Majority Of Americans Agree: Pot Shops Are Essential

Majority Of Americans Agree: Pot Shops Are Essential

Original Post: High Times: Majority Of Americans Agree: Pot Shops Are Essential

[Canniseur: I only have one thing to say about this; If liquor stores can stay open, then pot shops must stay open. Both are legal. And there is no question about those who have medical cards and use cannabis as medicine. Closing those shops is no different than closing a pharmacy. It will also drive a lot of business back to the black market. Not good.]

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans believe that cannabis dispensaries should be considered essential services that are allowed to remain open during lockdowns ordered to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The online poll, conducted by YouGov on March 25, found that 53% of U.S. adults believe that cannabis dispensaries should be considered essential services.

The poll asked 5,369 U.S. adults one question: “Do you believe medical marijuana dispensaries should or should not be considered essential services?” In addition to the 53% who said that medical marijuana dispensaries should be considered essential, 26% said that the businesses should not be and 21% said that they didn’t know.

With jurisdictions around the globe enacting stay-at-home orders to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, cannabis activists in several locales have argued that dispensaries provide legitimate health care services that should be permitted to remain open, just like pharmacies and doctor’s offices. On Wednesday, Steph Sherer, the founder and president of Americans for Safe Access, noted in a press release that “18 states have now declared cannabis businesses essential.”

Breaking Down The Demographics

Regionally, the YouGov poll showed the strongest support for keeping medical marijuana retailers open in the Northeast, where 57% of participants said dispensaries should be considered essential services and only 26% said that they shouldn’t. Even in the South, where support for deeming dispensaries essential was the lowest, half of the respondents said that they should be. Only a quarter said that they should not be and another 25% were unsure.

By gender, support for declaring medicinal cannabis dispensaries essential was fairly even, with 54% of men and 52% of women in favor. Only 27% of men and 26% of women disagreed and said that dispensaries are not essential.

Democrats showed the most support for keeping dispensaries open, with 62% saying they should be considered essential. Only 43% of Republicans agreed, while 52% of independent voters also said that pot shops should stay open.

By age, 54% of those 18 to 24; 59% of 25 to 34-year-olds; and 56% of those in both the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups said that dispensaries are essential. Just under half, or 47%, of those 55 and older were also in favor of keeping the retailers open.

The poll also showed that those earning $80,000 or more make up the only group by income level with a majority in favor of classifying dispensaries as essential services, with 52%. In contrast, only 48% of those earning less than $40,000 and 45% with an income of $40k to $80k agreed.

Sherer of ASA said that many of the jurisdictions that have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open during mandatory closures of nonessential businesses have enacted several of the group’s recommendations, such as “instructing medical cannabis businesses on how they can make legal temporary changes to their business plans. These include expanding delivery services, allowing curbside pickup, extending the expiration date of state-issued cannabis identification cards, and allowing telehealth visits for new and renewing medical cannabis certifications.”

“We applaud these efforts at the state level and are honored to serve governments and medical cannabis stakeholders on behalf of patients,”  she said.

Majority Of Americans Agree: Pot Shops Are Essential was posted on High Times.

Washington Marijuana Dispensaries Can Remain Open During Stay-At-Home Order

Washington Marijuana Dispensaries Can Remain Open During Stay-At-Home Order

Original Post: High Times: Washington Marijuana Dispensaries Can Remain Open During Stay-At-Home Order

[Canniseur: Similar to most other legal states, Washington State believes that cannabis dispensaries are ‘essential’. And well they may be essential since the stress relief that comes with cannabis can help us all cope…a lot. “Social distancing” may keep the shops uncrowded, but the sales are steady all day. Many states are telling people they must pre-order and drive up for their orders, but that’s OK as long as product is available.]

Cannabis dispensaries in Washington will be allowed to remain open during the closure of nonessential businesses ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday. The Democratic governor issued the stay-at-home order in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Inslee’s order went into effect for residents immediately on Monday afternoon and will be effective for businesses on Wednesday. The governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is slated to last for at least two weeks.

The order requires all businesses deemed non essential to cease operations that cannot be completed by workers remotely from home. Washington residents were directed to heed state public health advisories to stay home except to pursue an essential activity.

Businesses and services deemed essential are permitted to remain in operation and were directed to enact social distancing protocols to protect employees and customers. The state issued a 14-page list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to clarify the businesses and services that will be permitted to keep their employees on the job.

