Weed Week in Review January 21st, 2021

Weed Week in Review January 21st, 2021

January 21, 2021

Weed Week in Review publishes a weekly report of the good, the bad and the ugly about weed in the US (OK, and other places too). We’ll provide a little commentary about what’s happening in the world of weed.

American Medical Association Asks Court To Overturn Medical Marijuana Vote In Mississippi

The hypocrisy of the American Medical Association is astonishing. In 1937, the AMA was the only organization that  spoke against making cannabis illegal via the Stamp Act. Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved medical cannabis and now a few people, not organizations are trying to overturn the will of the voters. People never seem to learn that if their agenda is defeated (and I can’t understand why in 2021 there is any resistance to cannabis legalization) they can still fight for it, even if they’re a small minority. There’s good and bad in that.

Idaho May Block Future Legalization With Constitutional Amendment

Yet another idiot who thinks that their personal agenda is more important than the will of the voters. The only way voters can get their way is to vote the schmucks out of office. There might be a lot of that over the next 2 and 4 years. Only time will tell if the people are willing to vote for what they believe.

Marijuana Bills ‘Being Held Hostage’

WOWIE!!!! Three angry icons in a row! I don’t like this. Yet another state, New Jersey, that has had overwhelming support for cannabis approval (70%) on a state ballot and yet legislators are holding up the implementation of pot shops in the state. This is getting ridiculous. The voters vote. They are ignored by the legislatures or governors. It has to stop.

Democrats hold majority in legislature, looking to legalize recreational marijuana

Way to go New Mexico…we hope! This will mark the third time that New Mexico will try to legalize adult-use weed. The third time might be the charm too. While many republicans opposed cannabis legalization in the Land of Enchantment, there were more who wanted it. There were also plenty of conservative democrats who did not want legal pot in the state, but they got voted out of office. They were the primary roadblock to legalization. Go figure. This year will hopefully e the year New Mexico joins the list of states who have legalized marijuana for everyone over the age of 21.

Want free weed? Walled Lake dispensary offering marijuana to anyone with a COVID-19 vaccine

Walled Lake is a small community near Detroit and they have been offering free pot to anyone who can prove they’ve had the COVID vaccine. Now this is the way weed can be used for good. There seem to be only about 55 or 60% of the people who are saying that even if they could get the vaccine, they would not. Maybe this will push a few over the top…if they can find the vaccine at all. It’s in very short supply everywhere.

Colorado Cannabis Sales Top $2 Billion in 2020

There’s really no surprise here. Colorado is the state with the longest track record of adult pot sales. My only surprise is that it’s not more than $3 billion dollars! There is probably still room for growth in the industry in Colorado as well. Since Colorado represents about 1.7% of the overall U.S, population, you can extrapolate the $2 billion in current sales to somewhere north of $100 billion if weed was legal all over the country. That’s a big number. Really BIG! And potentially it represents a lot of tax revenue. A whole lot.

 

Indica vs. Sativa – Part 2

Indica vs. Sativa – Part 2

It has become common knowledge in the world of cannabis research that the indica and sativa naming convention is a semantic distinction without a scientific difference. In 2015, University of British Columbia botanist Jonathan Page studied the DNA of 81 cannabis “strains” that were self-identified by the growers or distributors as either indicas or sativas. They found that they were almost genetically identical, and many were mislabeled. This is a long way to say that the ‘distinction’ of sativa vs. indica is bullshit.

Sativa vs. indica has become a marketing tool rather than a a scientific separation of ‘strains’. There is no sativa. There is no indica. And it’s a shame. We seem to have lost the origins of our favorite plant. But we still have cannabis and the multitude of effects that are possible. The real question is how are we differentiating the two? The real answer is marketing. Breeders tell us that the parentage of this strain or that strain is 80% indica or whatever. And absolutely none of it makes any sense scientifically. But it does make good sense from a marketing standpoint because it tells consumers about what they might expect although it’s not all clear. Sativa is supposed to work on the thought process and indica is supposed to make your body feel more, uh, “stoned.” Whatever that means.

