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Federal Cannabis Legislation: The CAOA is Back!

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Yesterday, Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden presented the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in the Senate. This version of the CAOA is a big deal, as it’s been over a year since the discussion draft of the bill was shown to the public. It’s also a big deal because we finally have a meaningful cannabis bill (with the input of many, many stakeholders) originating from the Senate, which is notorious for otherwise killing off House-generated cannabis legislation– including the SAFE Banking Act.

The CAOA now heads for Senate committee consideration. No one knows its chances of passing, either as written, modified, or combined with one or more of the House proposals.

What does this version of the CAOA do?

Senator Booker’s website states that the CAOA would:

“End federal cannabis prohibition by removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act; empower states to create their own cannabis laws; ensure federal regulation protects public health and safety; and prioritize restorative and economic justice.”

The details, among many others (including for research and employment and labor impacts), are that the CAOA:

  1. Completely removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) but allows federal enforcement for trafficking in those states that choose to retain prohibition. Notably, interstate commerce is explicitly allowed. As with hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, licensed operators will be able to transport cannabis through prohibition states, even though they can’t sell there.
  2. Allows states to maintain their own licensing programs with their own barriers to entry, just like we have now.
  3. Removes the Drug Enforcement Administration as the main enforcement agency in favor of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (which would be renamed the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”)). Treats cannabis regulations similar to those for alcohol and tobacco (we saw some iteration of this in the fading States Reform Act).
  4. Implements an excise tax on cannabis products as follows:
    • For small and mid-sized producers, the excise tax would begin at 5 percent and gradually increase to a maximum of 12.5 percent.
      ○ For larger cannabis businesses, the excise tax would begin at 10 percent and gradually increase to a maximum rate of 25 percent.
  5. Institutes market competition rules to protect independent, smaller operators.
  6. Implements robust anti-diversion rules, including a track-and-trace system, and adopts limitations on the amount of retail purchases. TTB, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, will develop additional regulations around these areas.
  7. Requires the Department of Transportation create a standard for cannabis-impaired driving within three years to be adopted by states. Incentivizes states to adopt cannabis open container prohibitions with best practices guidance to be issued no later than one year after the passage of the law. A national driving standard may even be implemented despite what individual states decide here.
  8. Establishes a Center for Cannabis Products within the FDA to regulate the production, labeling, distribution, sales and other manufacturing and retail elements of the cannabis industry for things like adulteration and misbranding.
  9. Instructs FDA to establish standards for labeling of cannabis products, including potency, doses, servings, place of manufacture and directions for use. Even cannabis-specific recalls are set out under the bill, and the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act will be amended to include cannabis.
  10. Establishes programs and funding to prevent youth cannabis use, including through media campaigns, to educate the public on the health and societal impacts of cannabis.
  11. Prohibits electronic cannabis product delivery systems from containing added flavors. Electronic cannabis product delivery system means an electronic device that delivers a cannabis product via an aerosolized solution to the user inhaling from the de24 vice, and any component, liquid, part, or accessory of such a device, whether or not sold separately.
What about social equity?

The CAOA may have the most comprehensive set of social equity directives we’ve seen in a piece of proposed federal legislation. If the bill passes, it will use federal tax revenue to reinvest in “communities and individuals most harmed by the failed War on Drugs”, by providing them with legal aid, reentry assistance, health education, and much more.

The CAOA also establishes the Equitable Licensing Grant Program. This program would provide states, tribes and localities funds to implement licensing programs that minimize barriers to cannabis licensing, and employment, for individuals adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.

There will also be opportunities under the CAOA for loans and technical assistance to those small businesses “owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in cannabis-legal states”, including a ten year pilot program with loans from the Small Business Administration.

And just like certain states and cities, not just anyone can qualify it here– it basically comes down to “eligible entities” and individuals, which are defined in the bill.

What’s the long term outlook?

In all, the CAOA is well thought out (it certainly took a while!) and covers a lot of ground when it comes to cannabis industry issues. That said, Senate Democrats may never get this behemoth of a bill passed. It may be that portions of the CAOA are being floated to gauge what the Senate would support in a future, tighter reform bill. In that case, legalization would come in a series of “pieces” of law, rather than the omnibus CAOA effort.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to analyze certain portions of the law we think are relevant to our readers, and we’ll certainly keep you updated on its progress through the Senate.



