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Ohio Program to Teach Ex-Cons How to Grow Weed

According to the report on WKBN, the partnership between both companies seeks to assist ex-convicts in securing jobs in the marijuana industry. Dionne Dowdy leads the operations at United Returning Citizens, and he says that the two organizations are erecting a marijuana, hemp hydroponic school with this idea.

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Weed NFTs – The Battle Between Stoned Cats and Blazed Cats is a Pushback on Celebrity Cannabis Cash Grabs

If you are a fan of the JPEG scene, you must have seen the new breed of Cats. The cats (also called Stoner Cats) were created within 24 hours to answer a celeb cash grab venture. Soon enough, Blazed Cats became a benevolent entity that has donated more than $215,000 to Mental Health America in its first two weeks of its existence. The Stoner Cats, an NFT-funded show supported by the actress, Mila Kunis, has gotten a lot of superb voice talents such as Seth McFarlane and Chris Rock. The Blazed Cats came to be after someone posted a Twitter thread insinuating that the new concept of the Blazed Cats can be built overnight.

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Eighth Icon Rebrands as Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis Company

Eighth Icon Holdings announced in a September 13 press release that it changed its name to Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis Company, effective immediately. Consolidating the name with the comedy duo’s iconic brand aligns with the company’s mission.

The company formerly known as Eighth Icon produces Tommy Chong’s Cannabis and Cheech’s Stash wholesale flower brands in California—with plans to continue that momentum. Being in operation for less than a year, the company recently redirected its website to Cheech And Chong’s Cannabis.

“Our team is prepared for the challenge and committed to representing Cheech and Chong’s cannabis across the United States and around the world. This name change allows for clear representation of what our company is executing,” Eighth Icon CEO Jonathan Black said.

By now, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong have had time to refine and develop their products, with a head start of several years before most other cannabis brands.

“Excited to see the progression of the company, timing is right!” Tommy Chong said. You can find just about any type of THC or CBD-infused products under Chong’s lines of cannabis and hemp products. Tommy Chong’s Cannabis recent new additions include CBD Gummies, expanding the brand’s demographic. Chong launched his brand several years before the avalanche of recent celebrity brands to pop up.

The company provides top-of-the-line service. On the website, for instance, you can find a tracker to find which dispensaries carry the individual brands.

Marin gave a subtle nod to recent steps forward such as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, adding, “As we move towards federal legalization, the new name reflects our mission and progress made.”

“Along with the name change, we are proud to announce we have also closed our first round of funding,” stated President and Chairman of the Board, Danny Keith.

The company is also behind Cheech and Chong’s Takeout, as well as Cheech and Chong’s Dispensoria—providing delivery experiences. Cheech and Chong’s Dispensoria was developed by Eight Icon last year, and Cheech and Chong’s Takeout was developed amid a sudden need for more delivery options during the pandemic.

Read Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis blog to learn about future updates regarding the brand.

In an interview with Cheddar last year, Chong announced a partnership with Five Point Holdings and big plans to open “Cheech & Chong dispensaries all over the world.”

Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis is a Family Affair

The desire to sell pot is nothing new for Chong—as it was the key theme of his comedy duo machine that led him to rise to fame in the first place. The duo enjoyed a string on consecutive Gold comedy albums beginning with 1971’s Cheech and Chong. Chong told Rolling Stone that he’s gotten “high with every Beatle except Paul.” The duo participated in regular interviews with High Times over the years, beginning in the ‘70s. That same year, his developments in cannabis products were marching forward.

In 2015, before most other celebrities had jumped on the bandwagon, Tommy Chong launched Chong’s Choice with his son Paris. Unlike others to enter the industry—it was a lifetime commitment for the comedic duo. Chong’s wife Shelby sits on the company board of Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis in an executive role.

Marin also took a family-oriented approach to the cannabis business. He was joined by his daughter Jasmine, and son Joey-Dee to personally select strains and work with master growers to sustainably produce an all natural selection of quality cannabis products.

Chong survived two cancer battles, but that only reinforced his beliefs of the positive medical benefits from cannabis. 

The post Eighth Icon Rebrands as Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis Company appeared first on High Times.

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Judge Rules County Can’t Stop Water Deliveries to Hmong Weed Farmers

A Northern California federal judge ruled this month that Siskiyou County officials cannot stop trucks delivering water to Hmong unlicensed cannabis growers, writing that the ban raises “serious questions” about their right to be free of racial discrimination. 

