Success Centers Helps Fill Dispensary Jobs in the Bay Area with a Focus on Social Equity

California-based Success Centers launched roughly 40 years ago to assist youth released from detention centers with life skills and employment. Now, the organization has expanded to the cannabis industry, where it helps connect employers with qualified job seekers in the Bay Area with a focus on social equity.

Success Centers assists job seekers in multiple industries, from construction to the arts, and hosts Employer Spotlight hiring events to connect employers with job seekers. To serve the cannabis industry specifically, Equity for Industry Program Manager Angela White has created the Budding Industry Job Shop, where several employers give presentations about their companies and what a day in the job looks like.

“We’ll have the job description pulled up, and what’s different is we’ll have questions from the audience of job seekers,” White says. “We want to have a good retention rate. We don’t only want people hired at these companies, but we want them to feel comfortable and safe and … to be a good fit there.”

Following the events, employers interview potential candidates, and Success Centers is an active participant in the process, ensuring job seekers have all the necessary resources.

Under San Francisco’s Equity Program, cannabis dispensaries must staff 35% of their operations with social equity applicants, and Success Centers works specifically with these companies to connect them with verified candidates.

The organization also assists social equity applicants who are trying to launch their own businesses through its Equity for Industry Workshops, which connect entrepreneurs with cannabis industry professionals who can help them set their plans in motion.

“If you’re affected by the war on drugs, that means you didn’t go to college—a lot of folks didn’t—your family was separated and you don’t know a lot of the business acumen,” White says. “We bring in industry professionals to teach [entrepreneurs] about the different aspects of the business. We have all kinds of workshops [covering topics such as] how to understand contracts, understanding nondisclosure agreements, managing a cash-only business [and] insurance.”

Success Centers recently hosted a workshop on extraction, as well as a presentation on California’s track-and-trace system.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the organization’s events have shifted to the virtual space, and White says she has seen an increase in out-of-state participants.

“I have people from Georgia joining in and Alabama because they want to know about this industry,” she says. “As the industry becomes legal across the country, … the equity community is all over, and we want them to be ready and understand … how they can get their foot in the door.”

Another aspect of Success Centers’ budtender education focuses on the terminology of the legal cannabis industry. Job seekers learn about terpenes, for example, and how to talk with customers and patients about terpene content.

“Some of the dispensaries, they’ll have these three qualifying questions when people go to apply,” White says. “If you don’t know those terms, … you’re denied right away, so I wanted to eliminate that. Learning the lingo is very important for folks from our community.”

Success Centers has partnered with Eminent Consulting in Oregon to provide a budtender training course that teaches the science behind budtending, and the organization offers a scholarship to help with the cost associated with the program.

To help teach job seekers and entrepreneurs the fundamentals of business, Success Centers also collaborates with Oaksterdam University.

“We have a cannabis scholarship for folks that want to learn the business side, and they learn everything from how to purchase the plant to how much moisture should be in it to how to lay out their building,” White says. “They cover all of that in their seminars, and they also have an exam … at the end so they can get their certificate for completing the program.”

Oaksterdam University also offers a 14-week horticulture class that teaches the fundamentals of indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation, from lighting to pH levels.

“It’s a wonderful program, and we’re happy to be partnered with them,” White says. “They understand what it means to our community to have this opportunity, so I really appreciate the team at Oaksterdam University.”

Although Success Centers’ cannabis programming is still fairly new (White says the program launched roughly two and a half years ago), it has already celebrated its first award-winning budtender. William Brown, one of the first cannabis clients White ever worked with, was named the 2019 Budtender of the Year for his work at Harborside’s Oakland dispensary.

RELATED: Budtender Awards Wrap Up First Ceremony

“I’m really excited about that,” White says. “It’s been an awesome journey, having someone actually win something like this. … When he got his trophy, it was so funny—I drove to meet him over in Oakland, and he had his trophy with him, and I was smiling harder than he was. I felt like I won the trophy.”

In order to reach more people, Success Centers recently launched a pilot program called Entrepreneurship in a Nutshell, which supports those looking to launch businesses in the industry.

