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Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate expected to apply to marijuana industry

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The marijuana industry should expect to feel the same impacts as other industries from imminent federal regulations requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to impose a coronavirus vaccine mandate or mandatory weekly testing for those who don’t vaccinate.

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the proposed rules, which will be implemented by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) via an upcoming emergency order.

“The cannabis industry would be subject, I expect, to the same rules other employers are,” Jonathan Keselenko, a labor lawyer and partner in the Boston office of Foley Hoag, told MJBizDaily on Friday.

Read more from Marijuana Business Daily (MJBizDaily).

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Invincibowl: The Last Bong Bowl You’ll Ever Buy

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Made from aerospace-grade anodized aluminum, the indestructible Invincibowl is an essential item for all butterfingered blazers.

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If you’re reading an article about indestructible bong bowls, chances are you’ve broken yours—and possibly not for the first time, either. Broken bongs, bowls and downstems are some of the most recurring problems faced by users of the traditional glass smoking apparatus. Replacing breakable bowls and downstems can become costly, and who wants to be smoking with the chance that a splinter of glass could get into your lungs? Certainly not sensible stoners. But fear not, fellow fumblers. There’s a (newish) kid in town that will put an end to all those smashed stems, broken bowls and busted bongs: a revolutionary new line of products from Invincibowl.

Invincibowl uses aerospace-grade aluminum and surgical-grade stainless steel to make ultra-sleek, shatterproof bowls. Founder Jeff Houkal says that after his wife Gloria broke three bowls in a month, he decided to design an indestructible bong bowl that would serve three purposes: It wouldn’t break; it would keep the bong water clear; and it was also easy to clean. With a background in mechanical engineering, Houkal has a natural aptitude for innovation and holds several patents. His original prototype for the Invincibowl worked so well that they knew they were on to a winner. 

There are three game-changing product lines to the Invincibowl inventory: The original Invincibowl, the Invincipole, and custom-made bowl screens. This range of sleek, innovative and built-to-last accessories is everything you need to elevate your smoking experience.

The Invincibowl

Made from aerospace-grade anodized aluminum, the bong bowls feature a stainless steel sleeve insert that carries out two important functions: It regulates heat to ensure your flower burns evenly in the bowl, and it also guarantees that your weed will only come in contact with the stainless steel. 

The Invincibowl is also the first shatterproof bowl with built-in, secure-screen technology. No more worrying about losing your screen while emptying the bowl. Simply twist the pull handle to release the metal sleeve, and you can quickly switch screens whenever you want. The product’s revolutionary design makes cleaning a breeze and allows it to blend in with your existing setup.

The handle of the Invincibowl actually doubles as the screw that holds the sleeve insert in place, and it’s sealed with silicone grip protection to ensure you never feel the heat when sliding the bowl out (even after repeated exposure to flame). One of the most important things to note is that no metal byproducts are released when using Invincibowl products; you won’t get a nasty metallic taste, aluminum particles or anything else that would interfere with your smoke sesh.

The Invincipole

The Invincipole is an indestructible, anodized aluminum downstem that outperforms all other varieties on the market. Its adaptable telescoping technology lets you adjust the downstem to fit 18mm bongs requiring anywhere from a 3” to a 5 ¾” long downstem, which fits most bongs on the market.

There’s no need to worry about the downstem getting stuck in your bong either, thanks to the innovative pressure lock and release tapers. With a little downward push, the taper locks the downstem into the bong and is released with a perpendicular force, snapping the downstem free. The unique taper is also located on the inside of the downstem, making it simple to remove bowls from the taper for a smooth hit every time.

As a final line of ash defense to keep your bong water clean, the Invincipole also features a screen (more on that below) that is housed in a multi-hole diffuser. Rest assured your H2O will be as clean as possible when using the Invincipole.

Bong Bowl Screens

If you’re tired of dealing with blocked downstems and ash-filled bong water, get rid of those cheap unreliable screens. Invincibowl’s proprietary high-quality, high-performance bong bowl screens will keep your water clean and clear.

Using a proprietary 304 stainless steel mesh, these 5/8″ high-flow smoking screens are guaranteed to outperform other woven stainless or brass screens on the market, blocking ash and other particles while still allowing smoke to travel through. The stainless-steel pipe screens also reduce product loss, which saves you money by preventing your precious herb from falling into the bong water. The screens can be used for up to twenty bowls before they need to be swapped out for a freshie.

Invincibowl is so confident that their products are indestructible that they provide a lifetime warranty. If your purchased products develop any flaws during use, Invincibowl promises to replace the parts free.

The Invincibowl is available in a variety of eye-catching colors and is compatible with any 14mm female joint. Replacement sleeves, screws and screens are also available, so you’ll never have to buy another bong bowl. Take away the tension that comes with glass and welcome the reliability of Invincibowl. 

