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Cannabis with Compassion

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Colorado just welcomed a new nonprofit incubator group that is operating with the goal of connecting cannabis industry professionals to each other and its community through social responsibility and education. Denver-based nonprofit, Nuvolution, was recently provided with an event and incubation space in north Denver by the owner of a commercial property.

Created in 2017 by the founding members of Women Grow, Nuvolution was born to connect people in the industry and help to facilitate healthy conversation about cannabis and hemp. Because the plants are Schedule I substances, lack of federal funding and limits on marketing methods can be problematic. Once a nonprofit gets these basic needs taken care of, it can start to source skilled volunteers and connect with other professionals and activists. Anne Marie Doyle, co-founder of Nuvolution told CULTURE, “We aim to shine a spotlight on the organizations that support our communities. After all, we are better together.” Nuvolution believes that positive changes in the industry happen when organizations can strategize together.

“We aim to shine a spotlight on the organizations that support our communities. After all, we are better together.”

 

The nonprofit was recently offered a local rent-free community center, where they will hold meetings, discussions and events. “The grant for the community center was a wonderful surprise and has caused us to refine our focus. In truth, it is more of an expanded focus as we discover what is important to our community and include those who would like a seat at the table,” Doyle explained.

In refining the focus of Nuvolution, its organizers have started the process of curating a cannabis history museum. The exhibits and topics will cover Egyptian, Chinese, American and Colorado-based cannabis history and use. “The intention of the cannabis history museum décor is to provide basic community facing cannabis information to those visiting the community center,” said Doyle. Organizers hope to stimulate the conversation and education about the plant, including the history and legalization timeline of medical and recreational cannabis. Companies that have made an impact will also be featured. “There is quite a bit of information that we, within the industry, tend to share repeatedly and should be on the walls for all to experience,” Doyle explained of the museum’s vision.

Nuvolution is working with others locally to create displays and write dialogue for the educational topics, which will include an exhibit appropriate for grades K-12. For a state to have legal hemp and cannabis yet no real educational system is incomprehensible, she said. Nuvolution is welcoming participation from anyone in the community who would like to donate their time or items.

In addition to the cannabis history museum, Nuvolution is hosting “Lunch and Learns” the third Friday of every month highlighting topics important to the industry and its community. Yoga classes as well as cannabis and non-cannabis wellness events will be hosted at the community center.

Nonprofits have a limited marketing budget and Doyle said that Nuvolution is grateful for cannabis-friendly news sources that can share their story. “Many of our efforts combine with other nonprofits to magnify impact and awareness,” Doyle said. She went on to say that Nuvolution is not limited to cannabis-oriented nonprofits but that they also support all cannabis-friendly organizations and social enterprises. Nuvolution encourages all cannabis-related businesses to make social responsibility their goal.

Nuvolution’s voice acts as an advocate for the plant and its industry. It also is getting the conversation moving among businesses, patients, activists and government officials. Nuvolution’s services can help organizations find safe spaces to operate and sort through confusing laws, while educating the local community on the history and benefits of cannabis and hemp.

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Cannabis Home Delivery in California

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A California judge recently dismissed a lawsuit that sought to overturn a ruling that allows cannabis companies to deliver across the state, even in cities and counties where cannabis sales are prohibited.  

A group of local governments argued that allowing cannabis deliveries in any jurisdiction was taking over their authority to regulate cannabis sales. In a ruling, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire said the state’s delivery regulations and local ordinances “do not occupy the same field and are not in conflict.”

Cannabis deliveries can continue under the state regulations. McGuire said the state rule does not impact the rights to regulate cannabis or cannabis delivery and added local jurisdictions can impose regulatory and health and safety standards that are stricter than state laws.

“It’s not a loss, but it’s not a win for delivery,” said Zach Pitts, CEO of Los Angeles-based Ganja Goddess and a board member of the California Cannabis Couriers Association. “What I really don’t like is the possibility that we’re still going to have to litigate this and in many ways, that’s putting the litigation onto small companies…with every single city and county that decides to ban delivery.”

