Florida Medical Marijuana Use Doubles In Just One Year – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Since this time last year, the number of medical marijuana patients in Florida has more than doubled. In fact, the state of Florida is the second-fastest-growing medical marijuana market in the country, according to a recent study done by Marijuana Business Daily. In November 2016, medical marijuana became legal for Florida residents, but, despite the obvious upward trend, many in the industry say there is still a lot of misinformation about it. CBS4’s Karli Barnett breaks down the facts and learned the process of accessing medical marijuana. “There’s a lot more resources out there. From where we started in 2016 to now, is completely different with the medical marijuana program here in Florida,” says Kristin Petrik. We sat down with her at work to learn about her experience. Petrik is one of about 400,000 Florida patients who traded in prescription medication for something more natural. “I suffer from a history of PTSD and anxiety,” she explains. “Using a lot of pharmaceuticals, you have really bad side effects. For me, trying medical marijuana was a great homeopathic alternative.” She is not currently using it because she’s pregnant, but says the switch made a big difference in her quality of life. Petrik is not alone. Since this past March, there has been about a 50 percent increase in Florida patients who use medical marijuana. That’s according to the latest numbers from the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Getting a medical marijuana card starts with seeing a qualified physician. Between Broward and Miami-Dade counties, there are now about 760 physicians certified to recommend medical marijuana. To be qualified, they have to take a two-hour online course from the Florida Department of Health. “I guess when you initially think of medical marijuana, you think of kids with fake issues, or no issues, just wanting to get high. But that’s not it,” says Dr. Anthony Andreoni with Cannabis Doctors of Florida. As a former surgeon, he admits he was skeptical when the law first came out. However, he ultimately changed his mind after seeing, what he says, were the positive effects in patients. In speaking about his own clients, he says their use of medical marijuana has resulted in a dramatic decrease in their use of potentially addictive pills.“Patients off of opioids, or at least reduced significantly, would be about 75 percent of the patients I have seen,” he says. For the initial consultation, Dr. Andreoni says to make sure to come to the appointment prepared with documentation that proves a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. “Whether it’s an MRI for chronic pain, arthritis, or a herniated disc,” he says. “For PTSD, or if they’ve had some sort of traumatic episode in the past, did they go to behavioral therapy? Were they on antidepressants or some sort of medication?” Dr. Andreoni says the more they can present him with, the better. Some of the other qualifying conditions include: cancer, ALS, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, as well as any condition a doctor deems of the same “kind or class”— which can include related diagnoses like depression and anxiety. If a physician recommends a patient for medical marijuana, they put them into a registry. The patient has to complete their online profile and pay a $75 fee to receive their card. “When I initially became a patient, three months is actually what it took me to obtain a card and get into dispensaries, and medicine was limited at that time. Now, in five to ten days, patients are able to access dispensaries and get their medicine,” says Michael Puentes. He’s founder of Miami Aid Wellness, a medical cannabis clinic.He also is a patient himself, due to lingering pain from a baseball injury. He says medical marijuana is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. “There are different CBD to THC ratios. There are different cannabinoids. There are different strains. There’s a lot more than people realize,” Puentes explains.Once someone has their card, they can pick up medical marijuana from a dispensary. “Not only is there a great deal of stigma out there, but a lack of knowledge and understanding,” says Vinit Patel, the Regional Operations Manager of a Curaleaf, one of about 170 dispensaries here in South Florida. “There’s so much that’s changed in this industry in the last 10 years– let alone the last 10 months here in Florida.” Patel is also a licensed pharmacist, so he says he has seen both sides. He says their most popular products are their vape cartridges or flower, but they also offer topical balms and tablets. “In general, the industry is growing exponentially, and Florida is poised to be one of the biggest markets in the country,” notes Patel. To find a qualified physician, visit knowthefactsmmj.com. There, you can look up qualified physicians in Florida by location or specialty, as well as local dispensaries.

