By Felisa Rogers

Trees, salmon, weed.

Invariably, the story of a state is the story of the industries that sustain its citizens. Fish and forests drew the original settlers to Oregon, but cannabis is at the heart of the state’s modern history. Since the 1960s, the green hills of Oregon have provided haven for outlaw growers who taught themselves to grow some of the world’s best weed. Growers in Oregon were never as overt as their neighbors to the south in Humboldt, and the state’s industry was more about making a living than it was about living large. That said, black-market money comprised a significant chunk of the state’s cash flow. Weed bankrolled the craft industries, artists, bands, breweries, organic farms, and niche businesses that would eventually bring Oregon a new kind of fame as a hippie/hipster haven. 

The evolution of state cannabis legislation reflects a streak of anti-regulatory sentiment that runs strong among Oregonians. Oregon was the first U.S. state to decriminalize small quantities of cannabis (in 1973) and was an early adopter of medical legislation, with the passage of Ballot Measure 67 in 1998. But Oregonians were suspicious of further regulation. Voters vetoed two proposals for a medical retail system, as well as the first recreational cannabis measure.

Oregonian reluctance to go legal is easy enough to understand if you’ve ever lived in a state with a vibrant black-market economy. Medical and black-market growers were skeptical of the attendant fees and regulations, and we heard the usual mutterings about corporate hegemony and Phillip-Morris pre-rolls. But after years of debate, the majority of pro-cannabis Oregonians were unable to reconcile their ethics with continuing support of prohibition. In the words of Eugene architect Alyssa Baz: “Whether one sees marijuana as a recreational substance, a medical godsend, or an economic means, the potential damage that the plant can cause is insignificant compared to the ramifications that were piled on the public. Property seizure, jail, expensive fines, and child custody were real threats that loomed over the heads of millions.”

Medical grower Nicole Marie worried that legalization would put an end to the black-market economy that supported so many small businesses and creative endeavors but set her concerns aside on election day. “Leading up to the voting, I was 100 percent behind it,” she says. 

On July of 2015, it became legal for adults (21 or older) to grow and consume recreational cannabis in the state of Oregon. Measure 91 outlined the usual restrictions regarding driving under the influence, smoking in public, seed-to-sale tracking, and kids, while establishing a system that permits relatively large grows (up to 40,000 square feet for outdoor) and allows retailers to sell seeds, immature plants, flower, extracts, and concentrates.

In reading the law, it’s clear that Oregon cannabis advocates learned a few things from observing the positive and negative aspects of the trailblazing recreational laws that first passed in Washington and Colorado. Oregon’s legislation is great for the casual consumer: Oregonians can grow four plants per household, possess up to eight ounces of weed, carry up to an ounce in public, possess ten seeds, and buy flower and concentrates from the state’s many recreational shops. Because there’s no cap on the limit of licenses issued to retailers, competition is steep and weed is cheap.

As with all cannabis legislation, there’s a few aspects of the law that don’t make much sense. For example, you’d have to be a pretty slack gardener to grow four plants and produce only eight ounces of bud. On the other hand, you’d have to be a pretty slick gardener to get ten seeds to yield four healthy female plants. That said, most Oregonian stoners seem happy with the arrangement. The situation is a bit more complicated for medical patients and caregivers, legal recreational growers, dispensary owners, black-market growers, and anyone who hasn’t read the fine print.

Living in a “legal” state can give a false sense of security. Decriminalization only applies if you’re operating within the limits set forth by the law, which can seem arbitrary. So while you can grow four plants with perfect impunity, it’s still a felony to grow more than eight plants without a license, a sentence that carries up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. And while you can go forth freely with one ounce of bud, double that number and you can still expect a misdemeanor, a $2,500 fine, and up to six months in jail.

On the commercial side, the regulations are predictably complicated, but not as draconian as certain cannabis laws (we’re looking at you, Washington). The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) issues an unlimited number of licenses, and licensee may hold multiple licenses, and multiple license types. The initial licensing fees are not particularly steep when compared to other states (we’re looking at you, Hawaii) and are arranged on a spectrum so that smaller businesses pay less. Additionally, the law mandates that the OLCC “Assist the viability of marijuana producers that are independently owned and operated and that are limited in size and revenue with respect to other marijuana producers, by minimizing barriers to entry into the regulated system and by expanding, to the extent practicable, transportation options that will support their access to the retail market.”

Despite this lip service to small businesses, the law does not require licensees to be Oregon residents, which has opened the doors to deep-pocketed investors from out of state. For example, Oregon’s largest cannabis business (based on number of employees) is Golden Leaf Holdings, a Toronto-based company that operates production and extraction facilities, as well as seven stores in Oregon, while simultaneously doing business in California, Nevada, and Canada.