The Survey

While I was writing this, I decided I needed to look at an overview of was going on with different types of cannabis in the market. Since the dispensaries were all advertising sativa, indica and hybrid strains, I wanted to see what’s selling and where it was selling. I did not check for percentage of THC in the mix, I looked at random dispensaries in Michigan, Colorado, California and Washington and in each state I picked one market. The sample size is small, but I believe it gives a pretty good indication of what people are asking growers to produce. The results were fascinating, but not unexpected; 50% of the flower was listed as “Hybrid”. 33% was called Indica and only 17% was called “Sativa” by the various dispensaries. The sample size was small, only about 400 strains from 35 or so dispensaries, but significant as I looked at many more in other states and the percentages were always about the same.

“Hybrid” strains in the majority was not unexpected. The cannabis genome has now been thoroughly trashed by breeders, so everything is a ‘hybrid’. The real question to me is; Why are people looking to indica for their cannabis and not to sativa? Since the names are irrelevant, I’m going to stick to what I think and not any statistical evidence. That would take interviews and during the time of COVID, that’s just not going to happen.

Different States, Different Products

While I was in California, one thing I noticed was that the questions all revolved around if I wanted edibles or pre-rolled product. When I said flower, the reactions in the three dispensaries I visited (fully masked with an N-95 mask and in and out quickly) when I asked for flower was all the same…”Are you crazy?” And yes,  I like to roll my own or use one of my glass pipes. I’m distrustful of pre-rolled cannabis as it’s mostly shake and always has the question of whether or not it was just dregs. And many dispensaries only had about 10 or fewer different strains. My impression was that flower is not in favor in California, at least where I was in Southern California.

In Colorado, the reactions were different and there was a lot more variety in the flower to be had. This wasn’t surprising. Maybe California is ahead of the curve or maybe they’re just lazy. I won’t have the opportunity to find out soon as I’ll not be traveling back to California until we’re all vaccinated. Colorado just felt more open to flower users as well as experimenters with cannabis. In Michigan, there’s a lot more flower available and the budtenders I talked to never asked if I was more interested in flower or pre-rolls. I’ve had pre-rolled cannabis joints.

How Does it End?

Reality check. If we keep hybridizing our favorite plant; crossing “sativas” with “indicas,” how does this end. WAIT!!! There is no sativa. There is no indica. What does this mean for us? Does it matter? I’ve never been a budtender, so I can’t write about this with any authority. I have spent a lot of time in dispensaries though and listened to a lot of customers.

If my listening to conversations is at all accurate, it would seem that most people are looking for the highest percentage of THC they can get in a flower. Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. That’s like looking for a wine with the highest alcohol percent you can get. I can relate from personal experience, a chardonnay over about 14% and a cabernet sauvignon over 15% or so isn’t very good wine. Shouldn’t cannabis be about taste; Terpenes and the quality of the cure (smoothness)? Cannabis should be, above all, an experience, and we are at risk of losing that experience if the only thing we look at is the percentage of THC.

Are we at risk to lose the beauty of what the ‘fragrant reed’ should be about? We might be. Breeders need to be more aware about what they’re doing to the cannabis genome. Genetic manipulation is one thing. Over-hybridization is another.

Indica vs. Sativa? – Part 1

Indica vs. Sativa? – Part 1

Ladies and Gentlemen!!! In this corner, a plant that’s been reviled for the last 100 years, but still the heavyweight champeen of the world; CANNNABISSSSSSSSSS INDICA!!! And in the other corner, the other plant that’s been reviled for the last hundred years, lighter, but more agile; CANNNABISSSSSSSSSSSSS SATIVA!!!!! It’s Indica vs. Sativa! In today’s match Sativa will go head-to-head with it’s heavyweight brother, Indica!!!

