Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t

 
6.27.2019
 
 
ROME (AP) — It’s been called the Italian “green gold rush.” Mild, barely there marijuana dubbed “cannabis light” has put Italy on the international weed map, producing hundreds of stores that sell pot by the pouch and attention from investors banking the legalization of stronger stuff will follow.
 
The flourishing retail industry around cannabis light – weed so non-buzzy, it’s essentially the decaf coffee of marijuana – surfaced as an unintended by-product of a law meant to restore Italy as a top producer of industrial hemp. Now, storefronts that peddle chemically ineffective hemp flowers in varieties such as “Chill Haus” and “Black Buddha” are getting blowback that some Italians fear will nip business in the bud.
 
 
“It is neither possible nor acceptable that in Italy there are 1,000 shops where there are drugs legally, in broad daylight. This is disgusting,” said Matteo Salvini, who made keeping migrants out of Italy a primary focus after taking office a year ago.
 
It’s been called the Italian "Green Gold Rush.” Barely there marijuana dubbed “cannabis light” has put Italy on the international weed map. But the industry is getting political and judicial blowback that some fear will nip business in the bud. (June 27)

Some business owners are ready to fight back. The owner of Green Planet in the southern city of Caserta chained himself to the fence around his locked shop this month after a raid in which police seized 16 grams of cannabis light. Gioel Magini, the owner of a Cannabis Amsterdam Store franchise in Sanremo, proposed a class-action lawsuit to keep the shops open and their owners from losing money.

“I closed a pizzeria to open this store. Now, they want us to go bankrupt,” Magini told Italian news agency ANSA. “It’s as if to fight alcoholism, the sale of non-alcoholic beer is banned.”

The commotion reflects the lag in Europe’s pro-marijuana movement compared to the recreational use frontiers of North America. The coffee shops in Amsterdam where tourists have gone since the late 1970s to purchase pot in public never took off outside the Netherlands. While more than 30 European countries have laws allowing medical marijuana in some form, patient advocates complain of high prices and inadequate supplies.

Enter “la cannabis light,” the catchy name Italians have for cannabis sativa plant derivatives with low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that causes a high. Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, but scientists classify dry plants with no more than 0.3% THC as hemp. In the 28-country European Union, of which Italy is a member, the cutoff is 0.2%. A December 2016 Italian law, however, set a domestic ceiling three times higher than that to give hemp farmers leeway for natural variations resulting from cultivation, according to Stefano Masini, a spokesman for Italy’s Coldiretti agriculture lobby.

Although 0.6% is just over the THC concentration required for hemp to become marijuana in a botanist’s book, Italian regulators assumed it was too low to have a mind-altering effect and its related consumer appeal. Entrepreneurs in a country with a lackluster economy nonetheless saw an opportunity.

The hemp law that took effect 2 ½ years ago permitted sales of cosmetics and products made with hemp. Gift boutiques, corner markets and stand-alone grow shops soon stocked cannabis-infused pasta, olive oil and gelato, but also jars and bags of “light” buds. Since marijuana still was illegal, producers labeled the products as “collector’s items” not intended for consumption.

Rolling papers and glass pipes storekeepers might display nearby advertised otherwise.

“To say it is for collectors doesn’t mean a thing,” Coldiretti’s Masini said. “If you can sell something that can be eaten or inhaled, obviously the use is something different.”

Even so, cannabis light is a far cry from the legal weed with THC levels of 5% to 35% that adults can buy for recreational use at licensed dispensaries in some parts of the U.S. A Seattle blogger accustomed to the high-octane marijuana in Washington state called Italy’s cannabis light “faux weed” after smoking some in Rome and feeling nothing. Other reviewers have described a slight relaxing effect.

THC content – or more precisely, how much it takes to get stoned – was considered by Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation in the May 30 decision that alarmed the cannabis light industry. The case involved two light cannabis shops in central Italy that police shut down on suspicion of drug trafficking. An investigating judge threw out charges against the owner. Similar cases had resulted in conflicting verdicts on whether the shops could operate legally.

The Supreme Court’s ruling summed up the contradictions of cannabis light. The court said the 2016 hemp law and its upper THC limit did not apply to cannabis leaves, buds or other spin-offs from hemp plants. Selling them remained illegal in Italy “unless such products are in practice devoid of a doping effect.”

The next day, police performed a “precautionary seizure” of Green Planet and two other stores in Caserta to test if the cannabis light they were selling was a legal non-high or carried illegal high-giving capacity. Local magistrates let Green Planet reopen after two weeks, which included the several its owner spent outside chained to the gated door in protest. Results must come back from THC tests on his confiscated products before he can sell cannabis light again.

