420 with CNW – Oklahoma City School Board Passes Marijuana Policy

Voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot measure last year in June making medical marijuana legal in the state. Recently, the school district in Oklahoma City passed its own medical marijuana policy to clarify what employees and students could or could not do now that medical marijuana is legal in the state.

On Monday this week (January 14), the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board released its marijuana policy in which the district asserted that it would not take any action against any employee who holds a medical marijuana license.

However, the same policy also had a clause that barred employees from possessing marijuana within school premises or during office hours even if such an employee is licensed to use medical marijuana.

The policy also stipulated that while students would be allowed to have access to, and consume medical marijuana, employees in the schools aren’t allowed to administer that marijuana to the students.

Instead, the policy states that a private location would be provided so that the caregiver of a student can administer the medical marijuana from that location. Caregivers would also be solely responsible for bringing the medical marijuana and taking it away after the student has used or consumed it.

The policy warns that disciplinary action would be taken against any student or employee who violates the school district’s marijuana policy.

Additionally, the policy states that the school district will be free to alter the policy if the federal funding of the district is jeopardized in any way by the marijuana policy or its implementation. Ultimately, the school district will adhere to any restrictions or instructions given by the federal government regarding medical marijuana.

These provisions in the policy show how large the shadow of the federal government hovering over the entire country is on matters of marijuana.

So far, more than 30,000 people have applied for medical marijuana licenses since August when residents were allowed to start applying for the cards. A patient whose application is approved has to pay $100 in order to receive their license from the Department of Health. People who are at least 18 years old are eligible to apply for a medical marijuana license if a doctor recommends them to apply for one.

The action taken by the school district is a step in the right direction because it clarifies what employees and students should expect if they want to consume medical marijuana. Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP), Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and the entire marijuana industry welcome the positive action taken by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board.

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420 with CNW – Arkansas Delays Issuing Medical Cannabis Cards

Patients who applied and got approval to join the medical cannabis program in Arkansas will have to wait until February to receive their medical cannabis cards from the state. The delay comes amidst the inability of cultivators to provide medical cannabis to the licensed dispensaries.

Arkansas residents voted to change the constitution in 2016 so that medical cannabis could become legal in the state. However, the process of implementing that change has taken longer than was expected.

The Department of Health in the State is reluctant to give residents medical cannabis cards when medical cannabis supplies aren’t available. The authorities feel that patients would incur an unnecessary cost since the cards are only valid for a year and one must renew the card before accessing medical cannabis. Getting the card several months before dispensaries are ready to sell products would therefore mean that a portion of the card’s validity was wasted.

However, many patients view their desire to have the medical cannabis cards in a different light.

The cards issued by the health authorities in Arkansas can allow the cardholders to acquire temporary licenses from the nearby state of Oklahoma. These temporary cards can be used to buy or grow medical cannabis from the Oklahoma medical cannabis dispensaries. Federal law doesn’t permit marijuana to be moved across state lines, so anyone interested in buying or growing medical cannabis from out of state has to be ready to stay in that state until what they purchased is used up.

The temporary licenses are only valid for 30 days, so there is no chance that an applicant will buy medical marijuana in more than one state. The verification process done before the temporary card is issued confirms that the applicant resides in a state where a medical cannabis program is legal but medical cannabis isn’t available as yet.

Some Arkansas residents have attempted to use the approval letters issued after their medical cannabis applications were processed, but the Oklahoma authorities have rejected those letters.

The stance of the Medical Marijuana Authority in Oklahoma is understandable because the approval letters may not have vital details, such as the medical marijuana card numbers that can be used to track the activities of the cardholders.

For now, Arkansas residents may have to wait until the state prints their cards. That may give those who are badly in need of medical cannabis one month within which to take advantage of the temporary licenses issued in Oklahoma. In case the Arkansas program delays even further, the patients can continue renewing their Oklahoma permits.

Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) sympathize with the patients in Arkansas and hope that a viable solution for their plight is found soon.

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420 with CNW – New York Governor Speaks on Impending Cannabis Legalization

Traditionally, state Governors outline their plans during the State of the State address in January. However, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has opted to deliver his address early (on Monday, December 17). He talked about his priorities for the first 100 days in office. The issues discussed included his views on the legalization of recreational cannabis in the state.

