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Boehner Latest Name in Republican Support of Cannabis Legalization

Boehner Latest Name in Republican Support of Cannabis Legalization

A surprising new advocate for marijuana has stepped forward. Republican former Speaker of the House John Boehner has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a medical marijuana company. Boehner tweeted his decision, stating that his “thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.” Acreage Holdings cultivates and distributes medical marijuana products to 11 states throughout the country. His involvement in such a large company has been a profound statement that some are calling a sign that marijuana truly has become mainstream.

Leaving Cannabis to the 10th Amendment

john boehner says his views on marijuana have evolved
John Boehner says his views on marijuana have “evolved.”

Former Republican and Massachusetts Governor William Weld will also join Boehner on Acreage’s board. Weld was the Governor for Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997, a state which has since decided to legalize the plant for recreational as well as medical purposes. Weld was also the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 2016. According to Bloomberg, both politicians state that they have never used the plant. But they also believe its legal status, state to state, is a 10th Amendment issue, which is about letting states decide their own laws. “If some states don’t want marijuana to be legal, that’s their prerogative,” Weld said. “But that shouldn’t be dictated by the nanny state in Washington.”

Nationwide Bipartisan Support for Cannabis

Right now, 8 states have legalized the plant for recreational use and 29 states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. The popularity of the plant continues to grow as reflected in the most recent Gallup Poll which shows that 64 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing the plant for recreational use by adults over the age of 21. This number includes both Republicans and Democrats alike. Support from such high profile Republican public figures has sent ripples throughout the marijuana industry.

Federal Stance on Marijuana

polls show the majority of americans supporting cannabis research
Polls show the majority of Americans supporting cannabis legalization.

Trump himself has fluctuated on the subject although the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a long time vocal prohibitionist, has been working to block marijuana reform. Research has been prevented and he has sent out memos asking prosecutors to pursue the highest penalties possible for anyone caught with drugs of any kind. He has called it slightly less awful than heroin and said that good people don’t use it. Weld, on the other hand, has been vocal about marijuana’s ability to reduce the opioid crisis. Statistics show that in states where marijuana is available in any form, opioid addiction, use and overdoses are greatly reduced. “Cannabis could be perceived as an exit drug, not a gateway drug,” says Weld.

Despite the overwhelming support for marijuana by the population all through the country, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug. This category is reserved for drugs that are highly dangerous and addictive, not safe to test on adults and have no medicinal benefits. The classification has lost public support and the industry continues to increase. States independently continue to legalize the plant and new support surfaces on a regular basis. According to the investment bank, Cowen & Co, the legal industry is expected to reach $75 billion by 2030.

Cannabis Testing Labs Gather Data on Potency, Contaminants, and More

Cannabis Testing Labs Gather Data On Potency, Contaminants, and More

In the past, the idea of cannabis testing labs would have been a preposterous notion. With the marijuana industry belonging to the black market, there was no room for that kind of analysis of an illegal product. These times are long behind us, however, and cannabis testing labs are not just a luxury, they are a necessity for those states that have legalized the plant in some form. At this point in time, 29 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use and 8 states have legalized it for recreational purposes. With the plant being legal in California, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Massachusetts and Maine, approximately 20 percent of the country legalized cannabis for personal use. The industry has expanded enormously and getting a safe, high quality product that tells you exactly what it has in it has now become not just a possibility but also a right.

The Necessity for Cannabis Testing Labs

cannabis testing labs can research everything from suggested dosages to terpene profiles
Cannabis testing labs can research everything from suggested dosages to terpene profiles.

There are many issues that can go wrong with a cannabis plant. Mold and other contaminants can become an issue and ultimately a safety hazard. For those using the plant for a specific purpose (whether to relax, get high, inspire creativity or treat any number of medical conditions), knowing exactly what compounds and terpenes are in the plant and in what strength can not only be helpful but also ensure that you avoid and achieve the effects that you most desire. This also helps to determine dosage, method of use and the time of day that may be best for your needs with your product. Toxic solvents are often used to extract the compounds in the plant. They are then removed. Testing is required to ensure that this is done correctly and the product is safe.

