Member Blog: Hemp and Marijuana Genetics – A Closer Look At The Differences

by George Mouratidis, Industrial Hemp Farms There are many ways to classify cannabis variants, but the most popular distinction is between hemp and marijuana. Although most of us take these classifications for granted, perhaps you’ve wondered if they are really legit? Put another way: are there real genetic and anatomical differences between marijuana and hemp? And, if so, what are they? The hemp/marijuana classification is still a major debate within the cannabis community. Although up-to-date research suggests there are genetic differences, critics contend these distinctions have much more to do with legality than botany. To better understand the complexity of the hemp v. marijuana classification, let’s quickly go through a primer on the cannabis genus. Afterward, we’ll take a closer look at the differences often associated with hemp v. marijuana and why these terms have gained such prominence. The Basics Of Cannabis Distinctions The first thing we should clear up is that the word “cannabis” is reserved for the plant genus. This means that both hemp and marijuana technically fall under the cannabis label. For many years, botanists have categorized the cannabis genus into the following three groups: Cannabis sativa Cannabis indica Cannabis ruderalis Of these three, sativa and indica are probably the most familiar to you. Usually, cannabis connoisseurs draw the sativa v. indica distinction to help differentiate the physiological effects of each strain. Sativa-heavy strains are said to be more energizing while indicas are supposedly more sedating. It’s important to remember, however, that sativas and indicas were first split up due to their flowering patterns and features. Here are just a few of the key distinctions often ascribed to these two cannabis variants: Indicas Short Fat leaves Fast-growing Enjoys mild climate Sativas Tall Thin leaves Slow-growing Enjoys a humid climate Ruderalis is a shrub-like variety of cannabis that evolved in harsh northern environments. Due to its history in regions with little light or warmth, ruderalis strains evolved unique genetics that allows them to flower automatically rather than relying on specific amounts of light. Cultivators nowadays cross-breed ruderalis strains with indicas, sativas, or hybrids to create what are known as “autoflowering seeds.” These auto varieties are convenient due to their predictable flowering period, but they tend to have fewer cannabinoids than standard sativas or indicas. Most often new cannabis cultivators use auto seeds to gain valuable growing experience. Hemp v. Marijuana: The Legal Distinction So, why do we need a hemp v. marijuana distinction on top of all these cannabis varieties? A short answer is that drawing the line between hemp and marijuana helps a lot in the legal department. You see, hemp is legally defined as a substance containing less than 0.3 percent of the high-inducing compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana, on the other hand, could have 0.3 percent THC content or above. Obviously, this makes it a lot easier for legal authorities to categorize what is and what is not legal. As of today, the U.S. legalized hemp at a federal level, but marijuana laws vary by state. Beyond THC: The Different Uses Of Hemp V. Marijuana This all doesn’t mean that the hemp v. marijuana distinction was arbitrarily drawn up to help legislators. OK, the 0.3 percent benchmark was pretty arbitrary, however, it’s true that hemp naturally produces less THC than marijuana strains. But there’s more to this story than just THC. Now that the CBD market has skyrocketed, it’s often hard for us to imagine non-edible uses of hemp. However, for most of human history, hemp has been cultivated strictly for industrial purposes. Indeed, people have used the hemp plant’s fibrous stalks to make clothing and rope for thousands of years. Amazingly, hemp is now showing great potential in a variety of fields including papers, plastics, cosmetics, and even fuel. Marijuana, on the other hand, has always been associated with recreational and medical use. Growers who cultivated marijuana were always interested in maximizing certain terpene and cannabinoid profiles for their chosen strain. So, the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana is still valid and useful as the cannabis industry expands. Growing hemp for industrial purposes is far more interested in quantity rather than quality. Marijuana cultivation, on the other hand, requires a greater degree of care and attention to detail. Industrial hemp cultivators could often get away with planting their male and female seeds in rather tough environments. Professional marijuana cultivators, on the other hand, need to focus a lot of attention on making their environment hospitable for female seeds. Of course, there are now many high-CBD hemp cultivators out there using similar marijuana grow methods. With that in mind, it’s still quite useful for cultivators to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana to better plan their growth cycle. Does Hemp Look Different Than Marijuana? Now we know how hemp and marijuana differ in THC content, growth features, and traditional uses… but do they look different? To the untrained eye, mature hemp and marijuana might appear to be the same. Indeed, there are many cases of police accidentally arresting truck drivers for “marijuana possession” when they were actually transporting hemp. There are, however, a few key anatomical differences to look out for. For instance, hemp plants are generally taller than most varieties of marijuana. Remember that many cultivators are interested in hemp’s fibrous stalks, which is why they’ve bred them to grow as tall as possible. In addition to their height, hemp plants also tend to have thinner fan leaves compared with most strains of marijuana. These hemp leaves also tend to be concentrated at the top of the hemp flower with few leaves further down the stem. Marijuana plants, on the other hand, tend to have more leaves evenly spread throughout their branches. Looking Into The Genes: Novel Research On Hemp v. Marijuana After reading the above description, you might understandably conclude that hemp strains might lean more towards the sativa side. After all, sativas are typically associated with tall height and thin leaves. While this makes logical sense, recent genetic research is changing how we think about the sativa v. indica theory. A team of Canadian researchers recently published a study examining the genetic makeup of over 80 marijuana and about 40 hemp strains. Shockingly, they found that hemp plants have a closer genetic tie to indicas rather than sativas. Most marijuana strains, however, showed a mix of sativa and indica influences. The scientists concluded that there was enough of a genetic difference between hemp and marijuana strains to warrant the classification. Of course, more research will be necessary to understand these complex hereditary differences. So, Is The Hemp v. Marijuana Distinction Valid? While there will likely still be a debate about the hemp v. marijuana distinction, this classification system is popular for good reason. Also, there appears to be a scientific basis for grouping hemp and marijuana into separate genetic categories. Distinguishing between hemp and marijuana can help consumers make a more informed decision when purchasing hemp flowers, hemp trim, oils, or other products. Plus, with the growing interest in hemp’s industrial uses, it’s important for farmers to separate out strains for industry and those for human consumption. While it might not be a perfect classification system, “hemp v. marijuana” is still around because it continues to help cultivators and consumers make informed choices. George Mouratidis is a cannabis writer and freelance contributor to Industrial Hemp Farms, Cannabis Tech, and Highlife Media. IHF LLC is a Colorado-based, fully licensed & certified hemp farming and wholesale company. IHF wholesales CBD hemp biomass and many different cultivars of clones and seeds. The Company also wholesales CBD distillate, T-Free, Decarboxylated Crude, Isolate and other cannabinoids produced at our extraction facility. One of our primary goals is to make mutually beneficial deals, connections and contacts in the hemp industry.