Gov. Cuomo said that adult-use cannabis should be permitted “once and for all”, and he pledged to see this done within a few months from the start of the new Democrat-dominated legislature in January.

In his speech, it was clearly evident that his opinions on marijuana had undergone a major evolution because he was now championing legalization and yet he had previously opposed marijuana, even medical marijuana, as a gate-way substance.

The Governor lamented that it was time to change things and fix the injustices that had been suffered by the African-American community and other minorities during the selective enforcement of the laws against marijuana use.

The speech didn’t give any details about how the recreational use of marijuana will be regulated within the state. However, some information about the likely regulatory framework can be gleaned from a report that was submitted to the Governor by the Department of Health in the state.

The report famously concluded that the benefits of regulating and taxing cannabis outweighed any shortcomings that could be attributed to legalization of adult-use cannabis. This report seems to have tied the hands of the Governor, especially given that his major opponent (Cynthia Nixon) made legalization the center of her campaign.

The Health Department report estimated that legalizing recreational cannabis would add between $248 million and $677 million in tax revenue within the first year of legalization. Additionally, legalization would fix some of the imbalances in the criminal justice system while easing the opioid crisis.

It is not yet clear how the state will spend the millions in taxes expected from the recreational cannabis industry, but several sectors and sections of the community are clamoring for that money.

For example, one suggestion is that the money be directed to fix the crumbling subway system while other activists suggest that the money should go to the black community that bore the brunt of the injustices during the war on drugs.

The state legislators will have their hands full as they debate and decide how these monies will be spent. Already, some assembly members are threatening to withhold their support for the bill in case the tax money isn’t allocated in the way they approve, such as going to the black communities.

Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) urge all involved to consider all sides before eventually passing a law that will allow New Yorkers who so wish to consume recreational cannabis in a way that is safe for all.

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420 with CNW – US Federal Agency Announces Funding for Cannabis Research

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) held a workshop on December 8 to interact with representatives of various cannabis industry stakeholders and federal agencies to discuss cannabinoid research. At the end of that workshop, the federal agency announced four funding opportunities for entities that were interested in conducting research on natural products like cannabis.

For example, one funding opportunity is earmarked for looking into how cannabinoids, excluding THC, affect pain.

Those four research projects are also intended to map the “biological signature” of the natural products being studied as well as establishing dosage levels in case those products are found to be therapeutic.

The researchers who want to access the funding need to secure authorization from the different federal government agencies, such as the DEA, which have jurisdiction over the controlled substances in question. Additionally, the researchers should provide detailed plans of how they intend to conduct the studies.

It is interesting to note that only one of the four funding opportunities makes a direct reference to marijuana even if the content of the briefs appear to focus on cannabis. The careful wording may be an attempt to work around the existing restrictions on funding cannabis research.

The current call for research proposals comes after the Drug Enforcement Administration granted different cultivators authorization to grow approximately 5.400 pounds of marijuana in 2019. This quantity more than quadruples what was grown with DEA permission in 2018.

The agency explained that the spike in the quantity of cannabis grown with the agency’s approval was intended to meet the huge demand for research-grade cannabis in the coming year.

The increased supply from different sources is expected to ease some of the frustrations that researchers had with the Mississippi farm where cannabis could only be obtained in previous years. Researchers complained that they couldn’t obtain sufficient quantities from that Mississippi farm, and even when they got the cannabis it was of such poor quality that it would hardly serve the purpose for which it was obtained.

The fact that different government agencies participated in the workshop organized by NCCIH may indicate that there is a conversation going on within the federal government about cannabis. It is possible that the feds are giving serious thought to the possibility of passing legislation to allow medical cannabis at some point in the future. If that wasn’t the case, then federal money wouldn’t be channeled into cannabis research, or researchers wouldn’t be permitted to study cannabis.

Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP), Green Hygienics Holdings, Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and other stakeholders hope that the funding opportunities increase, and that the federal government eases its prohibitionist stance on marijuana.

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420 with CNW – Millennial Consumers Drive the Market for Craft Marijuana

As more states and countries around the world legalize marijuana, a new trend is emerging where some consumers are ditching the “cheap, generic” cannabis for specialty “craft” products. Millennials are the largest fraction of this connoisseur group of consumers.