These are all important aspects to evaluate when it comes to your product. In the days of black market dominance, this kind of safety and profile check was impossible but these days cannabis consumers are treated with the same kind of safety testing applied to food and medicines. Cannabis testing labs analyze various aspects of cannabis products in particular. No plant is like another. Even if it the same strain of the same species, each plant is unique and its profile will depend on how this plant is grown and what chemical profile is produced as a result.

Testing the Strength of the Cannabis

The process for testing the potency of cannabis requires gas or liquid chromatography for a range of matrices. Cannabis testing labs will generally evaluate the plant’s THC and CBD levels, along with its tetrahydrocannabinolic and cannabidiolic acids although some labs do choose to test for CBC and CBG levels as well. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives you the feeling of euphoria or high. CBD is the compound that is often used for its pain killing and anti-inflammatory effects along with its ability to soothe and relax a person.

Understanding the Terpene Profile

research into terpene profiles is expected to play heavily into the future of cannabis consumerism
Research into terpene profiles is expected to play heavily into the future of cannabis consumerism.

Terpenes are the compounds in plants that hold their smell and taste. There are many terpenes, each with their own smell, taste and medicinal benefit. Some are citrus based and appear more heavily in some cannabis strains. Others may have aspects in common with flowers such as lavender while still others are more pine based or have aspects in common with thyme. Terpenes contribute to the medicinal benefits of the strain. Knowing which terpenes are present will not only allow a person to determine the plant’s medicinal benefits but also give an idea of how the plant will smell and taste. For those who savor the taste of their cannabis, this can be a pleasant and helpful thing.

Checking for Contaminants

Ensuring that the product is safe is extremely important. All kinds of contaminants can ruin a batch. Pesticides and heavy metals are of particular concern. Especially for those purchasing a product that advertises itself to be organic. Pesticides can have a very harsh effect on the body and many people who consume cannabis are looking for healthier and safer ways to get medical treatment or have fun. Contaminants can ruin this and be a health hazard.

Evaluating Microbial Content

cannabis testing labs can also check product for contaminants
Cannabis testing can also check product for contaminants.

When dealing with fresh cannabis that has any kind of water content, tests are done to determine if E.coli, Clostridium botulinum, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are present. Testing for microbial content involves statistical sampling, relevant microorganism testing, and sound assay design and validation. This is definitely a safety issue to ensure that the product is free from mold, salmonella, yeast, bacteria and other microbial elements that could render a consumer very ill. The water content is a critical element to the development of this kind of harmful microbial activity and, for this reason, the curing process is very important. Plants need to be cleaned, dried thoroughly and properly, and stored correctly. Testing labs can ensure that this has occurred.

Getting a Residual Solvent Analysis

Solvents like ethanol, carbon dioxide and butane are used to extract cannabis compounds from a plant, usually to create products that contain a concentrated amount of cannabis compounds. Large volumes of solvents help to get a purer concentrate. Once the extraction is done, however, the solvent needs to be removed from the plant. Otherwise, a person will be consuming toxic chemicals along with their cannabis. The residual solvent analysis takes care of this process, ensuring that consumers are buying a safe product.

As you can see, cannabis testing labs provide users with the confidence to use cannabis products without concern. The safety of the product is ensured and the profile and strength of the plant is clear, so you can use it and know exactly what you’re getting. If you have a preference or need for a CBD dominant strain, you can access that. If you prefer a THC high, that is also possible. All in all, cannabis testing labs provide safety and security to everyone in the cannabis industry as well as the industry’s many consumers, who are now able to be protected and confident when purchasing their cannabis from the dispensary or store.

Marijuana Insurance Pays $1 Million on California Wildfire Claim

Marijuana Insurance Pays 1 Million on California Wildfire Claim

Marijuana has come a long way in recent years to legitimize itself yet it still remains illegal on a federal level as a Schedule I drug. This means that, until now, marijuana business has been shut out of banking and insurance services for fear of federal prosecution. But a change is in the air. A California based marijuana farm that incurred significant damage in the recent wildfires that devastated many in the state has received a $1 million insurance payout. This level of coverage for a marijuana based business is a milestone for the industry, further affirming that marijuana has reached the mainstream world.