These days, the whole Indica vs. Sativa feels like a wrestling match. All strains listed at our favorite dispensary as either Sativa, Indica or ‘hybrid’. What do these terms mean? Has cannabis become a victim of over breeding? Sativa or Indica are both meaningless terms. They refer to the same plant. Yes, there are visual and subtle genetic differences between the two species, but they don’t mean a lot other than the way they make you feel. Cannabis cultivators and breeders have been changing the genetics of cannabis for so long that the basis for separating indica vs. sativa have very little meaning.

What Are Strains Really?

There was a time that cannabis wasn’t divided between Indica and Sativa (or ruderalis for that matter). They were considered varieties of the same plant. Are they different plants? Since sativa or indica plants can be cross-bred, they are part of the same species, so even though they have different characteristics, both plants are from the species — officially: Cannabis Sativa.

Confused yet? Just wait! In the 1960s and 1970s, came the beginning of differentiation for breeding between Indica and Sativa.

The bricks of weed we used to get came from Mexico and then Columbia and Panama were, to the best of our knowledge, Sativa. Up in the Hindu Kush, in northern India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bhutan were Indica. In North America, our first exposure to Indica was usually through Nepalese hash types. Sometimes it came in long, dark brown ropes and was called Nepalese Finger Hash. I’m clueless as to what it really was. Nepal seemed way too far to bother bringing in a supply of hash, but apparently it wasn’t. The black market imported real hashish from Nepal or Lebanon or Morocco.

What’s Happened over the years?

Beginning in 1970s and really picking up steam in the 1980s, cannabis breeders began crossing different landrace plants. Landrace strains (the term applies for any plant or animal) are original regional strains that have been informally bred to be superior to other strains in the area. A farmer who was just taking seed from his plants for the next crop was just farming.

What have the breeders done?

Interestingly, cannabis breeding isn’t very old. Although cannabis farmers have been taking seeds from the best part of their crop and trying to make their crops better for centuries, but this isn’t cannabis breeding the way we see it now. The new wave of cannabis breeders probably started in the 1980s with roots back in the 1960s or 70s. Breeders started out with intellectual curiosity, as in; “What would happen if I crossed this plant with that plant?” It grew from there. The real question now is: What have these breeders done to the plant? What’s happened to landrace strains, the original strains of cannabis without a lot of outside genetic manipulation? Are they still truly landrace? Do they still exist in today’s commercial cannabis market?

Do we even need landrace strains? I’d say yes, unequivocally we need to keep historic landrace strains. Other crops have seedbanks to preserve their genetic heritage, but not cannabis. Given the reproductive vigor of cannabis, can we keep some of the original strains pure or as ‘pure’ as they ever were? One of the reasons that hybrid strains have been developed in the first place is that, even during the darkest days of cannabis prohibition, seeds are easy to transport around the world.

Botanical Differences – Genus and Species

The genetic composition of Indica vs. Sativa are 99.9% the same. They are essentially the same plant with subtle genetic differences that, for our purposes, make all the difference in the world. Just like apples (and we’re comparing apples to apples here;-) Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp apples are the same are the same genus and species, but taste completely different. Here’s a better definition than I can write as the whole genus and species thing can take you down a rabbit hole. But if you’re interested… In the world of wine, there are hybrid grapes that are crosses between vitus vinifera and vitus labrusca (think Welch’s grape juice). They might make palatable wines,

The bottom line for genus and species is that when everything else is the same, then species doesn’t matter. Other than if you crossed that Honeycrisp with the Golden Delicious, you’d come up with a different apple. How does that apply to our favorite plant? Well, these ‘hybrids’ that are all over the place are simply a cross between two species. They’re not really ‘hybrid’ per se, but they’re a completely new species. Here’s the Wikipedia article on Honeycrisp if you really want to know.

