It comes as no surprise that since January 1st of this year, California has seen a significant rise in cannabis sales. Within the state, the current $2.7 billion industry is predicted to nearly double by 2020.

Part of this has to do with the number of people trying to make a buck off the new market. Within the first six months alone, California saw an increase from 1,272 licenses to 6,421. Yet, the more important factor is the evolving perspective of cannabis happening across the country. Just two decades ago, only 31 percent of Americans felt the plant should be legalized. In 2018, that number doubled—making the support for recreational weed at an all-time high.

Businesses are taking note of this new wave of opinion.  Although many are in favor of legal cannabis, not everyone knows how cannabis really works.

San Francisco’s dispensary the Apothecarium is a prime location for newcomers to discover these answers. As Elliot Dobris, Chief Marketing Officer, informed us, “We’re working every day to change people’s impressions of what a dispensary could be and we hope others will do the same.”

These efforts are to create a one-on-one service which seeks out exactly what the customer is looking for in their cannabis. Instead of having a display of cannabis and oils, the Apothecarium offers what looks like a restaurant menu which gives as much information about their products as possible. Furthermore, they offer free educational classes to the public about how cannabis can be used for the sake of medicinal purposes.

With that in mind, we can begin to see that the industry isn’t growing simply because there were a bunch of potheads waiting to legally get high. Rather, there was a market hidden beneath the stereotypes previously attached to marijuana. A market which Dobris says, “we’ve only scratched the surface of.”

A New Market for Cannabis

California: One Year After Legalization

Paul James/ High Times

It’s often forgotten that behind the great counterculture which pushed for cannabis legalization were a possibly greater number of people suffering from a variety of illnesses and diseases, desperately seeking answers. For many, cannabis offers this answer and more. Inevitably, these are the people who will continue to drive the industry to $5 billion dollar prediction mentioned above.

As Dobris told me, the whole idea for the Apothecarium came about when the co-founder, Ryan Hudson, walked into a medical dispensary for an illness he hoped to alleviate through cannabis. An older woman in front of him was also seeking relief. The two were in awe about how daunting just the sight of it all was; jars upon jars of grass sided by various smoking accessories.

It seemed a bit too much for someone trying to figure out how to better their medical condition. Furthermore, the people behind the counter didn’t seem to know much about what each strain actually helped with. They only knew how stoned it could get you. So, seven years ago, the Apothecarium was founded in hopes of changing perspective. With legalization, this perspective naturally took a turn for the better as not only did those suffering from medical issues open their eyes to cannabis, but so did those with a sense of curiosity.

In Doris’s words, “We were one of the first of three dispensaries in San Francisco to open to the public for recreational sales on the first day it was allowed. And we saw a huge jump in the number of people coming in and the number of sales.” Since that jump, the Apothecarium has seen a steady rise rather than what might be expected as something exponential.

In Southern California, another already founded dispensary, New Generation, likewise saw an initial jump in business during January and a couple months after. Followed by a steady rise. However, as with many dispensaries New Generation’s CEO, Justin Shively tells us, “come July, when the new regulations set in—with labeling, packaging, distribution—when we were actually allowed to have our own product in house, it really changed dramatically for us and [our business] actually started to regress.”

The regulations which came this past July have hit both businesses and consumers alike. “It really dictated on what product we had because it had to be repackaged,” Shively says. “Now, with the repackage, it allowed them to take our eighths to $50, $60 and they’re charging us $30. When prior to July, my eighths were $35.”

So, what does this mean for new businesses trying to make a name in this industry?

The good news is Shively sees the industry “going nowhere but up.” Through all of the edicts which we’ve seen since legalization, he seeks out the positive within it. “We gotta remember when we’re talking about something that comes with regulation, you’re gonna have more exposure. With more exposure, you’re going to have more eyes. More people now believing that it’s okay.”

This goes hand-in-hand with what Dobris told us about the entire purpose of his dispensary. To reach out to a new market. One of which wouldn’t of smoked pot prior to legalization. And just like the Apothecarium, New Generation is seeing (and seeking) to continue building out their business to reach a larger market.

Still, it should be noted, both of these company’s determination isn’t defined by the potential payout the legal industry can bring. Rather, it’s about reaching out to those who are uninformed about cannabis and to teach them the true benefits which have been blinded from the public for so long.

This is good news for future generations as they’ll most likely not have to face the similar backlash we did for toking up. But, if these company’s market is primarily that of a new consumer, what about those who were smoking long before cannabis was legal?

An Old Market Beneath the Reports

There’s been little discussion about the illegal market which remains within the state. Through statistics and reports, it seems as though everyone in California has conformed to purchasing their cannabis through legal means. But veteran consumers are well aware the legal price just isn’t worth it.

As a college student in San Francisco, I can confirm this. The good majority of my weed-toking friends are, in fact, avoiding dispensaries as none of them want to pay the 15% sales tax. To some, this might seem ridiculous. We fought for legal cannabis and now we’re not going to make the best of it? To others, it’s understandable. When you have to work your ass off day-by-day just to get by and need a fat blunt at the end of the night to forget about the fact that you have to do it all over again tomorrow, you’re going to seek out the cheapest supply.

