Utah’s Compromise Medical Marijuana Bill Gets an “F” Grade From Cannabis Group

Utah’s Compromise Medical Marijuana Bill Gets an “F” Grade From Cannabis Group

Ed. Note: Utah – Vote Yes On Proposition 2. What the opposition proposes is outlined below. We hope the ballot initiative passes and puts into law that which legislators are only paying lip service. This is political hypocrisy at its worst.

SALT LAKE CITY — In the final week of the 2018 elections, supporters of Utah’s medical marijuana ballot initiative continue to push for its passage.

“If we don’t pass Prop. 2 with strong hard numbers, they can manipulate it and say, ‘You know what? We can do whatever we want at this point,'” said Christine Stenquist, the president of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), a leading supporter of Proposition 2. Stenquist is critical of a compromise bill being proposed in the aftermath of Prop. 2 that will provide some kind of medical cannabis program for Utah.

So is former Republican state senator Steve Urquhart. “If Prop. 2 passes, then patients will get medical marijuana,” he told FOX 13 on Monday. “The point of the compromise and all the negotiations was to try to discourage voter turnout and to try to sink Prop. 2. I don’t accept the principle that we’re stuck with the compromise.” Urquhart insisted that voters passing Prop. 2 will force the legislature to rethink what’s included in any medical cannabis legislation, instead of watering it down. “So much of what goes on in this place is poker. So you have a bluff going on right now,” he said.

TRUCE has not been a part of the ongoing talks on Utah’s Capitol Hill between sponsors and opponents of Prop. 2 and legislative leadership to craft compromise legislation to be implemented whether the initiative passes or fails. Over the weekend, TRUCE released an analysis from the pro-medical cannabis group Americans for Safe Access, giving it an ‘F’ grade.

Stenquist said one reason was a limited number of pharmacies that would dispense cannabis products, run by the state of Utah. “When you start limiting patients access, and I mean ports by which patients have access, you cripple the program. You effectively make it so patients go back to the illegal market because it’s easier to obtain the medicine,” she said. Stenquist feared that heavy-handed state regulations would force patients back to the black market to buy marijuana for treatment.

But House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who has led the discussions to craft a compromise bill, said it was still being tweaked. He noted there was only a 3% difference between what Prop. 2 offers, and what the compromise bill does. On the pharmacies, the Speaker said they have already considered modifications. “We have put in the bill that every six months, two more of these cannabis pharmacies get added to a number of 10,” he said. While acknowledging he would personally prefer to see Prop. 2 fail at the ballot box, Speaker Hughes insisted that regardless of what happens with it at the ballot box, Utah would have a medical cannabis program as a result of the negotiations between all sides. “If Prop. 2 fails we would still come forward with this agreement, if Prop. 2 passes we would come forward with this agreement,” he said. “We are trying to, in good faith with our stakeholders and the public, this is the way to move forward and provide medical cannabis with patients in need.” Speaker Hughes told FOX 13 he believed he had the votes to pass the compromise bill through the House and the Senate, as well.

 

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Top photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

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Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: Utah's Compromise Medical Marijuana Bill Gets an "F" Grade From Cannabis Group

Arkansans Show Growing Impatience With Medical Marijuana Commission, Processes

Arkansans Show Growing Impatience With Medical Marijuana Commission, Processes

Ed. Note: Is this a case of another state commissions dragging its heels to stop or delay implementation of a medical cannabis initiative that voters passed two years ago? Most states (except Nevada it seems) have had ‘commissions’ who have worked hard to put roadblocks implementing the will of the people. How do we stop this?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – During a public hearing Friday, Oct. 26, about 20 people took their chance to address Arkansas’s Medical Marijuana Commission. Among the attorneys and applicants for cultivation and dispensary licenses were patients approved for a medical marijuana card who said they are tired of waiting.

