Located in Billerica, Mass., Agrify University, led by David Kessler, Agrify’s Chief Science Officer, and a team of industry experts, horticulturists and scientists, will provide participants with in-classroom, on-site and on-demand learning options. The immersive, multisensory curriculum will enable customers and growers to expand their knowledge of how to apply novel scientific research, interpret cultivation data and leverage Agrify’s technology to improve their indoor cannabis cultivation practices.
“The cultivation methods used by many operators have not evolved as quickly as the industry itself, and we see an opportunity to use the power of data and cutting-edge techniques to dramatically improve the quality and yields from indoor cultivation,” Kessler said. “Agrify University utilizes our vast cannabis research data sets and technological innovation to provide a curriculum that we believe will support the long-term growth of our industry. We’re proud to add this valuable resource to our comprehensive Agrify ecosystem, and we look forward to welcoming our first cohorts.”
In a Fireside Chat led by Cannabis Conference Digital Editor Eric Sandy, Mario will share his dynamic cannabis story—from his humble beginnings as an entrepreneur working from his garage to becoming a world-famous tastemaker and curator of high-quality genetics. He will discuss lessons learned along the way, from scaling his business in California to finding multi-state and retail partners, as well as recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in his business model. Mario will also share emerging trends in cannabis genetics, medical research, ‘seed-to-scale’ cultivation and much more.
The keynote will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 2:10 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. PT.
Mario has been a key player in the medical cannabis movement for more than 20 years, breeding and cultivating internationally renowned genetics like Pink Panties, Sunset Sherbert and the Gelato line. Mario, who recently joined the Board of Directors for the Minority Cannabis Business Association, says his desire to serve stems from his motivation to ensure that the next generation of minority cannabis business professionals have the assistance and guidance from other minorities that he wasn’t fortunate enough to have.
“It’s exciting to participate in an event that’s curated for us—people in plant-touching operations. As cultivators and retailers of cannabis, we uniquely understand the labor of love it is to grow this plant, and how important it is to work through industry challenges with the utmost integrity and the consumer top of mind,” Guzman said. “I’m looking forward to sharing stories from my own journey these past two decades, as well as connecting with others pushing the industry forward and becoming vehicles for change for communities of color.”
“Mario has the respect of his peers in the industry and has achieved such strong brand recognition—something every plant-touching cannabis business strives for. We are thrilled to have him as such a big part of the Cannabis Conference,” said Cannabis Conference Editorial Director Noelle Skodzinski. “He is a trailblazer who has not only persisted but thrived over two turbulent decades in the cannabis industry, and long-time cannabis businesses as well as newcomers to the industry have much to learn from his experiences and successes.”
However, New York state Sen. Jeremy A. Cooney introduced legislation July 20 to establish an "adult-use cultivator provisional license for cannabis growers," essentially speeding up the growing process.
According to a press release, the bill would permit farmers to plant, harvest and sell cannabis to retailers in New York until the OCM is fully operational. The measure also establishes the provisional infrastructure to allow growers to plant seeds by the 2022 growing season to prevent the economic benefits of cannabis legalization from being delayed another year, Cooney said.
"We passed adult-use recreational marijuana with the promise of investing in communities most negatively impacted by the failed war on drugs," he said. "This bill allows us to start fulfilling that promise by creating a supply chain of products for retailers in this new economy."
July 1, 2021, marked four years since Nevada launched its first adult-use cannabis sales, and the market has certainly seen its fair share of rapid growth and regulatory changes during that time, not to mention the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
From July 2017 to June 2018, the state saw $529,851,245 in taxable medical and adult-use cannabis sales, a figure that has steadily increased to $719,216,651 during the current fiscal year, which includes sales data from July 2020 to March 2021, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation.
Flexibility is the name of the game for cannabis operators looking to cash in on this rapidly growing market, according to Layke Martin, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association (NDA).
“I think this industry is ever-changing, and our owners know that and are prepared for that,” Martin told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “They’re flexible and ready to pivot.”
A new lawsuit in Utah is challenging the state’s 2019 medical cannabis cultivation licensing process.
JLPR LLC, one of the unsuccessful applicants for one of the state’s eight grower licenses, alleges in a July 19 filing that multistate operators had an unfair advantage and that state officials coached certain applicants on how to secure licenses, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) awarded eight cultivation licenses in 2019 in a process that the lawsuit says was marred with corruption as regulators allowed personal connections to influence the licensing process.
