licenses in the 11 legal states where retail stores are open. This unprecedented peek into US pot production found farmers growing 2,278 metric tons per year. It’s a mind-boggling number—enough to fill 57 Olympic-size swimming pools, or more than 11,000 dump trucks stretching more than 36 miles.

With US state cannabis prices ranging from about $500 to $3,000 per wholesale pound, you’re looking at a crop worth $6.175 billion per year. As measured against US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, the value of America’s legal cannabis crop ranks fifth nationwide, ahead of cotton. And yet state and federal officials generally do not track it or acknowledge it.

 


Tracking cannabis agriculture production

 

Cherry Cheesecake harvest at Sonoma Hills Farm, Petaluma, CA on October 6, 2021. (David Downs/Leafly)

Why did we count the crop? Because cannabis is as stigmatized as it is valuable.

USDA economists track annual yields, prices, and estimated values for nearly every commercial crop grown in America. But they do not track legal cannabis due to the plant’s status as a federal Schedule I drug.

Our goal with the Leafy Harvest Report is to quantify annual cannabis production in operational adult-use states, just like the USDA’s Economic Research Service does for all non-cannabis crops. This is the first time anyone’s done this, as far as we know.

Voters, lawmakers, and industry leaders need these basic facts to make informed decisions. The Harvest Report is the third in this year’s Leafly Reports series, including the Leafly Jobs Report and Leafly Seeds of Change: Strategies to create an equitable cannabis industry.

Highlights from the Cannabis Harvest Report

Leafly’s Cannabis Harvest report is one of the most comprehensive summaries on cannabis agriculture production. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways from the report.

Cannabis ranks 5th in value of crops produced in the US. (Leafly)

Cannabis Harvest Report methodology

Leafly News senior editors David Downs and Bruce Barcott teamed up with Beau Whitney at Whitney Economics to aggregate annual crop data from the 11 states with active, legal adult-use cannabis sales. 

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We followed the USDA’s method of computing crop value by finding the average wholesale price per pound in a state and multiplying it by the state’s amount of cannabis produced. In those 11 states, we counted crops destined for both adult-use and medical outlets. 

Freelance cannabis journalists Amelia Williams (Debunking Dispensary Myths, 2020) and Zack Ruskin assisted with research and reporting.

Read our full methodology on page 15 of the report.

What’s next for cannabis farmers?

(David Downs

Prohibition, over-regulation and over-taxation infringe on Americans’ constitutional right to pursue happiness with regard to cannabis gardening and farming.

The federal government must legalize cannabis for adults, and grandfather in legacy cannabis farmers by establishing low fees and easy licensing procedures.

The Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report summarizes the discrimination cannabis farmers face at both the federal and state levels—years of review and millions of dollars in extra expenditures—just to put seeds in the soil. 

Additionally, this $6 billion agricultural sector is under-banked and under-insured. Most farmers have to pay taxes in cash. Thirty-eight state attorneys general have called on Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, which would increase public safety and tax compliance. Reform measures like the SAFE Banking Act, and especially the MORE Act (which would legalize federally) are long overdue. 

Cannabis agriculture predates our country’s union. And a more perfect union would acknowledge and respect the power of this plant.

UPDATED 12/2022

Harvest time has come, but U.S. cannabis farmers may not burst into cheers for the results achieved.

 

Although cannabis has become the sixth most valuable crop in the United States, the illegal status of the plant at the federal level doesn’t protect the industry’s farmers and affects the value of wholesale production.

 

The second annual harvest report published by cannabis information resource and marketplace Leafly has found that adult-use cannabis farmers grew some 2,834 metric tons of adult-use cannabis in 15 legal cannabis states in 2022.

 

Compared to the previous year, cannabis farmers grew 554 (24%) more metric tons of cannabis in 2022, but the crop’s value fell by around $1 billion due to the decrease in prices of legal cannabis.

The 2022 report estimates that cannabis grown in the U.S. is worth $5 billion a year, while the value of America’s legal cannabis crop ranked fifth nationwide in 2021.

“Only corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, and cotton bring in more money on a wholesale basis,” the report reads.

Leafly’s data is limited to only the production of adult-use cannabis harvested in 13,297 active legal cannabis farms in 15 legal cannabis states. So, it doesn’t consider the crops for medical cannabis and the cultivation grown by illegal operators.

The report aims to fill a void of federal and state authorities in assessing the adult-use cannabis supply chain’s value.

In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t track adult-use cannabis production as the crop used for recreational purposes is still illegal at the federal level under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

But even some legal cannabis states still lack to gather information about adult-use cannabis cultivation.

“The federal government isn’t alone in ignoring the value of the harvest. Many legal states still fail to capture this important information,” the report reads.

Therefore, Leafly collaborated with the cannabis and hemp business consulting, data, and economic research firm Whitney Economics, to collect data, conduct interviews, and analyze wholesale prices and classes of cannabis quality.

Leafly estimates that cannabis ranks no. 1 crop in Alaska, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, but the report highlights that regulators don’t publish production totals in two of those states.

Today, 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized the adult use of cannabis. In 15 states, the legalization is fully operational, and cannabis can be sold under state license, while the remaining legal cannabis states are implementing the regulations to start the sales.

The illegality of adult-use cannabis at the federal level affects cannabis farmers’ ability to perform the most basic functions of a business, such as own bank accounts, obtain crop insurance, and get loans.

As farmers can’t sell their crops directly to consumers and don’t have enough legal retail outlets for their production, prices per pound of wholesale cannabis have fallen despite the rising inflation for most products and services in the country.

For instance, California farmers increased production by 63 metric tons on the legal side, but the cannabis harvest’s value slipped from 5th to 8th in the state because of those price drops.

