a chew with 25 mg of THC would need to be divided into 1/8s for marijuana microdosing

If Toking Makes You Choke, Try Edible Marijuana Options

Not everyone likes to smoke cannabis. The act of smoking—taking an irritating substance into delicate lung tissue is one of the more unhealthy aspects of marijuana use. It also makes it difficult for physicians to embrace marijuana as medicine. People with asthma or other lung issues are sensitive to any kind of smoke and smoking is problematic for children who need cannabis medicine. So, when the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation threatened to close Michigan’s dispensaries earlier this fall, people were alarmed.

Michigan’s caregiver model, falls short when it comes to highly targeted patient needs. Not all caregivers have the ability to grow multiple strains or to create non-smokable products that meet the needs of patients. At present, there are over six times more patients than caregivers in our state—38,000 caregivers and 218,000 patients.

The availability of a variety of cannabis products is vital to patients in Michigan. Whether it is topical ointments and creams, edible marijuana, tinctures, capsules, vaporized concentrates and other items that aren’t smoked, patients need choices.

Just like any other medication, marijuana comes in different potencies, strains, and methods of ingestion. It takes experimentation to get the medicine to work right.

a candy bar with THCEdibles marijuana or “medibles” are a popular option for cannabis patients, they tend to be a bit less expensive than flower and the effects are longer-lasting. They can be easily dosed, too. The packaging on these products provides the THC potency and that’s where experimentation begins. It’s important to keep two things in mind if you are testing an edible for the first time—a little goes a long way and it takes time to affect your system.

Before you TRY EDIBLE marijuana, read the label and do your math.

Novice nibblers need to look at something around 5 mg, so if you have 100 mg THC potency bar, cut it into 20 pieces. This isn’t always easy, and there is the temptation to eat a little more. Who eats 1/10 of a brownie? Resist the temptation—too much marijuana will make you feel odd, heavy or fluttery in the chest all the way down to your legs and perhaps you’ll have a hard time focusing with an overactive mind.  Eating too much won’t kill you, but it might give you a couch-locked experience (as in, you can’t get off of the couch). It also might negatively affect your opinion and ideas about cannabis, so don’t go there if you are just starting out. 

an edible marijuana chocolate with 125 mg of THC
There’s 120 mg of THC in this little chocolate bar.

If you’ve been smoking or vaping marijuana regularly, try something in the 10-15 mg range. Again, you’ll need to do some math, and we suggest using a calculator to save yourself from too much or using too little.  This lovely mint chocolate (right) has 120 mg in an ounce, which if you are shooting for a 15 mg dose, you’ll need to cut it into 1/8s.  

edible marijuana in a chew with 25 mg of THC
One inch, 25 mg of THC

For the chew (above) you’d need to cut it in 1/3s or in half for this mid-range dose. 

If you’re a long time card holder (yay, you) then know how to dose. You’re probably a 25 mg to 40 mg user, so you’ll get a nice size bite of the Magic Bar (below) with 165 mg of THC, you’ll eat about 1/4 of this tasty treat. 

edible marijuana from the detroit fudge company
There’s 165 mg of THC in the Magic Bar. We cut it into 12ths.

Edibles take longer to kick in, sometimes an hour or more, so resist the temptation to have another bite, no matter how tasty the treat. They last longer too—up to eight hours—depending on your metabolism and body structure. With practice and correct dosing, they’re great for long-haul activities like a hike, bike ride or even a long airline flight.

If you don’t like thinking about this when you’re ready to say goodbye to pain or anxiety, cut up your edible up in advance and repackage it for the future.

Microdosing is another way of dosing your cannabis medicine. Many patients have had success with small doses—5 mg of a product can give people help with their anxiety, create a sense of well-being or help with relaxation. With a tiny dose, the psychoactive aspect cannabis is diminished, but not completely gone away.

reefer madness poster perpetuates marijuana stereotypes

We’ll Help With Your Marijuana Marketing and Propaganda

Yes, marketing and propaganda. That’s what was written on the LARA checklist for applicants seeking a marijuana business license in Michigan. Under the Step 2: License Specific Application Checklist, Business Specifications there is a box to check: Copy of Marketing Plan (advertising, propaganda, etc).

Marketing plans, we’re all about creating those. Advertising, we’re pros at it. We’ll get the word out about your medical marijuana business.