“I’m here today to ask you to please make opening the dispensaries a priority in your lives for the patients and the families of patients in Arkansas,” Lorna Knox, a patient who qualifies for medical marijuana, told the commission. Knox was first prescribed medical marijuana for muscle spasms when she lived in California. She moved home to Arkansas in November 2016 – the same month voters approved medical cannabis. As the process continues to make medical marijuana available in Arkansas, Knox said she must travel back to California in order to purchase it.

“[Two years] is too long,” she said. “A lot of people just suffer without the medicine. Most people do, but since I already was a medical marijuana patient in California I’m not going back to the other medicine.” Members of the Medical Marijuana Commission did not respond to comments made during the meeting but will do so during their next meeting on Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m. “My message to Arkansans would be we certainly understand the frustration, but we’re getting close,” Medical Marijuana Spokesperson Scott Hardin said.

Hardin said a third party consulting firm will begin scoring the 198 dispensary applications on Monday and has 30 days to do so. “We’re looking at having those dispensary licenses out the door in late November and possibly December,” Hardin said. Qualifying medical marijuana patients will receive their cards within 30 days of dispensaries opening. “It would be a nice Christmas present to the patients of Arkansas if you could mail out those medical marijuana cards before the end of the year,” Knox told the commission.

While it’s unclear if that wish will come true, Hardin said Arkansas’s first dispensaries could open within the first quarter of 2019.

Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: Arkansans Show Growing Impatience With Medical Marijuana Commission, Processes

Munson Machinery Introduces Screen Classifying Cutter to Reduce Cannabis Waste for Composting

Munson Machinery Introduces Screen Classifying Cutter to Reduce Cannabis Waste for Composting

Ed. Note:  Sustainable farming techniques will be important for the future of cannabis and our environment. This machine will facilitate composting, thus making cannabis farms sustainable. This story is a bit technical but offers important information on advancing sustainability for cannabis farming.

UTICA, NY – PRESS RELEASE – Munson Machinery has introduced an SCC Screen Classifying Cutter Model SCC-15 that reduces fibrous cannabis stalks and bulbs into compost-ready particle sizes at high rates for efficient post-harvest processing.

With an infeed throat of 15 x 11 in. (381 x 279 mm), this heavy-duty cutter features an 11 in. (279 mm) diameter rotor with dozens of cutter heads attached to a helical array of staggered holders called “interconnected parallelograms” that continuously shear oversize cannabis materials against twin, stationary bed knives.

Unlike conventional knife cutters that slice material in scissor-like fashion, the SCC Cutter is configured with carbide tipped cutter heads along the entire shaft, with no gaps between tips, making total contact with the product.

Operating at set speeds from 30 to 3600 RPM, the unit can process at high rates with minimal fines and little or no heat generation.

Bed screen perforations range from 1.5 in. (38 mm) to 0.0312 in. (0.79 mm) in diameter, allowing the reduction of material into uniform particles in sizes down to 1/8 in. (10 mesh).

Cannabis stalks and bulbs are fed through the top of the intake chute, which is double-baffled to prevent flashback, or directly into the front of the cutter through a hinged door. Discharge is via gravity or pneumatic collection.

The cutter tips, which are secured with one retaining Torx head screw for rapid replacement, are supplied as standard in tungsten carbide and available in various grades of tool steel and hardened stainless steel.

Other SCC Cutters offered by the company range in size from Mini Cutters (4 in. [102 mm] diameter cutter head) to Magnum Cutters in lengths to 72 in. (1842 mm) and are configured with multiple V-belt drives as standard, or optional direct-coupled gear-reduced drives.

All models are offered in carbon steel, abrasion-resistant steel and stainless steel.

Other size reduction machinery offered by the company includes Rotary Knife Cutters, Pin Mills, Attrition Mills, Lump Breakers, Hammer Mills and Shredders. Blending equipment includes Rotary Batch Mixers, Ribbon/Paddle/Plow Blenders, Fluidized Bed Mixers, Vee-Cone Blenders, Rotary Continuous Mixers and Variable Intensity Blenders.

