Large Scale Cultivation Planning – Important Factors to Consider

By David Perkins

Before you begin any large-scale cultivation, you must consider the four factors highlighted below, among many others, to ensure your cultivation is successful. Failure to do so will cost you greatly, in both time and money, and ultimately could lead to failure. While the four areas highlighted below may be the most important considerations to address, you should hire a cultivation consultant to determine the numerous other considerations you must deal with before you begin. 

  1. Genetics 

Genetics must necessarily play a huge role in your cultivation plan, as they can ultimately make or break the success of your business. Access to quality, verified genetics will greatly affect your profits. All cannabis genetics grow differently and may require different conditions and nutrients. Further, consumers in today’s regulated market have greater awareness; they are much more knowledgeable about genetics and able to discern between quality cannabis versus commercially produced green bud. 

Market trends will dictate whether or not you’ll ultimately be able to sell your harvest at market rate. You need to project out at least one year in advance the genetics you will be growing. But, oftentimes it is impossible to predict what consumers will be purchasing a year in advance so this part of your cultivation plan should be well thought out. Further compounding this difficulty is the fact that it may take six months to ramp up production of any given variety. 

Genetics that are popular now may still be popular next year, but that also means there will be more competition for shelf space, as more competitors will also likely be growing these same genetics. Therefore, don’t rely on only one trendy variety as the bulk of your selection for the year, no matter how popular it is at the moment. Producing a single variety as the bulk of your crop is always risky, unless you have a contract with a sales outlet, in advance, for a set quantity of that one particular variety. Diversity in your genetics is beneficial, when chosen correctly. 

Making proprietary genetics from your own seed collection can give you a big advantage in today’s competitive market. Having a variety with a distinct, unique and desirable smell, taste, effect or cannabinoid profile will allow you to distinguish your brand amongst others. Entire brands have been built off of a single variety: Cookies and Lemontree are two examples of companies that have done this. All it takes is one really good variety to attract a lot of attention to your brand. Individuals, who are constantly striving for a better flavor profile or euphoric effects in their genetics, create the best cannabis genetics. Having your own breeding project on-site will allow you to look for and identify varieties that work for you and your business model, and ultimately will help to distinguish your brand apart from others. 

Only buy seeds from reputable breeders! Any new varieties that you are going to be cultivating should be tested out at least three times, on a small scale, before being moved into a full production model. If you are growing from seed there is always the potential for your crop to get pollinated by male plants or hermaphrodites that went unnoticed, and therefore, they could be a potential risk to your entire harvest. Treat them accordingly, i.e. by cultivating them on a small scale in a separate, enclosed area. 

Buying clones from a commercial nursery can be risky. Genetics are passed from one grower to another haphazardly, and names are changed far too easily. This can create a lot of confusion as to what variety you are actually purchasing and whether you are getting the best version of the genetics. Just because a clone is called “sour diesel” doesn’t mean you’re actually getting the real, authentic sour diesel. And to further complicate things, the same clone grown in different environments can produce a noticeable difference in flavor, smell and effect depending on your cultivation method. Always try your best to verify the authenticity of the genetics you purchase. Ask about the history and origin of the particular genetics you are purchasing. Better yet, ask for pictures, physical samples, and most importantly certificates of analysis from a laboratory, indicating the potency. In many states anything under 20% THC is going to be hard to sell, while anything over 30% will easily sell and yield the highest price. It’s a good idea to have a laboratory test the terpene profile in order to verify a variety is actually what the seller purports it to be. 

Knowing the source of your genetics is imperative. It will help ensure that you actually have the variety that you were intending to grow, and therefore, allow you to achieve your intended results. Knowing what varieties you are going to cultivate, before you grow them, will also give you a better idea of the ideal growing conditions for that specific variety, as well as what nutrients will be required to achieve optimum output. 

  1. Automated watering systems 

Installing an automated watering system, during build-out, will by far be the most cost-effective use of your money, and will save you the most amount of time in labor. An automated watering system, commonly referred to as a “drip system” or “drip irrigation,” is necessary regardless of whether you are cultivating indoors or outdoors; it will allow you to water multiple different areas at once, or only water a few specific areas of the garden at one time. Hand watering a 22,000 square-foot cultivation site will take one person eight hours every single day, on average, to maintain. However, a properly designed drip system can water an entire large-scale garden in a couple of hours, without any employees; record all the relevant data; and notify you if there is a problem. This enables you more time to spend closely inspecting the plants to ensure there are no bugs or other problems present, and that your plants are healthy and thriving. This attention to detail is necessary if you want to have consistent success. 

Automated watering systems not only save a great deal of time but also eliminate the possibility of human error i.e. over watering which can decimate an entire crop quickly. There are water moisture sensor meters that can be used to regulate the supply of water to the plants in a precise manner. Without an extremely skilled, experienced workforce, damage to plants due to watering error is very common. A drip system will avoid the threat of human error by ensuring delivery of precisely the correct amount of water and nutrients to each plant every single time they are watered. 

