Will Marijuana Be Legal in New York in Time for Woodstock 50?

Will Marijuana Be Legal in New York in Time for Woodstock 50?

[Editor’s Note: Woodstock is the iconic stoner party. One can be sure the sweet aromatic scent will be omnipresent. But will it be legal, that’s the question.]

Organizers just announced that the 50th-anniversary edition of Woodstock will be held this August in New York. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo is promising that cannabis legalization is imminent. Which will happen first?

Times are changing quickly in New York. New York City was once one of the most prolific places on the planet when it came to arresting people for marijuana, especially minorities, but today it’s riding the wave of cannabis decriminalization and political momentum is building behind cannabis legalization. Up state in Albany, everybody is watching the clock and waiting for it to strike weednight, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised that reform is right around the corner.

As the New York Times notes, Cuomo made his intents for legal marijuana clear last month. In fact, he said he stated it was one of his priorities for the first 100 days of his new term. This timeline is particularly interesting in the context of a new announcement: A 50th-anniversary Woodstock festival will take place in upstate New York this summer.

That means if we’re going by the governor’s perspective plan, Cuomo could be signing cannabis legalization legislation within three months and well before Woodstock 50.

The question is not whether or not Woodstock attendees could stop at the weed shop on their way to Woodstock this summer. It will likely take year or more for the regulated marketplace in New York to open up. As we have seen in the past, as legalization travels from state to state, regulators take years to figure out how to set up a system for people to sell and grow cannabis, and then count the tax money.

The question is really whether or not it would be legal for Woodstock attendees to have the possibility of possessing cannabis by August. It doesn’t seem that crazy.

We reached out to the nation’s oldest marijuana reform organization, NORML, to get their take on the prospects for New York. NORML was founded only a year after the original Woodstock in 1969.

“It is certainly not impossible that marijuana will be legal to possess in New York in time for Woodstock 50,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri told Cannabis Now. “Only time will tell.”

Altieri said that he is hopeful that the timelines put forth by Cuomo become a reality.

“It is dependent on state lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to turning their recent pro-legalization rhetoric into a reality,” said Altieri. “They need to make this legislation a top priority and treat it with the seriousness it deserves before the state spends another year arresting tens of thousands of its otherwise law-abiding residents.”

In the end, Altieri doesn’t believe politicians will have too much to do with whether there will be a lot of pot at Woodstock.

“No matter the state of legalization in New York come August, something tells me that marijuana will just be at home at Woodstock in 2019 as it was in 1969,” he said.

Despite all this, the Woodstock brand is already way ahead of the curve on cannabis. Last August, Woodstock Ventures LC and its affiliate The Woodstock Cannabis Company granted cannabis company MedMen the rights to use the iconic Woodstock brand on cannabis products manufactured and sold in six states: California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

“We’ve been looking for the right partner — one with our values and our quality standards. When we were introduced to MedMen, we knew that our search was over,” said Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, co-producers of the 1969 Woodstock Festival and all Woodstock reunion festivals. “They are tireless innovators of new products who never lose sight of the number one focus for both of our companies — quality.”

Lang told Rolling Stone he’ll be booking the festival himself this year to help bring back the original peace and love vibe which we may now need more than ever.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Press Office did not respond to whether weed will be legal by Woodstock50.

Will Marijuana Be Legal in New York in Time for Woodstock 50? was posted on Cannabis Now.

Strain Review: Banana Jam Hops Straight Out of the Jar

Strain Review: Banana Jam Hops Straight Out of the Jar

[Editor’s Note: This just sounds like it tastes great and smokes even better! Learn how Woodman Peak Farms propagated Banana Jam.]

When we brave pioneers of Cannabis Now went booth to booth at the Emerald Cup on a quest to search out the strains of the moment, we were frequently impressed. But when we got to Woodman Peak Farms, things took on a whole new level of hype. We quickly determined we were going to need to look at all of their cannabis. It was well above average.

Then they offered us a glimpse of their Cup entries. There were two, but we can’t even remember what the other one was, because the Banana Jam simply absorbed all of our attention as soon as the mason jar cracked open. It felt like the scene from “Alice in Wonderland” where she falls down the hole, except this hole was some type of tropical daiquiri filled with Caribbean fruits we’ve never even heard of.

After we had a few days to collect ourselves following the Cup, Banana Jam’s breeder Michael Martin gave us the full tale of this strain we expect to make waves in the very near future.