In a decision handed down earlier this month, Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller wrote that preventing the deliveries to the Mount Shasta Vista subdivision in the Big Springs area of inland Northern California also leaves the families living there without a source of water for drinking, cooking and bathing. To enforce her order, Mueller issued a temporary injunction against the county’s ban on water deliveries trucked into the community.

“Without an injunction, the plaintiffs and other members of the Shasta Vista Hmong community will likely go without water for their basic needs and will likely lose more plants and livestock,” she wrote. “Fires may burn more homes. People may be forced to leave their homes and land behind without compensation.

“The plaintiffs have also raised serious questions about their constitutional right to be free from racial discrimination,” Mueller added.

Thousands of Illicit Greenhouses

Officials estimate that there are 5,000 to 6,000 greenhouses growing unlicensed marijuana in the Big Springs area, many of them in the Shasta Vista subdivision operated by Hmong and Chinese immigrants and their families who have moved to the community over the last five years. Officials say the illicit grow sites have led to a rise in crime in the area and complaints from residents who say the cannabis cultivation operations are causing their wells to run dry.

To address the issue, Siskiyou County officials approved ordinances this spring to prohibit selling well water without a permit and to ban water trucks on roads leading to Shasta Vista. County deputies enforced the ordinances by aggressively pulling over people they believed were hauling water illegally, according to reporting by the Sacramento Bee.

Attorneys for a group of Hmong farmers filed suit in federal court in Sacramento to block the ordinances, arguing that they were racially motivated and left the families without water for their homes, gardens and livestock. They also noted that the ban left the community without water to fight wildfires, such as the Lava Fire that burned through parts of Shasta Vista in June after a nearby lightning strike.

Suit Alleges Ordinances Were Racially Motivated

Mueller wrote in her September 3 ruling that the growers have a case to allege “the ordinances are motivated by racial animus,” but acknowledged that Siskiyou County attorneys had presented a compelling case that crime was on the upswing in the area.

“Violent crime in Shasta Vista has also spiked in recent years,” she wrote. “The Sheriff’s Office has responded to reports of armed robbery, assault and murder. In just one recent week, a man was pistol-whipped and robbed; another was the target of gunshots fired by a neighbor, and six people were bound and robbed by gunmen wielding AK-47s. Few similar crimes were reported in Shasta Vista before illegal cannabis cultivation took hold.”

Mueller let stand a county ordinance that specifically banned selling water for illegal cannabis cultivation. The injunction only applies to water sales and deliveries to the community intended for needs including bathing and gardening. Mueller rejected county arguments that the prohibition on water deliveries was needed to protect residents of Shasta Vista, many of whom live in unpermitted residences and are subject to unsafe living conditions. The judge ruled that the county has other laws including zoning ordinances to address those issues.

“Shasta Vista residents might drink and bathe in unpotable water trucked into Shasta Vista from nearby agricultural wells, but the alternative is very little water or no water at all,” she wrote. “If potable water is in fact ready available, as the county claims… this order in no way prohibits officials from helping the people in Shasta Vista find and use that potable water.”

Raza Lawrence, an attorney for the Hmong growers, said that he hopes that Mueller’s injunction becomes permanent in order to avert a “humanitarian crisis” in the area.

“Now they can finally get back to living their lives like normal on their land,” he said.

The post Judge Rules County Can’t Stop Water Deliveries to Hmong Weed Farmers appeared first on High Times.

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Michigan Legislature Introduces Bills to Reduce Caregiver Program

Michigan lawmakers proposed three bills yesterday that aim to reduce what caregivers can provide for medical cannabis patients.

The Michigan legislature returned full-time on September 9, and House Bills 5300, 5301 and 5302 were introduced on September 14. This bill package seeks to alter the Medical Marihuana Act, which was initially implemented in 2008. If passed, the bills would reduce caregiver patients from five to only one, and reduce the number of plants a caregiver can grow from 60 to 12, with an additional 12 plants they’re allowed to grow for personal use. One of the bills also creates a license called “specialty medical grower,” which would require a $500 application to get cannabis tested.

According to Mlive.com, these bills were proposed one day before a protest was set to occur. Yesterday, the “Michigan Caregivers United: Rally at the Capitol” protest was held in front of the state capitol in Lansing. The march was held to protest the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association (MCMA) and its push to limit caregiver’s allowances for their patients. 

