Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pot Industry Revitalizes Entire Canadian Town's Economy

By Tyler Durden

Image result for smiths falls ontario

The marijuana industry is coming to the rescue of Smith Falls, Ontario, an old factory town that is experiencing an unlikely renaissance now that Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest publicly-traded cannabis producer, has become the town’s largest private-sector employer.
This summer, Canada will become the second country after Uruguay to legalize marijuana at the federal level, which has driven a boom in the local cannabis industry, according to Bloomberg.

Image result for canopy growth logo
Smiths Falls, Ontario - population 8,885 - is seeing a revival of fortunes since medical marijuana producer Tweed Inc. set up shop four years ago in an abandoned Hershey Co. chocolate factory. The company, since renamed Canopy Growth Corp., has become the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis producer and is the town’s largest private-sector employer.
For Smith Falls, Canopy’s arrival heralded a boom in younger people moving to the town, located about 75 kilometers (47 miles) southwest of Ottawa. There are sometimes bidding wars on homes. New businesses are arriving. And commercial property is seeing renewed interest. Canopy, formerly known as Tweed Inc., took over an old Hershey factory to build a giant growing operation for medical marijuana. How’s that for symbolism?

Image result for Mayor Shawn Pankow
Mayor Shawn Pankow
We’re recognized as the pot capital of Canada - and we’re proud of that, Mayor Shawn Pankow said in an interview from the town hall, a two-story brick building erected in 1859 on the main street. The local economy is certainly far better today than it was before Tweed came to town.
We’re seeing positive impacts really across the economy, said Pankow, 52, who also runs a financial advisory firm. People are recognizing that Smiths Falls is a community that’s on the upswing.
This represents a dramatic shift from just a decade ago, when Smiths Falls faced an industry exodus with the shutdown of a Stanley Tools Manufacturing facility and the shuttering of the Hershey plant that Canopy now occupies. This was followed months later by the closure of the Rideau Regional Center for the developmentally disabled. The closures affected more than 1,500 people - one-fifth of the town’s population.
Canopy has since restored 360 of those jobs, creating a well-educated workforce that runs the administration, research, growing operations, packaging and shipping from the facility that still has signage and other remnants of its chocolate past. Construction crews can be heard hammering away.
An employee makes cuttings from marijuana plants at the Tweed Inc. facility.
Smiths Falls has faced ebbs and flows of industry throughout its history.
Nearly 200 years ago, crews came to build the Rideau Canal connecting Ottawa with Kingston. Decades later, the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived to provide a rail connection to the outside world.
But during the late twentieth century, the town experienced a wave of factory closings that devastated the local economy.
Frost & Wood Co., which began making farming equipment in 1846, evolved into a munitions factory during the Second World War that once employed 1,200 people before it closed in 1955. Coca-Cola Co. bottler Rideau Beverages was around until the 1970s.
RCA Victor, which came to town in 1954, employed 350 people at its height before leaving in 1978.
Hershey came in 1963 and within 25 years had 750 workers and a bustling plant that drew thousands of visitors. At one point, the town’s water tower boasted an image of a Hershey bar and the slogan “Chocolate Capital of Ontario.”
Four Degrees Brewing Co. recently opened. European canal boat operator Le Boat has occupied an 1840s-era Lockmaster’s House on the waterway that bisects town. It’s ramping up plans to bring 16 rental boats next summer for tourists to cruise the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Linton, whose company has soared to a market value of more than C$4 billion ($3.1 billion), sees room to further improve Smiths Falls. He wants to expand a retail area at his plant to draw visitors - akin to days when busloads of tourists toured Hershey’s and bought broken chocolate bars on the cheap. Beyond that, he’d like to see more restaurants, meeting places and a hotel to make it a destination spot.
“What the town lacks is a really great place for people to actually stay,” Linton said.
Aside from the hubbub over weed, Smiths Falls has another claim to fame: It’s the hometown of Brooke Henderson, the 20-year-old golfer who ranks sixth in earnings this year on the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit.
Image result for Brooke Henderson
Brooke Henderson

Maine's 1st "Industrial Hemp Symposium" For Farmers 2018

Hemp Event
Source: events.r20.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST
Add to Calendar 


Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME 



Jerry Ireland
United Farmer Veterans of Maine


Jerry Ireland
United Farmer Veterans of Maine


Jerry Ireland
United Farmer Veterans of Maine


Maine's 1st "Industrial Hemp Symposium" For Farmers 2018 

There are over 25,000 everyday products that can be made sustainably from industrial hemp, and Maine is at the edge of some of the newest opportunities in agriculture development, manufacturing, and state of the art products to hit the market in the next 3 years!
Please call 207-323-1671 and ask to speak with either Jerry Ireland or Bob Sousa

US Moving Toward Hemp Legalization Despite Some Setbacks

by Kit O’Connell

2017 was an exciting year for supporters of hemp.
The stigma surrounding this plant has continued to decrease as more and more people discover hemp’s almost limitless uses. While hemp isn’t completely legal in the U.S. (yet), there’s growing bipartisan support in Congress, and at every level of our government, in support of full legalization.
And since we’re big fans of CBD oil, a healing supplement made from hemp, we were thrilled that more people learned about CBD and its many benefits. Global attitudes are changing too, with some of the most influential authorities on international drug policy also changing their tune about CBD in 2017.  
It’s not all good news, of course: cannabis still has some powerful enemies, but overall this year gave us hope for hemp. Below, we’ll look at the highs and lows of hemp over the past 365 days.


top hemp cbd news 2017
One of the most remarkable stories of 2017 was a study published in August by HelloMD and Brightfield Group which revealed that 42 percent of CBD users give up pharmaceutical drugs. Though it’s not a fully scientific, “double blind” style study (the 2,400 people who responded were drawn exclusively from the user base of HelloMD, a pro-cannabis website), it shows that many people are discovering that CBD helps them feel healthier.
That’s probably no surprise given the ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD. An important study released in May by the New England Journal of Medicine gave new support to the idea that CBD can help kids with epilepsy:
The average number of seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 in subjects receiving CBD, versus a reduction of just .8 in the control group who took the placebo. Additionally, about 43 percent of the subjects receiving CBD saw their seizures decrease by at least half. 5 percent actually became completely seizure free with CBD, compared with 0 of the controls.
Much more research into CBD oil’s benefits is needed, but over the past year we’ve looked at preliminary evidence that suggests it can help with chronic painanxietyinsomnia, inflammation and joint pains (especially topical CBD), schizophrenia, and depression.


In April, the World Anti-Doping Authority ruled that athletes will be allowed to use CBD oil starting in 2018. Though they made the policy change in 2017, many sportswriters point to the choice by MMA fighter Nate Diaz to vape CBD oil after a bout in 2016 as a key influence in the change. UFC fighters will also face different rules when it comes to drug testing thanks to his act of defiance, and we expect more people — not just athletes — will be open to trying CBD as a result.
World Health Organization CBD
The main meeting room at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva. (Image by Thorkild Tylleskar on Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA license)
Of even greater importance for the future of international drug policy, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, a division of the World Health Organization, reported that CBD oil is safe and should remain completely legal. The ECDD, whose recommendations help determine which substances remain legal and illegal on worldwide, went even further by suggesting CBD oil deserves further scientific research because of its incredible potential:
“There is also evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” noted the ECCD. … The “diverse” range of conditions for which CBD has been considered by scientists as a possible treatment is “consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia [controlling the flow of oxygen], anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic [pain relieving], anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-tumor properties.”
Although the WHO still considers psychoactive cannabis to be a dangerous drug without medical benefits, we were pleased to see that the committee will be reevaluating other cannabinoids, and the plant as a whole next year.


Indiana CBD Illegal
The WHO’s support for legal CBD oil puts the global community at odds with some elements in the U.S. government that continue to fight against the legalization of hemp and cannabis. In late 2016, in a move that many hemp experts consider absurd, the DEA declared that CBD oil illegal. Industry advocates insist that various Congressional bills and legal precedents make CBD legal to extract from hemp and sell, and they’re ready to go to court to keep it available if necessary.
In general, individual CBD consumers have not been affected by these legal challenges and even the DEA admits that individual CBD users should be safe from prosecution. However, there were a few unfortunate and costly crackdowns against CBD vendors.
Indiana State Excise Police seized CBD products from dozens of stores in the state over the summer. A detailed investigation by the Indianapolis Star revealed that a law meant to legalize CBD for people with epilepsy had provided police with an excuse to crack down on CBD vendors, even though the law (unlike a similar one that just went into effect in Texas) doesn’t provide patients with a clear way to legally buy CBD.
Although the Indiana Attorney General later insisted that CBD is illegal, other state officials (and their dogs) vowed to resist, with lawmakers promising to revisit the issue in an upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly.


