California cannabis group wants tighter vaping-safety rules, An alliance of major legal marijuana businesses in California urged the state Monday to adopt tougher safety rules for ingredients and devices used in vaping and get tougher with illegal shops, amid an outbreak of a mysterious illness apparently linked to vaping.
The recommendations from the industry group — Legal Cannabis for Consumer Safety — come as health officials continue to investigate a wide range of products and chemicals that could be causing the illness that have sickened over 1,600 people nationwide. Most cases have involved products that contain the marijuana compound THC, typically obtained from illegal sources.
In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the group said it’s eager to heighten the safety of cannabis vaping while seeing more funds devoted to closing illegal pot shops that number in the thousands in California, home to the world’s largest legal pot market.
Among its proposals, the group says regulations should expressly ban the use of additives, cutting agents and artificial flavoring known to be harmful in cannabis vaping products. The group also wants $10 million added to funds to close illegal retailers. It also recommended more stringent standards for heavy metal testing of vaping hardware — the devices that are used to turn concentrated cannabis oil into a vapor.
“It is unacceptable that Californians face risks from unregulated and unsafe vapes. It is also critical that — like any other public health issue — we implement effective solutions that are based on data and facts, rather than fear, to address the root cause of these issues,” the group wrote.
“As the stewards of this supply chain, we are eager to engage in efforts to further heighten the safety of cannabis vaping and mitigate the risks posed by the burgeoning illicit market,” the group, which also requested a meeting with Newsom, wrote.
The group includes cannabis growers, manufacturers, retailers, testing labs and industry groups, including the California Cannabis Industry Association, vape manufacturer Loudpack, Flow Kana, which distributes cannabis products from small, outdoor farmers, and the online delivery marketplace Eaze.
Marijuana is a Psychoactive Drug Marijuana laws are changing rapidly, but as of now, adults can use it recreationally in just 10 states.
So which is it: A pleasure drug or a pharmaceutical one? And what
difference does that make when it comes to regulating cannabis?
These are questions to consider as states like Illinois explore
moving from a medical program to a more open-ended recreational one.
Chicago-based Cresco Labs grows some 30 strains of marijuana at its main cultivation center, in a manufacturing area in suburban Joliet.
While the marijuana leaf may be the unofficial, international symbol for weed – that’s not where the plant’s power resides.
“So if you look closely at this flower part, you can see that it has a
dusting or a frosting of trichomes. Those are little oil glands that do
contain the cannabinoids,” explains Jason Nelson, Cresco’s vice
president for production.
Those cannabinoids contain the power that Creso seeks to harness and
sell to patients in Illinois who are looking to marijuana to alleviate
Patients like Adrienne Aaronson, a 78-year-old grandmother and artist from Highland Park who suffers from fibromyalgia.
“Fibromyalgia is constant pain throughout your body. And there’s no
way of stopping it, it’s just – it’s there,” she said. “Pain in my
joints. Swollen hands. Achiness. Sometimes down in my leg. It just
Aaronson had never smoked weed. Until two years ago.
She tried acupuncture but says, “I thought it was silly.”
When those didn’t do the trick, she followed her physician’s advice
to visit another doctor – a specialist in integrative medicine who
somewhat unwittingly has become an international expert in medical
marijuana after Illinois’ law passed in 2013.
“I knew nothing about this as a physician and I read further into it
and I saw that the qualifying conditions described my medical practice,”
said Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple. “Fibromyalgia, people with cancer,
multiple sclerosis, seizures – and these are the kinds of patients who
seek out integrative therapies. And I thought, I better learn a lot
about this so that I know more when the patients ask me, ‘cause I knew
they would ask me.”
And they did, in increasing numbers. Temple, who went on to become
the first chair of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, says her
waiting list has ballooned since she became one of the doctors willing
to certify that a patient has a qualifying condition.
Though hesitant at first, Aaronson says weed is working. She says
when she first visited Temple, on a scale of 1-10 her pain used to
measure an 8.