A First (and Probably Last) Payment

many cannabis farms in california incurred significant damage from wildfires
Many cannabis farms in California incurred significant damage from wildfires.

Vice president at Cannabis Insurance Professionals, Matt Porter, has been in the process of talking to marijuana based businesses about insurance. He claims that, of the 50 or so times he presented crop insurance to marijuana farmers, only 10 percent decided to buy it. Cannabis Insurance Professionals is a division of Brown & Brown Insurance which is one of the largest insurance intermediaries in the world. The insurance carrier provided through Porter was based in London, England. While they have paid the claim without incident, they were not expecting to have such a big payout and have therefore decided not to continue insuring marijuana businesses.

“A Legitimate Claim”

Patrick McManamon, CEO of Cleveland-based Cannasure Insurance Services, told The Cannabist that “this was a legitimate claim that was paid.” He continues, stating “these companies are actually standing by what they said. In the past I think we’ve all heard horror stories of insurance companies (coming up with) some cockamamie something-or-other in their policy to get out of paying a claim. And here’s one that obviously…stood by its policy and paid it. That’s all you can ask for.”

Farmers who did purchase insurance through Porter paid $30,000 in premiums with a $25,000 deductible. Porter expects that this sum will increase in the future, after this claim. Farmers were able to claim market price for the damaged product which ranges from $1,000-$1,600 per pound and higher.

Contamination from Ash

wildfire ash destroyed california marijuana crops
Wildfire ash destroyed California marijuana crops by contaminating them beyond use.

The wildfires were considered to be the worst in state history. Ash covered the Santa Barbara area and these particles crept into marijuana greenhouses, contaminating plants. Tests were conducted on random samples of the plants and they tested positive for high levels of asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium. The damage was clearly irrefutable. Whereas in the past farmers would have had to eat their losses, the farmers who purchased insurance were covered. The insurance was worded in such a way that would allow farmers to be covered from a variety of potential contaminants. “This policy contained some wording related to what we consider atmospheric change, or contaminants coming into the greenhouse,” says Porter. He states that this wording allowed the claims to be approved.

California recently legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults over 21. While it has been legal in the state for medical use since 1996, its legitimization across the country has paved the way for a more stable and secure industry in the future.

Non-Alcoholic THC-Infused Craft Beer is Coming to Colorado

Non-Alcoholic THC-Infused Craft Beer is Coming to Colorado

The marijuana industry has been expanding in multiple ways in recent years with new ways of consuming the plant becoming ever present. The world of concentrates, dabbing, vaping and edibles have been changing the way people consume the plant and the most recent addition to this smorgasbord of options is beer. Keith Villa, who worked for Molson Coors and founded Blue Moon craft blend beer has decided to open a new company called Ceria Beverages which will specialize in non-alcoholic, cannabis infused craft beer. The most notable aspect of the company is that they will be the first to create cannabis infused beer with THC.

The Appeal of THC-Infused Beer

villa was the founder of blue moon craft beer
Villa was the founder of Blue Moon craft beer.

THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the consumer the euphoric feeling of being high. CBD, on the other hand, is a popular marijuana compound that relaxes and calms as well as being a pain killer. While both compounds contain multiple medicinal benefits, THC is the ingredient sought out by those who use marijuana for recreational purposes due to its and its psychoactive effects.  In the same way that alcohol provides the user with a buzz so does THC, making it much more similar to consuming beer or alcohol in general than having drink infused with only CBD. Given that marijuana has been found to be safer and healthier than alcohol as well as having many medicinal benefits, it offers consumers a recreational alternative to alcohol.

Different Infused Beer Options

Ceria will be using Ebbu, a Colorado-based cannabinoid research firm, as their supplier of cannabis extracts. The firm will provide cannabis extracts of differing strengths and compound combinations. This means that Ceria can give consumers a variety of experiences including “chill, bliss or energy.” With 3 different strengths available (light, regular and full-bodied), consumers can choose the option most suited to them. The variety of options will also include varying CBD and THC options.

