Over 800 CVS Stores Will Start Carrying CBD Products

CVS stores in eight U.S. states will begin carrying CBD topicals this week, according to information released on Wednesday from Curaleaf Holdings Inc. The company announced a deal to sell products with CBD derived from hemp at 800 CVS stores during an earnings conference call with investors.

CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S. with nearly 10,000 locations. A CVS spokesman confirmed in an email to MarketWatch that the company was entering the CBD market and began selling creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and salves last week.

“We have partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality,” the spokesman said.

CVS stores in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee will be selling CBD products. The company said that it would not be selling any supplements or food products with CBD.

Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi said on the conference call Wednesday that the company’s products would be sold at about 800 CVS stores to start and hoped to see that number increase. Curaleaf hemp lotions and patches should be available in CVS stores by Friday and on the company’s website “soon,” he said.

Lusardi said that Curaleaf is also negotiating distribution deals with other large consumer outlets.

“We’ve been having dialogue with national retailers for many months now,” said Lusardi. “We’ve got a number of potentially exciting partnerships in the pipeline.”

Curaleaf Expands Its Reach

Curaleaf operates 40 cannabis dispensaries in 12 states, with recent acquisitions bringing the company into the lucrative California and Nevada markets. The firm recently launched a line of products with hemp CBD, including lotions, patches, tinctures, and vape pens. Although hemp and products derived from hemp were legalized with the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration continues to treat CBD as a drug and has banned the use of the cannabinoid in foods and beverages pending new regulation. The agency has announced that it will hold hearings in April to pursue a legal pathway to make CBD available to consumers. CBD products are still widely available, however, and pills, capsules, lotions, vapes, tinctures, patches, and other cannabidiol products can be easily found in many states.

Stock prices were up for both companies in trading on Thursday after the announcement of the distribution deal. Curaleaf was up nearly 20 percent at more than $8 per share despite announcing a loss of $16.5 million on Wednesday. Revenue for the quarter was $32 million, up from $6.3 million the previous year. The stock has risen more than 50 percent in the last three months. Shares in CVS were up more than 2 percent in Thursday’s trading.

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New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization Bill Next Week

The New Jersey Senate and Assembly are due to vote on a bill that would make recreational cannabis legal in the state next Monday. Will it pass? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.

Here’s what we know: Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have their work cut out for them when it comes to getting the bill passed. New Jersey Republicans have proven to be tough opposition for the legalization movement, even when the pro-pot camp has many factors on their side; a broken criminal justice system and the promise of a billion dollar industry and the taxes that go along with it, to start.

“I won’t get into specific names,” Gov. Murphy told the press on Tuesday. “We still have a ways to go, let me just say that.” In the New Jersey Senate, there are 26 Democrats, and the legislation needs 21 of them to vote in favor of the bill to pass. The problem is that some of the party’s players, like Declan O’Scanlon and Kip Bateman, have told media outlets that they will not be voting in the affirmative.

If the legislation does not pass Monday, the Governor has said that it will not be taken up again until the fall. Next week, the state’s lawmakers go on break for three months in order to work on a state budget package, and the governor has commented that “Trying to move a marijuana bill during a budget break is not heathy.”

Last Monday, the sweeping legislation — the bill’s text runs a smooth 175 pages — passed committee approval. A slew of amendments meant that the crowd of opponents and advocates that have gathered had to wait until after 6 p.m. to testify, at which point the proposed legislation’s final version had not yet been seen by the public. Most of the citizens who had assembled to testify were sent away without having spoken — the Assembly’s committee allowed only 25 minutes of public opinion, while the Senate committee declined to hear any testimony at all, provoking censure.

But some of the last-minute additions to the bill did strengthen it as a corrective to decades of racially biased policing — essential in a state that sees Black residents arrested at three times higher rates than white, even when cannabis usage rates are consistent across racial demographics. One of the last-minute provisions allows for individuals in prison or on parole or probation to be be able to vacate or dismiss their cannabis charges.