“It gets people in the entrepreneurship mindset, and it helps them work with business models [and] put their ideas together so that they’re ready to start a business at the end of that,” White says. “They win prizes and have an opportunity to get out and pitch their business in front of investors. We just keep trying to grow the program, growing people who want to participate and work.”

Looking ahead, White would like to create a mentorship program where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to discuss their business plans with industry professionals, who can then offer their experiences and guidance.

“We’re just really excited about the future of this industry,” White says. “It’s a rough journey, and we want to be here to make sure our folks are getting in. We would love to move this across the nation, building a model for how things should be done.”

10 Best CBD Lube and Lubricants for Sale in 2020

Need a little spark in the bedroom? Before your fantasies get away from you, what about a new twist on an old favorite? We’re talking about CBD lube! CBD’s popularity has hit an all-time high. It’s everywhere, including the boudoir. There are plenty of user reviews that say weed lube may be the secret to supercharging sex. Users have lauded CBD lube for helping with pain, dryness, discomfort, or even anxiety when it comes to sex. This may be sensitive for some, but weed lube helps with that too. So, what do you look for when buying a CBD lube? We’ve got you covered with a list of the top 10 CBD lubes out today and answers to the most asked questions. Let’s dim the lights, pour some wine, and dive in, shall we?

10 Best CBD Lube and CBD Sex Lube that you can buy right now

Weed lube is personal, but one thing’s for sure, you can have a lot of fun trying to find your favorite. To make sure you’re safe and satisfied, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorites.

1. “O” by Dani Pepper™ – Orgasm Enhancer

“O” by Dani Pepper™, the orgasm enhancer is our favorite CBD lube by far. This brand was created by women for women with clean, fun, and inviting packaging. Dani Pepper’s quality and proprietary blend are what really give you your bang for your buck. In particular, Kava Kava root stimulates your system, much like THC, but without the high.

Dani Pepper “O” Orgasm Enhancer activates 250 mg of CBD as well as Kava Kava for stimulation, Organic Whole Leaf Aloe Vera for its soothing properties, and Vitamin C to help with your skin. This weed lube is free of GMOs, parabens, and waxes. It is also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Purportedly, this CBD lube helps with pain and discomfort while increasing sexual arousal.

As a water-based weed lube, you can use it with any type of condom or toy. What’s great about Dani Pepper “O” Orgasm Enhancer CBD lube is that it’s made using nano-technology, which means that the CBD is more bioavailable. In other words, the CBD is made into nano-sized particles that can penetrate deep into the skin to provide localized relief.

Dani Pepper “O” Orgasm Enhancer has an enjoyable scent, unlike some other CBD lubes. It’s no wonder there are so many people singing the praises of Dani Pepper. For the best boost in the bedroom, this weed lube is the way to go. If you live in California or Canada, you can buy a THC version – a weed lube. All you need to do is search for your local “dispensary near me”.

2. GoLove CBD Intimate Lubricant

Using 200 mg of CBD derived from American hemp grown to organic standards, this CBD lube purportedly can ease anxiety and pain as well as relax pelvic muscles and increase blood flow. Because this weed lube is water-based, it may also moisturize and soothe irritation. GoLove uses special glass to bottle their lubricant because plastics absorb 10% of cannabinoids. Furthermore, glass helps protect from light degradation. Created by Dr. Sadie Allison, sexologist and author, you can be confident that it’s formulated with your safety and satisfaction in mind.

 

3. Foria Wellness Awaken Arousal Oil

Foria is known for ushering in the weed lube craze. Foria is a female-focused brand and uses broad-spectrum CBD for their CBD lube. Awaken Arousal Oil uses botanical oils to create a soothing scent. The ingredients used are chosen explicitly for purportedly being aphrodisiacs. People report that it helped with dryness and was actually quite arousing. Foria has been around for a while and is well-reviewed. While these oils are vegan and sustainable, they cannot be used with condoms. This weed lube does not use nano-technology, which means that it is not as bioavailable as other CBD lubricants on the list.