Breeding

Other than species, there’s really no difference between Indica and Sativa. So what’s the big deal? The differences are subtle. Sativa is considered to have a better mental high, meaning it energizes you and gives you lots of nice thoughts (euphoria) and gives you both the mental and physical energy to get things done. Indica might give you some euphoria, but generally it just made your body feel relaxed. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of those descriptions, breeders have tried to combine them. That’s why there are so many hybrids currently in the marketplace.

This is wrong, at least in part. Breeders should be focusing on either enhancing sativa or indica, rather than trying to come up with a mule…which is a cross between a horse and a donkey. Specifically a female horse and a male mule. In the wine world, hybrids abound. They’re a cross between vitus vinifra (wine grapes) and vitus labrusca (think Welch’s Grape Juice). The wines they make mostly suck. Hybrids, like seyval blanc can make decent tasting wine, but never great wine. They are neither nor; As in neither wine grapes, nor grapes that are appropriate for grape juice or grape jelly.

Why do cannabis breeders continue to do this? Mostly, I believe, it’s because they can. Their intellectual curiosity has overcome what’s right for the cannabis plant and it’s genome. What’s happened over the last few decades is dispensaries have become hawkers of cannabis. By and large, dispensaries really don’t care what the buds are in their jars. They care about what sells. I can’t blame them because they’re retailers. The ‘hybrids’ which can be good on their own, still miss the mark on varietal purity. Is this important? Probably not in the long run, but we should take stock of what we’re actually purchasing.

Part 2: Indica vs. Sativa in Today’s Marketplace

Part 2 of the ongoing saga of Indica vs. Sativa will take stock of what the stocks around the country contain. Are they claiming indica? Or Sativa? Or “hybrid”? What’s actually being sold in the legal marketplace? That’s a question which we’d all like to know answers. Next week, we’ll look at some answers along with some revelations of cannabis vs. sativa and what it all means to us.

House Passes Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana

House Passes Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana

The U.S. House of Representatives just (on December 4th) passed legislation to decriminalize cannabis. Yes. They. Did.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the Senate is highly unlikely to pass the same legislation. Republican representatives and senators from many states are still against removing cannabis from Schedule 1 and it’s now just plain resistance and not based on what their voters want.

In the house voted mostly, but not entirely, along party lines. The bill, called The MORE act, passed with a vote of 228-164. This balance probably approximately represents the balance of what people in the U.S. favor right now.

It Shouldn’t be a Democrat vs. Republican Thing

Many republicans have continued gaslighting cannabis. This needs to end. In our opinion, it shouldn’t end with the election of democrats, but rather the election of people who will represent all Americans. It’s become clearly obvious that a majority of Americans have finally seen through all the lies the government has been feeding all of us for the last 85 or so years.

We we already know the Senate won’t pass (the Senate probably won’t even bring it to the floor for a vote), maybe they’ll surprise us. The Senate is showing it’s lack of interest in the people of the United States, which begs the question; Why is cannabis so politicized? One answer may be in the desire of Mitch McConnell to assert his and the Senate’s power. This is not a rational move, given that a large majority of the American population believes that cannabis should be decriminalized. Another, and more sinister answer, may be in the desire of the republican party to rule as a minority party. This flies directly in the face of the Founding Fathers desire to create a majority rule democracy.

At the least, this is a start on a path to finally decriminalize and finally begin de-stigmatize cannabis. Here are some of the first headlines:

House passes legislation to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

House votes to decriminalize marijuana as GOP resists national shift on pot

100 years of Gaslighting Cannabis

100 years of Gaslighting Cannabis

‘If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth’ — Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda

I’ve been gaslit. You’ve been gaslit. We’ve all been gaslit. For the last 100 plus years we’ve all been gaslit about cannabis. The gaslighting started in the early 1900s when Mexicans started arriving here to escape the civil unrest of the Mexican revolution. They brought the use of just enjoying cannabis for relaxation and the ‘high’ it gave the smoker. Their term for it was marihuana. The “h” in the middle of the word was based on the way they pronounced it; “mary-ch-juana”. Americans didn’t pronounce the middle part and it became marijuana.