“The last time I went to see her, she said, ‘How do you feel?’ I
said, ‘I feel great! I feel fabulous!’ And I did, I really did,”
She takes her medicine every night, religiously: a chunk of cannabis-laced mango candy she keeps tucked in the fridge.
She says it helps her sleep; and a good night’s sleep helps her with the pain.
“They’re 25 milligrams of THC. Whatever that is. And I probably …
will bite off about so much,” she said, pointing to a chunk about the
size of a fingernail. “And I’m not going to do that now, because I’m not
ready for bed.”
It may taste and look like candy, but Cresco’s Nelson believes in the
healing power of these pot gummies, and the other products his company
makes – the cannabis gel tablets, oils and tinctures.
“I used to think of myself as something like a tobacco grower or
distiller, in that I’m essentially making a vice – at worst – or a
lifestyle choice for someone who is of age and can make that choice,”
Nelson said. “But what we’ve been really pleasantly surprised with is
that now that more research has been enacted from a medical perspective,
that there really are true medical benefits from either the whole plant
itself or the individual compounds within the plant.”
But how does it work? What magic might these pungent, leafy green plants hold in helping to stem nausea and seizures?
“Our body actually has an endogenous, our own homemade system that
creates cannabis-like looking substances. And they help us do five
things: they help us eat, sleep, protect ourselves from harm, forget
pain when we need to and relax. So you can imagine from moment to
moment, when it’s time to eat you get a burst of cannabinoids that, say,
drive the appetite and then you eat. When it’s time to sleep you get a
little burst there – and this is happening in every cell,” Temple said.
“We have this plant from the outside world which we can ingest or smoke
that influences this system … The way that cannabis works is that it
influences those systems in a way to either enhance one of those
functions – to help us forget pain, to get us to eat, to relax, to
Still, details on how and whether marijuana does this are elusive, even in the medical community.
Because the federal government classifies cannabis as an illegal drug, researching it has been difficult.
Dr. Stephen Hanauer, the medical director of Northwestern Medicine’s
digestive health center, is going about it in a roundabout way.
He’s studying patients already on marijuana.
“Crohn’s disease, which is what I deal with, is one of the autoimmune
diseases (of which) we do not yet know the cause or have a medical
cure,” Hanauer said. “As soon as you tell a patient that you’ve got a
condition that we don’t know what causes it and we don’t have a cure,
they’re looking elsewhere. They’re looking for other approaches and
that’s obviously nowadays using social media and going online, and
there’s a great deal of usage of alternative therapies – not just
He’s about a year into a study, funded by the Digestive Health
Foundation, that’s comparing Crohn’s disease patients’ personal
evaluations of how they’re feeling with blood and stool samples that can
detect intestinal inflammation.
The study won’t be compete for another six months, but Hanauer has a hypothesis.
“My suspicion, is that it makes the patient feel better, but it doesn’t really change the disease activity,” Hanauer said.
Making pain subside sounds great, but that isn’t the same thing as a
cure. Hanauer said marijuana could actually pose a problem for people
with chronic diseases like Crohn’s if it merely masks the symptoms.
“They go on for essentially a lifetime. They can progress into
complications such as narrowing within the bowel that can lead to bowel
obstruction and even cancers develop in the presence of ongoing
inflammation,” he said. “So we don’t want the patient to be fooled and
think that because their symptoms are controlled they’re out of the
woods as far as inflammation and the prognosis for the disease is
Hanauer warns his Crohn’s patients who choose to go the cannabis
route to steer clear of smoking pot, as that can aggravate the disease.
And while pot is often regarded as an anti-nausea remedy, people who
rely on it too much may experience Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, in
which they’re unable to stop vomiting.
Temple said she tells patients to follow a motto: Go low and go slow in their cannabis doses.
“What matters to me most is it has helped my patients,” she said.
“Most of them, not all. And that it is a good medicine, definitely not a
perfect one, and that we have to have a very balanced viewpoint of what
medical cannabis can do. It’s not the miracle that many people will
tout that it’s a cure-all, and it’s also not this evil vice that
everyone should avoid. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and the
truth is going to be different from person to person.”
