News Nuggets – October 2018

Bay Area

Cannabis Events Approved for Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds

On Aug. 28, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved temporary event permits for cannabis-related events at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. “We believe that subject to these conditions, temporary events could create an economic benefit to the county, certainly to the fairgrounds and also the local cannabis industry, and we are supportive of providing local authorization for these events,” Santa Cruz County Cannabis Licensing Manager Robin Bolster-Grant stated at the meeting. The conditions include allowing only state-licensed cannabis retailers, and no admission for people under the age of 21, with the exception of medical patients ages 18 to 20. The sale of tobacco and alcohol at the same events will be prohibited. Events must be covered by insurance, and vendors would have to pay the county’s seven percent cannabis sales tax on top of normal taxes. The first cannabis event could happen as early as next spring.

California Highway Patrol Hosts Cannabis Summit

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) hosted the Marijuana Traffic Safety Summit in Dublin on Aug. 27, attracting a crowd of a few hundred people. Law enforcement, medical workers and lawmakers were in attendance. According to the CHP, arrests involving people driving under the influence of cannabis have recently surged 31 percent in California. The CHP reminded attendees that driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal, just like driving under the influence of alcohol. Police hope to better inform Californian residents of the laws that are currently in place. “This isn’t something that happens overnight,” CHP Chief Ernie Sanchez said. “We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. In fact, if the numbers remain the same, we’ll see a 102 percent increase in [cannabis-related] DUI collisions in just the San Francisco Bay Area.” Other studies, including a crime report recently issued by California Attorney General Xavier Bacerra, suggest otherwise, and claim that cannabis-related crimes have actually decreased in California.

Colorado

Cannabis Dispensary Sponsors Mural in Denver

Denver’s 2018 CRUSH WALLS festival drew more than 70 local and international artists to the Mile High City’s River North Art District to take their talents to the street. Spanning across 10 blocks of the RiNo neighborhood, murals were painted on the sides of buildings, turning the area into an outdoor art gallery. Denver dispensary, L’Eagle, partnered with and sponsored a mural created by local artists, Patrick Kane McGregor, Mike “Giant” LeSage and Jason Garcia. L’Eagle co-owner Amy Andrle has been a huge fan of CRUSH WALLS for years and strongly supports the Denver arts scene. Andrle said in a release, “It’s important for local businesses to support artistic endeavors such as CRUSH WALLS festival, which puts local artists and Denver’s neighborhood cityscapes in the spotlight.” The 100- by 30-foot mural is located at Chestnut Place between 35th and 46th Streets. Artist Robin Munro founded CRUSH WALLS in 2018. The mural, which is “spotlighting a message of love through each artist’s style,” will stay up through the year.

Excessive Number of Cannabis Plants Removed from Public Lands in 2017

A significant amount of illegally-grown cannabis plants was removed from Colorado public lands in 2017. U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and Homeland Security Investigations worked together with local law enforcement to investigate this issue. A recent report released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Colorado stated that more than 71,000 plants were removed from approximately 40 acres throughout Colorado. U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer stated in the report, “It took hundreds of hours to clean up each site to mitigate the environmental harm to the public lands.” Not only were the cannabis cultivation operations illegal, they were also potentially harmful to the environment by altering the land’s natural state, introducing foreign pesticides and illegally using water from rivers. “Public lands are just that—they’re public and belong to all of us,” Troyer said. “These black marketers abuse our land, our water, our animals and plants. With these

Los Angeles

Costa Mesa Issues 13th Cannabis Business Permit

In a 3-2 vote, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission granted a conditional use permit to the city’s 13th cannabis business on Sept. 24. Pivot Naturals, a cannabis manufacturing and distribution facility, plans on refining cannabis oil into a powder mixture to be used in tablets, food and beverages. The company will convert an existing 5,283-square-foot facility into a major cannabis operation. The decision to grant the permit followed controversial arguments. Most of the meeting’s heated discussion was focused on the company’s hours of operation. “I haven’t heard any substantive reason for why we would say that this industry cannot operate 24 hours a day but another industry can,” said Planning Commission Chairman Stephan Andranian. The commission ended up settling on allowing Pivot Naturals to open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

LAX Announces that Cannabis is Permitted in Airport

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) announced on Sept. 26 that travelers can carry cannabis at the airport, so long as they are able to pass U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks. “In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and eight grams of concentrated marijuana. However, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state-by-state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel,” the announcement read. According to Los Angeles Airport Police Spokesperson Alicia Hernandez, cannabis has technically been legal at the airport since January 2018 with the implementation of Proposition 64. But the TSA reports to the federal government, so it’s unclear if TSA agents will continue to confiscate cannabis or alert authorities. California’s John Wayne Airport and Oakland International Airport also report that only TSA agents can stop passengers for possessing cannabis.

