Former FDA commissioner says feds need to regulate marijuana

It's time for the federal government to regulate marijuana sensibly so it can assess the medical value of a plant whose use has skyrocketed as states legalize or decriminalize it, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a speech obtained by POLITICO. The cannabis derivative CBD has boomed in popularity since the 2018 farm bill legalized hemp, he noted, while marijuana vapes have been linked to the ongoing outbreak of a mysterious lung disease that has killed seven people so far. Meanwh...

Tell Congress: Support the MORE Act & End the War on Marijuana

Tell Congress: End the War on Marijuana Tell your Members of Congress to support the MORE Act The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) was just introduced by Representative Jerry Nadler and Senator Kamala Harris. This is the most sweeping marijuana reform bill ever in Congress. It would de-schedule marijuana at the federal level to let states set their own policies without interference and begin to repair the extensive damage done by prohibition. It goes further t...

The National Cannabis Industry Association

Tune in to learn more about new cannabis market expansion with Jocelyn Sheltraw, Director of Regional Strategy for Headset. Headset provides Business Intelligence for cannabis companies, from dispensaries and retailers to product manufacturers and growers. She is responsible for strategy and operations in California, along with new cannabis market expansion. Jocelyn also advocates for women in […]

Imperial College London Studying Entourage Effect of Cannabis

The United Kingdom’s Imperial College London and European medical cannabis company EMMAC are partnering on a study to evaluate the entourage effect of cannabis as a pain reliever, the company announced last week. The study would allow the publication of the results with hopes to support future clinical trials focused on patients with acute or chronic pain. Under the collaboration, EMMAC will fund a post-doctoral research fellow for a minimum one year period and the researchers will explore th...

Polk farm trades citrus for hemp in state pilot project

Owners of an Alturas citrus grove have switched to hemp. They are growing cannabis plants for Green Earth Cannaceuticals in partnership with Florida A&M through a state pilot project. ALTURAS — In the middle of what's still citrus territory, a clay road winds through active orange groves and past large bales of hay to reach a parcel that six months ago bore row after row of Valencia orange trees. Now, though, the 30-acre property is covered with lines of bushy plants that aren't even knee h...

NIH Awards $3 Million for Study of Cannabinoids, Terpenes

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a section of the National Institute of Health, has issued nine research grants to study the “potential pain-relieving properties and mechanisms of actions of the diverse phytochemicals in cannabis, including both minor cannabinoids and terpenes.” Totaling three million dollars, the awards include an impressive list of institutions and research topics. The grant recipients and subsequent studies include: Boston Children’s Ho...

OSU receives $1M donation to study hemp genetics

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University has received a $1 million donation from a Willamette Valley hemp seed company to study hemp genetics that could unlock new markets for the versatile crop. OSU launched its Global Hemp Innovation Center in June, combining more than 40 faculty members across 19 academic disciplines to research all aspects of hemp, from cultivation to food and product testing. The donation from Oregon CBD, a hemp seed research and development company based in Monmouth, Ore., marks the first major private contribution to the center and will be used to study DNA present within different hemp varieties. Jay Noller, director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center, said the information will provide insights for breeding new hemp varieties that could be used for health and nutrition products or manufacturing textiles and construction materials. “We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest in our work,” Noller said in a statement. Since it was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has experienced a boom across Oregon, with the number of state-licensed growers more than tripling from 584 to 1,883 and total acres expanding 473% from 11,754 to roughly 62,000. Hemp can be used to make a variety of products, though the primary market now is for cannabidiol oil, or CBD, which boasts numerous possible benefits, from pain relief to reducing anxiety. U.S. hemp sales hit $1.1 billion in 2018, according to a study by New Frontier Data, a market research firm focused on the cannabis industry. Hemp sales are expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2022. Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU, said the donation from Oregon CBD accelerates the university’s position as a leader in hemp. The Global Hemp Innovation Center bills itself as the largest, most comprehensive hemp research center in the nation. Kelly Vining, an assistant professor and researcher in OSU’s Department of Horticulture, will lead the center’s hemp genetics research. By understanding the genetic makeup of hemp varieties, growers might be able to better predict levels of hemp oils, such as CBD. The research could also lead to stronger, higher-yielding and more disease-resistant plants. “Looking at the most intimate secrets of life in plants is powerful,” Vining said. “With hemp, the prospects are additionally exciting because it not only holds such interesting promise, but it is just a gnarly plant genome. ... We are now able to explore that promise and challenge, while also being among the first to share our findings with the world.” Oregon CBD is a family-owned business with ties to OSU. Owners Seth and Eric Crawford both have degrees from the university, and Seth Crawford taught in the School of Public Policy for 13 years. Seth Crawford also contributed in 2015 to some of the Oregon Health Authority’s early cannabis policies. “There is a tremendous amount of possibility with hemp, and understanding the genetics is key,” Seth Crawford said. “Philosophically, we believe the public land grant university needs to be the epicenter of that research so that all can benefit from the findings.”

Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expunge Cannabis Convictions

CALGARY, Oct. 15, 2019 /CNW/ - PRESS RELEASE - Westleaf Inc. has announced that its large-scale cannabis extraction, processing and product formulation facility, The Plant by Westleaf Labs, received a standard processing licence from Health Canada and is ready to start operations immediately. The Standard Processing Licence will allow Westleaf to process bulk cannabis to create and sell derivative products through a variety of commercial arrangements. "This is a major catalyst for Westleaf to generate material revenue through the sale of derivative cannabis products and by offering contract manufacturing services," said Scott Hurd, president and CEO of Westleaf. "The issuance of the Standard Processing Licence is timely as Westleaf prepares to launch its cannabis 2.0 products upon legalization which is expected on Oct. 17, 2019." Cannabis 2.0 is the legalization of the next wave of recreational and medicinal cannabis products currently set to begin in Canada on Oct. 17, 2019. It will allow cannabis manufacturers and retailers to provide consumers with a wide range of new cannabis products including high-quality and safe vape cartridges, edibles, concentrates and other oil products. The 15,000-square-foot Phase I of the facility has been built to European Union good manufacturing practice (GMP) specifications and is designed to process up to approximately 65,000 kgs of dried cannabis per annum into anticipated high quality edibles, concentrates, vape and oil products, including Westleaf's first in-house product, a line of vape pens under the brand General Admission, as well as products under the company's other house brands, Backstage, and wellness brand, Loon. The Plant has an additional 45,000 square feet of space to expand extraction capacity as well as add additional product lines based on consumer preferences once the additional products are licensed post Oct. 17, 2019. With the pending legalization of cannabis derivative products, Westleaf anticipates strong industry wide demand for efficient extraction, processing and formulation capacity. The scalability of The Plant ensures Westleaf is well positioned to capitalize on the expected demand growth for contract manufacturing, tolling arrangements, white labeling, and in-house product formulation. In July 2019, Westleaf signed its first extraction contract with Delta 9 for white label derivative cannabis products worth at minimum approximately $4 million per annum with an option to increase up to $16 million per annum. "The Delta 9 contract is the first of what we hope to be a number of similar arrangements between licensed producers, product developers and others who are preparing for the coming legalization of derivative cannabis products such as vapes, edibles, topicals and beverages, or what is called Cannabis 2.0," noted Hurd. "We are preparing Westleaf to be in a strong position to capitalize on the expected spike in consumer demand for these products later this year and into 2020 and beyond." In addition, Westleaf has now satisfied ATB's condition precedent (receipt of Health Canada standard processing licence) to draw the previously announced $3.7 million of additional capital in the form of a $2.7 million term loan and a $1-million line of credit for working capital purposes. Westleaf Operational Updates: Prairie Records – Named the top retailer in Canada by the Grow UP Conference and Expo, Prairie Records is generating revenue through three stores in the Saskatoon region and one in Calgary, with up to 20 more locations under development including downtown Calgary and Edmonton and a flagship store in the tourist centre of Banff, Alberta; Thunderchild Cultivation – Phase I (80,000 square feet) of the large-scale cultivation facility in Battleford, Saskatchewan is fully funded and on track for completion and submission of its Health Canada evidence package for a cannabis standard cultivation licence by the end of 2019.

