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Culps Cuts Washington Budtenders Life Short

Bad things happen to good people.

46 year old Cameron Smith was working at the Lucid Marijuana store on Friday when Donovan Culps happened. At about 12:45 p.m. Smith was taking a lunch break when his world came crashing down. Initially thought to be a kidnapping victim, Smiths body was found just off State Route 904 west of Cheney, near Four Lakes, on Sept. 15 around 3 p.m.
The whole incident started when a white truck pulled into the Lucid parking lot carrying three people. Two people, a man and a woman, exited the vehicle and entered the Washington dispensary. The man later identified as Donovan Culps had no ID but the woman did. Unfortunately for Violetta Culps, she was only 18 and considered underage to purchase cannabis. So both were refused service.
Surveillance footage revealed the details of what happened next. Both suspects left the store and reentered their truck. The tapes then showed 36-year-old Donovan grabbing a gun from his truck, walking over to Cameron Smith’s vehicle, pointing it at Smith and firing twice. Culps then entered the SUV and drove off. At this point, his niece Violetta Culps drove the truck they had arrived in after her uncle.

It took a while to put the pieces together.

Employees reported hearing the shots, but nobody knew what they were at the time. According to Lucid’s general manager Stacia Shirley, “Nobody really saw it transpire,”. When employees realized Smith was missing, they reviewed the footage and called the police.
Initially, Smiths condition was unknown. There was no way to determine if Smith had survived the assault from the tapes. So police declared him abducted and began searching for the perpetrators.
It was at this time that they discovered that the truck the Culps had arrived in was stolen as well. So police began tracking his cell phone. The authorities traced the signal to Airway Heights where Police found Smiths abandoned car.

It took a couple days for Smiths friends and family to find closure.

culps victim
Smith’s body was discovered shortly after by Spokane County Rescue just off State Route 904 west of Cheney. Authorities say the body was concealed in heavy cover just south of his vehicle. They informed his family and co-workers of their findings and gave them some time before making a public statement.
But Donovan Culps couldn’t handle what he had done. In a despondent Facebook post, Donovan essentially confessed to killing and claimed the other suspects were not involved. He also claimed to be ready for police who he claimed had a “shoot to kill warrant”.
Unlike the unarmed Trevon Martin, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Michael Brown and many others, Culps was apprehended alive. Police caught up with Culps 240 miles south of Cheney, near the Washington-Oregon border after a short chase.

Some of the suspects are in custody.

After a short chase that ended with Culps crashing into a tree, he was booked into the Klickitat County Jail. Initially the charges were first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery. But after the body was discovered, the charges upgraded to include first-degree murder.
Law enforcement also discovered that the third person in the car was 18 year-old Alisha Jackson. Police took her into custody on separate charges before discovering her presence in the abduction/murder. Alisha now faces federal charges for failing to report a felony in addition to her initial charges.
Unfortunately for the friends, family and co-workers of Cameron Smith, the third suspect remains at large. Violetta Culps managed to elude authorities so far but police claim to be closing in. The FBI offered to assist in the case but is not part of the overall investigation.

People are taking note and trying to help.

Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesman with the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, said the agency was monitoring the incident. But he was quick to state that any investigation is the job of local law enforcement.
When questioned about similar incidents in the past, Carpenter said that there are reports of armed robberies at cannabis retailers throughout the state. But he didn’t know of any reported abductions at state-licensed stores. Although that news came as little comfort for the Lucid team or Smiths family.
Lucid recently set up a GoFundMe campaign to support Smith’s family. The main goal is to help cover funeral costs. But Lucid also wants the community to consider Cameron for the DOPE Industry Awards’ Budtender of the Year. According to Shirley, “It’s what he lived for and what he strived for, and now we’re trying to get him nominated.”

What do you think should happen to Culps? How does this make you feel? Do you think this tragedy could have been avoided? How would you react if it was your family or friend? Let us know in the comments!

MEDS Act Sponsored By Senator Hatch

MEDS Act Sponsored by Senator Hatch

Senator Hatch Introduces the MEDS Act.

The Marijuana Effectiveness Drug Study Act (MEDS Act) was just sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah. If you have ever been to Utah, you might know that it is a highly religious state. The Mormon temples are proudly displayed and most stores are closed on Sunday. So it comes as no surprise that Senator Hatch is a dedicated Mormon.
But the Senator isn’t a blind follower. He sees the damage that opioid addiction causes and the good that cannabis can do. Especially as the U.S. grapples with spikes in teen overdose deaths rates. And the opioid crisis is causing a significant drop in U.S. labor force participation—particularly among American men. And Senator Hatch wants to stop it.
But the problem is bigger than just one state. The entire nation seems under the oppressive whip of opioid addiction. If you aren’t struggling with opioids, chances are you know someone who is. And most of them got hooked by their doctors.
Trump even declared the opioid crisis a national emergency and seeks solutions that will appease his base and his face. But Trump has yet to put forth a comprehensive sentence, much less a policy directing the nation on how to handle cannabis. And Hatch is much more pragmatic about his approach to dealing with this sensitive and rampant issue.

