How New Parents Can Relax and Get a Better Night’s Sleep With CBD

CBD. It’s the hottest abbreviation on everyone’s lips, and between everyone’s lips, as well. People are ingesting it in myriad ways, including as a dessert topper, as a wedding gift and now, a sleep aid.

It’s not just pillow talk that Americans just don’t get enough sleep. According to the Harvard Health blog, one in five of us are pushing through our days on only six hours of sleep a night or less. That’s a lot of tired people behind the wheels of cars, operating heavy machinery, and handling screaming infants.

Enter a new and improved tool in the sandman’s box of tricks: CBD.

Counting sheep is for the birds, claim cannabis experts and the growing multitude of CBD converts, including thousands of moms who swear that CBD offers relaxing properties that can’t be found in other products.

Backing Up the Rhetoric

Multiple national studies, such as this one, point to the fact that it appears to work. Even medical professionals admit there’s almost nothing to lose by giving CBD a try to help with short-term sleep issues, except maybe a few bucks.

According to a Consumer Reports survey, about 10% of the people who admitted to trying CBD for sleep-related concerns had some success.

Kristy S., an Oklahoma-based mom of two young children recently started using CBD oil in an attempt to increase the quality of her nighttime sleep and stave off symptoms of an anti-inflammatory disorder she battles with.

She waited until her youngest was finished nursing and then decided to try a product featuring two cannabis components—both CBD and CBG. She opted for a locally-made product that was triple-tested and recommended by some mom friends she met in an online parenting support group.

“I tried it because I have heard that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and that it helps with anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep.”

Since giving the cannabis component a whirl, she has noticed some improvements, overall.

“My joint pain isn’t as bad,” she confirmed. “My flares are currently healing and I feel like I’m not yelling at my kids as often.”

“One mom I know told me that taking CBD oil made her so thirsty, the increased water intake helped her to lose 18 pounds,” Kristy recounted.

Studies show that losing weight, lowering anxiety and reducing pain all lead to a more restful slumber. If a user can leverage CBD as a diet aid and an anxiety and pain reducer, it can benefit sleep.

Stress-Reduction Increases the Potential for Easier Sleep

Another way CBD can help includes offering tired parents a way to chill out a little.

Celia Behar, the co-founder of Mellow Out Mama, a line of CBD products she created along with fellow pro-cannabis parent Jill Trinchero (of She Don’t Know snacks) and a mother of two who was publicly ushered into the ongoing national cannabis-meets-parenting discussion via her story about how cannabis helps her be a better, calmer mother, agrees.

“In my experience, CBD helps aid rest and relaxation,” Celia says.

“It doesn’t relax me in the same way that THC does, since there’s no psychotropic effect with CBD. But I’ve found that with CBD, I feel more focused and my muscles seem to relax more. I’m able to accomplish more without being stressed, and then I’m able to take the time to relax.”

Celia is a fan and user of both drops and topicals, but explains that she hasn’t found a CBD product yet she didn’t like. “I even add CBD to my morning coffee,” she shared.

As for sleep, Celia indicates that CBD as a sleep aid is more reliable for her than even traditional over-the-counter options. “I’ve found that some CBD products work faster, better and last longer than sleeping pills, all of which help my sleep more than I can say. I hear that a lot from people that use it.”

Some users (and studies) indicate that CBD’s purported benefits, such as a restful night’s sleep, are amplified when used in conjunction with THC. This is why some CBD products that you might find in dispensaries contain both elements.

One mother who wishes to remain anonymous even reported that it improves the pain of her sciatica. “I use it right before bed and right when I wake up, and that has made a huge difference,” she explained.

Only One Piece of the Sleep Puzzle

Other small changes with the second most famous cannabis ingredient include aid for the relaxation process for a parent in dire need of restful sleep.

A bath or shower before bedtime, restricting food and caffeine intake after a certain time of day, a heating pad applied to sore muscles, a foot soak, or a nightly cup of herbal tea before bed can help to create a routine, letting a parent’s weary mind know that bedtime is approaching.

Burning a scented candle before hitting the sack, such as Homesick’s Four Twenty candle, can also pair well with a nightly CBD routine.

Whether it’s the ritual of lighting a candle or the way the flickering light further calms its viewer, vs. the blue light of a screen which is scientifically proven to have the opposite effect, it offers another element of relaxation.

Homesick’s Thank You, Mom candle contains the natural fragrance oil Bergamot, known for its calming and stress reducing properties.