“We can dial in exactly the sensations that people want,” Villa told Brewbound. “If people want a CBD sensation where they feel sort of tired and chilled and relaxed, we’ll be able to give them that. If they want a really great THC experience — it’s the end of the week and they want to relax responsibly with their friends and party — we can deliver that too.”

In Search of the Right Flavor

villa still working to perfect the taste of his cannabis brew
Villa is still working to perfect the taste of his cannabis brew.

Villa is working on getting the right flavors for the beer selections. He says that some people are drawn to a strong, skunky marijuana taste while others prefer there to be no marijuana flavor at all. He says they are working hard to make the selection taste good, given that the beer won’t have that much sought after alcohol flavor. He is testing a variety of strains to get the flavor balance right.

Right now, the beer will only be sold throughout Colorado where it is legal for recreational purposes. For those in the rest of the country curious about tasting marijuana beer, New Belgium have launched The Hemperor, a hemp flavored beer that contains a tiny amount of hemp with synthesized hemp flavors that will be available nationally except for Kansas.

Oregon Dispensaries Get Perfect Score on Undercover Sting

Oregon Dispensaries Get Perfect Score on Undercover Sting

One of the biggest concerns for residents and politicians when it comes to the question of marijuana legalization is how it could potentially affect the children of the state in question. This week, Oregon dispensaries did their bit to set minds at ease when they passed their most recent compliance check. A report from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission stated that the state passed with flying colors. 100 percent of the state’s dispensaries complied with Oregon’s laws and regulations ensuring that all customer IDs were checked correctly and that no one under the age of 21 was able to buy marijuana.

A Covert Operation

oregon dispensaries passed the undercover sting operation with flying colors
Oregon dispensaries passed the undercover sting operation with flying colors.

The process for testing dispensaries is covert with minor volunteers going undercover to attempt to buy marijuana from the stores. Dispensaries must abide by state law and ensure that each person’s ID is checked correctly and no one under 21 is allowed to buy marijuana. “Commission inspectors supervise the minor volunteers,” the state officials wrote in a press release. “The volunteers carry their own legal ID that identifies them as under 21 and do not disguise their age or lie to encourage the sale of marijuana. The Oregon Driver license for a minor carries a red border around the picture with the words ‘Minor Until’ followed by the date of his/her 21.”

An Improvement from January

There was no attempt made to trick dispensary workers with fake IDs. The inspection simply ensured that stores were compliant. While dispensaries passed at 100 percent in a test that was conducted last December, they failed an inspection that was done earlier this year in January. During that test, at least 12 percent of dispensaries failed to be compliant, selling marijuana to minors. The Commission was able to report that, whatever the issue was causing the failure, it appears to have been dealt with now.

The Importance of Preventing Sale to Minors

oregon dispensaries vigilantly prevented any sale to minors in the sting
Oregon dispensaries vigilantly prevented any sales to minors in the sting.

Ensuring that marijuana doesn’t fall into the hands of minors sets a good example for other states legalizing the plant. All reports so far indicate that in states where marijuana has been legalized, teen use has not gone up. It has generally remained the same or even dipped a little. Where many have suggested that marijuana acts as a gateway drug, this has also not proven to be the case. In the states where the plant has been legalized, opioid addiction and use has dropped dramatically and hospital related incidents relating to opioid overdose have drastically decreased. Users are stating that marijuana acts as a safe way to treat the addiction or a more effective way to treat the pain related to prescription opioids.

8 states have now legalized the plant for recreational use. California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts were the most recent states to legalize marijuana and the infrastructure for the industry is still being established in these states. Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon, however, have had legal marijuana for sale since 2014. The way the industry runs in these states creates a template that other states can use to run a safe and effective industry. Oregon’s recent compliance is good news for the country at large.