But propaganda, etc. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

MMFL Application Checklist
MMFL Application Checklist

Propaganda. What does it remind you of? Perhaps Adolf Hitler and the propaganda campaigns that came from his Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment. The Catholic Church used the word first in 1622 when it determined it would go forth into the world and begin converting people to its faith. The American government put resources in getting citizens fired up for the World War II effort, too. And we can’t forget Reefer Madness and all of that anti-cannabis propaganda that is part of our history.

The Latin root of propaganda is from propagate or spread.

definition of the word propagandaPropaganda is a word that’s generally negative; it’s about a single point of view, is meant to be persuasive and is often biased and misleading. It’s not a word that is used often or lightly. Synonyms for propaganda include: disinformation, hype, evangelism, brainwashing, inculcation, publicity, newspeak and hogwash. That’s not the work that we do at Canna Communication and we wonder why LARA chose this specific word for its checklist for licensees.

There are two things about propaganda to be considered. First is the intention of propaganda, the second are the tools of propaganda. The tools and intentions are mixed when they’re discussed, but they’re really two different things.

The intention of propaganda is to strongly persuade people to think or behave in a certain way. The tools of propaganda are still the tools of communication today, advertising, signage, posters, fliers, videos and news stories. New to the toolbox is the internet and social media.

Fake news is the new propaganda.

Canna Communication wants to help people understand the properties and power of medicinal marijuana. We want to promote good cannabis growing practices, show how high-quality edibles are made and safely consumed and we’re all about the use of the plant by interested adults. We don’t think using propaganda techniques is what licensing is about—we’re not forcing the use of cannabis on an unsuspecting public. We’re about honest communication, listening to the public and creating great content that attracts customers.

We’re ready to help you create your marketing plan for licensing and your company’s future growth. When it comes to propaganda though, we’ll choose the words more carefully.

cannabis flowers, soon to be legal in Michigan

Nine Things to Know About Medical Marijuana Licensing in Michigan

It’s coming fast—the December 15 date when medical marijuana license applications begin to be accepted in Michigan. We’ve been reading all the documents, letters and notes and offer here some of the most important things to keep in mind if you are a cannabis entrepreneur. And as LARA often mentions, guidelines are subject to change.

1)   Licensing will be in two phases—there will be a pre-application portion, which will allow people to move through making an application while securing a location for their enterprise. With many municipalities still finalizing opt-in ordinances, this two-part process makes sense. If all of your materials ready to go, you can apply and complete both phases at once.

2)   In phase one, applicants will undergo a background check that is going to be rigorous. The background investigation includes, but is not limited to: a review of the applicant’s criminal and financial history, a review of previous compliance regarding regulation and taxation and a look at your business litigation history, if you have one. You’ll also consent to allow the state to do a background check—for which you’ll pay up to $8000. You’ll be fingerprinted and don’t forget that the State of Michigan wants its licensees to be of good moral character.

3)   You’ll need to have a municipality to lined up your business before you can go very far in the process. This is a critical part of your start up business—not every city, village or township in Michigan is willing to change its ordinances to allow marijuana businesses, if you have a location already working through an ordinance, that’s great. If you don’t, finding a locale where businesses are welcome should be your primary task. And the upside is, there are lots of municipalities in Michigan and not all have made decisions on this topic.

4)   You’ll need some serious start up capital for that license. The licenses—whether you are growing, testing, processing, transporting or provisioning will be priced on how many applications there are. The more applications, the less expensive it will be. Large scale growers should plan to give the State of Michigan between $8000 (many of applicants) and $57,000 (few applicants). Your municipality will also take no more than $5,000 of your money for it’s part of licensing. Small growers (Class A licenses) will pay no more than $10,000. Other fees are yet to be determined.

5)   Recently released (within 10 years) felons need not apply. You won’t be considered for a license. People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor in the last five years are likely not to get a license if it is drug related or involves theft dishonesty or fraud.

6)   Elected officials on the state level in Michigan (and any other state or federal government, for that matter) and Michigan State employees are ineligible to apply for a license. Indian tribe elected officials and employees may apply as well as precinct delegates.

three jars full of cannabis flower7)   For growers who want to go big—more than 1500 plants, you will be able to stack your Class C 1500 plant license. Apply (and pay for) multiple licenses. The state hasn’t said how many Class C licenses can be stacked, but this provision could allow for some very large operations.

8) The State of Michigan is allowing co-location of cannabis operations. That means a grower can also have a processing business and a provisioning center in the same location. It’s a great move for entrepreneurs who want to grow, make edibles and have a retail business. It will also be allow secure transportation. This complete package is very appealing and allows for better control of one’s business.