Should the bill pass next week, the Governor and Senate President have surmised that cannabis sales could start by the beginning of next year. But should marijuana advocates fail to find the votes they need, New Jersey lawmakers also have the option of passing legalization off to the voters, who in February were polled by Monmouth University as being in favor of regulating recreational cannabis 62 to 32 percent. When asked about this option, Senate President Sweeney expressed reluctance to dodge the legislative showdown, explaining that voter initiatives require future initiatives should legislation need to be altered — a likely prospect when it comes to a program as complicated as cannabis legalization.

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Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products

The global cannabis industry and consumers alike owe a debt of gratitude to William “Kind Bill” Fenger, now part of multi-state operator Acreage Holdings (CSE: ACRG.U). Kind Bill is widely recognized as the founder of live resin production. For the uninitiated, live resin refers to a concentrate produced using freshly harvested or immediately frozen plant material that does not undergo drying or curing. The resulting concentrates, produced almost exclusively through hydrocarbon extraction, feature unrivaled quality – rich in terpenes with a resulting flavor profile that fully captures the essence of a given harvest.

According to a report published in 2018 by ArcView Research and BDS Analytics entitled Concentrates: The Hottest Product Category in Cannabis – “retail consumer appeal is propelling concentrates toward an estimated $8 billion in retail sales by 2022, outpacing growth in traditional flower.” According to the same report, concentrates represented only 10% of legal sales in the United States in 2014, and were expected to eclipse 27% by the end of 2018. Our internal estimates suggest that concentrates in California may exceed $2.7 billion in retail sales annually when the market matures.

Not only are they an exciting way to consume cannabis – live resin concentrates are becoming more mainstream. The category includes everything from vape cartridges to “dabs,” which are becoming less of a niche and more of a trend. Consumers are flocking to the ease and discrete nature of cartridges, which previously lacked the true “cannabis experience” since they are typically produced with THC distillate. Live resin production is changing that for good. “Dabs” are also becoming easier to consume with revolutionary rigs, e-nails, and portable devices.

Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products

Strawberry Banana Sugar, Courtesy of Coachella Manufacturing

Live Resin is a Superior Product For Consumers

Producers of distillate and distillate-based products are officially on notice. Cartridges outpace any other category of concentrates by a wide margin, and live resin cartridges will change the way we consume cannabis from vape pens. Why consume a basic, distillate-based, often adulterated product when you can experience the essence of the plant and your favorite strain through a live resin cartridge? Most distillate-based products feature harsh chemical fillers and “terpenes” from who- knows-where.

Your answer might be simple – you haven’t had the option, or you didn’t know any better. Do yourself a favor and try live resin today, whether through a cartridge or a dab rig.

According to Jason Nelson, SVP of Production for multi-state operator Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) “Fresh frozen extracts preserve the maximum cannabinoid and terpene content associated with the raw flower by flash freezing freshly harvested material, just prior to extraction. Cresco’s highest quality extracts known as sugar, sauce and THC Diamonds are all produced using live resin technology.”

As consumers finally turn to live – distillate products might just take a dive. It’s only a matter of time before live resin makes its way into topicals, tinctures, and other manufactured products.

Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products

Sour Diesel Batter, Courtesy of Coachella Manufacturing

Live Resin Features Lower Risk For Cultivators

Johnny Cultivator can spend 90-120 days from start to finish on their production process, with two to four weeks adding incremental risk from mold, mildew, pests and more through the drying and curing phase. Then he gets to trim the product with expensive staff or machinery. At the end of all those costs, he may lose an entire harvest from mold and need to extract it anyway!

Instead, Johnny Cultivator can harvest the full plant, put it in an extremely cold freezer, and sell it, or pay for it to be processed into a superior product through live resin technology – one that may soon cost less than distillate to produce.

In California, the cultivation tax on trim is $44 per pound, $148 per pound on flower, and only $20.64 per pound on live or frozen full plant material. While live resin production features lower yields because of water weight, impending supply increases from cultivation in California will favor the economics of live resin production versus distillate. The market is completely flooded with distillate, and the product is inferior for any educated consumer who has tried live resin. The price of trim continues to increase, while the price of distillate is tanking. How is that sustainable?

If you are growing – why take the incremental risk of drying and curing? Because the market is presently favoring distillate and flower. But times are changing.