California Ghost Town Destined for Marijuana Resort Sold to Oil Company

California Ghost Town Destined for Marijuana Resort Sold to Oil Company

Nipton, the once booming mining location which is now a ghost town, was recently bought and sold by American Green, a marijuana company with bigger ideas than pockets. This 80 acre town which lies at the edge of the Mojave Desert in California was intended to be transformed into a cannabis-themed recreational destination that included an Old West hotel that would be transformed into a “buds and breakfast” and CBD-infused water. American Green planned to make it the newest marijuana hotspot, complete with marijuana themed boutique stores, cultivators and glassblowers. When the company sold the land to an exploratory drilling company (Delta International Oil & Gas) earlier in the month, it appeared as though plans had changed. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

“Cannabis Hospitality”

nipton has now been sold to an oil company
Nipton has now been sold to Delta International Oil and Gas.

American Green sold the land (which it had purchased for $5 million) to Delta for $7.7 million. $3.7 million went towards American Green’s debt and the other $4 was issued as Delta “Series A Stock.” The sale was made under the condition that American Green could continue to build the town for the next 5 to 10 years. While they may be toning down some of the marijuana heavy themes, David Gwyther, American Green’s Chairman still said “it’s going to be the kind of environment we call cannabis hospitality.”

The Relationship Between American Green and Delta

According to Gwyther, American Green controls Delta so the sale was akin to moving the town “from one pocket to another.” According to Nasdaq, American Green owns 80 percent of Delta. The change in ownership appears to have been necessary due to the challenges American Green faced as an unaudited, non-reporting “Pink Sheet” company. It was very difficult for the company to raise capital whereas this problem will be eliminated with Delta. As a fully reporting company, Delta will face far fewer challenges raising capital and dealing with the obstacles with which American Green dealt. Due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, marijuana companies face a much harder problem when dealing with banking issues and getting loans.

“American Green can now expend less of its energy on capital raising, and focus on implementing the revenue-generating components of Nipton, and its other investments, along with many new, and exciting projects on the horizon.” Says Gwyther. “I believe that this will be a win-win situation for American Green and our shareholders.”

The Shareholder Impact of the Sale

delta plans for nipton will be more conservative but still inclusive of cannabis
Delta’s plans for Nipton will be more conservative but still inclusive of cannabis.

American Green, which is one of the first publicly traded tech companies in marijuana, has been in business for almost 20 years and has over 50,000 individual shareholders. It appears that this change in ownership won’t negatively impact the company’s shareholders and will likely acre less debt and expense through the building process of the town in the long run.

California legalized marijuana for recreational use at the end of 2016 but the state is still in the process of completing the infrastructure for the new aspect of the industry. Should American Green’s plans come together for the town of Nipton, the state of California will have a recreational marijuana haven for those who enjoy the benefits of the plant.

Sessions Wants Death Penalty for Drug Dealers – Does This Include Cannabis Producers?

should cannabis producers worry about sessions push for death penalty for drug dealers

Long time prohibitionist and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent out a new memo that is creating waves within the marijuana community. He has asked federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty against those “dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs.” Sessions memo appears to be an effort to support President Trump’s recent promise to execute narcotics traffickers but fails to distinguish the difference between traffickers of narcotics and legal marijuana businesses. In the past, Sessions has been very outspoken about his disdain for marijuana. He has gone so far as to even threaten the rights of states to make their own laws regarding the plant and this includes medical as well as recreational marijuana. For this reason, a memo such as this coming from Sessions has left the marijuana industry with a bad taste in its mouth.

Already a Law in Place

action framed as a reaction against opioid crisis but should cannabis sellers worry
Sessions’ memo has been framed as a reaction against the opioid crisis but should cannabis sellers worry?

While it would seem that this would be illegal to do to a marijuana business, there is actually a law to support this kind of prosecution. It would seem that, according to federal law, anyone found cultivating more than 60,000 marijuana plants, possessing over 60,000 kilograms of marijuana or earning over $20 million in marijuana related sales per year can actually receive the death penalty. While Sessions’ memo focuses mostly on opioid traffickers, the fact that this kind of prosecution is possible has been a very disturbing revelation for many.

