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I Vote with My Bong

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Cannabis Consumers are non-partisan, they vote for weed!

 

Election season is upon us once again, which means one thing – it’s time for politicians to make big promises in exchange for your vote. Like a one-night stand, they whisper sweet nothings about all the wonderful things they’ll do for you. But once the ballots are counted, they crawl back into bed with their true love – corporate special interests and lobbyists.

 

Cannabis policy is no exception to this quadrennial political pandering. In recent years, as public support for marijuana legalization has soared, candidates have been quick with flashy public gestures and statements backing reform. But a closer look reveals that much of it is just smoke and mirrors, with little tangible progress made once elections are over.

 

However, a fascinating new poll conducted by NuggMD, a medical marijuana telehealth company, suggests cannabis consumers are growing wise to these panderous tricks. The survey of likely voters who regularly use marijuana found that party affiliation takes a back seat for this voting bloc. A solid majority – 59% – said they would vote for a pro-cannabis candidate regardless of party. Only 14% were locked into voting along party lines.

 

This flexible, policy-focused mindset among cannabis voters is something candidates in both parties should take note of heading into the 2024 elections. Empty promises and token gestures likely won’t cut it. As the number of regular cannabis consumers continues to grow into a formidable chunk of the electorate, delivering real reforms may become essential to earning their critical and increasingly coveted votes.

 

The marijuana voting bloc has the power to swing elections – but they won’t be easily swayed by transparent pandering. Politicians across the aisle would be wise to back up their cannabis-friendly overtures with substantive action, or risk seeing this key demographic walk away unimpressed.

 

A Deeper Look into the Mind of the Cannabis User

 

The NuggMD poll provides an illuminating glimpse into the political mindset of American cannabis consumers. The survey, conducted from March 25 to April 3, 2023, collected responses from 755 likely voters who regularly use marijuana. With over-indexing in key swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the results carry heightened electoral significance.

 

On the question of cannabis policy as a voting issue, the poll found that marijuana reform is far from a fringe concern. A combined 53% said cannabis policy is either “the only issue I care about” (6%) or “one of several issues I care about” (47%). This suggests that candidates’ stances on marijuana legalization and regulation could play a pivotal role in shaping the choices of this voter segment.

 

The poll also probed cannabis consumers’ views on the two major political parties. Neither party scored a ringing endorsement, with only 27% viewing Republicans as having better ideas for the country and 38% favoring Democrats. A sizable 35% saw no difference between the parties. On cannabis policy specifically, 56% believed Democrats have better ideas compared to just 16% for Republicans. However, a notable 28% felt the parties were the same on this issue.

 

These lukewarm partisan preferences were reflected in the hypothetical matchups. In a generic Democrat vs. Republican contest, cannabis voters broke 38% for the Democrat, 21% for the Republican, with a large 33% saying it depends and they could go either way. The current expected matchup of Biden vs. Trump yielded a 43-36% edge for the incumbent president among these voters.

 

Perhaps most tellingly, the poll laid bare cannabis consumers’ dismal views of politicians’ grasp on marijuana issues. A staggering 88% said elected officials need to understand cannabis markets and culture to effectively legislate, but 73% felt officials lack even a basic understanding of these areas. Respondents overwhelmingly pointed to younger politicians as more likely to “get it” on cannabis.

 

This disconnect between politicians and their cannabis-using constituents could stem from a broader crisis of confidence in the political system among this group. When asked why marijuana hasn’t been federally legalized despite strong public support, the top answers were all variations on a theme of governmental dysfunction and unresponsiveness: legislators don’t care what voters want (36%), the legislative process moves slower than public opinion (41%), interference from anti-legalization interests (39%).

 

In this context of mistrust and frustration, it’s little wonder that cannabis voters are increasingly prioritizing concrete policy results over party loyalty. Politicians who hope to win over this growing voter bloc in 2024 and beyond will need to move beyond vague 420-friendly platitudes. Demonstrating a true understanding of cannabis culture and delivering meaningful reforms will likely be key to unlocking the marijuana vote going forward.