It is true that marijuana prices have been dropping like a rock ever since cannabis was legalized in different states. Such price drops target making marijuana affordable to the mass market that is simply interested in getting hold of some cannabis for recreational (adult-use) or medical purposes.

Like all products, however, a segment of the consumers is more discerning and is willing to pay more for an artisan product which is superior to the mass market variety.

These high-end consumers pay more attention to the specific characteristics of the different strains and where those strains were grown (and, of course, how they were grown).

The tastes of these high-end consumers would not widely differ from what is seen in the wine industry where certain consumers look down on those who imbibe the cheap stuff. Call it some form of snobbery if you like, but it is a differentiation in the market that can make some entrepreneurs very rich once they address the needs of those niche markets.

It isn’t far-fetched to think of an “appellation system” for the cannabis industry where some strains are legally connected to certain geographical locations. Once again, lessons abound in the wine industry where champagne is from a particular region of France for quality reasons. The same can easily exist for the marijuana industry.

More attention is likely to be paid to the quality of marijuana as the industry matures. Don’t imagine that quality is entirely dependent on how much THC or CBD is in a given product. After all, alcohol quality doesn’t depend on the alcohol content of a given alcohol brand.

Other attributes, such as flavor, mood enhancement and medicinal value, will take on increasing importance for both cultivators and consumers.

All these benefits will start taking shape when cannabis is legalized more widely, such as at the federal level in the US. As things stand, companies are barely able to make a profit from the mass market, so it can be hard for them to invest for niche markets that aren’t sizeable enough as yet.

For now, one can only look forward to a future where there will be cannabis on the shelves for every kind of consumer, including those who demand and can afford artisan marijuana products. Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN), GreenBox POS, LLC (OTC: GRBX) and other cannabis companies feel that future isn’t as far off as one may think.

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420 with CNW – Canadian Tech Firms Gear Up For Cannabis Legalization Benefits

The legalization of cannabis in Canada has opened the door for different tech companies to cash in on the new opportunities presented by the cannabis industry. Several companies are testing or offering tech products and the consumers are loving those products.

Lobo Genetics is one such Toronto-based tech company that has a bright future if the preliminary interest in its latest product is anything to go by.

The company makes a handheld genetic testing device which only requires the user to take a swab from his or her mouth in order to assess whether that individual will metabolize THC (the major psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).

People who are genetically predisposed to metabolize THC are unlikely to develop adverse reactions when they consume cannabis whether for recreational or medical purposes.

The testing device was initially developed with the medical cannabis market in mind, but players in the recreational space have shown massive interest in it as well.

Strainprint Technologies Inc. is another Toronto-based startup that has designed an app for the cannabis industry. This app can help people track the strains, dosage of cannabis and any side effects that they notice as they use pot.

“Save the Drive” is another tech product being finalized in Winnipeg. It is intended to help people hire someone to buy and deliver cannabis to their addresses instead of driving out to a store themselves. The current supply shortages are the only reason why this platform hasn’t been launched as yet.

However, it is not just Canadian companies getting a piece of the action. A number of US-based tech companies have also thrown their hats in the ring.

“High There!” is a social networking platform with roots in Florida. The platform gives its users an opportunity to locate cannabis users with whom they can meet and enjoy a joint. The platform saw a massive 300 percent spike in new registrations when recreational cannabis became legal in October.

The founders of “Weedmaps” are based in California. Like the name suggests, “Weedmaps” helps people to locate places in Canada where one can buy cannabis. You therefore don’t have to drive randomly in a new place looking for a store selling cannabis.

Such tech innovations paint a very optimistic future for the opportunities available to the different industries with recreational cannabis now legal. It is hard to mention a single industry that may not benefit from the nascent marijuana industry. Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP), Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and other existing players welcome the new tech firms which have seen a gap that can filled in order to serve customers better.

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420 with CNW – Study Explains Why Cannabis Affects Men and Women Differently

A recent review of animal studies has found that the differences in the way men and women are affected by marijuana aren’t just a social or cultural construct. The review found that those differences are rooted in biology (the differences between the genders).

