Whoopi Goldberg’s weed products are proof of the ‘branding of the bud’
Whoopi Goldberg’s personalized brand of medicinal marijuana products has been trending on social media and remained a topic du jour on talk shows since it was first announced on Wednesday. The brand’s arrival is the culmination of a movement toward changing the narrative on legal weed that has been building for years.
Alicia Darrow, the chief operating manager of the Blum medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California, which will be one of the first locations to sell Goldberg’s new products, is a 15-year veteran of the business. She told MSNBC she remembers the days when providing sanctioned pot was “very similar to how speakeasy was during Prohibition.”
“It was small doors in areas that were very hidden, there was no advertising, there was no signs, no Yellow Pages ads or anything like that would direct you," she said.
Darrow was drawn into the world of medicinal marijuana first as a patient when she sought treatment in the late ’90s for endometriosis. She became hooked by the drug’s ability to heal. Now, in a post-Colorado landscape where business is booming and lots of regulations are in place, it feels like a whole new world.
“It’s been a real pleasure to watch this industry unfold, because God knows we’ve been riding a wave of ‘How can we help people without getting into trouble?’” Maya Elisabeth, a 10-year-plus proponent of the medicinal marijuana business who has partnered with Goldberg to produce weed-infused items tailored for women, told MSNBC on Friday.
Elisabeth, who said she has had a “long-standing relationship with the cannabis plant” and “bathes in it every single day,” has witnessed a startling evolution of thought over the last few years. More and more people are starting to recognize the value of parts of the plant that are not just used for recreational smoking, she said. By reaching out to women with products made to treat menstrual cramps, she and Goldberg (whom Elisabeth calls an “inspiration”) are trying to serve a population that hasn’t been previously provided with a lot of options for relief.
“It’s a very intelligent, calculated and well-planned line,” Elisabeth said, while acknowledging that it is part of a gradual “branding of the bud” that has been taking place in recent years.
Of course, with its increasingly high profile and spiking profits, the mainstreaming of marijuana industry brings inevitable risks and potential drawbacks. “There is a lot more competition,” said Darrow. “As it’s becoming more mainstream, a lot of big corporate billionaires and people that have a lot more money than the majority of people who have been running this industry in California the last few years [have entered the market].”
Still, Darrow isn’t scared of the new kids on the block, because “they really don’t know the business.”
Meanwhile, people like David M. Cunic, a former physical therapist who now runs medicinal marijuana testing labs in two different states with a third on the way, are doing their best to protect consumers. “Someone is going to always find a way to the cheat the system,” he told MSNBC. “This is a modern day gold rush – that’s why they call it a ‘green rush.’”
He too has experienced firsthand the changing of corporate America’s tune when it comes to the profitability of medicinal marijuana. Cunic, a New Jersey native, says just the word “marijuana” itself was taboo for decades, and he was once laughed out of a potential investor’s office in New York, only to have that same person call him up less than two years later to say, “This is a booming sector, this is a booming industry.”
From Cunic’s perspective, “Whether you’re for it or against it, it’s a drug that needs to be tested.” And just testing the substance has the potential to be a multimillion-dollar business alongside the sellers. Still, not all of the states that allow the sale of medicinal marijuana have strict testing laws, including Cunic’s home state.
Even though he’s heard physicians praise marijuana as a “modern-day penicillin,” Cunic still has to overcome negative stigmas when he tells people what he does for a living, especially in the tri-state area on the East Coast.
“I don’t use the word marijuana at all, I say cannabis,” Cunic said. “People say, ‘Oh, cannabis, that’s interesting,’ but as soon as you say pot or marijuana, they say, ‘How can you do that?’”
According to Cunic, the prefixed, criminalized concept of the stoner stereotype is hard to shake. “Never underestimate the power of Prohibition,” said Elisabeth.
This is why Goldberg’s entry into the industry could be a game-changer. “I think it’s a great conversation starter,” said Cunic, who hopes that the “Sister Act” star’s celebrity status will help more Americans understand that the marijuana plant can be used to do everything from make clothing to treating psoriasis and eczema. But that may be why there is so much resistance to legalization in some elite, conservative circles – the medicinal marijuana industry could cut into the bottom lines of pharmaceutical companies, for instance.
“Of course they don’t want to see an easier, cheaper, more efficient way to make their products that they’re making tons of money on,” said Darrow. But she believes corporate interests are beginning to lose fights they used to win against pot sellers because the tax revenue legal marijuana is generating for local governments is too irresistible.
This partly why sellers like Darrow aren’t exactly panicking over the prospect of a President Donald Trump or Ted Cruz curtailing the gains the industry has made in recent years.