9)   In phase two of the application process, after you’ve been background checked, every licensee will need to present plans for information technology, staffing, marketing, inventory, security and recordkeeping.

That marketing plan part—we’re here for you.  Canna Communication has deep experience in creating strategic marketing plans. We are a communications firm dedicated solely to cannabis and are passionate about helping you grow your business!

Muskegon and Medical Marijuana, The Case for Yes

Medical marijuana is a complicated issue and it elicits strong opinions from sides pro and con. I’m glad that the Muskegon City Commission is considering saying yes to cannabis and not closing the door completely on this medical and economic development issue.

As the commission discusses and decides about medical marijuana businesses in Muskegon, it is important that they acknowledge that marijuana is medicine, deemed so by the State of Michigan. For a productive conversation, commissioners must suspend any prejudices and notions about anything beyond that fact.

MARIJUANA Doesn’t Kill People.

As you know, opioid overdoses take the lives of citizens every single day and in 2016, 35 Muskegon County citizens died from opioid overdoses. This figure doesn’t account for those who overdosed and were rescued.

According to the drug enforcement administration, there are no (zero, zilch, nada) reported overdose deaths from cannabis. Weed can’t kill you. Period. Cannabis does kill pain and it has properties—cannabinoids—that can be used as an opioid substitute.

One of the most interesting and powerful things about medical marijuana is its efficacy for epilepsy and other neurological diseases. The Epilepsy Foundation and its Michigan affiliate have both stated that cannabis is effective for seizures and is worthy of further research.

People in Muskegon Need Local Medicine.

In Muskegon County, there are 4,300 people who have medical marijuana cards. Presently, unless they have a caregiver who grows plants for them, they have to go to as far as Lansing to a dispensary to purchase their medicine. This isn’t right or even fair. If you are suffering from pain, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, have Crohn’s Disease or epilepsy you should not have to travel outside your community to buy medicine. For people in our community, people who already might be living in less than ideal work or financial situation due to health, this is an undue burden.

If you are suffering from pain, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, have Crohn’s Disease or epilepsy you should not have to travel outside your community to buy medicine. For people in our community, people who already might be living in less than ideal work or financial situation due to health, this is an undue burden.

Almost ten years ago, voters in the State of Michigan said that medical marijuana should be legalized; yet it (the State) has made it difficult for people to get medicine. By voting yes, the commission will help residents of Muskegon County and the counties that surround us. Patients from around West Michigan will spend money in Muskegon because of this decision.

photo of a marijuana leafTax Revenue for the City of Muskegon.

Cannabis can only be sold to patients with specific illnesses and those people must have a state-approved card that allows them to buy medicine. Thanks to new licensing regulations from the State of Michigan the quality, testing and production of cannabis medicine is going to get better for patients.

Communities that provide zoning to allow marijuana businesses will reap the benefits of patients buying medicine in their municipalities. Cannabis businesses have the potential to bring in significant tax revenue and jobs to Muskegon. Imagine guidelines for these new enterprises that require cannabis businesses to guarantee that 50 percent of their employees are residents of the city of Muskegon.

Medical marijuana will be highly regulated and the licensing fees are expensive. Entrepreneurs wanting to create businesses in Muskegon are very serious about what they are planning. I am sure that they will operate well-managed businesses—they have much at stake, both personal and financial.

To the commission, your decision and your vote will be as business savvy as it is compassionate.

Again, I want to acknowledge your diligence and forward-looking views as you decide on this important issue and I hope Muskegon will be on the right side of cannabis history.

7 Facts About Michigan and Marijuana You Need to Know

  1. Michigan has been a medical marijuana state for almost a decade. The proposal to give Michigan citizens the right to buy and use medical marijuana came to the ballot on November 4, 2008, the same
    Cartoon of the state of Michigan wearing a winter hat.
    If you seek a pleasant peninsula look about you.

    year that President Barack Obama was first elected. It was an overwhelming victory for marijuana in the state with 63 percent of voters filling in the yes bubble, and 37 percent voting no. There were more people who wanted medical marijuana than voted for Obama, who scored 57 percent of the votes.