Temple says it isn’t as simple as writing a prescription for a
pharmaceutical drug that’s gone through the rigors of FDA testing. It’s
trial and error.
“CBD, THC, CBG, CBN – so there’s an alphabet soup of these different
chemicals that have activities on your brain and on your body that can
be given in so many different routes,” Temple said. “It can be smoked,
vaped, ingested, the oil can be rubbed on the gum, there’s creams,
patches and suppositories … You add that times the infinite combinations
of cannabinoids and terpenoids and other chemicals that occur naturally
in this plant – there’s really no way to determine how I should be
dosing every patient.”
That’s precisely why Hanauer says marijuana is not a “medicine.”
After all, it isn’t approved by the FDA (and so insurance won’t pay for it) and it hasn’t been through rigorous studies.
“Every drug that I prescribe to a patient, I know the dose, it has
been approved based on studies demonstrating how it’s effective, in what
conditions it’s effective and it’s safety profile. We don’t know that
for cannabis,” he said. “We don’t know what dose patients would be
using, we don’t know what dose is going to be effective, and we don’t
know what dose is going to cause them harm.”
Illinois’ medical marijuana program is still technically in the pilot
stages, and it’s tightly regulated – so much so that our cameras aren’t
allowed into any of the dispensaries where products are sold.
Temple says anyone using marijuana – for medical reasons or otherwise – needs to be careful.
“We have to be really cognizant of that dark side of cannabis,
because I’m concerned that the legitimizing of this as a medicine sends a
message to the community that it’s a free-for-all and let’s just use it
willy-nilly without any restraint. And that is a big concern of mine.”
Temple’s patient Adrienne Aaronson is busy prepping for an art show.
She’s thankful she’s virtually free from fibromyalgia pain, and
she’ll tell friends who ask, “’Yeah, I’m taking pot.’ I just love to be
able to say that!” she said.
She also appreciates that Illinois could use every penny if weed brings about a windfall of revenue.
Even so, she doesn’t think people should be free to smoke a joint, or pop a cannabis candy, just because they feel like it.
She said she wouldn’t take it, if she didn’t have to.
“I’m not in favor of that. Isn’t that terrible? Here I am using it, and I feel that it can be abused,” she said.
Should Illinois legalize marijuana for recreational use, Aaronson’s
friends – and anyone else 21 years or older – could take pot too.
In anticipation, Illinois-based marijuana companies have been growing like weeds.
Recreational cannabis use is legal in California—and now, shops are licensed to sell it. But who can buy it? Where can you smoke it? We answer all your burning questions.
Everything You Need to Know to Buy Legal Weed in California Can you legally buy a beer? Congratulations! That means you can also legally buy cannabis (pot, weed, marijuana) in California. Decriminalization came into effect on January 1, 2018, after voters passed Proposition 64 in November 2016. California joins Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alaska, Maine, and Nevada in legalizing recreational cannabis use, making the state the largest legal marijuana market in the country.
Here’s what you need to know about getting high in the Golden State.
Who can buy?
You have to be 21 or older to buy recreational cannabis products (we’ll get to them in a bit) and present a valid ID—a driver’s license or a passport will do just fine—upon entering a marijuana dispensary. People with a medical marijuana card issued by a doctor must be 18.
Marijuana plants come in two main branches, indica and sativa. Indicas bring the body buzz, promoting relaxation. They are typically lower in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels and higher in cannabidiol (CBD) levels. THC is pot’s psychoactive element that fosters a feeling of higher energy levels and euphoria. CBD doesn’t cause a person to feel high and has a muting effect on THC. Sativas are typically the inverse of indicas, having higher THC levels and lower CBD levels, causing a trippier high. A third branch, hybrids, are crossbred plants that produce effects of both indica and sativas.
Photo by Eight Photo/Shutterstock
Dried marijuana buds, also referred to as “flower.”
What products can I buy?
Cannabis products are broken down into four main categories: flower, concentrates, edibles, and applications.
Flower refers to the plant itself—the dried buds of a marijuana plant—and comes in a seemingly endless variety of strains, each with clever monikers such as LA Confidential, Granddaddy Purple, or Nina Limon. Leafly is an excellent app and online resource to better know your strains. Flower is meant to be smoked either in joints or out of a pipe or bong.