The Genetics of Banana Jam: Mix and a Match

“Banana Jam brings together Symbiotic Genetics’ Banana Punch with our Strawberry Jam,” Martin told Cannabis Now. Martin was given 16 Banana Punch seeds by Symbiotic in the fall of 2016 and started them spring of 2017.

“We ended up with nine females, seven of which we kept, two of which we gave to close friends,” he said. Martin stress tested some of the cuts he held onto in a light deprivation situation. He flowered them out early to see what they were working with.

“But two plants were full-term plants in the main garden which didn’t finish until the first week of November,” said Martin. “Once the flowers started blooming in the dep greenhouse, they smelled so good!”

Martin found the resulting flowers to be very similar to the Strawberry Jam, “but less gassy, more fruit punchy.” Those initial phenotypes would range from super fruity to bland and super frosty.

“They reminded us of our Strawberry Jam, and we felt that those two would complement each other well,” Martin said. “Pollen was taken from our two Strawberry Jam males that we kept for breeding and dusted on the fruitiest plants of the Banana Punch.”

The Strawberry Jam Martin used came from a pack of Long Valley Royal Kush by Aficionado Seeds. Martin and his partner Ariel first started growing them out in Piercy, California in 2016.

“We started with 10 seeds and got nine females and one male. Royal Kush is typically a very gassy, piney smelling flower, but one of these nine females really stood out — it smelled exactly like Strawberry Jam.”

Martin notes a few others from that first run of the Aficionado seeds were unique, too. They put pollen on all of them, including the Strawberry Jam pheno. When it was time for harvest, they gathered the seeds, “and by spring I gave almost all of them away to friends, but still had 13 to start at our new farm, Woodman Peak, in the spring of 2017.”

Martin grew out those seeds and ended up with eight new ladies. Two of those phenotypes were Strawberry Jam dominant, while the others took on the normal Royal Kush smell.

“Out of the males, we rubbed their stems and the male flowers to get a smell off of them and also judged them based off shape and health. Two of them smelled super jammy. We kept those males around as our keepers for breeding tools that year in 2017,” Martin recalled.

Martin soon found himself heading back to those two Banana Punch plants in the main garden he’d let run full-term. One was super fruity, and the other was super frosty yet lacking smell. “So we hit the fruity plant in the full-term, and out of the 5 plants in the dep we hit the fruitiest smelling one in there too with Strawberry Jam pollen,” said Martin.

How the Woodman Peak Farm Grow Goes Down

Martin always starts his seeds in spring in an inert soil mix, transplanting up into bigger, more nutrient-dense soil a few weeks later. The seeds are started in a greenhouse while it’s still cold and chilly in the spring. Then, when the plants get a few weeks old, they start feeding them nutrient-rich teas weekly or biweekly.

Good compost teas are one of the big deciders when separating the good from the great. The Woodman Peak team brew their compost teas using Drago nfly Earth Medicine plant-based powders and fish hydrolysate as fertilizer.

While the seeds are still sprouting and small, they work in the garden, tilling the winter cover crop back into the soil as well as adding additional amendments such as kelp meal, neem meal, shrimp/crab meal and a variety of rock powders: azomite, basalt, glacial rock, greensand, gypsum and oyster shell flour.

“We also source compost from our neighbor, who has a herd of animals — over 30 goats, sheep, horses, ducks, turkeys and chickens,” said Martin. “The goats wander his land eating up the tall grasses, which help during the summer’s fire season. It makes for some great compost too!”

Martin grew out the Banana Jam in fabric pots on a hillside above the pond they use to irrigate the garden.

“This year, we planted on June 12, just before the summer solstice,” said Martin. “They were small little babies, less than a foot in height, but blew up in the hot summer months, some of which topped 12 feet. Once the flowers began to set in the middle of August, we switched from primarily nitrogen-based teas to Dragonfly’s flower tea, Fat Flowers, and began to back off on our foliar sprays.”

Martin also said they do their very best to let the plants express themselves in shape and form by not topping, and minimally training the branches. “This helps us get an idea of the true shapes for breeding purpose,” he said.

When harvest time comes, they work to push the flowers to the closest they can get to peak ripeness and maturity. This gives the flowers a dense, fully swollen look that most people only achieve in greenhouses or indoor.

