Election Could Add Political Pressure to Lift Federal Marijuana Ban

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Voters in four states from different regions of the country could embrace broad legal marijuana sales on Election Day and a sweep would highlight how public acceptance of cannabis is cutting across geography, demographics and the nation’s deep political divide.

The Nov. 3 contests in New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana will shape policies in those states while the battle for control of Congress and the White House could determine whether marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

Already, most Americans live in states where marijuana is legal in some form and 11 now have fully legalized the drug for adults — Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont. It’s also legal in Washington, D.C.

In conservative Mississippi, voters will consider competing ballot proposals that would legalize medicinal marijuana, which is allowed in 33 states.

Although California growers are believed to supply a large percentage of the marijuana consumed nationally, the federal prohibition means exports are illegal so growers who supply that demand are operating outside the state’s cannabis regulations.

Nick Kovacevich, CEO of KushCo Holdings, which supplies packaging, vape hardware and solvents for the industry, called the election “monumental” for the future of marijuana.

New Jersey, in particular, could prove a linchpin in the populous Northeast, leading New York and Pennsylvania toward broad legalization, he said.

“It’s laying out a domino effect … that’s going to unlock the largest area of population behind the West Coast,” Kovacevich said.

The cannabis initiatives will draw voters to the polls who could influence other races, including the tight U.S. Senate battle in Arizona.

In Colorado, one supporter of legal cannabis could lose his seat. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who is struggling in an increasingly Democratic state where some in the industry have lost faith in his ability to get things done in Washington.

Despite the spread of legalization in states and a largely hands-off approach under President Donald Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate has blocked cannabis reform, so under federal law marijuana remains illegal and in the same class as heroin or LSD. That has discouraged major banks from doing business with marijuana businesses, which also were left out in the coronavirus relief packages.

“Change doesn’t come from Washington but to Washington,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “States are sending a clear message to the federal government that their constituencies want to see cannabis legalization.”

The presidential election could also influence federal marijuana policy, though the issue has been largely forgotten in a campaign dominated by the pandemic, health care and the nation’s wounded economy.

Trump’s position remains somewhat opaque. He has said he is inclined to support bipartisan efforts to ease the U.S. ban on marijuana but hasn’t established a clear position on broader legalization. He’s appointed attorneys general who loath marijuana, but his administration has not launched crackdowns against businesses in states where pot is legal.

Joe Biden has said he would decriminalize — but not legalize — the use of marijuana, while expunging all prior cannabis use convictions and ending jail time for drug use alone. But legalization advocates recall with disgust that he was a leading Senate supporter of a 1994 crime bill that sent droves of minor drug offenders to prison.

Even if there are lingering doubts about Biden, the Democratic Party is clearly more welcoming to cannabis reform, especially its progressive wing. Vice presidential nominee and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California has said making pot legal at the federal level is the “smart thing to do.”

Familiar arguments are playing out across the states.

Opponents fear children will be lured into use, roads will become drag strips for stoned drivers and widespread consumption will spike health care costs.

Those backing legalization point out the market is already here, though in many cases still thriving underground, and argue that products should be tested for safety. Legal sales would mean tax money for education and other services, and social-justice issues are also in play, after decades of enforcement during the war on drugs.

An added push this year could come from the virus-damaged economy — states are strapped for cash and legalized cannabis holds out the promise of a tax windfall. One Arizona estimate predicts $255 million a year would eventually flow for state and local governments, in Montana, $50 million.

Despite the pandemic and challenges including heavy taxes and regulation, marijuana sales are climbing. Arcview Market Research/BDSA expects U.S. sales to climb to $16.3 billion this year, up from $12.4 billion in 2019.

In New Jersey, voters are considering a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana use for people 21 and over. It’s attracted broad support in voter surveys. If approved, it’s unclear when shops would open. The amendment also subjects cannabis to the state’s sales tax, and lets towns and cities add local taxes.

The Arizona measure known as Proposition 207 would let people 21 and older possess up to an ounce or a smaller quantity of concentrates, allow for sales at licensed retailers and for people to grow their own plants. Retail sales could start in May. State voters narrowly rejected a previous legalization effort in 2016.

If Montana voters approve, sales would start in 2022. Montana passed a medicinal marijuana law in 2004 and updated it in 2016. The proposed law would allow only owners of current medical marijuana businesses to apply for licenses to grow and sell marijuana for the broader marketplace for the first year.