Concentrates include a range of products made from trichome extractions taken from a pot plant. (Trichomes are those sparkly little crystals that cover mature plants.) Concentrates pack a more powerful punch than flower and are sometimes used to top off flower in a joint or bowl. The extracts come in a variety of forms, including kief, wax, and oils. One of the easiest ways to enjoy an extraction is with a vape pen. They’re sold in a nifty kit that includes a cartridge containing the oil, a rechargeable battery that powers the pen, and a charger that plugs into your laptop. Popular cartridge brands include Bloom Farms, Legion of Bloom, and Dosist.
Edibles are just that: food that has extractions incorporated into their manufacturing process. Look for cookies, gummy candies, lollipops, chocolate-covered anything (dried fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and raisins are popular), and even cannabis-infused drinks such as sodas, hot cocoa mixes, and cold-brewed coffee. While smoking brings on immediate effects, the effects of an edible can take as long as two hours to be felt and last much longer than simply smoking. Because it can take some time, people sometimes make the rookie mistake of over-consuming edibles. Don’t be that person. Kiva and Satori manufacture low-dose edible products. Start with those if that’s your thing.
Applications use extractions to target medical conditions primarily. High CBD products such as tinctures and patches are used to alleviate physical pain, anxiety, and even depression.
Be careful with edibles: A little goes a long way
Where do I buy?
In California, you’ll need to visit a licensed dispensary to buy cannabis products. If you’re at a dispensary to purchase recreational weed, remember that it’s a medical facility first and foremost, so don’t whip out your phone to take a selfie. Respect patients’ right to privacy.
Also, bring cash. Although some dispensaries do accept credit cards, many do not.
When you get to a dispensary (use an app or site like Weedmaps to locate one near you), you’ll have to check in at the front desk with your ID to prove you’re of age, then you’ll need to wait your turn. Since recreational marijuana became available in California, long lines have formed at dispensaries, especially on weekends, overwhelmed by demand. Patience is key.
Once your name is called by one of the “budtenders,” take as much time as you need to discuss what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want to mellow out, or do you want to laugh and explore? The people behind the counter are well-informed and can talk in-depth about different products and will direct you to the item that’s right for you.
An alternate method for purchasing is using an app-based delivery service like Eaze. Go online or download it to your phone, create a brief user profile, upload your ID, then order away. Typically your product is delivered within an hour after placing your order, a convenient service for travelers staying at hotels or people who aren’t quite ready to come out as a cannabis user. Some dispensaries also offer delivery services. In the San Francisco Bay Area, places like the Apothecarium publish their full daily menu online and offer both delivery and in-store pickups, the latter helping to cut down on wait times.
Where can I smoke my weed?
Here’s the tricky part. While it’s legal to have recreational marijuana, it’s not legal to consume it in public places, just like alcohol. That being said, enforcement is a low priority for police, and, if enforced, a ticket comes with a relatively low $70 penalty.
While the law doesn’t allow it, societal norms in major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco do foster public consumption. Visit any urban park on a sunny weekend day, and the scent of marijuana will come wafting by at some point. Discretion is key.
Another option is to stay in an Airbnb that allows it. Even though they don’t have a filter for it (yet), a search of Airbnb for “420 friendly” will bring up listings of properties that allow guests to consume. Two sites, TravelTHC and Bud and Breakfast, market accommodations targeted specifically at pot enthusiasts.
Finally, consider a cannabis tour. Currently operating tours in San Diego, West Coast Cannabis Tours offers half-day jaunts that include visits to dispensaries and breweries, all on groovy, decked-out private buses on which you’re allowed and encouraged to enjoy your purchases. The company is developing new tours in LA and Orange County, set to launch later in 2018. In the Bay Area, Emerald Farm Tours offers a seed-to-sale tour, where participants visit a cannabis farm, a manufacturing plant, and a retail shop all in one day. The company plans to expand its tour offerings.
But what about the feds?
