News Nuggets – November 2018

Bay Area

Jail Suspects Can Get their Cannabis Returned After Serving Time

The San Francisco Superior Court ruled on Oct. 15 that law enforcement officials are exempt from federal prosecutors if they return seized cannabis to released suspects. Robert T. Smith successfully won his case after San Francisco police refused to return his 21 grams of cannabis upon release. “Petitioner seeks the return of his 21.8 grams of recreational marijuana,” the ruling reads. “Petitioner ‘lawfully possessed’ this marijuana under California law, as he was over 21 years old and the amount was less than 28.6 grams. As explained above, the San Francisco Police Department is immune from federal prosecution under the CSA when complying with California’s return provisions. Accordingly, we grant the petition for writ of mandate.” The ruling sets a precedent for other released suspects, allowing them to have their cannabis legally returned by San Francisco police.

Deliveries Could Be Allowed in Local California Cities that Banned Cannabis

The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture made a move on Oct. 19 toward allowing deliveries in local California jurisdictions that have banned cannabis sales. The agencies approved proposed rule changes and other draft regulations, including the controversial cannabis delivery provision. “Today, the BCC decided to ignore the concerns of a broad coalition of local government, labor and law enforcement,” League of California Cities Executive Director Carolyn Coleman stated. “The delivery provisions contained in these regulations seek to subvert the intent of the voters who approved Proposition 64. By removing local governments’ reasonable regulatory authority on cannabis deliveries, the BCC is imposing a ‘one size fits all’ form of cannabis regulation.” The California Police Chiefs Association also opposed the rule changes. The permanent rules are expected to be finalized in December.

Colorado

Loveland Cannabis Company Plans Multi-Million Dollar International Expansion

Mile High Labs is expanding into international markets with a $35 million Series A funding round, making it the largest Series A round in cannabis company expansion history, according to a press release. Already established in the United States, Mile High Labs processes crude oil, hemp oil distillate and cannabidiol (CBD) isolate for retail companies, cultivators and manufacturers. Jon Hilley, CFO of Mile High Labs said, “Stephen Mueller, who founded the business, saw a lack of engineering and fundamental understanding of the extraction and purification process in the industry so he decided to tackle the problem. From there, the market began pulling us upward.” Hilley said the demand for CBD is not just in the United States but a “global phenomenon.” Mile High Labs already has an office in Northern Ireland. “Next step is to grow the team and start letting everyone in Europe and the U.K. know we are open for business and would welcome the opportunity to work with them,” Hilley said. The expansion will keep Mile High Labs updated with expected industry growth and consumer demands on a global level.

Colorado State Ranks as Number 10 in Nation for Positive Cannabis Drug Tests

Quest Diagnostics found in its annual 2017 Drug Testing Index that Colorado ranks as number 10 in the nation for the number of employer drug tests that tested positive for cannabis. Scientific Director of Employer Solutions for Quest Diagnostics, Kimberly Samano, PhD, said that Quest provides analysis of workplace drug use trends by comparing the test results nationwide. “We have always provided state-by-state comparisons, but this year we highlighted that increases in positivity rates for marijuana in the general U.S. workforce were most striking in states that have enacted recreational use statutes since 2016,” Samano said. Colorado, Washington and California all fell in the top 10. From the years 2011 through 2017, Colorado saw positive tests for cannabis increase every year, except in 2015, according to the 2018 report. “The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index examines employees that participate in employer drug screening programs and have their specimens tested by Quest Diagnostics (including pre-employment screening, post-accident screening and random drug testing),” said Samano. The Drug Testing Index is in its 30th year.

Los Angeles

National Expungement Week Brings Expungement Services to L.A.

National Expungement Week was held in 13 major cities across the country during the last week of October with a focus on offering expungement and legal relief services to those who have cannabis-related convictions on their records. Locally, three free workshops and informational sessions were held in Van Nuys, Los Angeles and Inglewood. Over 20 cannabis organizations worked together to provide assistance for these events, including the Equity First Alliance, which explained how essential these services are to people who need them. “In Los Angeles, now the largest recreational cannabis market in the world, hundreds of thousands of cannabis-related convictions have yet to be expunged, and the County Board of Supervisors has yet to pass a cannabis policy framework, but they’re moving forward with a $3.5 billion jail construction plan,” stated Equity First Alliance. “These decisions limit access to employment, housing, education and public benefits, and they create an unnecessary lack of skilled workers.”