JLPR says that while only Utah-based companies were originally eligible for cultivation licenses, UDAF made a last-minute rule change that allowed out-of-state operators to apply for the licenses, and the lawsuit alleges that the out-of-state applicants knew about the impending rule change ahead of time, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The lawsuit points to the fact that four of the eight licenses went to multistate operators as proof.
JLPR also notes in its complaint that former UDAF Deputy Commissioner Scott Ericson left his position shortly before the application deadline and began working as a consultant for Ohio-based Standard Wellness, which ultimately secured one of the cultivation licenses, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Portland, OR -- PRESS RELEASE -- At a special commission meeting on July 19, 2021, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) approved temporary rules allowing the agency to work with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to begin field testing of hemp fields across Oregon; these tests are to determine if the grows are legitimate or illegal. The OLCC rules follow yesterday’s signature by Oregon Governor Kate Brown of House Bill 3000, which also establishes standards to prevent minors from purchasing intoxicating products derived from hemp.
The OLCC temporary rules establish a limit on the level of THC (the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana) that can be in a hemp-derived product. In addition, it creates methods for testing hemp in the field to distinguish between true hemp and marijuana.
This week, starting in southern Oregon, OLCC and ODA will begin to inspect registered hemp grow sites equipped with THC field testing units. “Our objective through the remainder of the summer and into the fall is to make sure that every field gets these tests done,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks.
There are four main components to H.B. 3000:Regulating cannabis intoxicantsCurbing illegal production of cannabisState program compliance with the 2018 Farm BillEstablishing a task force to address the regulation and marketing of growing cannabis in Oregon
Under the new law, sales of adult-use cannabis items to minors are immediately prohibited. Previously a form of THC, Delta-8-THC, could be produced from hemp and used to make products with higher potency levels than marijuana. However, Delta-8-THC was being sold outside Oregon’s regulated market and could be found at neighborhood convenience stores, where children could buy it. In January of 2022, the OLCC, ODA and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will set new potency and concentration limits for THC and other cannabis intoxicants in hemp products intended for sale to adults.
Within the concentrates category, solventless concentrates are growing rapidly.
“What we're seeing with solventless is that as markets mature, their consumer bases are starting to look for higher quality products and different product experiences,” PurePressure Director of Marketing Eric Vlosky says. “A lot of people end up landing on solventless as they get more educated about what goes into their cannabis. You're seeing it happen very quickly in mature markets, and then other markets are following suit.”
Based on January-to-January growth, from 2020 to 2021, BDS Analytics predicts that 2021 solventless sales could hit $62.5 million in California.
In Oregon, another more mature market, it’s the same story. Solventless sales raced skyward from $7.4 million in 2019 to $17.8 million in 2020 to an anticipated $30.6 million in 2021.
To some degree, the story of cannabis in the U.S. is still one of mature markets signaling consumer trends that will follow in other parts of the country. As California and Colorado go, so goes the rest of the U.S., often enough. That’s the case when it comes to genetics, new products (THC-infused beverages, let’s say) and broader market categories like solventless concentrates. The momentum is here.
“Live hash rosin is where most brands want to get to at the very beginning,” PurePressure Director of Marketing Eric Vlosky says. ”That's really where they want to start with solventless, unless you have a brand that is really focused on edibles or topicals and you don't do dabbable concentrates. For the vast majority of brands that we talk to and consult, it really comes down to: You want to make a high-quality hash rosin, which is made with fresh-frozen cannabis, and bring that to the market because that's going to be your highest margin product.”
Solventless concentrates are a rapidly growing category within the broader cannabis market. On dispensary shelves from more mature markets like California and Oregon to newer medical cannabis markets like Oklahoma and New York, customers and patients will find a variety of solventless products.
“A lot of the more advanced solventless brands that really put their name on the map with hash rosin early on started moving toward cartridges because they knew that it would enable them to expand their brand into a much bigger audience, because the number of people out there that will buy a vape cartridge and take it with them somewhere is quite a bit bigger than in the market that will take dabs, necessarily,” Vlosky says.
As consumer sophistication develops, the market broadens itself considerably. Because solventless extraction retains the chemical nuances of the original cannabis plant material, it’s an intriguing option for customers seeking something more focused to their tastes. And, increasingly, because retail staffers tend to be themselves sophisticated consumers, the educational engagement around these products on the sales floor is eager and in-depth.