Michigan

Study Finds Cannabis Consumption Among College Students Hits New High

According to the University of Michigan’s latest “Monitoring the Future” national survey, college cannabis consumption is at its highest level since 1987. Thirty-eight percent of students said they had consumed cannabis at least once during the last year, while 21 percent said they had consumed cannabis during the last month. “The continued increase of daily marijuana use among noncollege youth is especially worrisome,” said John Schulenberg, principal investigator with Monitoring the Future panel study. “The brain is still growing in the early 20s, and the scientific evidence indicates that heavy marijuana use can be detrimental to cognitive functioning and mental health.” Participants ranged between 19 and 22 years of age. The study also found that one in six college-aged men had 10 or more alcoholic drinks in a row at least once.

Ann Arbor City Council Blocks Additional Restrictions on Provisioning Centers

On Sept. 4, the Ann Arbor City Council rejected proposed additional zoning restrictions on provisioning centers in the city. The restrictions would have increased buffer zones around schools and daycare centers from 600 feet to 1,000 feet. Most citizens who spoke out at the meeting were in favor of the proposed restrictions, including preschool directors and licensed physicians. “None of the families for whom I have signed the authorization to obtain medical marijuana have found trouble finding a dispensary,” said Dr. Kenneth Pituch. Even Pituch himself admitted to prescribing medical cannabis, but expressed that he still believed the restrictions were needed. Some citizens said they feared the normalization of cannabis in the eyes of children. But despite their pleas, Mayor Christopher Taylor and the majority of the city council felt that the added restrictions were unnecessary, and the proposal was rejected.

Oregon

The Oregon Farm Bureau Defends Deschutes County Cannabis Cultivators

On Aug. 28, the Oregon Farm Bureau sent a letter to Deschutes County commissioners and urged them to reject a proposal to toughen up the county’s cannabis regulations. The bureau believes that cannabis farmers in the area should be treated the same way as other farmers. “The proposed text amendments exceed the scope of the ‘reasonable time, place and manner’ carve out to Oregon’s Right to Farm law granted by the legislature, violate Oregon’s Right to Farm and land use planning goals, and undermine the integrity of the exclusive farm use zone.” The issues include excessive half-mile buffer zones, inconsistencies in the state’s Right to Farm law, and excessive light noise and odor regulations. The bureau claims that cannabis farmers are treated far differently than other farmers, despite having legal operations. The area is home to rural farmers that are inherently hostile towards cannabis farmers.

Judge Dismisses Josephine County’s Anti-Cannabis Lawsuit 

Josephine County officials filed a lawsuit against the state of Oregon last April and aimed to reject the state’s permissive cannabis laws that allow cultivation operations in the area. County officials filed the suit after its strict county cannabis regulations were overturned with an appeal from local cannabis farmers. But Josephine County officials were ultimately unsuccessful after multiple attempts to stop cannabis cultivation in the area. “The Ninth Circuit has long held that a political subdivision of a state lacks standing to challenge a state law in federal court on supremacy grounds,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke stated in his Aug. 30 ruling. The judge also said that Josephine County officials were unable to prove that the state’s cannabis laws caused any damage to the area. Cannabis industry insiders worried that if Josephine County officials were successful in their lawsuit, other counties would follow suit and reject state law as well.

