CannTrust Holdings Inc.’s licenses to produce and sell cannabis were suspended Tuesday by Health Canada, the latest setback for the pot firm which has been under investigation by regulators for cultivation in unlicensed rooms. The Vaughan, Ont.-based company said it received a notice of licence suspension from the federal regulator indicating its authority to produce cannabis, other than cultivating […]
Legal recreational cannabis sales begin on New Year’s Day in Illinois for everyone 21 and over. Just in time to help work off that likely hangover. But if you try to find a recreational dispensary in downtown Chicago, you might be out of luck. On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled a set of zoning rules laying out where dispensaries will be allowed to open their doors. And those zoning rules include an area, right in the heart of downtown Chicago, where no dispensaries will be able to set up shop.
Proponents of the zoning proposal say it ensures equal geographic distribution of retail cannabis shops, so no one area becomes too concentrated or reaps all the benefits of legalization. Those opposed to the plan to block dispensaries from downtown Chicago say the zoning restrictions will cost the city needed revenue.
Dispensary “Exclusion Zone” Includes Popular Tourist Destinations and Consumer Areas
The city of Chicago is preparing for legal retail to begin on January 1, 2020. And part of those preparations includes setting up regulatory measures to “establish the safe and responsible implementation of legalized cannabis next year,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. And the first step in the process has been determining how many dispensaries to approve and where to locate them.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s cannabis dispensary zoning plan would divvy Chicago up into seven zones, and each zone would get seven dispensaries. In May, the dispensary limit will double, allowing each zone to have 14 dispensaries. City officials are working to distribute each zone’s dispensaries evenly with distancing requirements. They’re also keeping them away from schools and residential districts.
But Lightfoot’s plan also includes an “exclusion zone” where retail cannabis shops would not be permitted. The no-dispensary area is right in the middle of the downtown’s central business district, and includes much of the Loop and the Magnificent Mile. The densely commercial area is a top destination for tourists and visitors, a fact that has made the area attractive real estate for cannabis companies.
But Mayor Lightfoot and city officials behind the zoning proposal say that the high-traffic central corridor isn’t the best spot for selling legal weed. “This is about inclusive, equitable growth of a new industry,” said Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development. “From a public safety standpoint as the industry develops, it was best to exclude that from operations.”
Blocking Dispensaries Could Cut Chicago Out of Cannabis Revenue
But Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, along many in the cannabis industry, worry that the exclusion zone will cause the city to lose out on an important revenue opportunity. “In order for this to be a successful revenue play for the city, we have to have some dispensaries located downtown,” Reilly told the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Lightfoot’s zoning proposal has already garnered praise from groups advocating for inclusiveness and equity in Illinois’ emerging legal cannabis industry. Even cannabis business owners and industry spokespersons recognize the need to support economic and neighborhood development, especially given how extensively the war on drugs has ravaged Chicago communities.
Still, companies that had eyed downtown Chicago’s critical mass of consumers would like to see some tweaking to the plan to allow dispensaries closer to the downtown core. Lightfoot’s zoning proposal still has to clear City Council. And even if it gets through, downtown visitors and residents in the dispensary exclusion zone won’t have to walk far to find a place to legally purchase cannabis. And come next May, they’ll have twice as many options.
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LGBTQ women consume
more cannabis than straight women do, according to a recent study.
Published in the
journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence
last month, the study dives into the differences in how
frequently lesbian, gay, and bisexual people consume pot. This study is one of
the first to explore the weed habits of the LGBTQ community versus straight
people. It relies on data from the 2015-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and
Health—which includes information from 126,463 individuals—to reach its
conclusions. The authors, who hail from the Columbia Univesity Mailman School
of Public Health, divided the survey’s data by gender and sexuality. The
findings speak for themselves.
While about 10
percent of straight women surveyed used cannabis in the last year, about 40
percent of women did the same. Lesbian women didn’t seem to smoke as much
cannabis as bisexual women, but they still consumed more than double that of
straight women: 26 percent. If you look at daily use, the percentage of use
among all women decreased significantly, but bisexual women still consume the most.
The same goes for medical cannabis use. The study found similar trends among
gay men. Bisexual and gay men used cannabis in the last year nearly twice the
rate that straight men did, per the study.
“We further extended
these findings to estimate daily/near-daily prevalence, which
was seven times higher among bisexual women than heterosexual women and 2.3
times as high for bisexual men compared to heterosexual men,” said senior
author Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia
University, in a press release.
