A Call for the Cease of Cannabis Arrests and Release of Incarcerated Cannabis Offenders in Light of COVID-19

Marijuana leaves gavel and sound block.
Graphic image of marijuana leaves gavel and sound block. Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

The Marijuana Policy Project and other organizations are urging law enforcement officials to dramatically curtail arrests for non-violent crimes, including ceasing arrests for cannabis offenses. In addition to curtailing arrests, the organizations are calling for officials to release or grant clemency to those incarcerated for cannabis offenses along with dramatically reducing the number of incarcerated non-violent prisoners, whether sentenced or un-sentenced.

The Marijuana Policy Project, Last Prisoner Project, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, National Cannabis Industry Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) have sent a letter calling for these actions to the National District Attorneys Association, National Governors Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Association of Chiefs of Police, National Correctional Industries Association, American Correctional Association, and AFSCME.

Public health experts have warned that the coronavirus poses an extreme threat not only to inmates but also to the staff that serves them, as well as to their families and communities. The conditions in prisons and jails, such as sharing small cells, going into crowded day rooms, and sleeping just feet away from toilets, are known to cause disease and infection to run rampant. Jails are already seeing a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases. It has been reported that in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, 52 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus as well as 30 staffers. Inmates have also tested positive in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, South Dakota, and Texas. Prison employees have tested positive in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington.  

Several localities — including Baltimore; Suffolk County, Massachusetts; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; New Jersey; Los Angeles; and New York City — and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have already begun to release inmates incarcerated for non-violent, drug-related offenses. 

Another cause of concern is that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus. As a consequence, each law enforcement-civilian interaction includes a risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus to either party. According to New York’s Police Commissioner, more than 200 NYPD members have been infected with the coronavirus and nearly 3,000 officers are out sick.

In addition to New York, law enforcement officers have tested positive for the virus in at least 14 other states, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and several law enforcement agencies, including in Pennsylvania and Ohio, are already taking action to curtail arrests for non-violent offenses until the country is better able to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

“There is no justification for arresting and jailing individuals for marijuana offenses during this crisis. It is in the best interest of law enforcement and the greater population to cease marijuana arrests and reduce arrests for non-violent crimes. It is also vital for individuals who are incarcerated for cannabis offenses to be released or granted clemency in order to prevent a potentially disastrous and deathly situation.”, stated Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project.

“COVID-19 is forcing us to seriously consider what constitutes a genuine public safety threat. Criminalizing people for marijuana has always been a waste of time and resources; now it’s also unnecessarily endangering lives by exposing more people to the crowded and unsanitary conditions of our jails and prisons.”, said Police Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director at the Law Enforcement Action Partnership.

A statement from Sarah Gersten, executive director and general counsel at the Last Prisoner Project, “Our constituents, many of whom are over the age of 60 and have underlying health conditions, are imprisoned because of a plant that has now been deemed an ‘essential’ service by jurisdictions across the country during this time of crisis. Releasing cannabis prisoners now is not only the right thing to do from a justice perspective, but also from a public health perspective.” 

CBDSeniors.com Promote CBD Usage and Awareness Among Seniors

CBDSeniors.com hero image.
Image provided by CBDSeniors.com.

Living Senior LLC is proud to announce its latest venture, CBDSeniors.com, a web platform that has been created to promote the usage of hemp-based products among the senior citizen community (those aged 50+). The founders of CBD Seniors have set out to educate seniors and their families on the positive effects that cannabis has on an individual’s immune system, amidst a global pandemic.

Longtime cannabis activists, Dr. Robert Melamede (Age 72) and former NORML National Director, Richard Cowan (age 72), along with, Dr. Igor Brussel, have launched the first website that specifically studies senior citizens and the endocannabinoid system.

Website co-founder Richard Cowan explains why this new information is so crucial at the present moment, especially for senior citizens, “What Dr. Bob, Dr. Igor and others have shown, is that cannabis is absolutely fundamental to understanding life and we haven’t even begun to understand its potential therapeutic abilities. Cannabis is the ultimate nutritional supplement, and banning it has had a devastating effect on the public health in the last hundred years.”, said Cowen.

For content samples including articles from Dr. Melamede and Mr. Cowan, please visit www.cbdseniors.com.

NCIA Delays Cannabis Business Summit & Expo Due To COVID-19 Concerns

National Cannabis Industry Association logo.
Image provided by the The National Cannabis Industry Association.

One of the largest and most recognized trade conferences in the industry will now take place from September 29 to October 1, 2020 to ensure attendee safety.

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the nation’s largest and most representative trade group for the legal cannabis industry, announced it has moved the annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo to September 29 through October 1, 2020, due to COVID-19 safety concerns. The event, previously scheduled to take place from June 15 through 17, 2020, will still be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and all attendee and exhibitor registrations for the original dates will be honored.