“Michigan’s cannabis consumers have lashed out in anger; a boycott of MCMA products and companies affiliated with them has resulted in the resignation of their president, the removal of any reference to individual members on their website, the election of a new board chair to clean up their public relations and the cancellation of orders from MCMA companies by retailers.” The protest has been in the works for some time, with an official press release announcement posted on July 8 in anticipation of these plans.

The MCMA released a study in June through the Anderson Economic Group stating that 70 percent of cannabis sales were made outside of regulated dispensaries, and that illegal sales are the main way that residents are obtaining cannabis. 

“Michigan’s unregulated cannabis market poses an immediate threat to the health of all Michiganders, and the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act updates outdated laws to help ensure all Michiganders have access to tested, tracked and labeled cannabis products,” MCMA Board Chair Shelly Edgerton told Mlive.com

“We look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to bring Michigan’s unregulated, unlicensed cannabis market in line with the rest of the cannabis industry to help ensure safe, high-quality cannabis is available for all Michiganders.”

The MCMA’s website states that the organization represents “nearly half of all multiple Class C cannabis licenses in Michigan,” which is the most expensive license type, and represents the largest cultivation businesses in the state.

Those who oppose this notion argue that caregivers are not responsible for black market sales, and that there’s no good reason to threaten the caregiver system. Over 250 companies have spoken out in favor of supporting the caregiver program as well as small businesses. Companies such as The Botanical Co. released official statements regarding the MCMA. 

“We stand with our fellow industry professionals in their efforts to stop the attack on caregivers. It is our belief that our industry thrives when small businesses and caregivers can flourish,” officials said in a statement. “Our customers and patients remain at the core of what we do and to ensure they continue to have access to the products they rely on, we are actively pursuing the sourcing of high quality products from companies that more align with our mission. We encourage local brands to contact us if they are interested in retail space at our stores. Together, we can make a difference and move our industry forward.”

According to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency in a July report, there are 30,229 caregivers in the state and 251,284 medical cannabis patients that they serve. A majority of these patients suffer from conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, muscle spasms and PTSD. Meanwhile, the state is taking many steps toward improving social equity and supporting residents’ rights to consume while off the job.

The post Michigan Legislature Introduces Bills to Reduce Caregiver Program appeared first on High Times.

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Ohio to More than Double Number of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

A regulatory panel in Ohio gave the green light on Tuesday to plans that would more than double the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted “to start the process of awarding an additional 73 licenses,” per the Cincinnati Enquirer. There are currently 58 licensed dispensaries in the Buckeye State, with the Enquirer noting that nine of which “are owned and operated by someone who identifies as African American, Native American, Hispanic, Latino or Asian.”

The Enquirer reported that equity provisions “weren’t discussed during the meeting or mentioned in the request for applications approved Tuesday,” and that a spokesperson for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy said that the board “is still reviewing how it can encourage equity within the state law and rules.”

According to the paper, licenses for cultivation and dispensaries “were awarded in 2017 and 2018 under state law that required 15 percent of all marijuana licenses go to businesses owned by a member of one of those ‘economically disadvantaged’ groups,” but that requirement was later “struck down by court and won’t be in place for this second application round for 73 new licenses that begins this month.”

For now, more details regarding the application process are set to be released next week. The application period will run in November, and the licenses will likely be awarded early next year. 

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016 when lawmakers in the state passed a bill authorizing the treatment. The state’s first dispensaries opened three years later, as it continues to tweak and expand the law.

In June, the Ohio State Medical Board added Huntington’s disease, terminal disease and spasticity to the list of qualifying conditions, although it also rejected the addition of autism spectrum disorder, restless leg syndrome, panic disorder with agoraphobia and spasms.

That same month, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program issued new rules over the use of Delta-8 THC, which included a new requirement licensee notification of “the use of Delta-8 THC must include a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that describes the process and methods with which Delta-8 THC will be used in compliance” with the state’s existing laws. 

The panel also issued requirements that the “total THC content—combination of Delta-9 THC and any other THC isomer or analog—of the manufactured product shall not exceed 70 percent,” a notable stipulation given hemp-derived Delta-8’s similarities to marijuana. In that same vein, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control program required that Delta-8 THC “must be fully incorporated on the package and label for patient awareness,” and that abbreviations “such as ‘Delta-8’ or ‘D8,’” are not allowed.

But while the state’s medical marijuana law continues to evolve, efforts to legalize recreational pot use have been slow to get off the ground. 

In July, a pair of Ohio lawmakers introduced what was said to be the first bill to legalize and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the state’s history.

