Is 2020 the Year of New CBD Markets?

If you were at Davos this year, you heard alot about CBD. The cannabinoid will again be a headliner in business analysis and bottom line reports this year. But as the market matures, globally, what is the real temperature of the industry? And how fast will regional hiccups resolve?

Regulatory Issues Are In The Room

From the US state markets to the EU, hemp is coming into its own, even though almost everyone also refers to it as CBD (cannabidiol).

european union statesIn the United States, things are even more murky because of a lack of federal reform and the individual rules and regs of existing state markets. To an extent, the market is being “federalized” on the testing front (see ISO for example) and GMP (at the federal pharmaceutical level), producers are beginning to be able to get certified on a global scale. However, the vast majority of the U.S. market is not anywhere close to the regulatory muster now required of even the most-humble commercial hemp farmer anywhere in the EU.

In Europe, the entire cannabis discussion is already far more defined, and as a result, very much likely to set the rulebook globally, especially as so many people want to import here. And this is going to be a bugbear for the next two years. The rules on EU Bio for starters, are still in flux. And where this ties into GMP downstream, those who brave such waters are in for choppy seas for the time being.

Tie this into Novel Food, and this is an area right now that should only be charted by the most experienced navigators, and not just using the stars.

The Battle Is On – Both On The High Seas And The High Streets

For all the desire to bring “whole plant” into the room, (in other words recreational cannabis and medical cannabis with the THC still attached), CBD fever at least has spread in Europe faster than any pending flu epidemic from China.

There are positives and negatives that come with this discussion. Namely, the ever pounding need to commercialize the legal industry and remove all Drug War stigma and barriers from the discussion.

CBD-only legalization is also a powerful answer to those who claim that if CBD is legit, then the police will not chance busting people, no matter how much THC is or is not in the offending substance in question.

These are also the same people frequently who also have a stake in some level of the industry as it legalizes. And this is also where some of the fiercest battles for regulatory control and definition have also begun to happen.

The structure of cannabidiol (CBD), one of 400 active compounds found in cannabis.

Where they have come to a head (see Italy), it appears that governments are indeed reconsidering the whole “insurance” if not “home grow” discussion. Not to mention, as a result, recreational after that. The conversation in Italy, of all places, right now, is a good indication of this trend. It is a conservative country in every way, yet it is the first to not only cancel a government controlled monopoly license, but also the largest country in Europe to again tinker with limited home grow of cannabis plants.

Ironically this is also the place where the most dedicated “CBD revolutionaries” have also hit. In places like the UK right now, the lack of appetite for EU regulatory control generally (see Brexit) has resonated, particularly with a pro cannabis crowd sick and tired of more delay on a topic whose day in the sun has finally come. If not more government wobbles on discussion on the medical side (see the recent NHS decision to ignore cannabinoids and chronic pain).

In other places like Europe however, and this certainly showed up at Davos, CBD is a hardy foot soldier if not cannaguerilla from the hills that is beginning to chalk up discussions if not yet wide-ranging sovereign victories.

This is absolutely clear to see in places like the African market (and Lesotho is about to become a hot ticket globally if not within the African continent). Indeed, the first seeds were sown several years ago).

Yes, it is ridiculous that CBD is being banned. And it is also obvious that governments are unwilling to be bankrupted over medical cannabis of any kind or THC concentration, and know they must also seek other ways to deal with the issue.

CBD, in other words, is a kind of Che Guevara that is going to take down a few of the established orders in this revolution that is now global. And for that very reason, taking on a character if not place at the table all of its own.

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Cannabis Featured at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

So, cannabis was at Davos, like a lot of Very Important People who paid to be seen. What does that mean, however, for 2020 if not beyond, particularly in Europe?

In general, the industry is setting itself up for the next round of “invasion” just about everywhere. In Europe this is going to be a very interesting next couple of years as cannabis as a crop is integrated into the mainstream via changing rules both on a national and regional level.

There are two possibilities for the now Brexited UK. Either the UK is also going to be an insane madhouse of cannabis innovation, set free from its EU “overlords” or the entire discussion is going to get bogged down in another kind of elite private room. Namely which British company gets mostly monopoly rights on what is left of NHS patients (see GW Pharmaceuticals), and which foreign (probably US or Canadian) company is going to be able to buy market accessone way or another to both the medical market that flows over from this discussion and the budding recreational one. See CBD for starters.

In the meantime, strange hybrids are going to enter markets. British distilled hemp infused rum showed up in German mainstream grocery stores just before Christmas. Chocolate makers are setting out stakes across European states with suppliers attached globally.

In Italy, home grow has entered the discussion again, and recreational count down calendars are also on the walls if not sales projections of everyone in the industry. That said, the strategies and ground covered between now and the beginning of 2022, must be strategically chosen. There is no easy, much less “one” path in. All things cosmetics and tinctures will be difficult paths for years to come – although lucrative markets.