According to world-renowned brand, leading cultivator, and multi-store retailer Connected Cannabis, live resin captures the essence of their award-winning strains. Per Caleb Counts, founder of Connected: “when properly executed harvests for whole plants are freshly frozen, coupled with a flawless cultivation season and hydrocarbon (“BHO”) extraction – the combined process captures the unique and exotic terpene profiles that our strains have come to be known and desired for.”

Three Reasons Why Live Resin Represents the Future of Cannabis Products

Biscotti Pour, Courtesy of Coachella Manufacturing

Live Resin Provides Differentiation For Extraction Companies

All of this talk about consumers and cultivators – but what about actually making live resin concentrates?

Live resin is best (and, some would say, only) produced using solvent (hydrocarbon) extraction, which features an extremely limited number of licensed producers in California. Previously designated a felony in California prior to legislation our parent company helped draft and sponsor in 2016 (State Bill AB2679) – solvent extraction requires expensive infrastructure and protocols to ensure it is conducted safely. There are simply higher barriers to entry for extractors using solvents when compared to other types of extraction like ethanol and CO2. Capacity is, therefore, extremely limited in California at this time. But the juice is worth the squeeze. Producing more specialized products versus ordinary crude and distillate helped us become a leader in California BHO while the distillate market continues to tank.

As solvent-based processors and BHO experts, nothing makes us more proud than live resin produced from our Coachella facility. The industry and consumers are evolving, and live resin is going to change the game as we know it.

Visit the Coachella Manufacturing booth at the High Times Cannabis Cup Central Valley on April 20th and 21st, and the High Times Cannabis Cup Bay Area on June 22nd and June 23, and judge for yourself.

Coachella Manufacturing is a California leader in solvent-based extraction. We provide live resin production for leading brands, including Connected Cannabis, Team Elite Genetics, Phoenix Tears, Cresco Labs, Tyson Ranch, The Humboldt Cure, Humboldt’s Dankest, and more. Look out for our own brands in 2019: Coachella Premium and STONED. Visit CoachellaManufacturing.com for processing inquiries. Mention this article and receive 20 pounds of free concentrate processing on your first order (minimum of 120-pound order applies).

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Mexican President Met With Christian Group To Discuss Campaign Against Drugs

For the second time in a month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with a group of evangelical pastors to discuss a plan that would give the religious organization access to radio and TV channels to promote Christian morality, including a “say no to drugs” campaign, reports Mexican newspaper Milenio.

The meeting raised concerns not only among those fearing the end of the separation of church and state in Mexico, but also those who hoped President López Obrador, who ran on a staunchly leftist platform, would work for a more politically progressive country.

“In Mexico, it’s easier for pornographic channels to exist than one that broadcasts about values; love of the country, love of institutions,” said spokesperson for the group, the National Brotherhood of Christian Churches, Arturo Farela. “We need other channels, other radio stations that spread the principles and values that the Bible teaches.”

President López Obrador — popularly known by his initials AMLO — took office in December. He has raised eyebrows by taking actions that some see as woefully similar to his more conservative predecessors. In January, AMLO announced his government would distribute 8.5 million copies of the “Cartilla Moral” or “Moral Primer”, a text written in 1944 that proposes a nation based on religious morals and the nuclear family.

During the presidential campaign, AMLO indicated that rather than pursuing armed conflict to end the bloody War on Drugs that has gripped Mexico since 2006, he would offer academic scholarships and internships to young men to sway them from accepting positions with drug cartels. But in January, the president ordered the legislature, controlled by his Morena party, to change the constitution to allow for the creation of a new federal police force — a seeming about-face on the issue.

Marijuana remains illegal in Mexico, despite a November Supreme Court ruling that its prohibition violates Mexicans’ constitutional right to develop their personality. Though many were hopeful that a Morena presidential administration would legalize the drug if the party gained political control, no visible progress has been made on a legislative proposal made in August by President López Obrador’s Secretary of the Interior and Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero.

Sánchez Cordero’s bill, if passed, would legalize production, distribution, and consumption of recreational marijuana — even in many public spaces — for adults. Though it bans edible marijuana products, individuals would be allowed to grow up to 480 grams of cannabis a year, and companies to file for permits to grow and distribute weed.