“We harvest with care, and hang-dry our flowers in dark, cold rooms for over two weeks, keeping the humidity low and slowly pulling moisture out of the flowers,” Martin said. “After that, the flowers are boxed up to be in a closed space with more of itself, which really makes the aromas soak in and bring out the subtleties.”

From this point, they hand off the flowers to Flow Kana, one of the main distribution companies working with legacy farmers in the region. Flow Kana then bucks, manicures, and packages the flowers for retail.

When they went back to pick out their seeds to start for the year, Martin said they almost didn’t grow out the Banana Jam because of the risks associated with putting time into a new cross you’re not quite positive on yet.

“We didn’t really know what to expect, but we’re all really glad that we did at the last minute,” said Martin, “They were such pretty little starts, we decided to put them in the garden.”

We’re definitely glad they did.

TELL US, have you tried the Banana Jam strain yet?

The post Strain Review: Banana Jam Hops Straight Out of the Jar appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Strain Review: Banana Jam Hops Straight Out of the Jar was posted on Cannabis Now.

Netflix’s ‘Murder Mountain’ Showcases the Darkest Corners of Cannabis Black Market

Netflix’s ‘Murder Mountain’ Showcases the Darkest Corners of Cannabis Black Market

[Editor’s Note: We’re putting Murder Mountain on our ‘Netflix watch’ list. A murder and weed true story mystery set in the Emerald Triangle. How can it miss?]

“Murder Mountain,” one of Netflix’s newest releases, took cannabis country by storm when it dropped between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On the hillsides of the Emerald Triangle, opinions about the show vary. While undeniably an accurate telling of a particular series of events, how accurately has it captured the community as a whole?

Well, that depends who you ask.

It All Started With a (Crazy) True Story

Some believe the series knocked it out of the ballpark in covering recent history on the mountains of the world-famous cannabis growing region known as the Emerald Triangle. Others believe things were a bit overdramatized to bump the mystique of outlaw culture up a notch. Regardless, the tale of what happened to Garrett Rodriquez and following his disappearance is insane without any embellishment.

The show uses multiple perspectives to follow what happened when Rodriquez, who traveled to the region in the hopes of joining the cannabis industry, disappeared in 2013. Those takes include that of the community he disappeared from in Alderpoint, the private investigators who have spent years on the case and the sheriff’s department which claims its hands are tied despite an admission of guilt.

But apart from telling the tale of the Rodriguez disappearance, “Murder Mountain” also paints a picture of how a place where something like Rodriguez’s disapperance could occur. John Harden of the Lost Coast Outpost gave his take when the show originally aired on Fusion a couple months back before being released on Netflix.

“The Garrett Rodriquez story really is dramatic, and I’m sure they tell it dramatically in the series, but I don’t think they exaggerate the story. They don’t have to. The truth is dramatic enough,” Harden argued.

Harden also said that anytime outside media cover the darker side of things locally, it’s quickly called “sensationalized” whether it provides an honest window into what’s going on or not.

“On the contrary, I think we have, as a community, become desensitized to the crazy sh*t that really goes down here. We’ve learned to look the other way or dismiss it as normal business as usual. I’m actually glad for this new series because I always wondered about that case,” he said.

Humboldt? Not So Much

Some of the locals noted while it may have been framed as a Humboldt tale, Alderpoint is close to the heart of the Emerald Triangle where the counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity intersect. When traveling east to northern parts of Mendocino or Southern Humboldt, much of the travel could likely be on Alderpoint Road.

Eventually, Alderpoint Road converges on a three-way cutoff with Bell Springs Road and Island Mountain Road.

“Island Mountain is the epicenter of the Emerald Triangle,” one long-time Mendocino farmer who asked not to be named told Cannabis Now. “Island Mountain is Murder Mountain. It is the triangle. It is the point of three counties meeting. There is a van out there with a triangle on it, shot the f*ck up. And that van signifies the point of where the three counties meet.”

The grower noted a bust a few years back where authorities brought five wood chippers out to deal with the plants they needed to destroy on 20 farms up on Island Mountain Road.

Another cultivator born and raised in the area who also asked notg to be identified thought the show took liberties with what really goes on in the region.

“Everything from the point of view to the over dramatization of isolated incidents and the implications that it’s consistent with the geography. It’s just not true. The most dangerous part about that mountain has and always will be federal intervention,” he said.