CBD vs THC

This discussion is in the room as a political topic as well as an economic one. Technically, anyone with a working farm and used to producing standards demanded across the EU, should be able to enter the industry at this point. That said, getting in, and getting established is not only expensive but also time consuming. The many quirks and stigmas of the past are still in the room. And as fast as norms are establishing, the rules are changed again.

As much as anyone wants to set out even a stake (medical vs. recreational, THC Vs. CBD), the rules, if not debate is bunted again – certainly this has been the case in Europe over the past few years. In fact, the entire plant must be and always is in the room, even if in discussion with several agencies at a time.

2020, in other words, is going to be an interesting year for the industry, even if the most significant achievements, companies and people are not “seen” much less lauded in any spotlight.There is no way THC can be entirely left out of the discussion to begin with. Starting with alarmed reports about the fact that traces of THC in CBD products can show up in human bloodstreams. Until there is a real understanding about the tolerance levels of THC, and for whom in other words, the CBD market will always be haunted by this bugbear. And when they do, recreational reform of all kinds will also be much easier to support.

That said, you cannot pay overhead with promises about future reform. And in the short term, it is necessary to find your niche, and stick to it.

Europe also is a far more interesting regulatory market. Namely, there are more trials afoot, and more people are exposed to the idea of cannabinoids and how to use them.

How long will this take to resolve? It’s anyone’s guess, but the likelihood is that the next two years are set to be just as interesting as the last several have been, although the ground, as well as the goalposts are also just as clearly changing.

2020 in other words, is going to be an interesting year for the industry, even if the most significant achievements, companies and people are not “seen” much less lauded in any spotlight. Namely a general, mainstream and global population is now being introduced to a wonder if not miracle plant, and in a variety of ways.

That is surely, just in and of itself, perhaps the most important aspect of celebrating at a Swiss resort and playground of elites. Cannabis has “arrived” and taken its sophomore spin at the ball.

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Ground Control to Major Tom: Sending Hemp to Space

In March of this year, SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight will carry tissue culture samples of hemp and coffee to the International Space Station (ISS). Floating in a most peculiar way, the stars look very different, that is, the day those hemp samples enter orbit.

Hemp tissue culture samples like these will sit in an incubator aboard the ISS come March

Front Range Biosciences (FRB) is partnering with Space Cells and the University of Colorado, Boulder, on an experiment to “examine zero gravity’s effects on the plants’ metabolic pathways,” according to a press release. FRB will provide the plant cultures, while Space Cells provides funding and intelligence, using the dedicated space aboard the ISS for Boulder’s program. The university will also train NASA astronauts how to transfer cells to an incubator and conduct the experiment.

More than 480 plant cell cultures are going to be placed in an incubator designed for space, which will regulate temperature among other variables for about 30 days aboard the ISS. There will be a “PlantCam” where folks at Boulder can monitor the cells from their command center. After those 30 days are over, the plants will return to earth where FRB researchers will inspect the samples and “evaluate their DNA to determine if microgravity and space radiation exposure altered their gene expression.”

Dr. Jon Vaught headshot
Dr. Jon Vaught, CEO of Front Range Biosciences

According to Dr. Jonathan Vaught, co-founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences, the research results could help scientists identify new varieties or chemical expressions in the plant that were previously misunderstood. “This is the first time anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures,” says Dr. Vaught. “There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.”

Peter McCullagh, founder and managing partner of Space Cells, says the commercial applications for this experiment have a lot of potential. Learning how crops can thrive in a harsh environment could give researchers important information on how to deal with the effects of climate change on agriculture around the world. “We’ve been fortunate to be a leader in the new space industry and we’re excited to explore this new frontier with the team at Front Range Biosciences and University of Colorado, Boulder,” says McCullagh. “These are big ideas we’re pursuing and there’s a massive opportunity to bring to market new chemotypes, as well as plants that can better adapt to drought and cold conditions.”

This won’t be the only experiment either – the partnership wants to conduct a number of experiments that will study how to boost productivity and viability for crops in space. “We envision this to be the first of many experiments together,” says Louis Stodieck, director of BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “In the future, we plan for the crew to harvest and preserve the plants at different points in their grow-cycle so we can analyze which metabolic pathways are turned on and turned off. This is a fascinating area of study that has considerable potential.”

Hemp tissue cultures floating in a tin can, far above the world and all in the name of science and to determine if microgravity and space radiation exposure can alter gene expressions. No we’ve really made the grade.

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What’s in your Stash? Megh McCalla, Miniature Artist

Kansas City resident and miniature artist, Megh McCalla, loves to make tiny stashes that fit into the palm of her hand. Little dab rigs with little dabs, bags of tiny flower with all the accessories sitting on a petite remedy tray.

And although McCalla is not a cannabis patient, she would partake if she could, if only to inspire her art. But her home state of Missouri’s qualifying conditions won’t allow it. She can’t medicate or feed the muse unless the state votes to make cannabis legal for recreation.

