Nuevas pruebas de laboratorio muestran los peligros de los cartuchos de vapor de THC no regulados

Solo un recordatorio para comprar solo vapes probados de fuentes autorizadas.

Nuevos datos de un laboratorio de California muestran que los cartuchos de vapores de THC pueden conllevar un riesgo sustancial de exponer a los usuarios a productos químicos nocivos. Y aunque los resultados de las pruebas del laboratorio analítico CannaSafe muestran que los productos ilícitos del mercado representan el mayor peligro, incluso los cartuchos de compañías con licencia pueden ser inseguros si se usan de manera incorrecta.

CannaSafe, un laboratorio de cannabis con licencia estatal en Los Ángeles, realizó un estudio de cartuchos de vaporizadores de THC que obtuvo de dispensarios con licencia y servicios de entrega sin licencia. La compañía completó un análisis de laboratorio de los cartuchos que probaron el vapor producido por los cartuchos para detectar la presencia de compuestos inofensivos. A diferencia de otras pruebas que analizan el contenido de los cartuchos, las nuevas pruebas revelan las toxinas presentes en el vapor después de que el aceite de cannabis se calienta y se vaporiza antes de la inhalación. Actualmente, los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades están realizando pruebas similares en su investigación continua de la serie de lesiones pulmonares causadas por el vapeo que ha cobrado la vida de al menos 40 personas.

El peligro de los cartuchos de vapor no regulados

Los seis cartuchos ilícitos probados contenían altos niveles de químicos potencialmente dañinos, incluido uno etiquetado como Maui Wowie que tenía 1,500 veces el nivel permitido de pesticidas y cinco veces la concentración legal de plomo.

“Tenía todo lo malo”, dijo el vicepresidente de operaciones de CannaSafe, Antonio Frazier. “Si observa algunos de los datos [de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades] para la dosificación fatal, estaría dispuesto a apostar que algunos de estos están por encima de lo que considerarían una dosis fatal”.

El vapor de los cartuchos falsificados fabricados para imitar los productos de las marcas autorizadas Stiiizy y Kingpen contenía formaldehído y monóxido de carbono. El vapor de un cartucho vendido bajo la marca ilícita Dank Vapes mostró la presencia de siete pesticidas diferentes, pequeñas cantidades de formaldehído y niveles significativos de acetato de vitamina E, un aditivo utilizado en muchos productos no regulados. Los CDC han identificado el acetato de vitamina E como un probable culpable de la serie de lesiones pulmonares conocidas como lesión pulmonar asociada al uso de cigarrillos electrónicos y productos de vapeo, o EVALI. Cinco de los seis cartuchos del mercado ilícito contenían acetato de vitamina E en niveles que van del 30% a casi el 37%. Los cartuchos ilícitos también tenían niveles más bajos de cannabinoides y terpenos que los productos de fabricantes con licencia.

Los cartuchos legítimos también pueden ser peligrosos

El vapor de los cartuchos de las compañías reguladas no mostró productos químicos nocivos cuando se vaporizó a una temperatura consistente con una batería de vapor de 3 voltios. Pero cuando se calienta con un voltaje más potente, incluso el vapor de los cartuchos con licencia mostrarón la presencia de productos químicos nocivos conocidos como HPHC, que también se encuentran en el humo del tabaco.

“A la alta temperatura, encontramos cantidades considerablemente altas de formaldehído, monóxido de carbono y cianuro de hidrógeno en algunos de los cartuchos ilícitos”, dijo Frazier a High Times. “Ninguno de los productos legales produjo estos tres químicos, pero se encontraron niveles bajos de otros componentes dañinos y potencialmente dañinos como el benceno y el tolueno en los cartuchos legales a voltajes más altos”.

Para abordar el problema, Frazier recomienda que los fabricantes de cannabis adopten un hardware de vapeo más sofisticado como el estándar de la industria.

“Sabemos que muchos de nuestros socios con licencia tienen mecanismos para controlar la temperatura en sus dispositivos, y este mismo nivel de calidad debe implementarse en toda la industria”, dijo. “Nuestras regulaciones actuales nos dan el petróleo más limpio de la nación, y ahora debemos actualizarlas para incluir hardware”.

Al señalar que la mayoría de los casos reportados de EVALI parecen haber sido causados ​​por cartuchos de vaporizador de THC adquiridos de fuentes sin licencia, Frazier dice que la mejor manera para que los consumidores en estados legales como California se protejan es asegurarse de que están comprando a un minorista autorizado .