But instead of heralding the passage of her bill, Senator Sánchez Cordero sat in on the meeting between AMLO and the Christians. She was reportedly tasked by the president with seeing to the logistics of giving the religious group access to the airwaves. The task may involve altering the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship, which designates Mexico as a secular government.

Farela told the press that the National Brotherhood of Christian Churches has another meeting scheduled with AMLO to discuss the religious anti-drug programming on March 27.

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Pennsylvania Town Decriminalizes Marijuana, Sees Future in Legal Pot

Civic leaders in the borough of Steelton, Pennsylvania unanimously passed an ordinance to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana on Tuesday evening. At a special meeting called to considerer the proposal, members of the borough council voted 5-0 to remove criminal penalties for first-time offenders possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis. Simple possession will instead be charged as a summary offense and be subject to a fine of $25 to $100.

Brian Proctor, the president of the borough council, said in a press release that the town was actively pursuing cannabis reform.

“Steelton Borough Council recognizes the changes in attitudes towards marijuana nationally, at the state level, and locally, and strives to be at the forefront of progressive marijuana policy,” said Proctor. “We believe policy needs to change with the times. That includes taking a new look at marijuana, its potential to benefit our community, and realigning criminal justice policy to appropriately fit marijuana-related crimes.”

Borough Manager Doug Brown said that decriminalization is just one aspect of the community’s new approach to pot.

“The passage of this ordinance signals the progressive direction Steelton is taking related to marijuana both in terms of righting a social wrong and preparing the borough for economic opportunity,” Brown said. “Since 2012, other states have shown that marijuana policy can be implemented in a responsible and beneficial manner. Steelton does not have the luxury of being stuck in the past or thumbing its nose at changing times; our survival depends on what is happening now and in the future and that includes being a leader in progressive marijuana policy.”

Brown told High Times that after the vote, the members of the public who attended the meeting clearly demonstrated their approval of the action taken by the council.

“They were applauding when we passed it,” he said. “It was clear that the room was overwhelmingly supportive.”

Town Looks for New Opportunities with Cannabis

Councilwoman Keontay Hodge, the author of the decriminalization ordinance, said that legal cannabis can be an opportunity for business development in the economically depressed community and noted that prohibition is not enforced fairly.

“The burgeoning marijuana industry is critical to rebuilding Steelton’s economy,” Hodge said. “It is foolish and foolhardy to stick our heads in the sand while this opportunity passes us by. It is equally foolish to ignore to [sic] disproportionate impact outdated marijuana laws have on small-time users.”

Brown agreed in a telephone interview that city leaders have a dual interest in cannabis policy reform.

“We all have a socially progressive mind but there’s also the economic development opportunity,” he said.

Brown explained that the community needs to find alternatives to the steel mill that’s been the primary employer for generations in Steelton.

“It’s in our name,” he said. “We were founded on the steel mill. And obviously times have changed, and with the decline of the steel mill came the decline of the town. So we’re in a spot right now where we really have to figure out what our niche is in our area and our region.”

Once employing thousands, the mill is down to about 500 workers today and is subject to recurring rumors of an imminent buyout or closure.

“There’s no clear picture of what the future holds for them,” Brown said. “So we’re in a mode now where we have to diversify. And we have to figure out what the new Steelton is and what the Steelton of the future is, and obviously, we see where the trend is going with cannabis.”

In 2016, Steelton was one of the first communities to pass a medical marijuana zoning ordinance after Pennsylvania legalized the medicinal use of cannabis. The town is now home to a RISE dispensary and has formed a committee to explore its options for the expected state legalization of recreational marijuana. The borough council has also formed a special committee and tasked it with studying the implementation of legal cannabis in other jurisdictions and to follow efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“What we would like to do is to have an ordinance ready to go for when the state gets to the point that it’s ready to pull the trigger on recreational,” said Brown.

Steelton has already experienced how legal cannabis companies can spur further economic development. After the opening of the medical marijuana dispensary, Coexist Gallery, a glassblowing shop, opened nearby. This July, the company will be hosting residencies for nationally and internationally known artists to create and sell one of a kind pipes and dab rigs, with some proceeds going to fund a community art foundation.