“Still Very Theoretical”

According to The Cannabist, federal prosecutors are unlikely to target marijuana business owners. “I think it’s still very theoretical,” said Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor who specializes in marijuana law and in the death penalty. “I don’t think anyone thinks the federal government is going to seek the death penalty against a state-licensed business. But what it highlights is this enormous disconnect with federal and state law.”

Sessions War Against Cannabis

sessions vendetta against cannabis have some business owners worried about his latest actions
Sessions’ vendetta against cannabis has some business owners worried about his latest actions.

There have been regulations in place for several years, preventing federal funding from being spent on prosecuting marijuana related activities that are legal within that state. Sessions has been working to overturn these regulations since his appointment as Attorney General. Polls indicate that 60 percent of the nation believes the plant should be legalized for recreational use while 83 percent believe it should be legalized for medical purposes. 29 states have now legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes with many more states in the process of following suit. 20 percent of the country has chosen to legalize the plant for recreational use as well. Not only has the plant been found to be safer and healthier than alcohol and cigarettes but it has also been found to have powerful medicinal properties.

Nonetheless, it is still illegal on a federal level as a Schedule I drug. This classification refers to the highest risk drugs that have no medicinal benefits and are unsafe to test on humans such as heroin and LSD. The DEA have agreed to allow official medical testing to be conducted that could change this classification but the Department of Justice, run by Sessions, has blocked all progress towards this goal. At this time, marijuana remains an illegal substance and while federal prosecutors are unlikely to prosecute marijuana businesses, the fact that federal and state law could be at such odds is still unsettling to many within the industry.

It Looks Like Marijuana Will Be a Hot Topic in Illinois Politics This Year

It Looks Like Marijuana Will Be a Hot Topic in Illinois Politics This Year

Illinois lawmakers have been working to ascertain whether residents living in the state support the legalization of marijuana. In the 8 states where the plant has been legalized, tax revenue is generated that supports local and state government. Thousands of jobs have been created thanks to legal marijuana and millions of dollars have been flushed through the economy. The social risk appears to be minimal with teen use remaining the same or lower. Many studies suggest that the plant is much healthier than cigarettes and alcohol and safer than the latter when it comes to driving under the influence. On top of this, opioid related death and addiction is down, along with crime. For all these reasons and more, the question of whether or not to end prohibition is one that many lawmakers are having to evaluate at this time.

Non-Binding Referendum in Illinois

people have spoken and they want legal marijuana
The people have spoken and they want legal marijuana.

The most recent polls indicate that at least 60 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing the plant for recreational use and Illinois lawmakers in particular are looking to verify or at least check in with residents in the state to see what they really think. A non-binding referendum is asking residents if Illinois should legalize “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older.” While the question and its results are non-binding, serving more as an official survey than anything else, it will be influential in directing how lawmakers choose to approach the subject from here.

The Largest County in Illinois Wants Legal Cannabis

Unsurprisingly, it appears that Illinois residents are in favor of legalizing the plan for recreational use by adults over the age of 21. In Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, residents elected to back the legalization of the plant for personal use. Board President Toni Preckwinkle supported the referendum and now politicians have a better idea of what residents want.

Apprehensions of Legalization

apprehension has been expressed over legalizing in the current political climate
Some lawmakers have expressed reservations in legalizing cannabis in the current political climate.

While supporters of legalization have spoken about the tax revenue it would bring to local and state government, those who oppose legalizing the plant have pointed out the danger in legalizing a plant that is still banned on a federal level. Marijuana is still being regarded as a Schedule I drug, the highest risk category reserved for substances that have no medicinal value and are unsafe to be tested on humans. Given the fact that medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, the federal classification is considered problematic by most. Nonetheless, there are regulations in place that prevent the federal government from spending funds going after people who are abiding by state marijuana laws. With current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a loud, long time prohibitionist, in place, the atmosphere has made many in the marijuana industry nervous.

Regardless, it appears that Illinois’ Cook County, including Chicago, supports legalization. As lawmakers continue to get a better grasp on what the people of Illinois want, appropriate actions can be taken and whoever is elected as the new governor can proceed, knowing fully well what residents of the state want.

