The inaugural Mendocino Craft Farmers Auction (MCFA) is being held in Mendocino County, as presented by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance and Mendocino Producers Guild (MPG). Event hosts are Jim Roberts and Brian Adkinson, owners of The Bohemian Chemist cannabis brand. The duo are also the owners of two private lodging and event venues, Madrone House and The Brambles, the latter of which is where the MCFA will take place.
Although the event is limited to 150 guests ($200 per ticket, which are tax deductible of course), the offerings planned for auction are experiences you won’t want to pass up. “Auction items will include rare opportunities such as visits and overnight stays at some of the top local cannabis producers’ farms, health and wellness experiences, fine dining and adventures in our world-famous wilderness,” the Eventbrite description states. “Other items offered will include locally made crafts, gift certificates from local businesses, farm products and more. Generous donors should not be surprised if their generosity is matched by growers who want to share from their Private Reserve for a truly unique and coveted experience!”
Throughout the event, (which will be held on July 16 between 5 p.m.-10 p.m) attendees will be invited to participate in silent and live auctions, and try out local wines from Maple Creek Winery. Dinner will be served by Chef Dan Hagopian, and the live auction will begin during dessert, followed by live music by DJ Mo Magic, a farmer from Covelo, California.
Proceeds from the auction will support the Crisis Response Service from Redwood Community Services, Inc. The organization offers crisis intervention in Mendocino County with a wide variety of services such as “mental health, evaluation, assessments, intervention, after care and follow up services.” Madrone House also offers a six-bed therapeutic crisis program that aids adults over 18 who are going through a mental health crisis but do not qualify for in-patient hospitalization. “Madrone house provides housing in collaboration with Adventist Health hospitals for identified patients who meet criteria for medical respite as they access services needed for their journey back into the community,” the organization shares on its website.
The Northern California cannabis community is made up of many veteran companies that have survived industry challenges in the area over the years. The companies that operate out of the Emerald Triangle in particular exhibit the industry’s ability to support each other and thrive, and often put a focus on fostering their local community as well.
Another unique experience that is being brought back into the legal industry is cannabis farmers markets. Recently, a legislative committee approved Assembly Bill 2691 in April, which would allow small cannabis cultivators to sell their products at farmers markets. The bill is presented by Assembly member Jim Wood, who confidentially believes that it will help small cannabis farmers. “It is no secret that cannabis businesses throughout the state are struggling, whether it’s taxes, compliance costs, competing with the illicit market or other challenges, but the focus of AB-2691 is to help legal cannabis farmers who grow less than one acre of cannabis get consumer recognition for their unique products, much as has been done for craft beer, artisanal wine and other family farm agricultural products,” said Wood. “Giving these smaller farmers opportunities at locally approved events to expose the public to their products increases consumer choice and offers farmers a better chance to reach retail shelves which is their ultimate goal. This is not about circumventing retailers, but growing the industry overall.”
MPG is already hosting cannabis farmers markets in Laytonville, with one planned for May 28, followed by more gatherings on June 25 and July 30. Nearly 30 small cannabis farms are participating in these events, and 10% of the profits are being donated to the 10 Mile Creek Watershed Council.
Iowa Legalization Campaign Gives a Voice to the People
The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws is a nonpartisan organization that is striving to “reform Iowa’s medical and recreational cannabis laws based on fairness, financial prudence, and common sense.”
The group recently launched its newest campaign, which is led by Bradley Knott and Pete D’Alessandro. Recently, Knott authored an article about their drive to get Iowa up to speed with other states that have legalized cannabis. “Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. From ruby red South Dakota and Montana to perpetually blue New York and New Jersey, majorities from across the political spectrum are voting for reform. In some states it’s a stronger medical program,” Knott wrote. “In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis. In Iowa, we don’t have a choice. We don’t even have a voice.”
Knott explains how tax revenue of Iowa’s neighboring states have been invested back into the community in ways of education, health care, and other beneficial services. He also refers to a poll from 2021, which found that eight of out 10 Iowans supported a stronger medical cannabis program, and 71% of state residents under age 35 supported adult-use legalization (with 56% of those between 35-54 also supporting adult-use as well).