On the Mark About the Black Market

The second cultivator we spoke with also believes the wider black market issues at play are being placed directly on the cultivators in the area, especially violence happening in transit.

“No big farmer is trying to bust any moves that will f*ck up his hustle,” he said. He also agreed with our professional opinion that the show attempted to make Alderpoint sound even more of an outlaw territory by pretending nobody else went for permits besides The Humboldt Cure.

In regards to that permitting question, we reached out to former California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen and asked him if he’d done outreach in the area in the years leading up to legalization. Allen said that while he did know a lot of people up that way who had attempted or are taking part in the permit process, nothing about how it was presented was offensively false.

Overall, we agree with that statement — “Murder Mountain” is largely inoffensive, and pretty entertaining, despite whatever liberties it may take.

Netflix’s ‘Murder Mountain’ Showcases the Darkest Corners of Cannabis Black Market was posted on Cannabis Now.

Thailand’s Parliament Legalizes Medical Marijuana Unanimously

Thailand’s Parliament Legalizes Medical Marijuana Unanimously

[Editor’s Note: This is a stunning development. While legalization is for medical marijuana, we predict Thailand will become a global player within the cannabis industry. In the 70s, pot from Thailand was the best you could buy.]

On Tuesday, Thailand’s parliament voted to legalize medical marijuana, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to embrace a liberalization of cannabis drug policy. The parliament executed the policy change by modifying the country’s 1979 Tax Act, in a vote of 166 to 0, to allow the production, import, export, possession and use of cannabis under medical supervision.

The country’s ruler, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, must approve the decision for it to be finalized. Using the plant recreationally remains illegal, and still carries with it the penalty of up to five years in prison for possessing less than 10 kilograms.

“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, in a televised parliamentary session, according to Reuters.

The policy change is expected to go into effect in the new year, which the Huffington Post reports will occur when the new law is published in the Government Gazette, the nation’s public newspaper.

Reuters noted that Thailand had a long history with medical marijuana up until the 1930s. Previous to that, Thais had traditionally used cannabis to treat aches and pains. But like many of their peers in Asia (and across the globe), they followed the trend of criminalization for the rest of the century when it came to cannabis.

One of the big stories around Thailand legalizing medical cannabis isn’t necessarily about the government coming to the conclusion that the plant has medical value, but the fear of outside influences taking over an industry that doesn’t even exist yet. Many activists expressed worry that outside companies might come in and attempt to take over the whole market — particularly through patents on genetics, leaving locals little to gain fiscally from the new industry.

Protecting Thai Cannabis Genetics

Panthep Phuaphongphan, a medicine professor at Rangsit University, said in an extended Facebook post written in Thai that one of the most confusing parts of the new medical marijuana law is whether outside entities would be able to patent specific cannabinoids or Thailand’s famous landrace genetics.

Those famed Thai genetics tend to lean heavily on the sativa side. The tall string-bean-esque Thai strains are the opposite of their short and stout cousins from Afghanistan’s kush producing regions. The Landrace Team, a seed company specializing in landrace strains, sourced their stain Thai Hill locally in Thailand. Acquired at 500 meters above sea level, it’s said to smell of sweet carrots and tropical fruit. You can see why Thais with a clue about good pot genetics might want to protect their national cuts, as opposed to letting the more business-minded folks in parliament act too fast.

Phuaphongphan specifically called for Thai officials to rescind any cannabis patents filed before today’s vote. He feared that waiting until the law was changed would open up Thais to costly legal challenges after the companies could argue for new protections under the new law.

“Let’s warn on this occasion that such ideas are random, risk harm to the nation and will make Thailand lose enormous benefits from these patents,” said Phuaphongphan.

Thailand’s largest marijuana advocacy network is also worried about the ramifications of the patent.

“Granting these patents is scary because it blocks innovation and stops other businesses and researchers from doing anything related with cannabis,” Chokwan Kitty Chopaka of Highland Network told Reuters earlier this month, when the passage of the new legislation looked imminent.

Thailand’s Parliament Legalizes Medical Marijuana Unanimously was posted on Cannabis Now.

First-Ever Legal Cannabis Price Index Released

First-Ever Legal Cannabis Price Index Released

[Editor’s Note: Indices are terrific tools in determining the state of a market. This important first cannabis index will begin the normalization process for cannabis to become part of our society.] 