Better regulations, not bans, are needed to curb the THC vaping crisis

Representatives with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have for the first time identified a specific contaminant as a “very strong culprit of concern” in EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) — the e-liquid vaping illness that is associated with over 2,000 cases nationwide and 39 fatalities. Agency representatives last week highlighted the likely role of vitamin E acetate (oil) as a primary contributor to the lung illness. To those following the EVALI outbreak closely, the CDC’s focus on the contaminant hardly comes as a surprise. In early September, health officials in New York State publicly acknowledged finding high levels of vitamin E oil in several unregulated cannabis-vape products, all of which were suspected to be linked to the illness. ADVERTISEMENT Weeks earlier, reporters affiliated with the online publication Leafly.com also speculated that vitamin E contamination was likely to blame for the EVALI phenomenon. According to their reporting, beginning in late 2018, some clandestine manufacturers of unregulated and counterfeit THC vapor cartridges began to use the oil as an additive in an effort to thicken the consistency of their cannabis e-liquids and to mask dilution.  Bolstering this theory is the reality that the overwhelming percentage of products associated with the illness have been linked to those obtained informally on the underground market. “The data so far point to a much greater risk associated with THC-containing products from informal sources than licensed dispensaries,” affirmed Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s latest advisory similarly acknowledges, “The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers, are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.” Of course, it remains possible that other factors may also be at least partially responsible as well. Some have suggested that the abundance of heavy metals present in cheaply manufactured vape pens may be a contributing factor. ADVERTISEMENT Others have pointed to the presence of illegal synthetic cannabinoids, which have been identified in some unregulated THC and CBD vape products. The ingestion of such compounds, which are more typically identified with illicit substances like “Spice” and “K2,” can be especially dangerous to health.  As is the case in virtually any unregulated market, the unscrupulous manufacturers responsible for these contaminated and adulterated products are largely unknown. Yet, for too long these predatory players have tacitly operated on the fringes of the commercial cannabis industry. That is because as long as all cannabis-specific products remain federally illegal, the FDA is largely powerless to provide or enforce appropriate regulatory standards, oversight, or quality controls to separate the bad actors from the good ones.  As a result, this heavy burden for now falls solely upon state regulators in those jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis use. But the regulations governing the THC/CBD vapor market are not consistent from state to state and are often far from sufficiently comprehensive. Nonetheless, even these patchwork regulations are better than no regulations at all — as illustrated by the fact comparatively few state-regulated vaping devices have been definitely linked to the illness.  Furthermore, many state regulators are now moving quickly in response to the crisis to further update and strengthen their existing guidelines – such as engaging in targeted testing for the presence of vitamin E acetate and by banning the its use state-regulated in vapor products. Many states are also responding by mandating more extensive lab testing for the presence of heavy metals and other potentially dangerous chemicals. States are also moving forward with public awareness campaigns warning of the perils associated with the informal market and are engaging greater efforts to crack down on the illicit, counterfeit cannabis marketplace — as they should.  But they shouldn’t have to do so alone. Rather than use the unfortunate incidents of the past few months as an opportunity to further drive this market into the shadows, the Trump administration should move ahead to better empower states to regulate cannabis and cannabis-related businesses. This can be done by once and for all removing the cannabis plant from its onerously restrictive schedule I classification under federal law. This would facilitate and empower the FDA to better study and regulate these emerging THC and CBD delivery devices. It would also allow federal and state regulators to better oversee those who are operating in this commercial space. Such action is both necessary and is long-overdue. Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML — the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” and the author of the book, “The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws.”

Cross-pollination between marijuana and hemp is a budding conflict at outdoor grows – The Denver Post

By Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily DENVER — Outdoor marijuana growers are reporting an increase in cross-pollination from hemp farms, a development that could mean marijuana cultivators might lose upwards of tens of thousands of dollars if their plants become unmarketable as flower products. As the marijuana and hemp industries increasingly share the same cultivation territory, the number of conflicts is likely to increase, particularly in areas with thriving outdoor cannabis cultivation. Washington state is a case in point. In April, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5276 into law, opening the state up to hemp production in response to the 2018 Farm Bill in part by removing the previous 4-mile buffer between outdoor marijuana grows and hemp farms. At least one marijuana farmer has experienced firsthand the consequences of this change in the law. “We took a big hit,” said Robert Morf, who owns and operates Cheshire Creek, an outdoor marijuana cultivation operation in Waterville, Washington. He estimated he will lose about $40,000 this year after his midsized, 600-plant farm was cross-pollinated by pollen from the male plants he said came from a neighboring hemp grower. All to extract According to Morf, his flower is full of seeds, reducing the usable volume and overall quality and value of the crop. He won’t be able to sell it on the wholesale or retail flower market and will take a financial hit by selling it all for extraction. Morf has grown marijuana for three years “out in the middle of nowhere” with no other cannabis cultivators for 30 miles. He didn’t have any trouble with his neighbors until the buffer was removed under the new hemp law. The hemp grower who leased the land from the farmers across the road assured Morf the plants would be grown from clones. Since Morf was there first with his marijuana operation, it was up to him to give the OK, and he took it on faith the hemp growers would remove the male plants. He thought “cross-pollination would have been worse for them than it would have been for me.” Morf contacted his local and state political representatives as well as his contact at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), but he found no recourse. To prove it wasn’t his own plants that pollinated his field, Morf pointed out that the LCB’s tracking system will show that he planted from female clones. “We’ve gone through three years of growing, and the most I’ve seen is a female plant with one bud herming off a stem last year,” he added. “Herming” refers to a cannabis plant developing both male and female flowers. Morf has considered suing, but he figures it’s not worth the cost. “At this point, it’s ‘screw it’ and move on,” he added. The hemp growers have left the plants cut down in the field and won’t be returning next year to farm that land, Morf told Marijuana Business Daily. Carefully source your seed A similar problem is shaping up in the bordering state to the south, Oregon. Pete Gendron, a grower in Sunny Valley and president of the Oregon SunGrowers Guild, estimated the cross-pollination issue is impacting about 8% of the state’s marijuana production. In terms of total acreage affected by cross-pollination, it’s an increase from last year, he added. That’s largely because the number of hemp acres has increased by about 500%. According to Hemp Industry Daily, Oregon had 11,754 acres in 2018 and increased to 51,313 acres in 2019. His advice to growers looking to avoid male plants showing up in their fields: Buy your seed from a reputable provider and try to make sure your hemp-growing neighbors are using feminized seeds. Tell them, “if you pollinate me, you’re going to be pollinating yourself, too,” Gendron said. “That being said, it won’t save you from field walking,” he added, meaning growers still need to check to ensure their plants haven’t hermed or that no male plants have grown from seed. “It really only takes one (male plant) to ruin your day,” he said. Denver Post file photo Marijuana plants grow in full sun in Pueblo County on Sept. 3, 2016. Pueblo County is one of the few places in Colorado that allows for outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation. Colorado concerns In Pueblo, Colorado, the area of the state with the largest amount of outdoor-grown marijuana, the county regulators have been working to allow both hemp and cannabis cultivators to coexist. Steven Turetsky, managing director of Pueblo-based hemp grower Shi Farms, said hemp farmers have been asked to put their “best effort forward to not grow male plants.” That’s in part because outdoor-grown marijuana has been a shot in the arm to the local economy. The general sentiment is that hemp growers should all use clones to ensure the plants are females. “Obviously, with cannabis, even if you plant from clones, there can be mutation,” Turetsky said. “But it significantly decreases the risk.” He said he came to the realization that it’s beneficial for his company to act in good faith toward marijuana growers. By also only using clones, his company has avoided dealing with vendors who might be selling nonfeminized seeds. “We don’t want seeds, either,” he said. According to Wendy Mosher, president and chief executive officer of Fort Collins, Colorado-based seed company New West Genetics, a grower will lose about 1% of total cannabinoid content if a field is cross-pollinated. While Colorado is considered generally favorable to hemp compared to other states with marijuana programs, cross-pollination also is happening to hemp-based CBD farms in Colorado, she added. When a hemp farm is cross-pollinated, the farmer can thresh the crop to try to salvage some of it. Mosher said one male in a field a mile away can pollinate a crop, and it can be very difficult to determine the source. “It’s just impossible to tell where it’s coming from,” she added. USDA trying to help The U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledges the cross-pollination issue and has set aside money to address it. In October, the agency awarded $500,000 to a Virginia Tech research team to get better data on pollen drift. The goal is to predict how and where pollen grains travel. Researchers will use drones to track pollen, hoping results can inform regulations on how far growers should keep hemp and marijuana apart to prevent damaging cross-pollination. “Having a validated and reliable long-distance transport prediction model for wind-dispersed pollen is critical to establishing appropriate isolation distances,” plant sciences professor David Schmale said in a Virginia Tech statement announcing the grant.

Type I, Type II, Type III: How Science Is Changing the Way the Industry Describes Cannabis Varieties

Human brains are wired for categorization. These systems help us navigate the world and communicate with one another more efficiently. But with more than 400 active chemical compounds associated with the many variations of Cannabis sativa L.—and an infinite number of combinations these phytochemical constituents can take in flower-form—arriving at an appropriate and accurate consensus on chemovar categorization across the cannabis industry has been tough. This is especially problematic within the context of the market’s binary legacy. How we talk about cannabis chemovars matters. Now, more than ever before, science is revealing new ways to categorize this plant’s effects. Out of Date and Out of Touch The indica-sativa-hybrid model of classification has continued to dominate the markets—both regulated and illicit. Separate from their intended taxonomy, these terms have been adopted as a way to describe the likely experiential and therapeutic effects of a given strain, or phytochemical varietal. But in a world where expansive hybridization of cultivated types is the norm and wild-type landraces have been taken out of their natural growing environments, this system of taxonomy does little to predict chemical constituents or describe experiential outcomes. The industry is at a loss for words to adequately convey the plant’s chemistry to consumers. Leaving aside disagreements on the accuracy of classifying drug-type cannabis as either indica or sativa, categorizing a chemovar within this binary system—especially in the absence of comprehensive phytochemical data or, even, genetic assuredness—presumes a predicted effect based solely on stable genetic inheritance and disregards variation in profile due to environmental factors. It’s not as simple as the old yarn that an indica strain leaves the consumer “in da couch.” A more complex set of phytochemical constituents is at play here. Comprehensive data now demonstrates that the morphology of the plant is not indicative of the effects it will produce in a general population; only the final ingredients matter. This phenotypic amalgamation of chemical compounds is a product of both genetic inheritance and environmental factors (light, temperature, pests, soil microbiome, etc.—all of which influence the phytochemical output and, in turn, the Ensemble Effect of how these myriad molecules engage with one another. So how do we categorize these differences in a way that is both accurate and approachable? How do we create a segue from an inherently subjective system based on incomplete taxonomy toward a more scientific vernacular that will, at least, set the stage for whatever comes next? One way, of course, would simply be to adhere to the ingredients—the phytochemical data. By acquiring full-spectrum lab reports, training employees to navigate those reports and communicating that data to consumers in an approachable way, producers and retailers can introduce a deeper understanding of the complexity of the plant and its nuanced effects. More on that can be found here. But, as ethnobotanist, BioAgronomics Group co-founder and CBT columnist Robert C. Clarke commented during a recent phone conversation, that’s “a lot of fine print. … It’s like reading the Dr. Bronner’s soap label. We have to simplify things. We have to leave out some of the details or we won’t see a distancing from indica-sativa.” A Segue Into Science In a 1973 paper published in Nature, Ernest Small and H.D. Beckstead introduced the idea of categorizing varietals according to cannabinoid content. Cultivators shooting for a more accurate approach to classification, like Oregon’s Prūf Cultivar, have taken up this system to distinguish between broad cannabinoid profiles. Three primary chemotypes are recognized:                 Type I – THC-dominant with a concentration of >0.3% and CBD content of

