The DEA is Searching for Field Test Kits to Differentiate Hemp and Marijuana

The Drug Enforcement Agency has requested input from companies who may be able to provide field test kits that can differentiate hemp from marijuana. In a notice posted to the federal business opportunities website, the DEA said it is conducting market research to obtain test kits or instruments that can determine if a sample of cannabis contains more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.

“The field test kit must provide specificity to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. It must be portable and rugged enough to be used in non-laboratory environments or ambient conditions,” the notice reads.

With the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, the crop and its derivatives have now been exempted from regulation by the Controlled Substances Act. But with hemp and marijuana both cultivars of the cannabis plant, telling the difference between the two is not an easy task. By the legal definition, cannabis plants with a THC concentration of less than 0.3 percent are considered hemp. Any more than that is classified as marijuana and still federally illegal.

The distinction has caused confusion for members of law enforcement who encounter shipments of hemp during the performance of their duties. Field tests to determine the presence of THC in a sample already exist, but they are not sensitive enough to quantify how much THC a test sample contains. Determining the quantity of THC is currently only possible through laboratory tests conducted with sensitive instruments.

Hemp Shipment Seized

In January, four men were arrested while transporting an 18,000-pound load of hemp in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. After a field test determined that the load contained THC, police took into custody two truck drivers and two members of a security detail that were accompanying the shipment. Because of the federal government shutdown that was going on at the time, testing on the shipment at a DEA lab was delayed until January 25. Tadesse Deneke and Farah Warsame, the two truck drivers, spent more than a month in jail. Andrew Ross and David Dirksen, the security officers, were able to make bail after spending six days in jail. Dirksen says that they shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.

“It’s definitely within the threshold of being industrial hemp,” Dirksen said. “It’s definitely not marijuana. Doesn’t smell like marijuana, doesn’t look like marijuana.”

Attorney Frank Robison said that the Osage County District Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the four men, told him that the shipment had been analyzed under a microscope and determined to be marijuana, not hemp.

“To be very clear, there is no such test,” Robison said. “You cannot determine whether or not its hemp or marijuana looking at it under a microscope.”

Rob McIntyre, the CEO of Salvation Botanicals, which operates a licensed cannabis testing laboratory in Canada, told High Times that it may not be easy to develop a reliable test for field use.

“We would be most concerned about the accuracy of a field test,” McIntyre said. “The qualifications for industrial hemp vs marijuana is a 0.3  percent THC content. When taking down 0.3 percent, the skill of the operator and the accuracy of equipment is in question.”

With a similar case also in January of a hemp shipment being seized by police in Idaho, it’s clear a solution to protect interstate hemp shipments is needed. Companies that believe they can provide products that meet the DEA requirements or offer more information about the matter are encouraged to respond to the government notice by March 15.

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The High Priestess: A Stoner’s Guide to Pisces Season

Editors Note: High Times is thrilled to present our newest bi-weekly column The High Priestess. Written by author and practitioner of magick, Gabriela Herstik, this column will explore the relationship and intersections of cannabis, witchcraft, sex, wellness, and everything in between. At High Times, we strive to keep our minds and our hearts open while centering and uplifting those whose views and practices have traditionally been denied a platform and excluded from the discussion. After all, what is the cannabis space if not inclusive? 

Ah yes, do you feel it in the air? That sense of dreaminess only paralleled by an overwhelming intensity of emotions– as if all the things we’ve kept hidden could bubble to the surface at any moment? Seriously, has anyone else been crying more than normal recently? No, it’s not in your head. You’re not disconnected from reality, it’s just Pisces season– the watery world of the fish, and the last sign of the zodiac. This is a season of diving deep into the world of feelings, it’s a season of baring it all, it’s a season of heightened intuition; and ah yes, it’s the season of using weed as a way to embrace all the energy that’s swimming around us.

From Feb. 19 to March 20 we’re thrust into the etheric domain of Pisces season. This is a psychedelic sea of opportunity. It’s a time in which we can (and should) embrace the lessons of Pisces through creativity, self-expression, and love. The Piscean way is all about surfing the waves of life and working with altered states of consciousness, as well as exploring other dimensions. This is an ideal season for cannabis connoisseurs to take lean into our highs and explore the realms in which Mama Ganja wants us to traverse. Like the fish, we can either float or swim our way through, and my recommendation this season is to do both.

