Photos: Cannabis Goes Beyond Organic in California’s Wine Country

Photos: Cannabis Goes Beyond Organic in California’s Wine Country

[Editor’s Note: A fabulous day-in-the-life of a biodynamic cannabis farm photo series. For growers and those who love them.]

Terra Luna Farms grew almost 50 different strains on two outdoor parcels licensed for up to an acre of canopy in 2018.

Harvest yield totaled around 1,600 dried, cured pounds with an estimated wholesale value of around $2.8 million.

Terra Luna battled a late splash of rain that threatened mold in October. Biodynamic farmers cannot combat mold or mildew with powerful, synthetic chemistry.

“There’s no silver bullets,” said Mike Bensinger, a longtime biodynamic evangelist from the wine industry.  “If you have a problem you’re already fucked. It’s a super-anticipative type of farming.”

sparc Weed
(Jason Henry for Leafly)

SPARC’s harvest reaches consumers as high-quality top-shelf buds, as well as cannabis oil that goes into vape pens and edibles.

Terra Luna farms is situated in the Moon Mountain region of Sonoma County. The growing location and inputs influence the final product, they said.

“Both flowers flavors and effects are enunciated by the unique climate of the Moon Mountain AVA which benefits from a warmer climate just above the fogline and a consistent breeze with winds from both the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay,” SPARC states.

“The finish has been great,” said Terra Luna owner Ereneta.

“If anything it’s been a little scary. We’ve had deja vu with several red flag warnings up until today about windy dry weather. We have a little PTSD.”

SPARC founder Erich Pearson has survived not only the brutal transition from medical cannabis to recreational in the brutal market of San Francisco. Wildfire tested his renegade spirit in 2017.

SPARC's Erich Pearson after Nuns Fire. (Courtesy SPARC)(Courtesy SPARC)

Above, Pearson amid the ruin of the Nun’s Fire. The fires interrupted a multi-year plan to get the farm Demeter-certified.

Michael Bensinger at Terra Luna(Courtesy SPARC)

Biodynamic evangelist Mike Bensinger, left, helps remediate Terra Luna farms after the Nuns Fire.

“It’s really important for plants to have some relationship to humans,” said Bensinger, a local wine celebrity and biodynamic grower.

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

A tag denoting strain type sticks out of the soil next to a cannabis plant.

Biodynamic farming and demeter-certification is all about the soil. The unique, local soil gives a plant its terroir—or unique smell, taste and effect.

Terra Luna’s soil needed three year’s work to get demeter certified. Conventional farmland cannot qualify for five years unless they remediate.

Terra Luna grew in fabric pots with holes to allow the roots to tap into the ground soil.

(Courtesy SPARC)

After the fires, SPARC planted cover crops included purple vetch, fava beans and oat hay helped fix the nutrient nitrogen. Those crops got mulched back into the soil. “Biodynamic cannabis farming, with its emphasis on good health, natural inputs and cycles, and honoring the Earth, is the best way to grow this healing plant.”

“It’s not easy to grow this way, but it is simple, because it most closely mimics what nature would do itself,” Pearson said. “The result is a clean, flavorful cannabis with extraordinary powers. I’m delighted to be able to offer these two new strains to our patients and adult consumers alike.”

Biodynamic farming uses all on-farm inoute like manure for fertilizers, instead of synthetic nutrients.(Courtesy SPARC)

All-natural compost included worm castings, manure, all organic OMRI-certified inputs. Going biodynamic means sourcing all farm inputs from the farm itself. Terra Luna also fertilized with bat guano from nearby deposits.

SPARC worked to pioneer biodynamic certification for cannabis since 2015.

Finishing Strong

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

With trichomes ripe and mature, farm workers chop cannabis stalks and move them on trays into a processing building. Strains of 2018 included Cookies, Tangie, Bubba Kush, and Remedy.

Terra Luna demeter harvest(Jason Henry for Leafly)

Workers process the cannabis—removing debris and fan leaf, spreading out buds for drying. The fall’s full-sun harvest creates a seasonal spike in demand for labor. Processing wages are declining while regulatory costs have kicked in for the first time.

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

Hundreds of pounds of cannabis dries in a large drying room. The buds get laid flat in single layer per tray. The stackable trays go on rolling dollies. Buds dry for five to seven days in a cold, dark room humming with fans.

Later they go to move on to a stage called ‘curing’. During curing, buds get trimmed and polished.

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

A cannabis bud dries in the drying room. Fresh on shelves at SPARC’s four Bay Area dispensaries this fall, Biodynamic Black Light offers potent, high-THC indica effects. The musky, floral cross of Black Domina and Northern Lights #1 can help with relaxation and sleep.