What’s in your Stash? Megh McCalla, Miniature Artist
Courtesy of Megh McCalla

The politically conservative state voted in favor of allowing the use of medical cannabis in the summer of 2019, but patients wishing to medicate with the herb will have to be at death’s door or suffer from a chronic condition to access it.

State’s qualifying conditions have long since been a bone of contention for serious cannabis patients and recreational users alike. While chilling at the end of the day might require a Valium, a glass of wine, or a sleeping pill, those Missourians wishing to use the alternative method of cannabis to replace pharmaceuticals – or even alcohol for recreation— are out of luck.

What’s in your Stash? Megh McCalla, Miniature Artist
Courtesy of Megh McCalla

Stash as Advocacy

Even though she can’t partake of the plant legally, Megh McCalla feels her work can open barriers and start conversations about medicating and recreating with cannabis.

“The idea of having access to medical cannabis in my state is a wonderful thing,” she shared. “I didn’t intend my work to be educational, but they are definitely a step in that direction. I feel that it’s extremely important for people who don’t use cannabis to understand, not only the physical healing aspect of the plant, but also the emotional healing it can give. If I could use the plant legally as a muse to inspire my art work, I would.”

Without touching the plant, McCalla said she is a small part of the cannabis industry. Her miniatures can be found on Etsy, as well as to private buyers for custom stashes and accessories via Instagram, where she also shares her work and process.

“I’m just one small example of how this plant can help a little known artist put food in her belly, while bringing a community of people together,” she explained. “I can purchase CBD flower at local head shops now, which is a huge step in the right direction.”

What’s in your Stash? Megh McCalla, Miniature Artist
Courtesy of Megh McCalla

Teeny-Tiny Stash

Megh McCalla began her career in miniatures by making jewelry out of resin and floating charms for resin shakers, but growing up with artisan parents didn’t hurt.

“I became obsessed with the details, and what started out as craft, became art,” she shared. “Soon, I was inspired to make cannabis accessories. I get my inspiration from my craftsmen parents, and making remnant art toys. I’m also inspired by Japanese epoxy resin techniques, but I use all types of mediums in my work, including epoxy resin casting and 3D building, wood carving, origami, polymer clay sculpting and painting.”

Within the stashes pictured in the palm of her hand sits an entire world of medicating and recreating, complete with brand name products miniaturized to perfection.

The dab tray is comprised of a mini Raw tray, with a full dab rig and butane torch, testing meter, a tiny dab in wax paper, and silicone dab case with logo from This Thing Rips.

 The smoking stash is also on a tiny Raw tray, and has flower in a classic Zip-Lock baggie, a full glass pipe, Raw cones, Bakewoods pre-roll papers, a tiny Bic lighter, two seemingly hand-rolled fatties, and a pre-roll in a Raw box.

“I love creating these miniatures depicting the tools of medicating,” she surmised. “I believe representation yields normalization – which is why I create them. I’d like my followers to start talking about the positive benefits from this plant. I think my art can start the conversation, as well as strengthen their relationship to art.”

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Cleveland City Council Eliminates Penalties for Simple Cannabis Possession

The city council in Cleveland voted on Monday to end all penalties for possession of up to 200 grams, or just over 7 ounces, of cannabis, effectively decriminalizing marijuana in Ohio’s second-largest city.

“What we’re proposing is zero fines, zero jail time for anyone who has up to 200 grams of marijuana,” said Councilman Blaine A. Griffin, the sponsor of the ordinance, before the vote was taken.

“Let this be a bold first step in how we look at 21st Century policing,” he added at Monday’s meeting.

Cleveland joins several other Ohio cities, including Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo, that have recently decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under state law, possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis except by registered medical marijuana patients is subject to a fine of up to $150. Being caught with 100 to 200 grams of pot is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $250.

Let’s Hear It for Hemp!

Because of the legalization of hemp under federal law, prosecuting cannabis offenses now requires expensive lab testing to determine the concentration of THC in suspected marijuana. Samples that contain 0.3% or less THC are hemp and legal to possess.

Chris Hartung, the chief of police in Vermillion, Ohio, announced last summer that his department would no longer enforce low-level marijuana violations, saying the city could not afford the required testing. Without lab results, “we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect was in possession of marijuana as opposed to hemp,” he wrote in an email to local media.

Cleveland’s ordinance was first passed with a unanimous vote by the city council’s safety committee two weeks ago. At the time, Griffin, who represents the city’s Ward 6, said that the measure would help end the racial disparity common in the enforcement of marijuana laws.

“We have always known that African-Americans are sometimes seven times more likely to be charged with marijuana possession,” he said.

“In addition to good government, this is really trying to create an equitable policy, as well as moving to the 21st century and away from the ’70s, when it comes to marijuana and cannabis use,” he said.

Last week, the city council in Austin, Texas passed similar legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, only one day later the city’s police chief announced that despite the council’s action, his department would continue to make arrests and write tickets for possession of small amounts of cannabis.