Here are some ways to make the most of Pisces season:

Method of Cannabis Consumption: The Bong

Pisces is a water sign, which means that like water, these babies are fluid, connected to the energy of the divine feminine, and super in tune with their intuition. Pisces energy is that of perception and transcendence. In other words: it’s the perfect vibe to use weed to chill and cope. And what better way to honor the psychedelic-fish energy then to smoke out of a bong? Bongs are magical, using each element—earth (flower), air, fire, and water—to get us stoned out of our minds. So, while I love a good joint as much as the next gal, it just feels right to recommend a bong for the fluidity of Pisces season.

If you read my first column, you’d know that I’m currently searching for a new bong after breaking mine while writing. I’m looking for the perfect mix of practical, easy to clean and also cute, and wanted to share my research in case anyone else wanted to upgrade their smoking situation this season.

Although I love a good, functional water pipe, this isn’t really the time for practicality. Pisces season invites us into a dream world– into a dimension parallel to our own. So, of course, the piece I’m ooing and awing over is a beautiful ceramic piece with flowers and butterflies that looks like it could be in a museum. Made by Star Hustler on Instagram, this is the queen of bongs: it’s totally appropriate to leave it out on your table and stick flowers in because it looks so pretty. I have a wild urge to smoke out of this regal piece while sipping on lavender-rose tea, and watching Marie Antoinette. Anyone else?

I also love this Bubble Bong by Gary Bodker Designs and dream of snagging it in violet, though the lagoon blue is a fitting pick for big Pisces vibes. In fact, a blue bubble bong seems almost too perfect for the season of the fish—this modern and sleek design is what I would choose to smoke out of to enjoy the intensity of this energy, as I talk about animals or love or aliens or something.

And last but not least, the least useful bong of all but the absolute cutest has to be this Honey Bear bubbler in Lavender. Don’t get it twisted: Pisces are all about what’s cute, sweet, and cheerful. This bubbler is absolutely all of those things. Simply look at the little honey bear with its golden accents and you’ll get it. This babe would be the perfect companion as you take a bath (#bongbath) and blaze it in the tub. Also, does this not scream “stoner sleepover?” Need it ASAP.

The High Priestess: A Stoner’s Guide to Pisces Season

Alexandra Herstik

Reason to Smoke: To Chill, Feel, and Heal

Piscean energy can manifest in two ways with weed: it’s either used to embrace and really feel our feelings in our bodies (not just in the mind), or it’s a way to zone out and find freedom from the feels. I’ve had some of my most intense realizations and ethereal downloads while stoned. I’ve also felt my heart open from the guidance of cannabis. I think the plant is a really potent way to tap into our hearts and get a chance to understand our desires, and we’re invited to explore this with intention this season.

And if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions or life right now, you can totally use weed to relax and ride the wave of chill. Invite her healing energy to do what she will. Or if you want to dive headfirst into your heart–do it! Ask the universe to guide you into whatever it is that needs expansion and attention. Go with it and thank the beautiful herbs you’ve chosen for their help once you’re done.

What to Watch: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

To celebrate one of my best friend’s birthdays (she’s a Pisces), we got stoned and watched the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and let me tell you—wow. Just wow. The colors, the music, the costumes, the story, the decade! This ’70s masterpiece is a hallucinogenic daydream complete with fantasy and inspiration galore. Not only is this film (and Gene Wilder) a total classic, but the nostalgia and aesthetic of this movie make it the ultimate pick for Pisces season. And when you add some weed to the mix, you’ll really feel like a kid at a candy shop. Finish this bad boy off with your favorite bong to really plunge headfirst into the vibe. But of course, don’t forget some sweets!

What To Listen To: Björk

Although this transcended soul is a Scorpio, a fellow water sign, Björk really does have the perfect magick and dreaminess for Pisces season. If you need a soundtrack to smoke to, I recommend Vespertine. Spark some incense, dim the lights, and allow yourself to drift off into whatever realm this goddess takes you to.