Medmen Cutting 190+ Jobs

Medmen Enterprises is cutting more than 190 jobs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The layoffs come about a month after the firm terminated a $682 million merger with PharmaCann.The first cuts affected 80 corporate employees as the company looks to break even next year. It’s part of a five-part plan that includes selling some assets, consolidating its corporate offices in Los Angeles, California, and slow opening some locations. Medmen lost $79 million during the 12 months that ended on July 29. Zeeshan Hyder, chief financial officer, said the firm reassessed their business and “realized that the best way for us to generate long-term value is by narrowing our scope and focusing only on our core markets where we have operating leverage and economies of scale.” Morningstar analyst Kristoffer Inton told the Tribune that cannabis dispensaries are, “a tough business.” “You are trying to purchase weed and try to sell it,” he said in the report. “It’s kind of a cost-plus kind of business.” “We don’t see anyone else doing cost-cutting. That isn’t usually a good sign. If I saw any one (of the publicly traded cannabis companies) trying to save on costs, it would be shocking to me.” – Inton to the Tribune Currently, Medmen operates 32 dispensaries in nine states, including one of the 14 Illinois dispensaries that were approved for “same-site” adult-use cannabis sales at their location in Chicago. Get daily news insights in your inbox. Subscribe Authored By: TG Branfalt TG is a journalist by trade and has covered cannabis industry news for Ganjapreneur.com since 2014. He teaches media studies at an upstate New York university and is also the host of the Ganjapreneur Podcast.