That’s what makes the hash rosin vape cart such a prized end goal: Outside of flower itself, the vape cart is one of the most ubiquitous SKUs on the market. A solventless approach to that category is something that connoisseur customers want.
Cannabis is not something that security officers are looking for when they screen or pat down passengers, or search their luggage for contraband, at Albany International and surrounding upstate airports, Times Union reported. Rather, cannabis is something TSA agents sometimes find while conducting their security duties.
Bart R. Johnson, a former New York State Police colonel who is the federal security director at the Department of Homeland Security-TSA for 15 regional airports, including Albany International, told the daily newspaper, “We don’t seize it. We just look for threats—explosives, knives, guns; we don’t look for illegally possessed narcotics. When we notice something suspicious on a pat-down or something like that, and then we discover that it’s marijuana … so we’re looking to see if it’s a threat. … If it turns out to be something that appears to be an illegal substance, we notify law enforcement.”
Earlier this year, the New York Legislature legalized adult-use cannabis through passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law March 31. The act allows adults 21 years and older to possess up 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, whose department patrols the airports in its jurisdiction, told Union Times that his deputies are no longer issuing tickets or making arrests if TSA officials call them to a security checkpoint and they find a traveler in possession of a state-legal amount of cannabis.
While local law enforcement is no longer seizing cannabis, nor punishing or taking travelers into custody for state-legal possession amounts, TSA agents are still required by federal law to notify the appropriate agency when they discovery what appears to be a federally illegal substance, according to the daily newspaper.]]>
Sozo Illinois, Inc., whose parent company operates vertically integrated cannabis operations in Michigan, has sued Illinois over the state’s revised cannabis licensing regulations, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled July 15.
Under the revised licensing plan, Illinois will hold a series of lotteries in late July and early August to award 185 new cannabis dispensary licenses to social equity applicants.
The new licensing rules give priority to social equity applicants who are majority-owned by people from communities deemed disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, which deviates from the state’s initial regulations that allowed applicants to commit to hiring a certain number of employees from these communities.
In its lawsuit, Sozo said that it structured its business and prepared its application under the initial rules that allowed the company to qualify for a license by employing a certain number of individuals from disadvantaged communities, and argued the change in regulations has now made it impossible for Sozo to qualify for a license.
Sozo alleges in its complaint that Illinois’ new rules discriminate against out-of-state operators and violate the commerce, due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, according to a Law 360 report. The company is seeking a temporary restraining order, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions that prevent the state from moving forward with its latest licensing plan.
The New Mexico cannabis industry is watching closely as the state’s new regulator works through its rulemaking process to have regulations in place for adult-use sales to launch April 1, 2022.
The Cannabis Regulation Act, which cleared the New Mexico Legislature and received Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature this past spring, became effective June 29 and allows adults 21 and older to possess 2 ounces of cannabis flower, 16 grams of cannabis extract and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis. Adults may also grow up to six plants at home for personal use, with a maximum of 12 plants per household, and cannabis odor and cannabis containers can no longer be used as probable cause for law enforcement to stop, detain or search a person.
The law also includes additional social justice and social equity provisions, such as automatic expungement and specific language that instructs the state to develop a plan to encourage and promote equity in the industry.
“There’s language in there to make sure that people who were formerly incarcerated and who had charges for cannabis-related offenses are able to participate in the new marketplace,” said Emily Kaltenbach, senior director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We don’t want those individuals to be left out.”
New Mexico’s adult-use cannabis law also created the Cannabis Control Division to regulate and oversee the state’s medical and adult-use cannabis markets. The division published its first round of rules on June 29 and kicked off a public comment period to receive feedback on the proposed regulations. Regulators are currently revising the rules based on the comments received and will hold another hearing Aug. 6.
NuWu Cannabis Marketplace opened as the world’s largest legal cannabis store back in 2017, just months after Nevada launched its adult-use market. By the time Anderson took the reins from former chairmen Benny Tso and Chris Spotted Eagle in 2019, NuWu and the recently opened NuWu North were bona fide cash cows—landing the tribe some $4 million in sales each month and funding medical care, scholarships and a host of other benefits for its 62 local members.
The dispensaries helped the tribe get featured front-and-center across marijuana publications and international mainstream media outlets. When Anderson took over, the Paiutes were just opening their own tasting lounge and had plans for a massive cannabis dayclub-style pool venue—complete with thumping DJs, bottle service and all the swimsuit-clad young-20s staffers you could imagine.