Perhaps no other state epitomizes changing views more than solidly conservative South Dakota, which has some of the country’s strictest drug laws.

The sparsely populated state could become the first to approve medicinal and adult-use marijuana at the same time. However, legalizing broad pot sales would be a jump for a state where lawmakers recently battled for nearly a year to legalize industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating cannabis plant.

Meanwhile, a confusing situation has unfolded in Mississippi, after more than 100,000 registered voters petitioned to put Initiative 65 on the ballot. It would allow patients to use medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions, as certified by physicians. But legislators put an alternative on the ballot, which sponsors of the original proposal consider an attempt to scuttle their effort.

Hawkins is among those already looking toward 2021, when a new round of states could move toward legalization, including New York and New Mexico.

“There is clearly a tide,” Hawkins said. “We are moving toward a critical mass of states that … will bring about the end of federal prohibition on cannabis.”

What Makes a Good Cannabis Strain?

Any seasoned cannabis user knows that the effects you feel after consuming your preferred products have to do with the strain of cannabis you are using. From an uplifting, energetic experience to a calm night on the couch (that’s the essence of indica vs. sativa), the strain you choose to enjoy can offer a specific feeling to match your needs. But what makes a good cannabis strain?
cannabis
It’s in the Genes

The strain of any particular cannabis plant is determined through selective breeding that has taken place over recent years and decades. Just as humans have bred other common crops to better suit our needs, cannabis has been molded and nurtured by human hands and technologies into the potent and diverse crops grown around the world today. We have manipulated these plants on a genetic level to use them for our advantage – and we’ve done the same with cannabis.

This selective breeding results in a plant that is bred to display specific characteristics over others. And in the world of cannabis, this comes down to breeding plants with particular chemical profiles in the form of certain cannabinoids and terpenes that provide the bulk of how the effects are experienced when consumed. Over many years, plants have been bred with these desired characteristics in mind, and this led to the immense amount of strains available today.

Today, you can get your hands on a particular strain at any step of the production line—from an online seed bank to buying flower in a dispensary. These options allow for a diverse choice of effects that a consumer can enjoy recreationally or use for a particular medical condition.

If you intend to grow your own plants, knowing the strain of your seeds is important. If you know the type of feel you are looking for (i.e., the kind of high), you can ask a budtender, and they will direct you towards strains that can deliver just that.

But the question remains…
What Makes a Good Strain?

A good strain is a somewhat subjective description. When you find a particular variety of cannabis that you enjoy and meets your desired effects, that’s always good. But there are other factors to consider when choosing a strain. High-quality is a better way to think of it than merely ‘good.’

Several important factors come into play during a cannabis plant’s life cycle with quality of strain in mind. These can range from the conditions that the plants are grown alongside what types of fertilizers and nutrients were used during the process. Generally, you want to avoid pesticides and other toxic chemicals when looking for a quality strain.

Another common qualifier for a good cannabis strain is potency. Again, this can vary from person to person as some people like a potent strain, while others only wish to experience slight effects.

All things considered, the ultimate deciding factor in a good cannabis strain is you. If you find an option that makes you feel your desired effects and you’re sure that it has been grown without the use of any toxic chemicals, you have a strain worth keeping.

SF’s Cannabis Oversight Committee Wants You

In San Francisco, there’s seemingly a committee for everything. Only one group, however, has the honor of helping to decide the city’s cannabis policies.

Established by the Board of Supervisors two years ago, San Francisco’s Cannabis Oversight Committee (COC) is the brainchild of Sup. Sandra Fewer. And no other city in the U.S. has anything quite like it.

Composed of nine voting members and five non-voting members, all approved by the board, each seat on the COC is also tied to specific criteria. This ensures the full COC represents a cross-section of the cannabis industry’s equity applicants, medical patients, business owners, and labor representation. As a group, they’ve made some significant progress during their limited time together.

“I do believe that our committee, as a whole, has been very effective in working with the OOC and other City Departments,” says Ali Jamalian.

Jamalian currently holds Seat 8 on the COC — the equity applicant seat. He is set to hit his term limit in December. That’s why the Sunset Connect founder is now running for Seat 9, which is reserved for the operator of a cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, or distribution business with fewer than 20 employees. In addition to his own personal interest in continuing with the COC, Jamalian is now encouraging others to see if they’re qualified, and to apply for a vacant seat, as well.