 

4. Uncle Bud’s CBD Hemp Extract Personal Lubricant

With 60 mg of CBD, this CBD lube is plant-based and uses pure hemp seed oil for added health benefits. Reduce friction with this long-lasting lubricant. Uncle Bud’s CBD Hemp Extract Personal Lubricant is water-based and provides a smooth experience. It moisturizes and is safe to use with condoms. There’s a distinct tangerine aroma that’s quite pleasing. Made in the USA, this weed lube is non-GMO, free of paraben, not tested on animals, and made with USDA Certified Organic Hemp Seed oil. Their proprietary formula is known as CANATREX™.

 

5. Jack Knob Polish

As the name suggests, this CBD lube targets men. This weed lube was developed to help men control their sexual experience so that they can last longer. The formulation is water-based so that you can use it with condoms and silicone toys. Jack’s Knob Polish is non-scented and slippery. It purportedly increases arousal and provides a warming sensation. Another bonus is that this weed lube is on the more affordable side of the price scale. There are two sizes you can choose from; one contains 30 mg of CBD while the other contains 100 mg.

 

6. Infinite CBD Big Bang

This CBD lube doubles as a massage oil as it’s not sticky and absorbs quickly. It is made from hemp grown and refined in Colorado. With 150 mg of CBD isolate, Infinite CBD Big Bang purportedly increases libido, soothes, and promotes a bit of tingling. Coconut Oil moisturizes and lubricates. Jojoba Oil sustains lubrication. Vitamin E increases blood flow and helps with hormone production. Vanilla Essential Oil increases libido in men and women. Orange Essential Oil promotes sexual energy. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil acts as an aphrodisiac. Clary Sage Essential Oil helps women’s pH.

 

7. Ananda Hemp Bliss Intimate Oil

With 250 mg of full-spectrum CBD, Ananda Hemp Bliss Intimate Oil is one of the most potent CBD lubricants out there. Anandamide is the molecule that helps with emotions. CBD interacts with anandamide to help you handle stress. Ananda uses essential oils to help enhance sensation. Peppermint and black pepper cool and heat while cacao seed butter acts as an aphrodisiac. The drawbacks are that this CBD lube is on the pricier side of the spectrum and that it’s an oil-based lube, which means that you cannot use it with condoms.

 

8. Kush Queen Ignite

Quick, strong, and safe to use with latex condoms, this CBD lube is well-liked by many users. Though the scent is not appealing, Kush Queen Ignite is made in the US and contains no added essential oils, which is good if you’re allergic. The downside is that this weed lube does not use Nano-technology, which means that the absorption and bioavailability aren’t as high as they could be. In other words, while potent, Kush Queen Ignite could be even stronger.

 

9. Unbound Dazy CBD Lube

This company is geared towards women and has a very playful, retro website designed for a younger audience. Unbound even sells sex toys, jewelry, and accessories. Unbound also has a magazine to educate, entertain, and help people explore their sex lives. This weed lube is water-based so that it can be used with latex condoms. It is also odorless, not very sticky, and doesn’t leave a big mess. It cleans up quickly, which is a nice bonus. It also purportedly creates a warming sensation for male users.

 

10. Privy Peach Sensation Intensifying Erotic Oil

This CBD comes as a hardened balm and not liquid at room temperature. You must warm it up with your hands for it to feel like more traditional lubes as it melts upon body contact. In its liquid form, this CBD lube helps with friction and can even be used as a massage oil. Users enjoy the scent of vanilla, lavender, jasmine, and mint. This weed lube is full-spectrum and made of hemp-infused coconut oil. As such, it cannot be used with latex condoms and can be messy. Some male users, though, say this CBD lube creates a warming sensation.

 

Why use a CBD sex lube?

Sex! It’s one of the better things in life for sure, but it can be frustrating if you’re not enjoying it to the fullest. Aside from being ridiculously enjoyable, there are actual health benefits, too. Sleep, immunity, and lowered blood pressure are just three things with which sex helps. Of course, sex and intimacy can also make you feel closer to your partner and yourself.

So, it can be disheartening when sex is painful. If you experience discomfort, lubricants can help. On their own, lubricants provide a smooth glide and protection for sensitive tissues. Whether you need to light the fire or keep the fire going, lubricants can be used in all stages of sex. Now, add the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD, and you’ve got a full-blown inferno.

