Marijuana News

Abandoned Pepsi Factory Becoming Massive Marijuana Grow Facility

Pepsi Marijuana

The investment firm Doyen Elements has purchased an abandoned 104,000 sq. ft. Pepsi factory in Pueblo, Colorado, and will be converting it into a massive marijuana cultivation facility. It is estimated that the facility will produce upwards of 70,000 pounds of marijuana annually.

The unemployment rate in Pueblo is 7.2 percent and is one of the highest in the state, according to Business Insider.  The cultivation facility will help to generate about 160 jobs for the city.

The legal marijuana industry has brought over 1,300 jobs to Pueblo County since 2014. Most of which are because of large marijuana cultivation facilities.

Robots will help the production in terms of uprooting clones for relocation to proper sections of the facility.

Geoff Thompson, CEO of Doyen Elements, said, “We like to say we can do everything for [legal cannabis operators] other than me physically going in there and trimming plants.”

Locals are supportive as the investment firm has received 100-percent support from every door it’s knocked on. Thompson said, “They asked when they’re going to have jobs there.”

Photo: Doyen Elements

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions Continues Misguided Marijuana Rampage

Marijuana Incarcerations

The U.S.’s War on Drugs started nearly 50 years ago, and now the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, with a majority of those being incarcerated for non-violent marijuana possession charges.

States that have legalized marijuana in some form have helped reduce the number of those incarcerated, according to CNBC. Legal marijuana markets are also creating tens of thousands of jobs while lowering opioid abuse. But, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to intensify the U.S.’s war against marijuana.

Sessions is creating a crime reduction task force to review federal policy on items such as marijuana. The task force will be reviewing current policy and looking at how the DOJ is handling things that contribute to crime. It will present its findings to Sessions at the end of July.

Sessions also went a step further asking for the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to be removed from the annual budget bill. This amendment protects medical marijuana states from federal interference and prosecution. Between 2001 and 2010, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, there have been 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests in the U.S., with almost 90-percent simply being for possession.

Over 50-percent of the country has legalized marijuana to some degree, and data from these state markets show that legalization and regulation work much better than prohibition. Just one year after marijuana legalization in Colorado, according to Drug Policy Alliance, there was a 2.2-percent drop in violent crime in Denver. Property crime also declined by 8.9-percent across Colorado.

Between 2011 and 2014, violent crime dropped 10-percent in Washington state after recreational marijuana was legalized. Due to the influx of drug-related incarcerations and severe punishments, it prevents those convicted of drug crimes from finding employment. Prohibition has essentially increased the poverty rate in all minority communities nationwide.

Of course, those working as prison guards, corrections officers and those in the private prison industry oppose marijuana legalization because their jobs are at risk.

Uruguay Has Launched Recreational Marijuana Sales

Montevideo Marijuana

A number of pharmacies across Uruguay will begin selling recreational marijuana to registered Uruguayans on July 19. There are about 5,000 people that have already signed up for the registry. At first, sixteen pharmacies will be able to sell up to 40-grams of marijuana per month to registered users.

The Uruguayan government requires a security stamp guaranteeing authenticity on all marijuana, according to Business Insider, as well as a warning label regarding the possible risks of marijuana consumption.

It took nearly 4 years since the approval of the legalization bill in December 2013 to get sales implemented.

Individual cultivation is permitted under the Uruguayan law. Marijuana clubs may also be formed.

Despite Science DEA Still Says Marijuana Has No Medicinal Value

Cannabis Schedule 1

The DEA admits that no one has ever died from overdosing on marijuana, yet they still won’t reschedule it from a Schedule I drug. Meanwhile, nearly 2,200 people die annually from alcohol poisoning.

Both the FDA and DEA still say that marijuana has high potential for abuse, according to Yahoo! News. In that classification, according to these organizations, marijuana doesn’t have an acceptable use for medical treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported heroin overdose deaths have quadrupled since 2010. Heroin is also a Schedule I drug. But the most urgent public health crisis today is the opioid addiction epidemic.

In August 2016, acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg rejected petitions to reschedule marijuana. He did concede that marijuana is “less dangerous than some substances in other schedules” and that it “strikes some people as odd” to have marijuana scheduled as it is. He did say that the reason for marijuana being on that list is not due to its danger.

He explained that “drug scheduling is unlike the Saffir-Simpson scale or the Richter scale. Movement up those two scales indicates increasing severity and damage (for hurricanes and earthquakes, respectively); not so with drug scheduling. It’s best not to think of drug scheduling as an escalating ‘danger’ scale – rather, specific statutory criteria (based on medical and scientific evidence) determine into which schedule a substance is placed.”