Cannabis Genetics Unlock Further Potential with Genome Map Unveiling

Cannabis Genetics Find Further Potential in Genome Map Unveiling

There are innumerable uses for cannabis at this point in time. 1/5 of the country has legalized it for recreational use while 29 states have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Meanwhile, hemp has continued to be used in clothes, rope, plastic, paper, oil-based products, body lotions and food just to name a few things. With so many different strains and types of cannabis being used these days, it’s a wonder that it’s taken until now to understand what makes up the basic genetic structure of the plant. Yet its illegal status on a federal level has made the study of cannabis genetics a difficult if not impossible task.

The Map Provided by Sunrise Genetics

understanding cannabis genetics increases chances of crop success and faster growth
Understanding cannabis genetics increases the chances of crop success with faster growth.

Despite its popularity and use across the country, the plant still remains a Schedule I substance, placing it in the same category as heroin. This means that it is illegal to grow and study cannabis genetics in any official capacity across the country. Since researchers and scientists rely on government grants, this has made the process of understanding this plant very difficult. Sunrise Genetics, however, have found a way to take on the task of mapping out the marijuana genome and debuted their findings in January at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego. Now a map of marijuana’s 10 pairs of chromosomes will be available to growers and other relevant parties in the industry so that cannabis genetics can be understood and utilized.

The Potential Unlocked by the Marijuana Genome Map

Understanding the genetic makeup of the plant will have profound ramifications. It will allow cultivators to grow healthier and fuller crops at a much faster rate. This will be immensely helpful in the production of cannabis based products. However, it is just the tipping point for how understanding the marijuana genome will be helpful at a deeper level. Understanding the various elements that make up the plant will be extremely useful when it comes to growing crops that are designed for a specific medical or recreational purpose. Crops for various conditions can be grown in a precise way that will allow consumers to get a clear and direct picture of exactly what they are buying and what its effects will be. Understanding cannabis genetics allows growers to cultivate strains for energy or sleep. In fact, various moods or purposes will all be a plausible option for sale and consumption.

How Sunrise Genetics Worked Through Research Restrictions

tight marijuana research restrictions in the us have hindered study of the marijuana genome
Tight marijuana research restrictions in the U.S. have hindered the study of the marijuana genome.

With the illegal status of the plant, however, Sunrise Genetics have had to work with coordinated resources. One of these resources was plant biologist George Weiblen’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota. This is the only DEA-approved laboratory that has been allowed to research cannabis genetics in the country. Weiblen’s lab is responsible for discovering the rudimentary genetic map for cannabis. After more than 10 years of research, his lab was able to let Sunrise have access to stabilized marijuana and hemp samples that contained cross-bred cannabis plants with different genetic backgrounds.

The Foundation of Sunrise Genetics

Sunrise Genetics President Matt Gibbs told Cannabis Business Times, “If you have two plant populations that are inbred, because they’re highly genetically stable, making a cross allows you to see the differences among the plants more clearly, thus producing more consistent results.”

Sunrise was founded by CJ Schwartz, who was a plant scientist. He then recruited his brother, his brother’s brother-in-law and a friend in 2014 with the idea in mind to map out and study cannabis genetics. The team recognized the potential that lay in understanding cannabis and the many benefits it could have.

medical marijuana benefits can be honed through data provided by genetic mapping
It’s believed that medical marijuana benefits can be honed through the data provided by genetic mapping.

Sunrise Genetics is a Colorado based company that began in the same year marijuana sales became legal in the state.  The team told Bloomberg about their plans to research the genome, saying; “For those that are cultivating or seeking to breed—or just learn how to improve the plant for whatever the desired trait is—this is now a map that allows for you to do that with a high degree of accuracy,” Gibbs says. “Also, what this does is it pulls together a bunch of disparate data sets that are out there with private companies and academia. With this map, they’re going to be able to really make better sense of that data, because it’s going to be ordered in a fashion that we can all agree can be replicated. … When we understand what genes are controlling what traits, then I think you’re going to see a change in the quality of the starting product, and this increasing depth of knowledge will reveal the potential as to what products a certain strain can produce.”