Educating the Digital Masses: A Look Behind the Screen at Green Flower Media

Online training and education platforms offer access to students across the globe, allowing users to set their own pace for learning and return back to material again and again. In the digital age, this ability to disseminate knowledge to anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone has far reaching powers. Enter Green Flower Media. They have taken the cannabis industry by storm with their innovative educational platform that incorporates reading material, video presentations from cannabis thought leaders, quizzes, and a final exam complete with a certificate of completion upon passing. We recently spoke with Max Simon, CEO and Founder of Green Flower Media, to find out more about the team behind the platform. Here, Simon discusses how Green Flower Media got its start, plans for the future, and more. What was the inspiration behind founding Green Flower Media? How has the company grown since you started it in 2015?Max Simon: I’ve used cannabis to tame my attention deficit disorder (ADD) for decades. I’ve always had a deep relationship with the plant. But when I wanted to find trustworthy, credible, expert guidance on how to use cannabis medicinally, or how to grow cannabis, or how to succeed in the cannabis industry, I couldn’t find anything! So we started Green Flower to provide trusted cannabis education and training to the world, that way people could experience the personal and professional benefits of this remarkable plant and industry. What started with my co-founder, Stephanie Graziano, in my garage, has grown into a 45 person global cannabis education company that’s impacting tens of millions of people around the world, training employees from many of the top cannabis companies, and working with colleges and universities to power their cannabis curriculums. I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come; and now, after raising $20 million in a Series A financing from Tuatara Capital, we feel like we are just getting started. What was the most challenging aspect of launching Green Flower Media? What has been the most rewarding?Simon: Finding the right investors was an enormous challenge for us; it took many years of hard work and a lot of painful learning lessons. Also because of the stigma around cannabis, we’ve had multiple entities treat us unfairly, whether that’s shutting down our bank accounts even though we’re an education company; refusing to lease us office space; or closing our social media accounts. Despite the progress we’ve made with legalization, the cannabis stigma is truly still alive and thriving. The most rewarding part of Green Flower is the positive impact we are making on people’s lives. We have collected thousands of stories of people who used Green Flower to get off opiates, start cannabis businesses, learn to grow and cook with the plant, and so much more. When you see firsthand what a profound difference cannabis can make on someone’s life, you become incredibly passionate about helping more people get the benefits. What is the most popular course you offer? What other areas do think have strong growth potential for cannabis education?Simon: Our most popular course is our Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate (1) because it gives you a comprehensive understanding of the most important aspects of cannabis today. This includes a deep-dive on cannabinoids, delivery methods, the endocannabinoid system, quality control in cannabis, and much more. So for anyone who’s at all interested in getting into the cannabis industry—which is a huge part of our audience—this course is the ideal place to start. We’ve recently developed and released two new programs about the Medical Applications of Cannabis, and Compliance & Regulations. These are both high-growth areas that have tremendous needs in the industry, and yet it’s been virtually impossible to develop any form of credible knowledge for people to break in without spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and consultants. Those are definitely exciting new areas of growth, and we’re seeing people flock to these trainings since they solve a real genuine need! What are the benefits for universities to create cannabis courses and majors? How does that shift impact the industry?Simon: Because we are currently working with many different universities to power their cannabis curriculums, we know that students really want to take these courses. The demand is incredible! So schools get to offer new courses that are in-demand, and students get a pathway to participate in this exciting new industry and study something they are passionate about. As more and more colleges jump on the cannabis train, it will only elevate the industry which suffers from not having enough genuinely skilled and well-trained people to fill specialized roles. More great talent equals more growth of the business. Do you envision a partnership with any universities in the future?Simon: We are very excited to announce a bunch of them at the end of this year! You have a very strong social media presence. How do use your social media channels to help grow Green Flower Media?Simon: Green Flower has one mission: to educate the world about cannabis. Whether it’s through the content on our social media channels, the videos inside our Membership, or the training inside Green Flower Academy, our goal is to help people gain the benefits and value from this special plant, personally or professionally. Social media has been an invaluable channel for helping us spread this message and build a fan base that resonates. What are your plans for the future of Green Flower Media?Simon: Our vision for Green Flower is to be the global leader in cannabis education. In the short term, we have 20+ new courses in development right now from Extraction to CBD to Retail Management and we’re partnering with cannabis companies around the world to build their internal training platforms so every employee is well-educated and successful inside their organization. We are gearing up to announce a whole bunch of college partnerships. Lots to do, so thank god for cannabis!