Senator Hatch has a plan for how to fight the opioid crisis.

Youtube Bong
As part of his plan to combat the opioid epidemic, Hatch introduced the Marijuana Effectiveness Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS Act). The speech he gave during the introduction Wednesday, he couldn’t help but sneak in some weed puns.
He started his speech by saying “Mr. President, it’s high time to address research into medical marijuana. Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana.”
Hatch wore his religion on his sleeve but showed his willingness to compromise when he said “it will surprise no one that I am strongly against the use of recreational marijuana. I worry, however, that in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis.”

He feels cannabis is a powerful ally in the fight.

Senator Hatch sees red tape as the big problem with cannabis today. He explained that there are no federal quality controls for marijuana-based medications. The MEDS Act would remedy that and establish standards for growing medicinal marijuana.
Bureaucratic red tape surrounding safety and efficacy prevent the kind of “rigorous scientific evidence” Hatch feels is still needed. He understands that there are many unique and powerful compounds in the cannabis plant. And the MEDS Act is his attempt at stimulating research into the potential of cannabis.
Like most of us, it took Senator Hatch a personal encounter to come around to cannabis. When a friend was faced with the choice between using weed and getting a risky brain operation, Hatch realized how important research into cannabis is.

Hatch isn’t a hippy.

He was quick to clarify that he wasn’t going to be advocating recreational consumption though. His very next words were “While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better. And I believe, Mr. President, that we would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Senator Hatch wants to encourage research into potential medical uses for marijuana. The plan involves streamlining the research registration process. The goal is to make marijuana more available to the scientific and medical research communities.

The MEDS Act will make an impact if it passes.

marijuana grow
Ideally, the bill will sail through both houses, get signed into law and become a new foundational piece of legislation moving forward. But that seems like a pipe dream. There is plenty of cannabis reform legislation making the rounds right now and none of it has much support.
More likely, it will suffer the same fate as the other pro-cannabis legislation making the rounds in congress. Bills like the Compassionate Care Act and the Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act couldn’t find the support they needed to move forward.
These bills are stuck in a state of limbo, dead on the floor and unable to pass on. Mainly because there isn’t enough support to pass them or even to get them to a vote. This effectively makes them zombie legislation with little hope of actually passing.

Senator Hatch wants to do things right.

Smoke Sessions
The MEDS Act encourages commercial production of FDA-approved drugs derived from marijuana. It would also put pressure on the Attorney General (AG) to increase the national marijuana quota in a timely manner. It would do this by requiring the AG meet the nations changing medical, scientific and industrial needs for marijuana.
The bill would also include certain protections against abuse as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) would then have to develop and publish recommendations and best practices. These would include how to grow and produce marijuana for research.
But there is still a long road ahead. Even if the bill gets passed, there will be many edits, re-writes and last minute additions. Political opponents will try to dismantle the important protections and stall it out like past bills. It’s hard to tell how far this one will go. But we can at least hope it goes all the way.

What do you think about Senator Hatch and the MEDS Act? Do you think it will become law? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

Charities Refuse Cannabis Contributions

Charities occupy a special place in modern society.

Charities function like a corporation but they are very different. They are an institutional mechanism for people and groups to affect change. They can be local, national or international organizations and often work closely with governments.

Governments even subsidize certain charities, demanding strict adherence to rules and regulations in exchange for massive amounts of money and tax write-offs. But individuals can also give money. Some mega-donors can give over $100 million at a time.

Unlike corporations or government agencies, charities can be motivated by religious, social, political or economic goals or any combination of the above. They can be organized around an idea like stopping cancer or around a person like Hillary Clinton.

But charities have a few limits on what they can do and why.

Charities function as non-profit companies with many working internationally. These international organizations rely on government assistance to achieve their goal. This can be simple like providing permits or incredibly complex like hurricane relief efforts.

 There are some Organizations like the Unicorn Children’s Foundation or the Children’s Hospital Foundation that work exclusively with children. Most rely on a few wealthy donors to keep things going while most small donations make up any shortfalls. So keeping those big donors happy is a high priority.

If the charity gets publicly shamed, big donors can pull their support almost instantly. This makes charities very cautious about alienating their biggest supporters. It also means they may turn away help because of where it comes from.

Not all help is the same.

Imagine you ran a multi-million dollar organization with 100 employees. Money is always tight but one donor provided 50% of the income needed to run the organization for a year. That donor is all about the cause and wants to help but loathes cannabis.