“It’s cool to see the spin-off economy that’s growing from it, as well as the community aspect where we have new stakeholders investing in the borough, all because of our progressive attitude toward marijuana,” Brown told High Times.

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Study Finds Correlation of Daily High Potency Cannabis Use and Mental Illness

What patterns of cannabis use are the most likely to increase someone’s chances of developing psychosis? That’s the question a team of U.K. researchers set out to answer using data from 901 first-episode psychosis patients across Europe and Brazil. The results of their analysis, published Tuesday in The Lancet, describe a clear correlation between daily, high-potency cannabis consumption and psychotic episodes. Yet lead researchers acknowledged that the correlation does not necessarily mean cannabis is the cause of psychosis.

Study Cannot Definitively Pinpoint Cannabis as Cause of Psychosis

Studies that suggest links between cannabis use and mental illness give firepower to policymakers who view legal marijuana as a threat to public health and safety. But a close look at their actual findings almost always reveals a much more complex and less definitive picture of how cannabis consumption intersects with mental illness—and mental wellness.

So what did King’s College London researchers find? Looking at data collected between 2010 and 2015 at 11 sites across Europe and Brazil, researchers selected 901 patients, aged 18-64, who presented to psychiatric services with a first episode of psychosis. Using some complex statistics, researchers compared the cannabis use patterns of the 901 patients with 1237 control subjects from the same sites. They found that “daily cannabis use was associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder compared with never users.” And those odds went up “to nearly five times the increased odds for daily use of high-potency types of cannabis.”

So what exactly did they mean by “high-potency”? The researchers didn’t mean concentrates or extracts or edibles. Instead, they define high-potency as any cannabis product with a THC concentration above 10 percent. In other words, nearly all of the weed available in legal and unlicensed markets.

The study also concludes that restrictions on the availability of “high-potency” products—which remember in this case means anything with more than 10 percent THC—”could have prevented” cases of first-episode psychosis. Ultimately, the researchers found that “differences in frequency of daily cannabis use and in use of high-potency cannabis contributed to the striking variation in the incidence of psychotic disorders across the 11 studied sites.”

Expert Says Early Psychotic Episodes Could Lead to Self-Medicating with Cannabis

Using words like “contribute” and “associated with,” the study’s authors seem confident that daily and daily-high potency use significantly increases someone’s risk of psychosis. Or in the words of the study’s lead author, Dr. Marta Di Forti: “If you decide to use high-potency marijuana, you should bear in mind: Psychosis is a potential risk.”

But other experts, like University of Liverpool psychologist and epidemiologist Dr. Suzanne Gage, say there’s nothing definitive about the King’s College study. In fact, Gage suggests that Dr. Di Forti’s methodology could have overlooked a relationship between psychosis and cannabis use that goes in the opposite direction. Most experts accept that cannabis, as a little-understood mind-altering substance, could pose risks to mental health, especially when used frequently.

But a risk factor is not the same as a cause, let alone a definitive cause. In short, just because you use cannabis daily doesn’t mean you will definitely have a psychotic episode.

Indeed, for some people, the relationship between mental illness could be completely reversed. Dr. Di Forti and her colleagues only asked about patients’ cannabis use prior to their first-episode psychosis. They didn’t gather information on whether the patients experienced psychotic symptoms before they starting consuming cannabis. In other words, mental illness might have led some of the 901 patients to self-medicate with cannabis, rather than cannabis use leading to their psychosis.

As ever, new research renews the call for further research. And in this case, we need more studies not just on the cause-effect relationship between weed and mental health, but also on who may be more susceptible to those risks than others, and why.

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Pennsylvania Police Chief Supports Pot Decriminalization Bid

Local lawmakers in Steelton, Pennsylvania will consider a plan to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis at a special meeting of the borough council held on Tuesday evening. And in a move not common with similar proposals in other jurisdictions, the idea has the support of the local chief of police.

Under the proposal, possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis would no longer be considered a criminal offense for first-time offenders. Instead, they would be charged with a summary offense and issued a fine of $25 to $100. Subsequent offenses would be subject to misdemeanor charges.