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These Are The Best Saltines, Ever!

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Why Does Food Taste Better High?

Most cannabis users can relate to the feeling of serious hunger after consuming cannabis or while in the midst of a cannabis high. You know what we mean; that immense craving to eat every snack in the fridge or quickly fix yourself a pickle and peanut butter sandwich in a split second. This common craving among cannabis users is what is termed “the munchies.”

 

A lot of cannabis users will agree that one of the best feelings from smoking weed is the ample satisfaction derived from eating a bag of chips. Unsurprisingly, there are scientific reasoning that support why food tastes a lot better when high.

 

In this article, we will explore both the anecdotal and scientific evidence that surrounds munchies. Keep reading to learn more!

 

Why does cannabis make food taste so much better?

The existence of the munchies has not only been supported by science but also by anecdotal evidence.  For as long as cannabis has been consumed, users have experienced munchies. This is why cannabis is majorly recognized by researchers as an appetite stimulant. However, it is not until recently that science was able to prove the theory behind it.

 

Food tastes better when high for many reasons, some of which include;

 

THC promotes euphoria

One of the central reasons why food tastes better when you are high is because of the body’s distinctive endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS stimulates a feeling of joyful, psychoactive “high” when THC is consumed. THC, the psychoactive compound present in weed, interacts with the brain’s CB1 receptors, resulting in munchies.

 

THC naturally affects the brain by stimulating dopamine production (the feel-good compound). Dopamine flooding the brain leads to a feeling of exaggerated pleasure and mind-altering euphoria while simultaneously reducing inhibitions. Meanwhile, existing anecdotal evidence implies that similar feelings also apply to the heightened feeling of eating high. 

 

People who have smoked weed and went to town on a plate of food or box of ice cream can testify to this heightened feeling

 

Weed heightens hunger

In all of history, people have noted that smoking cannabis helps to improve their appetites. As a matter of fact, at the peak of the HIV/AIDs pandemic, a hospital volunteer popularly known as Brownie Mary shared cannabis-infused brownies to HIV/AIDS patients in the hospital.

 

Mary Jane Rathbun who went by the moniker Brownie Mary was a volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital at height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. She offered patients cannabis-laced confections to deathly ill men which helped patients eat more as they normally could not.

 

Brownie Mary reportedly baked more than 600 cannabis-infused confections every day by banking on weed donations from local cannabis farmers. She paid for the sugar, flour, chocolate, and butter using her monthly checks. Luckily, the effect of cannabis on hunger not only boosts appetite but also has vital medicinal properties.

 

Two decades after the heroic display of Brownie Mary at a time when cannabis was believed to have no medical value, it turns out it does. Now, cannabis has proven to be a wonder drug for the treatment of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, chronic pain, and so on. However, it was cannabis’s unique ability to boost appetite that initially had people to have to rethink the “War on Cannabis”.

 

THC helps to play a vital role in the production of ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that acts on the appetite center in the brain to facilitate hunger. And according to science the more hungry we feel, the more satisfaction we get from eating.

 

THC enhances food smell and taste

Giovanni Marsicano led a research study at the Université De Bordeaux in 2014 to determine if weed can certainly make food taste and smell better. The results and conclusions made by the neuroscientists who experimented proved positive. They discovered that cannabis interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain and amplifies the sense of smell.

 

Considering the human sense of smell and taste are closely related, an amplified sense of smell rightly heightened the satisfaction derived from flavourful food. Hence, the cravings many experiences after smoking a joint. 