Not all drip systems are created equally. There are different types of automated watering systems. Designing the right drip system for your cultivation site(s) can be complicated. Make sure you do your research, or better yet, work with a cultivation consultant who has experience with automated irrigation systems in conjunction with a licensed plumber, to ensure you are installing the best system for your particular set up. 

Adding a fertilizer injector to your drip system can further increase the efficiency of your operation and save you money on nutrients by using only what you need and ensuring correct application. Again, automating this process will save you time and money, and reduce the threat of human error. 

  1. Nutrients 

The types of nutrients you use and the amount of nutrients you use, are going to directly effect the quality of your cannabis flower. Conventional agriculture and Dutch hydroponic cannabis cultivation have always used salt-based fertilizers. However, they can be toxic for the plant in high amounts. While cheap and easy to use, salt-based nutrients are made in big factories using chemical processes to manufacture. They are not good for the environment, and overall, they produce an inferior product. The highest quality cannabis, is grown with organic living soil. Although seemingly contrary to popular knowledge, when done properly, cultivating in organic living soil is more cost-effective than using powdered or liquid salt-based fertilizers. 

It is a common misconception that synthetic nutrients produce higher yields especially when grown hydroponically. Yield and quality depend on the skills of the cultivator, more than the method they are using. Having healthy plants from the start, will always yield better results, no matter what way they were grown. In my 20 years of experience I have seen plants grown in balanced living soil yield as much or more than plants grown with chemical nutrients. Further, the quality is not comparable. 

Always remember, it is the quality of your flower that will determine the price it is sold for, not the yield. Even if you produce more overall weight of chemically grown cannabis, if nobody wants to purchase that product, then you are going to yield far less profit than another person growing in the same space using organic practices that yield a higher quality product. 

The difference in quality between plants grown in balanced living soil versus any other method of cultivation is undeniable. It is really easy to post a pretty picture of a flower on Instagram but that picture doesn’t tell you anything about what went into producing it. When flower is produced using chemical nutrients, it is likely going to be harsh and not enjoyable to smoke. Lesson learned: don’t judge a bud by an Instagram photo! There is a stark difference between consuming mass-produced, chemical-filled cannabis, versus that grown in living soil, with a proper cure. Once you’ve experienced the difference you will never want to consume cannabis that is grown any other way 

  1. Plant propagation 

Having the ability to propagate your own clones, from mother plants that you have cultivated, can save you a staggering amount of money. In most states having a cultivation license allows you to produce your own clones for your cultivation, while having a nursery permit will allow you to sell clones for commercial sales to other companies. The average price of a wholesale clone is around eight dollars. If you require 5000 plants for every harvest, that’s a $40,000 expense you must bear, every grow cycle. This can obviously add up quickly. And as previously mentioned there’s the risk of purchasing inferior genetics or unhealthy plants, both of which greatly affect your profit margins. 

On the other hand, the cost of materials and labor to produce a healthy clone can be as low as one dollar when using advanced cloning techniques. It will also ensure you know the genetics of your clones and the health of your clones before you spend time and money growing them out. Further, it doesn’t take a lot of space to propagate your own cuttings. In a 400 square-foot space one could produce between 5,000 to 10,000 clones per month, all of which could be maintained by one person depending on your situation. 

And last but definitely not least the most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your cultivation, is hire an experienced knowledgeable grower who is passionate about cannabis. The success of your company depends on it. You need someone with the knowledge, experience, and skills to make your cultivation dreams a reality. You need someone who can plan your build-out and cultivation to ensure success from the start. And you need someone with the skills to handle the multitude of inevitable problems that will arise in a cost-effective and efficient way. 

These are just some of the many considerations you must account for when planning a large scale grow in the regulated market. An experienced cultivation consultant can help you with these, and many other considerations you will need to contend with before you begin your grow. Creating a well thought out plan at the outset can end up saving you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars down the road. 

David Perkins is a cultivation manager and consultant with over 20 years of experience in the grow room. From build out to cultivation, cloning to processing, he has done it all. David can help you succeed in the grow room, and save you money along the way. If you are considering hiring a consultant, please reach out and discuss the ways in which he can help you achieve your goals. You can reach David at (530)277-5891 or marleybrutusdave@gmail.com 

TO READ MORE ARTICLES BY DAVID PERKINS:

Five Factors to Keep in Mind When Entering the Regulated Market

Thinking of hiring a cultivation consultant? Here’s what you can expect.

https://cannabisindustryjournal.com/feature_article/top-3-ways-cultivation-methods-must-change-with-regulations/?fbclid=IwAR0t0hazOggMJGemNXCH259CAWpd6GeFoHtXKGiQgfPt8IovqKuESJ6KNdE

 

Thinking of hiring a cultivation consultant? Here’s what you can expect.