A PR rep for Homesick candles explained how CBD can help to relax an overtired, sleep-deprived, frustrated mom.

“CBD studies have shown that it may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters,” the rep told High Times.

“A scented candle offers additional relaxation benefits, as it activates the olfactory senses,” she elaborated.

Whether you pair your CBD with THC, chill music, moody candlelight, or go it alone, it’s becoming more evident that CBD may offer a direct line to la la land for those who need it most.

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Alabama Health Officials Report Spike in Synthetic Cannabis Overdoses

Synthetic marijuana is back in the headlines. And this time it’s hitting northern Alabama. Specifically, public health and law enforcement agencies are reporting a sharp uptick in overdoses related to synthetic marijuana. Now, officials are trying to warn the public of the dangers of smoking synthetic weed.

Synthetic Cannabis Use is Spiking in Northern Alabama

As reported by local news source Al.com, multiple public agencies are warning the public to watch out for and avoid synthetic cannabis.

The warnings come as health officials and law enforcement in Alabama have begun noticing an increase in the number of people experiencing medical problems after smoking the drug.

For now, exact numbers have not been made public. But according to local reports, there is a distinct uptick in the number of overdoses and hospitalizations linked to synthetic cannabis. Currently, the spike is being seen primarily in the northern part of Alabama.

Responding to the trend, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Clay Morris, and Northern District U.S. Attorney, Jay Town, issued a statement yesterday.

“We have begun to notice a disturbing trend through our crime intelligence networks of overdoses related to synthetic marijuana in our district,” Town said. “Today we are joining together with our law enforcement partners to warn the public that the use of any synthetic illicit narcotic, such as synthetic marijuana, fentanyl, and other opioids, could result in fatal overdose by the user.”

In particular, officials in Alabama are trying to avoid a crisis like the one the state experienced in 2015. That year, synthetic cannabis swept through the state.

In fact, in a roughly two month period that year, more than 900 people showed up in the emergency room after consuming synthetic weed. And out of those patients, 196 were hospitalized. Even worse, five of them died.

“Clearly the public has forgotten about that,” DEA Agent Morris told Al.com. “We can’t go back there.”

Now, to avoid a similar epidemic, authorities are trying to spread the word. In particular, they are trying to reach out to young people to educate them about the dangers of synthetic cannabis.

Synthetic Cannabis is Dangerous

Typically, synthetic cannabis goes by a number of names. Specifically, these include names like spice, K2, Black Mamba, Smoke, Genie, and others.

And to be clear, synthetic cannabis is not weed. Instead, it’s essentially a cocktail of synthetically-manufactured cannabinoids.

Usually, these chemicals are sprayed onto some sort of shredded plant material. And in many cases, other chemicals are added to the mix. This can even include things like pesticides and rat poison.

On the surface, synthetic cannabinoids have been designed to activate the same parts of the brain that real cannabis stimulates. But the chemicals in synthetic cannabis can often lead to a number of negative side effects.

Specifically, these harmful side effects can include severe agitation, hyperactive behavior, very lethargic behavior, extreme anxiety, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, muscle spasms, seizures or tremors, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, and more.

Additionally, severe side effects can lead to coma or death. Over the past few years, there have been periodic waves of overdoses from synthetic weed in different locations around the world.

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Canadian Police Still Aren’t Seeing Any Spike In Stoned Driving Post-Legalization

One of the major critiques of plans to legalize marijuana is related to people driving under the influence of weed, and the difficulties in policing such behavior. But in Canada, the largest country to regulate marijuana yet — and a nation with some of the highest rates of drunk driving in the world — law enforcement agencies are reporting that there has been no noticeable spike in such arrests since federal legalization.

A survey by the Canadian Press of the country’s police forces echoed early post-legalization reports, finding that most had seen no rise in DUI cannabis arrests. “But most police departments are still really focusing on the drugs that we know that are killing people, the opiates and methamphetamines that are causing major concerns across the country,” said Chief Constable Mike Serr, co-chairperson of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s drug advisory committee.

Many departments queried via the survey said they had actually recommended less charges for driving while stoned, although Alberta police did report 58 such charges since federal legalization, in comparison to 32 charges levied during the same six months last year.

As they did in November, many agencies are reporting the prioritization of driver education around proper storage of cannabis while driving, emphasizing that it should be kept safely in the trunk as one would with alcohol containers.

