Buzzes & Bummers: 2018 Was a Wild Ride in Cannabis’ World

Buzzes & Bummers: 2018 Was a Wild Ride in the World of Cannabis

It required a good deal of rolling (joints) and scrolling (old news feeds) to complete a comprehensive review of the most important, inspiring and infuriating stories about cannabis in yesteryear –and no doubt I missed a few along the way. In my defense, 2018 has been a wild ride from the area of weed, a 12-month timespan which truly could be called “the best of times and the worst of times,” or maybe just the highest and lowest of times.

My personal year in cannabis began on New Year’s Day, when I waited in line along with countless other Californians to buy some cannabis on the first day of lawful adult-use sales. The fact that I was already stoned before I made my purchase would appear to imply that it wasn’t exactly difficult to find cannabis from the Golden State before this momentous event, but that’s kind of besides the point.

And cannabis just kept getting legal-er and legal-er annually, including in Vermont, Michigan, Missouri, Utah, and the whole nation of Canada (see more below).

Then you scroll a little further down and discover that the new Farm Bill is going to legalize hemp farming in the United States for the first time in eighty years (huzzah!) . Or that Big Tobacco just invested $2.4 billion dollars in the bud business (fuck!) . ). Or assholes like recently retired Speaker of the House John Boehner believe after decades of pushing prohibition they deserved to get rich off cannabis (oh, hell no!) .

It’s really hard to know what to think nowadays. Maybe my new year’s resolution for 2019 will be more rolling, less scrolling! But until then, here are the buzzes and bummers 2018 had to offer.

Buzz: Vermont Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

Less than two weeks into 2018, Vermont lawmakers gave final approval to a bill legalizing adult-use cannabis, and the governor subsequently signed it into law, which makes it the first state to end prohibition through the legislature rather than a direct vote of citizens.

Bummer: Big Tobacco Makes Moves in Cannabis

It’s no longer a question of if Big Tobacco and the booze barons will enter the cannabis market, but instead how sharply they’ll move in and how much market share they’ll manage to gobble up.

Neither corporate giant lifted a finger to help legalize cannabis or bring justice to the countless individuals who’ve been incarcerated or had their lives disrupted as a result of prohibition.

In August, Constellation Brands (brewers of Corona beer) spent $4 billion to massively up their stake in Canopy Growth, which in 2014 became the first publicly traded cannabis business in North America, and now lists on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

And in December, Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) made a $1.8 billion investment in Cronos, a Canadian cannabis company, which includes an option to take a controlling stake in the future. As first reported by Leafly, Altria has “over the last five years quietly patented dozens of devices that could be used to consume marijuana, a review of public documents at the US Patent and Trademark Office shows. ”

Important to note: Neither corporate giant lifted a finger to help legalize cannabis or bring justice to the countless individuals around the world who’ve been incarcerated or had their lives disrupted as a result of prohibition. And Altria specifically comes to the table with a long history of corporate malfeasance, which is the reason why they changed their name in the first place.

Buzz: Bong Wick Fighting Crime

On September 6, four men burst into the Recreational Cannabis Farmers Market at Shannonville, Canada, spraying a can of bear mace and screaming “get down. ” The plan was allegedly to rob the place blind, but as they say in the action films, these punks chose the wrong dispensary.

Despite being outnumbered and taken by surprise, John Wick–the store’s clerk–reached down beneath the register, pulled out a borosilicate glass bong, and prepared to defend his possessions . As captured in the store’s surveillance video, the four cowardly criminals were clearly no match for a good guy with a bong.

What would you call someone who spends $32,500 annually on cannabis that doesn’t get you high? GW Pharmaceuticals will soon call them clients, because that’s just how much patients are estimated to shell out for Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived treatment for seizure disorders that was approved in June from the FDA, rescheduled from the DEA in September (though only Epidiolex was rescheduled, not CBD itself) and is currently moving rapidly through phase III clinical trials.

There’s nothing to justify the sky-high price (about $90 every day) beyond the price of research and development to win FDA approval.

It had been fast tracked through the approval process in response to parents of severely epileptic children pushing for a way to legally use CBD, after seeing it perform wonders for children profiled in a 2013 CNN documentary called Pot , hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Bringing pharmaceutical CBD to market will make it accessible to patients in every state (with a physician ’s prescription), make it to be covered by health insurance, and ensure a product that’s produced to high standards.