Police raids in other cities have cannabis producers and sellers worried. They are waiting to see if the Supreme Court’s full opinion, due by July 30, clarifies if they have a green light to keep mining the gold rush until the novelty of cannabis light wears off or more liberal laws clear the way for heavier marijuana on store shelves.

In other parts of Europe, changing attitudes on marijuana planted across the Atlantic might find fertile ground.. The government that took over in Luxembourg in November was the first in Europe to legalize recreational marijuana. Switzerland, which is not an EU member, allows cannabis light with up to 1% THC to be sold like tobacco. In Spain, cannabis social clubs are sprouting up since drug laws prohibiting marijuana possession are rarely enforced against casual users.

Legislative attempts to take the light out of Italian cannabis so far have stalled on strong objections from the right. One of the two populist parties running the government now – the 5-Star Movement – enraged its coalition partner – the League party led by cannabis light critic Salvini – with such an attempt last year. Claudio Miglio, a lawyer who specializes in drug-related cases, is optimistic the cannabis light market will be allowed to keep growing in the meantime.

“The hope is that the market, which is the strongest power of all, will finally stimulate the public opinion on marijuana as it’s happening for light cannabis now,” Miglio said.

___

Lisa Leff contributed from London.

Source: Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t






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Cannabis Forum: Challenges for Cannabis Entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurial journey is difficult – and entering an emerging and fast-changing market doesn’t make it easier. There is no set blueprint or clear path to victory, but a number of speed bumps and off-ramps. At Cannabis Forum Summer 2019 next month a panel of industry trailblazers will help those entrepreneurs better navigate the ambiguous space by providing their experiences and take on the challenges that face cannabis entrepreneurs.

This panel brings a cross-section of the industry together at the Cannabis Forum for Food and Beverage, including a duo of cannabrands, a trailblazing ingredient supplier and a respected strategic advisor and investor. Each panelist has valuable insight for food and beverage entrepreneurs currently producing THC and CBD infused products, as well as for those that are cannabis curious and testing the waters.

The panelists will provide expert insights into the cannabis industry, and how food and beverage entrepreneurs can avoid common missteps, by sharing their best practices and lessons learned.

Chris Abbott, the Co-founder of Botanica, will share the challenges and routes to success he has experienced as he has helped grow some of the most widely distributed cannabis edibles in the United States — including Mr. Moxley’s Mints, Spot Edibles and Journeyman.

Teresa Piro, the Founder & CEO of CAN CAN Cleanse, will provide her entrepreneurial experience at the collision of cannabis and healthy beverages as she launches into her new venture as CEO of Plant Magic, a new brand of hemp-derived CBD juices.

Ben Larson, the CEO of Nanogen and Co-Founder of the Gateway cannabis incubator, will share his perspective as both a supplier of a highly regulated ingredient and early-stage investor supporting entrepreneurs within a dynamic category.

Joyce Williams, the Founding Partner & COO of Big Rock Capital, supports many of the Bay Area’s leading brands, specifically those within the cannabis industry, including food and beverage brands like Kikoko and Garden Society…

FINISH UP: Cannabis Forum: Challenges for Cannabis Entrepreneurs – BevNET.com






 

Ohio Sells $75k in Successful First Day of Sales

Ohio Sells $75k in Successful First Day of Sales

PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 22, 2019, BY MASSROOTS

The four medical marijuana dispensaries that were open for business, on the first day of sales in Ohio, collectively sold 8.7 pounds of dried cannabis flower. According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, that total volume generated $75,000 in sales. There are 60 licenses available in Ohio, but only four dispensaries were fully approved and stocked with product on January 16, 2018, the historical first day of legal sales.

The four dispensaries are:

CY+ Dispensary, 180 Main St. in Wintersville, OH

The Forest Sandusky, 1671 Tiffin Ave. in Sandusky, OH

Ohio Valley Natural Relief, 840 Canton Rd. in Wintersville, OH

The Botanist, 3840 Greentree Ave. SW in Canton, OH

While products for other methods of delivery, like edibles, capsules, tinctures, and topical lotions may be manufactured in Ohio, dried flower was the only form available on the first day.

The Ohio Tenth

Unlike the regulated markets in states like Colorado and Washington, all medical marijuana flower in the Buckeye State must be sold in packages measured to one-tenth of an ounce, known as the “Ohio tenth.” One-tenth of an ounce is 2.83 grams. This is slightly different than how it is typically done at dispensaries in other legal states, and on the black market, where flower is often sold by the gram, the eighth of an ounce, quarter of an ounce, and so on, all the way up.