What To Smoke With Your Weed: Lavender

This deserves an entire column of its own (be sure to check back in two weeks!). But for now, I wanted to leave you all with a simple blend I’ve been smoking that complements the astro-energy of Pisces season! I’ve been mixing lavender into my joints and it’s helped me tap into my intuition while feeling more relaxed. It’s even helped me give some channeled tarot readings. Lavender is an incredible healing herb, and it can help us relax and flow with whatever is going on in our lives. If you’re inspired to try this, please use organic herbs! I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I love a lavender and weed joint, and I think you will too!

What To Support: Insight Garden Program

As I was researching a non-profit to support, I stumbled across Insight Garden Program and knew this was exactly what I was looking for. This non-profit uses gardening and landscaping as a vehicle to transform prisoners’ lives through connection to nature. The California-based organization works with “inner” and “outer” gardening to foster healing and break the cycle of prisoners who leave the system only to return because they’re not given the skills and tools needed to thrive in the free world. Insight Garden Program aims to change this. Through “inner” gardening, prisoners learn about processing emotions through meditation and ecotherapy. Through the “outer” garden, they learn basic gardening and landscaping skills. You can donate or volunteer to this incredible program that uses mother nature to help break the Prison Industrial Complex.

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Florida Man Burns Pile of Pot Leaves in Backyard, Leads Cops to His Stash Inside

Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And where there’s weed smoke, there are nosey neighbors. One towering column of cannabis smoke later, and police arrived at the home of Fellsmere, Florida man David Ellis. To officers’ surprise, Ellis made no effort to hide the open burn that was quickly engulfing the trimmings from a few dozen cannabis plants. In fact, he welcomed officers inside his home, just to make sure they understood the difference between flower and trim. Because in Ellis’ words, he wasn’t burning cannabis, as police claimed. He was burning “trash, the stuff you don’t smoke.”

Florida Man Gives Sheriff’s Deputy the Easiest Weed Bust of His Life

As Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Keppel pulled up to Ellis’ home, he quickly saw what prompted a neighbor’s complaint in the first place. Blanketing the quiet neighborhood in a smokey haze, the unmistakable smell of cannabis wafted through the air. At ground zero was an open pile of debris, Deputy Keppel said, spewing out flames about a yard high.

When Keppel knocked on the door of the residence, Ellis answered. Together, the officer and the Florida man walked toward the burning debris pile. Ellis told the officer it was just leaves. It wasn’t a lie. Leaves, stalks and other trimmings from several small cannabis plants were in the fire. Keppel accused Ellis of burning cannabis. Nah, Ellis replied, he was just burning leaves, just burning trash. If Deputy Keppel wanted to see cannabis, he should come inside. And that’s exactly what Ellis invited Keppel to do. “I’ve got a quarter pound of it inside,” Ellis explained.

Deputies Thankful for Gracious Arrestee

Inside, Deputy Keppel saw enough to call for backup. He saw a large aluminum baking tin filled with raw flower. Pipes and bongs littered the kitchen and living room, Keppel wrote in his report. Keppel and Ellis went back outside the house. And Ellis, who had been attending to a howling tea kettle, asked the deputy if he’d seen the tray of cannabis. Keppel said he had. “I’ve got more in the refrigerator,” Ellis told Keppel.

By then, backup had arrived. A search of Ellis’ home turned up 174 grams of flower and a little more than a half-ounce of wax. “Did you find it all?” Ellis asked.

Ellis spent the night and an early breakfast in jail before posting $6,000 bond last Friday. He’ll soon appear in court on multiple drug charges. The 64-year-old Florida man is facing felony marijuana possession charges, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession. Marijuana decriminalization efforts are spreading across Florida. But in places where police are actually adopting them on the ground, they only apply to misdemeanor possession. Hopefully, Ellis’ graciousness toward his arresting officers will play to his favor in court.

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Statistics Canada Finds Canadians Spend Billions on Weed—From the Illicit Market

This article originally appeared on Straight Cannabis.

It’s been a little more than a year since Canada legalized and began regulating sales of recreational cannabis.

During that time, Statistics Canada has monitored spending on the drug, and last Friday (March 1), shared its latest results.