 

The NuggMD poll underscores that cannabis consumers are a rapidly evolving political force that defies simplistic partisan categorization. As their numbers swell, these voters seem poised to reshape electoral dynamics around marijuana policy in the years to come. Whichever party – and candidates – successfully appeal to this bloc could see a significant boost at the ballot box.

 

Time for New Blood: The Old Guard’s Grip is Slipping

 

For too long, our political and economic systems have been built on a foundation of prohibition, warfare, and exploitation. But the cracks in this crumbling edifice are growing harder to ignore. The masses are waking up to the reality that these archaic structures serve the interests of a powerful few, not the greater good. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of cannabis policy.

 

The government’s stubborn resistance to marijuana reform, despite overwhelming public support, has become a glaring emblem of how out of touch our leaders are. One can’t help but wonder if their real motivation for clinging to prohibition is fear – fear that a population with expanded consciousness might see through the illusions of the status quo.

 

Cannabis has a way of breaking down barriers and binary thinking. It encourages a more nuanced, holistic perspective that prioritizes human well-being over partisan loyalties. In a political landscape increasingly defined by polarization and tribalism, this mindset is a radical departure. And it terrifies those who profit from division.

 

But the tides are turning. As more people experience the benefits of marijuana firsthand, the stigma and scaremongering of the past are losing their potency. The rise of the cannabis voter bloc, as highlighted by the recent NuggMD poll, is a clear sign that business as usual is no longer cutting it. People are hungry for bold, authentically pro-cannabis leadership.

 

Imagine a candidate who not only pledged to legalize marijuana but also articulated a vision for America as a global leader in the cannabis and hemp industries. A candidate who recognized the potential for these plants to revolutionize medicine, environmental sustainability, and social justice. Such a figure would surely be met with a groundswell of grassroots enthusiasm.

 

Unfortunately, it’s hard to picture any of our current crop of politicians taking on this mantle. They’re too deeply entrenched in the old ways, too beholden to the corporate masters who pull their strings. The half-hearted nods to cannabis reform we hear from them now ring hollow, like bread and circuses meant to placate the masses without fundamentally challenging the status quo.

 

But change is coming, with or without them. As younger generations who have grown up with legal marijuana come of age, they’re bringing a new paradigm of politics and leadership. One that puts people and planet above profits and power games. One that recognizes the value of plant medicines like cannabis in healing our society’s wounds.

 

So when you hear the latest cannabis promises from on high, take them with a grain of salt. The old guard may talk the talk when backed into a corner, but they’re unlikely to walk the walk. Their time is running out.

 

The era of politicians who represent only the interests of their corporate patrons is coming to an end. The future belongs to leaders who truly stand with the people – and the plants. In the coming years, expect to see a new breed of candidates who don’t just pay lip service to marijuana reform, but who embody its principles of compassion, freedom, and unity. The rise of the cannabis voter is just the beginning of this great awakening.

 

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What Rescheduling Marijuana Means for California’s Cannabis Industry

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California‘s cannabis industry suffers from a seemingly unending list of problems: high taxes, prohibitionist cities, a related lack of retail licenses and oversupply of non-retail licenses, a monster illegal market with no end in sight, burdensome and often senseless regulations, and so on. Unfortunately, rescheduling won’t solve most of these problems–at least not directly. Today I want to look at what rescheduling could mean for California’s cannabis industry.

If you’re not already up to speed on rescheduling, check out my colleague Vince Sliwoski’s explainer of the DEA’s notice of proposed rulemaking to move marijuana from schedule I (where it sits next to heroin) to schedule III, or any of the following posts of ours:

With that out of the way, let’s look how rescheduling could affect (or not affect) California’s cannabis industry.

First and foremost, rescheduling does not mean that state-legal cannabis markets will be federally compliant. In other words, all California cannabis businesses will still violate federal law. The biggest change would be that  IRC § 280E – which prohibits cannabis businesses from making standard federal tax deductions – will go away. But the statewide cannabis industry won’t be federally “legal.”

What that means is that rescheduling will have no impact on things like the prohibition on interstate commerce, which has kept California walled off from other states (at least California’s legal market). So for now, California’s still on its own.