“CannaSafe continúa instando a los consumidores a mantenerse alejados de los productos ilícitos de cannabis y a comprar productos legales en dispensarios autorizados”.

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US House of Representatives May Vote on Cannabis Legalization This Week

This week, the United States House of Representatives could be voting on the federal legalization of cannabis. Representative Jerry Nadler announced on Monday that the house judiciary committee had posted a markup for HR 3884 a.k.a. the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act — which means a vote could go down as early as Wednesday.

“I look forward to moving this legislation out of the House Judiciary Committee, making it one step closer to becoming law,” said Nadler in a press release.

From the get-go, the MORE Act looked like it had a better-than-average chance at making it through the legislative gauntlet than its many predecessors. The bill was created and introduced by Nadler of New York, who is the judiciary committee chair.

Pressure has increased on Congress to pass federal legalization ever since it approved the SAFE Act. That bill guaranteed banking protections for cannabis companies and financial institutions, raising many questions about why similar relief has not been given to cannabis users and the United States’ sizable population of individuals incarcerated on drug-related charges.

Primary on the MORE Act’s priorities is the re-classification of marijuana to remove it from the Controlled Substances Act and Schedule I category that defines it as a material with no medicinal value. It would empower states to craft their own regulations when it comes to cannabis.

New Law Would Also Tackle Dire Social Justice Issues

The MORE Act would encourage states to provide expungement for some past cannabis-related criminal offenses, and provide protection for marijuana users living in federally subsidized housing. It would remove restrictions currently on the Small Business Administration that block it from assisting cannabis entrepreneurs.

The MORE Act also looks to help vets. Currently, doctors with the VA are not allowed to speak with patients about medicinal cannabis usage, and residents in federally-assisted nursing facilities are not allowed to consume marijuana at their place of residence. The proposed legislation would lift those restrictions in states that choose to regulate cannabis.

The legislation is sponsored in the Senate as SB 2227 by 2020 Democratic presidential nomination candidate Kamala Harris, who has reversed her previous position on cannabis legalization to become one of the cause’s champions on the campaign trail. All the Democratic White House front-runners have endorsed federal cannabis legalization except for former vice president Joe Biden, who supports marijuana decriminalization.

On Tuesday, Nadler was joined by Representatives Barbara Lee, Earl Blumenauer, Nydia Velázquez, Steve Cohen, and Pramila Jayapal at a press conference to discuss the bill’s upcoming chance at a floor vote.

Key to the changing chances of marijuana legalization have been the issue’s increasingly bi-partisan support. Recent poll numbers tell us that 55 percent of Republican voters support legalizing recreational marijuana. Only 12 percent of Republican voters said that cannabis should not be legal for either recreational or medicinal use. The party has already taken note in some surprising parts of the country — Texas Republicans recently voted to add marijuana decriminalization to their state-wide platform.

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Luxembourg’s Government Triples Medical Cannabis Budget for 2020

While Luxembourg is a tiny country in the middle of Europe, it is beginning to play an outsized role in pushing all aspects of the cannabis discussion forward in the EU.

The country has steadily moved forward on integrating cannabis into the medical system. In 2018, medical cannabis was tested in a pilot project and is now available, on prescription, from a limited number of hospital pharmacies since February of this year. The program, at least from the Department of Health’s perspective, has been “very successful” so far in the words of Health Minister Etienne Schneier.

So, as a result, the next phase of the transition is going into effect. The budget for doctor training and medical cannabis purchases will be increased from €350,000 to €1.37 million next year. The drug will also be available from all pharmacies. Overall, the government has allocated a budget of €228 million for its cannabis “pilot” next year – an increase of €22m in 2019.

Canopy Growth Moves Into A Prime Position

Canopy_Growth_Corporation_logoCanopy Growth also announced last month that it has now become the exclusive supplier of medical cannabis to the country in a deal that extends through the end of 2021 (in other words presumably until recreational reform becomes legal). This is an interesting twist of events, given that Aurora announced it was the first company to import the drug into the country last year.

This is certainly a new chapter in the ongoing competition between the two Canadian companies who have, since 2017, essentially split Europe’s “first entries” between them (with the exception of Tilray in Portugal).

It also comes at a time when Aurora has just lost its third license in Italy to cultivate.

The clash of the cannatitans continues.

Why Is Luxembourg’s Cannabis Experiment So Interesting?