“Household spending on cannabis totaled $5.9 billion (in nominal terms) in the fourth quarter, with illegal cannabis accounting for $4.7 billion and legal cannabis $1.2 billion,” reads a Statistics Canada summary of the data. “Cannabis accounted for 0.5% of total household spending, and non-medical cannabis accounted for 11.2% of spending on alcohol, tobacco and cannabis in the fourth quarter.”

While cannabis is now available legally across Canada (theoretically, at least), it appears that roughly 80 percent of consumers continue to purchase it illegally.

Further down in Statistics Canada’s report, the federal agency provides a hint as to why this might be the case.

“Data collected on the Statistics Canada crowdsourcing website StatsCannabis indicate that the average all-in market price paid for legal cannabis flowers was $9.70 in the fourth quarter of 2018,” it reads. “The corresponding average price of illegal cannabis was $6.51, lower than the price of legal cannabis by 32.9%.” (Statistics Canada suggests that these numbers be “interpreted with caution” as they rely on self-reported data submitted via a website.)

In Vancouver, the city has been slow to issue business licenses that allow dispensaries to operate legally.

While Vancouver has regulated storefront cannabis sales since the summer of 2015, the dozens of shops around town remained in violation of federal drug laws and, after Canada legalized cannabis in October 2017, in violation of regulations included in the country’s new Cannabis Act.

Finally, in January 2019, Evergreen Cannabis at 2868 West 4th Avenue became the first cannabis dispensary in Vancouver to secure a business license issued after the city amended regulations in response to Parliament’s passing of the Cannabis Act. It began selling cannabis in full compliance of all three levels of governments’ rules and regulations on January 5.

While Statistics Canada says that in 2017, 80 percent of cannabis transactions were still illegal, a February 2019 Bank of Nova Scotia report suggests that the percentage of recreational cannabis purchased on Canada’s black market is expected to fall quite quickly.

Estimates included in that document state that this year, illegal sales will account for 71 percent of recreational cannabis consumed in Canada, and then just 37 percent the following year, in 2020.

The Bank of Nova Scotia noted that “teething pains” remain an issue for legal markets.

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Ohio Medical Marijuana Patients Claim Lack of Access is Leading to More Arrests

Medical marijuana patients in Ohio say that a lack of access to legal cannabis is leading them to seek legal cannabis from other states, and some are being arrested for their trouble. With Ohio’s medical marijuana program in its infancy, so far only eight dispensaries have been licensed by the state to provide cannabis to patients. With short supplies and high prices at those outlets, some patients are traveling to neighboring Michigan for their medicine.

Located near the Ohio border, Morenci, Michigan has three cannabis dispensaries to serve the town’s population of 2,200 residents. Abigail Mull, manager of Stateline Wellness, told local media that much of the dispensary’s clientele is from the Buckeye State.

“Since day one it’s been more Ohio (patients) just because we are right there on the border,” Mull said. “So it’s nice and convenient for them – they don’t have to go up to Ann Arbor or Detroit.”

At Cannakings, another provisioning center (as dispensaries are known in Michigan) in Morenci, manager Kyle Schaffner said that a majority of the people the shop serves are from out of state.

“We have 2700 patients – (Ohio patients) are probably 60 percent of it,” said Schaffner.

MMJ from Other States Not Allowed

However, state law in Ohio says that patients may not bring medical marijuana home from another state unless that state has a reciprocity agreement with that state. To date, Ohio has not entered into any such agreements, although the state’s medical marijuana statute requires regulators to make a good faith effort to do so. Patients like Kelly Toole, who have jumped the gun and been ticketed for cannabis possession by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department after purchasing cannabis in Michigan, have been confused by the delay.

“It leaves the patients in a bad area. It leaves them without a definitive idea of what they are allowed to do and what they’re not allowed to do,” Toole said.

More than half of those cited for cannabis possession in the county in recent months have been from another area.

“The only mistake I made in going to Michigan was going through Fulton County,” Toole added.

Patient Paradox

A spokeswoman for the state board of pharmacy acknowledged in an email the paradox that patients are in.

“For reciprocity, the Board has reached out to every state that has a marijuana program to review if a reciprocity agreement is possible. This included our neighboring states that have marijuana programs. At this time, the Board has not entered into a reciprocity agreement with any other state,” the statement reads.