Now imagine that a local dispensary wants to donate a few hundred dollars to your charity. You know that if your big donor finds out you took the money, they will withdraw their support. That means ripping the carpet out from under 100 employees, their families, and likely having to close the doors. What do you do?

Would you risk losing the large donor? Would you try to hide where the money came from? Or would you refuse the money? What if the small donor was a black-market meth dealer? There is no right or wrong answer but there are clear winners and losers.

This is a real problem for the weed industry.


As cannabis moves from the black market into the grey market, charities are having to make a choice more and more. Do they accept the grey-money from cannabis or do they protect their current arrangements? Depending on who governs the board, that answer may change.

Politically conservative or highly religious individuals tend to regard cannabis as a negative. Organizations with these types of individuals will resist cannabis far past the point of legality. Many feel a religious mandate to prevent cannabis from moving forward.

Even if most of the individuals in an organization have no qualms about where a specific donation comes from, they still have to remain in the good graces of their main contributors. This is especially true when the organization receives federal money like the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Wounded Warriors (WW).

It usually comes down to federal law.

Since cannabis is still federally illegal, organizations that require federal assistance cannot risk accepting questionable money. Even if the money is legit, each organization needs to take a good hard look at itself before it can accept contributions from cannabis companies.

Those of us in the industry understand the threat that Attorney General Sessions poses to the movement. We looked at the state of cannabis and decided to add our effort to the cause despite the personal risk. But not everyone wants to or even can do that.

Once federal law unambiguously declares that cannabis is legal, we may see conservative and religious organizations jumping on board with cannabis. Groups like the ACS and WW will likely stay opposed to cannabis though.

There will always be naysayers.

On their website, the ACS talks extensively about the science of cannabis and cancer. It also states that:

” The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and recognizes the need for better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.”

The ACS and WW may never advocate for cannabis use. Their missions stand in opposition to many of the stereotypes and misconceptions that persist around cannabis. Without more research and changes to its federal status, cannabis donations will remain off-limits to many organizations.

There is hope though.Landrace Strain 1

Just last week, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch introduced new legislation for cannabis called the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 or MEDS Act. As a longtime cannabis prohibitionist, he doesn’t like cannabis, but he can see the medical effectiveness of it. If a religious conservative like him could come arou
nd to cannabis, there is hope for others.

Once cannabis becomes federally legal, more charities will start accepting donations from cannabis based businesses. Many organizations that currently refuse donations from the cannabis industry will lose the last legitimate reasons to resist legal weed and the people involved in it.

There will always be those that feel cannabis is dangerous or negative. But as long as we continue to move forward with legalization, fears and misconceptions about cannabis will be replaced with understanding and hopefully tolerance. Until then, donations from the cannabis community to these organizations will remain unwelcome.

What is your opinion on accepting donations? Should organizations accept money from anyone? Should they only accept donations from certain people? let us know in the comments below.

Male Cannabis Plants And What They Are Good For

Male Cannabis Plants and What They Are Good For

Male plants put seed in your weed

Male Pollen
Cannabis is a unique plant because it requires both male and female plants to reproduce. At times, female cannabis plants can turn into self-pollinating plants (hermaphroditic). It’s not generally a good thing when plants self-pollinate. It’s just as bad when female plants are pollinated by neighboring male plants.
It is incredibly unfortunate for a gardener to lose a cannabis crop to seeds. For example, a cultivator will have a beautiful garden of buds growing from sinsemillas (seedless female cannabis plants). And later start seeing seeds develop within their female plants. It’s heartbreaking because that’s at least three months of work, wasted.
There are many reasons a plant produces seeds. But the most common reasons come down to pollen and stress. They also guard against males and pollen specifically. If any pollen gets into a flowering room, the plants will produce seed instead of weed. A stressed female plant can mutate and produce pollen sacks.

Wash greenhouses and watch the light

Oregon Territory Organics
When female plants accidentally become pollinated, it’s just as bad as losing a crop to pests and diseases. This means that after months of work, loads of money invested into equipment and the crop is not marketable.
Basically, nobody will buy it under normal conditions. Many people that find male plants in their garden rip them out right away, but sometimes it’s too late. The pollen has already done its damage.
Unless they intended to create a new breed of cannabis from seeds, commercial growers could lose millions of dollars. Imagine, a building bigger than a Super Walmart that can grow 10 thousand sinsemillas plants at once.

Seeds can cost a company millions of dollars

Depending on strain, each commercial plant can easily produce anywhere from 2-10 pounds of cannabis. Depending on how it’s grown and where it’s sold, the price for a pound of high-quality seedless cannabis is around $2000-$4000.
Now imagine that Super Walmart sized crop gets pollinated. If the entire crop develops seeds, the growers have lost millions of dollars, months of work and likely many peoples jobs. The reason is simple: people won’t smoke marijuana with seeds in it.
That is why after every harvest, growers thoroughly wash their greenhouses. This is to keep pests, diseases and pollen from invading their new batch of cannabis. Just remember that a garden can be completely clean from cannabis pollen, but female plants can still develop seeds. Female plants turn hermaphroditic when they become stressed or have their light cycle interrupted.