By David Perkins

Hiring an experienced cultivation consultant is yet another cost, amongst the
laundry list of never-ending expenses in the set up of a regulated, recreational grow.
However, in the big picture it can actually save you a significant amount of time and
money by providing you with the information you need to formulate a realistic
budget, profitable cultivation site, and well-trained workforce. This article will
explore just some of the many benefits a cultivation consultant can provide to your
company.
An experienced consultant will have a vast array of knowledge to ensure the
success of your company. One important area they can advise you on is budgeting.
With years of experience cultivating, in both medical and recreational markets, an
experienced consultant will have knowledge of not only start-up costs, but also
hidden costs you must prepare for in advance. They will also be able to advise you
on strategies to avoid future costs and problems. There may also be expenses in the
build-out of your cultivation site you have not considered. For example, you may
need a wastewater treatment plan if you have any fertilizer runoff that will flow to
a sewage drain. It is important to know all possible costs when securing your
investment or planning out your budget for the year.
Set up of a large-scale cultivation site in a regulated market can be extremely
costly. Gone are the days of putting up a few lights in a closet; growing in a regulated
market requires a larger scale, and therefore, larger costs and more complications. A
consultant experienced in design and implementation of such large-scale, intricate
cultivation plans will provide you with the knowledge you need to properly set-up
and maintain your facility in order to ensure your company’s success. They will also
know the tips and tricks to save you money along the way.
A good consultant will be able to advise you on the design of your facility to
ensure that the layout supports productivity, and that there is a proper workflow. It
is important to hire a consultant before you get started with the build-out of your
facility, as it will be much more costly to have to correct mistakes in your design
later on down the road. An experienced consultant will implement superior facilities
layout and design to avoid future problems at the outset. Something as simple as a
centralized irrigation distribution zone can save you a lot of time and money.
Once you have created the proper space, cultivation planning is important to
avoid unnecessary problems from arising, which will ultimately delay profit. A well
thought out cultivation plan will help you plan for success. A consultant will know
what does and doesn’t work. For example, some equipment will run off an app on
your phone; while convenient, there are some that don’t perform well which could
end up costing the entire crop. These are things you want to know and work
around, before you spend money unnecessarily.
An experienced consultant will have previously worked in various types and
scales of cultivation sites, and from that experience will be able to teach you which processes and techniques work, and which ones don’t. Someone with less
experience may believe that watering plants by hand would be an easy method to
keep your garden irrigated, but it is actually the most time-consuming labor task
(and therefore extremely costly), while an automated watering system can be very
simple and cost-effective to install.
A skilled consultant can provide the necessary training for your employees. Let’s
face it, this is an entirely new industry, and therefore, most people applying for
entry-level jobs at a cultivation site are unskilled. However, the best path to success
when dealing with large-scale cannabis cultivation is to have skilled, happy
employees. Educating and properly training your employees is essential. It helps to
teach employees not only how to complete a task, but to help them understand why
they are doing a given task. This will give your staff the skills and confidence they
need to complete the task properly. Unskilled hands in your garden can make or
break the success of your cultivation.
Don’t make the mistakes others have made. Hiring a cultivation consultant
can help you to avoid problems before they occur. A professional consultant has
the knowledge required to: predict issues and problems before they occur, or
implement a solution when corrective measures are necessary. Oftentimes issues
can be avoided just by knowing the cause and effect of decisions and the potential
outcomes they will have.
A cultivation consultant should also have a wide network of professional
contacts to help you address any issues or problems that arise. Having a network of
professionals to employ when necessary is critical for ensuring the success of every
project. For example, wholesale contacts for cultivation equipment can help you not
only to get the best price, but also ensure you are using the best equipment possible
for your situation.
If you are still unsure about whether or not you need a cultivation consultant
to help plan out your grow, or fix your grow if you’ve encountered problems, feel
free to contact me to discuss your needs. I assure you there are ways I can save you money, improve your yields, and help your company be more successful in this ever-
changing market.

To read previous articles by David Perkins click here

David Perkins is a Cultivation manger and consultant with over 20 years of experience
in the grow room. From build out to cultivation, cloning to processing, he has done it
all. David can help you succeed in the grow room, and likely save you money along the
way. If you are considering hiring a consultant, please reach out, and discuss with
David the ways in which he can help you achieve your goals. You can reach David at
(530)277-5891 or marleybrutusdave@gmail.com

The Launch of Agora C Business Services

Agora C Business Services exists to solve the critical issues facing cannabis operators, both large and small. Their unique approach is not only what differentiates them, but also what makes them successful. They provide a broad range of services and solutions to help “grey market” cannabis operations transition into the regulated market, achieve their vision and optimize performance and productivity.

Agora C Business Services is the culmination of a restructuring of the Law Office of Dale Schafer, in order to lower the legal fees associated with entering or transitioning to the regulated cannabis market and service more cannabis operators in CA. By contracting with Agora C Business services, I can lower the cost for 3/4 of the necessary work required to obtain “Local Authorization” and a state license for CA cannabis businesses. I can also help operators to formulate good teams and train those teams in all areas necessary to adequately run a cannabis corporation, thereby helping those businesses to be as sustainable as possible.