“What a patient can and cannot do in another state depends on the relevant rules and regulations of the state where the patient is located. A patient cannot bring product into Ohio from another state unless that state has a reciprocity agreement with Ohio,” the spokeswoman continued.

Rep. Tavia Galonski, a Democrat from Akron, said that the situation may warrant a change in state law and the decriminalization of small quantities of cannabis.

“Isn’t it sad that we would make sick people with illnesses and injuries actually have to drive to another state,” Galonski said. “Maybe here is an opportunity for us to reduce some sentences to reduce some complications in the law like this one for people who have that registration card because they are ill or injured. I think we will be looking at that in the subcommittee.”

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Experts Say Illinois Cannabis Growers Won’t Keep Up with Recreational Demand

A study commissioned by Illinois state lawmakers has determined that the state’s licensed medical marijuana growers would not be able to keep up with demand if recreational pot is legalized. The report, by Colorado consulting firm Freeman and Koski, predicts that the 16 licensed cannabis cultivators would only be able to meet 35 to 44 percent of demand if the recreational use of pot is legalized. The study’s estimates were based on research that shows 8 percent of Illinois residents admit to using cannabis and the state’s strong tourism industry.

With state leaders including new Gov. J.B. Pritzker calling for an end to the criminalization of cannabis, some see an opportunity to diversify Illinois’ legal marijuana industry. Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Chicago Heights said that the state’s cannabis industry should be opened up to include entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by America’s war on drugs.

“We have a whole industry that’s treating it like the gold rush, but you have generations of folks who are still living with all the impacts of what the criminal justice system did to them,” said Hutchinson. “It’s unfair to discuss this in any other way.”

The study was commissioned by Chicago Democrats Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who favor legalizing recreational marijuana and diversification of the industry. Fellow Democrat Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria also supports reform, saying the owners of cannabis businesses should reflect the community.

“When we talk about equity, this industry should look like the world,” said Gordon-Booth. “It should not just be for wealthy, white men.”

Not Enough Legal Pot Enables the Illicit Market

The report noted that either too little or too much licensed cultivation capacity can have detrimental effects on a newly legal cannabis market. Not enough legal pot raises prices, hurting consumers and enabling illicit operators. But a surplus of cannabis and resulting low prices hurt producers and risk diversion to the black market in states yet to legalize pot.

“Systems that either dramatically fall short of demand or that oversupply the market create public policy challenges,” the report reads. “Avoiding both is an important expectation from the public, from producers, and from public health and public safety officials.”

Other research has also indicated a need for more cultivation capacity in Illinois. A report from the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws found that without more growers medical marijuana supply problems, including shortages of some products and the most expensive legal pot in the country, would be exacerbated by the legalization of recreational cannabis.

John Hudak, a co-author of the Freedman & Koski report, said that medicinal cannabis patients should make any concerns about higher prices they may have known.

“The medical cannabis community is very vocal,” Hudak said. “If they feel they are being mistreated because of the legalization for adult (recreational) use, they let the media know, they let legislators know. It can become a real public relations nightmare for the industry.”

Former state senator Pam Althoff, who now heads the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, declined to comment on the report until the industry group’s board has a chance to study it. She added that the organization has commissioned its own study on cannabis demand in Illinois, the results of which should be released within days.

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Medical Marijuana Sales in Oklahoma Exceeded $7 Million in February

February sales data show that Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program is flourishing. In fact, the program’s runaway success is something few could have predicted when voters approved a hotly contested ballot initiative legalizing medical cannabis last June. Despite coordinated efforts to restrict and block key provisions of the voter-approved measure, Oklahoma is crafting one of the most accessible medical cannabis programs in the region. And February’s $7.2 million in medical cannabis sales makes a compelling case that they’re succeeding.

How High Will Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Sales Climb?

By the end of December, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority had licensed more than 30,000 patients and almost 900 dispensaries. And according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, those patients generated nearly $1 million in sales that month. By January’s end, with thousands more patients and dozens more dispensaries licensed, sales rocketed to more than $4.3 million. And according to the most recent state Tax Commission figures, February medical marijuana sales topped $7.2 million.