A five-part test determines whether marijuana has an accepted use in medical treatment:

  • Known and reproducible chemistry
  • Adequate safety studies
  • Adequate controlled studies proving efficacy
  • Accepted by experts
  • Wide availability of scientific evidence

Recent preliminary studies show that medical marijuana may help fight opioid prescription abuse and overdoses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says more evidence is needed to confirm this, but they recognize the correlation.

Well-known researcher, W. David Bradford, said, “What we found was that when states turned on medical marijuana laws, the prescribing for pain medications fell enormously, by about 1,800 daily doses per doctor per year. That’s very significant statistically.”

The Administration requires large-scale studies and clinical trials (using thousands of humans) before rescheduling may be considered.

Study authors John Hudak and Grace Wallack said, “It is time for the federal government to recognize the serious public policy risks born from limited medical, public health, and pharmaceutical research into cannabis and its use.”

Switzerland Supermarkets to Begin Selling CBD Joints

Joints

Swiss tobacco producer, Heimat, branched out and is now legally making CBD joints that will be sold at supermarkets. Heimat says their joints contain upwards of 20-percent CBD, and a pack will cost 19.90 francs. CBD is ideal for reducing pain, inflammation and anxiety.

In 2011, Switzerland legalized marijuana with up to 1-percent THC, The Local reports.

Swiss residents can order joints from Heimat online or can visit select stores, like Coop, to purchase the joints. Coop, and other select retailers will start selling the joints on July 24. Coop already sells hemp-based products such as oil, beer and tea. Those products are said to be “in high demand.”

Switzerland’s anti-drugs association has an issue with the CBD products. According to this association, no studies on the long-term effects of CBD have been done, so selling these products is “problematic” in their eyes.

Switzerland’s annual legal marijuana sales are roughly 100 million francs.

Photo: blick.ch

Nevada Issues First Recreational Marijuana Delivery Distribution License

Las Vegas Marijuana Delivery

This week, the first license in Nevada to transport marijuana from a cultivation facility to dispensaries was issued.

Nevada is heavily limiting companies who can distribute legal marijuana to recreational dispensaries, and it has caused supply issues, according to CNN Money. Sales have only been legal for 2 weeks, and there are already supply shortages being reported.

Blackbird Logistics Corporation was awarded the license and began shipping product nearly immediately after the license was issued.

Al Fasano of Las Vegas ReLeaf dispensary said, “The dam has been broken and stuff is starting to trickle in.”

Nevada has no supply restrictions in place for medical marijuana, only recreational. The Nevada Tax Commission is expected to adopt emergency regulations in order to make delivery licenses available to more companies as demand for legal recreational marijuana is booming.

So far, dispensaries haven’t completely run out of supply, but demand is at least double what was expected.

Blackbird plans to double its workforce by the end of July to handle this large increase in work.

Alcoholics Can Find Treatment via Marijuana Use

Marijuana Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption causes physical and psychological side effects. Some research shows that marijuana may work to reduce cravings for alcohol and help relax the body with its sedative properties.

Daily drinking can have irreversible consequences on both the mind and body, according to Salon. Decades of heavy daily drinking may cause a physical dependence with life-threatening withdrawals if the alcoholic stops drinking abruptly. Binge drinking is also an issue, as evidence shows that an addict trying to just stop leads to binges lasting a few days.

To combat the side effects of alcoholism, many are turning to marijuana. About 50-percent of those entering treatment in the U.S. for alcoholism and addiction relapse within six months. This leads some doctors to prescribing powerful, addictive medications to combat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Using medical marijuana to treat alcoholism is a controversial topic. However, studies do prove that marijuana can help reduce cravings for alcohol.

Many alcoholics drink to relieve depression, PTSD, stress and/or anxiety. Studies have been conducted to show that using marijuana responsibly provides relief from these conditions and without the dangers that come with heavy drinking and/or prescription medications.

In Uruguay, the Government Will Be the Medical Marijuana Dealer

Uruguay Marijuana Pharmacy

Later this month, residents of Uruguay will be able to go to a pharmacy to purchase government-approved marijuana. The price: a mere $1.30 per gram. Doctor’s notes won’t be required and recommendations won’t be needed.

Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize marijuana, including production, sales and consumption, reported The Washington Post. There are, however, strict rules to follow. For instance, tourists won’t have access because proof of residency is required.

Edibles won’t be offered anywhere in the country. The goal of their government is to “make marijuana use as boring as possible.” The government will decide what the genetic makeup of the plants can be. They’ll also decide where to cap the THC percentage.