The news comes at the same time as the Canadian government’s announcement that it may approve a roadside THC saliva testing system for use by roadside officers. The Abbot SoToxa costs $6,000 Canadian dollars per device, but yields results in five minutes as opposed to other, considerably more delayed methods of testing for the presence of THC in a driver’s body. As is usually the case with these things, it does not test impairment in a driver. It wouldn’t be admissible as the basis for criminal charges — only for grounds to to arrest an individual. Some Canadian law enforcement officials have questioned its efficacy in cold weather.

Canada’s federal government has prioritized education about driving under the influence — public awareness campaigns started on a variety of media platforms as far back as 2017, and a $62.5 million five year plan was announced in July of last year to train officers in new cannabis legislation. Some law firms specializing in impaired driving defense have even distributed air fresheners printed with their contact info to publicize the new federal driving laws related to marijuana.

Across the U.S. and Canada, governments have been mulling over options for policing driving while stoned. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has introduced a bill based on a report from a special committee that recommended police be able to demand biological testing from drivers they suspect to be under the influence after a 12-step coordination and reflex test — and that drivers should have their license revoked for six months if they refuse the evaluation.

That plan has its own challenges to face, however. “Marijuana can stay in your system for over three days,” Boston College professor and drug expert Richard Gowan told The Huntington News. “So you could easily say as an excuse, ‘Well, I smoked this joint three days ago, I’m not under the influence anymore.’ Legally, this is going to be incredibly difficult.”

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Texas House Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp Farming

The Texas House of Representatives approved a bill on Tuesday to legalize hemp agriculture in the state. The measure, House Bill 1325 (HB1325), also removes hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances and legalizes cannabidiol, or CBD, and products made with the cannabinoid. The bill was passed without opposition via a voice vote and will have to be approved by the House in a second vote that is usually only a formality. The bill will then head to the Texas Senate for consideration.

Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau, said that legalizing hemp will give the state’s farmers a new option for their operations.

“There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option,” said Hall. “I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it’s available. It’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be grown anywhere where cropping is prevalent right now.”

HB1325 has the support of many lawmakers and government officials in Texas’ majority Republican Party, including state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who has pledged to “support any bill that helps Texas agriculture.”

If the bill is successful, Miller and the Department of Agriculture would be tasked with creating a hemp agriculture regulatory program including a system to license farmers who wish to grow the crop. The plan would then have to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval.

“Allowing the Texas Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp program here in Texas will give Texas farmers an exciting new opportunity to thrive — and that’s something everyone should get behind,” Miller said. “It is all about Texas farmers and ranchers and seeing them prosper.”

Farming Green Gold

Jeff Lake of Elemental Processing, a hemp processing company operating under Kentucky’s hemp research pilot program, told members of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee at hearings for HB1325 that his firm pays $3,000 to $5,000 per acre of hemp plus bonuses, in contrast to the $350 to $400 per acre of corn farmers receive in a good year.

HB 1325 was introduced in the Texas House in February by Democratic Rep. Tracy King, following the legalization of hemp agriculture by the federal government with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December of last year. King told his colleagues in the House that legalizing hemp could help farmers be successful.

“HB 1325 is right-to-farm legislation that will allow Texas farmers the opportunity to cultivate a drought-resistant cash crop — that being hemp,” King said.

King said that he hoped that the lack of debate in the House and the bill’s speedy passage will be followed by a nod from the Texas Senate.

“I’m optimistic that it will (win approval) in the Senate also,” he said.

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10 Podcasts to Get Stoned To

It’s been a hard day’s night and you’ve been working like a dog and now it’s time to sit back, roll up a joint, relax, and enjoy some entertainment. Opening up Google Chrome, you almost feel like you’re embarking on a journey. You’re met with so many decisions, from Netflix to YouTube to those Addicting Games you played in your middle school computer class.

The Internet is truly a landscape of opportunity when it comes to entertainment.

And an ever-growing platform many are taking their swing at is podcasts. These radio shows seem to offer a little something more than what you had to listen to on the morning commute to work. They offer unfiltered opinions and facts from a wide variety of people within digital communities of like-minded individuals.

So, what are the best podcasts to listen to when you’re high?

Since lists like these are often subjective, we’re going to establish a few rules. The following podcasts aren’t something the majority of millennials knows about. Sorry, Joe Rogan, we love you (well, not all of us), but you’re going to have to step aside.

The list below is compiled of podcasts, in no particular order, that have a notable audience and discuss specific niches.