Cannabis Genetics for Medical Breakthroughs

Many big companies, such as Monsanto use plant genetic mapping to create bigger crops faster to ensure the biggest financial rewards. They do this with corn, wheat and other crops. Mapping the marijuana genome, however, has a much more meaningful and powerful potential. Right now, cannabis is being linked to its ability to treat epilepsy in is many forms. Its effect on cancer and its ability to shrink tumors has also been studied and noted as well as its ability to treat a number of other debilitating and devastating disorders.

The potential medical benefits of understanding cannabis genetics is truly enormous. THC and CBD are the main compounds in cannabis that have been found to have the strongest medicinal uses, yet different compounds are better for different illnesses in various combinations and dosing. Having the ability to accurately measure what medicinal benefits the plant has and what dosage would be most effective would help countless people. Too much or too little of either compound can wreak havoc on a person’s ability to get the best medicinal value from the plant and accurate understanding of this could not only be lifesaving but may also go towards changing people’s quality of life or preventing an illness from developing in the first place.

This is just the beginning in much study and experimentation that will no doubt follow. For now, this is celebrated progress that marks the start of our society having a deeper understanding of this plant

Is the Rise in Colorado’s Homeless Population Attributable to Cannabis?

Is the Rise in Colorados Homeless Population Attributable to Cannabis

The “green rush” that was ignited by the legalization of marijuana has been found to extend not only to business people but the homeless population as well. The homeless population in Denver, Colorado has risen 8 percent since 2013, the year after marijuana was made legal in the state. With its known ability to help addicts recover from opioid and methamphetamine addictions as well as treat an enormous number of physical, emotional and mental disabilities that many in the homeless communities may suffer from, it’s no wonder that its legalization sent out a beacon of hope, attracting an influx of those in need.

Colorado Job Prospects

some posit that the homeless are attracted to the prospects of obtaining cannabis as much as wotking in the industry
Some believe that it’s not just the job prospects in the cannabis industry but the availability of cannabis that is luring the homeless to Colorado.

According to The Guardian, Tom Luerhs, executive director of the St. Francis Center in Denver, said, “We are seeing people who were homeless in other states coming here specifically because they can get marijuana here. Others come here thinking they can get a job in the marijuana industry, and then they can’t get a job as quickly as they thought, and they end up homeless.”

Other Factors That Could Contribute to the Rise in Homelessness

While the potential for employment and better health through marijuana legalization was a big draw for many, there seems to be a number of reasons for the increase in homelessness in Colorado. In 2015, over 100,000 people moved to the state for the low unemployment rates and accessible healthcare during a time when the state was reportedly short 15,000 homes. However, the legalization of marijuana has created an economic boom in the state, creating thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue and billions of dollars in economic activity. This clearly shows why moving to the state has been attractive for so many people.

The High Cost of Homelessness

CSU Pueblo conducted a study that shows that “legal cannabis has potentially attracted 800 already homeless transients to Pueblo County; costing the community approximately $23 million.” Officials have deduced that every homeless person in Denver costs the state $44,000 and every person in Pueblo costs $29,000.

Solutions to the Issue

one theory advocates the homeless rise is due to people coming to colorado seeking work in a new industry
One theory posits that the homeless rise is due to people coming to Colorado seeking work in a new, promising industry.

Governor John Hickenlooper has suggested that some of the marijuana tax revenue accrued annually should be spent on homelessness programs. The state received over $200 million in tax revenue in 2016 which has gone towards helping the residents of Colorado. There are some, including Daniel Starrett, a divisional commander of the Salvation Army, who have described marijuana as a gateway drug that is connected to harder drugs that can lead to families losing homes. There is no science to support this, however, and all studies indicate that in states where marijuana is legal in any capacity, opioid addiction and deaths related to opioid use is down at least 23 percent. John Parvensky of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has stated that alcohol, narcotics and opioids are the leading cause of substance abuse.

Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs has said that he believes the high number of homeless people moving to Colorado will go down once other states legalize the plant as well. It seems to be a reasonable deduction that if the homeless could get the relief and potential employment offered by the marijuana industry in their own state, there would be no cause to move.