  2. Marijuana is decriminalized in some Michigan cities, but not all. While the regulations vary, there are quite a few cities in Michigan that don’t punish people for having small amounts of marijuana. They include Ann Arbor, which decriminalized way back in 1972. Other cities with decriminalization include: Berkley, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, East Lansing, Saginaw and Ypsilanti. Pleasant Ridge has an ordinance that makes marijuana possession a low priority for police.
  3. Ann Arbor’s Hash Bash is one of the oldest events in the country that
    Man dressed like Jesus at Hash Bash, giving away Michigan marijuana
    It’s a good day when Jesus gives you a joint at Hash Bash.

    celebrates cannabis freedom. The first event was held on April 1, 1972 and it’s been held almost every year since on the first Saturday of April at high noon on the University of Michigan diag. At Hash Bash you’ll find music, speeches and a group fire-up with about 10,000 other cannabis fans.

  4. If you want to be in the cannabis business in Michigan (as in applying for a license later this year) you’ll need to have lived in Michigan for at least two years and be of good moral character, actually, poor moral character will be held against you. If you have a grade school good citizenship award, find it now.
  5. Michigan pretty much has an average possession weight for its medical marijuana patients (2.5 ounces) when compared to other states. Hats off to Oregon for upping the average with its 24-ounce limit! As Michigan moves closer to an adult-use ballot measure and when it passes (November of 2018) people will be able to buy 2.5 ounces, too. Consistency is a good thing.
  6. Michigan has 218,566 card-carrying medical marijuana patients and 38,057 caregivers, aka growers. Proportionally the up north county of Montmorency (near the tip of the mitten and east of I-75 has the highest number of cardholders, with 45.1 of every 1,000 residents having a card to buy or possess cannabis plants. Just to the east and south a bit, Kalkaska County has 44.7 cardholders per 1,000 people. Ottawa County, they’re pretty healthy or a bit buttoned up when it comes to cannabis, with 11.8 patient cards per 1,000 people.
  7. In Michigan, our government spells marihuana with an h, as in marihuana not marijuana. This is an older spelling, which dates back to the 1930s and has a complicated and somewhat racist history from after Spanish-American War and resentment toward Mexicans and Mexican immigrants. Anti-Mexican propaganda and cannabis prohibition went hand-in-hand using the word marihuana instead of cannabis, which seemed more sinister. For Michigan, it’s simply consistent with the public health code, which uses an old-timey h instead of a j.

What is it About a Marijuana Dispensary?

As Michigan moves toward medical marijuana licensing in December, municipalities are determining if they want an ordinance allowing marijuana businesses in their jurisdiction. Any city, village or township can adopt an ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate, or they can do nothing, in which case businesses cannot locate there. To have a business, there needs to be a zoning ordinance.

Communities around Michigan hearing from advocates and opponents. This opt in/opt out process is a good way for cannabis champions and entrepreneurs to build a case for medical marijuana.

chalkboard menu in a dispensary
(Ok, so strain names don’t help with cannabis credibility).

Over the last few months, we’ve observed a worrisome public view of dispensaries. It seems that these retail entities are the target of scorn and blame about all things perceived as negative about cannabis.

Through no fault of their own, Michigan dispensaries are unlicensed, unregulated and seemingly unwanted by everyone other than their patients. Police shut them down on a regular basis and a member of the MMFLA board announced in July he’d like to see them all gone by September 15. Luckily, that decision was not in his purview—and the shops that provide specific and vital medicine to thousands of patients are still open for business until December 15, unless a bill moving through the House and Senate is approved. This important bill would block dispensary closure.

What is it about Marijuana dispensaries that troubles people?

cannabis flowerPerhaps is it the obviousness of a storefront dispensary that bothers people. It’s one thing to quietly acknowledge that more than 280,000 Michigan residents hold cards and use medical marijuana, it’s another to see a store in your local business district. There it is, in plain sight, where people might have to address their personal biases about marijuana use, confront outdated viewpoints and possibly say not in my back yard. There is no shame in cannabis provisioning and a regulated, secure dispensary should be treated with the same respect as any small business operation.

Negative attitudes might also rest with people not believing that marijuana is medicine. Either from personal-use experience or having been fed propaganda about cannabis, some individuals have difficulty suspending the belief that marijuana is simply getting high. For people with Crohn’s Disease, epilepsy, PTSD, chronic pain and cancer, it’s anything but recreational. Marijuana is a life-saving and life-improving medicine.  

Locked Up and Safer Than a Liquor Store

Here’s what shouldn’t trouble people—that your kids or a stoner who wants to party can walk in and obtain marijuana at a dispensary near you. In Michigan, a dispensary requires all people who enter the premises do so with a state issued card to buy medicine. No one, other than a card-carrying patient (with a matching photo ID) can legally go beyond the lobby of a dispensary. In most facilities you can’t even see products until you’re admitted.