#10 – Death, Sex, and Money

Starting our list, we’re looking into the lives of everyday people and asking them questions that are not often discussed. Through difficult but compassionately composed questions, Anna Sale offers her listeners unique insight to the people all around us. She is not only clever but offers a sensitive touch to the people she features.

Death, Sex, and Money is extraordinary in the sense that it offers a versatile selection of episodes to choose from. But, what really makes the show stand out is the idiosyncratic perspectives offered within a single episode.

Official website: https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/deathsexmoney

#9 – Myths and Legends

Are you into fairytales and ancient legends? Or are you simply on the lookout for some intense stories which may or may not be true?

Jason Weiser, the host of Myths and Legends, will open up your imagination as he retells folklore which has been passed down amongst generations spanning millennia.

As their official website puts it, “These are stories of magic, kings, Vikings, dragons, knights, princesses, and wizards from a time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous, wonderful and terrifying place.”

Official website: https://www.mythpodcast.com/

#8 – Surviving the Matrix

Do you have a lack of trust in the government? Do you find yourself binge-watching YouTube conspiracy videos? Or are you just looking to trip yourself out?

Then you’re going to want to sit down and listen to Max Igan, host of Surviving the Matrix. His show primarily discusses topics of government corruption and the idea that ancient history was rewritten. Furthermore, Max often discusses ideas of the human soul not reaching its full potential within the confines of this society.

Though it might not be a podcast for the faint of heart (or people looking for a bit of progressive motivation of our world), it without a doubt offers interesting perspectives not often brought to light.

NOTE: Max’s YouTube channel was officially banned due to controversial discussions and he’s been using a backup channel to continue putting out his content.

Official website: https://thecrowhouse.com/radio.html

#7 – Ologies

If you’re a science guru tired of mundane presentations often given on some of these fascinating topics, look no further than Alie Wards Ologies.

As a science correspondent who’s worked alongside big names like CBS, Ward is full of knowledge when it comes to things like volcanos and plants. Yet, her talent for comedy allows the viewer to get a kick out of learning.

The show likes to “ask smart people dumb questions”. Considering it features a list of equally-qualified professionals within a variety of fields, Ologies has garnered a lot of returning listeners.

Alie Wards official website: https://www.alieward.com/

#6 – Headspace Radio

People struggling with mental health who use weed as a form of medication might’ve just found their new prescription.

Headspace Radio is a podcast dedicated to exploring the mind and figuring out how it all works. Through interviews with a variety of personnel – such as scientists, explorers, and athletes – the show hopes to help its listeners discover what’s important to them and motivate them in reaching their goals.

Furthermore, the platform Headspace also offers prolonged audio files meant for meditation. These range from different tracks, including forest serenity and city soundscapes.

Official website: https://www.headspace.com/

#5 – Everything is Alive

If you’re looking for something completely out – something no other podcast can relate to – you’ll want to check out Everything is Alive.

The show features improv actors playing anthropomorphized inanimate objects. Through an unscripted interview, we get to learn the stories about the life of everything, from a Coca-Cola can to a bar of soap.

It’s quite a unique concept and one that offers just as extraordinary conversations.

Official website: https://www.everythingisalive.com/

#4 – Getting Doug with High

We couldn’t make a list of the best podcasts to get stoned to without mentioning a podcast designed just for that.

Host Doug Benson brings on a cast of different comedians, from Jack Black to Sarah Silverman and gets them stoned for an always funny conversation. The show features different segments including “High History” where guests discuss the first time they tried cannabis and “Pot Quiz Hop Shot” which has guests answer trivia questions surrounding weed.

Every Wednesday, the show airs at 4:15 PM PST. Giving listeners the chance to all take part in a toke at 4:20.

Official playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlistlist=PLTtM96PSK0ttQLHRKsLSX_4T3SXW7uObv

#3 – Start Making Sense

If you want to brass up on your political knowledge, you may want to check out Start Making Sense – a liberal podcast under The Nation’s platform.

The show advertises itself as “political talk without the boring parts.” And rightfully so. Jon Wiener is an excellent host who knows how to discuss contemporary issues in a riveting manner. The show often features writers, activists, and journalists and holds discussions on the following:

  • American presidential election
  • Climate change
  • Parenthood
  • Party politics
  • Racism
  • Sometimes book and film reviews

Official website: https://www.thenation.com/authors/start-making-sense/

#2 – The Savage Nation

For political fairness, it only makes sense to also mention a conservative podcast.