“The health and safety of our members, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, visitors, and staff is our number one priority,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We understand the concerns that many of our members may be feeling as we move forward into unknown territory. However, our industry is used to weathering the worst of storms and thriving in the harshest environments. NCIA is confident that the industry will rise to this occasion and continue to grow and thrive. We assure both cannabis business owners and consumers that we will continue to represent the industry in our nation’s capital and offer support to help you get through the weeks and months ahead. We are dedicated to ensuring that recovery efforts can begin as soon as is safely possible, and the new dates for the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo are specifically timed to help cannabis businesses move forward and thrive with the increasing understanding that we are an essential component of personal, social, and economic health in this country.”

Under the revised schedule, workshops, tours, and education panels will start on September 29 and exhibits will open from September 30 to October 1. The Cannabis Business Summit & Expo is projected to attract thousands of cannabis industry professionals that span across industries, including cultivation, extraction, investment, science laboratories, law, infused product manufacturers and retail. The annual summit represents NCIA’s core values of education, advocacy, and community and will provide invaluable insights to business owners at every stage of growth in the industry. Attendees and exhibitors can find more information at www.cannabisbusinesssummit.com.

GRAV Pre-Filled Glass Joints California Launch

GRAV pre-filled Glass Joint filled with Eel River Organics cannabis.
GRAV pre-filled Glass Joint filled with Eel River Organics cannabis. Image provided by GRAV.

GRAV, the industry leader in handcrafted glass smoking accessories, has officially entered its brand into the cannabis industry. GRAV partnered with Eel River Organics to provide the highest-quality flower in 100% reusable and recyclable packaging. GRAV Glass Joints are a sustainable and radically natural way to enjoy this incredible plant.

“We looked for the finest, most potent, and most environmentally responsible flower for our California launch,” said David Daily, founder, and CEO of GRAV. “We think cannabis enthusiasts will appreciate engaging more of their senses — they can see the beautiful flower through the glass casing, as well as smell, taste, and touch,” said Daily.

Eel River Organics cannabis is grown through dry farming, a process that produces premium flowers in an environmentally sustainable way. The plants are naturally irrigated thanks to the location on the banks of the Eel River, without the use of added water, pesticides, and herbicides. This dry farming process results in a higher cannabinoid and terpene profile than other methods.

“Our partnership with GRAV matches really well with our environmental sustainability efforts,” said Jeff Guillot, CEO of Eel River Organics. “We love that consumers can reuse these joints or toss them in their recycling bin after use. We also know our customers will appreciate an on-the-go, long-use option,” Guillot said. 

Each 7-pack of GRAV Glass Joints ($40) is pre-filled with a total of ⅛-ounce Eel River Organics flower. The line includes four options: Electric (sativa), Cosmic (hybrid), Dreamy (indica), and Levitate (2:1 CBD). GRAV is also offering an optional 7-Pack Filling System for easy refills and an extra Glass Joint Mouthpiece. California dispensaries can order through the Filigreen or LeafLink portals.

Consumers can purchase GRAV Glass Joints through Eaze, the cannabis delivery service, and at dispensaries across the state. Contact your local dispensary for hours and availability.

GRAV will also soon be offering GRAV Glass Joints filled with terpene-rich, premium CBD hemp flower across the U.S. Each strain will exhibit trichome frosted flowers that present a plentiful diversity of desirable cannabinoids including CBDV, CBG, and CBC. 

Fuzzies by Sublime – Top-Selling Infused Pre-Rolls Cannabis in California

Sublime's Mini Fuzzies are the best-selling infused pre-rolls in California.
Sublime’s Mini Fuzzies are the best-selling infused pre-rolls in California. Image provided by Sublime.

Sublime, an award-winning cannabis manufacturing company located in Oakland, Calif., has the best-selling infused pre-rolls in California, according to the cannabis analytics firm Headset.

Sublime is the top-selling brand in the entire “connoisseur/infused” pre-roll market, Headset data from the last 180 days shows. In the same data set, Sublime has the top three products in the segment for its Fuzzies line of pre-rolls, which are infused with cannabis concentrate and terpenes, and then rolled in oil and kief. Mini Fuzzies Indica is No. 1, Mini Fuzzies Sativa is No. 2, and Mini Fuzzies Hybrid is No. 3. Sublime’s King Fuzzies pre-rolls also rank highly in this segment, giving Sublime six of the top 10 best-selling infused products in California. In the greater pre-roll market Sublime has three of the top 10 best-sellers. Sublime has captured one-third of the infused pre-roll market in total sales numbers.

“The numbers speak for themselves and hats off to the entire team at Sublime,” said Headset CEO Cy Scott. “They’re creating great products and the market is clearly responding in a positive way. Headset is proud to be a partner, helping enable their success through real-time data and market intelligence.”