People don’t smoke marijuana with seeds

Many consumers have purchased a bag of weed only to find that it had seeds. The hallmark of an inexperienced grower or someone who just had a bad year, seeds preclude smoking. There are uses for seeds, but the main way that people make money off of cannabis is by growing it without.
Smoking herb with seeds tastes disgusting and smells worse. Many smokers stop inhaling when they hear the famous snap, crackle and popping sound when accidentally lighting a seed. Besides tasting nasty, burning a seed causes it to explode. The ensuing fireball in your lap can get your attention real quick and leave permanent burns in the carpet.
Smokers who take a big hit from a bowl with seeds will start to cough uncontrollably and develop a nasty headache. The worst part is that you can’t get high from smoking seeds the same way you can from smoking a pure bud. In states where marijuana is legal, businesses that sell weed have to hit certain quality metrics. The specifics vary from state to state but generally frowns on weed with seeds.
Some dispensaries will exchange your bag for another seedless variety if you tell them about it right away. Unfortunately, not all stores have a refund policy when it comes to returning seeded cannabis. It’s best to ask ahead before making a purchase at a new dispensary what their refund policy is.

See what male plants can do for you

It’s not always a bad thing to grow male plants. They serve a purpose in the cannabis industry other than destroying sinsemillas. Male cannabis plants are used for controlled breeding, to make hemp fibers, produce concentrates and assist in garden control.
Sometimes, cultivators want to grow male plants and cross them with female plants to create new versions of cannabis seeds. Like taking the dankest sweet indica and crossing it with the stickiest sour sativa to create an intense indica/sativa flavor fusion. This is called breeding and it breaks down into some pretty deep science. The biggest takeaway for me is that males provide half of the genetic makeup inherited by seeds.
Its best to look closely at the male plants genetics to see what they’ll pass on. Like their rate of growth, shape, resistances to pests and molds and weather resistances. These traits can be passed on by either parent and increase the quality of future generations. With over 8,000 strains of cannabis currently known today, the number of cross breeding strains is seemingly infinite.

How about some hemp fiber

Male cannabis plants are used for making hemp fibers by many manufacturers. This is because male cannabis plants produce softer material. Female plants produce coarse, stronger fibers that make it a bit more difficult to manage. Soft fibers from male plants are used to make clothes, tablecloths, bags, rope and more.
Back in the day, hemp was used to make essential ship items like sails, rope and clothes. Gun powder was wrapped in hemp cloth and bandages were made from male hemp as well. Hemp production is one of the most essential industries for developing societies. It has been important for humans since the dawn of civilization and continues to show itself to be indispensable.
Hemp is not a plant that can get a person high as is. Hemp farmers do not generally grow both smokeable and non-smokeable cannabis plants. They stand a higher chance of accidentally pollinating their female plants only to produce more hemp fields.

Males produce concentrates and act as garden enhancers

Male plants are less psychoactive than sinsemillas. They do not produce buds, just seeds. But they do produce small amounts of cannabinoids that are found in leaves, stems and pollen sacs which can be extracted. Hash and oils are created from these extractions in the same way as for female plants.
Both male and female plants also produce terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic oils that are used in gardens to repel insects and pests. Think of it as a natural bug spray. Some people suggest allowing male cannabis plants to grow alongside regular vegetables or flowers to keep pests at bay. Your mileage may vary with this method. Just make sure your male plants are nowhere near sinsemillas.
Male plants are also handy in gardens because their taproots allow moisture and nutrients to infiltrate and improve soil quality. Cannabis plants are deep rooting plants with long taproots. These long taproots dive deep underground and break apart low-quality soil. They prevent run-off and loss of soil during heavy rains as well.

Learn before you grow

Keep in mind, cannabis pollen can travel long distances. It is determined to find a female. It is recommended to have a clear understanding of how pollen works and travels before purposefully culturing it. Your neighbors will thank you.

Have you grown male plants? What uses have you found for males? Is there anything other people should know about male plants? let us know in the comments below!

House Rules Committee Marijuana Vote

House Rules Committee Marijuana Vote

The House Rules Committee leaders fear vote on cannabis.