The Savage Nation holds more independence than other conservative podcasts as the host, Dr. Michael Savage, has had a long history both within politics and other important (and relative) topics, such as mental health.

If you’re looking for discussions on modern issues with a right-leaning opinion, look no further than The Savage Nation.

Official website: https://michaelsavage.com/podcast/

#1 – Hardcore History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is praised amongst critics and listeners alike for its way of taking important stories in history and looking at it from different angles.

You can pretty much look at this show as an engrossing history audiobook. The kind they should’ve given to you back in high school. From the many wars our country has fought in to the variety of political powers that wrote history, this podcast will leave you on the edge of your seat asking for more.

Official website: https://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-series/

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Lawmakers Push to Send More of Colorado’s Weed Revenues to Kindergarteners

Since Colorado’s first legal sales at the start of 2014 until the end of 2018, $160 million has gone to school construction, courtesy of the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Fund. But now, lawmakers are making a push to increase that number, and to expand the kinds of support schools can expect from the state’s large recreational marijuana industry.

Last year’s legislation increased the $40 million a year that Colorado sends from marijuana taxes into BEST to the 90 percent of all excise tax revenues. But with Governor Jared Polis’ legislative goal to fund full-day kindergarten, that amount may need to go higher. The funds needed to support such a program were a hot topic of discussion during state legislature budget talks last month.

Right now about 80 percent of the state’s 61,749 kindergarteners have access to full-day programs. Some programs require a monthly tuition fee from families of $300 to $400, while others have access to federal funds for economically depressed districts. Funding for the program requires a shift in budget priorities because at the moment, the state provides half the amount of funds for kindergarten age kids as compared to the resources it funnels to school districts for older students.

But some state legislators have identified where at least part of that money could come from marijuana. They say that when voters approved Amendment 64 in 2014, making recreational cannabis legal statewide, they were sold on the plan by its intended support of public education. An expansion of the percentage of the state’s weed revenue would further honor those voters’ intention, say supporters of the bill, and would widen access lanes between schools and cannabis funds.

Their new plan, HB 1055, would destine all excise tax revenue to BEST, an increase of $5.8 million this year. Among other allowances, it would also transfer $25 million to the construction of full-day kindergarten facilities.

According to the Denver Post, the state has collected over $740 million in marijuana tax revenue — a number that from the beginning of legal sales bested revenues taken in from alcohol retail. The sum exceeds many of the state’s prior predictions for cannabis sales, which has left open questions as to how the windfall should be spent.  

“People frequently ask, ‘Where’s all that marijuana money?’ ” Tim Reed, executive director of facilities and construction for Jefferson County Schools told the Post in December. “I can’t tell you how many community meetings I’ve been to where this comes up.”

Currently, the first $40 million of marijuana excise tax is earmarked for education, but weed money has turned out to be a boon to the state in many areas. State legislators are legally able to direct money from the fund to anything within designated “allowable purposes”. The top places where marijuana tax revenue will go in the 2018-’19 fiscal year, according to the Colorado joint budget committee, are; children and youth services (22.6 percent), behavioral health services (21.7 percent), public health services (15.1 percent), and housing services (12.5 percent).

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Maine Unveils Draft of Recreational Marijuana Regulatory Structure

Maine voters approved a legal adult-use cannabis market back in 2016. But the state has struggled to actually get the industry up and running. While state lawmakers have fought to override vetoes on adult-use sales and a medical marijuana program expansion, Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy has been crafting the regulatory structure the retail industry will follow. And in response to significant public interest and mounting pressure from lawmakers, Maine regulators have just unveiled the draft rules for the adult use industry. The rulebook gives Maine residents their first real glimpse at what their legal cannabis marketplace might look like. And if they don’t like what they see, they can provide feedback at an upcoming public hearing or online.

Maine is Giving the Public a Chance to Weigh in On Industry Rulebook

From licenses, tracking, and advertising to testing, waste management and fees (and everything in between), Maine just made a draft of its 74-page rulebook for the cannabis industry available to the public. The text represents roughly ten weeks of work by Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy, an agency created in February to establish the regulatory framework for legal adult-use cannabis.

The Office of Marijuana Policy is partnering with a pair of firms, California-based BOTEC Analysis and Colorado-based Freedman & Koski, to help craft and review its rules. Both BOTEC and Freedman & Koski have been vying for the competitive state contracts. Maine has even faced legal scrutiny over the scoring process for the contract awards.