The Price You Pay

As initially high prices were shocking to some patients, the cost of medical marijuana in Ohio is expected to drop slightly as more dispensaries open, and a wider variety of products become available. Joan Caleodis, 55, is credited as the first person to purchase medical marijuana in Ohio. Joan reported that she paid $150.00 for three of the one-tenth ounce packages of the same indica strain. “I’m ecstatic patients are no longer waiting for relief,” Joan said.

Home cultivation remains illegal, so patients have no other legal option but to pay whatever the going rate is for medication at the dispensary. “I understand the need to make back the money they put in, but this is – my god,” said Ken Horner, 65, who drove 3.5 hours from Dayton to CY+ Dispensary in Wintersville.

Patient Cards

Are you a patient suffering from one of the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio? Do you still need to apply to the program? Follow this link to learn how to get a medical marijuana card in Ohio.

Photo courtesy of Chris Crook

Source: Ohio Sells $75k in Successful First Day of Sales


 





 

10 Canadian Marijuana Stocks for Your Portfolio 

 

10 Canadian Marijuana Stocks for Your Portfolio

By Mrinalini Krishna | Updated August 3, 2018 — 9:13 AM EDT

Unlike its southern neighbor, Canada legalized medical marijuana nationwide back in 2001. That means that the industry has evolved a lot more and is not plagued with restrictions across state lines, as is the case in the United States, where there are 29 states (and Washington, D.C.), where pot is allowed for medical use.

Further, Canada introduced the Cannabis Act recently and the bill to legalize recreational pot use is expected to pass by July of 2018. Not so in the U.S., where the immediate future for legal weed is in question, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an Obama-era law that protected states choosing to liberalize legal marijuana laws.

While uncertainty prevails in the United States, investors could get a piece of the pot action by investing in Canadian stocks traded in the country in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets. Most of these stocks can be labeled as penny stocks, so any investment may carry a significantly higher risk component. Here’s a look at some of those companies…

FINISH READING: 10 Canadian Marijuana Stocks for Your Portfolio | Investopedia






 

Cannabis-Infused Beverages Emerge as Potential Beer Industry Disruptor 

 

U.S. consumers looking to catch a buzz without the booze will soon be able to purchase an assortment of beer-centric products thanks to a pair of ventures aiming to disrupt the current alcohol market with cannabis-infused beverages.

Petaluma, California-headquartered Lagunitas Brewing Company, which has a well-documented history with marijuana and is now wholly owned by Amsterdam-based Heineken International B.V., today announced the launch of two psychedelic sparkling water products.

Called Hi-Fi Hops, the two “IPA-inspired” non-alcoholic beverages are made in partnership with CannaCraft — which produces the AbsoluteXtracts line of vape cartridges — and contain zero alcohol, zero calories, and zero carbohydrates.

Set to debut at California-licensed dispensaries on July 30, the hoppy sparkling water beverages come in two doses: one containing 5 mg of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and 5 mg of CBD (Cannabidiol), and another containing 10 mg of THC.

According to representatives from both companies, who declined to reveal the specific financial terms of their arrangement, Lagunitas will produce the hop-infused, carbonated water and ship the liquid to CannaCraft’s facility in nearby Santa Rosa, California.

CannaCraft will then infuse its emulsified THC and CBD oils into the hoppy water, and package upwards of 25,000 12 oz. cans (about 75 barrels) for distribution throughout California.

Speaking to Brewbound, Lagunitas spokeswoman Karen Hamilton said the products – which prominently display the Lagunitas logo and are branded with the company’s signature splotch moniker — would retail for $8 and have a shelf life of eight months.“If you are going to do an extension of your brand, it makes sense to create continuity, otherwise there is no connection,” Hamilton said, noting that the two companies hope to build off of Lagunitas’ image as a high-end producer of hoppy beers, as well as its penchant for marijuana as the emerging market for THC-infused beverages, grows.“There is a pretty big frontier ahead,” she added. “It is an exciting one, and the future is unknown, but we know that Cannabis and CBD will be a big part of it.”…

FINISH READING: Cannabis-Infused Beverages Emerge as Potential Beer Industry Disruptor | Brewbound.com






 

This ‘beer’ will get you high, not drunk

This ‘beer’ will get you high, not drunk

Kerry Justich,Yahoo Lifestyle Thu, Mar 29 1:33 PM EDT

The brewer behind Blue Moon beer is creating a beverage with THC.

The man who became a disruptor in the beer industry back in 1995 has come up with a new concept of the beverage — by integrating the psychedelic component of cannabis. Alongside his wife Jodi, Keith Villa is now establishing himself as one of the first to create a marijuana-infused beverage that actually contains THC, the cannabis chemical that produces a buzz. And if it sounds enticing yet nerve-racking for those who haven’t experienced a marijuana high before, there will be three levels of the brew to try out.