I would encourage anyone seeking to enter or transition into California’s regulated cannabis market to visit the Agora C Business Services website and subscribe for all upcoming events and information on the opening of the El Dorado County Resource Center.

https://www.agoracbusinessservices.com/

El Dorado County To Hear Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee and Chief Administration Office Recommendation For Ballot Measure

Tomorrow, July 17, 2018, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors will take up an agenda item hearing a recommendation, by the Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee and the Chief Administration Office, for a November ballot Commercial Cannabis Tax Measure. The agenda item reads as follows:

 Ad Hoc Cannabis Committee, in coordination with the Chief Administrative Office recommending the Board: 1) Approve and authorize the Chair to sign the following Resolutions to place the following ballot measures on the ballot for the November 2018 election which will enable voters to decide whether to allow different aspects of commercial cannabis and its taxation: a) Resolution 140-2018, which will be one ballot measure, create a general commercial cannabis tax, with tax rate ranges that allows for the Board to set the tax rates for different commercial uses (e.g. outdoor cultivation, indoor cultivation, dispensary/retail sales, etc.) and a discretionary permitting process, with public feedback and an extensive enforcement program with a fine schedule for illegal commercial cannabis activity or violations of the County regulations. b) Resolution 141-2018, allow for the outdoor and mixed light (e.g. greenhouse) cultivation of medicinal commercial cannabis with limits on the location of cultivation, amount of operations, and size of operations with rules to protect neighborhood

The agenda item, #35, is set to be heard in the 10:30am time slot. and 10 documents will be reviewed as a part of the Board’s approval process. Those documents can be viewed here.

Location, of the meeting, will be at 330 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA 95667

SB 829 – The Compassion License

What Is SB 829?

SB 829 (as amended) Senator Scott Wiener’s Cannabis: compassion care license.

“(1) The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 (AUMA), an initiative measure approved as Proposition 64 at the November 8, 2016, statewide general election, authorizes a person who obtains a state license under AUMA to engage in commercial adult-use cannabis activity pursuant to that license and applicable local ordinances. The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities.

This bill would establish a compassion care license under the act issued to an M-licensee who, for no consideration, donates medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, to qualified medicinal cannabis patients who possess a physician’s recommendation. The bill would require the Bureau of Cannabis Control to issue and regulate the compassion care licenses.

(2) Existing sales and use tax laws impose a tax on retailers measured by the gross receipts from the sale of tangible personal property sold at retail in this state, or on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer for storage, use, or other consumption in this state. Those laws provide various exemptions from those taxes.

This bill, on and after January 1, 2019, would exempt from those taxes the gross receipts from the sale in this state of, and the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of, medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis products that will be donated, for no consideration, to a compassion care licensee.

(3) The Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law authorizes counties and cities to impose local sales and use taxes in conformity with the Sales and Use Tax Law, and existing laws authorize districts, as specified, to impose transactions and use taxes in accordance with the Transactions and Use Tax Law, which generally conforms to the Sales and Use Tax Law. Amendments to the Sales and Use Tax Law are automatically incorporated into the local tax laws.

Existing law requires the state to reimburse counties and cities for revenue losses caused by the enactment of sales and use tax exemptions.

This bill would provide that, notwithstanding Section 2230 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, no appropriation is made and the state shall not reimburse any local agencies for sales and use tax revenues lost by them pursuant to this bill.

(4) AUMA imposes an excise tax on the purchase of cannabis and cannabis products, as defined, at the rate of 15% of the average market price of any retail sale by a cannabis retailer.

The bill would require that these provisions not be construed to impose an excise tax upon medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, donated for no consideration to a compassion care licensee, as defined.

(5) AUMA imposes a cultivation tax on all harvested cannabis that enters the commercial market upon all cultivators. Existing law defines entering the commercial market to mean cannabis or cannabis products, except for immature cannabis plants and seeds, that complete and comply with specified quality assurance review and testing.

This bill would redefine entering the commercial market to mean cannabis or cannabis products intended for sale, in any manner or by any means whatsoever, for consideration. The bill would require that the cultivation tax not be construed to be imposed upon medicinal cannabis, or medicinal cannabis products, donated for no consideration by a cultivator to a compassion care licensee or to a cannabis retailer for subsequent donation to a compassion care licensee.

(6) The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, an initiative measure, authorizes the Legislature to amend the act to further the purposes and intent of the act with a 2/3 vote of the membership of both houses of the Legislature, except as provided.

This bill would declare that its provisions further specified purposes and intent of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act.”

This Bill is supported by, in part, by the California Compassion Coalition

Who Is The California Compassion Coalition?

The California Compassion Coalition is comprised of a number of known compassion organizations who have functioned by giving donated cannabis medicine to indigent cannabis patients across the State of California. The organizations, who make up the California Compassion Coalition are as follows:

Weed For Warriors Project

Caladrius Network

WAMM

East Bay Canna Compassion

Sweetleaf Collective

Operation EVAC

Magnolia Wellness

How YOU Can Help

 

One battle has been won but we have many more to go. SB 829 was voted out of the Committee on Business and Professions, on Monday. It passed with and 11-1 vote. Next, we move onto the Committee on Revenue and Taxation and WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK.