“It’s so far progressed and so many states have already passed these laws and so many regulations are in place – I don’t know how easy it would be for a president to snap his fingers and change something at the rate that it’s moving forward and how much has happened in the last couple years,” she said. “It is a risk, it could happen, it does worry me – but not too much.”
Just How Well Does Weed Work for Period Pain?
For the sake of all the ladies, MERRY JANE puts Foria’s Relief product to the test.
I personally received a handful of texts from my non-partaking girlfriends, who saw the “Trending Topic” on Facebook and had to know if putting weed in your vagina was a real, viable treatment for cramps and other pains associated with Aunt Flo’s monthly visit.
If this were widely proven to be an effective treatment, then dozens of girls I know would purchase them, who would never smoke cannabis or try an edible.
A couple of quick emails to the ladies at Foria got a package into my possession, so I could bring the rest of you ladies valuable information from the front lines.
Like many women, I have utilized medical cannabis for menstrual cramps and pain for years. It’s not surprising that Foria, the inventors of the first direct-to-marketcannabis-infused pleasure lube for women, would create such a novel application that delivers the medicine within the body, directly to where it’s needed most.
The instructions for the product advise you to lay on your back and relax for 15 minutes or more after application. Cannabis products are constantly reinforcing knowing one’s self and enhancing the mind-body connection for greater healing potential. While these products are effective no matter what, it’s amazing what following the instructions—and actually relaxing into the feeling—can accomplish.
Let’s look at the facts behind Foria Relief:
- According to Foria’s website, Foria Relief works by delivering a soothing blend of cannabinoids directly to the muscles of the vagina. This activates cannabinoid receptors in the pelvic region, impacting the nerves of the uterus, cervix and ovaries, along with the surrounding muscle tissues.
- Each one contains 60mg THC and 10mg CBD, a good ratio for combating acute pain and inflammation. While the THC has a fast-acting positive effect on nerve pain, the CBD acts as an additional immune system supporter, repressing signals that lead to inflammation in the body.
- The suppositories are smaller than you’d expect—definitely not close to the size of a tampon, as some articles have suggested.
- They have an organic cocoa butter base, so you can be sure that they’re natural and safe to put inside your body.
I can personally attest to the efficacy of this product for period pain, and I even experienced a pleasant side effect, which other ladies have also reported.
Back in high school, I injured my back around the L5 vertebrae, right above the pelvis. Because of this I battle daily pain in my pelvic region and lower back, oftentimes even my sciatic nerve, shooting down my legs. The Foria Relief product is so potent that it provides soothing relief to all of these areas.
In talking with other women who have tried the product, many have shared with me that it helps them too with Sciatica and back pain, so it’s definitely not a “just for periods” product!
Foria is an amazing company making waves in the cannabis space by completely rethinking the way that many women face everyday sexual health issues.
Though they were one of the first to manufacture such products, they certainly won’t be the last; Whoopi & Maya is launching soon in California and beyond.
Ladies—let’s thank these outstanding and innovative women by spreading the word, and of course, gifting all of our loved ones these products. “Cannabis for cramps” is our reward for being so strong all these years.
Cannabis Journalism Course Offered at UC Berkeley This Summer
With the cannabis industry expected to thrive in some states California is the next up to offer cannabis courses to help those looking to get into the industry. UC Berkeley will be offering a course on cannabis journalism this summer that will take writers through the rigors of writing and reporting professionally for a fairly new industry.
The course is taught by Katya Cengel that will give emphasis on cannabis journalism by David Downs, a leading journalist currently working with the likes of Culture Magazine, Wired, SFGate and contributing author of Beyond Buds.
Cengel will help aspiring journalists to develop sources, conduct interviews, write quickly, revise and edit along with an introduction to multimedia and blogging. Downs will guide those with his experience working in the industry and offer insight into unfamiliar territory of covering cannabis through media and going in-depth into writing non-fiction books.
Downs started covering the cannabis industry with the East Bay Express in 2009 with a column called Legalization Nation and as co-founder of the Marijuana Business Report in 2010. Shortly after Downs became editor of Smell the Truth at SFGate it became one of the first major newspapers next to Denver’s The Cannabist to solely cover the thriving cannabis industry.
Downs stated that back in 2009 when he started the Legalization Nation column that there was minimal coverage on the cannabis industry. Then in 2012 Denver’s biggest newspaper started The Cannabist and coverage from media channels such asVICE through their Weediequette show gave new light to covering cannabis.
“Editors at other brands such as Wired started to take this seriously because the legitimacy of legalization. In 2014 Oregon and Alaska accelerated that trend and we see box media, buzz beats and entire media switching to covering the cannabis industry,” Downs told MERRY JANE.