The bill, introduced by Democratic state House Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch, would make it legal for adults aged 21 and older to “buy and possess up to five ounces of marijuana at a time and grow up to 12 mature plants for personal use.”

“We’re seeing there are dramatic economic benefits, there are medical benefits and there’s a strong criminal justice avenue here so we can focus law enforcement on violent crime,” Weinstein said after the bill was introduced. “Ohio is at the point where we’re going to be behind if we don’t act now. I hope this provides the spark that we need to elevate the conversation and get this legislation moving.”

The state’s Republican governor, Mike Dewine, has previously voiced opposition to legalizing marijuana.

The post Ohio to More than Double Number of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries appeared first on High Times.

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How to Start an Edibles Business

In 2020, the edible market as a whole saw a 54% increase, and industry experts predict that the edibles industry is expected to be worth 11.5 billion by 2025. Globally, the edibles market makes up 11% of sales in the industry and is currently worth 1.23 billion. With numbers like that, it could be very appealing to start an edible company of your own, but it takes much more than simply obtaining a business license and setting up a shop in your hometown to get into the edible business.

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Starting an Edibles Business: Step by Step

In this article, we break down what is required of someone who wants to start their journey into the edible industry. Along the way, there are likely to be many quirks and headaches unique to the area you’re looking to open your business in, and in every case the best defense is to be prepared and stay flexible.

Step 1. Think about where you want your kitchen to be, and understand the rules and regulations of potential municipalities.

It is important to note that not all municipalities are the same. Most require a $5,000 non-refundable application fee, just to start with, and that can vary widely by state. So, if you’re serious about entering this industry, doing your background research is imperative.

A commerical cannabis kitchen

Be sure to check the laws in your area when selecting a kitchen location. photo credit

Your first step in this process will be looking up municipality ordinances and spending a good chunk of time at planning commissions and city hall meetings. Keep these factors in mind when selecting your kitchen location.

Step 2. Have your business plan made and all your finances in a row before applying.

Like any business, a formal business plan should be made, and in the cannabis industry, most municipalities require it before you can apply for a license. Organization is key here. The more organized you are, the more professional you will appear, which is essential when you’re trying to persuade city officials to support you. From capital requirements to permits, licensing, lawyer costs, and more —there are many expenses and fees that you will be required to pay that you may not think about. On average, the cost of opening a cannabis business starts at $250,000 and that’s before the cost to make your baked goods.

Step 3. Figure out where you’re sourcing cannabis for your products and what that entails. 

Do you plan to grow your own cannabis for your goodies or are you buying product from a licensed grow or extraction facility? If you plan to use cannabis oils in your products, you’ll need to hire an extractor or find a wholesaler, or, if you do these things on your own, you will have to get a separate cultivation or extraction license, which means more regulations and more money.

Cannabis grow

You will either need to source your cannabise from a grow facility or grow your own.

The cost of sourcing materials yourself vs. buying from other retailers will be heavily impacted by the cost of starting up cultivation or extraction operations in your area, so consider that when planning. 

Step 4. Start the licensing process and know cannabis kitchen regulations.

Regulations for licensing any type of cannabis business may vary, but here we’re going to focus on obtaining a processing license. There are a lot of requirements that one is expected to meet to obtain a license and the requirements vary by state. But generally, all states require what is listed below:

  • All products must be manufactured in a licensed, commercial kitchen
  • Applicants’ basic information
  • Applicant must be over the age of 21 to apply for a facility license
  • Proof of business structure (corporation, LLC, sole Proprietor, etc.)
  • Building permit number
  • $5,000 security deposit for license
  • Proof that a licensed extractor has been employed at the facility to extract cannabis byproduct
  • All employees that are a part of the manufacturing process must be ServSafe certified
  • Potency of products must be in line with state law
  • All items that may become incompliant with state regulations must be removed from shelves and cannot be sold
  • License must be renewed annually
  • Licensing fees must be paid annually (an average of $2500 per facility)
  • Owner of the property, building, and employees cannot have a drug-related crime or have a federal or state crime on their record within the past 10 years.* 

*Again, this can differ state by state. Some states’ equity laws allow for granting licenses to parties with past cannabis convictions.

Cannabis Packaging and Advertising Laws for Edibles

As if requirements surrounding licensing weren’t enough, get ready, there are more hoops to jump through regarding compliance around packaging and advertising. And like everything else, these rules vary from state to state.