Revenue and Taxation Committee

Monday, June 25, 2018

1430 hours (2:30pm)

California State Capitol – RM 126

Debriefing Video

IS CBD LEGAL? DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK

IS CBD LEGAL? DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK

By: Dale Schafer, Esq.

One of the hottest dilemmas, in the cannabis industry, these days involves the relative legality of CBD. The answer involves the DEA, the Farm Bill of 2014, the myriad state laws, on the subject, and a history of ambiguity in America over jurisdiction, and control, over products that are consumed by humans for benefits to health.  Understanding this quagmire is helped by a glance back in history to see how we all got to this difficult place.

The 19th century was dominated by unrestricted capitalism in many commodities, including drugs. Opium had been known, for millennia, as a pain medication and pleasure producer, but it had a dark side. In 1805 the German pharmaceutical giant Merke isolated Morphine from opium. The British were very successful purveyors of opium and forced the poison onto the Chinese in several Opium Wars in the 1840’s. Opium tincture (laudanum) was a widely available medical, or whatever, product in stores across America. The Civil War brought widespread use of morphine, through hypodermic syringes, and it became a drug problem for many veterans of the conflict.

Coca wine was available circa the war, but it was refined to a crystalline product with cocaine hydrochloride. President Grant used the substance to help with the writing of his memoirs before he died from throat cancer. Doc Pemberton concocted Coca-Cola, from coca leaves, to help him treat his morphine addiction. It was labeled a “soft drink” because it contained no alcohol and was believed, in dry Atlanta, to be less harmful than liquor. By the time Sigmund Freud was treated for cocaine addiction, it was becoming apparent that cocaine had a dark side.

Indian hemp was introduced into European society when Napoleon’s troops returned from the near east with hashish. Dr. O’Shaughnessy brought Indian hemp medical products to England in the 1840’s. It’s medical benefits were widely spread through medical societies and products were developed, principally based on alcohol extraction. The second half of the 19th century saw a rapid expansion of cannabis preparations here in America.

Morphine, cocaine and cannabis were not the only substances that were put into “patent medicines”, but they were the big ones. Alcohol was the solvent, and an ingredient, in many of the medicines. As you probably recall, alcohol was becoming quite the moral dilemma as the end of the 19th century approached. Traveling “medicine men” mixed up their special elixirs and sold them to rural citizens. These medical products, along with many other commercially prepared products, eventually appeared in the Sears and Roebuck catalog to be shipped in plain wrapping to your home. When Bayer developed Heroin, in the late 1890’s, the nation was seemingly flooded with snake oil and “addiction” was part of the national discussion about safety in consumer products.

Not to be forgotten was the invention of nutritional products to bring people back to health. Health sanitariums popped up and inventors like Kellogg developed food products (I’m thinking breakfast cereals) to bring people to optimum health. The health claims of these food products were puffing on steroids and their safety was never guaranteed. The food supply was increasingly uncertain and there were few laws to protect consumers. This situation had gained the attention of Congress and when Upton Sinclair published “The Jungle”, about the meat packing industry, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (PFDA). The act required truthful labeling of drugs (morphine, cocaine, chloral hydrate and cannabis) and alcohol and is still considered the beginning of the FDA. However, those products that were not considered drugs were not treated as harshly. This would turn out to be the beginnings of the modern battle between drugs and nutritional supplements.

Over the decade that followed the PFDA, morphine was criminalized. The International Convention of 1912 lead to the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act of 1914 and federal drug prohibition was off and running. The Treaty of Versailles contained language to prohibit morphine and opium, as did the League of Nations in the 1920’s. States began to enact laws to control poisons and Boards of Pharmacy evolved in all states. As drugs were increasingly controlled, nutritional supplements fought hard to avoid the label of drug. Food, which included supplements, were under the control of the US Department of Food and Agriculture. Consumer safety for foods was viewed differently that the control mechanisms for drugs to protect medical consumers. In the 1930’s Congress added cosmetics to the FDA and today we operate under the FDCA.

America’s attack on cannabis took racial overtones as “marijuana” entered the lexicon of prohibition. When the Mexican Civil War sent refugees fleeing north after 1910, cities and states began to enact prohibitions against marijuana use, but medical use of cannabis was allowed. After alcohol prohibition ended in the administration of FDR, there was increasing pressure for national marijuana prohibition. In 1937, Congress nefariously passed the Marijuana Tax Act and even medical use was made effectively impossible. The Tax Act lasted until 1969 when Tim Leary got SCOTUS to find it unconstitutional. Congress took up the issue of drugs in the Omnibus Controlled Substances of 1970 (CSA). As you know, marijuana was placed in Schedule 1 of that Act and was completely outlawed, except with federal permission. An unfortunate situation that continues today.

In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. This act had jurisdiction over products taken orally for supplementing the health. Claims of health benefits were required to prove their claims or cease advertising the benefits. It also put the burden on the FDA to prove a product, or ingredient was to be treated as a drug rather than a supplement. Ingredients like ephedra lost the battle with the FDA and recently, kratom has fallen under such scrutiny. The industry that produces and markets food supplements is vast, politically connected and well funded. If there is a straight-faced argument to keep a supplement a food rather than a drug, massive political pressure can be brought to bear.