The findings of the review appeared in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The review explored the relationship between sex hormones like estrogen (estradiol), progesterone and testosterone on the endocannabinoid system in the body. That endocannabinoid system has similar (cannabinoids) chemicals to those found in cannabis.

The researchers found that males are more likely to try marijuana and also use higher doses of the substance. This can be attributed to the male sex hormone (testosterone) which encourages risky behavior.

Those same male sex hormones also suppress the reward system of the brain. This explains why higher doses may need to be consumed to get the same effect as the person felt upon first consuming the substance.

The suppressed reward system explains why men often take longer to get hooked on a substance. In contrast, women try smaller doses but get hooked faster than their male counterparts do.

Women have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than men do. The receptors are concentrated in the areas of the brain which control the filtering of sensory input sent to the brain, body movement and social behavior. Women are therefore more likely to exhibit signs of being under the influence of cannabis when compared to men.

It was also found that the consumption of cannabis and other psychotropic substances often triggers the production of more estradiol in women. This triggers the urge to consume more cannabis or whatever substance has triggered the production of estradiol. Addiction is the result of that cycle.

The researchers found that the number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain of females increases as the individuals age. Increasing age has been correlated to high estrogen levels in women, so this finding isn’t different from what has already been known about the hormonal system of women.

Dr. Liana Fattore, the co-author of the study, remarked that detoxification programs need to be customized for the different genders if success rates are to increase. The measures to prevent a relapse into substance abuse should also be tailored to the needs and risks of each gender.

The study authors also called for further research to be conducted to get a better understanding of the source of the differences in the way men and women respond to cannabis. Cannabis companies like Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) appreciate the work done by scientists to help society understand how and why cannabis affects the body.

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420 with CNW – Study Shows that Marijuana Ingredient Lowers Public Speaking Anxiety

A randomized, double-blind study in Brazil has found that individuals who suffer from public speaking anxiety can be helped by consuming cannabidiol (CBD). The findings of this study were released in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry.

Some 57 participants were recruited to take part in this study. These participants were divided into four groups with each group being given a placebo, 150mg, 300mg or 600mg of cannabidiol (CBD).

The researchers asked the participants to watch a short video and then prepare a four-minute speech based on the material in that video.

Those participants were then asked to self-assess on the anxiety levels before, during and after making that speech. The known bio-markers that are affected by public speaking anxiety, such as blood pressure, heart rate and sweating were monitored during those different stages of the presentation.

Previous studies on this same issue had suggested that CBD can mitigate public speaking anxiety depending on the dose given to the individual. The Brazilian research had similar findings.

The results revealed an inverted U when the impact of CBD on anxiety was assessed. The inverted U means that little effect was registered at lower CBD doses and the impact kept increasing until a certain point when higher doses of CBD showed a reducing effect on the “stage fright” experienced by the participants before, during and after the speech.

Specifically speaking, the group which received 150mg of CBD didn’t have any different anxiety markers from the placebo group. Similarly, those who got the higher dose of 600mg of CBD also barely differed from the placebo group.

These results show that additional studies need to be carried out to ascertain the specific “sweet spot” that provides the best effects to those who find it hard to stand before a group and express themselves coherently.

These research findings provide additional avenues through which marijuana can be harnessed to address the different challenges that people face in their day to day lives. Such research also calls for an urgent review of the scheduling of marijuana in many jurisdictions, including at the federal level in the U.S. where the plant is considered as something which doesn’t have any medical value. This categorization makes it hard for researchers to access funding to study this plant, and humanity has lost out on endless benefits during this prohibitionist period.

All isn’t lost, however, as the public is taking matters into its own hands and compelling different states to legalize marijuana through ballot measures. Cannabis companies like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and GreenBox POS, LLC (OTC: GRBX) can only wait for that time when prohibition will be ended once and for all at the federal level.

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420 with CNW – Canada’s Experiment With Legalized Marijuana Begins

The countdown to the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Canada ended yesterday when retail stores opened for the first time to serve adults who wanted to consume this substance that has been wrapped in a lot of controversy for decades. Legalization day also marked the start of one of the biggest “experiments” in public health policy. This is because cannabis was legalized without fully understanding how different categories of people would be affected by its regular consumption.

Of primary interest are teens and young adults. While federal law places the minimum age for those who can legally buy and consume cannabis at 18, provinces and territories imposed their own age limits with several putting it at 19.