Packaging

Here are the typical requirements for cannabis product packaging:

  • Childproof packaging is required in most states
  • Products cannot be packaged or named in a way where it could be confused with a trademarked candy or baked good
  • Cannabis cannot be added to trademarked products to be sold by the processing facility
  • Products cannot be brightly colored or be made into shapes that could appeal to children (animals, cartoon characters, etc.)
  • Products must be stored in opaque packaging

Additionally, all of the following must be printed clearly on all edible packaging:

  • Name of product and retail location
  • “Made in Marijuhana facility” is stated
  • Safety and health warning labels
  • Facility license and batch number
  • All ingredients and potential allergens
  • Recommended use-by dates
  • Nutrition facts (if available)
  • Types of cannabinoids and measurements, with dosage information
  • Product identification number as designated through a state-regulated tracking system
  • Name and Address of Processing facility

Advertising

When making your business plan, you’ll also need to address how you’ll advertise your product. Many states have heavily restrictive advertising laws, some of which do not allow advertising whatsoever. If that is the case in your area, you’ll need to look into alternate channels to get the word out about your business. Social media and other digital outlets will be key then (including advertising with PotGuide, if that’s something your business is interested in). In states where advertising is legal, here are some of the typical regulations:

  • Advertisements cannot appeal to minors
  • A certain percentage of an advertising platform’s target audience must be under the age of 21. This normally ranges anywhere from 30-75 percent.
  • Cannot promote excessive use 
  • Must present if the product poses a significant health risk to the public
  • Cannot promote health claims or language that is false, misleading, or deceptive
  • Advertisement must not be placed within a designated distance from a school, church, or youth center
  • Cannabis businesses cannot give away free products as a form of advertisement.
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Conclusion

It’s clear to see that starting any kind of cannabis business is easier said than done, but it’s important to note that the edible business is particularly difficult because it is so saturated. There is a lot of competition, so you’ll need to be prepared on all fronts in order to success. But if you have the resources that are needed, have perfected your recipes, and can think of a way to make yourself truly stand out from the crowd— you should be getting a piece of that sweet, edible pie in no time.

Sources:

General

Schaneman, B. (2021, January 11). Edibles Outperform Cannabis Industry Growth in 2020 on COVID-Spurred Sales Surge. Mjbizdaily.Com. https://mjbizdaily.com/edibles-outperform-cannabis-industry-growth-in-2020-on-covid-spurred-sales-surge/

Kovaceich, N. (2019, February 1). The Hidden Costs of Cannabis. Forbes.Com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickkovacevich/2019/02/01/the-hidden-costs-of-the-cannabis-business/?sh=4dc5c1fb7da3

Newcomer, L. (2020, November 5). How to Start an Edible Bakery (Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide). Everythingbuttheplant.Com. https://everythingbuttheplant.com/blogs/blog/how-to-start-a-cannabis-bakery

Weisz, B., & Rosenblum, M. (2021, August). Cannabis State-by-State Regulations. Thompsoncoburn.Com. https://www.thompsoncoburn.com/docs/default-source/blog-documents/ranking-of-state-cannabis-regulations.pdf

Edible Laws and Regulations Links

California Department of Public Health. Annual License Application Checklist For Cannabis Manufacturers.Cannabis.ca.govhttps://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/MCSB/CDPH%20Document%20Library/AnnualApp_Checklist.pdf

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. August 2021 (updated). Requirements and Restrictions on Marijuana-Infused Products; Edible Marijuana Product (Rule 33). Michigan.gov. https://www.michigan.gov/mra/0,9306,7-386-83994-454561–,00.html

475B.090. — Cannabis Regulation. 2020 State of Oregon. Updated 2020 Reg. Sess. (OR. 2019) https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors475B.html

Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting. 2020 Maine Recreational Business Licensing Process for Marijuana Establishments. (n.d.). 3ccannabisconsulting.Com. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from https://www.3ccannabis.com/2020/01/2020-maine-recreational-marijuana-establishment-licensing

LaVia. (2020, January 3) Maine Cannabis Regulations: License Applications, Forms, Links and Other Resources. Viridiansciences.com. https://www.viridiansciences.com/blog/maine-cannabis-regulations-license-applications-forms-links-and-other-resources

California BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE – BPC DIVISION 10. Cannabis [26000 – 26260] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=BPC&division=10.&title=&part=&chapter=15.&article=.


Are you planning on starting your own edibles business? What have your experiences been? 

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