Bringing the Worker Co-Op Revolution to Legal Weed

It turns out that folks would rather be the CEO of a dollar than the co-owner of one thousand dollars,” said Lanese Martin, co-founder of the Hood Incubator. “When I first started organizing folks in the legal cannabis industry in Oakland, CA, I realized I couldn’t always teach people to fight for justice rather than the opportunity to oppress someone else.” Martin spoke on November 9 at the 2019 Reform conference in St. Louis, during a roundtable of cannabis activists, regulators and researchers focused on repairing the harms of marijuana prohibition. She continued, “But I did see an opportunity when people started miserably failing. There might be a glimmer of hope that they would see, ‘Maybe we should come together.’” Martin’s Hood Incubator launched in 2017 to help provide business training, opportunities and resources to Black and Brown entrepreneurs fighting for a cannabis business license in Oakland’s new legal cannabis market. But the licensing process in her city has been notoriously difficult. Even after it implemented its first-in-the-nation social equity program, intended to reduce barriers for disadvantaged applicants, Oakland has struggled to award licenses quickly and easily. It only issued four equity permits in January 2018, though as of September that year over 600 people had applied to the equity program. So if the legal cannabis industry has stumbled on its promise to create justice and equity post-prohibition, is there another way forward? For Emily Ramos—co-founder of ¡High Mi Madre!—the answer is clear: worker co-operatives. Worker co-operatives, or “co-ops,” are businesses where employees and workers own an equal part of the business, share in revenues or profits, and vote on how the business is run. Ramos distinguished between “producer co-ops,” like Ocean Spray, and “consumer co-ops,” like the Park Slope Food Co-Op in Brooklyn, New York. Consumer co-ops require their customers to become members to enjoy certain benefits and incentives. Then there are the hybrids. “We’re fighting to be a hybrid worker-/consumer-owned cooperative where all our workers are owners of the business,” Ramos said. “But our consumers, the people from our community, can also buy membership in our co-op to have a discount on our services and products.” In anticipation of cannabis legalization in New York, Ramos and her business partner, Pilar DeJesus, are building the groundwork for cannabis and hemp co-ops. ¡High Mi Madre! has been educating communities around New York City about the legal cannabis industry, while also joining forces with the Drug Policy Alliance to advocate and lobby for statewide legislation. Ramos credited Green Worker Cooperatives, a co-op incubator and training academy in the Bronx, for giving ¡High Mi Madre! the knowledge and resources to grow. Even after graduating its five-month Co Op Academy, Ramos says the incubator has continued supporting her business and even furnished it with a grant. “Funding is a big barrier for us. We don’t want to sell ourselves to corporations or sell off our business, so how can we use our community to gather the funds and leverage capital?” Ramos asked. “In our advocacy in New York, we’re fighting for more money for business incubators in our community. We’re demanding free attorneys for trademarking, incorporation, and contract services. We’re asking for money for organizations in our communities that fund worker co-operatives and women- and minority-owned businesses.” Co-ops can be a valuable economic alternative for people of color, low-income communities and other marginalized people who face various barriers or discrimination in employment or entrepreneurship. They offer workers a chance to own their labor and resources and have a say in how they are used. Ramos noted that undocumented immigrants, who might be excluded from or exploited by traditional businesses, can also find empowerment in co-ops. Ramos and DeJesus want to make co-ops more central to the cannabis legalization debate, and to help develop a nationwide network of cannabis co-ops at every step of the supply and production chain: growers, retailers, distributors, brands, CBD, hemp and more. “Cooperatives will remain strong. They’re not going anywhere. Their goal is not to get bought.” Legislation for cannabis co-ops already exists in states like Massachusetts and California, but progress has been glacial. Massachusetts state law allows for cannabis farmer “craft cooperatives,” but not a single one has been licensed. In California, farmer co-ops band together to offer a quality product, but have trouble competing with increasingly consolidated corporate operations. Ramos proposed that when the federal government legalizes cannabis, it should offer more money for states that support and encourage co-ops. But the hard work, she emphasized, must come now, at the state level—pre-legalization—to mold future federal policy. Ramos sounded a profoundly hopeful note in a panel that otherwise laid bare the broken promises of cannabis legalization. Cannabis regulators Cat Packer, director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation, and Shaleen Title of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission acknowledged the slow progress of cannabis social equity and stark racial disparities in ownership of the legal markets in their states. Meanwhile, Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah of the University of Toronto detailed his difficulties studying racial disparities in cannabis arrests in Canada—mostly because the government neglected to even collect data on it. If cannabis co-ops do not eliminate these systemic inequities for people of color, they could at least empower them to greater economic autonomy. Lanese Martin acknowledged this potential. “If—as I believe to be true—the cannabis industry consolidates like all other industries, cooperatives will remain strong,” she said. “They’re not going anywhere. They will have a strong percentage share wherever they’re based. Their goal is not to get bought. Communities will continue propping them up.  “It’s good to know you’re creating this foundation so when folks get desperate, they can tap in,” she said to Ramos. The sooner people of color educate themselves about legal cannabis, Ramos urged, the sooner they can reclaim what was taken from them. “A lot of people of color are told we should tokenize ourselves and go work for a white corporation so they can benefit from our creativity. I think it’s total bullshit that we think that is our only option. Our communities have always run the marijuana industry in the legacy [illicit] market, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be running it now in the legal market.” Photo, courtesy of Shaleen Title, shows from left-to-right: Queen Adesuyi, a policy manager for Drug Policy Alliance who chaired the panel; Shaleen Title, a commissioner on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission; Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, University of Toronto; Emily Ramos, founder of ¡High Mi Madre!; Lanese Martin, co-founder of the Hood Incubator; Cat Packer, executive director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation, City of Los Angeles. 