Steelton Chief of Police Anthony Minium told High Times in a telephone interview that he supports the decriminalization proposal as a matter of justice. He said that he has seen in his personal law enforcement experience people, ususally members of minority communities, who are treated harshly for possessing cannabis while more affluent people who commit more serious offenses “were getting a break because they can afford a high power attorney.”

“I figured it was time for somebody to take a stand and say ‘hey, let’s even the playing field,’” Minium said.

Minium told local media that decriminalization would allow police and prosecutors to focus on more serious crime.

“We are bogging down the criminal justice system right now with marijuana charges,” said Minium. “And I think a lot of times if we can just do a summary offense on that then that’s a quick easy way in and out of the system but still holding people accountable for their actions.”

Chief Rejects Marijuana Myths

The chief clearly demonstrated that he has researched cannabis and has rejected prevailing misconceptions and propaganda.

“Marijuana is not this horrible drug that it’s claimed to be,” Minium said. “First of all, it’s not a gateway like they claim, that’s not a fact.”

Minium is also aware of the racial motivations and justification for the criminalization of cannabis and said that is time for reform.

“It’s kind of like the modern-day Prohibition,” said Minium. “There’s a lot of people that smoke it who are in high-powered positions. They go to work every day. There’s medical benefit to it. Why wouldn’t we make this step to make it legal?”

Minium believes that there is a good chance that the borough council will approve the decriminalization bid, saying that “I think we do have a majority.” The proposal to decriminalize cannabis is also supported by Steelton Mayor Maria Marcinko.

“We are always trying to do cutting edge things and I believe this will be a good thing,” said Marcinko. “The community and the surrounding community sees we are progressive and we are serious about moving forward on hot button topics.”

Minium also noted that the council will also be considering another proposal that goes beyond decriminalization.

“We’re also looking at the legalization of it in the borough itself. But that’s going to take a little bit more of an argument, and again I support that as well. That doesn’t allow you to walk down Front Street or drive a car under the influence. What it allows you to do, in your own private home, is not have the fear of us kicking in the door for a small joint.”

Police Support for Cannabis Reform Growing

Diane Goldstein, the board chair of nonprofit criminal justice reform group the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, said that law enforcement leaders are slowly beginning to recognize the benefits of eliminating the prohibition of marijuana. A retired lieutenant with the Redondo Beach Police Department in California, she said that she would rather see tax dollars spent on lab work to test rape kits instead of confiscated cannabis. Goldstein applauded Minium for standing up for the reform of cannabis laws.

“This is a incremental, smart step by this police chief who understands that the public has completely swung around on this issue and recognizes that if you’re in your house, in private, and you’re not out driving or committing crimes, it’s a waste of resources for his law enforcement agency to continue to go out and arrest and prosecute,” Goldstein told High Times.

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Survey Indicates Teen Marijuana Use in Colorado is Lower Than National Average

If this were a segment of The Daily Show, this article might begin with a montage of Republican lawmakers decrying the “reckless, irresponsible” message marijuana legalization sends to youth. In legislative chambers across the U.S., opponents of marijuana reform, when all else fails, fall back on the argument that legal weed will surely cause more young people to consume cannabis. Their case rests on a simple—and simplistic—assumption: make something legal, safer, better-regulated, and more people will do it. But a new survey of teen marijuana use in Colorado is beginning to put the lie to that assumption.

New Survey: 81 Percent of Colorado Teens Don’t Consume Cannabis

On Tuesday, public health researchers in Colorado released a report detailing the results of a youth marijuana education and prevention campaign called High Costs. Researchers measured the efficacy of that campaign with a survey. The survey reached more than 55,000 teen respondents, including 500 in the City of Denver. And according to that survey, teen marijuana consumption isn’t just dropping in Colorado. It’s also falling below the national average for the first time.

The report’s “respondent snapshot” reveals that 59 percent of Colorado teens have never consumed cannabis. An additional 22 percent of teens have only consumed cannabis once or twice ever. Another 8 percent consume cannabis once a month or less. In other words, just 10 percent of Colorado teens use cannabis more than once a month. So 81 percent of Colorado teens don’t consume cannabis with any regularity, have only tried it or have never tried it at all. The national average for teen’s who don’t use cannabis hovers around four out of every five. Colorado teens just barely surpassed that mark.