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Legislative Committee To Discuss Major Marijuana Reform Bill in New Mexico

After New Mexico’s governor predicted that legalization of cannabis is a priority for some lawmakers this year, a Democratic state senator has proposed a bill that would regulate adult use. SB 115 will be reviewed for the first time by a legislative committee on Tuesday. 

The initiative would make it mandatory for recreational dispensaries to supply state-subsidized medical marijuana to patients. The plan looks to learn from the experiences of cannabis legislation in other states like Oregon, where medical marijuana has become scarce when recreational becomes legal. 

This is far from the first indication that New Mexican lawmakers are looking to push a legalization agenda this year. Earlier this month, the state’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham commented at a Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce luncheon that regulation of adult use cannabis could prove to be “an economic game-changer.” 

“If we are clear-eyed about the risks, we have to be clear-eyed about the opportunity,” said Grisham — a nod to the bipartisan policy makers in the state’s legislature that are unconvinced that access to marijuana is without its health risks. Last June, Grisham established a group to explore the feasibility of cannabis regulation. 

Albuquerque Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino introduced the legislation, which would establish an automatic expungement process for individuals with past cannabis-related criminal convictions. 

It would require local governments to allow for recreational industry activity — a measure that is presented as a way of fighting against illegal market cannabis sales. That language was taken from recommendations published by the governor’s task force earlier this month. 

Marijuana in New Mexico

Last year, New Mexican lawmakers were also presented with a draft of legalization legislation. Though it passed the House, it was unable to clear the Senate. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats in New Mexico, but cannabis legalization is not an issue that cleaves cleanly to party lines in the state. Some prominent Democrat elected officials have expressed their doubts regarding cannabis legalization, while some Republicans have thrown their support behind plans to regulate the drug.

The state’s medical marijuana program saw a considerable expansion last year of the number of qualifying conditions. Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel signed off on the addition of opioid dependency as a new entry to medical cannabis treatment. New Mexico has consistently seen higher than average rates of opioid abuse among its population. 

Last July, a New Mexico decriminalization law took effect that reduced the maximum sentence for possession of less than a half ounce of cannabis from 15 days in jail to a $50 fee, for an individual’s first such offence. Subsequent offenses can still garner incarceration, however. 

It seems as though lawmakers efforts to widen access to cannabis have the support of the New Mexican population. A December poll of slightly over 1000 voters suggests that support for recreational cannabis legalization in the state may be hovering at around 75 percent. New Mexico was the 12th state to legalize medicinal cannabis — could it hold the same honor when it comes to regulating adult use weed?

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Katie Cazorla Knows How to Party

When Katie Cazorla and I connect by phone, she’s in great spirits, enjoying the lull that accompanies the aftermath of the holiday season in Los Angeles. She’s back home in the city for a brief stint before embarking on an upcoming a string of shows at the Tropicana Laugh Factory in Las Vegas with Bill Dawes February 17th through the 23rd.

What inspired you to move from New York to Los Angeles and pursue a career in comedy?

I went to college at The University of Kentucky and there was this club where you could win a pitcher of beer for your table if you got up on stage and told a joke. Whoever got the biggest crowd reaction would win. All my friends were like, “You’re funny, you should go up there and tell a joke.” So I got up there and told a joke about lesbians, an “anybody can be a lesbian” type of thing. Everybody laughed and I won the beer. The club owner then suggested I come back every week as “a ringer” to get the crowd going. So I was basically a fluffer.

Some agent ended up seeing me there—Janie Olmstead—from Images Model & Talent Agency. She was like, “You have something. I’m going to this competition in Los Angeles, you should come. I’ll take you and we’ll see what happens.” I ended up going and winning my division. I still have the trophies. Anyway, I got signed. It was February of 1999. I flew back to college, said fuck college, packed up my shit in Elmira that summer and drove cross-country to Los Angeles.

But it wasn’t easy. I lived in my car for two months. I was desperate for work but couldn’t get a job because I didn’t have a place to live. Every application I filled out people were like, “Where do you live?” And I was like, “In my car! Wherever the back parking lot is.” It was awful.

My first job was at Dimples, which was this karaoke bar in Burbank. Then I got a job at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood hosting karaoke. At the same time, I would do stand-up at Dublin’s, which was the go to [comedy] place back in the day.

Oh, when Dane Cook was coming up.

Dane was actually my neighbor on Crescent Heights. He would walk me home sometimes from Dublin’s, which was super nice of him. Then he got weird and famous. I don’t know what happened, I think some bad shit happened to him, but then he had his resurgence and actually ended up doing my birthday show at The Laugh Factory [this past] September. It was nice. Like full circle. It’s been a wild ride. I can’t believe I lived.

How did The Painted Nail start?

I had been doing stand-up for like ten years and the one thing I hated was seeing female comics holding microphones with busted nails. It’s like a really crazy type-A thing. I’d always get my nails done, but these places in Los Angeles were like gas stations: on every block, grody, quick and cheap. I was over it. So I decided to go to nail school, get my license and open my own place. Do it the way I’d want to do it, you know?