2019 State Cannabis Legislation: The Bills to Watch

Cannabis reform is sweeping the country, from New Hampshire and Connecticut in the east to Wyoming and New Mexico in the west. While Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu have expressed opposition to medical and adult-use legalization measures (respectively), Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker have all expressed support for their states’ legalization efforts. “From states on the east coast like Connecticut, where the new governor has openly advocated for legalization, to more conservative states like Kentucky, lawmakers across the nation are realizing more and more that they need to step up and take action, and if they don’t, they will lose their jobs,” NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf told Cannabis Business Times. “It is clear that reform is supported by the American public, regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum. Should these policies in other states have been ineffective or unfavorable, surely we would not be seeing this rapid increase in public and political support.” Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) Communications Director Mason Tvert said: “This year has the potential to be the most productive year for marijuana policy ever in the state legislatures. That’s something that I find myself saying each year, but it’s no less true.” From decriminalization measures to adult-use legalization proposals, here are the bills to watch as states enter their 2019 legislative sessions. Tennessee: State lawmakers proposed three cannabis-related bills Jan. 29. State Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) and Rep. Gloria Johnson (R-Knoxville) introduced SB 260/HB 234, which would allow those with a valid medical marijuana card issued in another state to carry up to a half ounce of cannabis in Tennessee. Kyle also proposed SB 256 to decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and Johnson sponsored the bill in the House. Kyle also introduced SB 257, which aims to change the definition of marijuana for tax purposes to match how it is defined in the criminal code. Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) and Rep. Ron Travis (D-Dayton) plan to introduce legislation to create a new government commission to regulate Tennessee’s marijuana industry, according to a Tennessean report, and lawmakers have until late next week to file bills. Illinois: State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) say they plan to introduce a formal adult-use legalization bill soon in the Illinois Legislature, according to a State Journal-Register report. At a town hall-style meeting in Springfield Jan. 28, Stearns and Cassidy said the measure would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, as well as grow up to five marijuana plants in their household. Marijuana “bars” would be prohibited under the proposal, and teenagers caught driving under the influence of cannabis would lose their licenses. The legislation would also expunge the records of citizens previously convicted of low-level marijuana possession and dealing, Cassidy said. The lawmakers said the estimated $350 to $750 million in annual tax revenue from a recreational marijuana program would fund community development of impoverished neighborhoods. If the legislature passes the forthcoming bill, it has a good chance of being signed into law by Gov. Pritzker, who has expressed support for legalization. West Virginia: Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh) introduced HB 2331, legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and allow counties to approve its production and sale for adults 21 and older. The bill would legalize possession of up to one ounce or cannabis, and the State Bureau of Public Health would be responsible for permitting the production and sales facilities. Counties could levy a 5-percent sales tax on cannabis, and the Department of Revenue would supervise tax collection. “It’s all past time [for] a serious debate about what opportunities this industry has for West Virginia,” Bates said, according to a Metro News report. Minnesota: Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL- Edina) and Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced Senate Bill 619 and House Bill 420 Jan. 28 to legalize recreational marijuana for Minnesotans 21 and older. Adults would be allowed to grow up to four plants at home, and the state would regulate growing operations and taxation. Tim Walz, Minnesota’s newly elected governor and a former Congressman, is supportive of legislation and will likely sign the bill if it passes the state legislature, Wolf says. Sen. Franzen claims to have bipartisan support for the bill, Wolf adds, but some Senate Republicans, including the majority leader, are unsure if there is enough support to pass it in the Senate, and lawmakers are not considering it a priority. There are also two other competing legalization proposals that would have to receive voter approval in 2020, she says. New Mexico: Democratic legislators introduced HB 356 Jan. 24 to regulate and tax adult-use cannabis sales for individuals 21 and older. The legislation would allow counties and cities to opt out of the market and levy a 9-percent tax on commercial cannabis sales. Newly elected Gov. Lujan-Grisham has expressed support for legalization in the past. “I am committed to working with the legislature to move toward legalizing recreational cannabis in a way that improves public safety, boosts state revenues and allows for New Mexico businesses to grow into this new market,” she said in a public statement during her gubernatorial campaign. Wyoming: Republican House Majority Floor Leader Eric Barlow (R-Gillette) sponsored House Bill 278 to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The legislation would establish a tightly regulated system for the distribution and control of cannabis. Nebraska: State Sen. Anna Wishart (D-Lincoln) introduced the Adopt Medical Cannabis Act in January (LB110). Right away, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up the cause and held a public hearing that garnered dozens of comments on both sides of the issue. The bill would limit medical cannabis possession to 3 oz. of marijuana on your person and 8 oz. at home.    In the late 1970s, first-time cannabis possession offenses were knocked down to a civil penalty (a fine), but other than that, no serious reform has been undertaken in the state. In 2016, state legislators rejected a medical cannabis bill that had made some headway; Gov. Pete Ricketts made his opposition to the bill known. Sen. Matt Williams, a Republican, has also vocally opposed the idea of legalization, but he told the Omaha World-Herald that it may be politically efficient to pass a medical cannabis bill in the legislature before the voters can mount a ballot initiative. “We can keep saying, ‘Heck no, heck no, heck no!’ But at the end of the day, we could end up with something we really don’t want,” he said. New Hampshire: State Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) introduced an adult-use legalization bill (HB 481) last month, which would allow possession of up to one ounce of cannabis. The bill would also set up a commission to determine and oversee taxes and regulations for a cannabis market in New Hampshire.  The Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, meanwhile, announced its opposition to the bill just a few weeks later. Last year, Gov. Chris Sununu said he would “absolutely” veto any attempt to legalize cannabis in the Granite State.  Legalization attempts in New Hampshire have thus far proven difficult for a state that’s surrounded by implicit political pressure. “It’s certainly a possibility, but it might require an override of the [governor’s] veto,” Tvert said. South Carolina: Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and Rep. Peter McCoy (R-Charleston) introduced companion bills in January to legalize medical cannabis, with Davis calling the legislation (SB 366) the most socially conservative medical marijuana bill in the country, according to a recent WIS News report. The bill would not allow flower, instead giving patients access to capsules, oils and edibles. Even still, in the face of bipartisan support, the state’s attorney general has called cannabis “the most dangerous drug in America.” South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel joined him at a speech this week and said, “Never have I seen a piece of legislation that has the potential to change South Carolina in a negative way as this legislation does.”  Kentucky: State Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon) introduced a bill in Kentucky to decrease the penalty for cannabis possession to a $100 fine (or 15 hours of community service). Possession for personal use includes amounts of cannabis up to one ounce. SB 82 is a step toward cannabis reform in a state that’s otherwise on the vanguard of hemp cultivation and innovation in the U.S.  jiawangkun/Adobe Stock Connecticut Statehouse Connecticut: Connecticut’s 2019 attempt at adult-use cannabis legalization comes with the support of 40 statehouse Democrats already—and a sympathetic governor. Retail sales in neighboring Massachusetts have applied some pressure to Connecticut politicians interested in opening a new tax revenue spigot.  Like other states, including Michigan, licensed medical cannabis businesses would have the first crack at obtaining an adult-use license in the state. Built into the bill are social equity clauses, like expungement of cannabis-related convictions and tax-revenue funding for substance abuse treatment programs. The grand showing of support so far for this bill makes Connecticut one of the top U.S. prospects for legalization this year. “I think the adult-use states that are really the most high-profile and likely to move along right now are Illinois and Connecticut, … and New Hampshire, New Mexico and Minnesota are certainly all on the map, as well,” Tvert said.