House Rules Committee
The republican-led House Rules Committee recently blocked protections for MMJ patients and banks that want to serve state-legal canna businesses. Known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, the now axed legislation was attached to a spending bill. The proposed edits prevent the Justice Department from using its budget to prosecute state-legal businesses. But all that flew out the window when the committee refused to allow a vote.
There are also a number of other proposals that were rejected. According to reports by The Hill, GOP leadership cut the proposal because “it splits the conference too much so we’re not going to have a vote on it.” But history shows that previous versions of the medical protections have passed with wide margins in the House. However, those protections expire at the end of September.
Despite several days of intense lobbying by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R), the longtime champion of patient rights was unsuccessful. She couldn’t rally enough support to protect the legislation from the religious zealotry of Jeff Sessions. Despite repeated assertions by Donald Trump that marijuana should be a state issue, the Attorney General continues his crusade.

This move puts cannabis users in Sessions cross-hairs.

CARERS Stopping Sessions
And I’m not being cute here. If Sessions had his way, he would end cannabis consumption entirely. And Sessions belief that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” is well-documented. As is his passion for prosecuting stoners and minorities.

It wasn’t long ago that Sessions sent a letter to the DOJ directing prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious and readily provable offense” for cannabis users. But it isn’t just a bunch of stoners getting shafted by Sessions. Even the DEA is mad at Sessions for actively preventing them from researching cannabis. So it comes as no surprise that many in the community are depressed.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel though.

Burning Man
Luckily for those of us who understand the science behind cannabis use, one man’s opinion isn’t the only thing that matters. There are a total of 13 members of the House Rules Committee. It just sucks when a handful of people with no stake in the outcome decide to obliterate millions of jobs, waste billions of tax dollars on incarceration and actively cause unneeded suffering.
But not all cannabis reform was banned from voting though. Three amendments on banking were offered to the committee. Sponsored by Dennis “Denny” Heck, D-Washington, they would have allowed for marijuana businesses to access banking services. It would have accomplished this by prohibiting the punishment of financial institutions that serve licensed marijuana businesses.
The legislation could also prevent the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network from rescinding its guidance for banks that work with marijuana firms. Unfortunately, the measures were rejected on an 8-5 vote. Although in this age of partisan politics was that the four Democrats on the committee joined by Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington.

Everyone can see what is happening here.

medical grow
Rohrabacher also delivered an impassioned pitch to his colleagues on the House floor on Tuesday night. He claimed that without the amendment, “we’re changing the status quo in a way that undermines the rights of the states and the people”. Yet despite the long hours and passion, the decision to scrap cannabis protections was made without a vote.
In addition to blocking the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, Rep. Pete Sessions and the Rule Committee also blocked several other amendments from even being considered. These measures also would have improved the state-legal cannabis environment. Another proposal that was cut was to prohibit federal funds from being used to penalize banks for serving legitimate marijuana businesses.
The Rules committee also blocked several other cannabis related proposals. The additional blocked measures would protect state-run hemp programs, ease restrictions on scientific research, allow the District of Columbia to implement adult-use and protect the states where cannabis use is legal. Because these proposals were blocked, there is little chance for voting on them in the foreseeable future.

Legalization is a long-term goal.

coco coir
While Wednesdays action was a setback, it doesn’t mean the end of cannabis. The Senate appropriations bill that was approved in July contains the same MMJ protections as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. But the current legislation is still getting hammered out in a House-Senate reconciliation committee. That also means the language or protections can still change.
Many were devastated by the House Rules Committee decision. Don Murphy, the Marijuana Policy Project director of conservative outreach said that, “Unless Congress chooses the Senate budget version, millions of seriously ill patients and the legitimate businesses that provide them with safe access to their medicine will be at risk of prosecution,” He continued by saying “This vote is a slap in the face of patients, their families, their elected representatives, and the 10th Amendment.”
While this setback will have long-reaching consequences for millions of people, the legalization movement will continue. There are also bound to be more blind corners and rough patches on the road to full legalization. But those of us that can see the light at the end of the tunnel realize that there is a lot more tunnel ahead of us.

House Rules Committee members:

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas (chair)
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma (vice-chair)
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Georgia
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York (ranking minority member)
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Florida
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado

How do you feel about the House Rules Committee’s decision? Should MMJ be protected? Or should it remain as it is? Let us know how you feel and what you want to see happen in the comment section down below.

How to Prepare Marijuana Grows for a Hurricane

How to Prepare Marijuana Grows for a Hurricane

Water, water everywhere.

Hurricane Harvey just passed and Irma is making landfall at the moment. So far, there are a total of eight confirmed deaths with whole communities under water. Millions of people in Texas and Louisiana are affected by the devastation left by Harvey. The southern tip of the United States is basically under trillions of gallons of water. And there are more storms to come.
Texas declared a state of emergency as the pumps protecting Houston failed. With over 7 million people in the Houston area (almost a quarter of the entire states population) affected, there is little that isn’t decimated from the storm. Whole communities remain under feet of water as rescue efforts turn into recovery.
The volume of water unleashed over the last few days is unbelievable. Nowhere seems safe from the raging waters as highways become temporary rivers and hills become islands. Millions of people have had to evacuate their homes. Not to mention the thousands of hydroponics stores, private and commercial grow rooms and covert grows that drown in the flood.