“The average untrimmed, dried pound might have been worth $786 wholesale in August 2022, but individual outdoor pounds have drawn prices as low as $100,” the report reads.

Furthermore, the condition of cannabis farmers has also been worsened by the local municipalities that have ‘opted out’ from allowing legal cannabis sales, “creating economic protection zones for unlicensed, illicit cannabis sellers” at the expense of the legal operators.

Overall, the report shows a scenario in which Western U.S. cannabis farmers grew too much cannabis over the last year, while Midwest and Eastern farmers didn’t grow enough to meet their region’s demand.

As a result, western farmers haven’t enough demand to sell their harvests, while Midwest and East Coast customers overpay for cannabis products.

In addition, the fact that the illegal status of cannabis at the federal level prohibits farmers from selling adult-use cannabis across interstate lines has repercussions on cannabis prices.

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4 Hemp Club was Inspired by Steven Smith’s vision to

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Our 4H Platform Uses HEMP as an Agricultural Focal Point, deserving of research, development and with the

4 Hemp key points being Health Hope and Happiness, thru Hemp“.

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NY Regulators Sign Its First Lease for Recreational Marijuana Store

NY Regulators Sign Its First Lease for Rec Marijuana Store

New York regulators have chosen a Harlem location for the first legal recreational marijuana store in the state, reported The City.

The lease for the shop at 248 W. 125th St. is already signed, according to Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) CEO Reuben McDaniel.

Overview

(The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York provides construction, financing, and allied services which serve the public good of New York State. More specifically, as a New York State public-benefit corporation, DASNY provides services for public and non-proprietary (i.e., nonprofit) private universities in New York State; for not-for-profit healthcare facilities in the State; and for other New York State-related institutions/purposes (such as State court facilities and State pension bonds). Like other public authorities in New York, DASNY has the flexibility to borrow on behalf of the state through legislative authorization, rather than incurring general obligation debt, which requires voter approval.)

“I’m pleased to announce that last night we signed our first lease,” McDaniel said. “For those of you familiar with Harlem, you can stand at the Apollo and throw a baseball right across the street,” he added.

“As we continue to work on identifying sites and finalizing leases with landlords for more than 100 adult-use cannabis dispensaries across the state, we will provide updates on progress when announcements will not impact ongoing lease negotiations,” Gordon told Green Market Report.

Update December 17, 2022

After much anticipation — and concern — about when New York would reveal Wits first locations for cannabis shops, the state authority overseeing the leasing of dispensaries has announced the first site, near the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem.

During the meeting on Monday of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), president and CEO Reuben R. McDaniel III announced the Authority had signed its first lease, for a property located at 248 W. 125th St. McDaniel said the authority hopes to sign more leases by year’s end.

“I’m pleased to announce that last night we signed our first lease,” he told the board. “For those of you familiar with Harlem, you can stand at the Apollo and throw a baseball right across the street.”

McDaniel said the design team had finished preliminary plans for the 2,800-square-foot space, and that construction would start soon after DASNY approves a final plan.

At the meeting, McDaniel did not say who would operate the dispensary. DASNY did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes amid doubts about whether the state will meet its goal of opening its first legal dispensaries by the end of this year. The first Office of Cannabis Management-issued permits, known as Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses, are reserved for people who have been impacted by cannabis prohibition and nonprofit groups serving people with past cannabis-related arrests or incarceration.

In October, Gov. Kathy Hochul said that 20 legal dispensaries would be open by the end of the year, a goal that looks unlikely due to all the loose ends, including securing locations for the dispensaries through the Dormitory Authority.

The signing of the first lease, however, comes at a time when unlicensed cannabis vendors have become increasingly visible across New York City, with a little more than three weeks left in the year. While Albany legalized cannabis last year, the CAURD recipients will be the first business to operate dispensaries that are actually licensed.

First of 150

The state’s plan pairs the individual CAURD license holders with ready-to-go retail locations, as well as access to loans — an important component in helping these businesses succeed because of the difficulties  cannabis businesses have in securing loans through regular banking means. It is also an effort to ensure that the people who’d been punished by old drug laws not only get a head start, but enough of a foothold that they don’t get pushed out when bigger players enter the market.

In order to pay for the build-out of the dispensaries and help with the loans, the state created a $200 million Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund. DASNY awarded management of the fund to Social Equity Impact Ventures LLC, a private venture team including NBA star Chris Webber, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson and entrepreneur Lavetta Willis. The team is tasked with raising $150 million of the total amount from private investors.

Despite that, the fund has yet to announce whether it has raised any money toward the fund. Syracuse.com reported that Webber and Willis had interests in cannabis brand Cookies, a potential conflict, and that other ventures from the two had failed to produce results.

Similar to liquor licenses, community boards will be able to give positive or negative recommendations for dispensaries within their district. While the Office of Cannabis Management is tasked with approving the licenses, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) has a mechanism for community boards to weigh in on dispensaries in an advisory role.

However, the MRTA states that for “premises leased from government agencies,” that provision does not apply, creating ambiguity over whether community boards have even an advisory role in considering the properties DASNY is securing. The authority did not respond to questions about the role of community boards.

Manhattan Community Board 10 District Manager Shatic Mitchell said on Wednesday that he hadn’t heard about the dispensary coming to the Central Harlem district before THE CITY inquired about it.

Keshawn Warner, whose business received a CAURD license to operate in Manhattan, said Wednesday that he has not heard from the state about where his dispensary will be located or about relevant regulations, such as the rules for deliveries until he’s able to open a storefront.

“Location, you obviously have your desires,” said Warner, who owns, with his wife, a drugstore called The Pharmacy in Harlem. “Most important to me is the effectiveness of the roll-out.”

He added: “If it is in Harlem, it would be great for Harlem. It’s a moment in history.”

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