West Virginia to begin accepting medical marijuana permit applications

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia will soon begin accepting permit applications for medical cannabis. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health will accept applications for growers, processors, dispensaries, and laboratories beginning Dec. 19. "The announcement of upcoming application availability is the first step in the process of permitting industry applicants," a DHHR press release states. The application is online only. The application period will remain open for 60 days. Feb. 18, 2020 at 3 p.m. is the cutoff. “This is a key step in the process to make medical cannabis available to West Virginians with serious medical conditions,” said Jason Frame, director of the West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis. “We and many others continue to work toward a goal of providing eligible West Virginia residents the ability to procure quality-tested medical cannabis.” West Virginia passed a medical marijuana law in 2017, but concerns arose shortly after about how West Virginia would comply with federal law when handling taxes and fees. State lawmakers passed a bill in March of this year, House Bill 2538, that determined how money should be processed in the medical marijuana industry. The legislation allows the state treasurer to competitively bid banking services, and provides legal protections for the treasurer and state employees involved in cannabis banking. It opened the door for additional financial organizations, like credit unions, to bid for the job. Traditional banking companies initially showed a lack of interest in handling marijuana money because it is still federally illegal. During the special session in May, lawmakers passed a medical marijuana vertical integration bill. The legislation allows one business to grow, process, and sell a product with the right permits. The bill only allows West Virginia companies to seek permits, keeping money and jobs within the state. Senate Bill 1037 also changes current law by eliminating a requirement for doctors to try or consider opioids before prescribing medical marijuana. In June, the Associated Press reported that patients and caregivers shouldn't expect their program cards or physicians certificates anytime soon -- saying it could take two to three years before they can get their hands on medical cannabis. Then in September, State Treasurer John Perdue announced a contract was awarded in connection with the financial side of the state's medical marijuana program. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) spokeswoman Allison Adler tells WSAZ it will likely take approximately 18 months before patients can procure medical cannabis.