More states began their own hemp programs in 2017, or expanded existing programs to great success. Vote Hemp reported that the U.S. grew 23,346 acres of hemp in 2017, a significant increase from 2016’s total of just 9,770 acres. This growth is just the beginning, with Wisconsin among the latest to jump on the hemp legalization bandwagon and states like Pennsylvania promising to significantly increase the number of acres allowed in 2018.
top hemp news 2017
Hemp returned to the U.S. in a big way in 2014 after decades of prohibition, with the passage of that year’s Farm Bill, which re-legalized the growth and sales of hemp for research purposes. With hemp appearing on more and more farms of all sizes since then, this once-controversial plant has increasing support in Congress, even among some of the most conservative lawmakers. While the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bill to completely legalize hemp in the U.S., stalled in 2017, the fact that it had enthusiastic sponsorship by both Republicans and Democrats suggests it’s only a matter of time. John Ryan of Ananda Hemp agreed with us when we asked him about the bill in August:
“Whether this bill gets passed or not this is a growing movement, this is an unstoppable movement. We will get this stuff done whether it’s this …  bill or not. This plant will be legalized.”
Attitudes are changing in individuals too. With every person who tries CBD or another hemp product, and with each state that legalizes recreational or medicinal marijuana, more people realize that what was once called a “demon weed” is actually a miraculous crop that can help humanity.
Despite some dark moments over the past year, it seems like they’re great things ahead for this plant. We hope you’ll join us in nurturing America’s love affair with hemp in 2018.

Medicinal benefits of hemp

By Jeff Amrein
Source: medicalne

Kentucky has optimal growing conditions to cultivate hemp, state legislation favoring hemp-derived CBD.
What do cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, epilepsy, anxiety and sleep issues have in common? All have been included in the discussion of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as a natural treatment for these and other conditions.
Hemp-derived CBD oil is already legal according to the Agricultural Act of 2014. Yet, given hemp’s association to marijuana, some people are afraid to use it, concerned about the legal ramifications.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the CBD industry is projected to be a billion-dollar industry in the next three to five years, according to an article in Forbes. In her article, Debra Borchardt reports that hemp-derived CBD hit $170 million in 2016, and is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 55 percent over the next five years.
CBD is one of many cannabinoids found naturally in both marijuana and hemp plants. As more is learned, the medicinal benefits of CBD are very encouraging, with many CBD users seeing excellent results.
Until now, much of the CBD usage has been through the use of marijuana, however, marijuana’s dominant cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), causes a “high.” The appeal of industrial hempderived CBD is it provides all of the medicinal value of marijuana, except with no psychoactive reaction, as there are only traces of THC found in hemp.
How Hemp Works
The science behind cannabinoids, including CBD, is that they attach themselves to certain receptors in the body to produce their effects. The human body has two receptors for cannabinoids: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions and mood, thinking, appetite and memories, while CB2 receptors are common in the immune system and have an effect on inflammation and pain. Rather than acting on each receptor, it appears that CBD seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
One study, published by Wei Xiong, et al, in the Journal of  Experimental Medicine, reveals “systemic and intrathecal administration of cannabidiol (CBD), a major nonpsychoactive component of marijuana, and its modified derivatives significantly suppress chronic inf lammatory and neuropathic pain without causing apparent analgesic tolerance in rodents.
The appeal of industrial hemp-derived  CBD is it provides all of the medicinal value of marijuana, except with no psychoactive reaction, as there are only traces of THC found in hemp.
The cannabinoids significantly potentiate glycine currents in dorsal horn neurons in rat spinal cord slices. The analgesic potency of 11 structurally similar cannabinoids is positively correlated  with cannabinoid potentiation of the 3 GlyRs.
In contrast,  the cannabinoid analgesia is neither correlated with their binding affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors nor with their psychoactive side effects.”
Hemp in Kentucky
Increased research continues to quantify the benefits of CBD which will in turn lead to more consumer interest and use. The Midwest region, especially Kentucky, will benefit immensely from this growth. Certain states are already clarifying the legislation around hemp derived CBD as a legal treatment option.
With the clear state legislation favoring hemp-derived CBD, and having the optimal growing conditions to cultivate hemp, Kentucky is rapidly becoming the “Silicon Valley” of the hemp industry.
Hemp-derived CBD oil is already legal according to the Agricultural Act of 2014. Yet, given hemp’s association to marijuana, some people are afraid to use it, concerned about the legal ramifications.
This fear stymies consumer efforts to find pain relief from a natural alternative, and also thwarts what could be a booming new industry for Kentucky.
Senate Bill 218
SB 218 updated Kentucky law setting rules for hemp production in the state to:
– Outline the purpose of the industrial hemp research program.
– Establish industrial hemp license provisions.
– Establish industrial hemp research program requirements and license application procedures.
– Create the Industrial Hemp Advisory Board and establish its functions.