High Costs Cannabis Awareness Program Is Helping Reduce Underage Use

Colorado’s cannabis laws earmark a portion of marijuana tax revenue for drug awareness and outreach programs for young people. The City of Denver, for example, has spent millions on its High Costs campaign. And based on its new report, High Costs says it’s money well spent. In addition to surveying teens on their cannabis consumption habits, High Costs also polled respondents about their familiarity with High Costs’ campaign materials. 78 percent of Denver teens reported that they were familiar with the campaign. And of those, 75 percent said High Costs’ messaging discouraged them from using cannabis.

High Costs is also the organization behind the online game show, Weeded Out. Weeded Out is the country’s first marijuana education game show, and it was the focal point of High Costs’ 2018 campaign. Of the teens who watched the game show, 87 percent reported discussing it with friends and family. In short, High Costs is getting its message out there. And the vast majority of teens who are aware of it find its content clear, educational, trustworthy and likable.

And for the rest of the nation, the effectiveness of Denver’s youth awareness and prevention campaign sends an important message. It shows that it is entirely possible for legal-weed states to safeguard young people and teens from the health and legal risks of underage cannabis consumption. And further, it shows that smart, well-funded programs can do way more to reduce teen cannabis consumption than prohibition and harsh criminalization.

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Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police

The family of Greg Longenecker, the Pennsylvania man killed by the state police’s bulldozer when he was discovered visiting his 10 cannabis plants last July, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the law enforcement agents, state police, and the game commission on Monday.

“They killed a beautiful human being, a caring, loving man,” said plaintiff Mike Carpenter, who is Longenecker’s uncle.

“His behavior was despicable,” said Berks County District Attorney Adams, in contrast. “They yelled to him, they asked him to surrender. He did not surrender.”

It is unclear how Longenecker ended up caught in the treads of the police’s bulldozer, which was apparently moving at a speed of one to two miles per hour. The man who the Associated Press describes as “a short-order cook and avid vegetable gardener with a passion for the [Grateful] Dead” ran from the police when they found him and a friend visiting the marijuana plants they grew for personal consumption on state game lands outside of Reading, roughly 75 miles from Philadelphia. Officers employed a bulldozer to clear a path into the underbrush to which they had seen Longenecker flee.

Longenecker was with his friend David B. Light when the two were surprised by the police. Light surrendered to the officers, and rejects the official story of Longenecker’s death; that the 51 year old man, high on methamphetamines, crawled underneath the bulldozer to escape capture and got caught when the machine made a turn.

“That morning, Gregory was not high or under the influence,” Light wrote in an affidavit. “There is no way Gregory crawled underneath the back of the bulldozer. It is unthinkable and ridiculous that anyone would say he crawled underneath.”

The pair were discovered when their illegally parked vehicles were seen by a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, who alerted the police. Adams insinuated that the use of the bulldozer to find Longenecker was necessary, given that the man could have been injured when he escaped into the “completely uninhabitable” undergrowth.

“They were damned if they did or damned if they didn’t,” said Adams.

But a police procedure expert interviewed by the Associated Press disagrees. “It’s outlandish,” said retired New York Police Department commander and lawyer Walter Signorelli, who has experience overseeing investigations into police pursuits. “This is the craziest thing I’ve heard in years. It seems like they were more concerned with the chase than the danger to themselves and the public and the guy they’re chasing.”

Though a pair of Pennsylvania senators introduced a recreational cannabis bill on Monday, it continues to be illegal in the state to grow marijuana for personal consumption — even by authorized participants in its medical marijuana program. Cannabis flower became available for purchase by medical marijuana patients in dispensary in August of last year.

Regardless of the details surrounding the killing of Longenecker, his family is not ready to accept that his death was necessary. “He’ll never be able to share his life with us, or us with him, again,” said Carpenter. “For no reason. He wasn’t hurting anyone.”