The increasingly strategic position of this tiny country on the cannabis discussion cannot be discounted.

aurora logoIn the summer of 2018, it was the government’s decision to change the law on medical cannabis use that preserved the ability of Germans to continue to buy cannabis stocks. Confused? The Deutsche Börse, in Frankfurt, the third largest stock exchange in the world, claimed that it could not “clear” stock purchases last summer because their clearing company, based in Luxembourg, could not close the transactions in a country where even medical cannabis was still off the table. When Luxembourg changed their law, in other words, the Deutsche Börse had to reverse course.

Since then, this tiny country has continued to challenge the cannabis discussion in the EU – also announcing that a full-boat recreational program will be enacted within the next two years (almost certainly by 2021). This aggressive timetable will also move the discussion in almost every EU regulation still on the table, and probably position the country as the only one in Europe where a fully integrated medical and recreational policy is in place. Even Holland does not cover medical cannabis these days. Dutch insurers stopped covering the drug in early 2017 – just as the German government changed its own laws.

Luxembourg, in other words, has now effectively pulled at least on par with Denmark and Germany in the cannabis discussion, with recreational now the agenda. And appears to be willing to preserve its medical program after recreational comes.

Who says size matters?

The “Colorado” Of Europe?

One of the reasons Colorado was such a strategic state in the cannabis discussion in the U.S. was undoubtedly its “purple” status – i.e. a state which politically swung both ways on a range of policy issues.

Luxembourg in fact, as the seat of the European Courts of Justice, may end up playing the same role in Europe – but on a national level.

In fact, the battle here increasingly resembles not Canada, but the U.S., as individual countries begin to tackle the cannabis question in their own way – both within and beyond the EU rubrics on the drug.

Will the United States legalize federally before the EU changes its tune? That is unknowable.

However, for the moment, the market leader in the EU to watch is undoubtedly Luxembourg, no matter its geographical size and population count.

As usual, cannabis reform enters through a crack, and widens from there. Luxembourg appears to be, if not the only crack, then certainly one of them that is turning into a decently sized crevice in the unyielding wall of blanket prohibition.

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The Great European Cannabis Cosmetics Confusion

If the “recreational” discussion is off the table for now except in a few local sovereign experiments (Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland), and the medical discussion is mired in “efficacy” and payments (Germany, UK), where does that leave this third area of cannabis products?

Namely cosmetics.

The answer? Because this conversation involves cannabis, as usual, the discussion is getting bogged down in confusion even as industry groups press for clarification and guidelines.

The Problem

Cosmetics, including externally applied creams, lotions and potions, are of course subject to regulation and testing beyond cannabinoids. Think of your favourite cosmetic product and the notices about no animal testing (et al). Yet when the conversation comes to cannabis, of course, even of the hemp kind, the current discussion in the EU is mired in confusion, and of course ongoing stigma. Not science. Or even logic.

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

According to the EU Working Group on Cosmetic Products earlier this year, ingredients containing CBD (even derived from hemp) should be banned from cosmetics production because of the ban on cannabis as an illicit substance under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Guidance under the Cosing Catalogue (a database of allowed and banned ingredients)  gives individual EU member states a framework to set national rules for cosmetics.

To add to the confusion, the EU also added new entries to the EU inventory of cosmetic ingredients which outlaw CBD derived from extracts, tincture or resin. But – in a bizarre bureaucratic swerve, they did approve “synthetically produced CBD.”

Opponents of the ruling – including the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) have of course opposed the newest guidelines on regs. CBD, as the EIHA has mentioned repeatedly, is not referenced specifically in the 1961 Convention.

The EIHA wants the EU to treat cosmetics like other CBD products – namely requiring that they have less than 0.2% THC.

The EIHA Proposal

The EIHA has its own proposal for setting guidelines under Cosing. Namely that extracts from industrial hemp and pure CBD should only be prohibited from use in cosmetic products if they are not manufactured in compliance with laws in the country of origin.

Further, the EIHA has also pointed out that the seeds and leaves of industrial hemp and any products derived from the same are also clearly excluded from the 1961 Convention.

However, and herein lies the rub – even within the EU, there is not yet harmonization on these standards between countries. So, what may pass for “legal” in the country of production may also not pass for products that are then exported – even within the EU and or in Europe.

EIHA also has proposed new wording for the definition of Cannabidiol based on the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI), the most comprehensive and widely recognized international list of ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products.

Where Does This Cross With Novel Food?