What are some of the benefits of CBD Lube?

CBD lubricants are relatively new, so the vast majority of evidence is anecdotal. There haven’t been enough CBD studies to say what CBD can help with definitively. The results of these limited studies have been promising, though. CBD lube purportedly:

  • Relaxes both body and mind. Tension can build up if you’re with a new partner or especially if you’re expecting the experience to be unpleasant.
  • Reduce Pain. CBD lube users report that it helped with the pain associated with intercourse, including vaginal tearing.
  • Provide Balance. The prevailing thought is that CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, which regulates homeostasis. Homeostasis has a hand in many bodily functions, including sexual functions, meaning CBD can potentially affect your sex drive.
  • Promotes Calm. People also report being able to be more in control. CBD purportedly calms, which can help you stay in the moment and not get overheated, so to speak. In other words, weed lube may be able to help you last a little longer or enjoy longer playtimes, which may result in stronger orgasms.
  • Reduce Anxiety. Many people get anxious before and during sex. They can also get lost in thought, thinking about the stresses of the moment or the day. Purportedly, CBD gets you out of your own way and allows you to focus on the moment.
  • Improves circulation. When blood flow increases in the sexual organs, you feel sexual arousal. CBD lube is derived from hemp, which opens the blood vessels and promotes blood flow around the genitals, where you’ll be applying it. As more blood flows into this area, the genitals become more sensitive, and your sexual experience is more intense, which means better orgasms. Whether it’s a relaxing sensation, pain regulation, or increased sensitivity, people have some success with weed lube.

How to buy the best CBD lube?

Purchasing CBD lube can be an adventure. The FDA has not fully regulated CBD, so there are many products out there that are inferior or even illegal. There has to be a level of caution when going down this road. You must understand what ingredients are in the lube beyond the CBD. Other than that, answer the following questions:

1. Is it organic?

Make sure that the ingredients are natural and grown to organic standards. Hemp easily absorbs contaminants, which may then be found in residual amounts in the CBD. Like anything else you put in your body, you want the weed lube to be non-GMO and free of toxins like heavy metals and pesticides.

2. What are the ingredients, and what are their benefits?

If the lube is silicone-based, it can be used with latex condoms and is longer-lasting. Water-based lube can also be used with latex condoms but do not last as long. Oil-based condoms can’t be used with latex condoms.

Some companies add essential oils or vitamins for added benefits. Make sure you’re not allergic to anything found in the lube.

3. Where was the CBD sourced, and how was it extracted?

Commercial hemp grown in the US must follow strict regulations. If CBD is sourced outside of the US, in China, for example, it does not have to go through the same safety protocols. Plus, hemp and CBD that is imported has more opportunities to come in contact with contaminants.

Supercritical CO2 extraction is the most efficient and safest way to remove CBD from hemp. The downside is that it’s quite a pricey process. This expense may be reflected in the price of the product. In contrast, solvent extraction is cheaper but may leave residual toxic solvents in the CBD.

4. Are the products independently tested?

Third-party lab testing is an industry-standard for trustworthy CBD companies. These lab tests verify the level and purity of CBD and other cannabinoids in the lube. They also can detect the presence of toxins like heavy metals.

Can you use CBD oil as lube?

CBD oil can break down latex condoms. What’s more, CBD lube is explicitly formulated as a lubricant, and oils are designed to be ingested. Check the ingredients to make sure nothing is harmful. Alcohols (virtually any ingredient ending in “-ol”) should be avoided because they can dry you out, and avoid sugars like glycerin that may cause infection.

Can You Eat CBD Lube?

Yes, but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. While some may taste better than others, we recommend taking a CBD tincture or gummy because those are specifically designed to be ingested. That said, accidentally or purposefully ingesting weed lube won’t harm you.

Can You Use CBD Lube With Condoms?

It all depends on what the lube and condoms are made of because water-based and silicone lubes are fine to use with condoms. However, oil-based lubes like those made which coconut oil cannot be used with latex condoms because they will degrade them.