Lehigh University wants to be at forefront of hemp, pot's straight-laced sibling

By Andrew Wagaman

Geoff Whaling, president of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council, holds hemp seeds before planting on Lehigh University property in Upper Saucon Townsip in June. (APRIL GAMIZ / THE MORNING CALL)

If you believe the enthusiasts, industrial hemp could be the comeback story of our time — one worth tens of billions of dollars, maybe more, if only given a chance.

Potential mainstream uses abound for the plant, a primary cash crop as clothing, oil and rope from the time of Pennsylvania’s founding in 1681 to the mid-19th century but a casualty of the indiscriminate war on the cannabis plant. Just a sampling of the new uses: Beauty products. Car parts. Building materials and housing insulation. Energy storage devices for electronics. Pest resistance and weed suppression.

And seriously: It does not get you high.

Now, as legal and cultural barriers begin to fall, regional advocates are confronting perhaps the most difficult hurdle: developing from scratch the institutions and supply chain to sustain a stable market.

Thanks to the expanded parameters of a state-run hemp pilot program, Lehigh University, Jefferson University and the nonprofit Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council are exploring an ambitious partnership aimed at becoming a matrix for the nascent U.S. industry.

The research alliance — yet to be formalized, both universities emphasized — would seek a federal “center of excellence” designation, giving it first dibs on some pots of U.S. Department of Agriculture funding. It also hopes to establish a relationship with international companies that own the distinctive harvesting equipment and processing technology needed to develop a commercially viable market — which in turn could attract established businesses, entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in the industry but remain on the sidelines.

It could ultimately deliver an economic boon for the Lehigh Valley and southeastern Pennsylvania. Geoff Whaling, president of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and chairman of the National Hemp Association, led a coalition this month to Europe, where it made a business pitch to HempFlax, a multinational processing company in the Netherlands that has an eye on the U.S. market.

The company appreciated the holistic approach Lehigh and its partners are taking, said Cameron McCoy, assistant vice president of economic engagement at Lehigh. Rather than merely selling equipment, HempFlax could gain from the alliance’s research endeavors as well as its relationship with manufacturers in the region.

Whaling, of Berks County, said the company needs at least 3,000 acres of hemp to make an investment worthwhile. He’s hoping to get commitments from regional farmers by the Jan. 19 deadline for state pilot program research proposals to show that the alliance is more than just talk and can support a proposed industrial hemp research park in Upper Saucon Township.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am for Pennsylvania and its farmers,” Whaling said. “We have farmers with anywhere from two acres to 750 acres who have expressed interest, and the list keeps growing. But we are trying to move quickly.”

HempFlax did not respond to a request for comment.

Holistic approach to hemp

Industrial hemp is the straight-laced sibling of marijuana. Both come from the same fibrous cannabis plant, but hemp has a negligible amount of the psychoactive substance that gets you high — delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The market has grown despite continued legal constraints. Imports of hemp, seeds and fibers, used as ingredients or inputs for further manufacturing, reached nearly $78.2 million worth in 2015, up from $5.6 million in 2005, according to industry estimates cited in a 2017 U.S. Congressional Research Service report. Those imports contributed to U.S. retail sales of hemp products of nearly $600 million in 2015.