Of course there is also the confusion in the room about cannabis extracts as “novel food.” Cosmetics of course are designed for external application, but cannabis tinctures and extracts containing “CBD” are being put in that category right now by regulators in the EU. The fact that novel food is also in the room may in fact be the reason that regulators are apparently sanguine about synthetic CBD in cosmetics, but not that derived from the actual plant.

The cannabis discussion is going to be in the room for many years to come and on all fronts – from medication to food to cosmetics.Bottom line? There are, at present, no easy answers. This leaves the CBD industry in the EU, at all levels, as the planet barrels into the third decade of this century, in basically a state of limbo. If not absolute confusion.

What Is The Outlook?

While it may not be “pretty” right now, the industry is clearly moving through channels to pressure and challenge regulators at key international points and places.

What is increasingly obvious however, is that the problem with cannabis – at all levels – will not be solved soon, or easily. Even calls for “recreational reform” or even “descheduling” will not cure them.

Cannabis as a plant, if not a substance used in everyday living has been so stigmatized over the last 100 years that a few years of reform – less than a decade if one counts the organization of the industry since 2013 globally – will not come close to fixing if not ironing out the bugs.

The cannabis discussion, in other words, is going to be in the room for many years to come and on all fronts – from medication to food to cosmetics.

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¿Fumó Elon Musk el Blunt más caro de todos los tiempos?

La decisión de Elon Musk de fumar un porro en el podcast de Joe Rogan tuvo algunas consecuencias imprevistas.

De acuerdo con un nuevo informe sobre la revisión de seguridad de SpaceX después de que Elon Musk fumó un porro en el podcast de Joe Rogan, ¡Podemos decir que pudo haber sido el porro más caro de todos los tiempos!

Jacqueline Feldscher, reportera política de seguridad nacional, desenterró algunos registros de contratación que revelaban que la NASA terminó pagando a SpaceX $ 5 millones para llevar a cabo la revisión. Si bien la revisión fue ampliamente publicitada hace un año cuando se ordenó por primera vez, esta es la primera vez que se informa que los contribuyentes recibieron la factura.

Boeing, los rivales de SpaceX en el Programa de tripulación comercial de la NASA para externalizar los viajes a la estación espacial para que la agencia pueda concentrar su tiempo en esfuerzos más distantes como Marte, también se vio obligado a pasar por una revisión. Politico informó que, a diferencia de SpaceX, Boeing no obtuvo fondos adicionales para cubrir el proceso.

El Washington Post informó el otoño pasado que las revisiones tomarían meses e involucrarían cientos de entrevistas que se sumergirían en la cultura del lugar de trabajo en SpaceX y Boeing.

El administrador de la NASA, Jim Bridenstine, dijo al Post que el objetivo de las revisiones era garantizar la confianza del público en las dos compañías que estaban por realizar sus primeros vuelos de prueba.

“Si veo algo inapropiado, la preocupación principal para mí es cuál es la cultura que condujo a esa falta de adecuación y si la NASA está involucrada en eso”, dijo. “Como agencia, no solo nos dirigimos a nosotros mismos, sino también a nuestros contratistas. Necesitamos mostrarle al público estadounidense que cuando ponemos a un astronauta en un cohete, estarán a salvo “.

La publicación trimestral Employee Security Connection del Instituto Nacional de Seguridad es para la industria de la defensa y los empleados del gobierno, y es distribuida en la NASA por la Oficina del Director de Información y la Oficina de Servicios de Protección. Esta primavera, a raíz del alboroto de Elon Musk, cubrió el impacto del cannabis en las autorizaciones de seguridad para el personal y los contratistas.

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Strain Profile: French Macaron

The superb cookies genetics from California are simply too good not to develop a couple of sublime hybrids from. That’s why T.H.Seeds, the company responsible for the popular French Cookies strain, released the Cookies cross French Macaron, consisting of Gelato 33 x French Cookies. In search of an appropriate breeding partner, T.H.Seeds paired up with the Cookie Family, whose Gelato 33 is a delicious hybrid of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (a special GSC phenotype) and Sunset Sherbet (Girl Scout Cookies x Pink Panties). And with French Cookies having been developed by T.H.Seeds from a bag seed found in original GSC flowers, there’s a damn lot of Girl Scout Cookies contained in French Macaron!