A Little More History

Through the 1800s, cannabis was considered a good crop. It was used for fiber to make sturdy, but soft cloth, paper that never yellowed and rope. It was also used as a drug, although it wasn’t used for recreational purposes. And it was always called cannabis.The gaslighting started then as anti-immigrant sentiment. Thus began the gaslighting of cannabis.

Gaslighting isn’t new. It’s been called a lot of things, but essentially, it’s as Goebbels said; Say it often enough and it becomes ‘fact’. The Nazis were masters at gaslighting, although they were absolutely not the master race. They did have a propaganda manager who was good at his job; Goebbels. During the course of their reign of terror, their gaslit propaganda cost millions upon millions of lives.

Gaslighting: the systematic attempt by one person to erode another person's reality... As defined by Dr. Robert Stern, Author of The Gaslight Effect.After a while though, the baldest faced and boldest lies become just that; lies. And after that same while, people become weary of those lies and see them as the lies they are. Sometimes it’s a matter of days (or hours in this free-for-all social media time) and sometimes it’s a matter of years. In the case of Nazis, it was a matter of a decade or so, but eventually, their lies were outed and the German people (mostly) began to see the lies.

What about the lies we’ve been fed? They’re not as insidious, but in many ways, they’ve been just as harmful to societies all over the world, starting with the U.S.

What Were the Lies?

What lies? Let’s start with a few of the first lies about cannabis. That started over 100 years ago with stories planted to vilify Mexicans coming across the border during the Mexican Revolution. “This axe murderer helped make weed illegal“. There were many stories published with similar themes and headlines. Harry Anslinger the head of the Bureau of Narcotics took these stories and ran. He got the Marijuana Stamp Tax enacted in 1937. This essentially outlawed its use for anything.

Who Opposed the Marijuana Stamp Act?

Even in the environment of lies, only the American Medical Association recommended that cannabis not be outlawed. There were a number of reasons and all the reasons had a medical basis. Today’s AMA, on the other hand, thinks that cannabis shouldn’t be voted in by ballot, but rather after rigorous research. “After vigorous research” is shorthand for ‘no’. How did they get this way? It’s simple; The AMA bought into the gaslighting the U.S. government has been doing for over a century. The AMA was suckered into it, just like most Americans…and then the rest of the world.

How Did Marijuana Gaslighting Start?

Originally, Harry Anslinger didn’t believe that cannabis was bad, harmful or there was anything else bad about it. That was while he was the Commissioner of Alcohol. After that, he became the Commissioner of Narcotics and needed a job. As commissioner, he needed some way to grow his department in the government. Somewhere in the early 1930s, he latched onto a plant that was mostly used by black populations in the American ghettos they inhabited. The campaign was helped along by some producers in Hollywood who wanted to get on the good side of the government.

The Worst Cannabis Gaslighter

This is your brain on drugs

Although Anslinger started the ball rolling, he was abetted by two US Presidents later on. The worst gaslighter of all was Ronald Reagan, but Clinton wasn’t far behind. Reagan had two gaslit philosophies. The “Trickle-Down” economy is so much hooey that it just doesn’t work and we’ve seen the results of that in the past decade and a half. The other was his “War On Drugs”. There has probably never been a more misguided and propaganda policy in our country that was aimed at hurting minorities. Clinton perpetuated the “War” and it’s become part of the landscape of American policy. And the rest of the world picked up on it.

Reagan was no better than Goebbels. And yes, I put him in the same category as Goebbels when it comes to cannabis. I know there are a lot of Reagan fans out there, but without any scientific evidence, but a lot of stigma about people of color, he perpetrated as phony a “War” as Bush did against Iraq in the early 2000s. We could learn from this as a society. We could learn from this as a society. But we won’t. The “War on Drugs” has been a hugely disastrous venture for the U.S. government.