These figures represent dispensary sales, and do not factor in commerce between cultivators, processors, manufacturers and distributors. Instead, they are a reflection of the way the industry has rapidly developed to meet the needs of more than 54,000 patients and 330 caregivers.

Patient Protections and Out-of-State Reciprocity are Driving Oklahoma’s Rapid MMJ Growth

So what’s contributing to the rapid uptick in medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma? A look at recent policy-making provides an answer. So far, in 2019, Oklahoma’s elected officials have worked to implement policy changes that both protects patients and ensures their unqualified access to medical cannabis treatments.

In mid-January, the Oklahoma Public Schools voted to approve a policy protecting students, staff and caregivers who have a medical cannabis license. The policy ensures students can safely access medical cannabis treatments while at school. In late-February, the Oklahoma House passed a landmark Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act. This crucial legislation shields medical marijuana licensees and those around them from discrimination. It also prohibits any restrictions on the types and forms of cannabis available to patients, including THC concentration. Furthermore, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority clarified and reaffirmed a policy of reciprocity that grants temporary licenses to non-resident medical cannabis patients.

These measures, coupled with the sheer number of licensees Oklahoma has already approved, are driving the accelerated start of the state’s young industry.

Weed Tax Revenue Will Go Back into Regulating MMJ Industry

February’s $7.2 million in medical marijuana sales, along with the millions in sales from the preceding months, are generating substantial tax revenue for Oklahoma. The state collects a 7 percent gross receipts tax on all medical cannabis sales. 7 percent of about $7.2 million is roughly $508,000. For January’s $4.3 million, it amounts to $301,000 in sales tax revenue. Yet those figures pale in comparison to the tens of millions the Medical Marijuana Authority has collected in licensing fees.

As for the sales tax revenue, state law dictates how the government can spend it. First and foremost, the state has to spend medical marijuana tax revenue on regulation. In other words, funding for Medical Marijuana Authority operations. Any leftover funds get split up. 75 percent goes to the state’s general fund, where lawmakers can sequester it. The remaining 25 percent goes to substance abuse treatment programs. But $1 million in tax revenue, though substantial for a new program, isn’t enough to cover regulatory costs. That’s where the licensing fees come in. Furthermore, the Patient Protection Act currently under consideration in the Oklahoma Senate massively overhauls the regulatory budget as the state works to establish a more comprehensive industry framework.

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High Folks: Beautiful Existence Spreads Mother Ganja’s Healing Love

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.

Beautiful Existence’s life is guided by the spiritual relationship she has with cannabis. Her connection with the plant exceeds mundane human understanding because when she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2015, cannabis nurtured her like a mother back to perfect health. As a way of saying thank you, Existence goes throughout the world to connect and guide others who have heard the call and felt the spirit of Mother Ganja.

“I never realized it but my first impression of cannabis was when I moved into a farmhouse the summer before first grade,” Existence tells High Times.

In 1978, seven years after Richard Nixon launched (the failed) War on Drugs, Existence moved with her family to Rochester, Washington, into a 100-year-old farmhouse located in the legendary Rainbow Valley. The room that the previous owners used to grow cannabis would eventually become her bedroom.

“I literally watched the adults dismantle track lighting and take huge bags of seeded marijuana out of the closet space and burn it in the field,” she says. “It wasn’t until I was in college that I recalled my memory of the farm and realized that the plant had always been there.”

Existence understood the spiritual component of her life and hardships, and she treated her 2015 cancer diagnoses no differently. “I had already suffered multiple experiences in my life prior to this where I had had the rug pulled out from underneath me and had to pick myself up.”

At the time of her diagnoses, she was working as a marketing and media director for the third largest spiritual center in the country and living between Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle, WA., so she had access to a multitude of spiritual resources. She immediately approached her illness from a very holistic and spiritual perspective and attacked it with everything she had.

High Folks: Beautiful Existence's Unrelenting Love For Mother Ganja

Courtesy of Beautiful Existence

When she began using cannabis to treat her cancer, medicinal strains and Rick Simpson Oil were being phased out because in the state of Washington recreational consumers were looking for strains that were high in THC and low in CBD, making it difficult for Existence to find the right strain.