This news comes after a reorganization of the company last fall. Sublime is under new management with former General Manager Ahmer Iqbal stepping into the CEO role. He replaced co-founder and former CEO Alex Fang. Since taking over, Iqbal has reorganized and refocused the company. Iqbal brings more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and supply chain operations to Sublime.

“The team at Sublime is focused on creating products with the best experience and value for cannabis users,” Iqbal said. “We’re excited about the future, and we’re actively working to bring new products to market in Q2.”

LeafLink, an online wholesale cannabis marketplace, also recognized Fuzzies with a “LeafLink List” award for being a best seller across its whole platform in 2019.

CannaCraft, From Cannabis To Hand Sanitizers, Helps Fight COVID-19

Hands pumping hand sanitizer bottle.
Hands pumping hand sanitizer bottle. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

CannaCraft, a large-scale cannabis manufacturer, announced that the company has converted a portion of their manufacturing space and production capacity to formulate and package individual bottles of hand sanitizer that will be donated to individuals and organizations throughout California.

The company trialed the program last week, creating hundreds of tubes that were distributed to employees and customers. After the successful test run and registering with the FDA, the company procured enough materials to make 40 gallons (or 5,000 1oz. tubes) of hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer will be donated to non-profits, customers, employees, and essential businesses and will be distributed later this week by Kind House Distribution, the company’s wholly-owned distribution arm.

“We are doing everything we can to protect our employees and our communities by adhering to guidelines and directives from officials and experts. At the same time, we are uniquely positioned to help in other ways because we have manufacturing equipment, scientific expertise, and a statewide distribution network built into our business,” said Jim Hourigan, CannaCraft CEO. “When we started hearing reports of a shortage in hand sanitizer, we knew that we could be of assistance without negatively impacting our employees or our operations.”

The hand sanitizer was formulated by CannaCraft’s head of R&D, Matthew Elmes, Ph.D., and is being packaged and distributed by a limited production team, due to the company’s decision to restrict facility access to essential production and distribution staff only. The teams have been split into smaller groups and are spread throughout CannaCraft’s 70,000 sqft headquarters to reduce unnecessary interactions. Additionally, CannaCraft has implemented robust health and safety protocols throughout every step of the supply chain process.

These protocols are imperative as the company works to continue serving customers in California who rely on cannabis products. Over the last few weeks, CannaCraft played an instrumental role and was ultimately successful in their efforts with state officials and city managers to designate California cannabis businesses as essential. “We are looking at the immediate needs and doing everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. But we are also taking a proactive approach to preventing collateral damage,” said Tiffany Devitt, CannaCraft’s President of Wellness. “As more people’s health becomes compromised, our medical services will continue to be overwhelmed. It is more critical than ever for people to continue the daily health regimens they rely on, and for millions in California this includes medicinal cannabis.”

ACS Laboratory Remain Open Amid COVID-19 Closures

Screenshot from ACS Laboratory video: ACS Laboratory | Dedicated Cannabis, CBD & Hemp Testing Lab.

As a vital third-party testing laboratory for medical marijuana treatment centers, the company led the effort to be listed as an essential service provider (ESS).

Medical cannabis companies and treatment centers rely on third laboratory testing to report the safety and efficacy of products on their shelves. More importantly, patients rely on access to vital cannabis recommendations. That’s why ACS took action to be declared as an “essential service provider.”

Although the sun continues to rise and set, the world as we know it today is a difficult time. Amidst the spread of COVID-19, states and local officials in Florida are taking measures to enact curfews, close non-essential businesses, and cancel group gatherings. Florida medical marijuana treatment centers and ACS Laboratory are akin to healthcare and pharmaceutical services, which are “critical infrastructure” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“ACS’s ability to do its part is integral to ensure that there is an adequate supply of verified, properly tested medical marijuana available to qualifying patients in Florida at all times,” said Roger Brown, President of ACS Laboratory.

Many patients rely on medical marijuana products for relief from conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They need access to recommended products that have passed the state’s regulatory standards for safety. This can only occur if a highly qualified laboratory like ACS remains operational, even in the face of mandatory emergency orders.

“Our stellar customer service and essential testing services will continue in the face of this pandemic. As of now we are not experiencing delays and will continue delivering test results as quickly as possible.” Additionally, Roger stated, “I personally want to inform every client that ACS Laboratory is here to support your business so we can continue serving patients with life-changing medicine. If we stay calm and diligent, we will all get through this crisis together.”

ACS Laboratory is the largest ISO certified, DEA registered, CLIA certified hemp/CBD and cannabis testing facility in the Eastern United States. It is a clinical-grade operation that has been continuously refining testing methods for 10+ years.

NCRMA Responds To Coronavirus To Help Cannabis Businesses

National Cannabis Risk Management Association logo.
National Cannabis Risk Management Association logo. Image provided by NCRMA.