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Austin Voters Will Decide on Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

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Voters in Austin, Texas will decide on a measure that would effectively decriminalize cannabis after city lawmakers this week approved the proposal for the ballot in an election to be held in May. The Austin City Council approved the measure, known as the Austin Freedom Act, for the ballot by a vote of 7-3 on Tuesday, January 18.

If the ballot measure succeeds at the polls in May, Austin police officers would be barred from arresting or ticketing people for minor marijuana-related offenses including possession of small amounts of cannabis or marijuana paraphernalia, unless a suspect is also accused of a more serious crime. The city would also not be permitted to pay for scientific testing of substances suspected to be marijuana, making prosecution for a cannabis-related crime difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, the proposal would prohibit law enforcement officers from performing no-knock warrants (the police practice of executing search warrants and entering homes without announcing themselves first) in the city.

The city council took its action in response to a petition circulated by the progressive political group Ground Game Texas, which is also sponsoring similar efforts in other parts of the state. Last month, activists working with the group submitted the petition with over 30,000 signatures to the Austin city clerk’s office. That’s 10,000 signatures more than the number required to qualify the measure for the May ballot. On January 17, the city clerk verified that the campaign had collected the required 20,000 signatures from registered voters.

Mike Siegel, the political director of Ground Game Texas, praised the efforts of activists after the city council voted to include the measure on the ballot for an election this spring.

“The City Council’s vote to schedule an election on the Austin Freedom Act is a testament to the incredible work of our organizers and volunteers who are fighting for progressive change in their community,” Siegel said in a press release from the group. “Thanks to their tireless efforts, voters will have the opportunity in May to end the criminalization of marijuana possession and the dangerous practice of no-knock police raids.”

The city council could have voted to enact the measure itself, but instead opted to let voters decide. If the ballot measure is approved, it would codify policy that has already been informally adopted in Austin, where police routinely decline to make arrests for cannabis possession and city funds are not spent on marijuana testing.

“The primary effect is that it would make the decriminalization that exists in Austin today actually long term and would put the force of law behind it,” Chris Harris, policy director for the Austin Justice Coalition, told the Texas Tribune.

Austin Cops Would Rather Arrest People for Weed

As might be expected, Austin’s law enforcement community is against the notion of decriminalizing cannabis. When the city council voted to stop funding marijuana lab testing and asked police to stop arresting and issuing tickets for misdemeanor pot charges in 2020, Brian Manley, the chief of police at the time, said that the council did not have the authority to direct the department not to enforce state law. The police officers’ union is also against the policy change and has declined to support the ballot measure.

“We don’t support it just because we feel like you should follow state law,” said Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association. “They’re skirting state law. But the thing is, if this makes people in Austin happy, so be it.”

Ground Game Texas, which promotes the progressive issues of  “workers, wages and weed,” noted that 87% of Texans support legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use, according to a poll conducted by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas. The group is collecting signatures for a similar ballot measure in San Marcos and plans cannabis decriminalization efforts for the cities of Killeen and Harker Heights, as well.

“In less than a year, Ground Game Texas has demonstrated the power of grassroots organizing to affect progressive change,” said Julie Oliver, the group’s executive director. “We will continue working with local groups and volunteers to launch efforts like these across Texas, bringing new voters into the fold and mobilizing them behind progressive policies for their community.”

On the same day that the Austin city clerk’s office verified the petition signatures, Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, suggested that he supports decriminalizing marijuana in the state. Abbott also indicated that cannabis decriminalization is supported by lawmakers, despite their failure to approve several reform proposals in recent years.

“One thing that I believe in, and I believe the state Legislature believes in, and that is prison and jail is a place for dangerous criminals who may harm others,” Abbott said on January 17 while campaigning for re-election in Edinburg, Texas. “Small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with.”

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Brand Spotlight: 710 LABS

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Producing profoundly good concentrates that are promoted with fun, engaging branding is the telltale mark of having made it in the cannabis industry. But behind that forward-facing magic is another important component at play that needs to be considered: company culture. For 710 Labs, exceptional products and the best vibes go hand-in-hand.

“It’s important to us that we hire people that really want to be at 710 and know who we are and what we stand for,” said 710’s CEO and Founder Brad Melshenker. “I think that’s been our philosophy from the start; we want people that want to learn, want to grow with the company and want to be there and not just clock in for a paycheck. It takes time to build that culture and find those people.”

Coming into the company from humble beginnings, Melshenker was determined to do something with cannabis, even if he admittedly got off to a rocky start.

710 Labs
Courtesy of 710 Labs

“I connected with cannabis at 16 years old and never looked back,” he explains. “Twenty-three years later, I still love this plant more and more each day. I sold my first eighth of what we called ‘Kind Bud’ when I was 16 years old, so that I could smoke for free. Fast-forward to 2005 when I moved out to LA to get into the fashion industry; that’s when I began to learn the ins and outs of the Prop. 215 model and the business side of the industry. I thought if I could take what I did for the previous eight years while in college and afterwards and do it legally, it would be a dream come true.