“It wasn’t until I got a chance to be around the growers and the people that had been apart of the medicinal advocacy within the state that I really understood what I needed to get and that was the concentrates,” Existence says. “I had so many mineral deficiencies… I had to completely detox and change my entire life. And [cannabis] showed me this: in healing, you need to have the concentrates and you need to have the strains. So, I’ve been going across the country and advocating for that for three years.”

In February 2019, a report by Swiss researchers shows that dabbing cannabis concentrates allows users to inhale more THC and CBD into their lungs than smoking, which, in essence, allows for more of the healing benefits of the plant to impact the body.

While looking for her perfect strain–which happened to be Charlotte’s Webb–and connecting with the plant more, she began to dive deeper into advocacy work. “The plant spirit has shown me all these different levels of what she has known,” says Existence. “[She] has been evolving with us as a species for thousands of years.”

In her advocacy work, she’s also helped states like Massachusetts build sustainable equity programs that help communities at the state and local levels.

One of the programs Existence works with is Cannabis Community and Research Network (C3RN). C3RN’s focus is advancing science, research, and best practices in the cannabis industry. In December 2017, C3RN won the first Boston University Cannabis Startup Competition, in which Existence helped build their initial website. CEO Dr. Marion McNabb says Existence has been a huge help because of her wealth of knowledge regarding the cannabis industry.

“She’s been a consistent mentor, friend, and help in designing programs and making connections to help advance science, research, and education in the industry with us,” Dr. McNabb tells High Times. “She’s provided strategic alliances and insights for us on how we can collectively advance social justice and rigorous science and research together.”

But Existence doesn’t just work in advocacy. She’s also the mother of 2 sons, a co-owner of HER Cannabis Line, creator of the Flower of Life Cannabis Tarot Deck, and is a mentor to those seeking to connect with themselves and cannabis on a deeper level.

High Folks: Beautiful Existence's Unrelenting Love For Mother Ganja

Courtesy of Beautiful Existence

In September 2014, Kerri Jade was en route to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida–a school in which she earned a full-ride softball scholarship–when she got into a car accident. The trauma from the experience ignited a fear of death within Jade. But that all changed after connecting Existence on Instagram for guidance.

“[Existence] has absolutely guided me in putting the puzzle pieces together of self-healing, self-awakening, and seeing a broader spectrum of what this life is about,” Jade says, who is now a student of Existence. “It’s so cliché that her name is Beautiful Existence because it fits her so perfectly.”

Existence believes the plant saved her for multiple reasons. “She knew that I would go out, and show, and help, and make a definitive difference with it rising up in the world.”

And Existence has done exactly that: spread the healing wisdom of Mother Ganja.

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What You Need To Know About Selective Breeding

When chromosomes of a cannabis plant pair with another the plant will evolve and create a new genetic lineage that is a genetic copy of both parents. With the advancement of seed banks and nurseries, obtaining great genetics is easier now than ever. Knowing what traits will likely enhance an existing strain comes down to a number of things. Below is better explained what to consider when breeding for enhanced progeny.

Reasons For Hybridization

There can be a number of reasons why a grower may choose to breed one variety of cannabis with another, and it may not always be cannabinoid driven. Of course, a huge part of the commercial flower market is heavily focused on how to produce the highest THC and terpene profiles. But, there are other fundamentals that should be considered such as structure, rooting ability, wind-resistance, mold-resistance and ability to fight pathogens, improving yield, increasing flowering time, trichome structure, CBD profile, how easy it is to train, and terpene count. These are the types of things that should be at the forefront of any enthusiastic breeders mind.

When two highly stable varieties of cannabis are successfully crossed they will produce progeny that will be ranked as hybrid vigor. The term comes from when characteristics of a new lineage show improved traits over the original parental-line, and the desired traits (such as the ones mentioned above) become more prevalent. This is a wonderful time for a breeder (when working with solid stock) to produce brand new cultivars that enhance flavor aspect, aroma profile, cannabinoid profile, and many other areas.