To understand the best possible future of industrial hemp, consider the petroleum refinery, says Ronald Kander, dean of Jefferson’s college of design, engineering and commerce, and associate provost of applied research.

Refineries are not built to process crude oil for a single use, such as gasoline — that wouldn’t be economically viable. Instead, crude oil is converted into numerous high- and medium-value products.

Refineries are massive capital investments, so investors need the ability to calculate the time and resources it will take to make a given product and how much value each given product will create.

For the hemp industry, this leads to somewhat of a chicken-and-egg problem. Before farmers commit to the larger-scale growth of hemp needed to underpin a commercial market, they need to know they can make money on the crop. That requires buyers.

Holistic research can help bridge the divide. Right now, Kander says, no institutions are taking a systematic approach to researching the relative values of products derived from hemp’s fiber, seed, stalk and hurd (the inner portion of the stalk).

“It’s an integration problem,” he said. “The hemp industry will only be successful if made in the vision of the refinery model.”

While hemp-derived products could theoretically serve as alternatives in dozens of industries, researchers want to figure out which applications make the most economic sense to develop, Kander said.

There are four key questions: Does the hemp-derived product actually outperform what’s currently used? Is it less expensive to produce? Is it more environmentally sustainable? Will the consumer look past hemp’s relationship to marijuana?

Kander thinks two affirmative answers are probably needed to make development worthwhile.

Jefferson, which recently merged with Philadelphia University, launched the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp last year thanks to a donation from an Australian banker, who also brought the industrial hemp company Ecofibre to Kentucky. Jefferson considers its expertise in medicine and applied research harmonious with Lehigh’s engineering strengths. Both have supply chain management programs.

Kander envisions the alliance as a gatekeeper and “point guard” of the industrial hemp research ecosystem. It would pre-vet other regional universities with complementary research specialties seeking the benefits of the “center of excellence” designation. As more businesses explore hemp’s innovative possibilities, they would turn to the Lehigh-Jefferson anchor directly for information or resources, or as a guide to the right expert.

Lehigh and the Hemp Industry Council partnered on three of the 16 approved hemp research projects statewide last year. The projects examined hemp's ability to remediate metal-heavy soils at sites where mining or other industrial activities occurred, antimicrobial compounds extracted from hemp and production of graphitic carbon nanosheets from hemp fiber.

Lehigh researchers once specialized in the supply chain of the steel industry because of its close relationship with Bethlehem Steel, and McCoy thinks the university has the right institutional assets, such as the ATLSS Engineering Research Center, to develop a leading role in the hemp industry.

The Lehigh Valley also is an attractive location to develop the hemp industry, McCoy said, because of its still-considerable farming capacity and for the same reasons the region has become a distribution hub: it’s a relatively short drive to many major markets.

The resurgence of its manufacturing sector and the growth of its food processing sector also present the opportunity for research and development collaborations down the road, Whaling said.

“There’s such potential to really utilize all the opportunities and industries in greater Lehigh Valley to do this,” Whaling said.
Legal progress

State and federal restrictions still need to change before the industry can thrive commercially.

Following the 2014 Farm Bill, the federal government permitted the cultivation of hemp for research, and some states have decided such research should include commercial endeavors. Farmers can grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes in at least 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Pennsylvania Legislature passed a law enabling a hemp pilot program in 2015, and the Wolf administration launched the program late last year. It decided not to allow cultivation for commercial purposes and limited research projects to five acres, provoking the ire of advocates like Whaling and some small-scale farmers who saw no economically viable way of growing the crop.

In 2018, general commercial activity remains prohibited, but the state now allows individuals to grow up to 100 acres of hemp and research cannabidiol (CBD), a molecular compound that won’t get you high but does have medicinal value. Perhaps the most promising change for the industry: Individual applicants who partner with institutions of higher education can grow as much as they want — well beyond the three acres of Upper Saucon land where Lehigh and the Hemp Industry Council planted seeds in June.

Fred Strathmeyer, the agriculture department’s deputy secretary for plant industry and consumer protection, said most program participants last year were satisfied with the five-acre limit because they wanted to “walk before they run.” But they listened to feedback from participants who felt the acreage limit constrained market research.

“We have now given them the platform they were looking for to build on their previous experiences and accomplish different tasks,” he said. “We are excited to see what comes of it.”