Apart from state regulators, few have a more expansive a view on which products pass through dispensaries on their way to consumers than the sales trackers from BDS Analytics, and now they’ve used that information to compile the industry’s first-ever price index, a move they announced Tuesday.

According to BDS, the new index will serve as a benchmark for the retail price of cannabis nationally. They also announced the launch of a monthly report on consumer sales across Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

BDS begins its report with the data from January 2018, when the world’s largest recreational marketplace opened up in California. From there, the report goes through each month until October, covering fluctuations in price in between.

“Every business in the cannabis industry is making assumptions about the current and future retail prices of cannabis products,” said Roy Bingham, CEO and co-founder of BDS Analytics said in a statement. “After years of capturing and processing this data, we have decided to remove all of the guesswork for both businesses and investors by providing them with a sound basis for planning and projections.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association was supportive of the move that would further normalize the industry.

“I think this is a great idea, particularly as more states create legal markets and more companies are going public,” said NCIA Media Relations Director Morgan Fox. “It is very useful for investors and entrepreneurs to have some clarity regarding the viability of their efforts, and such an index could also be helpful for states creating new markets when it comes to establishing things like tax rates and licensing fees.”

Fox said he could also see the index being useful for federal lawmakers in the near future who are going to be looking at federal tax rates and fees associated with a national and international legal market.

“Having a reliable price index also goes a long way toward normalizing cannabis as a commercial product like any other in the public eye and in the business community,” he said.

According to the report, October’s prices saw a drop by 1 percent from September and generally speaking, prices are down 2.5 percent from the original baseline set in January. The report also notes the number of sales tracked by BDS’s GreenEdge software was up 34 percent year-to-date. This growth was led by vaporizers seeing an 81 percent jump in demand. But edibles also aren’t to be scoffed at either, after seeing a 56 percent growth in the same time period.

“The CPI is unique in its ability to index pricing across all product categories,” said Bingham. “This will prove to be a significant insight as flower rapidly becomes a commodity product and growth in the U.S. cannabis market is largely driven by new product categories.”

BDS’s California Regional Director Tamar Maritz spoke with Cannabis Now about some of the factors that had the biggest impact on price this year, and what will likely happen in the near future. Maritz said that with another wave of regulatory hurdles like California’s integration with the Metrc system, a track-and-trace compliance system designed to monitor cannabis as it moves down the supply chain, and the implementation of further testing requirements, the future looks complicated.

“If Metrc comes online at the same time roughly as Category III testing [which will further increase pesticide testing for California producers] is implemented… I have no doubt recalls and the amount of product moving back and forth in the supply chain, that could be a potential challenge,” Maritz said when asked about how pricing could fluctuate over the next few months.

Along with the outdoor harvest season, regulatory factors had the biggest impact on price in 2018, so it’s not a stretch to think that we’ll see similar results in the first half of 2019. Maritz wondered if companies are set up to handle massive recalls and other factors that could make their way to the consumer at the register.

“You look at the first two waves of extinction, which [started on] January 1 and July 1, and we saw at both points there was a net drop in brands off shelves. That was, I don’t want to say they were singular, but there weren’t as many new and super challenging variables introduced at the time of each,” said Maritz. “Whereas now, there are multiple challenging variables.”

Another factor Maritz believes could hit consumers is software — specifically the point of sale systems, which facilitate transactions between retailers and customers, that need to integrate seamlessly with the Metrc system. “It’s not even about not being ready,” she said. “Maybe they’re missing something, a mistake, a kink, a bug that they don’t even know about. Because nobody has been able to proof it. There are dozens of point of sale solutions.”

Outside of the forthcoming regulations, Maritz pointed to another component she believes could have the biggest impact on the prices consumers pay in the not-too-distant future.

“What if rescheduling happens in the next few months?” said Maritz. “Hey, why not? There is literally nothing that says it couldn’t happen. And if that does happen in the next few months, and I’m not saying it will, it happens at roughly the same time Category III testing comes online and the Prop. 215 January 9 date, and Metrc comes online and all of a sudden it’s rescheduled? Everyone floods into the industry.”

TELL US, what price changes on your favorite products did you notice in 2018?

The post First-Ever Legal Cannabis Price Index Released appeared first on Cannabis Now.

First-Ever Legal Cannabis Price Index Released was posted on Cannabis Now.

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