celebrating cannabis in 2018 with a party horn

Cannabis in 2018, a Year That Made History!

As this year comes to a close, it’s essential (and fun) that we reflect on the history that was made and when it comes to cannabis in 2018, it was quite a year. Here’s our list of the most significant things that happened in cannabis in 2018.

Canada Implemented Marijuana Legalization in 2018
image of canadian prime minister justin trudeauIt’s one thing to go state by state, or province by province, but for a whole country to end prohibition—that’s amazing. Canada is only the second nation in the world with legal cannabis. Keep in mind if you go travel to Canada bringing marijuana back to the US is highly illegal.

Michigan Voted Yes For Legal Cannabis.
The mid-term election brought a solid win for Michigan’s cannabis advocates with 56 percent of voters marking the ballot for cannabis legalization. The election results were verified and on December 6, possession and home growing became two parts of the law that were quickly enacted. Sales to the public likely won’t begin until 2020.

Hemp Makes it to The President’s Desk
hemp plants which are about to become legal across the USFinally, after almost seven decades of being illegal, hemp, the non-psychoactive brother to marijuana will be legal to grow and process across the US. This is excellent news for CBD-makers and farmers wanting to grow the plant for industrial purposes. It’s a versatile plant that can be used for paper, building houses and oil.  The farm bill, which includes hemp was passed by the house and senate is now awaiting the President’s signature.

Expungement Moves Forward
One of the benefits of legalizing marijuana is the expungement of criminal records for people who were convicted of cannabis possession. Michigan’s governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer is planning taking action on it and the cities of Seattle and Oakland, CA have already started the process. In Oregon, California, Colorado and Maryland similar actions are taking place. A marijuana possession conviction can prevent someone from getting a job or other public benefits.

Goodbye, Jeff Sessions
The cannabis-hating Attorney General of the US was shown the door late in 2018, thankfully. After rescinding previous federal documents that discouraged law enforcement in cannabis legal states, his threats went nowhere and he was out of power before the year-end.  

Michigan Takes it Slow in Licensing
Michigan’s licensing of Medical Marijuana Businesses began in December and it’s been a hot slow mess for almost a year. It’s as if the folks at LARA never thought about supply chain, with provisioning centers, labs and transporters getting operating licenses before growers did, creating a SNAFU in the system. The upside is caregivers are now providing cannabis to patients, the downside is patients have to sign a waiver that the product might not be as pure as they expect from a regulated system. Further, the licensing board has been vague, uninformed and punitive in issuing licenses—using the moral conduct clause over and over to deny people a license for cannabis in 2018.

California Opens its Adult Markets
photo of the Hollywood sign in CaliforniaA little more than a year after Californians voted to legalize cannabis, the state opened its markets to adult-use cannabis on January 1, 2018. California is a big state, with the sixth largest economy in the world and projections are putting the industry at 5.1 billion dollars. It’s been a rough go though, with many communities opting out and regulations just now being finalized.

Cannabis as an Exit Drug
More research about opioid and cannabis was completed in 2018 and there’s increasing evidence that for pain, cannabis is a viable alternative. For people who are heavy opioid users or are addicted to painkillers, medical marijuana can help move them away from those drugs.

Survey Says 
Another Gallup poll in October this year showed that 2 in 3 Americans (66 percent) favor cannabis legalization. Gallup has been polling Americans about marijuana since 1969 and it has been trending upward since then and the last three years have shown the most significant increases. The research showed that Republicans and older adults are showing support—which isn’t a great surprise since Baby Boomers who came of age with marijuana are now older adults.

Facebook Gaslights Cannabis Businesses
Over the summer people in cannabis noticed that the search function in Facebook wasn’t working for any words related to cannabis or marijuana. Long established brands, businesses and support and advocacy groups were getting a page not found or no posts message. Despite outreach to the platform, the ban remained in place until just before October 17, the date Canada legalized cannabis.

Michigan Grandmother Arrested for Cannabis Possession
Legalization didn’t come fast enough for an 80-year-old woman from central Michigan who was popped at her home when police arrived to locate her great-granddaughter who had lost her wallet and phone. The officer smelled marijuana and asked to see her card when it was found to be expired she was arrested and jailed overnight. She was released the next day and charges were dropped. She had less than ⅛ ounce in her home.