Legal barriers remain. The federal Controlled Substances Act still classifies hemp under its broad, archaic definition of marijuana as a drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. This complicates interstate commerce and blocks access to financial services.

But a proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, co-sponsored by three members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, would exempt hemp from CSA regulations. Rep. Ryan Costello, a Chester County Republican, said the bill is a commonsense measure supported by representatives across the ideological spectrum and will hopefully be adopted as part of the next Farm Bill, expected in 2018 or 2019.

Two other bills would ensure federal regulators don’t go after banks and other institutions providing financial services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses or, more narrowly, legitimate industrial hemp businesses.

“This is a totally noncontroversial issue but for the fact that people associate it with marijuana,” Costello said.


Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's new and expanded provisions:

Acreage: Individual applicants can grow up to 100 acres, up from a five-acre maximum in 2017. Applicants that partner with an institution of higher education on a coordinated research project have no acreage restriction.

CBD: Applicants can now conduct research projects related to the extraction or production of cannabidiol and other chemicals concentrated in the female flower of the cannabis plant. CBD is similar to THC but lacks its psychoactive effect. In other words, CBD can't get you high.

Administrative fee: $2,000, down from $3,000 last year.

Maximum permitted projects: 50, up from 30 last year.

Front Range Biosciences Is Growing Pesticide-Free Pot from Marijuana Tissue Cultures

by Madison Margolin

article image

MERRY JANE talked with CEO Dr. Jonathan Vaught about the biotech firm's “clean stock” program for cannabis plants.

Photos via Front Range Biosciences

California's new cannabis regulations mandate that all products pass pesticide testing, but that doesn't mean that every item on dispensary shelves this January will be up to par, yet. The legal adult-use (and medical) weed that goes on sale New Year’s Day will have been grown without the same standards that will be applied to cannabis cultivation moving forward. Earlier in 2017, for instance, KNBC-TV collected samples from 15 dispensaries throughout Southern California, and found that 93 percent of them tested positive for high levels of pesticides.

As California's cannabis market expands, the industry will need to take cues from other other agricultural markets to ensure product safety for consumers and to minimize environmental damages from pesticide use. Front Range Biosciences, a Colorado-based biotech firm, has developed a Clean Stock Program which embraces conventional agricultural technology to breed disease-free cannabis plants in a sterile environment (as opposed to growing cannabis clones from soil), with the hope of reducing the marijuana industry's reliance on pesticides.

MERRY JANE: Why don't you give us some background on the program?
Vaught: We work with both hemp and marijuana farmers, and there are two parts to our business. The first is our clean stock nursery program, where we use tissue culture to clean up [cannabis] genetics and produce baby plants for farmers or growers. Depending on the type of grower, it can be marijuana or hemp; indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, etc. The second part is about varietal development — genomics — a tool to create better plants that we can deliver through the clean stock program. We've been operational in Colorado for 16 months, and we're working on setting up our first facility in California. It's the first clean stock program in cannabis.

What does it mean to take cues from conventional agricultural practices?
When you look at other vegetatively propagated [commercial] plants, you have a mother and you clone from them. You do this with ornamental plants, potato stock, berries, certain types of herbs like mint, hops, bananas, pineapples, orchids; the list goes on. Tons of plants are propagated from clones. In all of those industries, they use tissue culture to produce those clones as part of a clean stock program — that's the take-home message. The way it works is you use tissue culture to clean up the plant. It's a labor-intensive, lengthy process that takes specialized protocols and recipes for [plant] media formulations. You take the plant and and isolate healthy material in tissue culture lab, [and then] you grow it up in the tissue culture lab. That's how we maintain sterile plants with no fungus or pests. They're eliminated as part of the process. The only way to completely eliminate all those pathogens from plant is to use tissue culture, then take them out, and now you have clean plants to propagate. You get many millions of plants that are clean and healthy and pest free. So that's really the foundation for what we do.

Does the process for this entail genetic modification or engineering?
No, not at all. So tissue culture is just a very specialized growing environment that doesn't include any modification of the genes. All we're doing is a cloning in a very specialized manner and in a very specialized environment — so we can maintain cleanliness, sterility, and the removal of any pathogens or pests.