“I want to encourage more of my peers from the industry to apply,” he says, “as I feel we have accomplished some major tasks.”

Recently, the COC worked to figure out how to prioritize the distribution of nearly $5 million in social equity grant funding made available through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) in partnership with the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. Announced in April, the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions left San Francisco’s OOC with a large chunk of change and the responsibility to determine how to disperse it.

Asked for comment, the OOC praised the COC’s efforts in a statement.

“The San Francisco Cannabis Oversight Committee is playing an important role in representing and shaping the city’s cannabis industry. Through the Oversight Committee, the city has created an opportunity for the community and representatives of local government to gather, listen, and engage in a transparent space that welcomes and encourages everyone’s voice and participation.”

Beyond offering guidance to the Board and OOC, the group also provides a needed opportunity for various factions of the market to come together and share their knowledge and concerns. As active participants in the industry, the opinions of COC members on matters like tax rates, permitting processes, and more are informed by first-hand experience and thus extremely valuable in a moment defined largely by trial-and-error.

Given how young the adult-use industry remains, the thoughts and recommendations of the COC have become a vital tool in reshaping and improving local cannabis policy. And now the COC is hoping to attract a new crop of San Francisco cannabis experts to join their ranks.

Upcoming openings include the aforementioned Seats 8 and 9, as well as seats reserved for dispensary owners, organized labor representatives, cannabis laws and regulations specialists, medical patients, and more. Those interested in applying are encouraged to submit applications via the Board of Supervisors website as soon as possible ahead of term limits ending in December.

COC member Jesse Stout, an attorney and drug policy reform activist, also shared enthusiasm at the prospect of new faces joining the party.

“The San Francisco Cannabis Oversight Committee is a good opportunity for the public to engage with the Office Of Cannabis, and ultimately, the Board Of Supervisors, to improve SF cannabis policy,” Stout says.

His endorsement, however, should not be confused with satisfaction for a job well done.

On the contrary, Stout listed a number of issues that he feels the COC must focus on in upcoming sessions: they include delaying the implementation of Prop D tax increases, ensuring the medical cannabis identification cards for indigent patients are free of charge, establishing an equity seal for use on qualified products, and hiring an “equity permit expediter” to streamline the process of passing a permit through the Planning Commission, the Department of Building Inspection, and the Fire Department.

Such a hiring would “reduce the months of delay that new businesses wait for conditional use permits,” Stout noted.

It’s an area drawing Jamalian’s attention as well, with the idea being that cannabis could serve as the catalyst for broader changes in how San Francisco processes permits. Given the OOC recently cleared its backlog of all outstanding applications, the idea is to snowball from their example of local permitting done right.

“There is so much more potential to streamline a number of bureaucratic processes in SF based on this cannabis permitting model,” Jamalian says. “It could become a blueprint to make [these departments] way more efficient — which is an issue a lot of other industries besides cannabis have to deal with too.”

As for his advice to any thinking of potentially joining him on the COC: “To anyone that is interested in applying for a seat, I would just say City Hall is very helpful when it comes to guiding applicants through this process and that it is a very humbling and amazing experience to take part in shaping our city’s policies.”

Entire West Coast Marijuana Crop Threatened By Fire, Smoke, and Ash

In not just California, but Oregon and Washington too, where even cannabis plants that are hundreds of miles from the fires suffer smoke damage that renders the pot unsmokable.

Back in the ‘old’ days of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 wildfires, the destruction and heartbreak for the legal cannabis industry was seeing acres of cannabis fields burn down across the storied ganja grasslands of northern California. But a new 2020 phenomenon makes that previous loss of chronic crop seem quaint. This year’s record-setting four million acres of land burned and resulting horrible, smoky conditions are killing off cannabis plants hundreds of miles away from the fires.

Here in San Francisco, even if you just had a potted backyard marijuana plant for your personal use, the infamous September 9 “orange sky” brought smoke damage that may have choked your plant, or blocked the sun to allow mold to form on your primo buds. And that from a fire that was least 60 miles away.