Several of the law’s seemingly liberal provisions have had negative consequences for small growers. “The separations of licenses (processor, wholesaler, distributor) and the prohibitive costs of obtaining multiple licenses effectively did away with the home-based model,” says former medical grower Nicole Piper, who believes that the flooded market is due to the high plant limits for recreational grows. The combination of plummeting prices and rising fees have made it cost-prohibitive for her to farm. “The Oregon legislature has held session after session that, over and over again, has made it harder and harder for the growers,” she says. “They don’t seem like they have a long-term plan. It keeps changing, so that it’s incredibly difficult to follow the law.” She points out that constantly changing laws are particularly challenging for farmers, who can’t easily shift direction in the middle of the growing season.

Piper is not alone. Many Oregonians don’t jibe with the new regulatory structure and corporate flavors. Surviving in an outlaw industry takes a certain personality type and set of skills—which don’t necessarily mesh with bureaucracy. While some venerable players have chosen to opt out of the business completely, others continue to work in the shadows. According to a report filed by the Oregon State Police Drug Enforcement Section, Oregon is the country’s leading source of black market weed. And a federally-funded agency called the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), claims that Oregon produces more than two million pounds of cannabis each year, or more than six times the consumption demands of Oregonians. (How they arrived at two million is something of a mystery.)

That said, many black market, grey market, and medical growers have adapted to the new industry—as legal recreational growers, as consultants, and, sometimes, as workers. Jill Delahanty grew cannabis for thirteen years, earning enough to support herself and her daughter while simultaneously channeling funds into her other business—an eco-friendly fashion line. But everything changed when recreational was legalized. She doesn’t have suitable property for a recreational grow and, with the market in its current state, she doesn’t think it’s worth it for a small grower. Today she works for a large cannabis farm in southern Oregon, where she makes $16.00 an hour. “I’m making much less money now. But I have health benefits and stability, so there’s a trade-off,” she says, adding that she no longer has the time or energy for her fashion line.

Which isn’t to imply that legalization is completely strangling Oregon’s small creative businesses. In fact, the end of prohibition opened doors for a new set of imaginative pioneers. The OLCC had approved more than 1,800 licenses for production, processing, and retail, but that doesn’t account for the full scope of the ever-diversifying cannabis economy: weed-themed weddings, “weed country” tourism packages, specialized marketing consultants, and security firms that specialize in cannabis. Many of these businesses are brand new, but existing businesses are also benefiting from diversifying with cannabis. For example, Aradia Willow, a Portland massage therapist, is excited to be able to offer therapeutic massages with cannabis-infused oil. “If I look at our web traffic, our second most searched term is CBD massage,” she says.

Although the law doesn’t work for everyone, the state is humming with opportunity and it’s undeniable that Oregonian cannabis enthusiasts have it better than most Americans. Despite being unable to survive as a medical grower under the current regulatory structure, Nicole Piper can see the bright side. “I’m proud of Oregon for legalizing,” she says, “and I’m proud of the activists and organizers who got it on the ballot.” 

By Amari Emani

Speaking at the Cannabis Law Institute, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) mixed their cannabis predictions with answers to questions about state and federal law from John Hudak, a Brookings Institution cannabis expert.

FORGET ABOUT 2018

Neither lawmaker expects any of the numerous cannabis bills introduced in the current Congress to be passed before this November.

“I think it is a longshot something happens in the remaining days of this Congress,” Blumenauer said. But both agreed that political momentum and pubic support will force change after the mid-term elections.

“It’s not going to pass this year, but ‘momentum is moving in our direction’ on the STATES Act,” says Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio).

“The public is fed up,” said Blumenauer, who co-founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “Cannabis is going to be a significant issue in dozens of races around the country.”

The lawmakers spoke specifically about the STATES (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States) Act. Introduced in June, the bill would exempt states with legal cannabis laws from federal cannabis law enforcement.

Momentum regarding this bill is “moving in our direction,” said Joyce. “With 30 states having legalized medical marijuana, and 47 states adopting at least some form of decriminalization,” he said, “it’s time Congress gets out of the way.” Recalling a conversation he had with former House Speaker John Boehner (who joined a cannabis company’s advisory board in April) Joyce added: “I believe this is a states’ rights issue. States have made it available medically. People should be able to receive it, and we should do more studies on it.”

STATES ACT IS IN PLAY

The STATES Act and other cannabis-related legislation will likely pass no matter which political party controls Congress, both lawmakers said. They cited increasing public support, especially for medical cannabis, and decreasing fear among politicians about the negative consequences of being pro-cannabis.

“Even under Republican control, the dam breaks in 2019,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer .

The bipartisan cannabis caucus has seen its ranks swell during its work sessions, Blumenauer added, which “demonstrates the potential for moving legislation forward.”

“I think it is possible even if the Republicans retain control, the dam breaks,” Blumenauer said, adding that more Republicans will begin co-sponsoring bills regardless. “Progress is inevitable.”

“Once we get hearings, I think the dominoes will fall very quickly,” Blumenauer added. “I do think the next 12 months could be ‘game over,’ if we get the right results in November.”

OVERWHELMING MEDICAL SUPPORT

Political support for medical cannabis is especially strong, the lawmakers said, so any measures addressing medical legalization should see swift Congressional attention. “Most people want legalization, at least for medical purposes. That’s why I think we will see successes on the fall ballot,” Blumenauer said. “There is no downside for a candidate who embraces it.”

“I agree that we are about to turn a corner,” Joyce added. Many lawmakers have suppressed their voting support for cannabis measures because they feared upsetting chairs of their committees from their own party. No more, Joyce said: “Given the opportunity in the next Congress, they will do what they need to do for their communities.”

The National Cannabis Bar Association hosted the event at George Washington University. The event’s sponsors included Americans for Safe Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Minority Cannabis Business Association.

WHEN SUPPLY OUTWEIGHS DEMAND

BY CHRISTOPHER LYNCH

IN 2012, WASHINGTON and Colorado legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and also established regulation of commercial cannabis production, processing, and sale, as well as recreational adult-use. In response, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced updates to its marijuana enforcement policy.

US Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole issued a memorandum for internal use that set out enforcement priorities for those states that legalized cannabis activity or were considering doing so. In what is now known as the Cole Memo, the DOJ made clear that marijuana was a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but also stated that it would continue its traditional policy of relying on state and local governments to regulate this activity within their borders through enforcement of their own laws as they saw fit.

The Cole Memo stated that it would defer its right to challenge state laws allowing for the production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for the time being as long as the states established strict regulatory schemes to protect eight federal interests described in the memo. Among those eight interests was “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states.”

Diversion (the export of marijuana from legalized regulatory systems outside of that system) and the ability to regulate overproduction of cannabis remain some of the most difficult and predominant issues for legal cannabis to resolve.

Economic theory suggests that a commodity in a free market will reach an equilibrium price when supply and demand become equal. Theoretically, higher demand for a product decreases prices as more market participants become involved, whereas higher prices tend to reduce demand leading to an excess supply. However, the emerging cannabis industry is no ordinary market because of the strict regulation and oversight facing industry members, as well as the threat of federal prosecution.

Some law enforcement agencies argue that overproduction encourages producers to participate in the black market and undermines states’ recreational and medical cannabis regulatory schemes. Those agencies cite that overproduction of cannabis products and the subsequent decreased profitability result in a greater supply of product than the market demand and may result in diversion. The logic being that, rather than destroying excess product or letting it rot, some licensees may opt to illegally sell or transfer the product to consumers outside of the legalized regulatory system or to other states where commercial cannabis activity is still illegal. Based on the very distinct regulatory schemas of the states that have legalized commercial cannabis activity, however, it would appear that diversion may be a problem rooted in lack of oversight and enforcement rather than overproduction.

COLORADO

Colorado’s commercial cannabis market, though initially a target of both the federal government as well as neighboring states of Oklahoma and Nebraska for diversion issues, has reached a level of equilibrium. When Colorado legalized commercial cannabis in 2012 under Amendment 64, it set strict caps on the number of production licenses and amounts available to licensees. Colorado subsequently passed a bill in 2017, HB17-1220, directed at preventing diversion to illegal markets by placing a cap on the number of plants to be grown or possessed on a residential property, as well as establishing criminal penalties for violation.

In part due to this enforcement authority, it appears that Colorado’s supply and demand allowed adequate opportunity to equalize a fair market price of approximately six dollars per gram, according to BDS Analytics. Though Colorado certainly had its problems with diversion early in the inception of its commercial industry, it appears that enforcement and oversight in that state allowed the market to steady itself.

WASHINGTON

Washington is currently facing an overproduction problem, but it does not appear to have resulted in diversion, nor has it stopped the Washington market from normal market stabilization. Beginning in the summer of 2016, marijuana prices plunged as the market was over-saturated with product, and many businesses were concerned about market stability. Likely in response to the overproduction, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) began a period of enforcement focused on shutting down those businesses, licensed or otherwise, that engage in the diversion of cannabis outside of the regulated Washington system.

Despite the existing issues with the change to the LEAF traceability system in Washington, there does not appear to have been a documented increase in diversion, despite the wealth of product in the market. Much of this could be attributed to the increase in frequency of WSLCB inspections and the increased emphasis on enforcement as it relates to diversion. The WSLCB recently created and expanded the size of its special investigations unit, which is dedicated to complex issues such as diversion and hidden financial parties of interest.