“NuWu was already an empire by then,” he said. “And the sky was the limit for us.”
Almost as soon as the veteran chairman stepped back into the tribe’s top position, though, he ran into a challenge nobody could have foreseen.
Feeling Out the Virus
According to DCist, Jones said the House of Delegates would introduce the legislation to legalize recreational cannabis early next year, putting it on the 2022 general election ballot.
Additionally, Jones also announced that she is forming a 10-person group to establish legal adult-use cannabis sales regulations if voters pass the measure, DCist reported. The 10-person group will also be responsible for the licensing and overseeing expungement for previous cannabis convictions, equitable ownership in cannabis businesses, and cannabis sales and production.
Earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers failed to pass an adult-use legalization bill, but adding the measure to the 2022 general election would bypass the state legislature and allow the law to go into effect through just the public’s vote, DCist reported.
While Jones expressed concerns about cannabis use amongst young children and adults, she says she recognizes that the criminalization of Black people for cannabis convictions is a significant issue that needs attention, according to DCist.
“The disparate criminal justice impact leads me to believe that the voters should have a say in the future of legalization,” Jones said. “The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters, but we need to start looking at changes needed to State law now.”]]>
The methods and cultural practices of customers have rapidly evolved in recent years. The fact is, growers have never achieved higher yields or been more efficient.
To support the increased growth and changes in methods, General Hydroponics' nutrient feed recommendations have also evolved. The latest feedcharts are more versatile, scalable and customizable than ever before.
Each of the new charts now features three nutrient tiers, designed for growers of all skill levels, with optimized nutrient delivery for each nutrient tier to ensure maximum performance and nutrient balance.
Base Nutrient line
+ Pro Performance Pack
“Cultivators are borrowing from conventional horticulture and agronomics, and learning to be more efficient,” says Ian Bateman, who works in professional technical services at Hawthorne Gardening Company’s Horticulture Division. “[Hydroponics] is a highly efficient way to grow crops. That, along with advances in lighting and tech, is why yields are up so much.”
Growing hydroponically using a soilless medium and relying on water to deliver nutrients helps cultivators control their irrigation and nutrient delivery more effectively and avoid some of the most common setbacks of new cultivators, Bateman says. When setting up a hydroponic system, there are choices growers can make to increase success, and it’s not a matter of “set and forget.” Here, Bateman shares his top tips for getting the most out of hydroponic systems.
1. Install a fertigation system.
A fertigation system is essential and standard when growing hydroponically, as nutrients are delivered via water, which gives growers much more control than when working with soil, Bateman says.
“Your nutrients are instantly available, and you can change them right away,” he says. “So, let’s say you are unhappy with the feed solution or recipe that you are using. The very next time you irrigate, you can theoretically change it and fix that problem right away.”
"Virginia is committed to legalizing cannabis the right way—by learning from other states, by listening to public health and safety experts and by centering social equity," Northam said. "There is a tremendous amount of work ahead to establish an adult-use marijuana market in our Commonwealth, and I am proud to appoint these talented Virginians who will bring diverse backgrounds, an incredible depth of expertise, and a shared commitment to public service to this important effort."
Information about each of the boards and the Governor's appointments can be found below. Answers to frequently asked questions are available at cannabis.virginia.gov.
CANNABIS CONTROL AUTHORITY
The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) is the regulatory agency for the legal cannabis market in Virginia. The CCA is led by a five-member Board of Directors responsible for the creation of the adult-use marketplace for cannabis and is statutorily vested with control of the regulated sale, transportation and distribution of cannabis and cannabis products in the Commonwealth. In the coming years, the Board will work to create a fair and equitable regulatory structure and provide critical guidance to the CCA's staff as they work to develop a workforce, establish regulations, and ensure that marijuana legalization accomplishes the health, safety, and equity goals established by law. Board members cannot have financial interests in the cannabis industry. The enacted legislation authorizes the Governor to appoint all five members of the Board.
"The diverse range of backgrounds and expertise will provide critical perspectives to the Cannabis Control Authority and the important work that is ahead," said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Brian J. Moran. "I look forward to working with the board members as we begin this process."
The proposal came after law enforcement seized $1.2 billion of illegal cannabis in Southern California.