Conclusions

There is nothing new about gaslighting. And there is nothing new about the fact that it doesn’t work. We know it works for a while, but not in the long term. it worked for the Nazis. It worked for Anslinger and it worked for Reagan and Clinton…although they could have been gaslit by someone else he believed. It certainly wasn’t based on scientific evidence. Now we’re beginning to see an end.

More than half the population in the U.S. lives where cannabis is legal either for medicine, adult use (called recreational by many) and more states just authorized the sales of cannabis. We’re seeing an end to this insane, racist and truly misguided prohibition of cannabis. When the hippies in the 1960s started making it a national phenomenon to now, when a huge majority of people in the U.S., cannabis has gone through a huge transition from the 1930s when it was demonized by Harry Anslinger. Maybe this will help the stigma go away along with the prohibition and putting people in jail for the flower of a plant.

The Nazis had their day in the sun for about a decade. Reagan had his place in the sun as well. But it was all gaslighting. And while Anslinger started the gaslit debacle that resulted later in the “War on Drugs” it didn’t work.

Gaslighting can work for someone’s ends for a while. It doesn’t work for long

Some Articles About Nazi Propaganda and It’s Success at Seducing a People

How Hitler Conquered Germany in Slate
The effectiveness of Nazi propaganda during World War II research from Eastern Michigan University
NAZI PROPAGANDA from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
State of Deception – The Power of Nazi Propaganda from the United Nations

Cannabis WINS!!!! Marijuana WINS!!!!

Cannabis WINS!!!! Marijuana WINS!!!!

This has certainly been an interesting week on many levels. No matter which side of the political fence you sit on it’s been a wild ride. The big winner this week though (besides the BIG race), at least in our opinion is cannabis. There were hundreds of statewide initiatives on the ballots across the country this week. They all won. Every. Single. One. Maybe that last sentence should have an exclamation point after it. But there is something far greater going on here. 5 states had medical and/or adult use cannabis initiatives. They all won. All of them.

The Stigma is Going Away?

Cannabis or marijuana (your choice of word) has had a stigma that the racist U.S. government started in the early 1900s. The lies about cannabis back then resulted in the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act in 1937. That act essentially outlawed marijuana. It culminated in the War on Drugs in the 70s and 80s that made cannabis a drug with no redeeming qualities at all. Cannabis was stigmatized all that time for non-scientific and racist reasons. It has became a horrible mess.

All these initiatives that passed are showing us something; The stigma is starting to go away. It will take time, but I think the stigma is now on the down slope and picking up momentum as it moves along. What is still frightening is how politicians (on both sides) are so out of touch with their constituents. Very few politicians are willing to speak up about Schedule 1, even though over half the states have medical programs. The government has been perpetrating a lie for over a century. That lie is beginning to be understood. The real problem with that is that when a lie by the government is found out, what does the population feel about things where the government might be right.

As for the initiatives that failed, all were at the state or community level and those communities voters were frequently fed pap that had nothing to do with reality. In Michigan there were 10 community initiatives that were on various ballots. Of the ten, three passed. So the stigma still exists.

One State

In Montana, there was as much misinformation as there was real information. One noted Montanan individual ranted that crime would go up, children would smoke and various other falsehoods that were patently untrue. Maybe some Americans are waking up to the idea that marijuana might be OK and the billions that now flow into the untaxed black market could be converted into some tax dollars that the states could currently use. It will take a while, but eventually cannabis will look the same as the alcoholic beverage industry with no stigma and solid tax dollars going to the various governments.

A Small Conclusion

We still look through the lens of cannabis prohibition and that’s going to be hard to swap that lens out for one that just sees marijuana as another drug with benefits and some downsides. The downsides are minimal and the benefits have the potential to have enormous benefit to our society.

Here’s an article that has access to all the initiatives, statewide, local and municipal all over the country. It’s from Ballotpedia: 2020 marijuana legalization and marijuana-related ballot measures

Why Can’t We Learn from Lessons in the Recent Past?

Why Can’t We Learn from Lessons in the Recent Past?