The study looks at this usage to analyze “marijuana use disorder” specifically, noting that the LGBTQ community may be self-medicating the stress that comes with the stigma of, well, not being straight with cannabis in states where medical laws don’t yet exist. Bisexual women, in particular, may be impacted by medical cannabis laws given their high usage of the plant.
“Our results support
existing literature by demonstrating that bisexual women have higher marijuana
use disorder compared to heterosexual women,” said study author Morgan Philbin,
an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia, in a press
release. “This is part of a larger health burden, as bisexual women are twice
as likely to have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders yet
often have little contact with service providers.”
Bisexual women do suffer high mental health and substance
abuse rates, but cannabis is a much smaller threat than, say, prescription
drugs or alcohol, which can lead to actual overdoses. The study also doesn’t
include any information on transgender individuals, who are among the most
at-risk within the LGBTQ community. Further research on this population could
better help inform these findings. Plus, people can always lie when they answer
Could it be that fewer
straight men and women are being honest about their love of pot?
While this study
helps us better understand how different members of our society are exploring
with cannabis, it does appear to raise the alarm about something that may be a
non-issue. It doesn’t try to find out whether there’s any actual dependence on
cannabis yet describes the usage as a disorder.
When members of the
LGBTQ community are suffering deaths at the hands of violence and drugs that
can actually kill, alarmist language around the smoking of a joint or ripping
of a bong feels strangely inappropriate.
The post LGBTQ Women Consume More Cannabis Than Straight Women, Study Shows appeared first on Green Rush Daily.
Law enforcement agencies in Colorado have been cracking down on illegal cannabis activities in the state. Over the course of the summer, authorities in a handful of Colorado counties ended up arresting several individuals and seizing loads of illegal cannabis plants. All told, well over $5 million worth of illicit market cannabis was seized and destroyed.
Authorities Discover Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites
According to a news release from law enforcement in Colorado and as reported by The Denver Post, the crackdown started in at the very beginning of the summer.
Specifically, on May 26, a rancher called the Otero Sheriff’s Office to report that somebody had shot a gun at his 13-year-old son. The rancher’s son was reportedly rounding up the man’s cattle. At the time, the cows were grazing on county land being leased by the rancher.
It turns out, the shooting happened near a suspected illegal marijuana grow operation. And when authorities went to investigate the shooting, they eventually found the site.
By the time the shooting investigation ended, deputies in Otero County found two grow houses. Additionally, they made a number of arrests. Specifically, they busted four men.
Currently, the men are being held in jail. And each has a $50,000 bail. According to local reports, the men are being investigated for drug cultivation and distribution charges.
Scaling Up a Full-Blown Crackdown
From there, law enforcement dramatically ramped up their focus on illegal marijuana grow sites. So much so, in fact, that the dragnet eventually included agents from at least five separate counties.
All told, these investigations led to some massive busts. As summarized by The Denver Post, here’s what authorities cracked down on this summer:
- Agents busted 40 illegal marijuana grow sites.
- Law enforcement agents seized and destroyed almost 6,000 individual cannabis plants.
- All told, the plants that were seized and destroyed amounted to $5.8 million.
- Cops and sheriff’s department agents also seized six guns.
- And finally, law enforcement agents made five arrests. This includes the four who were linked to the original shooting incident, and one other person caught up in the busts later on. The man busted in this fifth arrest is being investigated for drug cultivation charges. He was released after paying $45,000 bond.
In addition to the thousands of cannabis plants destroyed by law enforcement, there were between 5,000 and 15,000 more plants that were seized but not destroyed.
That’s because these plants were reportedly sprayed with a potentially toxic pesticide. As a result, authorities will not destroy these plants until they have been fully inspected by environmental experts.
Illegal Markets Exist—Even in the Age of Legalization
As evidenced by these busts, the illegal cannabis market continues to thrive, even as more and more places legalize marijuana. And Colorado isn’t the only weed-legal state that has seen crackdowns on illegal activities.
In fact, a recent report found that California’s illicit cannabis market is three times larger than the regulated industry. All told, the report said that California has nearly 3,000 unlicensed dispensaries, compared to roughly 900 fully licensed, legal, and regulated ones.
Similarly, a different investigation found that California is being flooded with counterfeit cannabis vapes. This discovery adds to concerns over the recent spate of deaths linked to vaping.
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