MARIJUANA AS A LEGAL TERM IS A PROBLEM

Prior to Dr. Machoulam’s discovery of THC in the early 1960’s, science did not know what was in cannabis that made it psychoactive. By that time, marijuana was the legal term, used by the federal and state governments, to describe the cannabis plant with psychoactive and medical benefits. Once this cannabinoid was discovered, definitions were developed to distinguish between “marijuana” and “hemp”. THC concentration defined the two terms and the figure of 0.3% THC was the line. Less was hemp and more was marijuana. When Congress enacted the CSA, marijuana was defined to include all parts of the cannabis plant, growing or not, seeds, resin extracted, all salts, compounds, derivatives and all the language thought to cover every possible product from the plant. The CSA also excluded the stalks, fiber, oil cakes made from seeds, but resin extracted from stalks was not excluded. (21 USC 802). The use of the term “resin” is a problem in today’s question about hemp derived CBD.

The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids. Prior to the scientific definition of THC, the term marijuana was all inclusive, even though the non-psychoactive phenotypes were defined as hemp for practical purposes. WWII brought hemp production back for a short period of time, but amnesia was imposed for several decades. Hemp and marijuana were treated effectively the same. They were illegal.

As research continued into the multitude of cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, it became possible to isolate the cannabinoids. CBD was able to be looked at separately and investigators began the process to identify which of the cannabinoids were responsible for the many medical effects described by patients. Research also proceeded into the health and nutritional benefits of hemp seeds and the oil derived from them. Dating back, to the 1937 Tax Act, whole seeds needed to be rendered sterile. Seed cake was the base for nutritional and health products. It was also determined that some varieties hemp had relatively more CBD than others. It was possible to extract, and isolate, CBD as a commercial by-product of hemp cultivation and processing. Herein lies the present reality that is creating today’s uproar.

The use of the term “resin” in the CSA demonstrates a desire to prohibit, and control, cannabinoids as a drug. The Farm Bill of 2014 was enacted to allow research projects, under state law, to develop agricultural products from hemp. Several states, most notably Kentucky, have moved forward with increasing commercial production of hemp products. As more acres of hemp are grown, increasing amounts of hemp flowers were available and CBD could be extracted commercially. Over the last two decades, CBD products have become increasingly popular and the source of CBD began to be hemp. Domestic hemp production was not enough to cheaply meet demand so international sources were sought out, think China. Many that were in the CBD trade began to believe that CBD was not a drug covered by the CSA, but an industrial hemp product or a nutritional supplement, outside federal criminal enforcement.

The DEA did not suffer from this belief. In early 2017, a statement was issued by the DEA that clarified, at least in their minds, that CBD was a schedule 1 drug under the CSA and that the Farm Bill did not allow CBD production since it was not an agricultural product, but a drug product. Litigation was started to fight this ruling, but the case was dismissed. In December of 2017, the DEA announced a new category of marijuana extract that covered CBD, and all cannabinoids. As far as the federal government is concerned, CBD is treated like THC, it’s all marijuana. It’s not that simple though.

Many states that have legalized cannabis specifically allow, or restrict patients to, CBD as a state legal medical product. If the CBD is produced within the lawful state, it is only the federal government that would take enforcement action. Unfortunately for the federal drug establishment, there aren’t enough enforcement officers to stop CBD as a medical product. CBD products are seemingly available everywhere and states appear to be inclined to not enforce. This creates a situation that defies understanding, logic or currently workable solutions.

To make matters even more difficult, hemp probably is not the best source of CBD for human consumption. The cannabis plant will extract many toxins from the soil and it takes acres of hemp to commercially produce CBD. The toxins can show up in the CBD and that is problematic for consumer safety because of a lack of testing. Additionally, the cannabis chemotypes that produce high concentrations of cannabinoids, traditionally called marijuana, include a fuller profile of cannabinoids and contain terpenes. Most cannabinoid experts, I’ve talked with, believe that full spectrum cannabinoid products are medicinally superior to hemp derived CBD. This particular topic cries out for research to determine the best source for medicinal products high in CBD.

Now that I’ve said all that, the central question remains difficult to answer. The DEA considers CBD to be prohibited as a schedule 1 drug and not allowed to be produced from hemp, since it’s not considered an agricultural product. If CBD is shipped through interstate commerce, the federal government may decide to take some enforcement actions to send a message. However, for all practical purposes, the feds can’t stop the CBD trade. If your state is allowing CBD production, odd are you’re safer, but not totally safe. How far one goes with CBD production and sales, depends on one’s willingness to accept the risk. Of course, that’s been the theme involved in cannabis production for many decades now. Welcome back to the wild west.  