Yesterday, I came across a story by Livia Gershon titled “Legalizing Marijuana: Lessons from the Post-prohibition Era“. This story got me thinking; We’re in an era of legalization or rather the re-legalization of cannabis throughout the U.S. and indeed the world. The patently racist reasons for making cannabis illegal in the first place were ill-grounded, non-scientific and hearsay. This is all the Senate had to go on, but then the Senate was lily-white and didn’t want the “darkies” (in reality, not just African-Americans, but anyone who wasn’t a WASP. Sadly, Ms. Gershon’s article really didn’t display any of the ‘lessons’ we learned in the first 50 years in post-prohibition America.

I worked in the wine industry for more than two decades and while I worked there, we celebrated 50 years since the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed prohibition..nationally. Prohibition was never a good idea. It was the will of a minority being forced on the majority. Alcohol prohibition caused the rise of organized crime and made millions of Americans into criminals. Does this remind you of cannabis prohibition? The 21st Amendment didn’t make alcohol legal, but allowed the states to create frameworks (if they desired) to sell alcohol. Not all states allowed alcohol sales.

The bootleg alcohol industry was so entrenched it took almost 20 years for legal alcohol sales to surpass the continued alcohol sales from bootleggers. In every single cannabis legal state, black market sales far outstrip legal sales. And legal sales are booming. Why?

What Are They Regulating?

Cannabis is not similar to alcohol. But it’s viewed as the same drug by many regulators. It’s not as addictive. It’s not as harmful to our bodies. It has value medically for many conditions. It has value for so many things including fiber for clothing! Cannabis is an amazing plant that humans have taken advantage of for millennia. But what are we actually doing wrong at the state level? We’re simply making it too had to grow and sell.

Lessons? What Lessons?

What we should have learned, but haven’t is that over-regulation simply does not work. If the prices for legal cannabis are higher than the price of black market cannabis, guess who people will buy from? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Regulations need to be simple, enforceable, and not overbearing. In many states they are. The barriers to entry into the market need to be about what they are for the alcoholic beverage market as in a package store. They’re not. In many states licenses cost over $100,000!!! That keeps a lot of people out of the market, especially people of color who have borne the brunt of cannabis enforcement over the years.

Who is Regulating the Legal Cannabis Markets

Most of the adult legal states have implemented rules like never before seen in any regulated industry. Not even pharmaceutical drugs. All the legal states (both medical and adult-use) have “seed to sale” regulations to keep track of or try to keep track of each and every seed, plant, and resulting output. Some of the ‘Seed to Sale’ regulations are OK. Not great, but OK. Some are draconian and designed to make it difficult to grow and sell cannabis at a dispensary. This is patently wrong. A wine business analogy would be tracking every cluster of cabernet sauvignon that comes to the press house and tracking it all the way through the bottling process. Impossible to do. And it would put the grape growers and vintners at a huge disadvantage and build unwarranted costs into production.

Who Are These Regulators Anyway?

Regulators are usually appointed by the governor of the state. They may or may not be political appointments of cronies or they may or may not be proponents of legalization (see the story below). Usually, they’re well-meaning people (I’d like to think) that have no grounding in business and/or know nothing about cannabis. They frequently make rules because they ‘think’ they’re the right thing to do to suppress the sale of cannabis. They only have to look at how alcohol is regulated in their state and follow the lead of 80 or so years of prior knowledge. Why can’t we learn from the past? A question I keep asking myself.

Here’s an example of the lack of judgment, often called stupidity, that still exists both in regulators and the citizenry. If cannabis becomes legal in Montana, he’ll probably be the czar of Montana’s cannabis sales regulatory structure. Guest opinion: Reject legalization, commercialization of marijuana This article is full of misinformation, misdirection, and misunderstood facts. Not too different from the politics of today. The problem is that some people believe it. But then, some people will believe damn near anything.