 

To test the hypothesis, the team of neuroscientists observed mice fed wine banana, and almond oils. The study revealed that mice exposed to THC ate more than those who weren’t. Also, mice exposed to THC spent more time sniffing the oils and didn’t habituate as fast as those who weren’t exposed to THC. This means at a time when odor detection is sensitized and increased, you are likely to eat less. However, you are also more inclined to relish the aromas, texture, and flavors of food

 

 

THC may not prompt you to eat more vegetables

While food cravings are heightened after smoking a joint, you may not be inclined to eat more veggies. So the question remains, why do we tend to seek sugary snacks and junk when high? Well, a recent study published in the Journal Neuropharmacology answers the question. The study also supports the scientific reasonings behind munchies. The study proves that THC amplifies the pleasure we get from eating sugary, delicious, and high-calorie foods but has little or no effect on the food we already hate. This conclusion was made by a team of scientists at the University of Cagliari, Italy.

 

In simple terms, smoking weed is unlikely to magnify your love for food or vegetables you don’t already like.

 

Certainly, smoking a joint might prompt you to tap into your inner chef, making a concoction of every ingredient in your kitchen. However, stoners sometimes just hit their snack stack after getting high. A research study evaluated data in hundreds of counties across the United States and discovered that the legalization of recreational cannabis can be linked with increased sales of junk foods such as cookies, chips, and ice cream.

 

Conclusion

Everyone who has ever smoked a joint and experienced the munchies can testify to the cravings. Eating at such a time can become another high of its own. With science backing this feeling, now you understand why you experience munchies. You can now fully enjoy that bag of chips, ice cream as well as PB&P with the scientific understanding of why food tastes better when high.

 

MORE ON THC AND APPETITE, READ THIS…

WHY DOES WEED GIVE US THE MUNCHIES

WHY DOES WEED GIVE US THE MUNCHIES, THC EXPLAINS IT!



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3 Million Americans Grow Their Own Weed at Home

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In recent years, the legal cannabis business has experienced an explosion in both private and public growing. But a number of challenges remain in the way of realizing its full potential, including fending off an organized black market, obtaining financial assistance from governmental agencies, navigating a worldwide pandemic, and now waddling through rising economic inflation.

 

The industry is focused more on the retail and production sectors, whereas there are several untapped areas with little noise and enormous potential.

 

Gone are the days when Americans associated cannabis with the “Reefer Madness” stigma. Now, the conversations revolve around legalizing cannabis use, sales, and possession. The majority of the adult population is much more comfortable with cannabis use than ever. They are even willing to share details about their consumption habits and source of products. Anecdotal studies show that homegrowing cannabis is a niche with sparse details. This niche could be a crucial piece of the cannabis market puzzle in a few years if explored.

 

Today, about 3 million residents self-cultivate cannabis at home—over $20 billion is predicted to be spent on homegrow tools and supplies before the decade’s end. This growing trend draws much attention from retailers, cultivators, and operators in the system. Everyone wants to know how they can tap into this budding niche. Either by drawing the homegrowing Americans back into the dispensary fold or capitalizing on their self-cultivating efforts.

 

Growing cannabis at home

As mentioned earlier, 3 million Americans grow their marijuana at home. Many home growers consume cannabis for medical and therapeutic reasons. However, some categorically state that they use cannabis to improve their overall wellness. As to why cannabis homegrows are on the rise, 73.5% say they engage in this new activity for pleasure, while some do it to save cost. 33% of self-growers say they do it because they believe they can produce better cannabis products than those sold at dispensaries. While some do it because it is more convenient and less risky.

 

In most jurisdictions where cannabis is legal, adults are permitted to grow a certain number of plants indoors; here is where the story largely starts and stops. Home growers haven’t been a segment of the market that has been largely regarded as useful over the course of the past few decades of state-level legalization; thus, the broader legal business doesn’t heavily promote them or devote a lot of resources to educating them.

 

Current Stats Show Homegrowing Is Here To Stay

6% of America’s cannabis consumer market grow their marijuana at home. This is a significant number of this population, and it’s projected to rise higher before 2030.

 

Based on data published by New Frontier, consumers who prefer to view their cannabis at home spent over $2.5 billion on growing supplies in 2020. John Kagia, New Frontier Data Chief Knowledge officer explained that home growers spend a few dollars on setting up efficient grow systems. They purchase inputs like seeds, seedlings, and fertilizers for each cycle and tools like pots, polythene bags, and pruning shears.