Veterinary Webinar Provides Education about CBD Products for Pets

PHOTO: Chengdongshan / Shutterstock.com An educational webinar for veterinarians about CBD products and use of cannabidiol (CBD) products for pets with various medical conditions was presented by Dr. Zac Pilossoph, chief medical officer for Cansultants, Inc. Sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on its YouTube channel, Dr. Pilossoph also discussed the status of medical cannabis recommendations for veterinarians in the U.S. The presentation was titled, “The Cannabis Pet Industry: What’s to Know and What’s for Show.” Advertisement The presentation started off with a primer on the endocannabinoid system, which Pilossoph said, should be thought of as a “homeostatic regulator system” found in humans and “chordates,” or animals with a spine—including animals such as horses, birds, and reptiles that often are overlooked when CBD treatment for pets is considered. Dr. Pilossoph commented that one of the reasons he took up education around cannabis-based medicines and their use in veterinary treatment was because he felt frustration from not having learned about the endocannabinoid system earlier, and the lack of instruction available to medical students and doctors. “I felt frustrated, how I’d never learned this in school,” he explained. Going on to cite published studies about the effects of CBD (and cannabis-based medicines), Pilossoph said there have been several studies, going back to the 1980s, that show cannabis had beneficial effects for several conditions including glaucoma, inflammation, and nausea, as well as having proven anti-bacterial properties. In veterinary medicine, studies of cannabis- or hemp-based treatments are hard to find, but a wealth of anecdotal evidence has presented, as pet owners attest to the results they have seen when self-treating pets with CBD. Pilossoph noted that such a trend among pet owners, by itself, should encourage more clinical studies to be conducted to identify the beneficial components in CBD (and other plant compounds). He added that a there have been studies conducted on dogs that indicated CBD could provide anti-inflammatory benefits for osteoarthritis and seizures. Other plant compounds that work in synergy with cannabinoids create the “entourage effect,” Pilossoph said further. Terpenes and flavonoids, he said, seem to enhance the effects of cannabinoids in cannabis- and hemp-based medications. “The entourage effect exists,” he said, which would suggest that “full-spectrum” formulations might provide greater therapeutic benefits. Pilossoph hoped that product manufacturers would “harness the power of raw hemp,” as a resource for full spectrum CBD extract that would also contain only trace amounts of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent levels of THC. He made the point that while products might vary between human and veterinary, the endocannabinoid system functions similarly for all species. Products labeled “pet CBD,” he explained, contained the same CBD extract as what is used in human products. Variations in formulations, he said, typically had more to do with ingredients added to make treats and tinctures palatable to animals. He specifically mentioned veterinary CBD tincture PetCBD as the only formulation that he knew of that had been developed by a veterinarian, Dr. Tim Shu. Dr. Shu, who is no longer actively practicing, is the founder and chief executive officer at PetCBD. However, Pilossoph stressed that he could not recommend specific products and that his information should be considered strictly educational. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has issued a three-page statement outlining its position on veterinarians’ recommendations for CBD use with pets. Pilossoph summed it up by saying that the association suggested avoiding making recommendations for CBD use until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes product quality control regulations. Pilossoph offered a basic, “stepwise” outline to help chose CBD products for pets: Determine the percentage level of CBD in any product by viewing tested lab results. Check what other ingredients have been added to the product, and if are they safe for animals. Consider how the product is applied—if a topical, will it be safe if your dog licks it off? How often you need to give a dose to your pet. High caloric products can have an adverse affect on pets, if they are required to have several doses a day. Consider the pet’s overall condition, any allergies, as well as any cross-reaction with other medications. Make sure that test results available for the product are from a lab that is ISO 17025:2017-compliant. Dr. Pilossoph also warned pet owners to avoid giving pets edible treats (with or without CBD) produced for humans mostly due to ingredients in human products that might be harmful for animals, like chocolate or artificial sweetener Xylitol. He singled out Xylitol as being potentially fatal for pets. Advertisement

Sales Earning from Across the Medical Marijuana, Inc. Portfolio Exceed 2018 Sales

Our portfolio’s total sales earnings so far in 2019 already surpass 2018 sales, putting Medical Marijuana, Inc. on track for its most successful year ever.  With two months to go in 2019, the Medical Marijuana, Inc. portfolio of companies’ 2019 sales bookings has surpassed its total 2018 sales bookings. This milestone is evidence of the growing success experienced by our family of companies this year.  This success was well earned, with Medical Marijuana, Inc. portfolio companies working hard introducing innovative new CBD oil products to the thriving CBD market; hosting, sponsoring, or participating in CBD, hemp, and cannabis events; and expanding safe and legal access to CBD products to consumers around the world.  “We set our goals high for this year and it’s encouraging to see that our team worked diligently to achieve and surpass them,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “By entering new markets and releasing many new products to meet the versatile needs of our customers, our efforts will further position us as a major contributor to the expanding global cannabis industry.” Medical Marijuana, Inc. distributes commercial CBD products in the U.S., European, Latin American and Asian markets through distribution subsidiaries Kannaway® and HempMeds® and CBD brands like Dixie Botanicals® and Real Scientific Hemp Oil™. Our company became the first to create a national CBD brand in 2012. Since then, we have shipped our top quality CBD oil products to thousands of customers worldwide.  Our portfolio of companies and brands provides customers with a variety of oral, topical, edible, and vape CBD products that are all Triple Lab Tested® to ensure the highest standard of quality, safety, and consistency, making our brands some of the most trusted on the growing CBD market. “It’s predicted by the Brightfield Group that 2019 CBD product sales could grow 706% compared to 2018 sales figures and could reach upwards of $5 billion,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. COO Blake Schroeder. “It’s been exhilarating to watch this industry expand exponentially since its infancy and we look forward to witnessing its future success in years to come.” Our success so far in 2019 has also caught the attention of major media outlets: including Benzinga, Forbes, Fox Business, Bloomberg, ABC News, PBS Newshour, and more. You can browse recent media coverage of Medical Marijuana, Inc. and our portfolio of companies here.  The hard work and resulting success from Medical Marijuana, Inc. and our portfolio of companies has garnered a number of awards in 2019. Our company was awarded a Bronze Stevie® Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year in the 16th Annual International Business Awards; a Silver Golden Bridge Award for Company of the Year in the Healthcare Products and Services category; and Small Business Company of the Year in the Life Sciences, Health, Wellness, and Nutrition category by the Business Intelligence Group’s 2019 BIG Awards for Business.  You can learn more about Medical Marijuana, Inc. and our family of companies here or visit our company news feed for the latest from across our portfolio.   Interested in trying our award winning CBD oil products for yourself? Shop our online CBD store now.