There are some counties that don’t allow cannabis sales so without statewide delivery, people living in those counties wouldn’t have access to cannabis, whether for recreational purposes or for medical use. Deputy Attorney General Ethan Turner said cities can still require cannabis delivery businesses to apply for a business license from the city and follow city ordinances.

“It’s legal here and they already bought it. All we are doing is getting it to them. They didn’t buy it at the door or anything. They just received it,” said Ethan Bowers, who helps run a cannabis grow in Northern California. We all thought it was crazy that they would try and stop it. And, if it had passed in court, we’d be looking anywhere for more sales, as at-home sales are really big during COVID-19.” 

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Legislator Predicts Recreational Cannabis Legalization for Connecticut in 2021

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Connecticut could be the next state to legalize recreational cannabis as more neighboring states are working on their own legalization efforts. Incoming House Speaker Matt Ritter recently stated that there is a “50-50” chance to legalize cannabis in 2021.

A measure to legalize cannabis in the state has repeatedly failed over the past five years, but Democrats hold the majority in the state House and in the state Senate. With recreational cannabis legal in Massachusetts and New Jersey and other neighboring states considering legalization, the Governor of Connecticut believes his state will be next.

“Right now, I’m surrounded by states—New Jersey and Massachusetts—where marijuana is already legal. I don’t need a lot of people driving back and forth across the border,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “We’re trying to keep people close to home as best we can right now. I think legalizing marijuana—doing that safely and making sure that no poison is laced in—I think is one to keep people closer to home.”

Ritter disputed the claim that one of the main reasons the lawmakers are pushing for legalization is to use the tax revenue to close the state budget gap. A study conducted at the University of Connecticut found legal recreational cannabis could bring in $100 million in tax revenue in just four years. “To me, marijuana has nothing to do with revenue,” Ritter said. “I could care less. Every year that goes by brings in less revenue for the state. I don’t care if it brings in one dollar or $30 million. It’s completely irrelevant to me.”

Ritter stated that his two main reasons for supporting cannabis legalization are the expungement of criminal offenses of those who have been impacted by the War on Drugs, and that cannabis is all around the state of Connecticut and the state can’t “fortify its border” and pretend people aren’t just going to buy it elsewhere.

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FDA Provides Updates on Research Gaps for Regulating Cannabis

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It has long been a point of contention for the legal cannabis industry that cannabis products have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While cannabis is still federally illegal, the FDA recently addressed some of the challenges in regulating cannabis compounds and products containing cannabis.

According to the FDA, not having access to enough research data is one of the main issues that the organization faces. Specifically, the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health notes that many CBD products are marketed toward women, such as sex products, and more research is essential in order to better understand the effects of those products. “As women are generally the principal healthcare consumers in the US, understanding sex and gender differences between women and men must be at the forefront of our minds,” said Kaveeta Vasisht, director of the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health and associate commissioner for women’s health.

In addition to regulating CBD, one of the most popular legal cannabis derivatives on the market, the FDA is also looking for more information on regulating THC and other popular compounds such as CBN and CBG, as well as terpenes. “FDA’s responsibilities are over the entire spectrum of the products derived from cannabis and the FDA must be prepared to regulate them in the most appropriate ways,” said Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for regulatory programs at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Overall, the FDA outlines some major problem areas due to lack of knowledge, including logistics, evolving legislation, increased legality of cannabis and scientific uncertainty. The plan is to tackle these areas and gain more knowledge so they can properly regulate cannabis of all types. This includes employing the help of cross-agency committees called the “CBD Working Group,” which enlists the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Center for Drug Evaluation, Center for Biological Evaluation and Research, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Center for Veterinary Medicine, National Center for Toxicology Research, Center for Tobacco Products and Coordinated by the Office of the Commissioner.

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