(Jason Henry for Leafly)

A top-shelf cannabis strain sits in the gloved hand of a processor. Strains of 2018 include Biodynamic Purple Punch is an indica flower with a sweet berry-like flavor and hails from a beloved cross between Larry OG and Grand Daddy Purple which produces a sedating feeling perfect for winding down the day.

Terra Luna’s official demeter-certification coincided with its harvest hitting shelves.

Terra Luna's demeter certification(Courtesy SPARC)

Original Post: Leafly: Photos: Cannabis Goes Beyond Organic in California’s Wine Country

Washington Teens Smoked Less Pot Amid Legalization, Study Concludes

Washington Teens Smoked Less Pot Amid Legalization, Study Concludes

[Editor’s Note: The original article was published in JAMA Pediatrics, a peer reviewed magazine. Studies are starting to come out from real life data. While this report is positive, we all need to be concerned about teen use. More good research please!]

The authors of a new study on teen marijuana use say legalization in Washington has not caused rates to go up — they appear to be in decline

Cannabis legalization for adults 21 and over in Washington has not led to increased teen use of the drug, according to an authoritative, new non-partisan study.

The research team, which included public health researchers at the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, found that the prevalence of marijuana use generally fell among Washington teens amid the commercial sales launch of 2014 to 2016, as compared to the period 2010 to 2012.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, also found that:

  • Among eighth graders, cannabis use declined from 9.8% to 7.3%.
  • Among tenth graders, cannabis consumption dropped from 19.8% to 17.8%.
  • No changes were reported among 12th graders.

Amid a fierce, fact-limited national debate, the research letter gives a better snapshot of what’s going on in Washington teens’ lives.

Teens have had relatively easy access to marijuana since the ‘70s, surveys have shown. Both legalization supporters and opponents have long-argued that ‘anyone who wants marijuana can get it.’

In 2012, Washingtonians chose to tax, regulate, and control cannabis like alcohol or tobacco. Deterring teen use was one of the goals of that initiative.

In 2014, Washington retail cannabis stores opened for ID-card carrying adults 21 and over.

Valid, epidemiological data is scant. A major study published in JAMA in 2017 found slight increases in Washington teen use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. RAND fact-checked those findings using better data, which they published last week.

Look for Actual Data, Not Guesswork

The study’s lead authors, Dr. Julia A. Dilley, and Susan M. Richardson of the Oregon Public Health Division, said consumers must vet survey methods to make sure claims are generalizable. In this case, amajor 2017 study used national survey results to make state-level conclusions. That proved incorrect.

Dilley and Richardson—along with Beau Kilmer of RAND, Mary B. Segawa of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, and Magdalena Cerdá of New York University—obtained better, state-level data from the Washington Healthy Youth Survey. That survey came from a random sample of Washington public schools every two years. When you look at actual Washington student survey results instead of national models, use rates went down, not up.

Surveys of actual Washington teens show cannabis use going down (green lines). Inaccurate models of national data show use going up (yellow lines).Sky Not Falling: Surveys of actual Washington teens show cannabis use going down (green lines). Inaccurate models of national data show use going up (yellow lines). (JAMA Pediatrics)

“The [national, Monitoring the Future survey] includes some Washington kids. But it really isn’t built to generalize to the state,” Dilley told Leafly.

“The effect of legalization on youth marijuana use is an important public health question that needs to be revisited using a multitude of data sets,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-author of the study and co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. “This work underscores the importance of understanding who is being captured in each data set so we can better understand how representative the sample is when trying to draw policy conclusions from the analysis.”

RAND is non-partisan, and the analysis offers some of our best, most current information on Washington as a laboratory of democracy with regard to cannabis law reform. It’s a better source than guesses from both the pro and anti-legalization side. Dilley said to look for neutral sources when judging legalization, not someone’s biased personal experience.

“A lot of public health researchers are trying to understand what’s happening, and do it within the framework of the decisions voters have made,” Dilley explained.

Why Teens Might Pass on Grass

The paper does not guess at why prevalence might decline amid taxing and regulating cannabis. It could simply be an overall trend in the teen cohort. Millennials seem to use less drugs and have less sex than Gen Xers or Boomers.

Dilley said the facts on the ground continue to change with regard to adult-use cannabis’ price, availability, public messaging, and advertising.

“I think it’s going to be a long time before we know why,” she said. “I’m still at ‘What’s happening?’ rather than ‘Why it’s happening.’”

Reformers think the lower teen use rates might be due to better messaging and control of the adult trade.

