Marijuana News in Colorado and World

Cannabis Dealers Trade

A new study conducted by the German Archaeological Institute and the Free Institute of Berlin suggests that marijuana dealers have been in existence for at least 5,000 years. Researchers concluded that nomadic Yamnaya people were likely the first to sell or trade marijuana in human history.

The Yamnaya established the transcontinental marijuana trade as they settled in Europe during the Bronze Age.

The study’s results were determined by marijuana pollen evidence in combination with fibers and fruits located at archaeological sites in East Asia and Europe, SF Gate reports. Textiles were made from fibers of cannabis plants, and was also used as medicine and a food source, according to the research.

Paleontologist Tengwen Long said, “Cannabis’s multiple usability might have made it an ideal candidate for being a ‘cash crop before cash,’ a plant that is cultivated mostly for exchange purposes.”

Long continued, “There are a lot of unaddressed questions awaiting scientists to answer in terms of the long history of cannabis and the Bronze Age Eurasian connections.”

Additional studies of marijuana use in this region are expected.

Hemp Beer

San Diego based Thorn Street Brewery includes hemp extracts in its OG HighPA beer, which has an alcohol percentage of 4.20 percent. A slight hint of hemp is tasted with piney and citrusy flavors. A combination of Citra, Columbus and Mosaic hops are used.

Co-founder Eric O’Connor and Jetty Extracts created the first batch around April 20, according to Discover SD. Jetty Extracts is known for its marijuana industry oil products. The beer was released in May, and is gaining popularity in San Diego.

Thorn Street Brewery co-owner Eric O’Connor said, “We love experimenting with new flavors and aromas and being on the cutting edge of craft beer. Beer is all about how it tastes though, and the flavors from the extract really blend well with the hops. It’s a subtle flavor and the smell is unmistakable without being overpowering.”

O’Connor continued by saying, “Our assistant brewer became friends with the owner of Jetty Extracts after meeting him on a fishing trip in Baja. Matt Lee came by the brewery with some essential oils that he had recently made and asked me if I thought they would work well in the beer, and they did. We did a test run on 4/20, and everyone loved it.”

On searching for the perfect summer blend of flavors for the beer, O’Connor said, “We have been looking to make a Session IPA for the summer that was crisp and refreshing, and we wanted to use Mosaic and Citra hops. The hemp extract seems to blend perfectly with that idea so we went ahead and did it.”

The beer contains no THC, so it is non-psychoactive. Only hemp oil extracts are used.

O’Connor closed his commentary with, “As brewers, we love the beer because the essential oils in the cannabis plants are the same or very similar to the essential oils found in hops. By pairing the two, we can create exciting new flavor combinations not possible until now. We are always looking to create something new… as long as it’s delicious. We think we hit the mark with OG HighPA.”

(Photo: discoversd.com)

Marijuana Profits

It is estimated that marijuana sales in Colorado will likely surpass $1 billion before December 2016. This number is anticipated based from the sales pattern throughout 2016 so far.

In May of 2016, Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana markets in Colorado produced $98 million in sales, according to The Cannabist. Thus far into the year, tax revenue has generated $71.4 million from marijuana sales.

The numbers recorded from the first half of 2016 total $486 million.

Marijuana Painkillers Prescriptions

A new study found that prescriptions for painkillers have declined in states where medical marijuana is legal. The number of painkiller-related overdoses in these states has also declined.

The study also concluded that 265 fewer doses of antidepressants were prescribed each year in medical marijuana states, The Washington Post reports. As well, the number of doses of seizure medication prescribed lessened. Other medications with decreased doses prescribed were anti-nausea medications and anti-anxiety medications.

In medical marijuana states, 1,826 fewer doses were prescribed for painkillers.

Marijuana PrescriptionResearch study leaders Ashley and W. David Bradford said, “This provides strong evidence that the observed shifts in prescribing patterns were in fact due to the passage of medical marijuana laws.”

Ashley Bradford also commented that, “The results suggest people are really using marijuana as medicine and not just using it for recreational purposes.”

Patients with glaucoma are still seeking some traditional medications as medical marijuana provides temporary relief.

Pharmaceutical companies are losing money and have urged federal lawmaking agencies to stop the further liberalization of marijuana laws. Much of this comes after the discovery of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) recommendation of the rescheduling of marijuana. The DHHS suggested a rescheduling from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3.

The reasoning for the suggested rescheduling is to broaden the ability for advanced research.

Nurse Marijuana

A shortage of doctors in Hawaii interested in providing medical marijuana recommendations has prompted the signage of a bill allowing nurses to provide recommendations.

Medical marijuana was approved in 2000 in Hawaii, but dispensaries were not. Patients were permitted to grow their own medicine until dispensaries were made available. It was not until 2015 that dispensary approval came about, and it is likely going to be late 2016 when Hawaii’s dispensaries open.

One Hawaii nurse practitioner, Wailua Brandman said, “It’s high time that this bill came into effect. I have patients that have been using marijuana, not legally, because they don’t have the diagnosis yet…but the medication is working for them, and they keep asking me can they get a card?,” SF Gate reports.

Drug Policy Reform executive director, Carl Berquist said, “I think it’s connected to issues around the legality that people are still confused about, and also a lack of education about the benefits of the medicine. People remain skeptical.”

Dispensary owner Richard Ha said, “We [still] have to build the facility and grow the plants and then develop everything before we can sell.”