What Ingredients Should You Avoid?

You can’t use latex condoms with oil-based lubes, including coconut oil lubes. You should avoid using silicone-based lubes if you’re using silicone toys. Look for sugars like glycerin that could potentially cause a yeast infection. Lastly, ingredients ending in “-ol” are most likely alcohols. These alcohols should be avoided because they can dry out your genitals.

Final Word on CBD Lube

From pelvic pain and irritation to stress and anxiety, there could be many reasons why sex isn’t as good as it should be. Sexual lubricants have been around for a while, but now people can enjoy them with the benefits of CBD. Whether you’re looking for pain relief, getting out of your head, or experiencing a stronger orgasm, CBD lube purportedly helps with all of these things. If you’re wondering, lube is not’ the only thing CBD is good for, you can check out the best cbd oils for yourself here, the best cbd gummies for paincbd vape pens and you can even buy cbd oil for your dogs. Reviewers use weed lube for performance anxiety, discomfort, dryness, muscle relaxation, pelvic issues, painful intercourse, and general problems with libido and arousal.

There are three types of lubes: silicone-based, water-based, or oil-based. It’s imperative to note that oil-based lubricants deteriorate latex condoms and certain toys. They also can leave a mess. Water-based lubes feel different and last a shorter period of time but are easier to clean up. Silicone-based lubricants cannot be used with silicone toys. CBD can be incorporated into any type of lube, so make sure you understand what kind of base is best for your needs.

While we recommend any of the CBD lubes on our list, “O” by Dani Pepper™ is our favorite. True to their name, this weed lube enhances the sexual experience, and reviewers have said that it helps have stronger orgasms. And isn’t that the ultimate in pillow play?

CCSF raises bar on higher learning by offering Cannabis Studies degree.

In addition to smoking marijuana, college students can now major in it.

City College of San Francisco announced on Thursday it is planning to offer a degree in cannabis studies, which it says is the first of its kind in the United States.

“The degree is as an introduction to the complex biopsychosocial relationship of humans to cannabis in multiple cultural, institutional and interpersonal contexts,” CCSF officials said in announcing the cannabis studies associate of arts degree, suggesting that marijuana studies can be as much of a grind as any other college major.

Students will be required to take three three-unit cannabis classes — Introduction to Cannabis, Anthropology of Cannabis and Psychology of Psychoactive Drugs — and choose from other classes on such subjects as criminal justice, drug wars, and magic, witchcraft and religion.

“We’re behavioral scientists. We make everything complicated,” said Jennifer Dawgert-Carlin, chair of the behavioral sciences department which is offering the cannabis major.

Students will study marijuana as it relates to crime, race, income, business, revolution, religion and world history. They will do everything that can be done with marijuana except smoke it.

CCSF is a federally funded institution, City College Trustee Tom Temprano said, and federal law forbids cannabis students from partaking in cannabis — at least for now.

“Let’s see what happens in a Biden administration,” he said.

CCSF officials hope the new major — four years in the planning — piques student interest and boosts enrollment at the traditionally cash-starved campus. At present, the college is ready to welcome 100 or so cannabis majors.

The official description of the coursework required of all cannabis students suggests that cutting classes to light up is not a good idea.

According to a syllabus for Introduction to Cannabis Studies, students will explore the “social identity, regulation and enforcement (of marijuana) through the lens of social power and inequity.”

Students must write a four- to five-page paper “demonstrating an awareness (of) the role of mass media in shaping hegemonic narratives,” the kind of sentence best parsed while abstaining.

Psychatrist and pain specialist Dr. Michael H Moskowitz, MD, signs his latest book 'Medical Cannabis: A Guide for Patients, Practitioners, and Caregivers' for a patient on Thursday, February 22, 2018, in San Rafael, Calif.

Students enrolled in the Anthropology of Cannabis class will study the “archaeological evidence of cannabis use” by other civilizations and read up on such subjects as the “biblical representations of cannabis” in the Old and New testaments.

In Psychology of Psychoactive Drugs, students will make 3-D clay models of the nerve cells of drug users. Other CCSF cannabis classes offered through its extension division will deal with manufacturing and selling cannabis.