Despite this positive data, many legislators in Iowa are not on board with the idea. When Illinois legalized cannabis, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed very clearly that she doesn’t support the cause. “I do not support recreational marijuana. I don’t. I won’t be the governor to do that,” she told The Gazette in June 2019. She shared her belief that cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to the use of other drugs.
Knott elaborates that state legislators should listen to the people, who should be able to vote on the topic. “Iowans are sensible people. They are proud of their state and have compassion toward others in need. And Iowa’s current cannabis laws make no sense,” he states plainly. “They make no sense if you want to capture lost tax dollars going to Illinois and Colorado. Or you want to build on and diversify Iowa’s excellence in agriculture, or stop the brain drain and keep the young folks here. Iowa’s cannabis laws make no sense if you want to help people who suffer from, or care for someone with, chronic pain, autism, cancer, or seizures. They make no sense if you believe in equal treatment or wise use of public safety dollars and keeping nonviolent offenders from crowding jails.”
There are a few Iowa legislators who support legalization though, as seen with the recently proposed Senate Joint Resolution 2003, which would have amended the Iowa constitution to legalize adult-use cannabis. However, it did not garner enough attention to proceed as law, which The Gazette states is due to the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Legislators like Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls believe that legalization is “long past due” though. “Democrats support legalization and Republicans oppose legalization, [and] Iowans who want legal cannabis need to vote for Democrats this election,” Wahls said.
In December 2021, Iowa state senators Joe Bolkcom, Janet Petersen and Sarah Trone Garriott joined to push a constitutional amendment for adult-use legalization. Bolkcom called out opposing legislators who aren’t considering the will of the people. “This has become a mainstream issue. “The majority of Iowans support this,” Bolkcom said. “The Republicans are in the minority on this. That said, we need their help to move this constitutional amendment to voters so they can have their voices heard.”
The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws welcomes Iowan support for the cause and offers a petition to be signed on its website, as well as opportunities to donate to the grassroots legalization effort.
New Study Confirms Safety of CBD
A new comprehensive study of more than 1,000 people has confirmed the safety of orally-ingested cannabidiol products and provides data that addresses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s concerns about the safety of CBD. The two-part study found that daily consumption of CBD across a range of typical retail products and serving sizes is not associated with elevated liver tests, low testosterone levels, or daytime drowsiness.
To conduct the study, the research firm Validcare contracted with 17 CBD companies to study safety concerns previously expressed by the FDA. Validcare acted as the contract research organization, which included obtaining feedback from the FDA on the research protocol, conducting the study and publishing the results.
“The data in this study looks really good; it’s highly significant, and the chances of it being wrong are very, very small,” Dr. Robert Kaufmann, director of research for Validcare and a former professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, said in a statement from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. “I am very hopeful that this data will allow the FDA to regulate these popular CBD products.”
The first cohort of the study, which was peer-reviewed and published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Medicine last year, studied how CBD products from 12 different manufacturers affected the liver function of 839 study participants. The second cohort included 222 additional individuals taking CBD products produced by five additional companies. The participation of the additional study subjects strengthened the statistical reliability of both the liver safety results and achieved statistical relevance for both sleep and testosterone results, according to the researchers.
The participants in the research were all adults aged 18 to 75 who had been taking oral CBD products for at least 30 days. Participants were recruited by the 17 CBD companies involved in the research for the decentralized observational study. The companies provided participants with their standard CBD regimen during the study period. All product companies supplied a third-party certificate of analysis (COA), which was confirmed by a neutral third party to ensure the composition of the supplied product matched both the label and the supplied COA.
FDA Still Has Not Regulated CBD
After hemp was legalized with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA recognized the “clear interest of Congress in fostering the development of appropriate hemp products” and noted that the agency “has the authority to issue a regulation,” which would allow for the legal marketing of CBD as a dietary supplement. The FDA said it would work to further clarify a regulatory approach for CBD products, “using science as our guide and upholding our rigorous public health standards.” However, the agency has not taken any substantial steps to regulate CBD, claiming that it needs more real-world data to move forward.