As you probably are aware, a macaron is a French meringue-based pastry made from almond flour, available in diverse colors. So for a Cookies-dominant variety, this is a very suitable name that also implies that it produces very colorful plants. In addition, fittingly, French Macaron was bred in France by the French department of T.H.Seeds. This new indica-dominant plant brings together some of the best traits of the parental strains, such as the dense, tightly clustered, resin-dripping buds of French Cookies. With 500-600 grams per square meter (g/m2), yields are above average. The plants need to be flowered for nine weeks for such opulent results, but patience will pay off as the strain can potentially achieve heights of 35-45 inches. Comme il faut for a French gourmet treat, French Macaron offers both an exquisitely complex and unusual aroma merging notes of gas, musk and cream, “reminiscent of a sweet, creamy dessert,” raves T.H.Seeds about its creation, which is expected to elicit creativity and happiness. At the Expogrow 2017 fair in Spain, French Macaron instantly carried away the victory in the indica category, causing quite a stir shortly after its release.

Quality Inspection

For our report, we entrusted cultivation duties to the Doc, who happily took care of this new Cookies strain from T.H.Seeds. Two feminized seeds were germinated and quickly popped open. After a bit more than two and a half days, the two seedlings showed up above the ground. In their three weeks of vegetative stage, they displayed a decidedly indica-leaning growth pattern by becoming stocky and bushy, with tight internodal stacking, fairly wide leaves and thick main stems. Ultimately, they hadn’t grown beyond heights of 10 and 11 inches when the Doc moved them into flowering. “They’re beautifully uniform so far, just as is typical of T.H.Seeds,” he noted of his French Macarons.

Resin-Gland Onset

Both plants revealed a willingness to bloom at just one week after having switched to a 12/12-hour light/dark photoperiod, and the Doc detected female pre-flowering. In the following weeks, they were stretching about two and half times their vegetative height, while still maintaining a bushy appearance. After four weeks of flowering, the Doc reported: “Still two absolutely homogeneous plants. There’s been dynamic outward side-branch growth, and they are meanwhile sprinkled with young, roundish flower heads, which, thanks to a very early resin-gland onset, are already enticingly glistening. Really looking great! And as we all know, weight gain will be on the agenda in flowering weeks four to six.”

A Carnival of Colors

Two weeks later, the Doc confirmed that “the plants got thick and also immensely resinous! The indica dominance is also reflected now by the shape of the flowers, as they are fat and bulbous.” Having been completely green in the vegetative stage, the two French Macaron plants now displayed a varied range of colors. Some of the older shade leaves turned purple to red in part or entirely, and with maturity drawing nearer, yellow was added to the mix, partly in an attractive striped pattern. The upper quarter of one plant turned completely purple, including the buds, while the other one was predominantly purple. According to the Doc, “These plants have put a multicolored garment on, oh so lovely! It’s one explosion of colors, as if they were celebrating carnival. And then there’s this massive silvery-white trichome coating on the calyxes, sugar leaves and partly even the shade leaves—what a drop-dead gorgeous view! Smell-wise, they’re matching T.H.Seeds’ description, exuding a heavy, sweetish and slightly tangy bouquet the distinguishing elements of which are gas and musk.”

Ripeness Comes Early

The two French Macaron plants had become almost identically tall at heights of a bit over two feet. To the Doc’s surprise, they turned ripe five days ahead of schedule—instead of on day 63, he could pull out his scissors on day 58 and cut his fully mature beauties up into their rock-hard flowering parts. That made the doyen of indoor growing enthuse, “That’s a rare case—the plants have finished almost one week earlier than officially stated and nevertheless are of jaw-dropping quality!” But also in terms of quantity, the French Macaron plant amazed the Doc: Their dry yields together amounted to a bodacious 178 grams—almost 90 grams per plant. “A fantastic achievement, given that relatively small plant size,” the Doc explained.

Consuming French Macaron

In their dry form, most of the buds had a bluish-violet appearance, overlaid by a now even more awesome looking frosting of resin with a white glow. “This stunning look almost had me drooling out of my mouth,” swooned the Doc before he grinded a French Macaron nugget for a vaporization test. It almost felt as though he’d get high from the super-heavy, pungent odor alone that was rising up, as that heavy sweet-and-tarty fragrance had further thickened over the drying process and now seemed like a concentrate to him. The olfactory sensation continued when he took his first puff off the vaporizer—the highly aromatic vapor covered his entire mouth in flavor molecules, leaving a long-lasting spicy-sweetish aftertaste. Exclaimed the Doc: “Delicious! This full-mouth taste reminds me of a good cigar.” Three deeply inhaled drafts were enough to make him feel the effect of French Macaron. It was as if someone had started to hypnotize him: He stared into space, zoned out and, after two more vapor clouds, drifted into a trance-like state, letting loose physically, too. Sorrows and stress completely melted away, and this mental and physical feeling of total ease made for a sense of overwhelming happiness and contentment arising from deep within him.