But hey, that’s just your backyard personal stash plant — commercial farmers lost an entire year’s crop and livelihood. And not just in directly fire-affected areas either, as the Mercury News picks up a CNN report that wildfire smoke has destroyed outdoor crops across California and Oregon. Industry trade publication Marijuana Business Daily adds that numerous farms in Washington state burned as well. This effectively threatens the entire 2020 “Croptober” harvest, that is, the mid-October bounty that (in a normal year) yields the lion’s share of the good shit.

“Even for operators whose cannabis businesses and plants were spared, the wildfires still present a mess of potential issues such as smoke damage, contamination, smaller buds, stressed out plants and end products that might not pass regulatory or consumer muster,” CNN Business reports.

Marijuana Business Daily details how the August Complex fires forced the famed “Emerald Triangle” growing grounds’ farmers to evacuate just as the bumper crop was beginning to bud, and fleeing farmers left with no idea if they’d have anything to return to. CNN Business adds the bummer that “Insurance companies, like banks, are reluctant to serve cannabis businesses because marijuana remains a federally illegal substance. And because of that illicit status, the enterprises don’t qualify for federal disaster aid.” These are ‘normal’ legal problems that come up again every year in fire-affected cannabis farming areas.

But there is now a larger issue of climate change and the legal cannabis industry, front and center affecting the entire Pacific coast. The weed you buy at your local dispensary is subject to far more rigorous mold and chemical testing than any produce you buy at the grocery store. “In a normal year, around 2% to 5% of California’s marijuana crops would fail mold tests,” according to Bloomberg. This year, they say, “it could be double that percentage as sunlight-blocking smoke weakens plants’ resistance to mold, disease and other pests.”

SF Weekly’s cannabis-focused sister publication SF Evergreen has a very good analysis of how to protect your outdoor grow from ash and smoke. Of course, the damage is pretty much already done this year, so much of that primer is advice for next October. And it’s fair to expect that ash and smoke are going to wreck California skies every September/October going forward for the foreseeable future, as smoke basically ruins our smoke stash.

Harris And Pence Clash On Marijuana And Drug Enforcement During VP Debate

Marijuana and drug enforcement was a topic of contention during Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and incumbent Vice President Mike Pence (R).

During a segment on race and the criminal justice system, Harris said that if elected, she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana.”

She also pledged that their administration would take steps to track police who abuse their positions and to ban private prisons and cash bail.

Later, while he didn’t directly weigh in on the issue of marijuana reform, Pence attacked Harris’s drug enforcement record as a prosecutor.

“When you were when you were [district attorney] in San Francisco, when you left office, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics,” he said. “When you were attorney general of California, you increased report the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in California. You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California.”

The vice president also claimed his Democratic opponent “didn’t lift a finger to pass” criminal justice reform legislation signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Marijuana and drug enforcement was a topic of contention during Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and incumbent Vice President Mike Pence (R).

During a segment on race and the criminal justice system, Harris said that if elected, she and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana.”

She also pledged that their administration would take steps to track police who abuse their positions and to ban private prisons and cash bail.

Later, while he didn’t directly weigh in on the issue of marijuana reform, Pence attacked Harris’s drug enforcement record as a prosecutor.

“When you were when you were [district attorney] in San Francisco, when you left office, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics,” he said. “When you were attorney general of California, you increased report the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in California. You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California.”

The vice president also claimed his Democratic opponent “didn’t lift a finger to pass” criminal justice reform legislation signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Harris is the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to federally legalize marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs, but didn’t publicly endorse ending cannabis prohibition until 2018. She previously campaigned against a ballot measure to enact legalization in California in 2010 and as a prosecutor enforced marijuana and drug criminalization laws.

Pence, as a member of the House, voted consistently against floor amendments to protect state medical cannabis programs from federal interference. In August, he criticized Democrats for including language to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banking services in coronavirus relief legislation.

“In the House of Representatives, I heard the other day that the bill that they passed actually mentions marijuana more than it mentions jobs,”he said. “The American people don’t want some pork barrel bill coming out of the Congress when we’ve got real needs from working families.”

President Trump, when asked, has voiced support for letting states enact their own marijuana policies without federal interference, though his administration has taken a number of hostile anti-cannabis actions that stop short of a full-scale crackdown.

Biden differs with Harris in that he opposes legalizing marijuana but backs decriminalizing possession, expunging past records, modestly rescheduling the drug under federal law, letting states set their own laws and legalizing medical cannabis.