In response to Coronavirus, the National Cannabis Risk Management Association (NCRMA) is mobilizing resources to support the needs of its cannabis business members. 

From increased demand to potential staffing shortages and access to capital, the fallout from the pandemic spotlights the need for sound risk management practices. The non-profit is offering expertise and guidance to help the industry through these uncertain, and unprecedented times. 

“We are responding to the needs of the cannabis industry and working to provide education, support, and expertise,” said Rocco Petrilli, NCRMA’s chairman. “This pandemic has forced cannabis business owners to look at risk management more directly and take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their businesses.”

NCRMA has begun surveying its certified service partners, consolidating expertise on risk management and publishing that content on a variety of platforms. The first article can be found here. Also, the NCRMA is now curating stories from reliable news outlets, including its partner, MJBIZ Daily, on its website. That content can be found here.

NCRMA’s experts offered some key points for cannabis industry businesses to consider as they navigate this crisis in the coming weeks and months: 

  • Follow the rules in terms of laws and regulations for the industry and measures implemented by federal, state and local government to address the crisis
  • Monitor receivables and cash flow
  • Ensure that retail spaces are clean and secure and be prepared for a potential increase or decrease in customers
  • When uncertain, ask an expert for advice

NCRMA provides its membership with pioneering and innovative risk management and insurance solutions through its expansive list of high-value service partners and offerings. Founded in 2018, the not-for-profit has established itself as the leader in providing cost-effective and comprehensive non-traditional risk management solutions to the non-traditional cannabis market. 

For more information about NCRMA, please visit https://ncrma.net

HARDCAR Continues to Distribute Cannabis During California Coronavirus Lockdown

HARDCAR hi-tech armored vehicles.
HARDCAR has led the industry with over $1B in product and cash transported since its inception in 2016. Image provided by HARDCAR.

HARDCAR announced that it is ramping up its efforts during these crucial times to keep the cannabis industry moving forward.

As the industry stumbles from a shutdown notification to all non-essential services, Essential Services Sector (ESS) companies may continue to operate throughout the state of California when other companies must cease operations. This leads to a logistical challenge to continue moving products daily. HARDCAR, who has led the secured distribution industry for 4 years, has been ESS qualified since its inception.

“We saw this one 3 years ago when the first quakes were hitting in California, so we made sure all vehicles were ready for events like this. We started by installing air purifiers in our trucks and had fantastic results, and then we added satellite phones and generators. We are very prepared.”, said Todd Kleperis, co-founder of HARDCAR.

HARDCAR has led the industry with over $1B in product and cash transported since its inception in 2016. As a consistent provider of cash to the Federal Reserve and a leader in secured distribution, it’s no wonder that HARDCAR has reached out to other distributors to start an alliance.

“Right now it’s not about profit, it’s about sustainability and moving through very tumultuous times. Who better than the U.S. military veterans on our team to pave the way in a time of crisis? I’m proud of our team for never wavering and never faltering as they make this industry secure.”, said Salvatore Moccia, HARDCAR CEO.

HARDCAR is award-winning transportation and secured logistics company, based in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions, with a proven track record of cultivating and maintaining meaningful relationships with cannabis and non-cannabis businesses alike. From Cash In Transit (CIT) to Distribution, Banking, and Secured Storage & Vaulting, HARDCAR provides all of the necessary services a company needs to keep their assets safe and secure.

Kannaway – First Company To Legally Import CBD Products Into Russia

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. Photo by Nikolay Vorobyev on Unsplash.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. announced that its subsidiary Kannaway has been granted Russia’s first-ever certificate to legally import cannabidiol (CBD) products into the country.

According to the certificate, Kannaway “is the first company in the Russian Federation to have cannabidiol in its products.” This certification allows Kannaway to import its wide range of CBD products into the country, including the Company’s popular tinctures, oils, skincare products and more.

“We have achieved a huge milestone for both Kannaway and Russia with this certificate,” said Kannaway CEO Blake Schroeder. “No other CBD products have legally been imported and sold to Russian consumers. This presents a unique opportunity for us to share the global buzz about the potential benefits CBD can offer and help people in Russia incorporate it into their everyday lives.”

In recent months, Kannaway has been expanding greatly in both Asia and Europe. Europe has quickly become the Company’s largest market since the inception of operations on the continent in 2018 and in late 2019 the Company announced that it is starting to offer its products throughout Asia. So far this year, the Company has also expanded into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

“We are not strangers to being the first company to import CBD into a country as we were the first in several others including Mexico, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bulgaria,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “When entering a new market, it’s important to prioritize education and set quality product standards for others to follow and create a safe supply chain for all.”

Kannaway is a network sales and marketing company specializing in the sales and marketing of hemp-based botanical products.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. is the first-ever publicly traded cannabis company in the United States that launched the world’s first-ever cannabis-derived nutraceutical products, brands, and supply chain.