The hope, said Dawgert-Carlin, is that cannabis students will transfer to four-year colleges — even though, she conceded, no four-year college offers a cannabis studies program. Students will have to switch to other fields, she said.

All CCSF classes in the new major will have cannabis quizzes, cannabis homework, a cannabis midterm and a cannabis final exam. There will also be cannabis research projects — just not that kind of research.

Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveRubeSF

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Problems Beset San Francisco Cannabis Equity Initiative, COVID-19 Aside

Righting the wrongs caused by the proverbial “War on Drugs” has been the catalyst behind numerous equity initiatives that have popped up in myriad legal markets in recent years. An excellent example is the San Francisco Bay Area-based Success Centers’ Equity for Industry Training workshop, which helps those on the margins enter the legal cannabis industry. Unfortunately, like other equity initiatives that have preceded it, the current pandemic notwithstanding, the program has been hit with roadblocks that could seriously derail its progress.

 

Founded 36 years ago by Superior Court Judges to provide education and employment opportunities to youth in San Francisco’s juvenile detention facilities, Success Centers has evolved to become an important presence within the various communities it serves, which include San Mateo, Sonoma and Alameda Counties. In addition to helping the disconnected and disenfranchised find work in various sectors, Success Centers recently added cannabis to its programming. As a result, the Equity for Industry Training was launched.

Though Success Centers was able to pivot to online and virtual events due to the coronavirus outbreak, problems have arisen. The funding allocated to a 14-week pilot entrepreneurship training program was secured with the caveat that it would not be divvied out to cannabis businesses, according to Liz Jackson-Simpson, CEO of the Success Centers. With the state of California having released funding to cities and municipalities to support their cannabis initiatives, the dichotomy is especially troubling.

 

“What is the equity community to do?” she asks rhetorically. “Where are they going to go to get free information and support?” Of the 1,300 disconnected youth and marginalized community members Success Centers serves annually, over 95 percent are low-income and 87 percent are people of color, with the majority being African American and Latinx/Hispanic, based on recent statistics gathered by the Success Centers team.

Perhaps because they have no other recourse, Jackson-Simpson said Success Centers has to adopt a wait and see approach when it comes to how the monies will be distributed and how much of it will be funneled to aid equity applicants and job seekers.

 

A recent proposal to put a moratorium on equity applicants is also unsettling. “There are approximately 200 equity applications awaiting approval by the City [of San Francisco],” continued Jackson-Simpson. “This backlog is largely attributed to the capacity in the Office of Cannabis to get them processed. While we are supporting the efforts to inform and prepare equity community members for jobs and the nuances of going into business, their ability to apply may be diminished.”

The Equity for Industry Training workshop provides informative sessions for equity applicants, job seekers, those seeking equity verification and small business startups who want to gain in-depth knowledge about the cannabis industry. Participants learn about the cannabis industry from seed to sale. Topics covered are the history of the sector and the law, creating a business plan and managing different aspects of the industry.

 

  Iris Dorbian

https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2020/05/19/problems-beset-promising-san-francisco-cannabis-equity-initiative-covid-19-aside/amp/

Why more states could legalize cannabis in 2021

San Francisco (CNN Business)Amid recession and social unrest, the cannabis industry sees its moment.

 

Actions by states to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession are fueling momentum for the broader movement to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an economic engine for cash-strapped coffers, industry members and policy experts say.