It’s a been a remarkable year in cannabis and from Canna Communication we wish everyone happiness and success in 2019.

logo for our 420 event

Celebrating 420! How A Number Became Our Cannabis Holiday

People who are friends of marijuana know 420, or 4:20 or 4/20. It’s long been the code for cannabis, taking a moment to partake in cannabis medicine (if you’re in a medically legal state) or to just get high if you’re in a recreational state. So 4:20 can happen on any day at 4:20 PM or if you’re an early bird (or night owl) at 4:20 AM, but also on the day of 4/20, as in April 20. You can use it in a sentence, as in, “I’m going to step outside for a 420 moment.” Not too long ago, a friend of ours in the cannabis business was injured in an accident and his Go Fund Me page was full of $42.00 donations.

It’s a knowing nod to our shared love of cannabis and the fact that we’ve had to keep in under wraps for so long.

The history of the code word is clear, it began in California (where all cool marijuana things begin) with five friends at San Rafael High School and the search for a plot of marijuana somewhere on the Point Reyes Peninsula. The friends, also known as the Waldos met after class each day at 4:20 to search for the weed, which was never found. The idea of 420 caught on and has been a part of cannabis culture since the 1970s.

Communities around the globe celebrate 420—Denver has a big event each year, as does San Francisco, Seattle, Amsterdam and multiple locations in Canada. With more states legalizing adult use, the “holiday” will only grow.

In Michigan, there are a number of events, including MI420.

We are excited to bring author Bruce Barcott as the keynote speaker for MI420, a networking happy hour event for professionals and entrepreneurs working in or interested in the cannabis industry.

author Bruce Barcott who is speaking in Grand Rapids for 420Barcott is a Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction and the author of the book, Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in AmericaSince late 2015 he has served as Deputy Editor of Leafly, the world’s most popular cannabis information resource. At Leafly, Barcott oversees the site’s news and cultural coverage and chronicles the global evolution of cannabis legalization.cover of the book Weed the People, the author is speaking on 420 in Grand Rapids

A nationally recognized journalist, Barcott’s features and cover stories have appeared in TIME, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Mother Jones, and other publications. His op-eds and short essays have appeared on CNN.com, the New York Times and the Seattle Times.

His Grand Rapids talk is titled:
Everyday Wisdom from an Extraordinary Industry: Ten Hard-Learned Business Lessons from the First Year of Legal Marijuana

MI420 Event Details

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors:

Silver Haze sponsor:
Eyechronic TV
Northern Lights sponsors:
CannaLex Law
Cannabis Accounting, Inc.
Dutch Treat sponsors:
Meanwhile Bar
Left Coast Capital
Cannabis Counsel, PLC, Law Firm, Inc.
CannaBiz Connection

photo of 2017 made by a sparkler

Looking at 2017’s Most Notable Marijuana News Events

It’s hard to say if this was a monumental year in marijuana news, but 2017 felt pretty good to us. There was a lot going on across the U.S. and in Michigan.

Here are our top ten most memorable news events in marijuana for the year.

10) California wildfires destroyed a significant amount of cannabis in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. While all wildfires are heartbreaking and painful for individuals, families and communities, this year’s fire in California was especially tough on cannabis growers. Fires that broke out just before harvest time destroyed or damaged an estimated 34 cannabis farms and tragically the crop is uninsured due to federal regulations. 

9) California, Nevada and Canada begin to implement adult-use legalization.  After voting in November 2016 to end cannabis prohibition, both California and Nevada started working toward creating their legal environments. We love the “get it done” spirit in Nevada—it managed to open dispensaries less than eight months after the vote. Its larger sister state, California will end cannabis prohibition on January 1, 2018. Canadians from Nunavut to Saskatchewan will have access to cannabis starting in the coming summer, thanks to some hard work by the government in 2017.

8) Cheers to 360,000+ Michigan citizens who signed petitions for adult-use cannabis legalization. Volunteers and paid solicitors from MILegalize and the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol secured 100,000 more signatures than required and validation of signatures is underway through the Board of Canvassers. We hope it will clear the board and go to voters in 2018. We expect the vote to be positive.

7) Jeff Sessions was appointed attorney general of the U.S. This is a dark mark on cannabis. The AG is a long-time hater of cannabis and will do what he can to ensure prohibition doesn’t end. The upside of this story is we have a dysfunctional Congress, he has a volatile boss and there are 29 states with some sort of marijuana laws on the books, which is going to make DEA intervention difficult. Public opinion is changing, too. A recent Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of Americans favor cannabis legalization.