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Credible, accurate information about medical cannabis is in high demand - and more now than ever before. As cannabis laws continue to change across the United States and around the world, many suffering patients and people seeking wellness benefits from the cannabis plant are gaining access to legal medical cannabis for the first time. It is extremely important for those medical cannabis patients to know what types of cannabis products will help them, which consumption methods are best for their situation, and what they should avoid. With so much misinformation about medical cannabis in existence today, many of those patients will turn to their healthcare providers for answers.  For healthcare providers who want to help patients in this area, it is vital that they possess a working knowledge of cannabis, or at least the fundamentals. This is why Green Flower is proud to announce that we have partnered with CannaMedU to educate healthcare providers across the country about in-depth and accurate medical cannabis information and its importance. Highlighting the CannaMedU Mission Co-founded by Green Flower Academy alum Heather Beuke Diers and Pam Trapp, CannaMedU is a new platform designed to serve clinicians, healthcare advocates and consumers, connecting them with science-based cannabis education resources - empowering people to make informed decisions around cannabis-based medicine. Heather’s own cannabis story began while conducting research on holistic health. CBD proved to be a game-changer for her dog’s arthritis, as well as chronic pain issues she and her mother were having. Heather soon found her way to Green Flower’s Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate Program, where she encountered a ‘lightbulb moment’, learning how cannabis works in the body. Now with CannaMedU, Heather and Pam are on a mission to help others experience their own lightbulb moments with cannabis medicine. "My experience through Green Flower Academy marked my first step into my new career in cannabis education,” Heather notes, adding that her and Pam also co-host the Freshemp podcast. “Through our podcast interviews, we have connected with the cream of the crop in the cannabis industry and that circle of specialists continues to grow. We learn something new every day and work hard to change the conversation about the most medicinal plant on earth. It all began at Green Flower Academy," Heather says. Spreading Cannabis Education Far and Wide “The Green Flower team has always believed in the importance of proper cannabis education, especially when it comes to medical cannabis,” says Max Simon, CEO and founder of Green Flower. “Cannabis is an effective medicine, yet it is also often misunderstood, even in the professional medical community. Many medical professionals don’t necessarily oppose the medical use of cannabis. However, they often don’t know enough about it so they shy away from recommending it.” Green Flower, the global leader in cannabis education, and CannaMedU share a common goal, seeking to educate medical professionals all over the globe about the best medical cannabis practices. When a medical professional is properly equipped with credible, useful cannabis knowledge they are more likely to recommend medical cannabis to patients - and in a way that is effective. Equally important, CannaMedU and Green Flower believe in science-driven medical cannabis policy and wellness strategies, also an important factor within credible cannabis education. We are here to help clinicians, healthcare advocates, and consumers educate themselves about cannabis so that they can make the best cannabis recommendations to their patients, clients, and loved ones. Green Flower Academy’s Growing List of Cannabis Certificate Programs Green Flower offers a number of cannabis certificate programs (for individual people and teams) that are full of extremely important, helpful information taught by seasoned experts in their fields: Cannabis Fundamentals Patient Care Medical Applications Compliance and Regulation Cultivation Extraction (coming soon!) CBD (coming soon!) Join Our Newsletter Receive Trusted Cannabis Education In Your Inbox

Historic marijuana vote in Congress on Wednesday

We’re making history with marijuana justice in Congress. In an unprecedented move, the House Judiciary Committee will vote on the MORE Act this Wednesday, November 20.  It’s the most far-reaching marijuana legalization bill ever introduced – and now it’s the only bill of its kind to advance this far at the federal level. Marijuana prohibition is destroying lives and disproportionately harming Black and Brown people and low-income communities. The MORE Act would de-schedule marijuana and end federal prohibition in a fair way by reinvesting marijuana tax revenue in those who have been most affected by failed marijuana laws. With an historic committee vote this Wednesday, you can help us take this crucial bill even further. Tell your Members of Congress to support and move the MORE Act forward to end the federal war on marijuana and repair the harms of prohibition.