While medicinal or recreational cannabis use is legal in the majority of states, it is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. In fact, it’s still a Schedule I drug on the federal level, putting it in the same category as cocaine or heroin. You can’t ship it or send it in the mail, and you absolutely cannot fly with it. For more details on federal law concerning cannabis, Americans for Safe Access is a great resource.
If you want to make sure you know every little detail on recreational marijuana use in California before you consume, visit GreenState, an online publication dedicated solely to the subject. But if you’re ready to explore the world of legal recreational cannabis, it’s high time you get to California.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control on Dec. 14 started issuing temporary licenses for recreational marijuana sales. Here’s a map of shops that are sanctioned to sell cannabis to adults. The map will be updated frequently, with new state licenses issued each day.
Business advocates say company policies about marijuana use are currently all over the map. But a bill sponsored by Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, would change that.
Lewis’ bill, S.978, would forbid employers from penalizing or discriminating against an employee or potential hire for marijuana use outside the office and off company time, as long as the employee is not impaired while working.
“I think that we shouldn’t be discriminating against adults who want to make their own decision to responsibly consume cannabis on their own time, in the same way they can consume other legal products like alcohol,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ bill would not affect employers who are required to drug test due to federal requirements. For example, trucking companies or defense contractors are federally regulated, and their employees can be subject to drug testing for marijuana use.
An employer could still fire someone who commits a marijuana crime, such as selling to minors, or who cannot perform their job or maintain certifications needed for their job due to marijuana use.
The bill is pending before a legislative committee.
Lewis, a previous vice chair of the Legislature’s marijuana policy committee, said he was swayed by Bernadette Coughlin’s story.
Coughlin oversaw kitchen staffers at a hospital Methuen. She fell and broke her wrist and was sent for a drug test. She had used a vape pen three days earlier and tested positive for marijuana. The company fired her.
Coughlin has been lobbying the state to pass a bill to protect workers from being fired for using marijuana on their personal time.
“It just seemed like something that was unfair,” Lewis said. “And if this is happening to other people, or could happen to other people in Massachusetts, we should probably take steps to prevent that from happening.”
The Supreme Judicial Court, in a 2017 decision in Cristina Barbuto vs. Advantage Sales and Marketing, ruled that an employer cannot fire or discriminate against someone for using medical marijuana.
But the court has not yet ruled on any cases related to workplace protections for marijuana for non-medical use.
Chris Geehern, a spokesman for Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents businesses, said company policies today are “all over the place.”
Federally regulated companies have not changed their drug testing policies, since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Most other companies, Geehern said, “are taking a wait and see attitude at this point.”
Geehern said some companies still drug test, but not for marijuana. Others continue to test for marijuana.
The difficulty with testing for marijuana is there is no scientifically accurate test to measure marijuana-related impairment, and THC can linger in someone’s body for days.
“You can drug test someone and you may come up with a trace of marijuana that somebody used a couple of days ago,” Geehern said. “So the real question is, is it impairing that person’s ability to run a … machine or drive a forklift or other safety specific occupations?”
Geehern said employers must figure out how to measure impairment — for example, in a person who uses marijuana in the morning, then comes to work. “That’s the uncharted territory that employers are dealing with,” he said.
Tamsin Kaplan, an employment attorney at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine in Boston, said she thinks Massachusetts employers are becoming more comfortable dealing with marijuana, since medical marijuana has been legal since 2012.
“Really the same common sense approach applies in this situation as it did with medical marijuana,” Kaplan said. “In many ways, it’s similar to dealing with alcohol, which we’ve been dealing with for a long time.”
Kaplan said she tells clients it is appropriate to test for marijuana if there is a safety concern — for example, if a job involves driving or operating heavy equipment.
Otherwise, she tells employers to consider whether an employee is living up to expectations in performing their job. “If they do, it’s a non-issue whether they’re off premises, off work time, using recreational marijuana,” Kaplan said.
If a worker is sleeping on the job or behaving inappropriately, Kaplan says she tells company officials to address that behavior.
Under state law, there are limited circumstances under which a company can drug test employees. One of the allowed times is when an employer has a “reasonable suspicion” that an employee is using drugs.