6) Colorado marked its 5th year of adult use legalization and the sky didn’t fall. In speaking with the CBC, the head of Colorado’s Department of photo of a colorado map and notebookPublic Health Dr. Larry Wolk said this: “The short answer is we have not seen much. We have not experienced any significant issues as a result of legalization. I think a lot of people think when you legalize you are going from zero to some high use number, but they forget that even when marijuana is not legal, one in four adults and one in five kids are probably using on a somewhat regular basis. What we’ve found since legalization is that those numbers haven’t really changed.”

5) The American Legion came out for cannabis. The venerable veterans organization is requesting further research regarding PTSD and traumatic brain injury and cannabis. Many veterans find cannabis to be a successful alternative to psychotropic drugs. Officials at the national American Legion are asking the federal government to allow Veterans Administration (VA) physicians to speak freely about medical marijuana to their patients. Presently, physicians are prohibited from talking about the plant as an option. The Legion with more than 14,000 posts nationwide has great potential to change public policy.

4) Northern Michigan University announced a marijuana major. Students wildcat logo for Northern Michigan Universitywill be able to major in medicinal plant chemistry at NMU, which offers America’s only bachelor’s degree in cannabis program. CH420 isn’t a slacker program though, it requires 120 credits of chemistry, biology, soils, genetics accounting and financial management classes. Its grads are bound to be in high demand. Way to go Wildcats!

3) Marijuana as a gateway out of opioid addiction. Opioid overdoses killed more 64,000 Americans in 2016 and that number is expected to increase this year. More and more research is leading the medical profession to look at marijuana as a gateway out of addiction to powerful painkillers. While more research needs to be done, marijuana shows promise in doing less harm and more good for patients with chronic pain. And you can’t overdose on marijuana.

2) Licensing for medical marijuana began in Michigan this year. It was a rough and tumble year in Lansing as LARA, the state’s regulating entity rolled out its rules on issuing licenses for people who want to grow, process, rotunda of the Michigan Capital Building in Lansing test, transport or provision medical marijuana. Dispensaries were threatened with closure by a state board, politicians stepped up to keep them open, liquid capital rates were set, municipalities opted in or out, and application materials were created. The licensing portal opened on December 15 and now we wait to see who will be first to show off their piece of legal paperwork.

1) Projections for cannabis job growth will exceed manufacturing by 2022. It’s an understatement to say that marijuana is a growth industry in that there are already 100,000 to 150,000 marijuana workers and about 90,000 people work in plant touching businesses. Cannabis and its ancillary businesses have created 43,000 full-time jobs in California, 23,000 in Colorado and 22,000 Washington.  Michigan is the second largest medical marijuana state (next to California) and should have similar numbers for jobs when licenses are issued in this spring.

We look forward to the promise of a new year and all that it brings to cannabis-friendly people everywhere!

photo of a bowl with medical cannabis flowers and three well-rolled joints

What’s on Your Cannabis Christmas Wish List? Here’s Ours.

 

Dear Santa,

Here’s our cannabis Christmas wish list for this year.  We know it looks long. But seriously, we’re not bogarting—we’re asking for these things for the good of the world and all of humanity.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

The (nice) Women of Canna Communication

Here’s what we want:
  • America to be more like Canada when it comes to marijuana. Imagine, a whole country (other than Uruguay at present) that doesn’t prohibit cannabis.
  • Just like Martha, Snoop and Anthony Bourdain, everyone should be able to be able to roll a good joint. It’s a skill anyone can master with a image of cannabis flowers and three jointslittle practice. 
  • People to stop calling cannabis a gateway drug. There’s no science to this myth, and truly, cannabis helps people get off of opioids.
  • Michigan citizens to come out in force in November 2018 and vote to end cannabis prohibition in our great state. We’ve been a medical marijuana state for nearly a decade, adult-use legalization is the natural next step.
  • The cannabis industry to stop objectifying women. Stop with the bikinis and boobs. Please. It doesn’t increase the seriousness of our cause.
  • Michigan to expand its criteria for medical marijuana qualification and include autism and PTSD. There’s research showing these conditions deserve inclusion.
  • All our clients to be successful in their endeavor to apply for a medical marijuana facility license.
  • More Michigan municipalities to be open to having marijuana businesses. Patients shouldn’t have to travel across the state for their medicine. There should be a provisioning center in every Michigan county.
  • All cities in Michigan decriminalize marijuana possession. There are far too many people in prison for marijuana charges, and more often than not, they’re people of color.
  • People to regard marijuana entrepreneurs as they do craft brewers. It wasn’t that long ago alcohol was prohibited and now it’s celebrated colorful beer bottle caps on a display boardand brewers are vital to economic growth in some communities.
  • Small cannabis businesses to find a place in Michigan’s new medical marijuana licensing structure, so caregivers can continue to do what they do best.
  • Jeff Sessions to get with the science about marijuana and the people who use it. We are good people.
  • All the puns about marijuana to stop, or at least be limited to one per conversation.
  • Cannabis to be removed from Schedule I classification. This classification dates to the 1970s and the Nixon administration and was created to disrupt the lives of people of color and anti-war protestors.
  • Everyone who uses marijuana or supports people who do, to speak up about the power of the plant and how it has helped improve their health and happiness.