Dispensaries are truly not a threat to any community, but an asset to people needing medicine.

The Time to act is now!

People have the opportunity to do three things to help make change: 1) Contact your local municipality and see where they stand on a medical marijuana ordinance, let them know why you think medical marijuana businesses are good for your community. 2) Call your Michigan State Representative or Senator and ask for their support of HB# 5014 to keep Michigan’s dispensaries open. 3) Post your views and story about cannabis on your social network with the hashtag #bebraveforcannabis

Michigan Medical Marijuana: What Happens if You Don’t Ask.

We recently did some work for a client who wanted to know which municipalities around the Muskegon area were adopting pro-medical marijuana ordinances. As Michigan moves toward licensing cannabis businesses at the end of 2017, the process for those who want to grow, transport, process, test or operate a dispensary, marijuana licensing begins with the approval of local cities, villages or townships.

To say the least, there are many municipalities in Michigan. Muskegon County alone has 27. We also included in our research, nearby counties—cherry-picking the larger cities and villages. In all, we contacted about 35 mayors, managers, supervisors and planning leaders.

yes, no, maybe

Some of our responses were pointed: “No.” You can tell from that sort of response that digging deeper is a lost cause. Asking the commission/council if they are interested in learning more about medical marijuana is going to elicit the same response.

This example was an interesting take on how it was handled: “[name redacted] Township is not considering opting into a medical marijuana ordinance. This question was posed, along with others, in a recent survey the township included with summer tax bills. Sixty-six percent of respondents were not in favor of such an ordinance in Township.” I give them credit for having a discussion and a proxy vote.

In our research, we found at least four communities that were taking a wait and see approach. They’re giving it a year or so to see how things work out around the state. We discovered three municipalities that were actively in the processes of moving ordinances forward. One we knew about, the other two were surprises—and right between the two surprise locations was another municipality that sent me its ordinance banning everything but using medical marijuana in your own home!

help from our friends

Intel from another municipality in Newaygo County came from an Iraq war veteran. He told me of his struggle to convince his fellow commissioners to accept medical marijuana businesses in their community. After an hour and a half discussion, he was voted down. His was only yes vote. He directed me to two other locations where the sentiments were more cannabis-friendly in that county. He was spot on.

My point here is—if you don’t ask you’ll never know the reality of a situation and asking can make a difference. Three separate municipalities gave me strong “maybe” responses. They told me they were looking into it, and talking with their local health departments, police chiefs and would like more information. Where are the marijuana advocates in those places?

To those who want to have medical marijuana in their communities—now is the time to act. This issue isn’t dead and isn’t impossible, but you have to show up and speak out.  If you are a patient, the time to call or email your commission/council is now.

If you want to create a medical marijuana business where you live or nearby—timing is everything and time itself is running out.

Marijuana business plan writing

Strategic Communication for Cannabis: It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

A strategic cannabis communication program takes time to develop. Just like growing a highly productive marijuana plant, appropriate nutes are delivered when needed, lights are timed to the plant’s grow cycle and the grower knows when to cut, dry and trim. Just like growing–communication plans have steps that can’t be skipped or ignored without the peril of a poor outcome.

And as you know—plants don’t grow overnight, in a week or even in a month and they need care and attention.

Communication works best when there’s a strategy—a cohesive plan about getting your message out to potential customers.

photo of a marijuana leaf illustrating communication for cannabisGetting Ready to Grow Your Business Now

As business owners prepare to enter the Michigan Medical Marihuana licensing process, which is still in the development stages, they’re are also waiting to get their communication/marketing plans in order. We understand that creating a brand and communication strategy is an investment of both time and money. But now is the time to develop your marketing communication plan if you are seeking a license. Creating a brand identity, securing a URL, designing a website, creating original content for the site, developing a media kit, creating social media campaigns and all of the collateral materials a business needs, takes substantial time to create, refine, launch and implement.

If you’re a Michigan Medical Marihuana license-seeker, consider this: do you want to launch your marketing communication strategy the day you’re approved, or do you want to start developing it that day?

At Canna Communication it’s an easy answer, in the words of Wayne Gretzky—skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.

Let’s talk, we’re all about communication for cannabis and helping your business grow or get started. If you’re struggling on decision about what you need and how to move forward, we can help.