Missouri Proposes Cash Ban for Cannabis Company State Payments

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has proposed banning the state’s medical cannabis businesses from paying their taxes, fees, and penalties in cash. DHSS spokesperson Lisa Cox told 41 Action News that “large amounts of cash-handling will create challenges for state agencies and may create safety issues for medical marijuana facility employees.” “As we have done with all of our rules, we have put this out for public comment in order to hear from the public whether they have concerns with this proposal and, if so, what they are. The emergency rule has not been filed, and we will consider all comments we receive before determining whether to file it.” – Cox, to 41 Action News Specifically, the rule allows medical cannabusinesses to “pay all fees, penalties, or taxes due to Missouri state governmental agencies via any payment method normally acceptable to those agencies other than cash.” Jack Cardetti, spokesperson for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, called it a “cut and dry rule” but said it would be problematic “because access to banking is one of the more difficult things” in the space. “You can’t pay your taxes and fees despite being a legal business and cash being a legal tender,” he said to 41 Action News In the report, Joe Leonard, owner of Bee Valley Farms, said he has been unable to find a bank to work with as financial institutions that would take cannabis industry clients “are few and far between” and “most of them have a limit on how many [cannabis] businesses they’ll take on.” Last month, the state received more than 2,100 medical cannabis operator applications, of which 1,163 were for dispensary operation and 554 were for cultivation licenses. According to 41 Action News, Missouri’s medical cannabis industry is expected to create 4,000 jobs and bring in more than $500 million. Cox did not offer a timeline on whether a decision on the rule would be made but said the agency would “review all feedback and evaluate further if needed.” 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.