Teens’ historically high access to cannabis makes it “little surprise that legalization appears to be having little effect on teen usage rates,” said Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson. “It is still illegal for teens in those states, and there are still plenty of consequences that are likely deterring use. More research is needed to know what impact legalization is having, if any, but it’s clear that it does not result in an immediate or significant increase in teen use, as opponents have long predicted.”

Tobacco use has collapsed among modern teens—a result of heavy public messaging paid for by high tobacco taxes and lawsuit settlement funds. That paradigm is coming to cannabis.

“Smart regulations, combined with evidence-based messaging, are far preferable to criminalization. These findings further make the case for removing cannabis from the black market, and should assuage the concerns of those who feared that doing so would inadvertently promote use among young people. Such concerns, fortunately, have not come to fruition,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML.

More Fodder For Debate

Researchers say that the results are an “encouraging trend”, but they don’t predict the future. Clusters of stores or intense advertising blitzes could one day drive more teens to weed, but researchers don’t know.

“These findings do not provide a final answer about how legalization ultimately may influence youth marijuana usage,” Pacula said. “A variety of factors may influence the behavior of adolescents and those factors are likely to influence behaviors in different ways over time.”

“Kids don’t care about what happens in the state capitol, they care about what happens in their own neighborhoods,” Pacula said. “Commercialization in local neighborhoods is likely to be more important than changes in the law.”

Original Post: Leafly: Washington Teens Smoked Less Pot Amid Legalization, Study Concludes

Emerald Cup 2018 Winners and Where to Buy Them

Emerald Cup 2018 Winners and Where to Buy Them

[Editor’s Note: This is the list we’ve been waiting all year. Check out the Emerald Cup’s best marijuana strains for 2018.]

The world’s Academy Awards of cannabis—The Emerald Cup 2018—concluded near San Francisco, CA. Sunday afternoon. Now begins your chance to scoop up the state’s most award-winning buds all through the holiday.

Read below for the locations of California’s best flowers, edibles, and extracts—as judged by industry experts at the Cup.

Cannabis is legal in California for adults 21 and over, and the first full year of commercial sales is concluding. About 300 stores are open statewide. Hundreds of buds, oils, edibles and, more competed in 24 different categories, with some companies spending as much as $20,000 on contest entry fees, lab testing, cost of product, and more.

“Winning first place definitely provides a big boost,” said Craig Negedly, founder and CEO of Talking Trees Farms, a past Emerald Cup winner, and 2018 contestant.

Celebrity cultivators “Nikki and Swami” of Swami Select cannabis announced the winners Sunday afternoon as part of an awards ceremony that included giving outlaw country legend Willie Nelson a lifetime achievement award, now dubbed the Willie Nelson Award.

Director Kevin Smith and collaborator Jason Mewes anchored a podcast taping of ‘Jay and Silent Bob Get Old’ on Saturday. Performances by Gogol Bordello, STS9, the Funky Meters, and others topped a packed lineup that included eight stages over two days. More than 250 vendors sold adult use cannabis for as low as $60 per ounce, while designer seeds by Aficionado went for as high as $55 per seed.

Let’s dig into some of this year’s winners.

CBD Edibles Lovers

1st place Somatik Goji Berry Sparks at Emerald Cup 2018
Goji Berries Somatik(David Downs/Leafly)

First Place—Goji Berries by Somatik

Love to keep calm and carry on? Seek out the Emerald Cup’s first place winner in the category of CBD edibles, Somatik’s Goji CBD Berries. These delicious morsels won’t make you freak out. With just 2 mg of CBD and 1 mg of THC per berry—you’d really have to have a snack attack to induce a panic attack. That said, follow all labeling instructions.

THC Edibles Lovers

Utopia products can be found statewide. (David Downs/Leafly)Utopia products can be found statewide. (David Downs/Leafly)

First Place—Raspberry Macaroons by Utopia

Tis the season for tasty raspberry macarons from Utopia—winners of first place in THC edibles at the Emerald Cup 2018. These sweet, berry cookies each contain 10 mg of THC, so stop at one and wait two hours before scarfing more. Ten cookies per bag.

Top-Shelf Topicals Fans

Third Place—Extra-Strength Pain Cream by C.A.D.

Take your war on pain, spasms, and inflammation to the next level with award-winning skin creams by C.A.D. These third place topicals winner in the Emerald Cup 2018 employs just three people for their hyper-boutique, hyper-potent, and effective skin creams, like Mimosa Cream and extra-strength pain cream.