But there’s nothing to justify the sky-high price (about $90 every day) beyond the price of research and development to win FDA approval and Big Pharma’s insatiable thirst for profits. No wonder GW has been working behind the scenes to lobby for a de-facto monopoly on lawful CBD.

Since here’s the recipe, which includes nothing expensive:

EPIDIOLEX (cannabidiol) oral solution is a clear, colorless to yellow liquid containing cannabidiol in a concentration of 100 mg/mL. Inactive ingredients consist of dehydrated alcohol, sesame seed oil, strawberry flavor, and sucralose.

Buzz: Canada Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

On October 17, Canada made history by becoming the next nation (after Uruguay) to legalize adult-use cannabis. Leafly provided coast-to-coast coverage, and threw a party called the “Bud Drop” with a countdown to the big moment when the clock struck midnight.

We even got you ready to roll with a comprehensive list of the greatest Canadian cannabis strains of all time, including Island Sweet Skunk, Romulan, and Jean Guy.

Bummer: Patients Are Still Struggling for Cannabis Access

John Flickner, a 78-year-old resident of Niagara Falls, New York, was evicted from his federally subsidized housing in December of this year for using a vape pen. The facility, which has a “zero tolerance” coverage on “drug use” (except pharmaceuticals and alcohol ) kicked Flickner to the curb from the freezing cold despite the fact that he uses a wheelchair and has a physician ’s recommendation to consume medical cannabis per state law.

All because federal law still sees him as a wonton criminal. He ended up in a homeless shelter. Luckily, a public outcry led his old landlords to let him back home.

Buzz: Utah Legalized Medical Cannabis

In October, as Utah citizens prepared to vote on Proposition 2, a statewide medical cannabis ballot initiative, Democratic state senator Jim Dabakis decided to venture out on a fact-finding excursion –in more ways than one. Claiming he’d never tried cannabis before in his life, Dabakis drove to Nevada, bought a cannabis-infused gummy, and then posted a live video feed of himself on social media as he ate the edible.

“I feel that the reefer madness crowd–you guys, you need to try it.”

Sen. Jim Dabakis (D-UT)

“I think that the reefer madness crowd–you guys, you need to try this,” Dabakis told the entire world. ”

On election night, Proposition 2 passed with sizable majority, but rather than enacting the law as written, lawmakers in Utah signed off on a “compromise bill” that’s more restrictive than Proposition 2 but has wider political support.

Bummer: “Just Say No to Deadly Pot ”

Bethany Sherman, formerly the owner of OG Analytics, a cannabis testing lab in Oregon, filed a defamation lawsuit in October against online anti-fascist activists after they exposed her alleged ties to local white nationalists.

She asserts that when Antifa activists publicized her posts to social websites and message boards, they took them ldquo;out of context. ” Then she hired an attorney to defend her who’s a self-described white nationalist.

Allegations against Sherman added that she baked swastika-shaped biscuits for a celebration of Adolf Hitler’s birthday (which is also, coincidentally, 4/20). The lawsuit is still pending, but in the meantime, just say no to Nazi bud and check out the real story of 4/20 for an extremely inspiring tale that represents the best of cannabis culture.

Buzz: Cannabis Equity Programs Expand Opportunities

In late November, Blunt + Moore, the first dispensary to get permitted as part of Oakland, California’s far reaching cannabis equity program, held their grand opening in a small, sleek retail space just across the street from Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors.

The store ’s owner, Alphonso T Blunt, Jr., is a 31-year-old, fourth generation Oakland resident who began selling cannabis when he was only 16. He qualified for the equity program based on a former felony conviction, and having lived in a locality disproportionately targeted for cannabis arrests.

Blunt told Leafly’s David Downs he could not have made it in the legal industry without the program’s assistance in getting licensed and attracting investors.

“Had you asked me even a year ago, I thought it wouldn’t happen. I can’t even put into words how it feels. ”

But reviews of the equity program have been mixed, with critics claiming it so much has a disappointing track record for really bringing equity-approved businesses online.

The effort has meanwhile inspired other municipalities and states to follow suit. In September, California passed a statewide Cannabis Equity Act, and undoing the damage of the War on Drugs has now become a standard part of the legalization conversation around the world.

Published at Fri, 28 Dec 2018 18:36:28 +0000

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