Nevada’s First Weed Cafe Will Feel Like a Microbrew’s Tasting Room

Nevada’s First Weed Cafe Will Feel Like a Microbrew’s Tasting Room

Original Post: Merry Jane: Nevada’s First Weed Cafe Will Feel Like a Microbrew’s Tasting Room

[Canniseur: The beginning of a wave of consumption lounges is taking place in front of us. While some government seems hesitant, mostly I get the warm fuzzies thinking about being able to relax and have a toke while out and about. Still, especially if you are a newbie, please be careful and know your limits.]

West Hollywood just got its first pot lounge, where tokers can blaze with their peers in a social setting. Now, it’s Las Vegas’s turn.

This Saturday, Las Vegas will debut Nevada’s first weed social consumption cafe, a lounge more reminiscent of a beer pub than a smoking room. 

Named The Vegas Tasting Room, the lounge is owned and operated by NuWu, a cannabis company licensed to the state’s Paiute tribe. The lounge resides on tribal lands, so it’s subject to tribal authorities, not Las Vegas’s city council.

“In Nevada, it is the first,” said Alfreda Mitre, a member of the Paiute Tribe Council, to a local NBC affiliate. “So, we are looking forward to providing this experience to our customers.”

Earlier this year, the Las Vegas city council approved an ordinance that licenses social consumption businesses for weed. But then the state legislature passed Assembly Bill 533 earlier this summer, which freezes all social consumption licenses in Nevada for the next two years. 

Currently, there are no other public spaces in Nevada where cannabis smokers can enjoy a bowl or a joint. Residents can safely consume weed in the privacy of their own homes, but tourists must scramble to find places where they can enjoy the state’s newly legalized weed products. The area’s hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other public businesses don’t permit cannabis consumption, and since casinos are federally regulated, even mere possession of weed isn’t allowed at the world-famous gaming spots. 

But The Vegas Tasting Room, despite its name, isn’t being hosted within Las Vegas city limits. Since it’s technically on tribal property, it’s subject to tribal rules, which can supersede state rules (like AB 533 temporary licensing ban) in certain cases.

The Nevada legislature and Governor Sisolak implemented AB 533 due to safety concerns. They’re worried that letting people get high in a “weed bar” will lead to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. To prevent patrons from getting too smoked-out, The Vegas Tasting Room observes rules similar to those found in alcohol bars.

“There is a time limit that will be in place,” Mitre explained. “We do have budtenders to do that,” and staff “will be able to gently nudge the customer when they think their needs will be met.”

To cut down on stoned driving, The Vegas Tasting Room is partnering with shuttling services such as taxis, Lyft, and Uber, so tokers don’t have to transport themselves home (or to their hotel).

Gallery — Lowell Farms, America’s First Cannabis Cafe:

While there’s evidence that weed can impair driving ability in some cannabis consumers — especially those with low tolerances or who are new to cannabis — other studies have shown conflicting results. Data from weed-legal states like Colorado and Washington do show increases in traffic incidents since legalization, though whether intoxicated driving or sudden spikes in population (and thus traffic density) are the true cause has yet to be determined. 

If The Vegas Tasting Room’s opening weekend proves successful, it will become the state’s first licensed weed lounge. Last week, California saw the opening of its first licensed social consumption cafe, Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, to much media fanfare. 

Other states such as Oregon and Colorado have already had weed lounges. Earlier this year, Colorado approved a statewide bill to officially create a licensing system for social consumption businesses after years of legal ambiguities.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Nevada’s First Weed Cafe Will Feel Like a Microbrew’s Tasting Room

Former Cop Gets Stoned for the First Time and Then Pukes in New Weed Documentary

Former Cop Gets Stoned for the First Time and Then Pukes in New Weed Documentary

Original Post: Merry Jane: Former Cop Gets Stoned for the First Time and Then Pukes in New Weed Documentary

[Canniseur: The producers present an unbiased view of people curiously trying cannabis for the first time. This isn’t just about a cop throwing up. Highlighted are many different people with many various reasons they’re trying cannabis for the first time.]

Yet another cannabis documentary is coming, but this one is stirring the pot because it features two former drug squad cops smoking weed on camera for the first time.

The two-part documentary, High Society: Cannabis Cafe, premieres next week on Channel 4 in the UK. The documentary follows several Brits as they take a trip to Amsterdam. Of course, they’re going to Amsterdam to try the legal weed, since marijuana is still illegal in the UK.

One couple featured in the documentary are friends who want to experiment with cannabis for its pain-relieving effects. Another couple wants to know if weed can save their relationship. But the oddest couple featured in High Society are two former drug squad cops, Des and Ronnie, who hold opposing views towards weed legalization.

Ronnie, who is staunchly opposed to all drug use and weed in particular, believes marijuana is the “gateway drug” that always leads to harder drug use.