On par with Colorado, market prices in Washington have dropped to an average of about six dollars per gram, according to BDS Analytics, and appear to be stabilizing. Though a surplus of product still exists in Washington at this time, it appears that Washington is moving towards equilibrium as the WSLCB increases enforcement efforts, companies fold, and the market struggles to self-regulate.

OREGON

Oregon presents a unique set of circumstances with regard to diversion and oversupply. In 2017, Oregon State Police released a study, “A Baseline Evaluation of Cannabis Enforcement Priorities in Oregon”, allegedly providing evidence connecting illegal external markets and in-state overproduction of marijuana. According to Oregon law enforcement, overproduction within the state encourages licensed producers to participate in the black market and undermines the state’s licensed market. Despite having a relatively low population compared to other states regulating recreational marijuana, Oregon has a diversion rate comparable to more densely populated states. The report argues that these figures constitute evidence that Oregon’s licensed production has been pushed “far beyond satiation of local demand.”

The issue of diversion in Oregon is well-documented. Oregon US Attorney, Billy Williams, an outspoken critic of the regulated cannabis market in Oregon, demanded reports and audits regarding overproduction and diversion in the state. As a result, in February of 2018, an audit of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) found that the state’s traceability system lacked proper safeguards and identified five major weaknesses in the tracking system implementation, which could facilitate or contribute to diversion.

According to the Oregon traceability system, there is currently a glut of more than one million pounds of usable, but unsold, marijuana in the state. This represents nearly three times the amount of cannabis that was sold in Oregon in all of 2017. Though the demand for cannabis in Oregon is expected to grow, it is highly unlikely that demand will increase quickly enough to deplete the reserves accumulated in Oregon.

The problem in Oregon is likely a lack of oversight. Since implementing its commercial regulatory system in 2015, more than 1,800 production operations have been licensed or are in various stages of approval. By way of comparison, Washington has 1,205 licensed cultivators of various canopy sizes with an estimated population of 7.53 million people. Oregon has a population of only 4.2 million, resulting in an inverse proportion of licensed cultivators to population.

Additionally, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) completed a report regarding Oregon’s medical marijuana program operations and compliance in May of 2018, and confirmed the diversion issue. The OHA report links diversion to inadequate control and supervision by the Oregon cannabis regulatory bodies. The OHA further found that, despite more than 20,000 licensed medical grow sites, only 58 inspections were completed in 2017. The report states, “Potentially erroneous reporting coupled with low reporting compliance makes it difficult to accurately track how much product is in the medical system . . . this limits [our] ability to successfully identify and address potential diversion.”

Arguably, because Oregon’s cannabis industry is an evolving market, equilibrium is still a few years away. Unfortunately, given the broad-spread evidence of diversion and demonstrated lack of oversight, Oregon’s overproduction fosters a diversion problem.

CALIFORNIA

At this time, little information is available regarding issues of diversion in California, given the infancy of its regulated commercial market. However, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) included measures in their regulations to restrict licensees’ ability to divert product into the black market by including traceability requirements, security measures, mandatory video surveillance systems, and reconciliation of product on hand with the track-and- trace system every 14 days. Although the BCC has not expressly limited the number of cultivator licenses it plans to issue, it has allowed local jurisdictions the authority to determine the number of commercial cannabis licenses allowed in its own jurisdiction. It remains to be seen if California will have the same kind of diversion problems as Oregon or will find stasis as Colorado and Washington have. However, given that California has the sixth largest economy in the world and considering the state’s robust tourism industry, it is likely that the demand for commercial cannabis will avoid the same sort of oversupply problems found in other states.

Until cannabis is de-scheduled at the federal level, diversion will persist as an issue in the commercial cannabis market. By de-scheduling commercial cannabis activity at the federal level, the overproduction problem could be remedied by allowing those states with surplus to sell across borders to other legalized states, facilitating a larger economic market solution of supply and demand. Although the Cole Memo was rescinded by US Attorney General Sessions, states with legalized cannabis activity still have a vested interest in eliminating diversion. Those licensees that engage in diversion not only undermine the legitimacy of the industry as a whole, but risk federal prosecution as well.

Furthermore, because of federal illegality, legalized cannabis markets may not have the time or freedom to reach equilibrium in the way that other industries have. The threat of federal prosecution requires both licensees and licensing agencies to find a delicate balance between restricting the market to meet the guidance issued by the DOJ and allowing adequate time for a free market to develop and reach a sustainable and stable equilibrium.