Of course he loved this state of mind and decided to listen to the “Classical music for dreaming” Spotify playlist via headphones, which was a perfect match, indulging his senses and further deepening his state of meditation that lasted for more than two hours.

“French Macaron undoubtedly is another stroke of genius by T.H.Seeds,” the Doc summarized. “These Cookies-dominant genetics offer a bewitching play of colors, high yields, and a top-notch taste and effect, leaving nothing more to be desired!”

Strain Profile: French Macaron
High Times

Originally published in the November, 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

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Recreational Cannabis Could Become Legal In New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A panel of legislators delved into the uncertain market economics of legalizing recreational marijuana and thorny concerns about public health on Wednesday, in a prelude to a rapid-fire legislative session that could open the doors to recreational cannabis in New Mexico.

A legalization work group assembled by Democratic
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is pitching an oversight system that would
limit state and local taxes on recreational marijuana to roughly 17% and
license producers for as little as $500 a month with additional
per-plant fees.

Medical marijuana would become tax-free and be sold separately at all dispensaries, under the recommendations, in an effort to ensure affordable access to patients coping with conditions such as nausea and pain from cancer. About 78,000 people participate in the medical program.

Legislators listened at a public hearing as
University of New Mexico economics professor Sarah Stith cautioned
against legalization measures that might make retail prices
uncompetitive with Colorado’s recreational market, through restrictions
on supplies or excessive taxation.

“You can’t push that tax too high or it’s just going to go on the black market,” she said.

The
work group’s chairman, Albuquerque City Council member Pat Davis, told
lawmakers to expect more than $50 million in tax revenues within a year
from recreational marijuana sales — and at least $94 million as the
market stabilizes in five years.

He emphasized the potential for
economic development in rural farming communities, a $5 million
set-aside for spending by local law enforcement and public safety
precautions such as clearly identifiable labeling of cannabis sweets
that contain the psychoactive ingredient THC — to prevent child access.

None
of it persuaded Republican state Rep. Martin Zamora of Clovis that the
state should go forward with legalization. He objected to new burdens
placed on law enforcement, said marijuana farmers won’t be immune from
losses and raised the specter of a pregnant woman consuming recreational
marijuana.

“I could sit here and rant and rave all day long and I
intend to do that when it comes to the legislation part,” Zamora said.
“I just want more factual stuff — more scientific, more medical, in a
more direct way.”

In a counterpoint, Rep. Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque said marijuana “prohibition simply does not work.”

A
bipartisan legalization bill this year won House approval before
stalling in the state Senate. Both chambers are controlled by Democratic
majorities.

Democratic Senate President Mary Kay Papen said
Wednesday she was “not really enthusiastic” about the prospect of
legalization but could change her mind.

Papen, who is being
challenged in the Democratic primary, said a large share of tax proceeds
from marijuana sales should be allocated by the state to health care
spending.

Lawmakers led by Democratic Rep. Javier Martinez of
Albuquerque are in the process of drafting a legalization bill for the
state’s 2020 legislative session — limited to 30 days beginning in
January.

Lujan Grisham has highlighted her own concerns about recreational marijuana and roadway and workplace safety, along with precautions against child access.

By Morgan Lee

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New Florida Bill Would Prohibit Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis Patients

A Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill that would protect employees from discrimination in the workplace due to their status as a medical marijuana patient or for the use of cannabis while off the job. The measure was pre-filed in the legislature by Democratic Rep. Tina Polsky of Boca Raton.

“Unless an employer establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the lawful use of medical marijuana has impaired the employee’s ability to perform the employee’s job responsibilities, it shall be unlawful to take any adverse employment action against an employee who is a qualified registered patient using medical marijuana” in a matter consistent with state law, a draft of the bill reads.

Additionally, employers would be required to give written notice to employees and job applicants who test positive for cannabis use that they have a right to identify themselves as a medical marijuana patient. Employees would be permitted to verify their status as a patient by providing either their medical marijuana identification card or a doctor’s certification as proof of legal use.

“I think this bill is timely and it’s cognizant of the growing number of medical marijuana users in the state of Florida,” Adam Kemper, a Boca Raton employment attorney who specializes in medical marijuana compliance, told local media.