I found a space in Studio City, right on the cusp of Sherman Oaks off Ventura Boulevard. I was watching the movie “The Painted Veil” and my husband – who was my boyfriend at the time – was like, “You should call your shop ‘The Painted Nail,’” and I was like, “Great idea!” I took all these chairs out of my house [and brought them in] and we installed a bar so people could drink for free. You’d sit in these big comfy chairs, drink free cocktails and get your nails done. Within three months, we had all these celebrities coming in. I got offered a tv show. At my grand opening party, Kenny G played in the parking lot. It was the craziest thing.

[The Painted Nail] turned into this reality show called “Nail Files,” which was produced by the people behind “Jersey Shore” and broke all these records. It was the highest rated show and the most watched show in the history of TV Guide Network. 1.2 million viewers on premiere night. It was absolutely insane and it sort of launched everything for me.

How has cannabis played a role in your success and the success of your businesses?

I was never a weed person until I went to Rose Day. They gave out these Beboe pens, which are supposed to be “happy” sativa based pens. I took a little puff and was like, “This is the best I’ve felt in fucking years.” I then got the dosist “bliss” pen, which I’m obsessed with. They’re low dose and great for someone who isn’t a “weed” person. ‘Cause, you know. California will fuck you up. There’s no more picking out seeds and stems. I’m from upstate New York where the weed was like oregano. People from upstate aren’t trained on drugs. Then you move to Los Angeles, and literally everyone here does some drug, if not all of them, at different points of the day.

I’ll never forget, I drove home one day and I look up at the recording studio on our property and Warren G is standing on the balcony. My husband’s a record producer and [Warren] came to collaborate on some project. Anyway, he’s out on the balcony smoking weed. I think he has his own brand. And he was like, “Have a hit.” And I’m like, I can’t say “no” to Warren G. I took the tiniest hit off this contraption and it fucked me up so bad. To the point where I was like, “I know all the words to all your songs.” I ended up rapping every single lyric of every Warren G song, singing all the Nate Dogg parts. And he was totally into it. We were laughing, going back and forth. When it was his part, I would look at him, and he would do his part. It was memorable, from what I can remember. But I was really fucked up.

And here’s the thing about people in Los Angeles who smoke weed. If you’re at a party and someone has a [weed] pen in really cool packaging, everyone wants to try it, and yet half the time, no one knows what’s in it. People are so quick to try. What if it was weed mixed with meth? But people just go for it. You don’t even know what’s in it. I think that’s the craziest thing, especially being out here with the strains being so strong. I feel like you’re asking for it when you decide, “Hey, I’m just going to put my mouth on this stranger’s pen and suck off of it.” Whatever comes out of that, whatever happens to you, you asked for it. So if you wake up and your sheets are bloody, with a scar on your back, that’s your problem. Know what you’re wrapping your mouth around.

I was up in Tahoe a couple months ago, and a friend of mine’s niece was like, “I have anxiety and [this pen] helps me calm down.” And I love those pens, so I took a hit. But it was one of those weird millennial “dragon” pens, where the tiniest little inhale produces this frightening “puff the magic dragon” cloud.” I was so fucked up, I thought I was going to die. My head was detaching from my neck. That’s how fucked up I was. My friend was like, “You need to chew black peppercorn.”

Is that really a thing?

It’s a thing. Oh my God, back in the seventies when everyone used to smoke weed, all the recording artists would chew black peppercorns when they’d get super fucked up recording their albums. It would bring their buzz back down so they could answer questions and be normal.

So I was chomping on these full black peppercorns and it worked! But it’s temporary. It gets rid of that edge, that feeling like the room is spinning and you’re going to die.

No one’s ever died from pot, but you’re about to be the first.

There’s a first for everything. And I thought I was going to be one of those people. But I lived. Never again. That’s what I’m saying. Don’t fucking take hits off random people’s pens. Trust the guy who works at the store and that’s it. Smoke what you know.

How has your comedic perspective evolved during your time in Los Angeles?

In the beginning, I was poor and was trying to find myself, so of course my comedy was based on that. Now, I’m married. I have step-kids. One of those children just had a baby. I mean she’s 28, but that makes me a step-grandma.

I’m more of an observationalist. I don’t really do dirty jokes. Good on female comics who do, but I don’t feel the need to talk about my asshole bleaching or vagina licking or anything to get laughs. I can bring jokes that are relatable and funny that don’t make the crowd feel like, “Oh my God.” [The jokes] aren’t a desperate reach to make people laugh.

Do you view the platform of being a stand-up as something other than just making people laugh?