Though overproduction of regulated cannabis may be a factor in the existing diversion issues, it seems clearer when comparing the various states that diversion is more closely tied to the effectiveness of regulation in that state. Those states that have demonstrated effective enforcement begin to see equilibrium of wholesale prices and demand, despite overproduction problems.

If you have any questions about the topics discussed here, please contact an attorney to discuss how these issues affect you or your business.

CO2 EXTRACTION PRIMER FOR GROWERS

BY RUBY MCCONNELL

Cultivation is about a lot more than just harvest yields and THC content. In this rapidly changing and regional marketplace, entourage effects, flavor, and aroma are major factors in building your reputation and loyal customer base. As your farm grows, offering a wide range of value-added products will appeal to a wider range of customers and preferences in style of consumption. You’ll also want those products to reflect and elevate the qualities that make your flower special.

ENTER: CO2 EXTRACTION.

First, what is an extract? Extracts, in the simplest terms, contain the active components of a plant in concentrated form. As a general rule, most extraction processes use a solvent such as water, alcohol, or hydrocarbons and the application of heat and pressure to dissolve the target active substances. Brewing coffee and tea are the most familiar forms of extraction in our day- to-day lives. On the commercial side of the cannabis industry, extraction refers to the concentration of major and minor cannabinoids (phyto-cannabinoids) and terpenes, usually as a vapable oil or dab, similar to essential oils derived from other plants, such as lavender.

In CO2 extraction, carbon dioxide gas is heated and pressurized until the gas becomes a supercritical fluid, allowing it to pass through solids like a gas while dissolving materials like a liquid. The supercritical CO2 fluid is passed through the ground plant matter, extracting the essential oils (THC, cannabinoids, and terpenes) which are dropped out of suspension as the CO2 moves out of the pressurized vessel and into a cooler, returning to its gaseous state. The CO2 is then typically recirculated through the process again, creating a closed-loop system. Most CO2 machines are able to recapture most of the CO2 used, meaning there are few, if any, emissions from the process.

CO2 extraction differs from other common cannabis extraction methods primarily in the nature of the solvent, which is a good thing. Other forms of cannabis extraction use flammable, toxic hydrocarbons such as propane or butane which can leave potentially harmful residues in the end product. Moreover, hydrocarbon facilities have been scrutinized for worker- and community-safety concerns, as these facilities use highly flammable substances under pressure, causing several high-profile explosions related to these processes. Unlike these hydrocarbon-based systems, CO2 is non-flammable and does not pose a human health risk. If you’ve worked hard to maintain high organic standards for your farm, CO2 extraction can ensure no toxic chemicals are added during processing.

While overall yield can be slightly lower than other extraction processes, CO2 extraction tends to preserve a larger quantity of the terpenes and phytocannabinoids that bring out the great smell and taste in your flower. A good CO2 extractor can produce THC,

phytocannabinoids, and terpene profiles very similar to what you see in your flower testing. CO2 processing is also gentler than other processes, leaving chlorophyll and other unwanted plant material that can cloud and discolor extracts in the spent material, but not your product.

That’s all great news. But, unlike other extraction or distilling processes, there’s no real small-scale, do- it-yourself path to CO2 extraction. These are serious machines that, like distilling alcohol, require real craft processors with years of experience to make a quality product. And the price tag? Figure a quarter-million buy-in for equipment before you even think about your lab-grade facility. So, what’s the solution? Many farms partner with CO2 brands, selling their product wholesale to companies that showcase and promote the farms they source their material from. Others use toll processors (processors for hire) to craft a product unique to them that they can sell under their farm’s own brand name.

If you have beautiful-tasting flower and are thinking about having your material processed by or selling to CO2 processors, there are some things to keep in mind when choosing and preparing flower. Everyone wants to maximize profit, so start by utilizing your waste streams. Trim, loose kief, and lower-grade buds are all great options for processing material, as are untrimmed buds, blends made from small or experimental batches, and potent, but not pretty, patches. Whatever you choose, be sure you remove large stems and water leaves. Stems contain a lot of waxes and not much else, so, if you’re paying a per-pound rate for processing or looking to impress a processing client with high yields, make sure that everything that goes into the process will result in yield out.

To maximize flavor and preserve your entourage effects, choose strains and material that show a broad range of cannabinoids and terpenes in testing and are free of pesticides and molds (which can feed on oils). Then, make sure your product is dried, not fresh frozen. Fresh frozen works for some processes, such as butane, but the high water content retained by the plant during freezing doesn’t work with CO2 extraction. After you’ve dried your product well, store it at room temperature in low light conditions to preserve the terpenes you’ve worked so hard to produce in your flower.