What You Need To Know Before You Start A Selective Breeding Project

Stoney Tark

Breeding For Outdoor Plants

A large number of growers across the globe enjoy the luxury of growing outdoors. The sun provides a bandwidth of nutrients that plants require including UVA-UVC. Outdoor plants will usually produce better-smelling plants and arguably produce the largest sized buds. Where you live will define the characteristics of your first generation progeny.

Plants grown in the mountainous region of southern Spain, for instance, will receive sunlight all day. This part of Spain is closest to Africa, and known to have higher than average UV levels and strong winds that can blast during the night. The air is also very dry, so at the end of summer, the evening temperatures can drop significantly in a short amount of time.

Bearing this type of environment in mind, one would need a strain that’s sturdy enough to handle strong winds. You’d also need a strain that’s tough enough to withstand long, dry hot days. But regardless of where you grow, you’ll have to understand the climate of where your plants are growing up to eight or nine weeks ahead of time. So if you know that temperatures drastically drop three months from when you start the growing process, it’d be smart to work with a strain that flowers within eight to nine weeks. Ideally, though, you’d want this strain to be durable enough to handle colder weather and windy nights, in case it’s left out longer.

Indicas are fine-tuned for this type of weather. The reason is because these strains like the hot and cold of dry mountainous climates. The climate in southern Spain, for instance, is very similar to California’s climate. So many of the strains that grow well outdoors in the Golden State will also grow well in climates like the south of Spain. But be open to making modifications! Being flexible is key to understanding your plants.

Keep in mind, however, that during cold and wet periods is when pathogens from surrounding areas can enter a garden. The last thing any grower wants is to lose a crop to mold or powdery mildew, as the flowers will not be safe to smoke due to contamination.

The Stages of Breeding

At the point of knowing which parental lines you want to cross, the next step of evolution will be the first generation (F1) progeny. From this group of seedlings, you will find the most desirable traits from your previous strains. You will also find the most uniform, consistently matched plants.

Usually, a breeder will have a good idea by the F1 stage of the best possible direction to go down. In other words, the breeder will be able to use the original parental male pollen on an F1 female, or vice-versa, and use the pollen from a F1 male to cross with the original parental female used. This is known as backcrossing, and is often a way to limit the diversity and lock in certain characteristics in order to produce the most consistent plants in terms of structure, leaf pattern, flowering time, overall resistance to pathogens and disease, cold weather, how easy it is to clone, flower production, terpene profile, resin cover.

What You Need To Know Before You Start A Selective Breeding Project

Stoney Tark

Top Tips On Starting A Breeding Project

  • Make sure you know in advance the reason for crossing your parent plants. You should have a short list of desired characteristics that cover every aspect of how your plants may need to adapt to their environment.
  • Note that breeding for advanced yields alone is not always the best way to take on a breeding project, unless the only goal you have is to hit targets and grow nothing but large yielding plants. The goal should always be quality over quantity, though.
  • Growing in small-sized pots will allow you to maintain small plants, that can be easily labeled and cataloged. It is better to have a large number of smaller sized plants and to work on this scale, rather than large sized plants with a small plant count.
  • Test the flower of each and every plant you grow–based on what your capabilities are logistics-wise and in terms of practicality, of course. Working with 20 to 50 small plants will narrow down the keepers without being too demanding on your resources or labor.
  • Always make sure you label pots and do not lose track of what plants were which. There is nothing worse than a mislabelled clone or a general disregard to the clinical approach that should be taken when breeding cannabis.
  • Until you know that your F1 progeny is what you want, work on producing small numbers of seeds. Female plants only require very small amounts of pollen in order to fully pollinate an entire plant from head to toe.

The post What You Need To Know About Selective Breeding appeared first on High Times.

Safely Medicate Your Dogs With Cannabis: Our Video Of The Week!

Title: How To Safely Medicate Your Dogs With Cannabis
Creator: Cannabis Frontier
Description: Teri Robnet, founder and executive director of the Cannabis Patients Alliance, talks about her experience incorporating cannabis into her beloved pups’ lives. She discusses the ways in which the herb impacts each pet, and even demonstrates how she administers it to them. The results, she explains, are profound. Just like humans, however, the plant isn’t for every dog–but it can be a stellar alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals.

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The post Safely Medicate Your Dogs With Cannabis: Our Video Of The Week! appeared first on High Times.