Des, on the other hand, is curious about the plant he used to arrest people for. “I’m looking forward to experiencing this,” he says on camera. “I think I’ll be fine, but that remains to be seen.”

And then, after taking just a few puffs of that Amsterdam weed, Des pukes on the coffee shop’s floor.

The “gateway drug” myth became a punchline later in the documentary. An 84-year-old grandma, Maureen, tokes on a Volcano vaporizer to better understand why her grandson Sam loves to get high. Although she claims to not feel anything after her first few hits, she immediately requests a Coca-Cola, presumably to quench some cotton mouth.

“You’ve tried some weed,” Sam says to his grandma, “now you want some Coke.”

Of course, showing people smoking weed on TV, especially in a country where marijuana is outlawed, will generate some controversy. In High Society’s case, it pissed off people on both sides of the marijuana legalization debate.

Prohibitionists criticized the documentary for promoting illegal drug use. Brexit Party politician Ann Widdecombe told Birmingham Live that, ““For one of our channels to be filming it and showing it on our television amounts to showing an unlawful act.”

“The argument against legalizing cannabis is not being heard enough but it’s very straightforward,” Widdecombe continued. “If you legalize cannabis, it is a gateway drug.”

Meanwhile, proponents of legalization had complaints, too.

“The show,” wrote Sarah Carson at iNews, “… is one in a long line of programs that treat casual drug use with a flippancy afforded only to the privileged.”

Carson later explained her perspective in more detail:

The media’s presentation of drug use as an alternative lifestyle choice is harmless enough if you were, say, one of the many white, middle-class, middle-aged people smoking weed at Bob Dylan in Hyde Park last month, confident that the police would leave well alone. Less so if you are an unfairly-targeted demographic — no young black men feature in the first episode of High Society — or someone who is seriously ill and fighting for the right to access medicinal cannabis.

Channel 4 defended its programming by stating that its producers wanted to present an unbiased view of people curiously trying cannabis for the first time.

“The show reflects a mix of both positive and negative experiences and is not intended to glamorize or make light of drug taking,” a spokesperson for Channel 4 said in a statement. “Instead, it explores this hotly debated topic in a balanced way, under supervised conditions, and in a fully licensed and legal setting in Amsterdam.”

Original Post: Merry Jane: Former Cop Gets Stoned for the First Time and Then Pukes in New Weed Documentary

A Dispensary Started a Recycling Program to Reduce Weed’s Waste Problem

A Dispensary Started a Recycling Program to Reduce Weed’s Waste Problem

Original Post: Merry Jane: A Dispensary Started a Recycling Program to Reduce Weed’s Waste Problem

[Canniseur: All dispensaries should follow suit. We, as a people, need to step up and reduce our carbon footprint. So glad someone is leading the way. Let’s all do our part to take Maryam Mirnateghi’s recycling program to our own local dispensary.]

Whenever anyone buys legal weed at a licensed pot shop, their products are packaged in plastic. Whether it’s bottles, boxes, syringes, vape carts, or products wrapped in plastic, these packages ultimately end up in landfills, which contribute to a whole host of environmental problems.

Now, a dispensary owner in Washington State, who manages Canna West Seattle and Canna Culture Shop, believes she has a solution: Start a recycling program for weed packaging, where consumers can return their plastic waste at the very same place they purchased it.

“It is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be over one billion pieces of cannabis packaging created in the cannabis industry every year,” said Maryam Mirnateghi, the owner of the two aforementioned dispensaries, to a local NBC News affiliate.

“Sometimes it’s hard to know which items can go in which categories, so we just wanted to make it really easy for people,” she continued. “We are really hoping to create a better connection between the cannabis industry and the environment in general.”

Currently, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic per year, according to Plastic Oceans International. Half of that plastic waste comes from single-use products, like empty vape pen cartridges or those nearly-impossible-to-open child-proof edibles boxes. And with America’s legal weed industry selling $9 billion worth of product in 2018 alone, those plastic waste numbers are only on the incline.

In fact, Washington State has built-up so much plastic waste from weed products that it started clogging the state’s waterways.

…Read the rest of the story

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Original Post: Merry Jane: A Dispensary Started a Recycling Program to Reduce Weed’s Waste Problem

Which State Smokes the Least Weed in 2019?

Which State Smokes the Least Weed in 2019?

Original Post: Merry Jane: Which State Smokes the Least Weed in 2019?

[Canniseur: So many ways this survey could get skewed by legal markets vs. illegal markets. It’s interesting reading and some of the statistics are perhaps informing us of how things will go when cannabis is legal nationally.]

Which state smokes the most weed? Depending on the study, it’s either California, Colorado, Washington, or Oregon. Kind of obvious, we know, but which US state is the least lit? 