Bill Has Some Exceptions

The bill would not apply to employees in occupations with safety-sensitive job responsibilities, such as heavy-equipment operators, first responders, day care and health care workers, and those who drive, carry a firearm, or handle hazardous materials.

The bill does not give employees the right to use cannabis while on the job. Employees whose work performance is adversely affected by their use of medical marijuana would also not be protected by the measure.

“If you’re impaired to the point that it’s affecting your job, the employer can discharge you for that,” noted Kemper.

In an online notice calling for support for the measure, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said that passage of the bill would give medicinal cannabis patients the same rights as those who choose to use other doctor-recommended therapies.

“Those who consume conventional medications legally and responsibly while off the job do not suffer sanctions from their employers unless their work performance is adversely affected,” the activist group wrote. “Employers should treat those patients who consume cannabis legally while away from the workplace in a similar manner.”

Ben Pollara, a Miami campaign consultant and activist who headed a group that campaigned for passage of the ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in Florida, said that the amendment did not include any employment protections for patients. The new bill is needed, he says, because without it, litigation is almost never decided in the favor of patients.

“It’s an unfortunate feature of the medical marijuana laws in 31 states,” Pollara said last year. “Every ruling I’ve ever seen has been favorable to employers on this.”

Florida’s medical marijuana program was authorized with the passage of a constitutional amendment by state voters in 2016.

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Standardization: A Guide Through the Minefield

Now that cannabis edibles have been legalized nationally in Canada, many existing and aspiring license holders have been surprised to discover that they must comply with food safety regulations. This became crystal clear when Health Canada published their Good Production Practices Guide For Cannabis in August 2019.

With this development, it should be obvious to everyone that Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certifications are simply not enough.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) based preventative control programs are now the absolute minimum and higher levels of certification (GFSI) should be on everyone’s wish list.

HACCP is a methodology that is all about identifying biological, chemical and physical hazards and determining how they will be controlled to mitigate the risk of injury to humans. Recently, bio-terrorism and food fraud hazards have been added to the list and it is a good idea to address quality hazards as well.

The process of developing a HACCP program involves identifying these hazards with respect to ingredients, materials, packaging, processes and cross-contamination points (explicitly required in Canada only). However, it is a specific ingredient hazard that I’d like to talk about here.

HACCPAs this market has emerged, I’ve met with many cannabis companies as the onerous levels of knowledge and effort required to build and maintain an effective HACCP program manually has dawned upon the industry. Many are looking for technological solutions to quickly solve this problem. During these discussions, a curious fact has emerged that set off the food safety alarm klaxons around here.

Most people alive today are too young to remember this but, with few exceptions, the standardization of ingredients is a relatively modern phenomenon. It used to be that the fat content of your milk varied from season to season and cow to cow. Over time, the food industry standardized so that, amazingly, you can now choose between milks with either 1% or 2% fat, a level of precision that would border on miraculous to someone born in the early 20th century.

The standardization of ingredients is important in terms of both quality and safety. Take alcohol for example. We know that a shot of spirits generally contains 40% alcohol. Different products may vary from this standard but, if I pour a shot of my favourite Bowmore No.1 single malt in Canada or Tasmania, this year or 10 years from now, I can expect a consistent effect from the 40% alcohol content of the quantity I’ve imbibed.

Imagine a world in which this was not the case, where one shot would be 40% but the next might be 80%. Things could get out of control quite easily at the 80% level so, to avoid this, distillers monitor and blend their product to ensure they achieve the 40% target, which is called the “standardization marker”.

With respect to cannabis, the obvious standardization marker is THC. During the manufacturing process, edibles manufacturers do not normally add cannabis flower directly into their products but instead add a THC concentrate produced during previous production steps. However, we’ve found that the wisdom of standardizing these concentrates has not yet dawned upon many in the industry, which is alarming at best and dangerous at worst.

The reason for this is that, since cannabis is inherently a heterogeneous plant, one cannot precisely achieve a particular marker value so the outcome of the concentration process is variable. The food industry long ago overcame this problem by blending or diluting to achieve a consistent marker concentration, but the cannabis industry has not yet adopted this advance.

The cannabis edibles industry is still immature and it will take time to bring all the necessary risk mitigation processes into place but one excellent place to start is to seriously consider standardizing concentrates to a THC marker.Instead, manufacturers simply keep track of the strength of each batch of concentrate and then adjust the quantity added to their recipes to achieve the desired THC content. This seems logical on the surface but presents a serious risk from the HACCP perspective, namely a chemical hazard, “Excessive psychoactive compound concentrations due to human error at levels that may be injurious to human health”.