Among the list are employees that work at essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out restaurants, and childcare providers. The list also includes health care and public health workers and worksites including hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities such as blood banks and “cannabis retailers.”

Social Distancing Is Key

To stay open for business, cannabis retailers are required to limit the number of customers that are permitted in the store at one time and to initiate social distancing protocols. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has also allowed dispensaries to allow customers to pick up their orders outside the business at curbside, a practice previously only permitted for medical cannabis patients.

“Our intent is to allow additional ways for you to engage your customers without having to have your doors open for business,” the agency wrote.

The WSLCB has also allowed licensed bars and restaurants to offer delivery and curbside pickup of spirits, wine, and beer. Restaurants can include beer or cider in growlers, kegs, or factory-sealed containers while wine and liquor must be offered only in containers sealed at the factory. Orders from restaurants must also include food.

“Our goal is to do whatever we can to help businesses during this time,” said Brian Smith, communications director at the Liquor and Cannabis Board. “We can’t change what’s in the law, but we can do other things.”
Washington joins several other jurisdictions that have determined that cannabis retailers can remain open during mandatory closures called in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including Michigan, New York, California, and Ohio.

Washington Marijuana Dispensaries Can Remain Open During Stay-At-Home Order was posted on High Times.

Philadelphia Flower Show to Spotlight Medical Marijuana

Philadelphia Flower Show to Spotlight Medical Marijuana

Original Post: High Times: Philadelphia Flower Show to Spotlight Medical Marijuana

[Canniseur: Flower shows, a staple of late winter might soon become FLOWER SHOWS it this trend continues. I have seen many truly beautiful cannabis flowers in my time and would love to see them amongst the roses, rhododendrons, orchids and other exotic flowers at this flower show. Too bad there won’t be any plants at the show this year. But next year? Who’s got the prettiest bud?]

For the first time ever, cannabis will be the theme of some exhibits at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show, which opens this weekend at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Three of the show’s exhibits will feature cannabis, although no cannabis plants or products will be on display.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event, begun in 1829 by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. Held annually, the show features displays by the world’s leading floral and landscape designers.

However, until this year, cannabis has been taboo. An exhibit planned in 2016 was canceled at the last minute over what has been described as a misunderstanding. But with medical marijuana legal in Pennsylvania since 2018 and lawmakers now considering the legalization of recreational pot, things have changed. Last year, the horticultural society reached out to the cannabis marketing agency Chronic for advice on integrating marijuana into the show.

As a result, this year’s show will feature ‘The Greenroom,’ an educational display offering information about the medical marijuana programs in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states of New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. Two of the exhibit’s sponsors, dispensary chain Keystone Shops and cultivator Prime Wellness, also have their own exhibits at the show.

“Our job is to get the word out, to let the expected 250,000 show-goers know that medical marijuana has arrived,” said Sarah Seamonson of Chronic. “People can find info about doctors, ailments that marijuana is approved to treat, and where medical dispensaries can be found throughout the region and what people can expect when they visit one.”

No Pot Allowed

But one thing will be noticeably absent from the cannabis-themed exhibits at the Philadelphia Flower Show: cannabis. The horticultural society has forbidden any actual cannabis plants in the displays. Artificial weed plants won’t be on display either in an effort to ease the wariness of some of the horticultural society’s leadership.

“To do that, nothing on display could be construed as a real pot plant. It was unfortunate, but we got [that point],” said Greg Ricciardi, the CEO of Chronic and its sister agency 20nine.

The Green Room is decorated with pastel-colored paper cutouts in the shape of cannabis leaves, but even hemp plants, which are now legal under federal law, are off-limits.

“We’re keeping the controversial topics to a minimum,” said Mike Badey, the CEO of Keystone Shops. “The Department of Health approved us, but one stipulation was that we couldn’t have live cannabis plants. We weren’t planning on having them, anyway.”

When asked, Chris regional organizer for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Chris Goldstein said that cannabis “absolutely” has a place at the nation’s most famous flower show.

“If you look at cannabis as a plant, it is the most popular flower that Americans interact with on a daily basis — either regulated or unregulated,” Goldstein said. “It has many strains, varieties, looks, and scents. And it outsells roses by far.”

The Philadelphia Flower Show opens on Saturday, February 29 and runs through Sunday, March 8.