El Dorado County – Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Seven Ad Hoc Cannabis Meetings Announced

Department:
CAO
Date:
3/5/2018
Contact:
Carla Hass
Phone:
(530) 621-4609

(PLACERVILLE, CA) – The following seven meetings of the El Dorado County ad hoc Cannabis Committee meeting are scheduled between today and May 14th.

WHAT: Ad hoc Cannabis Committee meetings

WHEN: All meetings are from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm

  • Monday, March 5th (Outdoor/Cottage)
  • Monday, March 12th (Indoor/Mixed Light/Cottage)
  • Monday, March 19th (Dispensaries/Deliveries/Distribution)
  • Monday, April 23rd (Microbusiness/Nurseries/Testing)
  • Monday, April 30th (Manufacturing)
  • Monday, May 7th (Tax Rates/Funding)
  • Monday, May 14th (Administering a Program/What does it look like?)

WHERE: All meetings will take place at the County Board of Supervisors Chambers 330 Fair Lane Placerville, CA

WHO: Members of the ad hoc Cannabis Committee, Supervisors Michael Ranalli and Sue Novasel
El Dorado County Staff
Members of the public are invited to attend

UPDATE – Successful Cannabis Business DIY Program

Cannabis Regulations

Workshop Overview

 

  1. Regulations Overview and Local Approval (Approx 3 hours)
  2. Temp. License Application Process – Includes information about all required elements of the temporary license application for the BCC, CDFA and/or CDPH (Approx 3 hours)
  3. Annual License Application 1 – Business Plan & Description, Business Formulation Documents, Fictitious Business Name Process (Approx 3 hours)
  4. Annual License Application 2 – Lists of Funds, Lists of Loans, Lists of Investments, Lists of Gifts, List of every individual with financial interest (approx 3 hours)
  5. Annual License Application 3 – List of every owner, Livescans, Evidence of Legal Right To Occupy, Evidence of Premises Compliance, Labor Peace Agreement (Approx 3 hours)
  6. Annual License Application 4 – Seller’s Permit, Proof of Bond, Standard Operating Procedures (Approx 3 hours)
  7. Annual License Application 5 – Cultivation Plan, Water Board Regs, Prohibited chemicals, heavy metals, etc. (Approx 3 hours)
  8. Annual License Application 6 – Track & Trace, Supply Chain, (Approx 3 hours)
  9. Maintaining Your License – Liability Issues, Potential hurdles, What to watch out for, Maintaining your License. (Approx 3 hours)
  10. Having a successful business – Your website, marketing your business, setting yourself apart in the industry, Branding, Trademarking (Approx 3 hours)

 

*** Between Workshops 2 & 3 there will be a week off to complete your TEMPORARY STATE APPLICATION and sit down with us to review before submitting

OR

Bank that 2-hour appointment for when you are ready to do so

AFTER WORKSHOP 10 THERE WILL BE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A 2-HOUR APPOINTMENT TO REVIEW YOUR ANNUAL APPLICATION 

OR

BANK THAT APPOINTMENT AS WELL

*** Program subject to change based on changes made by the State regulatory agencies

For more information go to Successful Cannabis Business DIY Program

6 Ways to Beat a Local Cannabis Ban

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON LEAFLY.COM

When California’s first adult-use cannabis stores opened on Jan. 1, many of the state’s residents realized they would be shut out. They weren’t happy. Residents of Orange County, where all but one city, Santa Ana, has banned retail sales, shook their heads in disgust. “Orange County will have no retail stores?” one Leafly reader wrote. “What a f joke OC is.”

If cannabis is legal statewide, how come you can’t buy it in your own county?

It’s not just Newport Beach turning its nose up. Retail cannabis may be legal statewide, but California law allows local municipalities to severely limit or ban cannabis companies. Cannabis is banned entirely, for example, in the cities of Redding, Pomona, Crescent City, and Santa Monica, as well as most of Orange, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. That’s just the start of a long list.

These local bans aren’t entirely unusual—and they usually don’t last forever. During the early days of legalization in Colorado and Washington, many municipal councils enacted bans out of fear and ignorance. Suburban towns shut out retail storefronts, for example, nervous that legal sales could bring more trouble than good. Meanwhile, most local politicians voting on those bans knew very little about cannabis and the legal industry around it. Many bought into old stereotypes about weed, stoners, dealers, and crime.

When Oregon legalized, we saw the same thing. Today, California and Massachusetts are in the thick of it.

Here’s the rub: Many of the communities that initially enacted bans were themselves not anti-cannabis. Some voted overwhelmingly in favor of statewide legalization. In many cases, bans were the response to the vocal outcry of a relatively small number of concerned citizens. In others, local governments were simply unfamiliar with legal cannabis or felt unprepared to appropriately regulate it.

The good news is that bans can be reversed. But they don’t overturn themselves. Here are a few ways you can start opening minds and changing votes.

1. Work With an Advocacy Group (but Not Always)

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Connect with an advocacy organization, such as your state chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. They have a deep well of knowledge, resources, and experience with the local political landscape. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) also has a “Block the Ban” initiative up and running; they’ve already successfully overturned the ban in one Massachusetts town.