San Diego

Lemon Grove Officials Approve Second Medical Cannabis Dispensary

The Lemon Grove City Council voted 4-0 on Tues, Sept. 4 to give a conditional use permit to a second medical cannabis dispensary. The dispensary is currently unnamed, but is approved to open on Federal Boulevard. The new business is less than one mile from the city’s first legal dispensary, called The Grove, which was approved in June. Lemon Grove City Councilmembers voiced concerns about the second dispensary’s location, because of the distance from The Grove, as well as its previous history as a former church and past issues regarding the homeless population who have been known to frequent the area. Ultimately, the city agreed with the request that the unnamed dispensary is tasked to improve the surrounding area. According to the meeting agenda, the “tenant and site improvements including new landscape and trees, weed abatement, street improvements and utility undergrounding are proposed or in-lieu provided.”

UCSD to Receive Canadian Import License for Study

The University of California, San Diego announced in a press release on Sept. 18 plans for a new study, which received the Drug Enforcement Administration’s approval to obtain an import license from well-known Canadian cannabis company, Tilray. Currently, the only federally legal cannabis cultivator that can provide cannabis for research purposes is the University of Mississippi. The clinical trial aims to discover more about how cannabis interacts with adults who suffer from essential tremor (ET). Fatta Nahab, MD, who is a neurologist at UC San Diego Health, as well as an associate professor of neurosciences at the UCSD School of Medicine, is confident that this study will open many new doors for cannabis studies in the future. “This study will provide key insights,” he said in a press release. “If found to be safe and effective, cannabis would not only serve as an exciting new addition to the limited treatment options currently available for patients with ET, but it might also provide scientists with new insights on essential tremor.” The study is set to start in early 2019, beginning phases I and II of the trial, which will look closely at the “efficacy and tolerability of an oral cannabis formulation comprised of cannabidiol (CBD) and low-dose tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”

Washington

Statewide Cannabis Packaging Needs to be Eco-Friendly
If you live in Washington, you’ve likely noticed the influx of cannabis trash on the streets. It’s everywhere?and that’s just the litter. The landfills are quickly becoming inundated with legal cannabis trash. That’s because cannabis packaging isn’t recyclable or compostable. It’s time for the state legislators to fix this problem that all of Washington is currently facing. Cannabis waste isn’t accepted by most recycling centers because it’s still federally illegal. Additionally, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board regulations restrict cannabis retailers from allowing customers to reuse containers, like they do in Colorado. Julia Lee from The Cannabis Alliance shared what she sees as solutions for the waste problem in cannabis. “The Cannabis Alliance sees the solution to the problem as two parts. First is alternative, compostable packaging. The problem is not that the material is unavailable, because it is available,” Lee explained. “The problem is that it is not economically competitive, and we can’t incentivize producers/processors to make the switch right now because they will get pushed out of the market due to their margins.”

Eastern Washington Candidates Express Support of Cannabis
In November, candidates U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic challenger Lisa Brown will face off on eastern Washington ballots. Brown has long established herself as an advocate and ally for the cannabis cause. McMorris Rodgers, who didn’t support the passage of Initiative 502 initially, has shown some progress on her cannabis stance. On her website, Brown names cannabis as one of her top issues. Brown vows to “protect voter-approved marijuana legalization and shield the industry from federal interference.” Brown wants to help protect the cannabis industry with measures such as introducing federal legislation that would make the Cole Memo settled federal law. Brown is not alone in her support of cannabis, even in conservative eastern Washington. In Spokane, the largest populated area in eastern Washington, 52 percent of voters were in support of I-502. Perhaps it’s this fact, and the subsequent financial success of legal cannabis in Washington, that encouraged McMorris Rodgers to soften her stance on legal cannabis. The incumbent congresswoman has switched her stance from opposing a reclassification of cannabis to saying she’d need more information to make a decision. McMorris Rodgers has also come out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memo.

National

Edibles Sales Projected to Grow 25 Percent Over Next Four Years

According to the latest numbers released by Technavio, a market research report firm, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of cannabis edibles sales in legal states is projected to increase 25 percent over the next four years. “A major sector of the cannabis market is made up of cannabis edibles, also known as cannabis-infused foods,” according to FinancialBuzz.com. “A market report by Technavio estimates that the edible products market will witness considerable growth during the period 2018-2022 at a CAGR of over 25 percent by the end of the period. Edible products are used for both medical and recreational purposes, depending on their cannabinoid compounds.” While some people prefer to stay away from edibles due to their delayed release of cannabinoids, sales continue to grow at a consistent pace as more consumers become educated on the benefits of edibles and titration.

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