Michigan

Overwhelming Majority of Michigan Cannabis Arrests are for Petty Possession

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol released an analysis on Oct. 10 indicating that 90 percent of cannabis possession arrests in Michigan were for one ounce or less of cannabis. Additionally, 70 percent of possession arrests were for one-quarter ounce or less, and 45 percent of arrests were for one gram or less of cannabis. “Michigan could fill Little Caesar’s Arena with the number of people arrested each year on marijuana possession charges, and 70 percent of those charges are just petty—a quarter ounce or less,” Josh Hovey, Campaign Spokesperson said. “Voting ‘yes’ on Proposal 1 will help redirect law enforcement resources—our tax dollars—to critical issues that truly impact the quality of life in our communities.” The analysis also pointed out that African Americans were 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis in Michigan.

Cannabis Job Fair Attracts Over 500 Applicants

On Oct. 11, medical cannabis company Green Peak Innovations (GPI) held a job fair at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath Township to fill 50 full-time jobs at two Michigan locations. Applicants can expect to make in between $14 and $22 per hour, which is well above Michigan’s $9.25 minimum wage. Applicants can also expect medical, dental and vision insurance. “These are good jobs,” Jeff Radwar, CEO of GPI stated. “GPI is offering excellent salaries and benefits to high caliber individuals who are passionate about serving the needs of Michigan’s patients in our growing company. People are going to love working on the GPI team.” A total of 575 applicants showed up to the job fair, far exceeding expectations. Over the next year, GPI plans on filling a total of 200 jobs at the Harvest Park cannabis business park in Windsor Township near Lansing.

Oregon

Rep. Earl Blumenauer Outlines Steps Toward Federal Cannabis Legalization

On the day Canada’s recreational cannabis sales began, Oct. 17, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer sent Democratic lawmakers a memo outlining the steps on how Congress can legalize cannabis on a federal scale in America. Blumenauer wrote that our leaders are “out of step” with the will of the American people, because nearly 70 percent of registered voters support legalizing cannabis, and yet very little gets done at the federal level. Blumenauer’s memo spelled out several specific steps that lawmakers need to achieve in order to legalize cannabis in all 50 states. “Almost every standing House committee has jurisdiction over some aspect of marijuana policy,” Blumenauer wrote. “Within the first six months of the new Congress, these committees should hold hearings, bring in experts and discuss potential policy fixes.” Blumenauer believes that Democrats in Congress need to lead the way in order for us to see real change.

Effort Underway to Allow Oregon Cultivators to Export Excess Cannabis

Oregon is currently in the throes of a cannabis surplus crisis, with grams selling as low as $4 and licensed cultivators going broke. The state is growing much more cannabis than it can realistically sell, leading to multiple efforts that aim to allow for the legal exportation of cannabis. Craft Cannabis Alliance is spearheading a bill campaign called One Fix Cannabis to allow legal cannabis cultivators to export excess cannabis to other states. “We must be prepared to take leadership as soon as the opportunity presents itself to export, and we call on the legislature to clear that path by giving the executive branch the authority to act in its best judgment,” Craft Cannabis Alliance wrote. Alliance members set a goal to create a way to legally export cannabis outside of Oregon by 2020. Until then, cultivators in the state will likely continue to sell excess cannabis into the black market.

San Diego

San Diego Considers Cracking Down on Cannabis Billboards and Ads

City Councilmember Chris Cate recently introduced city code updates that would ban cannabis billboard ads within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, youth-oriented facilities, recreation centers, libraries, churches and residential care facilities. Even though Proposition 64 already bans ads within 600 feet of certain sensitive areas, Cate’s proposals would add parks, churches and residential care facilities to the list. It also adds 100-foot buffers around residential housing. “I believe my proposals are fair and reasonable regulations that will provide our code enforcement division and our Police Department with additional tools to better regulate marijuana advertisements within our city and protect our children and families,” said Cate. He also wants to ban cannabis-related advertising from unlicensed operations from internet platforms, newspapers, magazines and other publications. Last March, Cate clashed with the team behind Weedmaps because of illegal cannabis business listings. The updates will be presented by Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s staff to the city council next year.