CONSIDERATIONS JUST BEFORE HARVEST

BY ADAM JACQUES

SO, You’ve done everything right: You’ve fussed and fretted to make sure your plants were always happy, keeping issues at bay and fighting the good fight throughout the entire growth cycle. Now, it’s time to give your plants their rite of passage, allowing them to transform into the amazing flower that you and your loved ones will consume for medical benefits and recreation. These final steps are arguably the most important part of your journey. A bad dry and cure can turn your months of hard work into a nightmare if not properly done. If you have ever had harsh smoking flower that tasted like hay and sadness, you know what I am talking about. So how do we make sure our finished flower is the best it can be? I will share some simple tricks and methods of insuring you have success and show your plants the respect they deserve.

There is a debated theory where leaving them in the dark 48 to 72 hours before harvest will force your plants to make a final push to create more trichomes and thereby more resin. Plants burn their food in the light and reload their flowers with sugars in the night cycle. The idea is that the plants react as if this is their absolute last chance to get pollinated. I have found that a dark cycle before harvesting versus cutting when lights turn on for the final day has the same results, but it is worth an experiment to try for your own benefit.

There is another debated theory about letting your plants fully dry out before harvest. I have tried this method, and personally feel it adds extra stress to your plant at its most fragile point. I water normally with flushing until ready to harvest. If your harvest day lines up with your watering day, there is no reason to water before the chop. To be clear, these are the methods I prefer for the best smoking herb, but your experience may vary.

During harvest, cut your branches from the main stem (there is no need to waste time drying the stick weight). If necessary, cut them off of the branching to lengths of 12 to 16 inches. I prefer to leave my fan leaves on during the dry as I have found they help protect the flowers and balance the moisture being sucked out of the buds. Fan leaves also minimize the amount of oxygen that reaches your buds, decreasing the likelihood of your THC degrading into CBN. I also feel like losing all of the moisture in the plant through just the flowers alters the final taste.

Hang your branches by a crotch in the branches on a drying line set up where you can control the light, temperature, and humidity. When hanging your branches, put in your best effort to avoid branch overlap or buds laying together. Give them their own space so air can freely move around the flowers. Keep the room dark at all times after you have hung your branches to dry. Running the temperature in the 60- to 70-degree Fahrenheit range with a humidity range of 45 to 55 percent will allow for a proper slow dry. Keep fans running low to circulate the air gently throughout your space. When the flowers begin to feel a little crispy and the branches snap rather than bend when you flex them, you are at an optimal dryness. The amount of time this takes depends on many factors, but in a perfect room, you can expect anything from five to 15 days.

At this time, you will want to remove your flowers from their branches and trim them. There is no right or wrong way to trim, it is absolutely based on preference. I know people who love untrimmed nugs, people who love it trimmed as tight as possible, and people who like it anywhere in between. I prefer to leave a little sugar leaf. If your cannabis is going to market, though, it’s important to keep in mind that most purchasers enjoy a nice tight trim.

So, we are harvested, we are dried, and we are trimmed. But slow down, don’t shove it in your pipe just yet. We still have to cure our flower. Be sure to follow Brook C’s guide to the perfect cure in this issue, so you don’t waste your efforts at this critical last stage of the game. By following these seemingly simple steps, you will end up with an end product to be proud of and one that people will love. Remember to love your plants all the way through your time with them and to thank them for their sacrifice to make our lives better.

Oh Canada! Please accept our apologies for what’s going on at the border right now. If you haven’t heard the news, Bloomberg and BBC have both recently published stories clarifying the U.S. customs border policy, announcing that Canadian Cannabis entrepreneurs will not be allowed entry into the States for any reason, specifying that our cannabis counterparts to the north would be treated like outlaws and banned for life!

A senior US border official told news site Politico that Canadians in the burgeoning sector could be deemed inadmissible to the US. 

There have been concerns within Canada’s growing cannabis industry for months that they may face trouble crossing the border. 

In July, a Vancouver businessman was questioned at the border and banned for life because he had investments in US based Cannabis companies.

Immigration attorneys have related similar stories from clients in the industry. 

There have also been concerns that more Canadians will find themselves denied entry into the US if they admit to using marijuana, or face increased searches or interrogation by US officials. 

Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, told Politico that border officials will question Canadians about their use of cannabis if they have cause to do so. 

US border officials can deny entry to people who admit to consuming cannabis or admit they plan to purchase or consume cannabis in the US, even in a state where it is legal. This is in stark contrast to Canadian customs officials who on my last two visits to Vancouver and Niagara Falls respectively, briefly questioned why I was visiting? When I explained both times that I was en route to a cannabis conference, ICBC and Grow Up conference respectively, they proceeded to politely inquire if I had any cannabis in the car. I made it clear both times that you don’t bring sand to the beach, and each time the agents laughed and confirmed the notion that there would be plenty of cannabis available to me on the streets.