Since becoming Biden’s running mate, however, Harris has focused her public marijuana comments on the narrower issue of decriminalization and expunging records, and has not gone further by discussing full legalization or her own legislation that would enact the more far-reaching change.

On Wednesday, Harris appeared uneasy about her prosecutorial record being called out, similar to her performance during a Democratic primary debate last year when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) went after her cannabis enforcement history and the senator declined to substantively respond.

During the Wednesday exchange, she demanded time to respond to Pence’s comments but seemed to only reiterate points she had already made, which moderator Susan Page of USA Today noted before moving on to the next question.

Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.

Bay Area entrepreneurs introduce the TikTok of the cannabis industry

The TikTok of the cannabis world is gaining traction with people who like sharing videos about their buds and bongs and winning cash by doing it. Don’t worry about a ban on the app by President Trump, though.

Daily Bonfire is not a product of China — it was created by entrepreneurs Mark and Pamela Hadfield, a San Rafael couple whose Hello MD website (hellomd.com) sprang to popularity in 2013 by linking patients to medical and lifestyle articles about cannabis as well as doctors who could provide medical recommendations for cannabis, required before the passage of California’s Proposition 64 and legalization of adult use.

Daily Bonfire, whose name was inspired by the idea of daily use and by the communal act of sitting around a bonfire, fills several niches in the marketplace. As one of the few apps devoted to cannabis (along with Duby, MassRoots and Reddit’s r/trees thread), it allows consumers to build community around a substance that is largely banned from mainstream social media.
The Daily Bonfire app builds community among cannabis users and allows them to enter contests and win prizes.

“Currently there is no way for (cannabis) brands and retailers to effectively market to target audiences — we’re blocked from Instagram and Facebook,” Pamela Hadfield said. And since social media has become a tool for advertisers the world over — especially when trying to reach Millennial and Gen Z consumers, for whom short-form videos are a preferred method of communication — a cannabis-themed app allows cannabis businesses to reach consumers interested in their products.

Unlike Duby and MassRoots, which are based on photo sharing, Daily Bonfire is video based, with clips showing users talking about plans to get high on the Fourth of July, showing how many bong hits are possible in a minute, attempting to ride a hoverboard (and crashing) while high. Advertisers (retailers and brands) work with the app to sponsor contests that encourage users to make and upload videos to win prizes. Contest themes range from best homemade bong to favorite exercise with cannabis. Prizes range from $25 gift cards for DoorDash to $500 in cash.

Social justice was also on the Hadfields’ minds in creating the app. The company is committed to investing 5% of annual profits in its own Diversity Empowerment Program, and supporting nonprofits including the ACLU, Black & Brown Founders and NORML, among others.

The Hadfields, both 47 and parents of three girls, held executive positions in the tech world — he as a startup founder and she as a consultant in user experience and product design — before training their sights on the cannabis industry. Neither was a cannabis advocate until Pamela, a 25-year migraine sufferer with fibromyalgia, turned to CBD (cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis) after prescription drugs proved ineffective against the debilitating headaches that struck about four days a month.

“I was using Vicodin regularly,” she recalled, “and thought I had nothing to lose.” With a daily tincture high in CBD and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis), her headaches have ceased, she says. She also credits cannabis for her success in hiking the 211-mile John Muir trail last summer, migraine-free.

The TikTok of the cannabis world is gaining traction with people who like sharing videos about their buds and bongs and winning cash by doing it. Don’t worry about a ban on the app by President Trump, though.

Daily Bonfire is not a product of China — it was created by entrepreneurs Mark and Pamela Hadfield, a San Rafael couple whose Hello MD website (hellomd.com) sprang to popularity in 2013 by linking patients to medical and lifestyle articles about cannabis as well as doctors who could provide medical recommendations for cannabis, required before the passage of California’s Proposition 64 and legalization of adult use.

Daily Bonfire, whose name was inspired by the idea of daily use and by the communal act of sitting around a bonfire, fills several niches in the marketplace. As one of the few apps devoted to cannabis (along with Duby, MassRoots and Reddit’s r/trees thread), it allows consumers to build community around a substance that is largely banned from mainstream social media.
The Daily Bonfire app builds community among cannabis users and allows them to enter contests and win prizes.
The Daily Bonfire app builds community among cannabis users and allows them to enter contests and win prizes.
Photo: Daily Bonfire

“Currently there is no way for (cannabis) brands and retailers to effectively market to target audiences — we’re blocked from Instagram and Facebook,” Pamela Hadfield said. And since social media has become a tool for advertisers the world over — especially when trying to reach Millennial and Gen Z consumers, for whom short-form videos are a preferred method of communication — a cannabis-themed app allows cannabis businesses to reach consumers interested in their products.