License and Fee Requirements Could Attract Public Criticism

The full text of the draft rulebook is available online. But some major takeaways address the state’s proposed fee and licensing structure for cultivators and retailers. Maine is proposing a tiered annual licensing fee structure. For the smallest, “Tier 1” growers, application fees vary based on indoor/outdoor grows and the number of plants and canopy space from about $100 to $500. For the largest, “Tier 4” cultivators, however, fees can reach as high as $30,000.

On the retail side, annual store licenses and product manufacturing facilities would cost $2,500. Testing facilities would cost $1,000. The draft rules indicate that anyone working in the legal industry would need to pay for a special state-issued ID. That rule would apply to workers whether they touch the plant or not.

The ID rule specifies that individuals would have to pay a fee of $50 for the card plus the cost of fingerprinting and a background check. Workers would have to pay an additional $50 annually to renew their ID. With access and equity in the industry a concern nationwide, fee requirements for cannabis industry workers are likely to be unpopular among the workforce.

Still Time for Maine Residents to Shape Their Legal Cannabis Marketplace

Retail sales can’t begin in Maine until the legislature passes the rules crafted by the Office of Marijuana Policy. That could happen by the end of the legislative session in June or by the end of the year—or later, if the Legislature does not approve the rules.

The office and its partner firms will continue to develop the rules through April and May. They’re aiming to deliver a final draft to the Maine Legislature before the end of the first regular session this June. “We have been working at a breakneck pace to complete the work necessary to establish the regulatory and licensing regime that will govern adult use marijuana,” said Marijuana Policy Office director Erik Gundersen.

Between now and June, however, the Office of Marijuana Policy is inviting public comment and feedback on its draft rules. This is a chance for consumers, prospective workers and business owners to help shape the retail industry in Maine. Regulators will hold a public hearing on the rules in May. And the public will have an additional 10-day comment period after the hearing. Interested individuals can also submit feedback anytime online.

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Alabama’s Jefferson County Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Misdemeanors

If you needed any more proof that law enforcement agencies across the United States are going in on cannabis decriminalization, how’s this? On Monday, Alabama’s Jefferson County — where more people live than any other county in the state — announced that it not be making arrests for nonviolent misdemeanors anymore.

A driving force appears to the county’s determination to spend less resources persecuting those with small-time marijuana charges.

“I think this is going to help a lot of people and get a lot of people back on track,” said county sheriff Mark Pettway, who ran for the position with a campaign promising that he’d cut back on marijuana arrests. “Those who want help will be able to get help,”

“People are always talking about criminal justice reform,” sheriff spokesperson Capt. David Aggee said while announcing the shift in policy. “Well this is more than talk, this is action. This is big.’”

The state has been in the news a lot recently regarding the steps that it’s been taking towards changing the way that cannabis is dealt with by the law enforcement system. Alabama legislature also has a bill in front of it that would cut back punishments for possession of less than two ounces of cannabis, taking jail time off the table for those charged with such an offense. Those caught with more than two ounces, under the proposed legislation, would be subject to a fine up to $250 for their first offense. The bill would also establish a retroactive justice system that would allow people who have racked up possession charges for small amounts of marijuana to get their records expunged.

Representative Mike Ball, a Republican, has also filed bill HB 243 in March, also called the Compassion, Access, Research and Expansion (CARE) Act. It would expand Alabama’s medical marijuana program to a list of three dozen qualifying medical conditions — in addition to establishing a commission to oversee the program and provide licenses for cultivation, distribution, and sale. HB 243 has as one of its co-sponsors Rep. Mac McCutcheon, speaker of the Alabama House.

The decriminalization deliberations may well be a response to publicly voiced concerns over the current system of cannabis law. The mayor of Tuscaloosa Walt Maddox suggested that tickets rather than jail time be the result of low level marijuana possession arrests. “We need to deal with this in a different pattern besides throwing somebody in jail,” he said at a city council event in December. His words seem to portend policy shifts int he future for the town.

The lightening in penalties for such crimes is made all the more urgent by recent data showing that Black Alabamans are arrested at four times higher rates than whites for cannabis possession. Blacks were also shown to be five times more like to incur marijuana-related felonies than whites.
Alabama is not the only Southern state making surprising moves towards overhauling its criminal justice system. Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot recently announced sweeping changes to the city’s overcrowded jail infrastructure, including the decision that the large Texan city would cease to prosecute first-time marijuana misdemeanor cases.