My goal is to make people feel good, laugh, and have an impression of me that is always in the realm of, “Oh my God, she’s so fun.” One of those crazy funny people. A party starter. I always want people to be excited that I’m there. I don’t want people to be like, “Oh God, here she comes.” Or think I’m crazy in a bad way. There’s nothing wrong with being crazy if you’re fun and want to blow it out and have a good time. But don’t be crazy scary. Be crazy and fun. The people who are fucking crazy—not in a good way—are the people who need weed. They need weed and they need Jesus.

And it’s those two things they resist the most.

The ones who always need weed are the ones who are like, “Oh, I don’t do that type of drug.” And you’re like, “It’s a fucking plant.” Here’s something I don’t understand. So like, weed is legal. For the most part. Because it’s a plant and it has benefits. Did you that cocaine, like the coca leaf…those plants, if you pull a leaf off and you chew it, you get energy. So why can’t I grow coca leaves in my yard? And by the way, nobody dies from chewing a coca leaf and nobody dies from smoking weed, but people die everyday in the thousands from cigarettes and alcohol.

And from opiates.

I think pills are so dangerous. Seeing people that have literally gone from having back surgery to taking norcos, to ending up being heroin addicts and homeless…it can happen to anyone. But people don’t end up homeless on the streets when they take a hit off a Sunday Goods pen. No one is going to go suck a dick in a corner to microdose sativa off of a dosist pen. And if you’re going to, you need Jesus.

Check out and follow @officialkatiecazorla for tickets and tour dates.

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What’s in Your Stash? Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms, California

Julia Jacobson has suffered migraines for years, with one lasting as long as eight days. In 2016, she had a migraine to top all migraines—it lasted six months and came with vomiting and dehydration that landed her in the hospital on three separate occasions.

“I’ll never forget the day it began—September 22,” she shared. “It messed with my vision; I saw spots and auras. At times I couldn’t see at all,” she shared. “I was prescribed antidepressants and high blood pressure medications. Some of the meds they gave me had me dropping things, bumping into furniture.”

She was prescribed myriad medications, including Lidocaine shots and steroids. Jacobson said one of the meds, Imitrex, was so intense and had such severe side effects that the prescription was limited to two pills in a 24 hour period, with two doses in a two week period. She tried migraine glasses and had visits to an acupuncturist and chiropractor to no avail. 

“I just had a big mess of side effects and nothing worked,” she added. “My husband and I were thinking of having kids, and you can’t be on some of these medications while pregnant.”

Jacobson began using Prana transdermal roll-on 3-1 and Mary’s Medicinals CBD/THC patches. She also found a certain cultivar to be more helpful than others.

“White Buffalo is high in CBG, which they’ve discovered is a vascular dilator for blood vessels in the brain – it protects neurons,” she explained. “I also use Protab, a high CBG tablet made by Level.”

CBG is also effective in repairing neurological damage, according to a study titled “Neuroprotective Properties of Cannabigerol in Huntington’s Disease,” published in the journal Neurotherapeutics

What’s in Your Stash? Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms, California
Courtesy of Julia Jacobson

From Bloomies to Bud

Jacobson was born in Chicago and attended college on the East Coast, majoring in Comparative Literature. She moved to New York as a young woman and spent four years as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s department store. 

Today, she’s traded Bloomies for bud, making her home in her husband Sam’s hometown of Oakland, California. 

Her husband’s lineage in cannabis dates back to his grandparents, who moved to Mendocino County 50 years ago to grow cannabis. His parents grew up in the once covert industry, working as trimmers while Sam slept in a crib nearby.

Mendocino is part of the infamous Emerald Triangle, including Humboldt and Trinity, where some of the finest cannabis in the world has been hybridized, perfected, and grown for as many years.

Aster Farms sits on 80 acres in Lake County, just south of Humboldt. Not technically part of the Emerald Triangle, Lake County is the step-child of the trinity, but is still a viable source of cannabis in California.

“We named the farm after the aster flower, for its 23,000 species, as cannabis is just as prolific,” she shared. “We use fish tea, high in nutrients, that we make ourselves. Our cultivars are sourced from our neighbors in Mendocino.”

Currently, the couple grow three core cultivars, Maui OG, Durban Poison, and Sour Maui, with all organic inputs, grown in the sun. 

“All of our cultivars are old school—what you smoked in the 70s,” she added. “The farm will launch tincture production later this year, promising approximately 8,000 bottles, with additional terpenes added. Chamomile to calm, limonene to stimulate, and pinene, an anti-inflammatory compound.”

But the farm’s Maui OG is a favorite stand-out.

“It’s a beautiful, classic purple,” she said. “It gives energy, creativity—very uplifting. I’m really digging this high—it’s super balanced and joyful. It’s our best cultivar, by far.”

What’s in Your Stash? Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms, California
Courtesy of Julia Jacobson

Farmer’s Stash

Julia’s stash is a simple one, with a worn wooden cigar box gifted to her from a fellow farmer. Inside are jars of Aster Farms Deep Sour Kush, and Maui OG, with an Aster Farms Day to Night Pre-Roll pack.

