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USDA Grants $200,000 to Hemp Advocacy Group

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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $200,000 in funds to the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC).

The grant money comes from the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), which was created to support and fund international hemp trade. The NIHC will use the grant to help advertise US-based hemp products and fund international research. “We are grateful for USDA confidence and the recognition of NIHC as the industry leader in industrial hemp trade and marketing,” said Senior Vice President of Trade and Marketing at NIHC, Kevin Latner, on November 13. “Today’s announcement makes NIHC a trusted partner to USDA for hemp fiber, feed, food and CBD companies looking to break down trade barriers in markets overseas.”

In 2019, the global value of the industrial hemp product industry was near $11.1 billion in retail sales. This amount is expected to continue to increase with a 52 percent annual growth rate, and an estimated value of $89 billion by 2025.

The NIHC includes Europe, China and Canada as the primary sources of industrial hemp production—the US is the third largest leading producer, following the approval of the 2018 Farm Bill. Europe’s hemp and CBD market is growing rapidly, with industrial hemp product sales reaching $424 million. China leads the majority of the hemp textile market with $1.7 billion.

Along with the $200,000 grant money, the NIHC will soon have access to multiple resources, including “trade negotiators; foreign government counterparts; and a network of international hemp industry association counterparts.”

MAP funds will be transferred via the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA. According to Executive Director of Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, Tina Hamilton, there is much to look forward to in international hemp in the near future. “We’re extremely confident and trust that NIHC will represent the best interests of U.S. industrial hemp abroad. We’re excited to be working with them as part of the USDA cooperator community,” she stated.

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Cannabis Consumption Could Affect Fertility Rates

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Results from a recent study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and published in the Human Reproduction journal, show evidence that women who consume cannabis could be less likely to get pregnant.

According to the results of the study, which is called “Cannabis use while trying to conceive: a prospective cohort study evaluating associations with fecundability, live birth and pregnancy loss,” women who tested positive in a urine test for cannabis were 40 percent less likely to get pregnant during each menstrual cycle. A difference in reproductive hormones was also apparent between those who consumed cannabis and those who did not. “These results highlight potentially harmful associations between cannabis use and reproductive health outcomes,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Study participants were tested for six months while actively trying to get pregnant. They reported whether they used cannabis, and provided at least two urine samples, one at the start of the study and another six months later, or at the time of pregnancy.

According to researchers, other studies have suggested that cannabis can change the lining of the uterus, but those studies were only conducted on animals. More research is necessary in order to show how cannabis affects fertility in humans.

Additionally, even the researchers themselves admit that only a small number of people in the study consumed cannabis, which resulted in a small sample pool. It also didn’t account for cannabis use in partners. So, while it shows there is a link, it only exhibits minor evidence of a correlation between cannabis and fertility problems.

The study also involved only those who had experienced a previous miscarriage, so more information would be required in order to show that the same findings are present in cannabis users who have not had miscarriages.

For the time being, the authors are cautioning that those trying to conceive should be cautious about using cannabis, according to an official statement. Until more information is gathered, however, there are no conclusive findings about how cannabis impacts fertility in women.

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Michigan Prosecutor Will No Longer Pursue Cannabis Cases

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Eli Savit, a prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, Michigan, recently stated that he will no longer pursue charges over possessing entheogenic substances (such as mushrooms or ayahuasca) or cannabis.

To support his decision, Savit argues that drug laws encourage racial disparities, and neither cannabis nor substances like psilocybin mushrooms are dangerous. Recreational cannabis is legal in Michigan, and the city of Ann Arbor decriminalized entheogenic substances.

“The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office will no longer file criminal charges for unauthorized use or possession of marijuana or cannabis, regardless of the amount at issue,” the new directive explains.

In addition to this, Savit Tweeted about this decision. “We’ve long known that marijuana is as safe as alcohol. It thus makes no more sense to charge someone for having ‘too much’ cannabis than it does to charge people for having ‘too many’ bottles of wine. And we won’t, any longer,” Savit wrote.

This won’t be the end of all cannabis- or entheogen-related cases for Savit, as special circumstances or in large-scale distribution cases would be the exception. However, there will be a “a general presumption against filing criminal charges” for such substances.

“The Prosecutor’s Office will not contest any application for expungement where the underlying charge was for the possession, use, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana,” the directive continues. “This policy applies both to marijuana-related conduct that is now lawful in the aftermath of 2018’s Proposal 1, as well as marijuana-related conduct that is not.”

“Criminalization of entheogenic plants simply doesn’t make sense,” the prosecutor said in the official statement. “They’re not addictive. They don’t cause violent behavior. And other jurisdictions have successfully decriminalized them without any negative consequences.”

While the cannabis industry is new, and entheogens are barely legal, prosecutors such as Savit are making it a point not to criminalize low-level cases of possession and distribution.

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Strain of the Week: Midnite

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Whoever first said that “nothing good happens after midnight” clearly was not enjoying life. Maybe it was said to perpetuate safety, specifically toward rambunctious youth who went gallivanting around in the forest at night. Or maybe it was more geared toward superstitious beliefs about witches or paranormal entities who roam around when the sun goes down. Either way, whoever said it definitely hadn’t seen a Gremlins movie, which contrary to the plot which warns against feeding a Gremlin at night, is one of the weirdest and best 1980s movies ever (change our mind). Ultimately though, cannabis after midnight can be a treat, especially when it’s a strain like Midnite.

Midnite is a cross between Bubba Kush and Chem #4. Bubba Kush is well-known for its earthiness, deep pine aroma and ability to induce sleep (not to mention that, as reviewers put it, it’s so widely loved that consuming it is often like “greeting an old friend at the airport”). Chem #4, which is also short for Chemdog/Chemdawg, is a zesty hybrid, complete with scents and flavors of lemon, that delivers full body effects of relaxation and euphoria. Between these two powerhouse strains create a unique strain child that’s full of potential.

Described as light green and denser than a dogwood tree, Midnite strain samples were absolutely covered in frosty trichomes—so much that it almost seemed like it was covered in freshly fallen snow, or even might glow when placed in a dark place. Surprisingly, the bud didn’t have much of a scent until it was ground up, revealing a potent chemmy aroma that made our seasoned reviewers salivate. Upon inhalation, the flower was robust but not harsh, leading to full body relaxation that didn’t feel lethargic. It won’t stop anyone from getting a full night’s sleep when ready to crash, however, and the rest of its qualities were deep and relaxing.

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