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Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: Munson Machinery Introduces Screen Classifying Cutter to Reduce Cannabis Waste for Composting

5 Common Cannabis Packaging Problems—And How to Solve Them

5 Common Cannabis Packaging Problems—And How to Solve Them

Sandra and Nicole Elkind say they’ve identified some of the cannabis industry’s most common problems with packaging. Together, they intend to solve them.

The two sisters co-founded STO Responsible to provide child-resistant and sustainable packaging options to cannabis companies. Their work has been guided in part by conversations with industry stakeholders, Sandra says.

“One of the things that kept popping up was that they have a lot of difficulty around packaging,” she tells Cannabis Business Times. “Nicole has a strong business background, and I have a strong design background, and so we decided to come together and tackle those problems. About three and half years ago, we set out on this path and have been working on not only solving how to develop a child-resistant package for the cannabis industry specifically, but also to look at … some of the bigger problems in the industry in packaging, like sustainability and helping to create a safer market as it gets bigger.”

Here, Sandra and Nicole outline common packaging problems that cannabis cultivators, manufacturers and dispensaries face as they package their products in compliance with state regulations, and provide insight on solutions.

Photo courtesy of STO Responsible.

1. Balancing Safety and Sustainability

For a package to be strong enough to be child resistant—a common requirement in the cannabis space—the sustainability component may suffer, Nicole says. Plastic is often used to meet child-resistant packaging requirements and is typically not as environmentally friendly as other materials. Some packaging companies, such as STO Responsible, offer a more sustainable solution.

“We chose to go with a plastic that has an accelerated degradation rate to it,” Nicole says. “So, it’s not only recyclable, but the degradation of the plastic is sped up by a formula we have inside of our plastic.”

Packaging choices in the industry can be limited, which makes it difficult for companies to find packaging that uses the least amount of material and has the smallest carbon footprint possible.  Companies should hunt for multi-use packaging that accomplishes multiple goals at once, Nicole says, to reduce the amount of packaging needed to accomplish these goals.

“Oftentimes [with] these packages [or] exit bags, the consumer just pulls their product out of it and tosses that certified child-resistant vessel out because it’s hard to open and close or it is just an exit bag,” she says. “So, one of the things that our product addresses is that it’s multi-use—you can actually keep your product in it and it remains child resistant at home until the product’s gone. I think that’s important just because for producers, it’s the right thing to do.”

As the industry continues to mature, it tends to develop new technologies, Nicole adds, and more child-resistant packaging options are emerging with time.

“You have companies playing with a lot of different types of materials that you don’t see other industries even approaching, so I think the future for cannabis is for us to really start pushing the boundaries of how we use material and how can we use current technologies to make better materials,” she says.

2. Ensuring Proper Labeling (While Leaving Room for Branding)

Base packaging in the cannabis industry must often be opaque or clear, depending on state regulations, and bear state-mandated labels, Nicole says. Ever-changing regulations can be hard to keep up with, and including branding in addition to the required labels is also difficult. Warning labels, for instance, are often mandated at a specific size or location on the packaging.

STO Responsible aims to create packaging that gives companies more space and a flatter front for labeling, which allows the legal language to be separate from branding and offers flexibility as regulations change, Nicole says.

“So, for example, our boxes can hold and handle the warning labels if you want to use a sticker right on our box, or if you want to have some sort of wrap or sleeve around the box, we’ve designed different versions that would allow our manufacturers to put that legal language … on the box, but then have the wraps of their branding cover it up, so the consumer would be able to open it and see it at their leisure, but the manufacturer doesn’t miss out on an opportunity to have branding space on the shelf,” she says.

3. Standing Out From the Crowd

Implementing those branding and display options in such a way that helps cannabis companies distinguish themselves from their competition is the next challenge, Nicole says.

“Since every dispensary is a little different in their take—and because it’s sort of a newer industry—they don’t have the same sort of retail space that a normal grocery store or a liquor store might have where you can have an end unit kiosk all for your brand,” she says. “Really, one of the main things that they have to fight for is shelf space and how to stand out on the shelf space, be that inside of a display unit or on walls behind the budtenders at the dispensary.”