The grinder is made by SharpStone, with a Lue brass spoon nearby in a small brass dish holding ground Aster Farms Strawberry Banana flower.

To treat her chronic migraines, she uses White Buffalo flower, high in CBG, Level CBD Tablinguals, used prophylactically; and Level CBG Protab, used at first signs of a migraine aura. 

She also uses Prana P1 THC Transdermal Aromatherapy Roll-on, used for migraine attacks on pain areas, if stemming from her temples, forehead, ocular areas, or neck.

An after work wind-down includes a sunset cultivar to take the edge off.

“I’m a purist when it comes to flower, and prefer to consume full spectrum flower with a PAX 2 vape,” she explained. “I enjoy our own Deep Sour Kush for those moments.”

Lastly, her travel kit, via a leather pouch made by her brother-in-law, contains PAX 2 cleaning supplies, including a pipe cleaner and a low-tech paper clip, the Lue brass spoon, RAW papers, a Bic lighter, ice water hash of Strawberry Banana in an infused pre-roll, and a tube of pre-ground Maui OG.

“I’ve found that the cultivars high in the compound CBG helps the most, while Durban Poison can trigger a migraine—so I avoid it,” she surmised. “White Buffalo with really high THC helps because it knocks me out and I’m able to fall asleep—and that resets the migraine.”

When the patient becomes a farmer, and the farm becomes her life, her stash takes on new meaning, concluding, “Cannabis has given me a safe alternative to take back my life!”

The post What’s in Your Stash? Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms, California appeared first on High Times.

Despite City Council Vote, Austin Cops Will Still Ticket, Arrest Pot Users

The city council in Austin, Texas approved a resolution last week to end enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses, but the city’s police chief says that the department will continue to issue tickets and make arrests for possession of small amounts of pot.

On Thursday, the city council passed a resolution directing the police department not to spend public resources on expensive lab tests that are now necessary to prosecute marijuana crimes. Since the legalization of hemp under federal and Texas state law, many prosecutors in the state are no longer filing charges in marijuana cases without lab test results that show a THC concentration higher than 0.3%. The Austin measure prevents such testing except in cases carrying felony charges.

Councilmember Greg Casar said before the vote that the resolution would help end the collateral damage caused by convictions for minor marijuana crimes.

“We know that too many Austinites have had their lives derailed by a low-level marijuana offense,” Casar said during a press conference on Tuesday. “People have lost their jobs, they could lose their student financial aid, families could even be separated by deportation when we overly enforce low-level offenses that could result in arrests or warrants.”

Casar also noted the racial bias prevalent in the enforcement of laws prohibiting cannabis.

“It’s time to do the right thing,” he added. “It’s the right thing for criminal justice reform … and it’s the right thing for racial equity.”

Cops Respond to Council Action

Immediately after Thursday’s vote to approve the council resolution, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the department would consider how the decision would affect department policy.

“We will look at our policies in regard to the resolution that just passed to determine what, if any, changes we need to make,” said Manley.

But by the next day, Manley said that the department’s policy on marijuana enforcement would not change.

“[Marijuana] is still illegal, and we will still enforce marijuana law if we come across people smoking in the community,” he said during a news conference on Friday afternoon.

The chief added that enforcement of low-level marijuana crimes has not been a priority for the department but officers would continue to make arrests or write tickets under its cite and release policy if they “come across it.”

After the chief’s announcement, Casar said that any tickets written by officers would be meaningless and anyone arrested would be quickly released without charges being filed by prosecutors.

“What has changed since yesterday is that enforcement, almost in virtually all cases, is now handing someone a piece of paper with no penalty or no court date,” Casar said.

The post Despite City Council Vote, Austin Cops Will Still Ticket, Arrest Pot Users appeared first on High Times.

Top 5 Trends for Cannabis in 2020

To ask this author to identify the top five trends in 2020 for cannabis is akin to asking her to name only five of her favorite Coldplay songs. With so much energy for both topics, a selection of the absolute most favored components of either passion presents quite a challenge. But like the cannabis industry has done for 20 years under its state-legal regime and entirely illegal federal one, this author will endure under the confines of such limitations.

Consolidation

In any new industry this is bound to happen. Particularly one with such massive government oversight and equally massive consumer demand. Original license holders are cashing out. And they should. They were the risk-takers. The originals. They raced to government buildings across the country with boxes of background checks accompanied by teams of forensic accountants, lawyers and lobbyists to walk down a path only recently paved with legalization to seek a license to directly violate federal law. They drew a line in the sand and said, “I’m in.” And the stars have aligned for them to move on in many states due to changes in ownership structures, particularly ones that now provide for out-of-state interests. They deserve to sell that to the next highest bidder for all of the pressure, investment, stress and risk that permeates the foundation of this industry. With state law changes have come multistate operators, many of whom do not necessarily understand cannabis and have probably never used it, but they know an opportunity when they see it. These companies are buying up licenses across the country and creating brand awareness among consumers with an eye toward changes in federal law that would allow for the transportation of cannabis across state lines. Once that happens, the cannabis industry will be treated like every other American producer with massive distribution centers across the country that will mimic the likes of alcohol and tobacco overnight.