Rescheduling also won’t impact state law where it counts. Things like local control, burdensome regulations, fighting the illegal market, and so on, will stay the same. Importantly, local and state tax law won’t change: California and many local cities tax cannabis businesses as if they are piggybanks. While 280E relief will undoubtedly help, it makes it much less likely that the state will revisit its own excise tax or think about how it could cap local gross receipts taxes.

So with all that out of the way, is there any good news? I think the answer is a clear yes. Here’s why:

  • Even without state and local tax relief, 280E relief alone will be a monumental change for the industry.
  • Investments into California’s cannabis industry are likely to increase as investors who previously stood on the sidelines become more comfortable with the idea of investing into a (slightly) less regulated industry.
  • Other ancillary service providers may also be more open to providing services to the industry for similar reasons. More ancillary service providers may reduce costs within the cannabis industry.
  • It’s possible that state governments also decide to be more bold. For example, states could decide to roll the dice on interstate commerce compacts after rescheduling, even in spite of schedule III issues.
  • Although the impact on the illegal market will likely be small, the removal of 280E liabilities could entice people who would otherwise have remained unlicensed to become legal and complaint operators.

We’ve got a long way to go before rescheduling happens. And while nobody can really say for sure how things will shake out, it seems like there are some definite positive outcomes for California’s cannabis industry. So stay tuned for more updates.



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The End of the US Hemp Industry is Near

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The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp, distinguishing it from marijuana based on its low THC content. However, an emerging loophole has allowed the proliferation of psychoactive hemp-derived products, particularly delta-8 THC, which has led to significant regulatory and public health concerns. In response, a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill seeks to address these issues by banning hemp-derived cannabinoid products, including delta-8 THC. This proposed amendment, filed by Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), aims to redefine hemp and close the existing loophole around intoxicating hemp. The amendment has sparked a heated debate among industry stakeholders, regulators, and lawmakers.

If you have followed the legal hemp market over the past 8 years and attended shows like the Benzinga Cannabis Conference, you know that the only thing keeping the US hemp industry alive, and on life-support at best, is the sale of commerical retail products that create revenue, ie, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC products derived from hemp.  While hemp-crete and hemp twine are nice stories, the only “cash crop” hemp has right now is selling “hemp that gets you high” to Americans that don’t have acccess to legal weed.

As mentioned by a few VCs and investment firms at the industry trade shows, the only think keeping hemp alive in America is Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products and sales.

That “loophole” in the original 2018 Farm Bill may be closing, and for good, with a new amendment put forward this week.

 

 Key Provisions of the Proposed Amendment

The amendment includes several critical provisions designed to tighten regulations on hemp-derived products:

  • Redefinition of Hemp: Redefines hemp to exclude products containing detectable levels of THC and cannabinoids synthesized outside the plant.

  • Ban on Delta-8 THC: Explicitly bans hemp-derived products that contain psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC.

  • Enhanced Regulatory Oversight: Aims to provide clearer guidelines and stricter controls over the production and sale of hemp-derived products.

 Concerns Leading to the Amendment

Proponents of the amendment argue that the current lack of regulation has led to several issues:

  • Marketing to Children and Teens: Psychoactive hemp products are often marketed in colorful packaging, resembling candy and snacks, raising concerns about their appeal to children and teenagers.

  • Unregulated Market: The proliferation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has resulted in an unregulated market where the safety and quality of products are inconsistent.

  • Public Health Risks: There are concerns about the potential health risks associated with the unregulated sale and consumption of these products.

 Industry Opposition and Concerns

Industry stakeholders and advocates for the hemp industry have voiced strong opposition to the proposed amendment. Their main arguments include:

  • Impact on CBD Products: The amendment could criminalize many non-intoxicating CBD products that naturally contain trace amounts of THC.

  • Economic Consequences: The ban could devastate the hemp industry, resulting in significant job losses and economic decline.

  • Access to Health Products: Many Americans rely on hemp-derived products for health and wellness, and the ban could deny them access to these beneficial products.