PS: Thanks to everyone who has supported Canna Communication in 2017. We look forward to a great 2018 with you.

thankful graphic because we are thankful for cannabis legalization in Michigan

This Thanksgiving: Ten Things to be Thankful For if You’re Into Cannabis

 

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! As you think about all the things in your life that you’re thankful for, here are ten cannabis-related nuggets to add to your list.

  1.     If you live in Michigan, join us in giving thanks that the MI Legalize petition drive was successful. It will still be a few months, maybe more, to see if Michigan’s adult-use marijuana legalization measure makes it to the ballot in 2018. When polled at the beginning of 2017, a majority of Michigan voters were in favor of ending prohibition.
  2.     More broadly across the country, in 2016 the Gallup polling organization, which has been asking Americans about marijuana legalization since 1969, reported its highest favorability number ever—60 percent of Americans are interested in seeing marijuana legalized. It compares these views to same-sex marriage before legalization.
  3.     Citizens of California and Nevada approved recreational adult-use marijuana legalization during the 2017 election.  If the saying is true, “as California goes, so goes the nation” then the rest of the U.S. isn’t far behind.  At present 29 states and Washington DC have marijuana-use laws on the books and more are following the lead of the Golden State.
  4.     Justin Trudeau made recreational adult-use marijuana legal in Canada. About a year and a half after he took office, the Canadian a plate of poutinePrime Minister made good on a campaign promise to legalize cannabis. The law takes effect in July 2018. We expect to see poutine sales to soar, too!
  5. It’s hard to believe that Colorado has had adult-use legalization for five years now, and it seems like everything is pretty much ok. Use of marijuana by young people didn’t increase, arrests are down (unless you are a person of color), traffic fatalities didn’t increase nor did violent crime, opioid use declined, and communities used marijuana tax revenue to improve schools and build healthier communities.
  6.     The American Legion is pushing the federal government to remove marijuana from a Schedule I drug. They’re seeing great progress in helping veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries with medical cannabis. They’re advocating for more research and allowing VA physicians to discuss the plant with their patients.
  7.     Keeping close attention to public opinion in the state and nationally, five Michigan gubernatorial candidates are pro-cannabis.  At a recent candidate forum, four Democrats and one Republican voiced support for legalization. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed said, “This has become a civil rights issue,” referring to statistics showing criminal enforcement has had a greater negative impact on low-income people and communities of color. “We have an opportunity here in Michigan to rethink marijuana,” he added.
  8.     Michigan medical marijuana patients were threatened and then protected from dispensary closures. In a crazy move, two members of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Board suggested the closure of all operating dispensaries in September. The dispensaries were operating in Michigan’s gray area of the law until new licenses could be handed out in December. This move would have left thousands of patients without medicine. Thanks to a bi-partisan group of state legislators and public pressure the board members backed off and dispensaries have (mostly) remained open.
  9.     Orrin Hatch, an 83-year old Mormon Republican Senator came out for medical marijuana with a dozen or so puns. All joking aside, he introduced a bill that would remove restrictions on marijuana research. He was moved to do so because of a friend who suffers from severe seizures.
  10. Forward-looking women are taking significant leadership roles in cannabis. Women make up roughly 36 percent of the leaders in the cannabis industry, including 63 percent of top management positions, according to Marijuana Business Daily. When compared to the rest of American businesses, this is significant.  Women hold just 5 percent of the CEO positions and 25 percent of the leadership roles. Because the industry is so young, traditional barriers to entry don’t exist.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t forget all the great cannabis-infused recipes available! Here’s a few from our friends at Leafly.