UC Berkeley is following the same path as University of Denver who last year started an interim course on cannabis journalism being the first University in the U.S. offering such courses. These courses will help students investigate the scope of marijuana legalization movement and its many political and practical intricacies.
“Students will visit and interview dispensaries, industry professionals and private citizens to produce a portfolio piece of narrative journalism using the modes and methods of their choice, with direction of the instructor,” according to the University of Denver website.
While institutions are slower to evolve than publications according to Downs, the need for more professionals in the industry is evident and that there is more beyond editorial journalism such as confident cannabis communications and that every dispensary needs copy writers and much more.
“Now we’re seeing higher educations begin to back programs around this trending topic. Last year the University of Denver offered courses with the professors active there while I continue to do stuff with Katya at UC Berkeley,” said Downs.
With the rise of cannabis legalization across the U.S., the need for journalists who understand the cannabis industry will be expanding. If you’re looking to get into the industry this course is offered for Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing, or Specialized Program in Professional Writing all from the comfort of your home.
Man with $65K to buy marijuana didn't commit crime, judge says
Lincoln Journal Star-By. Lori Pilger-5/17/16
A Lincoln judge found Monday that a 24-year-old Minnesota man caught en route to Colorado with $65,000 to buy marijuana committed no crime in Nebraska and dismissed criminal charges against him, citing a 1975 state Supreme Court ruling.
"The intention to commit a crime in another state does not constitute a crime in Nebraska," Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong wrote in her order. On Oct. 24, 2014, a Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy stopped Erik J. Felsheim for following too closely on Interstate 80 west of Lincoln. Felsheim said he was headed to Colorado and admitted he was nervous.
Deputy Jason Henkel asked if he had any drugs or large amounts of cash in the rental car, and Felsheim said no.
Henkel asked if he could search the car, and Felsheim paused but eventually agreed. In the trunk, deputies found $40,000 in a gym bag and $25,000 more in a duffle bag, according to court records.
Felsheim admitted he was going to Golden, Colorado, to buy 10 pounds of pot to sell in Mankato, where he went to college. He said the rest of the cash belonged to passenger James Atkinson, who planned to buy 7½ pounds.
Deputies arrested them both, and prosecutors charged Felsheim, of Waseca, with two felonies: possession of money intended to be used to facilitate a drug violation and aiding the consummation of delivery of a controlled substance.
Atkinson, 23, of Mankato, pleaded no contest to attempted possession of marijuana and attempted possession of money while violating drug laws, both misdemeanors. In September, Strong gave him 360 days in jail and fined him $2,000. He finished serving the sentence April 25.
Felsheim opted for a trial, at which both sides agreed to the facts.
The question for the judge was this: Did Felsheim commit a crime in Nebraska if he wasn't buying or selling drugs here?
In arguing it is not a violation of Nebraska law to conspire to break the law of another state, defense attorney Tim Sullivan pointed to State v. Karsten, a 1975 Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.
Here, the state argued it was logical to infer Felsheim intended to bring drugs into Nebraska. But Strong found no evidence of that. While the state has a legitimate interest in protecting its people from the societal effects of drug trafficking, she said, Felsheim had not yet committed a crime in Nebraska when he was stopped. He intended to buy marijuana in Colorado and sell it in Minnesota, she said.
Although Nebraska law makes it a crime to possess money intended to be used in buy illegal drugs, the possession of currency alone is not a crime, Strong said.
"My client is very happy with the result," Sullivan said late Monday afternoon.
But Chief Deputy County Attorney Pat Condon said the decision is a big deal -- and not a good one.
Here was someone admitting what he was doing, Condon said, "and we didn't get a conviction."
Another judge could look at it and come up with a different decision, he said, adding that he does not plan to appeal, a move that could establish precedent.
Condon said the office will look at pending cases to see how it wants to proceed, and probably will talk with law enforcement about things they can do differently.
"I definitely want to learn from it," he said.
The Karsten case also set out how lawmakers could change the law to fix a problem. But in 41 years, that has yet to happen.
Legal Cannabis Sales Grew 232% in 2015
Extract.com-Emily Gray Brosious- 5/16/16
Marijuana likely to be a leading growth sector for years to come.
Legal cannabis sales grew 232 percent in 2015, making recreational marijuana one of America’s fastest growing sectors, according to a report from New Frontier, a company specializing in cannabis industry data and analysis.
Legal cannabis industry growth rates shot up higher in 2015 than those of the electric vehicle industry (222 percent), Solar PV installation industry (60 percent) and even the Big Data sector (40 percent).