It is obvious that the cannabis community is among the many victims of Hurricane Harvey.

For cannabis growers in the Lone Star State and other parts of the continent, these natural phenomena create unprecedented challenges and difficult choices. They could pack up and move their operations or they could batten down the hatches and try to wait out the storm.
Those in a position to move their grows had move fast and quietly. In the brave new world of climate change, superstorms and unchecked urbanization, marijuana growers are on the front lines. They have to find ways to be resilient and adapt to sudden, catastrophic conditions.
There’s no way marijuana growers (or the wider population) can totally prepare for these unprecedented conditions. Hurricanes and other large-scale weather disasters continue to increase in potency and frequency as climate change is ignored. And unless a concerted effort is made on a national level, these kinds of disasters are going to increase in frequency.

Be aware of warning signs and prepare for the worst before it happens.

Cities like Houston have had years of warning that this kind of event would happen but budgets and bureaucracy prevented the city from making appropriate adjustments to mandatory infrastructure. Scientists and city planners predicted that unless the government made major changes in the flood control system, and restricted population growth, it was only a matter of time.
Houstonians are at the mercy of the water and the government at this point. However, some tactics are useful as preventive or reactive strategies when the crap hits the fan. Some of these suggestions require advance planning while others are more reactionary. While not guaranteed to prevent loss, these methods can help indoor marijuana growers avoid total crop failure.

5 Easy Steps to Avoid Total Crop Failure

  1. Study flood maps, alternative travel routes, and other topographic, climatic, and infrastructure issues before you choose a location for your indoor grow room.
  2. Subscribe to premium weather warning services. By monitoring first responder emergency networks, you get early news about potential disasters.
  3. Have a disaster emergency plan in place before a hurricane or other natural disaster hits your area. Plan an exit strategy that maximizes your ability to save seeds, plants and grow gear.
  4. Choose a grow located on high ground, ideally in nearby foothills or mountains. Also avoid areas with dense stands of trees that are prone to fires. Tree clearing and trimming areas sensitive can help secure your location.
  5. Use a multi-story structure for your grow. Put the indoor marijuana garden on a floor above ground level to avoid flooding.

5 Difficult Steps to Avoid Total Crop Failure

  1. Have a portable backup generator on a platform above flood level and wired to provide electricity to your grow room and related equipment.
  2. Have a trustworthy friend in a safe location babysit your plants if your grow room is threatened.
  3. If relocating the grow is out of the question, consider taking clones of the plants before you evacuate. Marijuana clones are much easier to transport and keep alive, even in a hotel room or makeshift shelter for a few days.
  4. If you grow marijuana in pure hydroponics systems such as deep water culture or aeroponics, you can’t move them safely. Only plants growing in a solid root zone media that holds water, oxygen and nutrients (like rockwool, coco coir, soilless mix or soil) can expect to survive being taken out of your grow room.
  5. If you’re unable to move your marijuana plants to a safe location, you need to cut them, bag them, remove them from your house. Dismantle the grow and move equipment to a safe location. You do this to salvage equipment and so you don’t get busted. Remember that during evacuations, government officials have the right to enter any home/structure without permission. If they find a grow op in your house, you’re at their mercy. Homeowners insurance adjustors that visit your home after a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey will deny your claim if they find grow equipment.

What do you think of the list? Is there anything you would add or take away? Have you been affected by Hurricane Harvey or Irma? What steps have you taken to protect your crop from natural disasters? Let us know in the comments below!

Is Legalization Really Responsible for More Car Crashes

Is Legalization to Blame for the Increasing Number of Car Related Fatalities?

opioid treatment

Colorado State and Federal data shows a rise in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana.The overall number has doubled since marijuana legalization in 2013. The Denver Post recently launched an in-depth investigation into this issue. They are (among other things) reading coroner’s reports to determine if Colorado’s roads have become unsafe since legalization. In Front Range counties, more drivers involved in fatal car accidents are testing positive for marijuana than before 2013.

Part of what people fear is negligent drivers behind the wheel. In 2016, nearly a dozen drivers tested positive for THC with almost five times the legal amount in their systems. In 2016, a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed some surprising information about drivers.

It’s just plain difficult to accurately test cannabis intoxication.drivers

Drivers who survived car crashes were regularly drug tested within a few hours of the incident. This type of information is trying to show how recently drivers consumed cannabis.The problem they run into is that cannabis metabolizes slowly.

Although the high wears off after a few hours, THC remains in a persons system for up to 30 days. Especially heavy or sedentary people may find that THC remains in their system for significantly longer than that. A person could have been high days before but still test positive after an accident. This makes it look like they were high while driving when in fact, they weren’t.