Philadelphia Flower Show to Spotlight Medical Marijuana was posted on High Times.

Much Needed ‘Organically Grown’ Certification Is Coming to the Cannabis Industry

Much Needed ‘Organically Grown’ Certification Is Coming to the Cannabis Industry

Original Post: Merry Jane: Much Needed ‘Organically Grown’ Certification Is Coming to the Cannabis Industry

[Canniseur: I’ve seen cannabis that claimed to be ‘organically grown’ on the shelves in several states. While it’s nice to see that some growers are concerned that organic growing practices are important, nobody has any idea what that means. This certification will create an important framework to let consumers know what organic means. I see that as a good thing for the cannabis industry and its customers.]

Grocery shopping can be a long, detail-oriented journey if you’re someone who scans every ingredient label in an effort to avoid consuming pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Thankfully, the ‘USDA Organic’ label signals safety from these toxic additives. That same assurance doesn’t exist in cannabis, however, an issue our cultivation columnists have lamented in the past.

In fact, weed’s continued Schedule I status excludes pot growers from achieving “organic” certification, which is controlled by the federally-run USDA. But now, new standards are finally being developed by the Cannabis Certification Council (CCC), which will soon allow cannabis cultivators and manufacturers to add an “Organically Grown” sticker to their products.

The CCC is a nonprofit organization that’s focused on providing cannabis consumers and businesses with education, and helping foster transparency and choice within the industry. The group formed in 2018 when the Portland-based Ethical Cannabis Alliance and the Organic Cannabis Association from Denver, Colorado, joined forces as a result of their shared goals: To create ethical, organic cannabis options within the space.

Read the rest of this story here:

Original Post: Merry Jane: Much Needed ‘Organically Grown’ Certification Is Coming to the Cannabis Industry

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

Original Post: High Times: Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

[Canniseur: This is the second story this week about the dangers of vaping supposed THC carts. ARDS is only one of the myriad of problems that can occur when the distillate for carts is made with illegal chemicals, or processed incorrectly. If you’re going to use oil concentrates, at least get them from a licensed dispensary with a good reputation.]

A public health official issued a warning about the dangers of unlicensed cannabis products following the hospitalization of seven Californians who fell ill after vaping. In a notice released last week, Dr. Milton Teske, health officer with the Kings County Department of Public Health, said that those stricken had been taken to the hospital in the Central California community after experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms.

“Since June, seven cases of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) have been identified, requiring hospitalization and respiratory support among previously healthy adults,” reads the notice. “Some of these patients’ conditions were so severe they were admitted to the intensive care unit and required respiratory support through mechanical devices.”

Initial symptoms of ARDS include the feeling that one can’t get enough air into the lungs, rapid breathing, low blood oxygen level, low blood pressure, confusion, and extreme tiredness.

Six of the patients are in their 20s and the last is a 60-year-old experienced cannabis user who had tried vaping for the first time. Teske noted that all seven patients had recently used THC or CBD oil vape cartridges that they had purchased at unlicensed marijuana “pop-up shops” and urged consumers to purchase cannabis products only at regulated retailers.

“If you’re going to vape THC, get it from a licensed dispensary where you know there’s a certain amount of testing required to do,” Teske said. “It’s going to cost twice as much as the stuff on the street, but you don’t want to end up with a life-threatening respiratory condition.”

Similar Cases Across US

California isn’t the first area to see people experiencing lung problems after vaping, although it appears some cases may involve the use of nicotine vaporizers. Health officials in New York warned health care providers on Friday to be on the alert for pulmonary disease caused by vaping. The New York Department of Health is currently investigating 11 cases of lung problems related to vaping, most in the western part of the state.

“While many people consider vaping to be a less dangerous alternative to smoking cigarettes, it is not risk free,” state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. “These latest reports of pulmonary disease in people using vaping products in New York and other states are proof that more study is needed on the long-term health effects of these products.”

Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric lung specialist at New York University Winthrop Hospital, said that she has seen two cases of patients who experienced lung problems after vaping, including an 18-year-old athlete.

“We’re all baffled,” Pirzada said, adding that the only common factor was that they had been vaping.

On Thursday, health officials in Wisconsin reported that 15 cases of lung trouble brought on by vaping had been confirmed and 15 more were being investigated. Health officials in Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota are also investigating cases of lung problems potentially caused by vaping.

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping was posted on High Times.

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