 

Kagia added that the firm’s projections for the next eight years is that the homegrown community will invest almost $30 billion on supplies alone. He stressed that the homegrown market is a lot larger than most people imagine.

 

According to New Frontier Data, the cannabis homegrow market is diverse. It wasn’t so easy to pinpoint a certain demographic that preferred to grow at home. The data showed that home cultivators are not limited to a certain age, or socioeconomic spectrum. Homegrowers can be married, single, rich, poor, average, regular users, inconsistent users, young adults, or senior adults, they are spread proportionally across all legal states.

50%  of home growers are married, with the majority having children. While 25% make at least $100k annually. 25% make $25 – $49k, and 46% earn below $50k.

 

The co-founder and CEO OF LEAF, Jonathan Yoni Ofir, concurred that the home grow market is big and that gathering this data was tricky. He explained that consumers weren’t so eager to share their home grow experiences, despite being given the choice of sharing anonymously.

 

People are only just becoming willing to discuss their habits. Self-cultivation is more complex than the regular college student closet grown cannabis activities. Toni ofir stressed that it is far from it. Only that the college students used to be the only ones bold enough to talk about it.

 

More Details

New Frontier data shows that over 11 million pounds of dried cannabis have been produced by home growers in the last seven months alone. By 2030, the homegrow market could be producing at least 15 million pounds of dried flowers annually. Most homegrowers produce only what they can consume.

 

For context, only a million pounds of cured cannabis has been produced legally in Colorado this year. Meaning there are over 10x as many home growers as you might expect. That’s an excellent illustration of the volume of work being produced by these hobbyists, said Kagia. With so much flower, there is an actual demand for education about consumer-driven genetics, fertilizers, ventilation, temperature management, pruning equipment, curing technologies, and storage solutions.

 

Why is education important?

One thing holding the homegrow market back is the lack of education and experience. Most homegrowers in this sector have less than four years experience growing cannabis plants in their homes. Less than 15% report that they have upto three years experience in this field. Everyone seems to be learning as they practice. Although the homegrow market is here to stay, participants need to have the proper education to produce better yields with the resources they have. The sooner this happens, the faster the acceleration of the community’s expansion.

 

Bottom Line

The cannabis sector has massive deficiencies in markets like growing supplies when it comes to being able to offer marketable goods and services to hobby farmers who can spend anywhere from a few dollars to more than $1,000 per crop.

 

In reality, slightly less than 58% of home growers claim to spend under $200 on each crop. And more than half of home growers report buying their supplies at neighborhood hardware or garden stores, and more than half say they get their seeds from flowers they’ve bought. Investors should look into investing in growing supplies.

 

GROWING WEED AT HOME IS BIG, READ MORE…

GROWING MARIJUANA AT HOME FOR $50

MARIJUANA HOME GROWS TO START FOR JUST $50, READ THIS!



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New York to Accept Retail Dispensary Apps August 25

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It is finally here: New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced that it will begin accepting applications for the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) Licenses on August 25, 2022. Applications will be accepted through the OCM’s online portal and the application window will close on September 26, 2022. This is obviously a huge deal and the first step towards legal sales of adult-use cannabis in New York.

As a brief refresher, this is a conditional license that moves forward New York’s stated goal of prioritizing social equity applicants. Even if the non-conditional adult-use licenses follow shortly hereafter, it means a lot that the first sales of cannabis in New York will come from businesses owned by individuals who have suffered from New York’s needless and damaging war on cannabis. The two big ticket items for CAURD applicants:

  • Applicants must have a marijuana-related offense conviction that occurred prior to the MRTA being passed on March 31, 2021, or a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse or dependent with a pre-MRTA marijuana-related offense conviction in the State of New York; and
  • Applicants must have experience owning and operating a qualifying business.

We have all of the critical breakdowns of the CAURD license:

This is a big deal, and for anyone interested in applying for a CAURD license, we strongly recommend contacting an experienced cannabis attorney (including us!).

Stay tuned for future development on New York’s cannabis industry and an update after the Cannabis Control Board’s meeting on Monday, August 15, 2022. We will keep you posted.



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