 Economic Implications

The hemp market is currently valued at approximately $28 billion, with a significant portion of this market driven by hemp-derived cannabinoid products. The proposed amendment could have profound economic implications, including:

  • Job Losses: Potential loss of tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

  • Market Decline: A potential decline in sales and overall market value as many products would no longer be legally available.

  • Investment Uncertainty: Increased regulatory uncertainty could deter future investments in the hemp industry.

Regulatory Challenges

The hemp industry has faced numerous regulatory challenges since the legalization of hemp in 2018. Key regulatory hurdles include:

Lack of FDA Regulation: The FDA has yet to establish clear regulations for hemp-derived CBD products, creating a patchwork of state-level regulations and contributing to market instability.

  • Safety and Quality Standards: The absence of federal guidelines has led to inconsistent safety and quality standards across the industry.

  • Youth Access: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products has raised concerns about youth access and potential misuse.

Legislative Process and Potential Outcomes

The amendment’s approval by the House Agriculture Committee is the first step in a potentially contentious legislative process. The Senate, which has yet to release its version of the Farm Bill, will play a crucial role in determining the amendment’s fate. Key considerations include:

  • Senate’s Stance: The Democratic-controlled Senate may take a different approach to the regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids, potentially leading to a conflict between the two chambers.

  • Bipartisan Negotiations: Successful passage of the amendment will likely require bipartisan support and negotiations to reconcile differing viewpoints.

  • Final Legislation: The final version of the Farm Bill will need to balance the interests of public health, industry stakeholders, and regulatory clarity.

Broader Implications for Cannabinoid Regulation

The proposed amendment raises broader questions about the regulation of cannabinoids in general:

  • Defining Cannabinoids: The amendment’s language excluding detectable levels of THC and synthesized cannabinoids could impact the regulation of other cannabinoids, such as CBD.

  • Regulatory Parity: Proponents argue that the amendment would create regulatory parity and facilitate state-level regulation of intoxicating hemp products.

  • Future of Cannabinoid Products: The regulation of cannabinoids will continue to evolve, with ongoing debates about the safety, efficacy, and legality of various products.

 Public Health Considerations

The shift towards greater regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has significant public health implications:

  • Consumer Safety: Enhanced regulatory oversight could improve consumer safety by ensuring that hemp-derived products meet consistent quality and safety standards.

  • Health Risks: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products poses potential health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations.

  • Research and Education: Increased research and public education efforts are needed to fully understand the health impacts of hemp-derived cannabinoids and inform regulatory policies.

Industry Adaptation and Future Outlook

The hemp industry will need to adapt to the proposed regulatory changes if the amendment is enacted. Key strategies for adaptation include:

  • Compliance and Certification: Producers and manufacturers will need to invest in compliance and certification processes to meet new regulatory standards.

  • Product Innovation: The industry may shift focus towards non-psychoactive hemp applications and develop new products that comply with stricter regulations.

  • Advocacy and Engagement: Ongoing advocacy and engagement with policymakers will be essential to ensure that the industry’s interests are represented in regulatory discussions.

 Conclusion

The proposed Farm Bill amendment to ban hemp-derived cannabinoid products represents a significant shift in U.S. agricultural and regulatory policy. While proponents argue that it addresses critical public health and safety concerns, industry stakeholders warn of devastating economic consequences and the potential loss of beneficial products. As the amendment moves through the legislative process, the hemp industry faces a period of uncertainty and adaptation. The outcome of this debate will shape the future of hemp regulation, balancing the need for consumer protection with the growth and innovation of a burgeoning industry.

 

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Just Say No to Pesticides on Your Weed

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How To Prevent Pests In Your Homegrown Cannabis Plants Without Using Harmful Chemicals

 

Just like every other plant, cannabis plants will also attract its fair share of pests and bugs when you try to grow them at home. Even professional cannabis growers have to deal with pests!


Pests come in the form of insects, fungus, mites, and bacteria. For homegrown marijuana, the most common offenders include aphids, thrips, spider mites, botrytis, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, powdery mildew, fungus gnats, and root aphids. When they go on undetected or without any treatment, they can cause a wide array of damage to your precious cannabis plant.