 

Buying Weed During COVID in Michigan

Buying Weed During COVID in Michigan

I’m just finishing a stay in Ann Arbor and stopped at two of my favorite cannabis vendors to see what the state of this State is. There are some really disturbing trends that I saw.

COVID Buying Procedures

Buying cannabis has changed during our COVID experience. I used to be able to go into a dispensary, look at the different cultivars, and even smell them. No longer. In one place, Om of Medicine, you can order online or go into their ‘lobby’ and place an order on a tablet. Then what I’ve selected magically appears from downstairs. The other dispensary is Exclusive Provisioners. Their COVID procedure has mandatory ordering online.  Then you pick up your order in your car. For both dispensaries, delivery is available … for a fee. I get it. We all need to stay away from places where we might get exposed to the virus. That’s good. The bad part is what’s happened to quality. It has deteriorated significantly. What’s going on? I believe I do have a partial answer.

The Quality Factor

Both dispensaries and I admit this is only an “n” of 2 in a city that has 20 or so shops, have seriously gone down in quality. The quality of cannabis and the product they deliver are not up to the standards they had previously. Why? I believe there are several reasons for this.

First, both shops were independently owned and operated before COVID. Now they’re both part of larger chains. I get that. These are businesses. In business profits are important. Profits are what keep a business going. But…it can get carried too far, and apparently that is what’s happening in Ann Arbor. In Colorado, I can still walk into a dispensary and at least look at the bud and decide from there. But not in Ann Arbor. The quality in Colorado has, if nothing else, improved. Quality in Ann Arbor (and most of Michigan too, I’d guess) it seems to have deteriorated.

Om of Medicine

I got two varieties of cannabis from Om; Heavy Trichome and Hash Haze. Heavy Trichome was not. Heavy in trichomes that is. I tried it and it’s not even worth a review. It had no flavor to speak of and definitely not heavy in trichomes. Trichomes have much of the good in a cannabis flower. Terpenes, THCs, CBDs, and other compounds are found there. A bud heavy in trichomes should look like it’s frosted all over. Heavy Trichome had no heavy frost and in fact, had fewer trichomes then I’ve seen in a long time.

Hash Haze seems like it might have promise. Decent aroma, but I have yet to try it. My problem is that it’s prepackaged. I got two ‘jars’ of the product to make an eighth but was delivered in 2-1.75 gram jars. Who buys 1.75 grams of anything? If it’s good, I’ll write a review. If not, you’ll never hear about it again.

Exclusive Provisioners – Ann Arbor

Exclusive had been the source of many happy buds I’ve consumed in the past. While I get the COVID ordering system. what I don’t get is the conga line of cars backed up into the street driving in to pick up orders. OK, their order and pickup system isn’t the most sophisticated. I get that. Pickup is not their primary business. When I got to the store, there was a traffic jam that was backed up into the street. Not only is this not a way to show appreciation to customers, but it’s also dangerous. But to sell bud that looks like shake leaves me feeling ripped off. And I do!

Professor Chaos Shake

An eighth of Professor Chaos was mostly shake.

My online order was for an eighth of Professor Chaos, mostly because I liked the name and I’d never had it before. Really. I couldn’t see the flower. I couldn’t smell it or see it until I got it. What I received was a vial that was mostly shake. Or almost so. Not only was the little plastic jar filled with mostly shake, but Professor Chaos wasn’t very good. Very frustrating experience. While I loved the name of the cultivar; “Professor Chaos” but I sure didn’t like the result. If a dispensary is going to offer flower, they should deliver flower, not shake. Sell shake as shake and sell flower as flower. This was reminiscenet of 30 or 40 years ago when cannabis was purchased by the ounce (for $40!) and you actually got about a quarter of an ounce after the seeds and stems were taken out.

I cannot call this was not a good experience. Why purchase cannabis that’s substandard, especially in 2020.

Next week, I’m on my way to Taos, NM via Colorado where I’ll check out Colorado’s dispensary activity. Let’s see if those dispensaries are still as good as they were in the past. Check back.

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