Uruguay’s government will regulate every aspect of the marijuana industry. Branding won’t be allowed, neither will advertising. Only two firms are authorized to supply pharmacies with their industrialized marijuana. The suppliers aren’t even allowed to add company labels to their packages.

Julio Calzada, a public health official in Uruguay designing their regulatory model, said, “The risk of what they’re doing in Colorado is that you end up with something like the tobacco industry. The concept here is totally different.” He continued, “To us, marijuana is a vegetable substance with a capacity to generate addiction, so what we’re trying to do is control the production, distribution and consumption of that substance as effectively as possible.”

Cultivation and personal use have been allowed for quite some time.  There are already 60 marijuana clubs supplying members with a monthly stash. The government, however, has been slow to roll out its pharmacy-based commercial sales.

Sales to the general public are expected to begin by the end of July. Distribution to pharmacies will be coordinated by the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).

Residents of Uruguay over age 18 are permitted to purchase up to 40-grams monthly. Thumb print identification will link each individual to the government’s database to help pharmacies know how much the individual has left available to purchase for the month. So far, more than 4,600 Uruguayans are registered.

Not everyone is thrilled about the thumbprint idea or registering into a government database. Human rights attorney, Martin Fernandez said, “A lot of consumers here don’t like the fingerprint system and point out that they don’t have to do anything like that to buy a bottle of wine. But we see it as something transitional that could disappear with time.”

One Year From Legalization and Canada Already Projects Huge Shortage

Canada Cannabis Law

Canada’s recreational marijuana industry may be facing the challenge of a marijuana shortage even though its planned start date for legalization isn’t till July 1, 2018. Ontario is where the biggest problem appears to be. Charles Sousa says a shortage was discussed in a recent meeting.

An industry analyst says that Canada could use the potential shortage to delay the roll-out of the recreational marijuana program, according to Bloomberg. When recreational marijuana is becomes legal in Canada, its provinces have to adopt their own regulations for sales and distribution. Mail-order marijuana will be accessible.

Sousa said, “Ultimately the biggest problem that appears after today’s discussion is one of supply. So we want to make certain that when we do proceed, there is sufficient supply to accommodate the activity because what we’re trying to do is curb the illicit use and organized crime that now exists around it.”

Shortages may become apparent for the country’s medical marijuana patients as well. Patient lists are becoming longer, so when a producer runs out of a strain or takes on more medical marijuana patients, it creates less supply.

Some, like Jason Zandberg, speculate that initial recreational marijuana sales will have to be done online and via mail since stocking enough supply for the demand in government dispensaries may not be possible.

Zandberg said, “There will be a shortage initially. My concerns are that if that is used as an excuse to push the date of recreational legalization back, there’s a danger that it slips into the next election cycle and doesn’t actually happen.”

On March 31, Canada had 167,754 registered medical marijuana patients, and they’re already experiencing some supply issues.

To help productivity and prevent continued shortages, Health Canada has pledged to speed up its approval process for growers.

Cam Mingay of Cassels Brock said, “I don’t’ know what anyone can do about it – you can’t force the plants to grow faster. You could approve 50 more tomorrow, and realistically they could probably be in production by the end of 2018 in any meaningful capacity.”

The rushing to approve licenses may still not make enough product available for the demand. Some provinces, as far as creating regulations are concerned, are further ahead than others, which is also a factor.

The U.S. Has More Marijuana Industry Workers Than Dental Hygienists

Budtenders

The Marijuana Business Factbook reports that there are more people working in the legal marijuana industry than as dental hygienists.  It is estimated that there are between 165,000 – 235,000 marijuana industry workers nationally, and about 200,000 dental hygienists.

These industry employment figures include all aspects of the marijuana industry, such as lab techs, infusion product employees, retail/dispensary employees and those working in wholesale, according to Newsweek. Ancillary company workers are “a sizeable portion of the revenue from the marijuana industry,” and were therefore included as part of the data.

Standardized industry data is not available due to marijuana’s federal status.

A recent study found that Washington state marijuana industry employees make $16 per hour on average. Marijuana industry businesses prefer to pay better than other industries in order to retain their workforce.

It was estimated in January that there were more than 122,814 full-time marijuana industry jobs at the beginning of 2017. As many more states have implemented marijuana laws or increased access this number has increased.

CNBC estimates that there could be upwards of 250,000 new marijuana industry positions filled by 2020. The states implementing new recreational marijuana laws, like Nevada, will help fuel the spike in job creation.

Photo: Potent