The man behind Blue Moon beer is now creating a beverage that will give you a high. After developing and overseeing the Blue Moon Belgian White brand under Coors Brewing for 23 years, and working with MillerCoors for more than three decades, Villa was ready for something new. Similar to his idea of bringing a Belgian beer to the States, his new venture is all about pushing the boundaries in terms of what beverages people might not yet know they want.

For a country where marijuana is still federally illegal, a drink that gets you high certainly falls under that category.

Ceria Beverages and its THC-infused “beer” is coming soon. “It really is a step back in time to just after Prohibition,” he told Forbes. “Back in 1933 you had a stigma with alcohol. After so many years of being illegal it took years to get over that. But once that goes away for cannabis, it will be a huge part of our economy.”…

FINISH READING: This ‘beer’ will get you high, not drunk






 

WeedMD and Phivida To Enter Into Joint Venture for Cannabis-Infused Beverages

WeedMD and Phivida To Enter Into Joint Venture for Cannabis-Infused Beverages

CanBev Inc. positioned to become the premiere cannabis-infused bottling plant in Canada.

Toronto, Canada and Vancouver, Canada, March 8th, 2018  WeedMD Inc. (TSX-V:WMD) (OTC:WDDMF) (FSE:4WE) (“WeedMD”), a federally licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis and Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE:VIDAOTC:PHVAF) (“Phivida”), a premium brand of cannabidiol (“CBD”) infused functional beverages and clinical health products, are pleased to announce the signing of a letter of intent (“LOI”) to form a joint venture focused on cannabis-infused beverages. The new joint venture company, Cannabis Beverages Inc. (“CanBev”), plans to develop a production facility at WeedMD’s state-of-the-art greenhouse in Strathroy, Ontario. …

FINISH READING: Free Email Addresses: Web based and secure Email – mail.com






 

Jane West’s New Marijuana Product Line Might Be A Game Changer For Women

If we had to pinpoint one characteristic that stands out in Jane West,it would be her attention to detail. After all, being an events organizer, details are central to standing out among the crowd.

Jane transitioned from a successful career in traditional events organization to the marijuana industry four years ago and has since rarely looked back with regret, even though she was fired from a $90,000-a-year job and been charged with six crimes just for participating in the cannabis space.

Over this period, Jane launched a company of consumption-friendly cannabis events organization; founded Women Grow, one of the largest and most influential organizations in the marijuana industry; collaborated in the design of a glass, weed products line with GRAV, generating millions in revenue; and created her own line of branded products, which now sell under the Jane West brand.

“Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished over a short four years time span. I think that really speaks to the opportunity that the cannabis industry offers,” West told Benzinga during a recent conversation.

If we had to pinpoint one characteristic that stands out in Jane West, it would be her attention to detail. After all, being an events organizer, details are central to standing out among the crowd.

Jane transitioned from a successful career in traditional events organization to the marijuana industry four years ago and has since rarely looked back with regret, even though she was fired from a $90,000-a-year job and been charged with six crimes just for participating in the cannabis space.

Over this period, Jane launched a company of consumption-friendly cannabis events organization; founded Women Grow, one of the largest and most influential organizations in the marijuana industry; collaborated in the design of a glass, weed products line with GRAV, generating millions in revenue; and created her own line of branded products, which now sell under the Jane West brand.

“Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished over a short four years time span. I think that really speaks to the opportunity that the cannabis industry offers,” West told Benzinga during a recent conversation…

Finish reading: Jane West’s New Marijuana Product Line Might Be A Game Changer For Women






 

Marijuana social media company Massroots is making a big bet on software

(Compliance is a huge problem facing cannabis companies.REUTERS/Andres Stapff)

Massroots, a technology platform for cannabis consumers, is acquiring CannaRegs in a stock deal for $12 million, multiple sources told Business Insider on Wednesday.

The acquisition allows MassRoots to become a one-stop shop for cannabis businesses to connect with customers and ensure they’re in compliance with all state and federal regulations, Massroots CEO Isaac Dietrich told Business Insider in a phone call on Wednesday.

The acquisition is part of a larger push to consolidate Massroots’ business-to-business offerings. Massroots, founded in 2013, is a user-driven social media platform for marijuana consumers. The company is now seeking to expand its software services.

It “expands MassRoots’ compliance offerings, consolidating the most important operations for cannabis businesses into one central platform,” Dietrich said.

CannaRegs, started in 2014 by Amanda Ostrowitz, a former Federal Reserve regulator and licensed attorney, is a subscription-based service that provides businesses access to all local, state, and federal cannabis-regulations.

Dietrich notes that CannaRegs is cash-flow positive and debt-free, and it’s one of the few cannabis companies with majority-female leadership…

Finish reading: Marijuana social media company Massroots is making a big bet on software