Infused Products

The report further found that the edibles category could be worth more than $4.1 billion in Canada and the United States by 2022.No one wants to go to work and smell like cannabis, unless, of course, you work in a grow facility. And even then, maybe you don’t. And employers aren’t exactly excited when employees are present with the distinct aroma when it’s time to clock in. So, what’s a cannabis consumer to do? Eat or drink the product instead. In a world full of energy drinks, dietary supplements, bubbly water infused with fruit (which still doesn’t taste like anything, let’s be honest), it should surprise no one that cannabis is making its debut in a myriad of consumption applications. While most states prevent the mixing of cannabis-infused beverages and alcohol for sale by retailers (consumers can—and do—mix the products on their own), there are no limits on other targets for cannabis products. Most popular: food and drinks.

ArcView Research and BDS Analytics recently identified that consumer spending on cannabis-based food and drink reached an estimated $1 billion in 2017 in the United States and Canada, representing about 11.4% of the total $9.1 billion in consumer spending on consumable cannabis in those two markets. The report further found that the edibles category could be worth more than $4.1 billion in Canada and the United States by 2022.

There are countless food products and infused beverages on the market in America and anticipated this year, which dovetails perfectly with the American predilection for happy hours, brunch, and after-work drinks; minus the hangover, some might suggest. Any cannabis company owner will tell you the future is infused products, whether consumers are buying the oil themselves to infuse at home or asking a company to infuse something for them. The future of cannabis is, indeed, on a menu.

Movement in Washington, D.C.

When the SAFE Banking Act passed off the House floor with 324 yes votes, 91 of which were from Republicans, a collective cheer and wave akin to an invigorated football stadium engulfed the industry. A huge moment. One long-awaited and most needed. Momentum. Movement. Finally, a sigh of relief. One would be naïve to assume such a success in the House will be mirrored in the Senate. It will not. But that sort of statement from one chamber is a message to the other: this issue is not going away. It matters. It’s bipartisan. And employees/owners in the cannabis industry need relief from the heavy hand of the federal government when they go to work every day in full compliance with state law. With every passing day, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are being educated by the cannabis industry about how to responsibly regulate the products and what true regulation looks like. It’s only a matter of time until these state-level practices are adopted by federal policymakers. Because let’s be honest, elections matter. And 33 states have said yes to cannabis. It’s only a matter of time until the members of Congress from those states take up the issue in a real way. And many already have.

State Legalization

In the last 10 years, 20 states legalized cannabis for medical purposes and 13 legalized it for adult use. Several national polls suggest this trend will only continue in 2020. And unlike the polling in most recent national elections, the predilections on cannabis seem to be accurate. In 2020, adult-use cannabis measures will definitely appear on the New Jersey and South Dakota ballots. Adult-use measures could also appear in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota are likely to vote on medical cannabis as well.

Of note, the South Dakota measure would also legalize hemp, which has yet to get the blessing of the Mount Rushmore state. In Mississippi, voters will likely be asked their opinions on legalizing medical cannabis. This is interesting since the University of Mississippi has had the only DEA license to grow their own cannabis for research purposes since 1968, but the rest of the state has been squarely in prohibition with zero allowances for cultivation or possession.

The future is bright for the cannabis industry and its players. For a final ounce of perspective on state legalization, only three states have no legal cannabis of any kind: Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota. And if Idaho and South Dakota’s polling is any indication, they won’t be on this short list for much longer.

Maturation

Once upon a time, drug dealers applied for legitimate cannabis licenses. They were denied. And some tried to dodge the regulated marked to continue selling on street corners and out of back doors. Some still do. But now we have a cannabis industry with true regulation and what this author likes to call “adult supervision in the room” on the cannabis conversation and those leading it. A week doesn’t go by without a Wall Street investor or Silicon Valley tycoon asking for advice on where to invest in the cannabis industry. Huge retailers are calling to ask if they can sell it. Alcohol and tobacco interests are hugely, well, interested. And the industry is being led by the likes of former baby car seat manufacturers, former food and beverage lobbyists, young entrepreneurs, and tech geniuses. Now that these individuals are invested and committed, they will continue to professionalize the industry by leading on public-facing initiatives teaching consumers how to use cannabis responsibility, how to determine a much-needed standard for impairment, and to overall improve the reputation of a product once fully illegal, and now partially legal, and soon on its way to fully legal.

The future is bright for the cannabis industry and its players. Only daylight ahead and the billows of bureaucratic smoke are parting hopefully—eventually—with regard to the incongruity between state and federal law on the issue. That’s a lot of ink to say that the next few years will be monumental for the cannabis industry. And if you’re a Coldplay fan, you just caught the reference to my favorite song from the legendary Brit ensemble.

The post Top 5 Trends for Cannabis in 2020 appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.