Being a marijuana sommelier is now a thing

Advertisement Maden, 37, is one of a growing number of people creating their own jobs in Massachusetts’ nascent $316 million legal pot market. Among those carving out cannabis niches: hiking guides, wedding planners, lawyers, painting teachers, doctors, yoga instructors, marketers, and masseuses. Nearly three years after voters legalized pot in the state, Maden hopes his high-end service, which that night accompanied the $165-per-person dinner — marijuana included — will help bring the newly legal product into mainstream acceptance. “The Cheech and Chong stereotype of the average cannabis consumer is not accurate in 2019,” Maden said. “But it’s still the perception that a lot of people have in Boston.” Maden said his Boston-based business, Buddha Som, is not his first foray into marijuana. As a high school student in Sherborn, he acknowledges, he used to sell small amounts of pot to his friends. He hatched the idea for his new gig in January while he was hosting Airbnb guests at his East Boston apartment. His guests would ask where they could buy marijuana. After searching online, he realized there weren’t any marijuana businesses catering to tourists in the area. They existed in more established pot markets like Colorado and California. Advertisement At the Cambridge party, a semi-regular private event called Dinner at Mary’s, Maden paired the first course, a watermelon-and-habanero red snapper crudo, with an earthy marijuana strain called “Black Cherry.” The second course, a summer-squash-and-eggplant lasagna, was served with a heady herb called “Train Wreck.” Butter-poached lobster tail complemented “White Lemon.” Natalie Carrier of Brookline exhaled smoke while Asim Ghaffar of Boston took a hit from a pipe at the event.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe While dinner guests could smoke at any time, including before eating to spark “the munchies,” Maden said that to really appreciate the pairing, diners should smell the raw marijuana before they taste the food. Unlike with wine, though, he didn’t just pair for taste, but also for the effect of the cannabis. He wanted the guests to experience a bell curve of a high, starting out slow with a strain of pot that would relax them and make them hungrier, then slowly increasing the energy level and headiness, before returning to the lower-vibe feeling. So how did he determine which type of pot created which feeling? In his opening talk, Maden told diners they all have the ability to sense, using their noses, what the cannabis will feel like. “Forget everything you know about marijuana,” Maden said. He said pot industry terms “indica” and “sativa,” which are used to describe cannabis that is sedating or uplifting, respectively, are inaccurate and overly broad. The better way to tell how the marijuana will make you feel, he told them, is to smell it. Maden instructed the guests to take deep sniffs from the jars of marijuana flower, and then feel where, on their noses or faces, they felt a slight tingle or throb. Advertisement “The higher-up smells make you feel high” — that upbeat buzz, said Maden, pointing to his upper-nose and forehead. He then gestured to his nostrils. “The low, deep smells make you feel stoned” and mellow. The guests smelled their jars, passing them around, before packing some into their pipes and smoking them. “How nice of them to educate us, instead of just, ‘Let’s get high, bro,’ ” said Kennedy Elsey, a local radio host. But, she said, she wasn’t sure she fully felt the tingling: “It’s like when you go to a wine tasting, and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I totally tasted the grassy notes.’ Yeah, no.” Hillary King, a cannabis industry consultant, said she felt the varying sensations. “It takes practice and mindfulness to discern the different physiological effects,” she said. “But I do think it’s real.” Maden learned his techniques from a certification course at the Trichome Institute in Colorado that he found online. The institute’s founder, Max Montrose, said he realized in high school that his nose could determine the different effects of cannabis plants. Using that knowledge, Montrose said, he substituted marijuana for the prescription medications he took, including painkillers, sleeping pills, and Adderall, which caused unpleasant side effects. Montrose said his course is based on studies that suggest the nerves inside the nose can sense terpenes, a class of chemicals found in cannabis, fruit, and other plants that are thought to be responsible for psychoactive effects, aroma, and taste. Advertisement “It’s cool to be a wine expert and a beer expert, but in the world of cannabis, it’s more important to society,” Montrose said. “You can assist yourself and other people in finding the right medicine.” John Maden taught the guests about marijuana pairings.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe The terpene-interpreting concept fascinated Sam Kanter, 32, the events planner behind Dinner at Mary’s, who has long turned to different types of cannabis to both relax and be productive. “People put wine on this pedestal, that it’s so high-end, and then cannabis gets this reputation of being lowly,” Kanter said. “Cannabis deserves respect. People have been shamed away from it, when it could be really beneficial to their lives.” Not everyone believes in her cause. Boston officials have warned Kanter to keep her dinners out of the city, and she said she operates in a legally gray area in the absence of state regulations for private pot events. She said she makes sure guests don’t overconsume or drive high, and her events typically don’t include alcohol. At the dinner, Maden touched on the controversial history of drug enforcement that disproportionately affected racial minorities. He called the war on drugs “racist, pure and simple.” But to some social justice advocates, luxury pot businesses that typically draw white and wealthier clients are yet another striking example of the color divide in cannabis. As marijuana legalization evolves, advocates say, the state needs to prioritize clearing people’s marijuana criminal records and boosting the low number of pot businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color. Advertisement “I embrace this man; I love what [Maden] is trying to do,” said Horace Small, executive director of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods in Boston and a member of the state’s cannabis advisory board. “However, we still haven’t gotten to the foundational part of what the whole piece of [marijuana] legislation was supposed to be about, which was equity and fairness.” In any case, Maden said, he’s not making enough money as a pot sommelier to pay his rent — a service for which he typically charges $150 per person — and so is scouting for another job in his prior field, customer service support operations. That evening, as the party drew to a close, the guests’ giggles gave way to droopier eyelids. “That ‘Train Wreck’ got me good,” said John Higgins, owner of Higs Tickets, who before that evening had not smoked pot in a while. “So, do you want to go put on sweats and watch Netflix?” Elsey replied. That suggestion appealed to a few guests around the table. They got on their phones to order Ubers and went on their mellow ways. Carrier and Ghaffar enjoyed their marijuana.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe Naomi Martin can be reached at naomi.martin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @NaomiMartin.