Terp Lovers

Fields extracts plus Zkittlez strain yields Fieldz. (David Downs/Leafly)Fields extracts plus Zkittlez strain yields Fieldz. (David Downs/Leafly)

First Place—Fieldz Live Resin Sauce Cartridge

You have seen the summit of cannabis and are no longer content to live in the valley. You seek out only the terpiest, most cutting-edge extracts legal cannabis hath wrought. You, madam, are looking for the Fieldz Live Resin Sauce Cartridge. Good luck! Finding one of these is like getting those special limited edition Jordans. You got to know a guy that knows a guy. Terp lovers who like Fields also like, Beezle and Raw Garden Live Resin Sauce Carts.

We’ll post more locations to try and buy Emerald Cup 2018 winners as the smoke clears a bit this week.

Here’s the full list of Emerald Cup 2018 cannabis contest winners:

Licensed sun-grown

  1. Ridgeline Farms – Green Lantern
  2. Rebel Grown– Double OG Chem #15
  3. Tar Hill – Cherimoya

Licensed mixed light

  1. Tar Hill – Pink Lemonade
  2. Josh D. – OG Kush Story
  3. DEVI – Peanut Butter Breath

Personal sun-grown

  1. JD Lee – Chili Verde
  2. Paula Hudgins – Wedding Cake
  3. Cory Rodgers – Cherry Punch 15


  1. Utopia – Raspberry Macarons
  2. SolDaze – Tropical Mango Bites
  3. Budlette Confections – Mellows Black Sesame


  1. Alchemy Jane – Create THC Tincture
  2. OM Edibles – Nighttime Elixer
  3. Humboldt Apothecary – Love Potion No. 7


  1. Newell’s Botanicals – Deep Skin Penetrating Roll-on
  2. OM – Lavender Bath Salts
  3. CAD – Mimosa


  1. Herer Group – The Original Jack Herer
  2. Gold Drop/Lemon Tree/Blue River – Lemon Tree
  3. Gold Drop/Bon Vivant/Blue River – Blueberry Muffin


  1. Peak – Huckleberry Zkittlez Amber
  2. WildSeed – Candyland
  3. Big Sur Extracts – Cloud Drop


  1. The Humboldt Cure – The Humboldt Cure Blend Diamonds
  2. WildSeed, LLC – White Recluse Diamonds
  3. NUG – White Buffalo OG Live Resin Diamonds

Live resin carts

  1. Fieldz Extracts – Zkittlez Sauce Pen
  2. Friendly Farms – Forbidden Fruit
  3. Fiddler’s Green – Rogue OG Kush


  1. GDP Genetics – Super Glue
  2. Fieldz – Zkittles Premium Rosin
  3. Field Extracts – Papaya Premium Rosin


  1. Humboldt Terp Council – Zkittlez Cake
  2. Raw Garden – Zookies
  3. Summit Boys – Sundae Driver

Shatter Batter

  1. Suprize Suprize – Cherry Tangerine
  2. Suprize Suprize – Royal Kush BX1 “Badder”
  3. Suprize Suprize – Holy Nana Crack Batter


  1. Frosty – Papaya 120u
  2. Tar Hill and Frosty – Tar Hill Pink Lemonade
  3. Papa’s Select, in collaboration with Select Solventless grown by Emerald Queen Farms – GMO 1st Pull 120u Water Hash

CBDs Co2/Distillate

Gold Drop – Lemon Penny

CBD Edibles

  1. Somatik – Goji Berry
  2. OM Edibles – CBD Gummi Melange
  3. Space Gems – VITA Gems

CBD Tinctures

  1. Humboldt Apothecary – Relax
  2. Fiddler’s Green – ACDC Rogue Tincture
  3. Humboldt Harvest – 13:1 CBD Terpene Rich

CBD Topical

Om Edibles – Rose Geranium Bath Salt

CBD Flower

  1. Molecular Farms – Blueberry Banana Bread
  2. Molecular Farms – Dr. Fizz
  3. Molecular Farms – Garlic Jam

CBD Concentrate

1. Sublime – Sleep
2. Sublime – High-C

Original Post: Leafly: Emerald Cup 2018 Winners and Where to Buy Them

New York City Cannabis Arrests Nosedive 97%

New York City Cannabis Arrests Nosedive 97%

Editor’s Note: Hurray for The Big Apple! This is how it should be. Reform is starting to manifest. Let’s see this movement happen across the country!

Just 151 unlucky souls got arrested for low-level marijuana possession in the city of New York this September—as cannabis law reforms begin to take hold in Gotham.

Earlier today, the group Drug Policy Alliance released new crime statistics from New York City, where marijuana arrests peaked in 2010. More than 4,300 people got popped for pot in the Big Apple in September 2010. By comparison, September 2018 numbers are down 97%, thanks to activist and City Council pressure, which led to new police department policy beginning in May.