Employment attorney Erica Flores of Skolar Abbott in Springfield said since marijuana became legal, she has seen employers beefing up their policies regarding what constitutes a “reasonable suspicion,” training human resource workers on those policies and reminding employees that they can be drug tested if they act high while on the job.
“Just like with alcohol, it’s not okay to be intoxicated where you’re working,” Flores said.
Flores added that “reasonable suspicion” policies ensure that no one is tested unless an employer already has evidence to suspect they are impaired.
MARIJUANA NEWS: Local Governments Sue to Stop Statewide Cannabis Delivery in California
Local Governments Sue to Stop Statewide Cannabis Delivery in California LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a major challenge to regulations that govern California’s marijuana market, Beverly Hills and 24 other local governments sued Friday to overturn a rule allowing home deliveries statewide, even into communities that banned commercial cannabis sales.
The League of California Cities and police chiefs had complained that unrestricted home deliveries would create an unruly market of largely hidden cannabis transactions, while undercutting local control guaranteed in the 2016 law that broadly legalized marijuana sales in California and created the nation’s largest legal cannabis marketplace.
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ryan Coonerty said in a statement that the state rule damages local marijuana businesses and “betrays the promise made to the voters” in 2016.
The significance of the lawsuit goes beyond home deliveries. It represents an important early court test of Proposition 64, the law that broadly legalized sales for adults. There have been numerous disputes over precisely what parts of the law mean, including the size of cannabis farms.
The state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which drafted the rule, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed late Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.
The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the rule and prohibit state regulators from enforcing it.
Marijuana companies and consumers had pushed for statewide home deliveries because vast stretches of the state have banned commercial cannabis activity or not set up rules to allow legal sales, creating what’s been called pot “deserts.” Residents in those areas were effectively cut off from legal marijuana purchases.
The rule cleared by state lawyers in January sought to clarify what had been apparently conflicting regulations about where marijuana can be delivered in California.
The 2016 law said local governments had the authority to ban nonmedical cannabis businesses. But state regulators pointed to the business and professions code, which said local governments “shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads” by a licensed operator.
The cannabis bureau had said it was merely clarifying what had always been the case: A licensed cannabis delivery can be made to “any jurisdiction within the state.”
FIND OUT MORE AT https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/local-governments-sue-stop-california-statewides-cannabis-delivery
In addition to Beverly Hills and Santa Cruz County, plaintiffs include the cities of Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Ceres, Clovis, Covina, Dixon and Downey. Also participating are McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Riverside, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock and Vacaville.
One in 10 adults in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have purchased cannabis from authorized vendors since it became legalized on Oct. 17, a new poll has found.
The poll conducted by Corporate Research Associates Inc. [CRA] shows that 10 per cent of Moncton and Fredericton residents, nine per cent of Saint John residents and seven per cent of Halifax residents have lawfully purchased pot since legalization day.
CRA says those figures are consistent with a pre-legalization survey conducted in the fall, which suggested the nine per cent of New Brunswick adults and 10 per cent of Nova Scotia adults would buy marijuana once it was legalized.
A high percentage of those who have bought legal pot are young adults, the study found. In Fredericton, 28 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 34, while in Moncton 26 per cent in that age group made a purchase, and in Saint John 22 per cent did so.
In Halifax, only 12 percent of residents aged 18 to 34 purchased marijuana, while nine per cent of those aged 35 to 54 did so.
WATCH: Cannabis dispensaries fight to stay open while police crack down
The poll also found that among those who have not yet made a purchase, 19 per cent of Moncton residents, 18 per cent of Fredericton residents, 14 per cent of Saint John residents, and 20 per cent of Halifax residents would buy pot legally in the near future.
“Previous research undertaken by our company related to purchase intentions of marijuana closely mirrors the actual behaviour in major urban markets in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, since marijuana has been legally available for sale,” said CRA president and COO Margaret Brigley in a statement.
“We intend to continue to track marijuana purchase behaviour to determine whether or not the market for this product will increase over time.”