So you're simply propagating existing strains through pesticide-free measures?
Yes, definitely. It's a specialized form of propagation through tissue culture.

Can you explain tissue culture propagation? Why does that breed disease-free plants?
It's simple: you think about a plant and you've got leaves and branches from stem. Each one of those points is a node. Where you have a new branch, we take small pieces of the plant — a piece of the stem, and maybe one or two nodes from a branch. It might only be a half-inch or an inch long, and we cut that little piece, take it through a washing process, and put it into a tissue culture vessel, which can be a number of different container types. Imagine something like a small tupperware container.

Then you have a media formulation — kind of like the same type of thing you might have if you were growing [cannabis] in a pot or hydroponic. It's basically a set of nutrients, salt, a little bit of food, and things the plant needs to survive. But the media in tissue culture is very specialized. It doesn't have pathogens or bacteria; it's a very specific set of compounds that are clean and purified. The plant [then] sits in there, in this tiny tupperware container, and that's why tissue culture [propagation] is such an effective method in terms of scaling, because it's so small. Think [about a] one inch plant [in] a small tupperware container or jar; you can put tens of thousands of plants in a small space in a single room that's eight by ten or fifteen (feet)! It's a very effective way to produce lots and lots of baby plants that are all disease and pest free in a small place where they are secure, healthy, and happy.

This doesn't mean that a cannabis plant grown from tissue culture is fully resistant to pests though, right?
When a plant has been stressed, [and] when it has been put through different environments that cause it to stress and expose it to pathogens early on in its life, it's much more susceptible to diseases down the road. A stronger, healthier plant, while it's not [fully] resistant, will show more resistance coming out of our clean stock program, as opposed to a traditional [soil-grown] plant infested with aphids, thrips, and mites. These are bugs and they actually carry pathogens like bacteria and even viruses. So they reside on all types of plants, and depending on the crop and type of pest, they definitely affect the plant’s health. If you have a traditional plant, or a plant that didn't come out of tissue culture, and was cloned from a mother plant that's sitting in a greenhouse or indoor growing facility, it will have pests present and some of those pests are microscopic. Now you take a clone from that plant and these same pests will also be on that clone. The plant has already started off on wrong foot.

How could this revolutionize or change the cannabis industry going forward?
It provides a whole new level of transparency, quality, reproducibility, and reliability to nursery plants in this industry. It's going to allow farmers and growers to start off on the right foot so they can grow healthier pants from the beginning. As long as they follow the rules and don't use any pesticides that are not allowed and they follow good growing practices, they'll be able to grow plants much more effectively that will be safer for consumers because they [will] use fewer pesticides. It will really help raise the bar for the industry.

More Medical Cannabis On The Horizon For Mexico

Terry LassitenazSource:

Medicinal cannabis in Mexico

It seems medical cannabis products containing higher levels of THC will soon be available in Mexico.
According to a report published on Riviera Maya News, the federal commissioner of COFEPRIS (Federal Committee for Protection from Sanitary Risks) has indicated cannabis-based medicine will be available in Mexico reasonably early next year.
Currently, cannabis medicines are limited to 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) maximum and individual permits have been required for importation of cannabidiol (CBD). Only several hundred permits have been issued to date and the program had been criticised for how restrictive it was.
A bill passed by Mexico’s Senate and Lower House of Congress late last year and earlier this year seeks to change this and reclassifies THC as “therapeutic”.
“The ruling eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those relating to the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes,” read part of a Congressional statement.
COFEPRIS Federal Commissioner Julio Sánchez Tepoz says after 30 days of the new law being registered in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), medical companies will be able to commence importing cannabis-based products.
However, the Riviera May News says President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was once opposed to medical cannabis, must still sign the bill into law – but various other sources state this already occurred in June.
What was published in June was a Presidential decree authorising the development of a framework for medical marijuana regulations, which states (translated):
“Article 235 Bis.- The Ministry of Health shall design and implement public policies that regulate the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and American or marijuana, among which is tetrahydrocannabinol, its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as how to regulate the research and national production of the same.”
The government is expected to complete approvals for the regulation of marijuana-based medicinal products in the first quarter of 2018.
Anything marijuana related is a particularly sensitive topic in Mexico where more than a hundred thousand people have been murdered in the past decade by Mexican drug cartels.