Deliveries Could Be Allowed in Local California Cities that Banned Cannabis

The Bureau of Cannabis Control, (BCC) the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture made a move on Oct. 19 toward allowing deliveries in local California jurisdictions that have banned cannabis sales. The agencies approved proposed rule changes and other draft regulations, including the controversial cannabis delivery provision. “Today, the BCC decided to ignore the concerns of a broad coalition of local government, labor and law enforcement,” League of California Cities Executive Director Carolyn Coleman stated. “The delivery provisions contained in these regulations seek to subvert the intent of the voters who approved Proposition 64. By removing local governments’ reasonable regulatory authority on cannabis deliveries, the BCC is imposing a ‘one size fits all’ form of cannabis regulation.” The California Police Chiefs Association also opposed the rule changes. The final rules are expected to be finalized in December.

Washington

Third Cannabis Dispensary May Open in Otis Orchards

Otis Orchards is home to two cannabis stores, Apex Cannabis and Primo Cannabis. Now a third business, Nirvana Cannabis Company out of Airway Heights, is considering relocating there as well. A quick look at the stores’ sales will tell you why. According to 502 Data, Apex Cannabis sold nearly $500,000 worth of cannabis products in August of this year alone. Nirvana Cannabis Company, in comparison, sold $76,614 that same month. Despite these sales, which indicate a healthy market, some locals aren’t happy. Nirvana Cannabis Company’s license for its Otis Orchards store still needs approval as of this writing, and several Otis Orchards residents wrote letters to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) and county commissioners to try and stop that from happening. Petitioner Brook Dormaier is one of those residents. “We are adequately served,” Dormaier stated. “If you want to get cannabis products, you can get cannabis products within five minutes from anywhere in Otis Orchards.” With cannabis sales rivaling that of many big city retailers, is the community adequately served? That remains for the LCB to decide.

Washington Brewer Develops Terpene-Infused Beer

Cannabis and beer is a match made in heaven—or most beer and cannabis lovers think so. Unfortunately, The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) still doesn’t allow this kinship to become official. However, some clever brewers have figured out a way to combine these two beloved products. Wingman Brewers in Tacoma collaborated with Trap Door Brewing, Boundary Bay Brewery and Green Rose Gardens to create a terpene-infused IPA. The beer contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) or any other cannabinoids. “The LCB’s big restrictions were that the beer couldn’t contain any THC or CBD,” Ken Thoburn of Wingman Brewers told CULTURE. “So we thought there are so many new interesting strains that have terpenes in them that create really great aromas and flavors in the final product. What Green Rose Gardens could do was work with a lab to press out the oils in the cannabis, separate the THC and CBD and the terpenes, and then isolate those terpenes and add them to the beer.” The brewers decided to use a type of hops with a blueberry flavor known as Denali, combined with the strain Blue Dream based on their complementary terpene profiles.

National

Guam Governor Signs Cannabis Cultivation Bill

On Oct. 9, Gov. Eddie Calvo signed Bill 302, which allows patients and caregivers to grow their own medical cannabis until Guam’s medical cannabis program forms. Patients and caregivers have already been waiting for access to medical cannabis since the island first legalized it in 2014. “This bill was prompted by an initiative voted on by the people of Guam,” Gov. Eddie Calvo stated. “It has been a struggle getting medicinal marijuana to those in our community who need it. Now there’s another option, and that is home cultivation. We believe that this measure will effectuate the use of medicinal marijuana for those that are in need of it.” Per the new law, patients and caregivers can obtain a grower’s permit from the Department of Public Health and Social Services. Once they’ve received a permit, they can grow and possess up to six adult and 12 juvenile plants.

Facebook Comments

Related Articles

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
To stay updated on cannabis news, subscribe to CULTURE’s daily newsletter!
Cool Stuff
Entertainment Reviews