Of course, getting solid, reliable data on pot use isn’t simple nor is it clear-cut, especially in states where weed is still completely outlawed. According to the Oxford Treatment Center, an “Oxford House” styled drug rehab clinic, federal data reveals which states recently saw the greatest increase in cannabis use — and which ones saw the smallest increases, too.

The data, which came from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Survey on Drug Use and Health assessed survey responses from American adults between 2014 and 2017, so this data isn’t up-to-date. But it did detect trends in states that legalized medical or recreational marijuana (which is always followed by increased weed usage rates). The survey also assessed states that have not yet legalized or have only allowed extremely limited forms of medical cannabis, which do show upticks in usage rates, but not nearly as much as weed-legal states.

There are two ways to look at cannabis use in states that have no legal weed sales data. The first way is to assess respondents’ answers regarding usage rates, i.e. what percentage of the adult population said they smoked weed. The other way to look at it is how that usage rate changed over time, which is presented as a percentage change.

And the state that comes out at the bottom of both usage rates and percent change? Georgia.

In 2017, Georgia’s rate of weed use hovered around 11.8 percent. In terms of usage rates, that wasn’t the lowest: Alabama (10.6 percent), Iowa (11.5 percent), Nebraska (11.5 percent), North Dakota (11.0 percent), and South Carolina (11.1 percent) have Georgia beat in that category, but they’re all pretty darn close.

Where Georgia stood out is its percentage change between 2014 to 2017. In that four-year period, Georgia’s residents increased their pot smoking by a mere 1.9 percent. Alabama, which was a full percentage point lower than Georgia in usage rates, saw a 2.6 percent increase in weed use in that same period.

Even Texas and Utah, which have both been real sticklers about medical marijuana restrictions, increased their rates of use by almost double of Georgia’s: by 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Georgia has some of the strictest anti-weed laws on the books, compared to other US states. In 2015, under the leadership of Rep. Allen Peake (R-141st District), the state finally legalized cannabis oils containing less than 5 percent THC (hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC), but only for severely ill patients, such as those with cancer or intractable seizure disorders. Several major cities and counties in Georgia have also decriminalized marijuana possession, but cultivation and sales remain illegal across the board.

As for which states experienced the greatest weed usage rates, those would be Oregon (27.4 percent), Colorado (25.7 percent), Washington (23.2 percent), and Alaska (23.4) — which were all some of the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis.

But let’s not forget our homies in New England, whose weed usage rates rival their neighbors west of the Mississippi: Tokers in Washington DC (27 percent), Vermont (24.3 percent), Maine (22.5 percent), Rhode Island (21.2 percent), and Massachusetts (20.3 percent) could probably outsmoke some of the OGs in California (which only clocked in at 17.8 percent, surprise surprise).

Of course, these numbers should be taken with a few grains of salt. People are likely more naturally apt to admit that they smoke weed in states where it’s legal or tolerated. So seeing lower usage rate values in prohibition states may just be an artifact of prohibition itself, where people fear their cannabis use could land them in prison — or worse.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Which State Smokes the Least Weed in 2019?

Wait, Is Weed Bad for You in Any Measurable Way?

Wait, Is Weed Bad for You in Any Measurable Way?

Original Post: Merry Jane: Wait, Is Weed Bad for You in Any Measurable Way?

[Canniseur: Like almost everything in life, cannabis has positives and negatives? This article covers many of the potential negatives and explains them in both a positive and negative light. It’ll give you plenty to think about and will bolster your knowledge of the potential downside risks of using cannabis along with the upside fun.]

Is weed bad for you? It’s a loaded question, but it’s relevant. More Americans are smoking weed now than ever before. And every week, we’re bombarded with study after study, with one claiming that weed definitely helps us and another claiming it’s bad for us.

At MERRY JANE, we try to balance the good with the bad when it comes to cannabis. That’s not an easy task, especially since it’s so painfully obvious that weed offers far more benefits than disadvantages. Good and bad are also highly subjective, and how weed could be good or bad for you depends on a lot of factors: why you’re consuming, how often you do it, where you’re doing it, etc. So, here’s a handy guide to walk you through some of the (relatively minor) downsides of cannabis consumption.

We’re going to assume that you already know cannabis can combat chronic pain; protect our brain and nerve cells; increase empathy and sociability; treat cancer, AIDS, and seizure disorders; and can prevent, if not reverse, damage caused by cellular oxidation (aging). So, with that beneficial acknowledgement aside, let’s delve into some of the side effects associated with cannabis use.

Weed Disrupts Short-Term Memory Formation

Of all the bads that come with ganja’s good, this one has, inarguably, been experienced by every single person who’s ever gotten lit. The deadpan “What?” response to any given question has become a bit of a stoner stereotype over the years — but there’s some merit to it.