U.S. medical and recreational marijuana markets combined grew by 31 percent in 2015, which is quite a bit smaller than the growth rate of the recreational marijuana industry by itself but still very healthy numbers.
A fairly recent explosion of new cannabis-enfused edibles, concentrates and other marijuana products have been a key part of the sector’s growth in 2015.
New Frontier predicts the marijuana industry’s growth rates will not slow down any time soon:
Medical marijuana legalized in Pa.
By Julia Terruso, Staff Writer philly.com
HARRISBURG - Hundreds of cheering families, legislators and patients watched Gov. Wolf sign a medical marijuana bill into law Sunday afternoon, many hopeful at last for relief from debilitating pain, seizures and other medical conditions.
Allie Delp watched from her mother's lap, purple sunglasses strapped around her wide blue eyes to protect them from the light. Large crowds are tough for Allie. The 4-year-old suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe seizure disorder, and most days she stays in the dimly lit, cool comforts of her home to avoid triggers. Today was too important not to make the drive from Ford City, said Allie's mother, Amanda Delp.
"It feels like a dream. It really does," Delp said. "If you would have asked me four years ago if I would be advocating for medical marijuana, I would have told you it's just people wanting to get high. It took my daughter for me to open my eyes and realize it can save people."
A row away from Allie, Robert Billhime Jr., 45, sat with his girlfriend and 6-week-old napping son, Aspen. Multiple back surgeries left Billhime addicted to painkillers three years ago. He lost his job, his home. Addiction nearly cost him his life, he said. "If it wasn't for the cannabis I wouldn't be here. I won't go back. I won't be an addict," he said wiping a tear from his eye and looking down at his son.
Billhime called the day a huge step in the right direction but said discrimination and misunderstanding persist. "It's still not going to change the bigotry already in the legal system. If you're a cannabis user, legal or not, you're prejudged simply because you refuse to be an addict."
Billhime said he almost lost custody of his children because the family court judge ordered he take a drug test while he was using cannabis for back pain. He had supervised visitations for six months.
In the packed rotunda Sunday there were hundreds of stories like these. People trying to make it through their pain, determined, loving parents doing whatever they could - and then some for their kids. Wearing green for cannabis - and purple, for epilepsy awareness - they erupted in cheers as Wolf signed the bill into law.
Wolf thanked the advocates, particularly the mothers who brought their kids to rally at the Capitol to give a face to the people the legalization would benefit.
"When you have people who represent a cause as eloquently and in as heartfelt a way as the advocates for this has done, it shows we can get something done that means something," Wolf said. "We're not responding to a special interest here; we're not responding to someone who makes campaign contributions - we're responding to people who are telling us there is a real human need here in Pennsylvania."
There was much congratulating among legislators for bipartisan work on the bill.
"We won!" Sen. Mike Folmer (R., Lebanon), who rallied Republicans, said to a roar as he took the podium. "This is your day!"
Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, recalled introducing a medical marijuana bill in 2010 and failing to find a single cosigner. "The pain of illness touches us all eventually and so we all united to defeat [pain] . . . We worked together, we studied, we begged, we cajoled and we argued - and we convinced our fellow legislators to join us."
The law allows people suffering from 17 specified conditions - including cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and seizures - to access medical marijuana in pill, oil, or ointment form at dispensaries statewide.
The Department of Health is expected to oversee what will become a new industry in Pennsylvania, with dozens of dispensaries, hundreds of workers and potentially thousands of patients. Patients would use identification cards, after receiving a doctor's prescription, to access marijuana from one of 150 dispensaries statewide. All dispensaries would be licensed by the state and face intense regulation.
Getting the system up and running could take more than 18 months before a patient can actually access medical marijuana. A provision in the bill allows families with children under 18 to obtain medical marijuana from other states where it is legal without fear of prosecution.
Temporary regulations are also expected to be written to permit adults access if they can demonstrate they suffer from one of the 17 conditions listed in the legislation.
Delp hopes to use that provision to get Allie cannabis oil in the near future. Her daughter has as many as 80 seizures a month, she said. One in five children with Dravet doesn't live to adulthood, Delp said. Many are mentally challenged and require care the rest of their lives.
"Cannabis not only gives us hope to help control the seizures, but there are children in legal states where it's been shown to help their cognition," Delp said. "Maybe she'll be able to catch up, lead a normal life."
Allie is an active tomboy (she did barefoot laps around the rotunda before the bill-signing got under way). She doesn't know to avoid triggers for the seizures that threaten her life.
"She loves riding her four-wheeler, chasing her sisters around, just being a kid," Delp said. "This - it won't solve everything - but it gives us hope, and we need hope."