“I expect a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, the lobbying organization behind many state cannabis policies in place today.
In recent weeks, a spate of US states have sought to relax decades-old drug laws that criminalized cannabis use and possession and disproportionately jailed Black people for non-violent offenses.
Nevada pardoned more than 15,500 people who were convicted of carrying less than an ounce of cannabis. Georgia lawmakers added decriminalization to a police reform bill that faces a challenging path to approval, considering that state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly and that the legislative session ends on June 30, the Savannah Morning News reports.
Decriminalization legislation also is advancing in New Jersey. In Colorado, a bill aimed at diversifying the state’s legal cannabis industry was amended with a provision that would allow Democratic Governor Jared Polis to expunge residents’ low-level cannabis convictions.
Virginia’s new decriminalization law also includes provisions to create a work group to evaluate the potential impact of cannabis legalization.
In recent years, the calls have grown for firmer policies addressing social justice and social equity concerns by reducing the number of people imprisoned for non-violent cannabis offenses, directing tax revenue to communities harmed by Drug War policies, and increasing the number of minority business owners and employees.
“Equity is something that should not be an afterthought,” said Amber Littlejohn, senior policy adviser at the Minority Cannabis Business Association.
Even Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes full-scale cannabis legalization, told CNN Business the organization is supportive of recent efforts to decriminalize minor possession of cannabis.
“Decriminalization begins the process of healing past harms while also forgoing the creation of a new, predatory industry keen on marketing extremely potent marijuana products,” he said via email.

Legalization on the ballot

Legalization advocates have long touted the righting of past criminal justice wrongs, eliminating illegal market activity and generating additional tax revenue when they’ve pushed for the overhaul of state cannabis laws.
“At the end of the day, economics talk and jobs talk,” said Jessica Billingsley, chief executive officer of Akerna, which makes regulatory compliance software that helps states track cannabis sales from seed to sale. “I truly believe we’re going to see some very meaningful and important movement coming out of this as states and governors look for a way to bolster their economy.”
Cannabis sales in states that have legalized the plant for medical and recreational purposes totaled about $15 billion in 2019, and are expected to top $30 billion by 2024, according to data from BDS Analytics, which tracks dispensary sales. At the start of 2020, the US cannabis industry had an estimated 243,700 full-time employees, according to cannabis information site Leafly.
More than half of US states have medical cannabis laws in place, with 11 of those allowing for adult recreational. Those numbers — and the overall size of the industry — were expected to grow in 2020; however, efforts such as those in New York have been waylaid because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And while New York legalization efforts are temporarily shelved, New Jersey and South Dakota residents are expected to vote on recreational cannabis legalization in November. Mississippi is scheduled to vote on medical marijuana, and legalization campaigns are gathering and submitting signatures for medical measures in Montana and Nebraska and for a recreational measures in Arizona.

A recession boon?

The cannabis industry’s performance during the pandemic that has lent credence to a growing notion within the industry that cannabis may be recession-proof and could be a boon to beleaguered budgets.
Cannabis businesses were deemed essential in most states where the drug is legal. Despite some initial volatility from mid-March panic-buying and a subsequent short-term drop off, sales have remained steady, if not robust. Sales were up 26% in Washington State and 46% in California, according to a June market report from Stifel analysts, citing data from analytics firm Headset.
But cannabis legalization should not be viewed as a cure-all for state fiscal woes, policy experts and economists caution, adding that creating a robust, safe and sustainable industry takes time.
Facing economic turmoil, municipalities and states are trying to get creative with revenue generation, imposing taxes on activities such as sports betting and products like vaping devices, said Ulrik Boesen, a senior policy analyst for the Tax Foundation. And while cannabis regulation could pull in new revenue — estimates put the illicit market at $60 billion — the benefit to states won’t come immediately, said Boesen, who authored a recently published white paper on recreational cannabis excise taxes.
“This is no short-term solution, because it takes time,” Boesen told CNN Business. “If you’re looking at a fiscal year 2021 that you’re worried about, legalizing marijuana isn’t going to be a solution.”
Cannabis policy development and regulation can be a delicate dance. Taxes have to be high enough to ensure proper regulatory guardrails and enforcement, but not too high to keep consumers in the illicit market, said Salmeron Barnes, managing director of MPG Consulting, which works with states and cities to develop cannabis regulatory regimes.
Earlier this year, Barnes floated the idea of creating cannabis municipal bonds to help cities generate additional revenue.

Cannabis May Reduce Deadly COVID-19 Lung Inflammation: Researchers Explain Why

Emily Earlenbaugh

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, researchers have started to look for solutions in an unlikely place – the cannabis plant. Cannabis’ active compounds have a number of properties that make it appealing as a potential adjunct treatment for infections from the novel coronavirus, and recently scientists have begun looking at its potential for reducing susceptibility to the disease, and even discussed whether it could be used as an antiviral medication.