“I was acting as a broker between some of the top growers and the best dispensaries in the state, soaking in both worlds as much as I could. Once Obama took office, and Eric Holder announced he was going to leave it to the states to regulate, I knew it was a sign to leave the fashion industry and go all-in. I raised friends and family money in 2008 and built my first grow house in Encino, California. That was a total failure, with me using LEDs before LED technology was sufficient to grow cannabis indoors. But, like all mistakes that are really the path to success, that failure led to the next chapter of our moving to Colorado, where you could be a for-profit LLc as opposed to California, where you had to hide behind the non-profit model to be in compliance at the time.”

With headquarters in both Colorado and California, it’s important to Melshenker that each employee, no matter how recently hired, feels a personal connection to the brand and wants to grow with the company. In an industry that sometimes puts profits over people, this is huge.

“I want to make sure that I build a relationship with everybody in the company; that’s really important to me,” Melshenker said. “I want to get to know them; I want them to understand this is, in a sense, a family. I think it’s important to grow that way with people that you care about and are invested in the company and its success and each other.”

710 Labs
Courtesy of 710 Labs

With an early interest in cannabis paired with an entrepreneurial spirit, Melshenker knew he was destined to work with cannabis, but he had aspirations beyond small-time selling and smoking. Once he realized that some states were going to start legalizing the plant, he got into growing and then extraction, and the rest is history.

“Our commitment is to only sell products that 1 would consume,” Melshenker said about the pride and care that goes into 710’s offerings. “Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it. First-rate hash over self-interest is the formula. We throw batches out in the trash if they don’t meet the quality-control standards, literally. There is a lot of creative branding and packaging out there, a lot of mid-grade product, but I learned early in my career [that] high-quality product always sells the fastest and breeds loyalty. Our fans know they can count on us for consistency as well.”

710 Labs
710 Labs

Known for unique products like water hash and Noodle Doinks (a.k.a. hand-rolled joints), 710 Labs has set itself apart from others in the concentrates industry and stands out from the crowd due to the consistent quality of its offerings.

“Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it.” —Brad Melshenker

“This is the product I am currently most proud of,” said Melshenker of 710 Labs’ pre-rolls. “There wasn’t a pre-roll on the market in either California or Colorado that I would want to go buy. I’m not the best joint-roller in the world, although it is meditative for me. I wanted to develop the ultimate joint with the highest-quality flower inside it. No smalls, no trim, no shake, no ground-up, powdery, dry nugs.

“I wanted to develop something that my weed-snob mind would buy. We cut off excess paper for the perfect bud-to-paper ratio. We added in the gluten-free rotini noodle as the crutch/ filter for airflow and stability, and boom, our Noodle Doinks arrived on the market, and we can’t keep them on shelves. Tensecond Tom, who runs this department and helped set up the process since it’s very laborious, is credited for making my vision become a reality in terms of producing these at scale.”

In addition to the company’s focus on creating some of the best products out there, the 710 crew also has an eye on social equity. Specifically, with a location in Oakland, they try to make sure that the underserved community has access to resources.

“We embrace social-equity programs, as we understand and empathize with the injustice that has occurred due to the government’s previous War on Drugs,” Melshenker said. “Specifically in the city of Oakland, where our California facility is, we have two social-equity partners in two of our cannabis licenses, and, in addition, our company also supports the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which helps find jobs and offers community and support for formerly incarcerated individuals.”

710 Labs has also worked with a transitional program for foster youth to help them get real-world work experience. The company has interviewed and hired some folks from this program who have gone on to be huge assets to the team. Unlike other brands that only talk the talk, 710 Labs makes sure to walk the walk when it comes to actual inclusion.

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In terms of what’s coming up next for the brand, Melshenker has lots of exciting plans in the works. “We have many announcements in terms of new product lines, like our Rosin Pods, which are dropping in a few months, as well as our Persy Doinks (three grams of flower, one gram of hash rosin),” he said. “Also, we are adding new flavors to our genetic library from the extensive pheno hunting we do for new cultivars.”

Finally, consumers can anticipate future collaborations that have leading creators partnering with 710 Labs. “We will continue to release limited-edition artist drops and collabs, similar to our notable ones with Richard Prince, Camp High and Joe Roberts (LSD World Peace),” Melshenker shared. “I’m very excited about our upcoming collabs with the Elder Statesman and our new line called itsPurpL with Jaleel White that was recently launched. Finally, our seed company, Green Beans, will hit the market in 2022. We are definitely in expansion mode on all fronts, including new states and markets.”

For more information, visit 710labs.com.

Read this story originally published in High Times August 2021 Issue in our archive.

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