Those age limits still give the scientific community the jitters since there is widespread agreement that a person’s brain continues to develop until that individual turns 25. This means that a young adult or an adolescent will have several years within which to consume a substance that could potentially alter the structure of that person’s brain during these crucial formative years.

Public health groups and the scientific community will be watching this age group closely in order to ascertain the actual impact of cannabis consumption upon them both in the short term and the long term.

The second category of people that has scientists worried is those who are predisposed to developing different kinds of psychosis, such as schizophrenia. Cannabis consumption has been linked to triggering episodes of psychosis, but it isn’t clear exactly how the substance affects the brain in order to trigger the condition.

Younger people are at a higher risk of developing psychosis if those individuals are predisposed to it and consume cannabis early in life. Researchers are ready to study this special group and learn more about the way cannabis affects their brains.

Of special concern to the scientific community are the senior citizens who may consume cannabis now that it is legal. This section of the population is usually overshadowed by the focus centered upon teens and young adults, but they also deserve serious attention.

Seniors often have a number of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and weakened body systems. It is not known how cannabis will interact with the different medications those seniors are taking for their health challenges.

Sections of the scientific community will be watching these older members of the community closely given that the sharpest increases in cannabis consumption have been registered in this group.

The fourth group that will be watched closely are the pregnant or nursing mothers. The medical community urges these people to refrain from consuming cannabis in the same way that advice is given to avoid other substances like alcohol and tobacco during this stage.

However, advice (professional or not) can either be accepted or ignored. Researchers will therefore be looking out for the impact that cannabis has on pregnant women or those breastfeeding who go ahead and light a joint every so often.

The eyes of the world are on Canada to see how this experiment with cannabis pans out. The results will either encourage other countries to open up to marijuana, or strengthen their prohibitionist positions. Cannabis industry players like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and GreenBox POS, LLC (OTC: GRBX) have their fingers crossed hoping that Canada’s lead is followed by other countries.

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420 with CNW – Colorado Prosecutor Threatens Action Against Marijuana Businesses Violating the Law

U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, the top federal prosecutor in Colorado, has vowed that his office will take firm action against any legal marijuana business that acts as a front for illegal activity, such as selling marijuana on the black market.

Some growers in various states who are faced with excess production are alleged to have resorted to selling that extra produce to the illegal marijuana market rather than see that cannabis go to waste when the legal market cannot buy it all. Such firms are the next target of enforcement efforts.

The attorney revealed that his office had mainly focused its resources on weeding out those who grow marijuana illegally in forests and in their homes. Legal businesses engaged in illegal activities were now on the radar of the federal prosecutor and the label “compliant with state laws” would not suffice to protect any firm found to be breaking the law.

Troyer added that the interest of the federal prosecutor was in the safety of the public. State laws often address those concerns, but federal laws may be invoked in some cases. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

The spokeswoman for Governor John Hickenlooper responded to Troyer’s statement by saying the state authorities have always enjoyed a good relationship with the feds and they are equally concerned about the safety issues raised.

The spokeswoman added that the state will continue to enforce the law, including criminal enforcement, in case justification exists for such action.

Members of the legal marijuana industry have asked the authorities to identify and root out those breaking the law without putting unnecessary pressure on licensed firms who are following the strict letter of the law under which they operate. They also advised that the authorities discuss any concerns that they may have with the legal cannabis industry instead of taking unilateral action that may be detrimental to all concerned.

Troyer revealed that his office will soon take action against a dispensary chain in the Denver area in the coming days. The name of the targeted dispensary chain was not disclosed in his statement.

It appears that the blitz against cannabis businesses breaking the law will mark the final stages of Troyer’s stay in office since Jason Dunn was selected earlier in June to replace him. Dunn’s nomination is awaiting senate approval before he can take office. Troyer has been in office since 2016 when his predecessor resigned.

Companies like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) and GreenBox POS, LLC (OTC: GRBX) must be happy that broader action is being taken to wipe out illegal cannabis activity since it affects the operations of the legitimate businesses in the industry.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW)
Denver, Colorado
www.CannabisNewsWire.com
303.498.7722 Office
Editor@CannabisNewsWire.net