how cannabis companies are flooding the job market

iStock-Tinnakorn Jorruang As the cannabis industry begins to heat up, companies are beginning to aggressively seek employees to fill positions. Nearly two decades ago, cannabis was reintroduced into US states such as California, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington. Since then, states like Michigan and Illinois decided to legalise adult-use of cannabis leading to an increase in cannabis jobs. The rapid expansion of the market is creating a large influx of jobs in America. According to a report by Glassdoor, there were a total of 1,512 cannabis jobs open in December 2018, increasing by 76% compared to the same period a year ago. Cannabis jobs ZipRecruiter highlighted that in 2017 the number of cannabis industry jobs grew by 445%, outpacing both the technology (254%) and healthcare (70%) industries. Furthermore, following the legalisation of hemp-derived CBD products, industry experts noted that the job demand continued to grow. HempStaff, a hemp and cannabis recruiting firm, mentioned in March that 80% of its job listings are for upper-level positions such as Chief Financial Officers and accounting managers. However, HempStaff Chief Executive Officer James Yagielo also noted that as hemp factories begin to ramp up production rates, companies will need “factory line people, machinists and other types of workers.” Additionally, positions such as accountants, lawyers, IT specialists, financial experts, researchers, and lab technicians are also in high demand. Glassdoor noted that brand ambassadors and sales associates each accounted for 5% of total cannabis job openings in 2018, which represented the largest shares for individual positions. On the other hand, the overall professional and technical jobs accounted for 53% of the job openings. Glassdoor also mentioned that the discrepancy is largely due to the wide range of available positions. A growing industry However, as the industry continues to develop, various job positions are expected to see larger demand as businesses strive to comply with regulatory matters. As a result of the growing workforce, Fortune Business Insights projects that the global cannabis industry will grow from USD 10.6 Billion in 2018 to USD 97.35 Billion by the end of 2026. Additionally, the market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 32.6% during the forecast period. In March, Leafly reported that jobs for the legal marijuana industry totaled 211,000 full-time workers, with 64,389 of them being hired in 2018 alone. While the data does not include employment statistics after the passage of the US Farm Bill, Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott said jobs in both industries should be comparable. Joy Beckerman, President of the Hemp Industries Association, says that jobs for the hemp industry will dwarf the marijuana industry. Specifically, many companies are looking for employees in the hemp industry because of the looser regulations for the plant. Now, notable companies such as Amazon, CVS, and Walgreens all sell hemp-derived CBD products nationwide. At the large scale that these companies operate at, wholesale bulks of product are often required in order to meet consumer demands. Therefore, jobs such as cultivators, packagers, testers, and deliverers are set to be in high demand. “Job creation is going to happen in every economic bracket,” said Erica McBride Stark, Executive Director of the National Hemp Association, according to CNBC. “The hemp industry will create high-skilled management jobs, labour-type jobs and everything in between,” Stark said. “It’s going to touch all of society.”