In fact, the illegal market is so strong in California that Governor Jerry Brown recently distributed $14 million to “target illegal cannabis activity with an emphasis on complex, large-scale financial and tax evasion investigations.” This problem goes beyond the consumer. Many distributors are, likewise, finding it difficult to make such ridiculous tax payments. As Vice reported, many dispensaries create the allure of a storefront while making illegal sales out back as a means of, “supplementing their income.”

California: One Year After Legalization

Swami Chaitanya and Nikki Lastreto/ Courtesy of Amy Carr

Still, it can’t be forgotten: all this weed has to come from somewhere. Though we know of companies such as Honey Dew Farms LLC and Central Coast Farmer’s Market Management LLC, have replicating big agriculture’s production system as a means of meeting the legal demand. But if the illegal demand is just as high, where the hell is it coming from?

I recently made a call to a farm up in the Emerald Triangle—arguably, the largest and greatest cannabis-producing region of the country – to have a discussion with Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya. Their legendary farm, Swami Select, has been a prominent legal supplier of various dispensaries across California for some time now. However, they’ve seen how legalization is affecting the little guys and know well the black market for cannabis is doing much better than the legal.

“An awful lot of people are having difficulty selling because there just aren’t that many dispensaries out there,” Chaitanya informs. “There used to be maybe a thousand dispensaries in LA alone [when California was only medically legal] and now there’s only ten. So, the whole thing is totally topsy-turvy.”

The Grower’s Perspective

An important factor of these legal issues is the fact that the state has a long list of rules and regulations which must be followed in order to grow and/or sell. Furthermore, each of California’s 58 counties has their own rules and regulations when it comes to legal cannabis. In fact, 40 of those counties don’t allow marijuana production or business of any kind at all.

With that in mind—along with the excessive taxes—it can be seen why many growers (especially, new timers) are having difficulty making a business for themselves. Swami Select is lucky in the sense that they already have a brand. As Chaitanya tells us, “Nobodies complaining about our price which is a premium price.”

Still, that isn’t to say they haven’t had issues of their own through the whole legal process. In January of this year, there was a huge crash in cannabis production due to two key factors:

  1. The demand was through the roof.
  2. Dispensaries were suddenly required to only sell weed with a permit – which very few growers had.

Swami Select was a victim of this sudden change in agenda. Though the farm had plenty of cannabis to supply an eager market, they weren’t allowed to sell any of it until they gained a permit. Which they did in March.

Through Chaitanya’s perspective, “It’s impossible to describe this whole thing that happened because it was so complex, so confusing, and so stupid.” As the months rolled on, dispensaries did eventually get their product back. However, in July of this year, they were hit with another regulation—new labeling and testing requirements. “When July came around, there was nothing on the shelves and dispensaries were supposed to destroy it all.”

California: One Year After Legalization

Courtesy of Jim Olive

So, how did this affect growers themselves? You’d figure they had a lot more demand considering all that was wasted. But what happened was quite the opposite. In the traditional market, prior to recreational legalization, there were tens of thousands of licensed growers. That number dropped significantly to around 3,500 licenses.

The jarring truth is the state of California is making it extremely difficult not only businesses and growers alike to even have a chance at the market. “Everything is more extreme, more harsh, more particular, for cannabis than any other agricultural demand. Just one little example, if I have a chicken coop, I can put it three feet from my neighbor’s property. If I’m growing cannabis, I have to be 50 feet from my neighbor’s property.” A supremer example, some marijuana farms have been denied access to the amount of water necessary to cultivate.

Farmers are now getting together to try and figure out how to survive with all the insistence of this legal industry. One organization, the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Associations, seeks for what might seem like competing farms to get together and create a thriving region of success.

And with organizations as such, smaller farms such as Swami Select feel less threatened by a big agriculture commodity attacking the cannabis industry. In fact, as Lastreto tells us, “we aren’t threatened by those corporate grows because what they’re gonna grow is something totally different. It has to be organic, but it’s not going to be in living soil outside full of sun and all the wonderful conditions we have. The corporate grows are growing for the masses. Up here in the Emerald Triangle, we grow for the connoisseur.”

A Final Word

California: One Year After Legalization

Courtesy of Sarah Johnson

So, what’s California looking like after a year of legal weed? The major differences are in both regulations and new perspectives. Businesses and growers are seeing a high amount of difficulty in keeping up with legal adjustments, yet, new people are opening up to cannabis and accepting it for what it should have always been accepted as.

The legal industry brings both its good and bad.

Through our fight for legalization, we had no way of predicting the harsh reality of taking this Schedule I substance and bringing it to the masses. We were too caught up in notions of our own liberty to even wonder where things can go wrong. Yet, as we’ve reviewed in this article, businesses are struggling just as much as those supplying them.

Whenever your next puff is, I suggest considering where it came from. Maybe reach out and give your thanks. For without the people fighting to allow this industry to progress, you and I wouldn’t have the ability to walk around blazed out of our minds. We wouldn’t have the freedom we fought so hard for.

The post California: One Year After Cannabis Legalization appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.

THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.

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