Unlike Duby and MassRoots, which are based on photo sharing, Daily Bonfire is video based, with clips showing users talking about plans to get high on the Fourth of July, showing how many bong hits are possible in a minute, attempting to ride a hoverboard (and crashing) while high.

“It makes consumers aware of the brand, and it makes retailers happy as well,” Pamela Hadfield said. Reddit’s r/trees thread allows for photo- and video-sharing, but has no rewards program.
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Social justice was also on the Hadfields’ minds in creating the app. The company is committed to investing 5% of annual profits in its own Diversity Empowerment Program, and supporting nonprofits including the ACLU, Black & Brown Founders and NORML, among others.

The Hadfields, both 47 and parents of three girls, held executive positions in the tech world — he as a startup founder and she as a consultant in user experience and product design — before training their sights on the cannabis industry. Neither was a cannabis advocate until Pamela, a 25-year migraine sufferer with fibromyalgia, turned to CBD (cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis) after prescription drugs proved ineffective against the debilitating headaches that struck about four days a month.

“I was using Vicodin regularly,” she recalled, “and thought I had nothing to lose.” With a daily tincture high in CBD and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis), her headaches have ceased, she says. She also credits cannabis for her success in hiking the 211-mile John Muir trail last summer, migraine-free.

In 2013, mainstream acceptance of cannabis had not yet arrived, especially in investment circles. “’We will never touch cannabis — that’s why we don’t invest in porn and gambling,’” Pamela Hadfield recalls a prominent venture capitalist telling her. “I was shocked that this was the opinion, when I saw the trajectory of where cannabis could go from a health wellness and medical standpoint.”

The venture world’s loss has been the Hadfields’ gain. Two years ago, they established hellomd.com in Canada, where cannabis is federally legal, to operate an online cannabis consultation portal for Shoppers Drug Mart, that nation’s largest pharmacy chain.

With “thousands” of users (Hadfield declined to be specific), Daily Bonfire has a long way to go before meeting TikTok’s reach, a reported 500 million active users a month. But who knows? The world’s stoners have never yet had a place to light up together. Daily Bonfire might just provide the spark.

Carolyne Zinko is a freelancer and former Chronicle staff writer.

Cannabis crops impacted by California wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – This year’s historic wildfire season is not only affecting the local wine industry, it is also posing a threat to West Coast cannabis crops.

Some growers are already dealing with the loss of crops due to flames, while others are worried about the lingering smoke and ash in the air could impact the quality of their cannabis.

“It’s like everything had been rained on with ash. It was absolutely crazy to see,” said Wendy Kornburg, owner of Sunnabis Humbolt’s Full Sun Farms.

Her garden should produce between 200 and 400 pounds of marijuana a year but this year, she’s concerned some cannabis may not pass inspection.

“The main concern is that the product itself has ash on it and with the way ca regulations go, that becomes problematic because we will fail testing for foreign contaminants,” Kornburg said.

Most growers will have to send their crop to an extraction lab before it get’s tested for approval.

Kornburg says because the ash is getting stuck to her flower, she’s using a natural farming solution to help cleanse them before they head out for testing.

“It’s water-based, and then you use a vinegar and I increased the vinegar to make it more acidic and what we’ve found is the plants are responding really really well,” Kornburg said.

Kornburg has been sharing her technique with fellow farmers, who are not only worried they won’t have a profitable year but are also concerned about how this may affect consumers.

Dale Sky Jones is executive chancellor of Oaksterdam Cannabis College in Oakland.

She believes the amount of fresh flower on the market will likely drop after this wildfire season.

“Any disruption is diffiult to deal with, add to that COVID, on top of the fires. This is gonna be a struggle,” Jones said.

It may take a while to figure out if avid smokers will be able to tell a difference in their bud but Jones says if you want to make sure what you’re smoking is safe, you should only buy legally.

“This is more than ever a reason to ensure you’re purchasing from a state legal facility, not only are you helping everyone by paying taxes, but you also know you’re getting a product that’s been tested,” Jones said.