Back in the US however, the CBP said that “working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in US states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect a foreign national’s admissibility to the United States”. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government officials have maintained that despite the change in law, there is no indication marijuana legalisation will shift the US approach in how it deals with Canadians crossing the boundary, and confirmed that involvement in the industry could result in denied entry. 

Jordan Sinclair, with Canopy Growth, a major medical marijuana supplier in Canada, told the BBC that while their employees have yet to face difficulties at the US-Canada border, the industry as a whole is seeking more clarity as to how cases will be consistently handled by border officials. He also confirmed the broader notion that many Canadians may be investors in cannabis stocks through major pension funds and mutual funds without being aware of it. 

“There’s absolutely no way you can say if you’ve invested in the industry you’re not going to be allowed into the United States,” Sinclair said. It should be noted that people who have received bans still have the possibility of applying for a waiver from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Despite all the border nonsense, I’d like to end on a quasi positive note by formally congratulating our allies to the north for their sea to sea leap into legal recreational cannabis. Of course, it seems to be immediately going the way of over regulation and corporate monopolies but at least the snowball of accessibility has started downhill and once it’s in motion… look out! And according to our very own congressman here in Oregon, we can expect a bill introducing federal legalization in the States by 2019 – so all this border bullshit will be a non-issue, and once again we will be able to watch hockey together in harmony. Go Canucks!  

By Todd Mccormick

We have all heard of the legends, clone-only cultivars that were from bag seed and cannot be reproduced because the parent plants were unknown or destroyed. Back in the 90’s, plants such as NYC Sour Diesel and Chem Dawg were literally legendary, you would see the cannabis being smoked on the lot at a Dead show, but to actually get the plant was next to impossible. You had to know somebody who knew somebody, who would actually sell or gift the cutting in the first place, which was all next to impossible when you added in the paranoia of prohibition.

I did not see things change until after 1996, when proposition 215 was passed by California voters and overnight changed the way we viewed our rights as cannabis users and growers. While 215 fell short and did not actually legalize anything, the perceived change was enough to cause growers to start to trust one another and start to share their genetics in a more open market, and it was after that when we started to see cuttings of some truly legendary cultivars being sold at cannabis dispensaries across the state. When this happened, it gave new breeders a chance to work with old classics, and unique plants that are clone-only, such as OG Kush, started to be used by breeders and became the parents of some fantastic new hybrids.

For cannabis cultivators, the change was a breath of fresh air, as being able to start with cuttings that were tried and true put new farmers at an advantage unlike never before. Gone were the days of having to source and start your own seeds, and then select your own female plants; by using a known clone, someone else had done all of that work for you, as each and every plant represents a long journey by whoever initially sourced, cultivated and bred together those genetics.

This open market of nurseries has existed in California for over ten years now and I think it’s fantastic. I think that the people who are sharing genetics are heroes to the culture, as these cultivars represent the fabrics of our cannabis culture in many respects. As somebody that has been repeatedly raided, and who has lost genetics over and over again, I can attest that if it were not for my friends who were caretakers of shared genetics, I would’ve lost more plants than I did over the course of dealing with prohibition.

So now that we are closer to full legalization than we have ever been, I am suggesting that conscious cultivators should form a type of ​Cannabis Preservation Society, ​with the goal of preserving and sharing these modern classics that are irreplaceable.

Each plant represents a different symphony of cannabinoids and terpenes that interact with our endocannabinoid system and, in turn, everything from our moods to medical conditions differently. Flavors of certain flowers invoke memories of long ago that I could romance on about as if writing a novel, and I think it would benefit us all if we had them around to enjoy.

 Which brings me to the inevitable effect of legalization which is the corporate control of cannabis, and their desire to have patented products that do not fall into the hands of their competitors, you know – other growers, people like you and me.

While I have no problem with people breeding together plants and putting out unique cultivars that they have full control over, I do see a lot of disingenuous companies taking credit for the work of others and putting into production cuttings that they got themselves from some friend or a cannabis club and calling it some new name, with no intention of ever sharing it again.

People laying claim to cultivars that I know they had nothing to do with saddens me, but I see it happen all the time. If many of these “new” cultivars were songs, they would clearly just be much like rap music, sampling Skunk #1 and calling it Zkittles, and that is cool and all, but wouldn’t it be nice if future breeders could play with the same original genetics and make their own mixes?

I have been on my own mission to collect the primary colors of cannabis for quite some time, and unique hybrids as well. Every day my vision is expanding to include more distant relatives of all aspects of the cannabis family because I see them all as useful. What was just hemp 15 years ago is now a great source of CBD, and we have not even started to investigate the many cultivars and their seeds essential fatty acid levels.