According to a news article posted on Hahn's website, the Board enacted the ban following the passage of Proposition 64, the "Adult Use Marijuana Act," in 2018; however, the ban was intended to be temporary until proper regulations were established.
When California passed Proposition 64, the Board established the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) who assembled a 'Working Group' to provide recommendations on how to regulate cannabis in unincorporated areas in LA County, according to the article.
Following assessment, the Working Group provided 64 recommendations to the Board on regulating cannabis in unincorporated areas, but the Board did not take any action.
At the time, Hahn said the Board did not remove the ban because there were too many uncertainties; however, three years later, the Board has agreed to revisit the recommendations report provided by the Working Group, the article states.
After the COVID-19 pandemic derailed efforts to place an adult-use cannabis legalization initiative on Missouri’s 2020 ballot, at least two groups are working to put the issue before voters in the 2022 election.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Legal Missouri 2022, formerly known as Missourians for a New Approach, the group behind the unsuccessful push to qualify a legalization initiative for the 2020 ballot, plans to file a new ballot question soon, while a separate coalition known as Fair Access Missouri filed multiple versions of its ballot question with the secretary of state’s office last week.
Both ballot questions will need approval from the state’s attorney general, and would then go to a public comment period before the groups behind the efforts could set to work gathering the roughly 171,000 signatures needed to qualify the initiatives for the ballot, according to a KSHB report.
Just over two years later, Small-Howard, who was promoted to president of the Las-Vegas company in June, is close to her goal.
GB Sciences has completed animal studies on a treatment for Parkinson’s disease and is finalizing another animal trial of a slow-release, cannabis-based pain medication that Small-Howard calls a “game-changer” for people suffering from chronic pain. The next step is to get FDA approval on human trials, which Small-Howard hopes will be in 2022 for the Parkinson’s formulation and shortly thereafter for the pain management drug.
She also co-invented a “drug discovery platform” using artificial intelligence (AI) that is programmed to identify novel, plant-based formulations to treat multiple symptoms of conditions. The company is using the proprietary technology, known as “Phytomedical Analytics for Research Optimization at Scale,” or PhAROS, to expedite plant-based medicines that contain a combination of active ingredients and get them to market sooner.
"The PhAROS platform is a new version of the software that we developed earlier when we were exclusively studying cannabis-derived mixtures," Small-Howard said.
Then, this past week, the senators unveiled their proposal. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act builds on earlier attempts at wholesale reform (The Marijuana Justice Act, The MORE Act) by combining a hands-off, back-to-the-states policy on regulation with a high-stakes insistence on diversity and social equity across this industry. It will be imperative, the senators suggested, for any legislation coming out of Congress to deal with the problems of the war on drugs head-on.
It remains to be seen whether the senatorial trio’s colleagues will get the message.
That said, we’ve rounded up some of the key cannabis headlines from the week right here.The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act has arrived in Washington, D.C. What now? Read more “More than 400 law enforcement personnel from city, county, state and federal agencies seized $1.2 billion of illegal cannabis harvests and plants in Southern California during a 10-day eradication operation resulting in 131 arrests last month.” Associate Editor Tony Lange has the story. Read more Senior Digital Editor Melissa Schiller reports on the opening of Planet 13’s Santa Ana, Calif., dispensary. Read more Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced July 15 that a series of lotteries to award the licenses are planned for later this month and August. Read more U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen has led a group of her colleagues to submit a letter to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee requesting that cannabis businesses gain access to Small Business Administration loans. Read more
And elsewhere on the web, here are the stories we’ve been reading this week:CBS4Local: Las Crusces, N.M., residents “will have multiple opportunities to weigh in on how the City of Las Cruces will manage land use and zoning related to cannabis growers and retailers now that the New Mexico Legislature has legalized cannabis for recreational use.” Read more OPB: “Sen. Ron Wyden looks to Oregon’s cannabis industry to lead the way in showing the rest of the nation what ‘cannabis common sense’ looks like. Read more
NBC News: “Women are turning to cannabis in droves, constituting 59 percent of new cannabis users in 2020, according to research conducted by Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research company.” Read more WKBW: “The city of Jamestown is launching a new initiative aimed at bringing the commercial cannabis business into the city and it could generate millions of dollars in tax revenues.” Read more Santa Monica Mirror: CPC Compassion Inc plans to open the first medical cannabis dispensary in Santa Monica in December 2021 if approved by the Planning Commission. Read more ]]>