Prevent & Solve Nutrition Problems with Leaf Tissue Analysis

In early August, Wisconsin health officials urged people in the Badger State to refrain from using vape products. A mysterious illness had stricken 11 teens and young adults who were hospitalized with severe lung disease.At the time, Wisconsin’s health department had little information about why these young people were experiencing “unexplained breathing problems.” Less than a week later, reports of new illnesses popped up in neighboring Illinois and Minnesota and as far away as California, according to an Aug. 14 New York Times article. During the next two months, health officials attributed hundreds of new cases, including dozens of deaths, to e-cigarette use and vape products containing THC. As of press time, Oct. 28, that number had ballooned to 1,604 lung injury cases and 34 deaths across 49 states (all except Alaska); Washington, D.C.; and one U.S. territory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While many theories exist about why people are getting sick, no single cause has been verified by government agencies. Meanwhile, licensed manufacturers of cannabis products and state-legal retailers are grappling with a host of supply chain, quality and safety issues on a scale not previously experienced in the nascent industry. The Cannabis Business Times staff has covered the issue closely since it was first considered a public health threat. Here, we recap some of this coverage, including the impact on the industry, how it’s responded to the crisis and what cannabis growers, producers and retailers can expect in the future. What Do We Know So Far? The earliest theories on the cause of vape illnesses focused on the use of vitamin E acetate in illicit-market products. Vitamin E acetate is a preservative often found in nutritional supplements or beauty products. The New York State Health Department cited the chemical when calling out the flood of unregulated cannabis products that have hit streets around the Northeast, Midwest and beyond. While most major news media outlets have picked up the department’s advisory on vitamin E acetate (including Cannabis Business Times), the actual public understanding of oil vaporization and degradation is a bit murkier. Dr. Arup Sen, CEO of Infusion Biosciences, a biotech company focused on discovering and commercializing cannabis technologies, said in a September interview with CBT that legally manufactured vape products could contain substances that may pose risks, as well. “Given the shockingly low bioactivities reported for THC and CBD preparations of the present day, I would not be surprised if we find compounds in the current preparations that are 100 to 1,000 times more potent than THC or CBD,” he said. “In fact, synthetic molecules similar to THC have been reported to be more than 2,000 times more potent in a number of cell culture assays that determine biochemical effects at the cellular level.” Sen said he wasn’t “convinced that anyone really knows what vitamin E acetate preparation is being used and what impurities there might be.” Not much information exists about the impact of heating primary substances in vape products and the minor components in cannabis liquids used in the vape pens, including propylene glycol, a common thinning agent in vape pens of all types. “Very little is known about the interaction between the materials used to make the cartridges and compounds present in vape liquids at high temperatures,” Sen said. Of course, cannabinoids are far from the only chemical compounds found in the oil that cannabis consumers and patients are vaping. Much of the industry conversation has turned to terpenes—both organic and synthetic—and their role in the safety of these products. “Terpenes can be dangerous,” said Dr. Robert Strongin, chemistry professor at Portland State University. “Their use should be limited.” He noted that his research shows terpenes degrade more rapidly during vaping than THC and that adding relatively large concentrations of terpenes to relatively pure cannabinoid distillates is not recommended based on his research team’s findings. Mojave Richmond and Robert C. Clarke, CBT columnists and co-founders of BioAgronomics Group, said, “Not all terpenes are good terpenes.” Richmond added, “We should tread lightly when it comes to adding large quantities of what are essentially solvents into cannabis products.” In early October, a new theory emerged related to the possible cause of the vaping illnesses. Following a recent report from Mayo Clinic researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists at Colorado Green Lab, a cannabis product development and consulting company in Denver, had begun publishing a blog series hypothesizing that the illness (referred to as vaping-associated pulmonary injury, or VAPI, or more recently named by the CDC: e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI), is due to metal fume exposure. The Mayo Clinic researchers noted that VAPI lung micrograph images of patients from Illinois and Wisconsin appear to more closely resemble chemical burns. “The underlying cause is now believed to be chemical exposure, and not an infectious disease,” Colorado Green Lab co-owners Frank Conrad and Cindy Blair wrote. “The VAPI syndrome is strongly correlated with the use of black-market THC vape cartridges, but the CDC has yet to conclusively identify a vaping product, or additive common to all cases.” The lab posited that the exposure is due to cadmium in silver solder used in “lower-end vape pens” commonly found on the illicit market. Producers of these products use silver solder because it’s a low-cost material, the lab contends. But cadmium is highly toxic. However, Conrad and Blair stressed that the CDC had not