Colorado Marijuana Club Coffeeshop

In November, voters in Denver will have two marijuana measures to vote for to allow marijuana use within designated locations. One group wishes to open private marijuana consumption clubs, similar to “coffee shops” in Amsterdam. The second initiative would allow certain businesses to create a consumption area for marijuana use.

If the second initiative passes, approval from neighborhood groups and other businesses must sign off on the outdoor spaces used for marijuana consumption, according to The Denver Post, and only those 21 and older would be permitted to use marijuana in those areas.

NORML has a bit of a head start on its initiative to open private marijuana clubs. The initiative gaining the most attention is The Neighborhood Approved Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, which is backed by Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). The pilot project would be in-effect for 4 years for evaluation purposes.

NORML does not intend to withdraw its initiative, despite the opposition saying that private clubs would segregate marijuana users from society rather than integrating the industry into society.

NORML executive director Jordan Person said, “We have no reason to withdraw when we’ve made it so far. That would be ridiculous.”

Person’s initiative requires 4,800 validated signatures to gain approval for the November ballot.

Advocating with MPP, Kayvan Khalatbari said, in regards to isolated clubs versus smaller designated consumption areas that, “I just think it’s more considerate of all the things we’ve learned in the cannabis industry here in the last six months or a year, with all the stakeholders and their input.”

Neighborhood groups and business improvement district entities would set specific conditions for outdoor consumption. Annual permits would be required. Businesses with designated consumption areas would not provide marijuana to their patrons; it would be a BYOM situation.

Businesses already in the marijuana industry would be excluded from having outdoor consumption areas as it violates state law.

It is not clear as to which initiative has the advantage as both seem rather equal out of the starting gate.

DEA Marijuana Schedule

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was supposed to make a decision on whether to reschedule marijuana within the first half of 2016. But they are nowhere to be found during their self-imposed deadline.

A letter from the DEA in April read that it “hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” according to The Denver Post. Last week a Denver Post representative was told by a DEA spokesperson that an update from the administration’s status on rescheduling was not available.

Russell Baer, DEA spokesperson said, “We aren’t holding ourselves to any artificial time frame.”

Once the DEA does present a decision, months of deliberations, reviews, and litigation could still take place.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to the DEA at the end of June asking, “that you [the DEA] take immediate action to remove ‘cannabis’ and ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ from Schedule I.”

Rescheduling marijuana would also require a rescheduling of Marinol and other FDA-approved synthetic THC products.

Objecting pharmaceutical companies composed a letter saying, “By proposing that natural generic equivalents be rescheduled to Schedule III, the DEA acknowledged that this substance has a medical use, regardless of whether it is synthetically made or natural.”

 

Netflix Disjointed

Netflix has made a 20-episode series order for Disjointed, a marijuana-themed workplace comedy starring award-winning actress Kathy Bates.

Producer Chuck Lorre and writer David Javerbaum are writing and producing the series in which a lifelong advocate for marijuana legalization finally gets to live her dream as the owner of a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary, Deadline reports.

In the series, Bates’ character is joined by three dispensary budtenders, her twentysomething son, and a crazy security guard. And, for the most part, everyone is constantly stoned.

Chuck Lorre Productions is the enterprise behind hit CBS comedies Two and A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike & Molly. On board with Lorre is David Javerbaum, an award-winning writer known for his stint on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The new marijuana series will begin filming soon and is anticipated to air in 2016.

Photo: variety.com

Democrat Marijuana

The Democratic Party is supporting the downgrading of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. The party endorsed the “reasonable pathway to future legalization” of marijuana. Bernie Sanders supporters received a victory in achieving democratic endorsements of changing marijuana policies.

The drafting committee approved language during the meeting calling for “policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without certainty.”

Following several arguments surrounding the language, the marijuana amendment text reads, “Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from it list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”

During the committee meeting there were concerns regarding language in an amendment that may remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act, The Washington Post reports. Some members are concerned that state-by-state decriminalization studies and other state-regulated efforts could be undermined if marijuana were removed completely from the controlled substances list. Before the arguments became heated, a discussion to change some of the language was proposed.

A vote took place to agree or disagree to send the written language for consideration. During the voting process, a bit of debate took place regarding who was permitted to vote and who was restricted. In the end, the vote was called with 81 of the 187 committee members approving the downgrade amendment, while only 80 opposed it.

NV Marijuana Grow

If Nevada residents vote to approve recreational marijuana in November, the state could rake in $630 million in marijuana sales by 2020, forecasts suggest.

The state’s ballot initiative would regulate marijuana like alcohol. Currently, Nevada is one of the few states where out-of-state medical marijuana patients can use their medical marijuana card at Nevada dispensaries.

Nevada hosted over 55 million tourists in 2015, according to Yahoo! Finance. Tourism is expected to increase along with the economic potential for new businesses and more jobs which would help the state’s economy even more. Nevada expects a vast majority of its revenue from recreational marijuana sales to come from tourists.

New Frontier founder and CEO, Giadha DeCarcer said, “If Nevada legalizes adult use cannabis, we will witness an unprecedented socio-economic impact in a state already shaped and fueled by tourism and entertainment. The scale of the impact is expected to be massive – by 2020, adult use markets are projected to add an additional $484.3 million in annual sales, and account for almost three quarters of the total legal cannabis market in Nevada.”

The Arcview Group CEO, Troy Dayton said, “2016 is poised to be the tipping point for the cannabis industry. Nevada is just the beginning of significant opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs that lay ahead in the sector, especially given its top tourist destination rank.”