 

The worst-case scenario is that your plant can end up being so unhealthy and damaged, that you might even have to end up throwing it away before you can harvest anything. Sometimes, the pest problem can hide itself so effectively that you won’t even know it’s there until you’ve harvested your weed, and are opening your buds apart to smoke. Then, it would be far too late to do anything!

 

Many weed growers end up resorting to strong, harmful chemical pesticides and fungicides to prevent pest problems or nip them in the bud. However, these chemical pesticides and fungicides can also be dangerous for humans and the environment. They are, after all, made with chemicals – and some of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic.

 

But don’t worry: there are several other ways cannabis home growers can deal with pests without harmful chemicals and strong pesticides.

 

Prevention Is Key

 

Truly understanding your home grow setup and operation is the first and most important step to preventing pests. This can take some time and resources in the beginning, but it will save you time and money in the long run!

There are certain factors involved with specific grow setups as well as environments. For example, when growing marijuana outdoors, the most common pests to deal with include aphids, Eurasian hemp borers, corn earworms, and hemp russet mites among others. You’ll also have to learn to prevent squirrels, deer, raccoons, and other bigger animals since humans aren’t the only ones that are attracted to weed!

 

Meanwhile, there’s a different set of beasts to deal with indoors because other factors are involved. These include humidity, ventilation, and air circulation. But regardless of whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, keep in mind that soil plays a critical role in preventing pests. Many growers have found success in using beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic and thus invisible roundworms that eat pests that thrive in soil. Nematodes are excellent for eliminating root aphids and fungus gnats; you can drench the soil in it or mix it up in water before irrigation.

 

Companion Planting

 

Companion planting is a common and widely practiced technique in farming as well as gardening. You can apply the principles of companion planting for cannabis cultivation; it entails planting certain plants or herbs next to cannabis which are known to create a symbiotic or beneficial environment. For example, certain plants or vegetables are known to equally feed off water, while other plants consume more water and thus leave their companion plants thirsty.

 

Meanwhile, some companion plants are effective in helping repel insects and diseases, which is why they are favored among cannabis growers. When it comes to companion planting, some plants to consider include marigolds, lavender, basil, and nasturtiums.

 

Beneficial Insects

 

Believe it or not, some insects can actually be good for your cannabis harvest. Lacewings and ladybugs are two of the most valuable types of insects for cannabis growers, especially if you are growing outside.

To ensure an abundant population, you can purchase beneficial insects and let them roam free in your greenhouse or grow area. They are fantastic for all kinds of plants, not just marijuana. Ladybugs and lacewings are particularly effective because they feed on spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied pests as well as larvae.

 

Organic Pesticides

 

There are several different kinds of effective organic pesticides and fungicides in the market, too. You can use them as a complement to other pest-prevention techniques that you are already doing. Adding organic pesticides to cannabis crop care and maintenance can help greatly deter pests especially if you find that other techniques are lacking or not working as well.


Organic pesticides come in the form of neem oil, insecticidal soap, and botanical sprays. Neem oil is a top choice when it comes to organic pest control, even among household plants! Keep in mind to use neem oil only during the vegetative growth cycle of marijuana.

 

 Just dilute two teaspoons of neem essential oil into a gallon of water, then spray. Or, you can also buy ready-to-use neem spray. Neem oil can be sprayed directly on the foliage, or you can also drench the soil in neem oil no matter what stage of growth your cannabis plant is in. It’s extremely effective in killing and preventing cannabis pests including leafhoppers, crickets, aphids, mealybugs, and so much more.

 

If you’re going to end up using foliar sprays, it’s important to buy the best-quality organic, natural sprays that you can afford. That’s because any ingredients used in those sprays are going to end up in the cannabis flower, which means that you’re going to end up smoking it. When it comes to the best time to use foliar spray on cannabis, it’s during the flowering cycle because it can help keep cabbage loopers and other pests off during this phase.


Conclusion

 

There are many creative ways you can get rid of pests effectively, whether you are growing cannabis indoors or outdoors. Follow these tips to ensure a healthy harvest without compromising your health or that of the environment – there’s no need to use nasty and highly toxic chemical sprays

 

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