In March 2020, the FDA released a congressional report and public statement on potential regulatory pathways for the sale of hemp-derived CBD products, listing liver injury as the top concern for consumer safety, along with “male reproductive toxicity, or damage to fertility in males or male offspring of women.”
“We are excited to report that the ‘real-world data’ that FDA has been soliciting addresses the agency’s safety concerns,” stated Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the hemp industry’s national advocacy organization. “The time has come for FDA to regulate CBD and other hemp derivatives.”
The results of the study have renewed calls from CBD producers and the hemp industry for the FDA to expedite the regulation of CBD products.
“Participating in this study has allowed us to help provide regulators, scientists, product formulators, and other stakeholders with the evidence needed to prove the safety profile of CBD,” said Blake Schroeder, CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc. and its subsidiary, Kannaway, one of the companies that participated in the research. “We hope that this, in addition to our other research efforts in Brazil and Mexico, will not only help break the stigma around CBD but that it will also help legislators understand the importance of free, legal access to the entire cannabis plant.”
If the FDA still does not act to regulate CBD products, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable is calling on Congress to pass relevant legislation. There are currently three pending bills, H.R. 841, H.R. 6134 and S. 1698, that would require the FDA to develop regulatory pathways for the sale of hemp extracts such as CBD in ingestible form.
“We are proud to have participated in this ground-breaking study on CBD products and feel verified in our products’ excellent results in the testing. These results bode very well for supporting the hemp industry against the fears that FDA had previously stated which had been a hurdle in their regulatory process,” said Vince Sanders, the owner CBD American Shaman. “We are excited they can now rely on this study in verifying CBD products as safe for the human liver, have no effects of day-time drowsiness, and no negative effect on low testosterone levels or reproductive harm of male participants or the male offspring of women in the study.”
Massachusetts Adult-Use Marijuana Sales Officially Exceed $3 Billion, State Reports
Massachusetts adult-use marijuana sales have officially surpassed $3 billion since the market launched in 2018, state officials reported on Wednesday.
With 216 cannabis retailers and 11 delivery businesses operating across the commonwealth, the total gross sales for recreational marijuana reached $3,001,846,490 as of May 14.
The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) noted that it’s only been eight months since the state reported that sales had exceeded $2 billion.
“These sales figures illustrate the steady growth Massachusetts residents expected when they voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2016, and the Commission was appointed in 2017,” CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins said in a press release.
“I’m proud our staff continue to work diligently to ensure applicants move through our licensing process efficiently,” Collins said. “Marijuana Establishments operate within a safe, accessible, and effective regulated market, and our work to ensure equity in the industry and the agency remains front and center.”
Today, @MA_Cannabis announced adult-use Marijuana Establishments in MA surpassed $3 billion in gross sales, according to the information that licensees report in the state’s mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system.
Learn more: https://t.co/B2UuNZsfng
— Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (@MA_Cannabis) May 18, 2022
This year’s cannabis holiday known as 4/20 saw $5,986,186 in marijuana sales on that one day alone, which is more than $1 million more compared to April 20 of last year, CCC said. Massachusetts marijuana tax revenue is now also exceeding that being generated from alcohol sales.
Further, the agency said that in 2021, there were $1,331,246,109 in cannabis purchases at the state’s 194 retailers at the time. That year marketed the first time that “Massachusetts’ regulated cannabis industry surpassed $1 billion in gross sales in a single calendar year.”
Massachusetts isn’t the only state that’s seeing a cannabis economic boom.
Earlier this month, Michigan officials announced that the state broke a marijuana sales record in April, with nearly $200 million in cannabis purchases.
Illinois adult-use marijuana sales reached nearly $132 million in April, the second highest monthly total since the market launched in 2020 and another sign that the state’s industry is stabilizing following a slump at the beginning of this year.
Arizona cannabis sales reached a new record in its adult-use market in March, according to the state.
In Colorado, the state released sales data for March showing that marijuana purchases rebounded in March after a prolonged slump this year. However, sales are still down from 2021 levels.
Altogether, states that have legalized marijuana for adult use collectively generated more than $3.7 billion in tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales in 2021, according to a report from MPP.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.
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