Connecting with and joining NORML or another group doesn’t mean you become their official representative. Politicians sometimes tune out advocacy groups because they see them as “special interests.” That’s not entirely fair, but it is what it is. If you introduce yourself to a local elected official as a constituent and concerned citizen—or a concerned parent or business owner—you may get more traction.

2. Get Out and Meet the Man

It’s easy to protest The Man and his cannabis ban. But there is no Man. In most cases, there are well-meaning but fallible men and women who haven’t encountered a local constituent eager to talk with them as a cool-headed legalization advocate. (Okay, not all politicians are well-meaning. But you’d be surprised.) There are a number of entry points:

  • Sidle up to your local city council member before or after a weekly council meeting. Introduce yourself, give them your elevator pitch, and tell them you’d like to talk with them further about the issue.
  • Use the New Business or public comment period at the end of the council meeting to air your concern.
  • Write a letter to one or all of the council members.
  • Send a version of that letter to the local newspaper. Call out supporters and opponents of the ban by name.
  • Post about the issue on social media. Again, call out officeholders by name, and consider tagging them or creating a hashtag. You will get their attention.

Before you go: Have your clear, concise talking points ready to deliver. See #3 below.

3. Arm Yourself With Facts

“One of the biggest challenges we as a legislative body are going to face,” Indiana state Rep. Jim Lucas, a medical marijuana legalization supporter, recently told his colleagues, “is coming through all the smoke, all the fear-mongering, all the stigma, the ignorance.”

Luckily, there’s a lot of good evidence that a legal, regulated market works far better for everyone than prohibition.

There’s no shortage of misinformation when it comes to cannabis. Like with a lot of issues that people feel strongly about, it’s common for opportunists to seize on information that supports their preconceptions rather than digging deeper into the issues. Luckily, there’s a lot of good evidence that a legal, regulated market works far better for everyone than prohibition. So when you engage with elected officials, come armed with facts.

The reasons you support legal cannabis might not be reasons your neighbors or your council members find persuasive. If you’re talking to an elected official, learn about the issues that drive them customize your pitch. If you’re talking to a liberal Democrat, lead with social justice concerns. A conservative Republican may be more amenable to a pitch about personal freedom and the waste of taxpayer resources on nonsensical cannabis arrests. Centrists might appreciate the extra revenue to shore up budget holes. This article has a number of further tips.

4. Bring a Positive Proposal to the Table

Guess who writes a lot of the first drafts of legislation? Not the office holder! Seriously. Do some research. Find copies of the local cannabis ordinances adopted by towns and counties similar in size and culture to your own. Present the entire piece of legislation to your local office holder. They are busy, and they’re working on issues ranging from potholes to violent crime. The more work you can do for them, the more likely they’ll seriously consider introducing your measure.

5. Argue From a Position of Strength

Did your county, district, or town vote in favor of statewide cannabis legalization? Well then why is the local town council disrespecting the clearly expressed will of local voters? Do they think the voters are confused children?

70% of Marin County, CA, voters embraced legalization. And yet the county council banned it. That’s got to change.

When you approach an elected official, do so with the knowledge of how your district voted on the state’s ballot initiative. (If you’re working in a county that voted overwhelmingly against legalization, you will want to have an answer to the inevitable question. Often that’s where the experience of people from NORML and other groups comes in handy.)

For example, the map below shows how California counties voted on Proposition 64, the 2016 statewide measure to legalize the adult use of cannabis. Check out Marin County in the map below. Marin embraced legalization with 70% of the vote. Three months later the Marin County Board of Supervisors banned all cannabis-related business activity in unincorporated Marin. There’s your conversation starter, Concerned Marin Constituent.

6. Run Your Own “Beat the Ban” Initiative

When local elected officials won’t listen to your well-reasoned argument, you still have Option B: The local initiative. Find out how to get a local initiative on the ballot in your area, if it’s an option (different jurisdictions often have different rules). Reach out to groups like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, which have a lot of experience running and winning these “Beat the Ban” measures.

Local voters love to cast their ballots in favor of these initiatives, because they’re kind of like telling local politicians: “Yes, I did actually mean it when I voted for statewide legalization. It wasn’t a mistake.”

Often it’s just a matter of persistence. In Oregon, roughly a year after legal sales began, 15 municipalities that initially prohibited cannabis businesses voted to undo those bans. And in Massachusetts, which is readying for adult-use sales to begin this summer, a growing number of communities are voting to allow cannabis businesses, bucking an early trend of local bans.

“We got a lot of support from people who don’t use cannabis, but might want to someday,” Scott Winters, an Amesbury resident who spearheaded opposition to an anti-cannabis referendum that was defeated in November by a nearly 2-1 margin, told the Associated Press. “From users to non-users to just folks who want revenue for the city, we had a lot of support.

Bruce Barcott & Ben Adlin

Bruce Barcott is Leafly’s deputy editor. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America. Ben Adlin is an editor at Leafly who specializes in politics and the law. Together with editor Dave Schmader, they host Leafly’s weekly politics podcast, The Roll-Up.

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