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Oklahoma House Passes Medical Protection Bill

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Oklahoma legislators have passed a medical protection bill, known as the “Unity Bill,” which provide safeguards for the cannabis-using community in the state. This bill is now officially passed by the House and the Senate.

House Bill 2612, presented by House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, and also known as the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, passed the state House with a 93-5 vote, and then passed the Senate. This bill represents a bipartisan effort to create a good framework for patients.

The purpose of the bill is to protect patients and their much-needed access to medical cannabis. It prohibits any restrictions on types or forms of medical cannabis products, which makes patients feel better about avoiding a future smokable cannabis ban, or some kind of restriction on THC content allowed.

This new bill also prohibits schools or landlords from refusing to enroll students or allow people to rent because of their medical cannabis use. It also protects parents from losing custody of their kids because they are cannabis patients. The bill also lays out guidelines for businesses, patients, and caregivers, as well as for cannabis testing frameworks.

Oklahoma may seem like an unlikely partner for the cannabis industry, but they are actually trying to take some steps away from such restrictive drug policy. They fully realize they have an issue with the opioid epidemic, and even took mega-company Johnson & Johnson to court over it. They also permit youth cannabis patients to use cannabis at school if need be.

With these new protections in place, Oklahoma will be able to protect cannabis patients from future laws that come along. Whether or not recreational cannabis is tweaked when it goes through, medical will be protected.

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Arizona Dispensaries Can Now Apply to Sell Cannabis

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Just months after voters approved Proposition 207 in November 2020, Arizona’s cannabis program is now poised to approve applications for dispensaries.

At last count, 40 out of the 131 medical cannabis dispensaries in the state have applied to sell recreational cannabis. “We are reviewing the applications in order,” said Arizona Department of Health Services Spokesperson Steve Elliott. “The pace of individual approvals will depend on whether each application is complete.”

“This has been a long journey. And, today is a big day for all of us,” said Lilach Mazor Power of Giving Tree, a Phoenix dispensary that is applying to sell recreational cannabis. “Today marks the day that we’re this much closer to be able to share our experience with others.”

There has been some concern in the past about the $25,000 fee associated with the licensing process, but Demitri Downing of the Arizona Marijuana Industry Association feels that the fee will more than pay off for those who are able to enter the industry. “If you gave me a suitcase full of cash with $15 million, I would have trouble buying you a license,” Downing said. “Everybody’s waiting for that license to be worth 17, 18, 19 million dollars for the right alone—the right alone—to sell adult-use marijuana.”

Currently, only existing medical dispensaries are eligible to sell recreational cannabis. The state will eventually expand the recreational program after all the already established dispensaries have had a chance to apply, and many are hopeful that it won’t be long before these initial licenses are processed. “Seeing how easy and smooth the application is and how Arizona is on top of it…I think we can say between 48 hours from now. It depends on how long it takes them,” Power said.

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Jay-Z Launches Fund for Minority Cannabis Business Owners

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Rapper and record producer Jay-Z recently opened an investment fund to assist minority cannabis business owners who are trying to get into the cannabis industry.

The fund is the result of Jay-Z’s drive to help Black people get the opportunities they deserve. Minority groups have been largely kept out of the cannabis industry due to bearing the brunt from the War on Drugs, and instead, wealthy, white investors have taken hold. “We were the ones most negatively affected by the War on Drugs, and America has turned around and created a business from it that’s worth billions,” Jay-Z told the Wall Street Journal. “I wanted to do something in a real, concrete way, where I do my part.”

While the industry is growing fast, even despite the ongoing pandemic, black people still have trouble accessing the market due to the fact that they were, and in some places still are, more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis. Currently, the industry is still 81 percent white, with only 4.3 percent of business owners being Black, according to a 2017 Marijuana Business Daily survey.

In order to create the fund, Jay-Z acquired two cannabis firms based in California: Left Coast Ventures and CMG Partners. Under the heading of Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp., the goal is to fund “Social Equity Ventures” starting with $10 million, and adding in two percent of net income each year to grow the fund.

In addition to this, the money that companies will receive will be significant. The plan is to invest up to $1 million in each cannabis startup it supports. Jay-Z will run the fund along with Desiree Perez, the CEO of Roc Nation, his entertainment company.

Of course, great financial backing or not, one single fund can’t back all the minority business owners and bring full equity to the industry overnight, but the future holds a lot of opportunity for minority groups trying to get into the industry.

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Strain of the Week: Orange Cookies

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January is known for a few things. First, New Year’s resolutions (that tend to fade in interest after about 30 days), second is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and of course, third is the annual return of Girl Scout Cookies. Having been in the cookie business since the 1920s, the Girl Scouts have consistently built up a cookie empire to help break countless Americans from their lofty goals of eating healthy and losing weight. This year, the organization unveiled a new cookie, called “Toast-Yay!” that offers a crunchy cinnamon flavor inspired by arguably the best breakfast foods—French Toast. While the hype for cookies is ever present, the year-long obsession with cookies-related strains is hard to beat.

There are numerous strains that are made famous through sporting the “Cookies” name, such as Orange Cookies. Not only identifiable as a flavor that the Girl Scouts organization doesn’t embrace (they offer some lemon flavors instead), but this strain also offers a beautifully light orange blossom scent as well. The large, dense buds that made up our sample of Orange Cookies was bright green, and nearly oozed trichomes by the look of the white sheen that covered its surface. As a result, it’s sticky in every sense of the word.

Upon inhalation, the smoke is smooth and pleasant, and brings on an interesting cerebral buzz that settles into full blown euphoria as it spreads throughout the body. While your muscles are soothed and relaxed of nearly all tension, your body is calm and relaxed—but that doesn’t mean that you will be completely sedated or disoriented. Orange Cookies not only has a unique flavor profile, but it also helps in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression for some consumers. It’s the perfect way to sit inside and count the days until a warm spring day arrives.

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