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Eating Your Words: How to Avoid Legal Issues Marketing Cannabis Consumables

Selling in a grey market isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to deal with the stigma surrounding your products and services, the potential for legal troubles, along with bureaucratic hurdles that all businesses face.

Acceptable marketing language surrounding consumable THC and CBD products encapsulates all of these issues, and it’s why everyone in the industry needs to pay close attention to what they’re saying. One innocent turn of phrase could have the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) shut down your business faster than you can say, “Oops.”

Avoiding this fate means making some adjustments to how you think about your marketing language, but this knowledge quickly becomes rote. Take a moment to learn how to protect yourself so that you can run your business rather than run afoul of the law.

Food, Drugs and Dietary Supplements

Scroll through Instagram for a few minutes and you’ll encounter a deluge of companies making claims about cannabis and CBD products. Many, if not most, are going about it incorrectly. Part of the confusion surrounds the fact that under the FDA’s rules, foods, drugs and dietary supplements are treated differently.

FDAlogoHow does the FDA decide what’s what? Based on how you advertise the product. If labeling suggests the substance is “intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or is an “article” (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals,” the FDA will regulate it as a drug.

The language and regulations surrounding drugs are extremely strict. On December 20, 2018, the FDA put out a statement reiterating that these rules are in effect for cannabis products. In other words, you can only make a drug claim if you have received approval from the FDA on your New Drug Application (NDA). Since approval requires hundreds of millions of dollars worth of clinical trials, this option is out of reach for most companies.

The rule states that you may not say that your product diagnoses, cures, mitigates, treats or prevents any disease, or any recognizable symptom of a disease. Disease is defined as: damage to an organ, part, structure, or system of the body such that it does not function properly (e.g., cardiovascular disease), or a state of health leading to such dysfunction it (e.g. hypertension). Examples of diseases would include cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, Lyme disease and more. In other words, you couldn’t say your product “prevents memory loss due to Alzheimer’s” or “treats symptoms of fibromyalgia.”

If you’re making any claims about curing anything in your cannabis business name, product name, packaging, web copy, advertising or marketing materials, you are at risk for breaking these rules and getting caught. The FDA’s regulations dovetail with the Federal Trade Commission’s truth-in-advertising laws, which state that your claims must be backed by legitimate research (such as peer-reviewed journal articles or double-blind studies) and must not mislead consumers. These rules are already being enforced within the cannabis industry, so pay close attention to what you’re putting out there.

An example of a warning letter the FDA sent to a CBD products company making health claims

However, you can’t avoid penalties by using this kind of language and claiming your product is a dietary supplement or food, either. According to the FDA, products that contain THC or CBD cannot be sold as dietary supplements. Their reasoning for this decision is that THC and CBD are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs, such as Epidiolex and Dronabinol. Active ingredients in approved drugs may not be introduced into the food supply as dietary supplements or otherwise.

The language rules surrounding food can be equally complex. Foods approved by the FDA can make nutritional claims about how a nutrient impacts the structure/function of the body, such as “Calcium builds strong bones.” The problem for cannabis products is that these statements need to be authorized or qualified by the FDA and have significant scientific evidence and consensus. However, this consensus doesn’t exist for THC and CBD, meaning that you’re barred from making these kinds of claims.

Note that these rules don’t just apply to human supplements. They also apply to ones for pets. Many people don’t realize that a supplement for a pet is considered an “illegal drug of low regulatory concern.” But if you add in THC or CBD, a supplement becomes an illegal drug of—you guessed it—higher regulatory concern.

At a Loss for Words?

By now, you may be wondering what you can actually say to market your product; it may feel as though there are more restrictions than guidelines. Fortunately, the FDA hasn’t left us completely out at sea.

Just because we’re in a strange place under federal law operating our businesses every day doesn’t mean that we should disregard fundamental rules and regulations that all businesses must follow. The FDA published a final rule in the Federal Register in 2000 defining strict rules that govern the types of statements that may be used on a label without prior review of the agency. These are called structure/function claims. According to the FDA, “Structure/function claims may describe the role of a nutrient or dietary ingredient intended to affect the normal structure or function of the human body.” In contrast, statements that claim to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease require prior approval by the FDA and are only for products that are approved drugs. Don’t use any of those words. Ever.