THC, the intoxicating component of weed, disrupts our short-term memory formation. This is why, after hitting the bong, you might spend an hour looking for your car keys — you know, the keys that were in your pocket the entire time.

Thankfully, this short-term memory disruption thing is temporary. Simply ceasing to toke should restore your mental faculties to normal. Anyone claiming that weed causes permanent brain damage is either ignorant of the science, named Kevin Sabet, or intentionally lying to you.

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Weed Can Get You in Trouble with the Authorities

Even in states that have legalized weed, tokers can still get in trouble with the cops, child protective services, courts, medical doctors, or employers for overstepping the law (or overstepping an interpretation of it).

Ironically, laws against cannabis possession, cultivation, and sales may be the biggest bads weed has to offer. And that’s easily remedied with legal reforms, decriminalization, and enlightened judges and juries. In other words, prohibition is the problem — not cannabis.

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Smoking Weed Could Cause Some Cancers

Smoking anything introduces toxic free radicals into the body, and smoking cannabis is no exception. That’s because smoking uses intense heat to combust plant material, and as the plant material combusts, a chain reaction of free radicals storms across the bowl or blunt and directly into your lungs. Thankfully, natural chemicals in weed can quench these free radicals, but some may escape the plant’s healing powers, wreaking havoc on our DNA.

The link between weed and cancer is tenuous, at best, especially when we consider that components of cannabis are more likely to kill cancer cells than create them. But also consider the cases of two world-famous cannabis heroes, Tommy Chong and Bob Marley. Both developed cancer, and one died from it (Marley). Chong, on the other hand, is still puffing the cheeba to this day.

If weed automatically fought cancer, how did these two men — who smoked so much weed that they immortalized the plant in film and music — get sick? To find out, last year I contacted one of the most respected minds in cannabis science, Dr. Manuel Guzmán — a cancer researcher at the University of Madrid.

“I frankly cannot understand how people can still ask that question,” Guzmán responded in an email. “What is carcinogenic is not cannabis but SMOKING cannabis. As SMOKING tobacco. In other words, the problem is the combustion of the plant. As simple as that.”

Smoking herb probably won’t harm most people’s lungs, but if you’re concerned about damage from smoke, you’ve got a lot of other options for getting weed into your system. Eat it, drink it, snort it, as the renowned narrator Morgan Freeman once quipped.

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Weed Can Cause Convulsions or Increase Pain

Uh oh! Weed can cause convulsions or worsen pain? But isn’t it used to treat these two things?

In some susceptible people, yes: weed can make these two things worse, not better.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure why, but it may be due to cannabis’s ability to regulate (or in this case, fail to regulate) neural signaling. For these unfortunate folks, weed can increase pain sensations or induce convulsive activity. They’re in the minority compared to the rest of us, though.

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Weed May Compromise Cardiovascular Health

Another incredibly controversial claim is that weed could cause heart attacks or strokes in some susceptible people. Jack Herer, acclaimed weed activist and author of the ground-breaking book on hemp, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, suffered a stroke and two heart attacks, and the last heart attack took his life.

But cannabis is also said to enhance physical activity — particularly cardiovascular excercise, such as running, swimming, and many extreme sports — making certain strains an ideal pre-workout supplement. So, the jury is still out on this one, because depending on how it’s used, weed can also enhance cardiovascular health.

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Weed Could Affect a Toker’s Virility/Fertility

This is another contentious claim, but studies show that weed can inhibit sperm motility or egg-to-uterus implantation. Yet, cannabis consumers don’t appear to suffer from infertility/sterility at higher rates than non-tokers, so this “bad” may be the result of experimental artifacts rather than real-world consequences. Besides, other research shows that tokers produce more sperm, so take that for what it’s worth.

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Weed Can Trigger a Chronic Vomiting Disorder

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) has been dubbed by the press as the “mysterious vomiting illness” caused by weed. And without diving into another 2,000-word exposé on the subject, no: it’s not caused by pesticides, neem oil, or any other artificial additive that weed warriors can think up. Doctors and toxicologists are pretty sure that it’s caused by weed’s cannabinoids, they just don’t yet understand how, exactly.

Again, like most of the “bads” listed above, CHS only affects a small number of susceptible people, and it’s incredibly rare. CHS patients usually have to stop consuming cannabis (and coffee and chocolate) to prevent future vomiting episodes, though some claim they’re just fine if they only consume small amounts.

So, to sum all of this up: weed can have its downsides, like pretty much everything else we put into our bodies. These downsides crop up on a person-to-person basis, and researchers are still making sense of all the data they’ve recently collected.

Ultimately, the person who best knows how you’ll react to weed is you, so judge your own consumption and behaviors accordingly.

That aside, toke responsibly, stay safe, and let us legally access this plant nationwide already.

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter

Original Post: Merry Jane: Wait, Is Weed Bad for You in Any Measurable Way?

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