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High Folks: Yareem Barnes-Ivey Balances the Two Worlds of Cannabis

Editor’s Note: Welcome to one of our newest bi-weekly columns, High Folks: the cannabis-infused version of Humans of New York, in which we take an intimate look at people’s relationships with our most beloved plant. The connection between humans and cannabis is primal, dynamic, and profound. But it’s something that’s increasingly overlooked in the new age of weed. So in an effort to combat the superficiality of cannabis in the social media-age, High Times is proud to present to you a collection of work that highlights one of life’s most beautiful gifts: connection.

“It’s like having your feet in two different worlds,” says Yareem Barnes-Ivey who’s in Orlando, FL., on business for a Home and Garden Landscaping company he owns. “One foot in because you know you’re in a cutting edge industry; you’re at the forefront; you’re at the beginning and there is a lot of opportunities.”

His other foot rests in a world where cannabis gives Black Americans two options: covert therapy or public persecution. As a cannabis grower, the 35-year-old—like most Black Americans—has learned the art of shapeshifting, as he oscillates between growing herb and owning a mainstream business. Residing in Colorado Springs, Barnes-Ivey’s has nurtured an experimental relationship with the plant. It’s a new privilege– but he doesn’t experience it all the time, as he travels frequently around the United States for work.

Barnes-Ivey’s love for the outdoors and her gifts runs deep. As a boy, he loved playing with bugs and getting his hands dirty. “I’ve always been intrigued by nature,” he says.

Experimenting with growing clones came later. In 2007, he grew Yem OG, Tangerine Haze, Purple Urple, Afghani Haze, and Pineapple Express in his closet. “From those clones, I didn’t get a very big yield,” Ivey tells High Times. “I didn’t know about the environment, having the right [parts per million, feeding, and temperature. So all of my plants weren’t hitting on all cylinders when I first started.”  

Before Barnes-Ivey began his relationship with the herb, he says he acted as the “weed police” on Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s (FAMU) campus before he experiencing his first joint.

“I would literally grab guys blunts out of their hands and step on them,” he says. “I was in D.A.R.E and wanted to be an FBI Investigator growing up.”

Then, in 2001, Barnes-Ivey started heavily using pain pills as a freshman to deal with the pains of being a competitive football player. He also had toothaches caused by soft teeth. “Taking pain killers, like Tylenol, had always made me lack emotion, so I got to a point on the pain killers where I was like, ‘You know what? This is kinda bad. Let me see if I can find an alternative.”

That’s when he approached his neighbors in the Sampson Hall dormitory who were known for always having marijuana. “I went next door and talked to my neighbors, smoked a joint with them, and realized that [cannabis] was medicine, and I didn’t have to take pain pills anymore.”

During his senior year, Barnes-Ivey interned with the Gadsden County Public Defender’s Office in Quincy, FL., as an investigator working on small possession charges. His perception of cannabis drastically shifted because it showed him that the number of Black men in the Quincy jail was more than 20:1.

“People of color […] are vital to the future of the cannabis industry,” says Christopher Cano, the executive director of NORML’s Central Florida chapter and longtime friend of Ivey “Prohibition has caused damage to communities of color including disparities in arrests and convictions as well as mass incarceration. With rich White men making millions in a new industry that for years was kept afloat by the black market at the cost of communities of color, having more people of color […] will bring some form of social justice in the grand scheme.”

Jesce Horton, co-founder and chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), believes that the green revolution we’re currently experiencing is bittersweet for Black Americans. “The opportunity for economic empowerment and community wellness is amazing,” he says, “but we will inevitably leave behind [most of those] who were disproportionately affected by cannabis arrests unless we make drastic improvements towards industry equity.”

Barnes-Ivey says being a black man in the cannabis industry is similar to being a black man in any other industry: there is a lack of resources available for minorities looking to expand into the larger market. “For me and what I want to accomplish, finances are my issue, which is the issue [for] most small growers trying to compete or stay afloat with big businesses moving in,” he told High Times.

Though becoming a full-time grower would be ideal, Barnes-Ivey says that he got into the industry—first and foremost—because it gives him peace of mind. “I’m just doing it because I really enjoy it. I love being apart of the industry, and I love growing for myself and for a couple of other patients.”

Through his entrepreneurial skills and love for playing in mother nature’s garden, he wants to show his two young sons the importance of following their heart and not letting systems of mental and physical oppression stop them from cultivating their own freedom.

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