According to the Denver Post, “positive test results reflected in the NHTSA data do not indicate whether a driver was high at the time of the crash since traces of marijuana use from weeks earlier also can appear as a positive result”. Nevertheless, there is a clear trend of car accidents with marijuana in the driver’s system. This trend is causing great concern with city officials and residents. Without an in-depth investigation into the specifics, everyone is left wondering if legalization is to blame.

There are studies on drivers, accidents and cannabis.

Other studies show that in 2013, 10% of drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for marijuana. By 2016, that figure rose to 20%. Also, more drivers are testing positive for cannabis and nothing else. Slightly more than 52% of drivers had no alcohol in their system in 2013 and by 2016 that figure rose to 69%.

Of the 115 drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2016 alone, 71% had THC in their systems. Of those approximately 81 people, 63% had over 5 nanograms of THC (the legal limit) floating around in their veins. The average age of drivers in fatal accidents was between 35 and 40 years of age.

Taylor West is the former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. According to Taylor, “Unlike alcohol, THC can remain detectable in the blood stream for days or weeks. When any impairment wears off in a matter of hours. So, these numbers really tell us is that, since legal adult-use sales began, a larger number of people are consuming cannabis. And then at some point… (are) driving a car.”

Survivors and victims need something to fight.

Ed Wood of DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) Victim Voices, started this organization after his son’s death. He believes his son’s death was the direct result of a drugged driver. Ed feels like the system only cares about tax revenue from marijuana and not the people he feels it affects. Instead of simply complain about a system he disagrees with, he activated and found other like-minded people.

Ed Wood and other families who have lost loved ones in a fatal car accidents are compelled to seek closure. If someone can say that the driver was intoxicated, it becomes a rallying cry to purge society of that substance. Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA) and more are reactions to the very real issue of unsafe roads. But they lead into the next issue.

The system is set up against cannabis users.

People often claim that it is too early to tell whether marijuana is the true culprit for the rising number of fatalities. And that additional data is required before any real conclusions can be done.But that is where things get sticky. You see, it’s incredibly difficult to research marijuana.

Only two universities nationwide are allowed, by the government, to conduct research on how marijuana affects the human body. But they have to get permission from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before they can start any studies. The DOJ has made it clear that they have no intention of permitting marijuana research as long as Jeff Sessions remains Attorney General.

This means that law enforcement is left with no solid way to prove that drivers are dangerous when under the influence of THC. The executive director of the Colorado-based Marijuana Industry Group (Kelly) says, “There needs to be better understanding about what constitutes impairment”. And cannabis users should want a reliable way to test for impairment.

Washington and Colorado are undergoing similar driver trends.CBD Flower 1

Since Washington’s legalization, the rise of fatal car accidents involving cannabis has risen. But the problem still remains, that there is no definitive method of testing drivers for recent use of cannabis. Yes, drivers are found with cannabis in their system, but the tests don’t show is if they were impaired while they were driving. This means that dangerous drivers hide behind innocuous drivers and cause unnecessary complications and loss of life.

Washington States policy for DUI is that they test for alcohol first. Once a driver is found with alcohol that is over the limit, they don’t bother testing for marijuana. According to Washington police, they don’t have the time and resources to do a thorough check of alcohol and marijuana. According to Denver’s coroner’s report, people are f
ound with higher levels of THC on average than before. Their toxicology tests are showing THC levels as high as 24 ng/ml; with one result showing 68 ng/ml.

Police Chief Jackson says that potency is the issue here.

That the weed of today is not the same weed that was consumed during our grandfather’s time. The levels of acute overdose is what he believes is causing the number of accidents to increase.Although there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence supporting his claim.

Coroners disagree on whether the presence of THC should be listed on a death certificate. This is because of how people interpret as impairment. Jill Romann, Douglas County’s coroner says, “There are others across the state who feel the same way and won’t use the word intoxication with it. Despite the fact we are all coroners, everyone does as they want.”

Hopefully the Denver Post can shed some light on how cannabis users drive. It is always good to remember that correlation is not the same as causation. Just because people buy more ice cream on hot days doesn’t mean that buying ice cream makes the day hotter. Likewise, just because more people have THC in their system doesn’t mean THC is causing accidents. But scientists have to look at all the data, even the stuff that doesn’t agree with our preconceived notions.

How do you feel about driving while high? Do you think DUID, MADD or MAPDA are on crazy? Have you lost someone to an intoxicated driver and how did that change your view? Let us know in the comments below and what you think should be done.

Netflix Enters the Legal Weed Market

Netflix Enters the Legal Weed Market

Netflix is a titan of entertainment.