So I would like to start a conversation with like-minded cultivators who are interested in creating an informal and then formal, network of concerned citizens who want to see heirloom genetics preserved and shared. Now that states have legalized cannabis, the federal government has to rethink its position due to the 10th amendment and Section 903 of the Controlled Substances Act, we are bound to see change happen everywhere. We should start the conversation of collecting and protecting the genetics before corporations step in and separate us from known cultivars.

We should also be willing to share what we know works with other people so that they can benefit from our breeding and research. For me, nothing feels better than giving a plant to somebody who can use it to better their health and better their life. A cannabis plant is the ultimate gift and I have felt like conduit of nature’s healing energy through cannabis, by sharing my genetics since I started growing.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, a lot of the cultivators that I have met care about one another, the earth, and the greater good of what they’re doing. While cultivating cannabis can be profitable, the profits pale in comparison to the feeling of actually helping someone overcome a difficult medical condition or treatment. Different plants treat different conditions and recognizing that is a great start to building a collection, because more than just data, what we need is the ability to access the plants that work for us. We all deserve the ability to at least try to sort through what is already available in order to find a medicine that’s right for our particular condition.

Currently, I have over 100 varieties in my collection and I’m willing to share them with others, I would like to come up with some type of genetic bank where we could all share the caretaking of various varieties and make them available to one another at a reasonable compensation. Authenticated genetics shared by a group of conscious cultivators looking to give the monopolizing corporations some complications by sharing the love.

Anybody who is interested in continuing this discussion with me can communicate with me by joining my online community at: TalkingCANNABIS.live or follow my Instagram @growmedicine  

By Stephanie Bishop

It started as a family need, and evolved into a grassroots movement. When their infant son was diagnosed with Autism, Jinxproof, an experienced and awarded geneticist, and his wife, Miss Rose, who co-runs Jinxproof Genetics with him, searched for and found limited resources for children like their beloved boy. To address that need, the family started Northwest Families for Autism (NWFFA), a community foundation established to collect and allocate resources and donations to help low-income families in need with their compassion programs and philanthropic efforts.

Partnering with the Seattle Children’s Autism Center (SCAC) and the University of Washington (UW), they have helped countless families and raised more than $125,000 to serve those on the autism spectrum, veterans, and those who are homeless. 

When they first started working with SCAC and UW, Jinxproof and Miss Rose met with families who all had very diverse needs. Assessing these needs and starting to distribute resources helped Jinxproof and Miss Rose realize how much needed to be done and, specifically, how others could help. They began deploying volunteers to help build adaptive furniture for special needs classes and to collect donations like wood for other building projects and class materials.

“This is empowering to these individuals as it enables them to easily communicate with the world around them by giving them a means to express their thoughts, feelings, needs and desires,” Miss Rose says. “They gain a voice, something most of us take for granted. This brings us one step closer to inclusion!”

Combining philanthropy and acts of charity as a part of their mission, Jinxproof Genetics designed their compassion programs with a formal structure to better serve those in need. They continued to build their network, growing their team of volunteers and access to resources, as well as becoming a point of contact for families.

“Having a social media platform is an important tool to reach families in need as well as those willing to donate,” Miss Rose says. “This has enabled NWFFA to provide an effective communication system to so many individuals on the autism spectrum.” 

Recognizing the need for a more positive outlook on life to succeed as individuals, Jinxproof has also facilitated designing counseling programs centered around daily affirmation and one-on-one counseling as a way to improve the quality of life of those in need. The Young Ladies Positive Affirmation club helps build confidence and develop a healthy self esteem in participants through the practice of writing and sharing daily affirmations. Jinxproof posts daily “Be Positive” messages through social media, which encourage others to be positive in their own lives and to get involved in their community through service.

As their network grew, Jinxproof Genetics also began hosting in-person events and employing creative campaign strategies and programs to help as many families and individuals as possible. 

School of Dank, one such endeavor, is an educational seminar series serving medical cannabis patients who want to grow their own medicine. Vendors are able to provide one-on-one consultations in smaller settings, so patients with very little to no experience are successful. The first two School of Dank events raised more than $45,000 combined to support those with autism and their families. The next event is projected for February, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

Partnering with other event producers, Jinxproof has successfully collected donations through sponsorships of other charitable events in and outside of their community. Frenchie’s Holiday Party in San Francisco, Good Vibes in San Diego, and 22Many (which serves veterans in need) in Lacey, Washington, collectively raised more than $15,000 through collection box revenue and donor-directed gifts auctioned at the events.

Through creative fundraising campaigns and philanthropic endeavors, NWFFA has contributed more than $125,000 to families in need.