Thailand Will Allow Its Citizens to Grow Cannabis At Home To Sell To The Government.

A man looks at a cannabis plant during the second day of the inaugural Pan Ram weed festival in the ... [+] Thai northeastern province of Buriram on April 20, 2019. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA) AFP via Getty Images Thailand is ramping up medical marijuana legalization efforts that will soon allow all Thais to cultivate six cannabis plants in their homes and sell their home-grown harvest to the government, to turn into medical marijuana. “We are in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely,” said recently-appointed Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, in Bangkok on Wednesday. “We have high confidence that marijuana will be among the major agricultural products for Thai households. We are speeding up the law changes. But there is a process to it.” Back in September, Anutin alluded, “In the near future, families will be able to plant cannabis trees in their back gardens like any other herb.” In addition to the historic push for “home grow” regulations, Thailand has built what the government describes as the largest, industrial-scale medical marijuana facility in Southeast Asia.  On September 2, Maejo University researchers planted 12,000 new marijuana seedlings in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, while government officials looked on. The seedlings were provided by the government’s Department of Medical Service, according to the Asia Times.  Officials expect the plants will produce medical marijuana within six months. [Related Story: Thailand Includes Low-Level Cannabis And Hemp Extracts On Its Approved Medical Marijuana list] The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) hopes to cultivate the plants to harvest enough ingredients to manufacture one million bottles of cannabis oil, each containing five milliliters, by February 2020. Not a matter of politics?  “The university will be a center where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis. Cannabis is not an issue of politics; it is a product that can benefit people’s health,” Anutin said. While Anutin claims that cannabis is not a political issue, he caused a commotion in advance of Thailand’s general election in March, by campaigning for the legalization of household cultivation. He led his middle-sized Bhum Jai Thai (Proud to be Thai) party’s campaign earlier this year during parliamentary elections by promising each household could cultivate six marijuana plants. Incidentally, his Bhum Jai Thai party is now part of the ruling coalition. He also assured his voters of their economic advancement, by proposing the sale of each mature marijuana plant to the government for $2,225. Subsequently, a household could earn $13,350 for selling their entire allotment of six plants. Quite an alluring prospect, considering the average Thai salary is reportedly $8,200 per year, nationwide (or 24,000 baht per month). It doesn’t grow like a weed.  Before Thai citizens get their hopes up over a potential green rush, cultivation experts caution that not every plant that reaches maturation produces medical-grade cannabis. Additionally, the ones that do are difficult to cultivate. Amateur cultivators could probably produce low-grade marijuana. However, without taking time to tend to the plants properly or invest in necessities such as nutrients and proper lighting equipment, the flower produced would potentially not qualify for medical use, purchasable by the government. The arguments for adult-use: If adult-use cannabis is allowed, private growers could earn more natural profits from the protean plant with less quality control. Anutin predicts fully legalized marijuana would be a more significant and lucrative crop for Thailand than rice, sugarcane, tapioca, rubber, or other produce in his nation’s mostly agrarian economy. He has suggested Thailand’s low wages could quantify competitiveness in international markets, compared to larger, foreign cannabis companies where manufacturing costs are significantly higher. Although, as the entire world seemingly races to market to capitalize on, and benefit from, the plant’s healing and profitable possibilities, up-and-coming competitors in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere in Asia, could outgrow Thailand. Anutin believes Thailand could gain a competitive advantage by creating niche strains for exportation. Maejo University has reportedly developed a marijuana strain it calls “Issara” (independence), which offers 1:1 percentages of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), according to the Asia Times.  Thailand became the first nation in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana and kratom, in 2018. Adult-use cannabis remains illegal in the kingdom, with punishments including imprisonment. However, if Anutin keeps up the purportedly non-political momentum, that may soon be a thing of the past.