Over the last decade, Netflix has gone from unknown streaming service to an international powerhouse. The entire cable industry had to shift their business models to account for the streaming service or die. Discontent with only disrupting cable, Netflix has expanded to encompass the entire film industry.
Today, Netflix hosts network content, provides instant access to popular film and even produces their own originals. They account for about 37% of all internet traffic and show no signs of giving up their market share. A major contributor to their recent success has been their exceptional lineup of original shows.
Orange is the New Black has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while the Santa Clarita Diet has a 72% rating. These shows boast more viewers than Tom Brokaw in the 1990s and secure Netflix as a entertainment titan. And the company’s most recent move is to appeal to a certain segment of their viewers: cannabis users.

Netflix uses a ‘Disjointed’ Approach.

The newest show on the block is called ‘Disjointed‘. It is a comedic show about a cannabis dispensary. Complete with liberal use of laugh tracks and one-liners, it is a true sitcom. And Netflix thinks Disjointed deserves a proper introduction to the cannabis community.
What better way for a show about selling cannabis to connect with the audience than to actually sell weed? Netflix can’t find one. So they decided to team up with a dispensary in Hollywood to produce a dozen strains specifically designed to heighten their respective shows.
Last weekend, Netflix sold the special strains for only three days. Inspired by their shows, the strains provide a variety of effects. High-grade indicas represented the lighter side of life while the more complex shows paired with sativas.

Cannabis is too big to miss.

Companies like Netflix aren’t stupid. They know their audience and this recent adventure into canna-culture is likely just the tip of the iceberg. While the company doesn’t intend to continue producing the cannabis, $150,000 of sales in 3 days is hard to beat.
The streaming service partnered up with Alternative Herbal Health Services (AHHS), a dispensary based out of Los Angeles’ West Hollywood district. The dispensary handled the cannabis end of things while Netflix handled the marketing and production. According to AdWeek, the crew moved over 430 ounces in Netflix’s cannabis line.
That equates to around $150,000 in sales which is no laughing matter. It took six months of planning to pull off too. Netflix, AHHS and the marketing firm Carrot worked together to make the promotion a success. Carrot’s executive creative director Jonathan Santoro explained that all partners, including AHHS, cleared everything with lawyers first.

Netflix took strain pairings seriously.

The sale took place at a pop-up event hosted by AHHS and ended on Sunday. Each of the twelve strains was uniquely paired with a popular original show created and streamed on Netflix. The strains were tailored to the specific show they represented as well.
Indica-dominant strains represented the lighter side of things and “sillier” shows. While dramedies (drama/comedy) got the sativa treatment instead. Disjointed had three special varieties to represent it at the event (The Omega, Eves Bush and Rutherford B. Haze) Each of the others shows received one strain to represent it.
Here is the full list of shows and the strains that represented them:

  • Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (Camp Firewood)
  • Bojack Horseman (Prickly Muffin)
  • Arrested Development (Banana Stand Kush)
  • Chelsea (Vodkush)
  • Grace And Frankie (Peyotea 73)
  • Lady Dynamite (Sassafrass OG)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Baka Bile)
  • Orange Is The New Black (Poussey Riot)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (Moon 13)
  • Disjointed (The Omega, Eves Bush and Rutherford B Haze)

Netflix kept their hands clean.

Netflix didn’t actually produce or sell any of the marijuana themselves. Carrot’s executive creative director Jonathan Santoro explained that all partners, including AHHS, worked to ensure that all sales were handled according to the strict legislation of California. So while they actively profited from cannabis, they didn’t violate any federal statutes.
“Netflix or Carrot never physically touched the flower,” Santoro stated. Netflix made the show, Carrot handled the marketing and AHHS dealt with growing and packaging the flower. Santoro deftly avoided getting into hot water when questioned about how they determined the correct strains to pair. Santoro claimed “I don’t know if I can legally answer that question, but it is fair to say that Carrot did the research necessary.”
All in all, this is a major win for the cannabis community. International powerhouses with billions of dollars available are finding ways to engage with and profit off cannabis. There is still a long way to go before brands can openly associate with cannabis but this is a step in the right direction.

What happens next?

Netflix claims this was a one-time event. None of the specific strains are available for sale any monger. So anyone who missed the Hollywood promotion is out of luck. But the success of the event makes it easy for Netflix to think about repeating.
There is real risk for companies looking to engage in this kind of marketing. In addition to the intricacies of U.S. law, entertainment companies risk alienating their core demographics. Companies like Time Warner, Harpo Productions, and others risk far more than Netflix (whose viewers tend to be more open).
That doesn’t mean copycat or season two events are impossible though. Companies like HBO and Hulu have powerhouse franchises that appeal to stoners. And there is nothing to say they wouldn’t try a similar event in the future given the success of this attempt.
So far, none of the three companies involved (Netflix, Carrot and AHHS) have sworn off future events. Other companies have yet to release plans for similar events but several may try now that the concept is proven. We will have to wait and see if the amazingly positive reception by the cannabis community spurs anyone else to dabble in dabs.