You can use the following words in your cannabis product names, advertising or marketing, as long as you’re not connecting them to a disease state: restore, support, maintain, raise, lower, promote, regulate, stimulate. You must specifically state that the claim relates to a non-disease condition; otherwise, you’ll be in trouble with the FDA. To go back to an earlier example, you cannot say that your product “prevents memory loss due to Alzheimer’s.” However, stating that your product “helps maintain a healthy brain” is fine.

Just because we’re in a strange place under federal law operating our businesses every day doesn’t mean that we should disregard fundamental rules and regulations that all businesses must follow. Following these rules does more than keep our enterprises out of trouble. It reinforces the idea that our industry is responsible, legitimate, and—perhaps most importantly—here to stay.

The post Eating Your Words: How to Avoid Legal Issues Marketing Cannabis Consumables appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


Denver Mayor Urges Cities to Protect Immigrants in Legal Weed Industry

After federal agents denied citizenship to two immigrants who worked in the legal marijuana industry, the mayor of Denver, Colorado is speaking out.

In a new letter addressed to mayors of pro-cannabis cities around the country, Mayor Michael B. Hancock called on local governments to protect immigrants from federal prosecution.

Mayor Hancock Speaks Out

Last week, Hancock sent a letter to mayors around the country who are part of the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition. Specifically, he sent the letter to the mayors of:

  • Oakland, CA
  • West Hollywood, CA
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Thornton, CO
  • Everett, WA
  • Seattle, WA

In the letter, he spoke out against the recent decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny citizenship to two immigrants who worked in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

Hancock also called on mayors in the coalition to protect immigrants who work or have worked in the legal cannabis industry.

The letter comes in the wake of a controversial decision by USCIS. The agency, which oversees the naturalization process, recently denied citizenship to two legal immigrants who live in Denver.

In both instances, USCIS agents based their decision solely on the fact that the immigrants had at one point worked in the marijuana industry.

More specifically, the agency said that employment in the legal marijuana industry was a violation of federal law. And as a result, the agency claimed, both immigrants failed to prove “good moral character.”

Both immigrants now face heightened risk of future prosecution, including detention and possible deportation.

Earlier this month, Hancock wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr. In it, the mayor asked for greater federal clarity and consistency in how it approaches state and local cannabis laws.

And in an April 19 response, federal agents doubled down on their position.

Specifically, USCIS said that immigrants working in the legal marijuana industry will not be considered people of “good moral character,” and are therefore likely to be denied citizenship.

Hancock Urges Mayors to Protect Immigrants

In light of USCIS’s statement, Mayor Hancock’s newest letter calls on mayors to protect immigrants who may be involved in the legal marijuana industry.

“We fundamentally disagree with today’s guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” Hancock wrote.

“This is a matter [of] equity and social justice, and working in the legal cannabis industry does not mean someone is a bad person.”

He added: “Everyone should have a right to work in this burgeoning industry regardless of where they came from, what language they speak or the color of their skin.”

The Trump Administration’s “Second Wall”

Hancock and immigrant rights workers in Denver have voiced alarm over USCIS’s recent actions.

In particular, many are worried that federal agencies could begin using the legal marijuana industry to target immigrants.

In his most recent letter to other mayors, Hancock described USCIS’s actions as consistent with anti-immigrant moves coming from the Trump administration.

“At every turn, this administration is erecting barriers to legal paths to citizenship for our immigrant community,” he wrote.

Denver-based immigrant rights activist and Communications Director for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Cristian Solano-Córdova agrees.

Specifically, he told High Times that USCIS’s recent actions are part of what some call “the second wall.”

According to Solano-Córdova, the second wall refers to a growing list of federal policies and decisions designed to make it harder for people to immigrate to the U.S.

“To us, this seems like a continuation of that second wall. They’re looking for any and all possible ways to limit legal immigration,” he told High Times.

“The wait times for naturalization have skyrocketed since the end of the Obama administration. Approvals for visas have gone down dramatically. And they’ve started a denaturalization campaign combing through millions of naturalized citizen applications that might be slightly off and using it as an excuse to take away citizenship and deport people.”

Now, Solano-Córdova and others fear that employment in the legal marijuana industry could become the newest brick in the Trump administration’s “second wall.”

“This isn’t an anti-cannabis move,” Solano-Cordóva told High Times. “It’s an anti-immigrant move.”

The post Denver Mayor Urges Cities to Protect Immigrants in Legal Weed Industry appeared first on High Times.