The reality is that workers make mistakes, which is why it is imperative to mitigate the risk of human error insomuch as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to standardize to avoid the scenario where a worker, faced with a row of identical containers that are differentiated only by a tiny bit of text, accidentally grabs the wrong bottle. The error isn’t caught until the product has been shipped, consumed, and reports of hospital visits start coming in after the authorities trace the problem back to you. You must bear the costs of the recall, your reputation has been decimated and your company is floundering on the financial rocks.

US-based Drip More, LP recently found this out the hard way after consumers complained that their product tasted bad, bitter and/or harsh. An investigation determined that excessive nicotine content was the source of the problem and a voluntary recall was initiated. Affected product that had already been sold in 26 states. The costs of this recall have not been tallied but they will be staggering.

The cannabis edibles industry is still immature and it will take time to bring all the necessary risk mitigation processes into place but one excellent place to start is to seriously consider standardizing concentrates to a THC marker. This strategy is cheap, easy and you’ll never be sorry.

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3 Food Safety Precautions for Edibles

You’ve survived seasons of cannabis cultivations, bringing in quality plants in spite of mold, mites, drought and other challenges that had to be conquered. Extraction methods are sometimes challenging, but you are proud to have a cannabinoid extract that can be added into your own products for sale. Edibles are just waiting to be infused with the cannabinoids, for consumers demanding brownies, gummies, tinctures and almost any food and beverage imaginable. You’ve been through the fire, and now the rest is easy peasy, right?

Food processing and sanitation
Avoiding cross contamination should be a priority for edibles manufacturing

Actually, producing edibles may not be so seamless as you think. Just as in the rest of the food industry, food safety practices have to be considered when you’re producing edibles for public consumption, regardless of the THC, CBD, terpene or cannabinoid profile. Once you’ve acquired the extract (a “food grade ingredient”) containing the active compounds, there are three types of hazards that could still contribute to foodborne illness from your final product if you’re not careful- Biological, Chemical and Physical.

Biological hazards include pathogenic bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew (and the toxins that they can produce) that can come in ingredients naturally or contaminate foods from an outside source. Chemical hazards are often present in the kitchen environment, including detergents, floor cleaners, disinfectants and caustic chemicals, which can be harmful if ingested- they are not destroyed through cooking. Physical objects abound in food production facilities, including plastic bits, metal fragments from equipment, staples or twist ties from ingredient packages, and personal objects (e.g., buttons, jewelry, hair, nails.)

There are three main safety precautions that can help control these hazards during all the stages of food production, from receiving ingredients to packaging your final products:

1. Avoid Cross Contamination

  • Prevent biological, chemical or physical hazards from coming into contact with foods
  • Keep equipment, utensils and work surfaces clean and sanitized.
  • Prevent raw foods (as they usually carry bacteria) from coming into contact with “Ready-to-eat” foods (foods that will not be cooked further before consuming).
  • Keep chemicals away from food areas.

2. Personal Hygiene

  • Don’t work around foods if you’re sick with fever, vomiting or diarrhea. These could be signs of contagious illness and can contaminate foods or other staff, and contribute to an outbreak.
  • Do not handle ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, but use a barrier such as utensils, tissues or gloves when handling final products such as pastries or candies.
  • Wash hands and change gloves when soiled or contaminated.
  • Wear hair restraints and clean uniforms, and remove jewelry from hands and arms.

3. Time & Temperature control

  • Prevent bacterial growth in perishable foods such as eggs, dairy, meats, chicken (TCS “Time and Temperature Control for Safety” foods according to the FDA Model Food Code) by keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
  • Refrigerate TCS foods at 41˚ F or below, and cook TCS foods to proper internal temperatures to kill bacteria to safe levels, per state regulations for retail food establishments.
  • If TCS foods have been exposed to room temperature for longer than four hours (Temperature Danger Zone 41˚ F – 135˚ F,) these foods should be discarded, as bacteria could have grown to dangerous levels during this time.

As cannabis companies strive for acceptance and legalization on a federal level, adopting these food safety practices and staff training is a major step in the right direction, on par with standards maintained by the rest of the retail food industry. The only difference is your one specially extracted cannabinoid ingredient that separates you from the rest of the crowd… with safe and healthy edibles for all.

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