And it can be difficult to find packaging that allows a company to stand out from the crowd, as there are limited options for display units as compared to other consumer-facing products, Nicole adds.

“A lot of times they end up using a lot of additional packaging in order to do that, where they might start off with it having the pop-top package, but they want to stand out on the shelf, so they then put that into another package,” Sandra says. “We really wanted to set out and create a package that would give them that presence on the shelf and then not really require them to have to have additional packaging on top of it to get that presence.”

Creativity also suffers from the lack of available packaging options, Sandra adds, as limited packaging shapes may limit manufacturers’ creativity when it comes to creating products.

“This can be a big problem … in states that have lighter regulations and are now moving into stricter regulations because you might have a company that has been making their fancy baklava for two years, … and now the new packaging regulations don’t allow for them to package their baklava anymore and they have to change their product offerings,” she says.

Cannabis companies should look for packaging providers that are working with product development and creating innovative packaging, Sandra adds, in order to continue to produce products that help them stand out.

4. Finding the Right Packaging Partner

When shopping around for a packaging provider, cannabis companies should not only look for innovative packaging providers, but also providers who offer a domestic supply chain and flexible delivery, Sandra says.

“A lot of people get wrapped up in, does this package work? But getting the package to you in a timely manner and not having to worry about going through ports and how much do you have to wait on delivery each time could really help ease some of the frustrations that they’re dealing with in the compliance of packaging,” she says. “Knowing that you have a company that has a domestic supply chain and a company that works with what delivery schedule you need can really make a difference in your experience in the packaging area of cannabis.”

5. Satisfying the Consumer

Through STO Responsible’s research and development efforts, it has discovered that cannabis consumers are most interested in sustainable and easy-to-use packaging, Sandra says, and companies should strive to satisfy these desires.

“You find a lot of people who will complain that they struggle to get into the package to get their medicine,” she says.

Another factor consumers consider—which may often be overlooked—is if the package is pet-resistant, Sandra adds.

“If their dogs’ teeth can get into the package, then they’ll eat the brownie, or if they’re able to basically push their paws in and figure out how to open it, … they’ll figure out how to get into it,” she says. “One of the things we did when we were in our development was to really take into account not only [a child-resistant] approach [to] this, but what are dogs doing when they smell that in there and they want to get to it?”

Top Image: © polesnoy | Adobe Stock

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Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: 5 Common Cannabis Packaging Problems—And How to Solve Them

First Cannabis Research Center Opens in Switzerland

First Cannabis Research Center Opens in Switzerland

Zeiningen, September 13, 2018 – PRESS RELEASE – Pure Cannabis Research AG and Pure Holding AG have announced the establishment of the Cannabis Research Center (CRC). The CRC, situated in Switzerland, will facilitate research on cannabis. In collaboration with ETH Zurich, NRGene, Israel and further global partners, Pure Cannabis Research AG will improve the methods of plant breeding.

In these very complex studies, well over 10,000 cannabis plants will be measured and analyzed. The knowledge and data gained from those studies will be used in combination with proprietary genomic data to allow for the assembly of suites of complex traits in a multitude of different combinations. Aroma profiles, pest and fungus resistance, flower colors, growth rate and other plant characteristics will no longer be left to chance.

“It’s fascinating how this market has developed. Proper resource allocation leads to a win / win situation for the industry and mankind. The knowledge gained from the science is beneficial for society as well as for the market. The cannabis plant has an incredible potential. And, thanks to the research center, we will be able to scrutinize and realize this potential,” said Stevens Senn, CEO of Pure Holding AG. In the same statement, he refers to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), which describes CBD as a beneficial substance for human health.

Accordingly, Pure Holding AG’s objective is clearly defined: “We will be able to greatly contribute to scientific findings. The cannabis plant is profoundly valuable as a source of phytopharmaceuticals with the capacity to improve the lives of millions of people,” says Yannik Schlup, CBO of Pure Cannabis Research AG, referring to the mission of Pure Cannabis Research AG.

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Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: First Cannabis Research Center Opens in Switzerland