confirmed any correlation between specific causes and effects in the VAPI matter. “The full range of findings is conflicting, and no clear pattern has emerged regarding the source or cause of the illness,” they wrote. Still, the hypothesis is noteworthy—especially when considered in the broader industry conversation already taking chemical constituents of cannabis oil into account (like vitamin E acetate, which remains at the center of the discourse). Industry Impact and Risk Avoidance The illnesses have sent a ripple effect throughout the industry, which faces increased scrutiny from regulators and the general public. On Sept. 26, Medicine Man announced that it was pulling cannabis vape cartridges containing propylene glycol or vitamin E acetate from its shelves. The dispensary business operates four adult-use storefronts and one medical cannabis location in Colorado. The uncertainty around vaping has industry veterans offering words of caution to their peers and consumers as the crisis continues to unfold. “The devil is always in the details, and safety must come first,” Richmond told CBT in September. “Anytime we add new ingredients of varying quantities into the beaker we risk an explosion in the lab. So, let’s not use consumers and patients as guinea pigs and take a step backward before we tarnish cannabis’ reputation as a safe, beneficial, medicinal plant that has been an integral part of the human experience.” In the same CBT article, Nick Jack, chief retail officer of Denver dispensary Diego Pellicer - Colorado, said consumers should stick with legal products only sold by licensed cannabis retailers. “I would hope that the recent series of unfortunate events will persuade [illicit] market users to purchase products—if they’re available to them—that go through regulatory testing and compliance procedures that have been put into place in the legal cannabis market, rather than purchasing a product from unverified and unregulated sources,” he said. States also are mobilizing. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced at the end of September that the state would become the first to enact a temporary ban on all online and retail sales of nicotine and cannabis vaping products and devices through Jan. 25, 2020. Other states have focused on flavors. In an effort to immediately decrease interest for underage and casual consumers, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown rolled out a plan to ban all non-cannabis derived flavoring agents in both the nicotine and cannabis markets. Her office has stated that exemptions for additives like botanical derivatives that can prove inhalation safety will be considered in the future. New rules in Colorado propose a ban on polyethylene glycol (PEG), vitamin E acetate and medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil) in cannabis concentrates or products meant to be inhaled. These additives are generally used as thinning agents to cut THC oil, rendering it able to be vaporized. As of press time, the State Licensing Authority had not yet signed off on the proposal; if it does, the new rules will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. Emergency rules adopted by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board in October require that cannabis licensees “disclose all compounds, including but not limited to ingredients, solvents, additives, preservatives, thickening agents, terpenes and other substances used to produce or added to marijuana concentrates for inhalation or marijuana-infused extracts for inhalation at any point during production and processing, regardless of source and origin.” The board also worked with “industry representatives and marijuana licensees” to develop vaping risk warning signs that will be posted at retailers selling vapor products that contain THC. Ben Bodamer, an attorney in Dickinson Wright’s cannabis practice group, advises cannabis companies to examine their supply chains to ensure their products are safe and compliant. He noted that class-action lawsuits have emerged in the cannabis space, and it helps to identify and address weak spots in a business’s interactions with third-party vendors or other partners. “First of all, we don’t really know enough to know the kinds of claims that will emerge,” Bodamer said. “I know that the plaintiff’s bar is creative, but they’re also attentive. And in this context, they’re going to be following the results of ongoing investigations at the state level and at the federal level. And to the extent that [those] investigations reveal specific sources, and if those specific sources have been supplying product to individual companies, if that supply chain is in any way illegal, … I think the ease with which the plaintiff’s bar could bring claims would go up significantly.” Getting out in front of the national news narrative with public statements on social media is one thing; showing proof of Good Manufacturing Practices or other standards and certifications will make a clear statement to the consumer base—and to public officials and private attorneys interested in parsing businesses’ tangential roles to a story with an expansive reach. “You’re going to see scrutiny and the emergence of good actors versus bad actors from a supply chain standpoint,” Bodamer said. “It’s incumbent on good actors to point out their best practices, but it's also incumbent on people to not be bad actors.” Jonathan Katz is managing editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. Eric Sandy is the digital editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. Melissa Schiller is the assistant digital editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. Andrea Sparr-Jaswa is science editor for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.