As a result, cannabis arrests collapsed this fall. In the first few months of 2018, about 1,300 people per month got arrested for cannabis in New York. After the New York Police Department announced a new action plan in May, arrests dropped to around 500 per month. New guidelines instruct police to not arrest a person for simple possession of marijuana, but rather give them a summons. The guidelines took effect in September, leading to a record low 151 arrests.

Prosecutors in New York City have also stopped prosecuting small-time cannabis cases.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s marijuana caseload is down from 349 cases in January 2018 to fewer than a dozen in September.

In Manhattan, marijuana arraignments dropped 94% year over year for the month of October. Last month saw just 28 cases.

Critics of cannabis criminalization have long-noted that young people of color bear a disproportionate burden of enforcement, relative to their cannabis use. And even with the advance of decriminalization, people of color still have adjudication rates higher than whites, despite similar usage levels.

In September, Manhattan’s D.A. dismissed most open marijuana cases pending in the borough. Of the 3,042 dismissed bench warrants for smoking and possession, 79% were New Yorkers of color, almost half under 25.

“We need to continue to push the remaining NYC D.A.s and prosecutors across the state to take similar action, and keep fighting for the administrative changes needed to deal with the other collateral consequences people face from marijuana arrests,” Drug Policy Alliance deputy state director Melissa Moore said in a release.

Full legalization polls at 60% in New York, but the state lacks a referendum option voters have used to legalize cannabis in nine US states.

Original Post: Leafly: New York City Cannabis Arrests Nosedive 97%

Willie Nelson to Appear at This Year’s Emerald Cup

Willie Nelson to Appear at This Year’s Emerald Cup

Editor’s Note: This year’s Emerald Cup will be the place to be. The Emerald Cup will honor Willie Nelson, singer and cannabis activist, by renaming its annual award the Willie Nelson Award.

Outlaw country legend Willie Nelson will join his outlaw farmer brethren in California’s famed Wine Country this December for one heck of a hootenanny.

This morning promoters for the world’s largest outdoor organic cannabis competition, The Emerald Cup, announced that the grammy-winning superstar marijuana lover will receive a lifetime achievement award and play a few songs at the event on Dec. 15 in Santa Rosa, CA.

A Rare Winter Appearance

It’s a real coup for the 15 year-old Emerald Cup, which has grown from a backwoods gathering of clandestine pot growers into the globe’s county fair of cannabis. Over 20,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

“We’re finally going to get Willie there. It’’ll be a magical moment, given Willie’s age and how much we’ve always wanted him there.”

Tim Blake, founder & producer, The Emerald Cup

Emerald Cup organizer spokesperson and founder Tim Blake said he’s asked Willie to appear for five years. Nelson usually doesn’t perform in December, but he agreed to one gig in the Bay Area that weekend, and added the Emerald Cup to his schedule.

“He’s going to fly up. Take the award. Play a couple songs. And then he’s going to fly back and do his show,” Blake said. “We’re finally going to get Willie there. It’ll be a magical moment given Willie’s age and how much we’ve always wanted him.”

Dec. 16 in Santa Rosa

The 15th annual cannabis celebration’s Willie Nelson ceremony will take place on Dec. 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif. The 2018 Emerald Cup will mark Nelson’s first-ever appearance at a large-scale cannabis event.

The Emerald Cup will also honor the singer and cannabis activist by renaming its annual award the Willie Nelson Award.

Nelson is an American icon and national treasure with a six-decade-long career that includes best-selling albums, books, and the annual Farm Aid benefit concert. He’s also a fifth-degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul.

Lifelong Rebel and Cannabis Enthusiast

Nelson grew up in Texas, and the singer, songwriter, author, poet, and actor was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2015, the Library of Congress gave him the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song —the first-ever country artist to receive the award.

“We have a great deal of respect and admiration for Willie, who is graciously allowing the Cup to honor future individuals with an award that will remain in his name,” Blake said. “An unwavering ability to stand true in his beliefs and refusal to accept society’s rigid set of rules are only part of what makes Willie the perfect individual to be recognized as a hero to the cannabis world.”

The Emerald Cup may be the most influential cannabis event in the world. It features a massive cannabis flower, extract and seed fair, a judged cannabis contest, as well as headlining musical acts, industry presentations, artists and educators.

The Emerald Cup takes place Dec. 15 and 16. Tickets are available on the Emerald Cup website and Eventbrite. Weekend passes start at $120.

Original Post: Leafly: Willie Nelson to Appear at This Year’s Emerald Cup

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