This month, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are recommending more research into how cannabis-derived CBD might help treat dangerous lung inflammation from the novel coronavirus. The authors detailed the evidence for how cannabis’ anti-inflammatory powers may help in a peer reviewed article in this month’s issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

In the article, researchers explain that “recent reports have suggested that acute infection is associated with a cytokine superstorm, which contributes to the symptoms of fever, cough, muscle pain.” These extreme instances of inflammation can lead to severe pneumonia which clog up the lungs, make breathing difficult or impossible. So, one of the important strategies  that scientists are studying in the fight against COVID-19 is reducing inflammation.

 

In particular, researchers are looking at drugs which reduce IL-6 cytokine activity. In a recent study, one such drug, Tocilizumab, was able to clear out patients’ lungs, and resulted in recovery for 90% of the patients treated. Unfortunately, it also produced serious negative side effects like inflammation of the pancreas and hypertriglyceridemia (a risk factor for coronary artery disease). This has led researchers to continue the search for anti-inflammatory strategies – preferably ones that aren’t as harsh on these already critically ill patients.

That’s where cannabis comes in. The authors explain that several cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, they point to CBD as the most likely candidate for treating COVID-19 related inflammation. CBD has shown serious anti-inflammatory properties in previous studies, it doesn’t create the disorienting psychotropic effects associated with cannabis’ most common chemical THC, and it has already been approved by the FDA as safe for children with intractable epilepsy. If successful at reducing inflammation for COVID-19 patients, it could be a safer alternative to other anti-inflammatory options.

Why do researchers believe CBD can help with COVID-19, specifically?

For one thing, the authors explain that previous research has shown that CBD can reduce a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, the one reduced by other drugs being studied for COVID-19. CBD was also shown to reduce interleukin (IL)-2, IL-1α and β, interferon gamma, inducible protein-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, and tumor necrosis factor-α – all of which are associated with the pathology of severe cases of COVID-19. In addition to reducing these pro-inflammatory cytokines, CBD has also been shown to increase the production of interferons, a type of signaling protein that activates immune cells and prevents viruses from replicating.

Previous research also supports the idea that CBD can specifically reduce lung inflammation. In an animal study on asthma, CBD was able to reduce production of proinflammatory cytokine production, actually reducing airway inflammation. In the same study CBD also reduced pulmonary fibrosis – a condition where lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred, thickening lung tissue and making breathing more difficult. This is important, because COVID-19 can also leave patients with serious pulmonary fibrosis.

The authors also note that CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid that shows promise as an anti-inflammatory medicine. THC has also shown powerful anti-inflammatory results, but it’s less well tolerated than CBD, with common symptoms like disorientation, anxiety, and increased heart rate. Research on CBD, on the other hand, shows it to be safe and well-tolerated with dosing as high as 1500 mg a day, for a period of up to two weeks. The authors explain that this “suggests its feasibility to reduce SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation/ pathology and disease severity.”

While negative side effects are minimal with CBD, the article’s authors point out that CBD may have a side benefit for patients with the disease – reduced anxiety. “The many uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic such as status of the economy, employment and loss of connection can fuel depression, fear and anxiety” they explain, pointing out that the increased inflammation in COVID-19 may also trigger increased levels of anxiety. But CBD has shown serious promise for the management of anxiety, and may help reduce these challenging levels of stress.

No peer reviewed studies to date show that cannabis or it’s compounds can help with COVID-19 specifically, but the authors of this article say the evidence suggesting that it may help is worth further investigation. They recommend that scientists begin studies to investigate whether CBD can be used to reduce inflammation and anxiety in COVID-19 cases, as an adjunct to antiviral medications.

While this doesn’t suggest cannabis should be considered a cure or treatment of COVID-19 on it’s own, it does suggest that it may have potential to help bring down inflammation and reduce anxiety in those suffering from the disease. But until more studies are done, this is just a well-supported theory. Direct experimentation is needed to bring us real answers.

 

https://www.forbes.com/cannabis-may-reduce-deadly-covid-19