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Marijuana-Infused Foods to Heighten the Holidays

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Marijuana-infused foods are becoming more popular around the country–and for good reason! While pre-made marijuana-infused foods and can be purchased at dispensaries, people can also add marijuana oil as an ingredient in recipes at home.

Marijuana-infused foods will help make the holidays a bit more entertaining for everyone involved! Here are a some ideas:

Infused Olive Oil

Marijuana-infused olive oil is ideal for making salad dressings. In marinades and can be used as a finishing oil to enhance presentation. The good thing here is that the infused olive oil can also be used as a tincture. Some brands use multiple cannabinoids, such as THC and THC-A, for example.

Manufacturer servings vary, so follow the instructions on the package when adding the infused oil to a recipe. It shouldn’t be used as the sole source of olive oil as using ¼ cup of marijuana-infused olive oil in a recipe is likely to be excessive.

Infused olive oils have a flavor that is slightly more earthy than traditional olive oil and can sometimes have a greenish hue to it. The oil can be infused with additional herbs and spices to further enhance the flavor. Simply steep whole herbs and spices in the oil on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

Infused Brownies

Marijuana-infused brownies are common in most markets. A favorite edible is a sweet treat, but these can be used to become part of a dessert or served in smaller bites to those that are marijuana-friendly. Consider adding broken up marijuana-infused brownies in an ice cream sundae or in a holiday-themed dessert. The brownies can also become holiday-themed cake pops.

These brownies don’t have to be served as-is, directly from the dispensary packaging. Get creative and dress them up or add them to another dish.

Infused Honey

Infused honey is a fairly newer item to the marijuana edibles scene. Honey is a common addition to hot tea. It’s also a common ingredient in baked goods and glazes. So, yes, making a medicated glaze for ham or other proteins (including fish) is possible.

When using an infused honey, consider replacing the extra amount with non-infused honey. For instance, if making a layered dessert that requires the use of honey on every layer, consider using the infused honey for just one layer.

The flavor remains sweet and is great for coating a sore throat.

Infused Sodas

Infused sodas are typically meant for multiple servings. Infused sodas are great for making floats, cakes, marinades and holiday punches.

Tip: Make sure cups including marijuana-infused sodas are marked in some way to prevent the kids from taking sips from random cups. Consider colored straws, stickers or wine chillers to help determine whose cup is whose.

Infused Popcorn

Marijuana has made its way to popcorn. Popcorn is a popular decoration for Christmas trees and other holiday décor, but it’s also popular on coffee tables for guests to munch on before a meal. Make sure guests know it’s medicated before their hands dive in. For the marijuana-friendly adults, consider making marijuana-infused popcorn leis to enjoy during the festivities.

Consider offering a medicated white cheddar popcorn and a non-medicated, but put them in different bowls. Include some mix-ins to make them more festive. If children will be present, make sure the marijuana-infused popcorn is out of their reach. Consider sending marijuana-friendly adults home with goodie bags including the infused popcorn and other medicated treats.

Infused Tea and Coffee

Infused teas and coffee are rather new to the marijuana-infused foods scene. They are designed to be one serving. Make a cup of holiday tea with a cinnamon stick, wedge of orange and a couple of whole cloves floating around. Consider adding marijuana-infused honey to the tea just to boost the potency.

Infused coffees are available in pod form for single-cup coffee makers. Consider adding whipped cream and crushed peppermint to the coffee to give it a holiday twist. This is a great ending to a big holiday meal, and the THC may just help make room to breath after going into a minor food coma.

Tips

When adding marijuana-infused ingredients to recipes take the individual serving suggestions into consideration. Make sure that everyone knows which dishes contain marijuana. It is okay to include marijuana-infused ingredients or foods in every course of a meal, but keep the dosages very low. The average person can only tolerate a single dose (5 – 10mg) of marijuana per every four hours.

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Alcohol Sales Drop in States with Medical Marijuana Laws

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As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states the alcohol market is declining. Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University collaborated on a study and found there to be a 15% decrease in alcohol sales in medical marijuana states.

The study is in line with others as it indicates that marijuana legalization reduces alcohol consumption rates, The Washington Post reports. Experts continue to agree that alcohol is more damaging to people and society than marijuana.

The study concluded that, “We find that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes for each other. Counties located in [medical marijuana] states reduced monthly alcohol sales by 15% after the introduction of medical marijuana laws.”

The researchers used information from Nielsen’s Retail Scanner database that tracks sales from participants. It allowed the team to collect data from 90 different retailers from all across the country. The researchers took into account that many alcohol users fib about their actual alcohol consumption and report using less than they actually do.

Several factors went into the conclusion. Researchers compared sales from alcohol in states where medical marijuana is legal, where it isn’t and those that have legalized recently, thus studying before and after legalization. Economic and demographic variables were also included where necessary to determine age, race and income.

While this doesn’t indicate what impact recreational marijuana legalization has on alcohol sales, it leads researchers towards the notion that recreational marijuana legalization will very likely decrease alcohol sales and consumption.

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66 Congress Members Plea to Keep Protections for Medical Marijuana States

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The federal appropriations bill expires on December 8, and with it the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment also expires as it was not included in the House version. Last week, 66 members of Congress signed a letter that was sent to House and Senate leadership urging them to keep this protection in place. The letter also noted 46 states, 2 U.S. territories and Washington D.C. as having some form of medical marijuana legalization.

The letter is addressed to Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Charles Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, according to The Cannabist. The amendment has been in place since December 2014. The letters says that the amendment “has successfully protected patients, providers, and businesses against federal prosecution, so long as they act within the confines of their state’s medical marijuana laws.”

For the first time in industry history, a California judge cited the Rohrabacher- Blumenauer amendment when suspending cases involving two men (who both plead guilty) charged with federal conspiracy to manufacture and cell marijuana earlier this year.

Cases stemming back to 2015 have notes or acknowledgement that taxpayer money shouldn’t have been spent on them.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was approved for the Senate’s version of the appropriations bill, but wasn’t included in the House version.

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Sessions Hints Crackdown Is Coming for Recreational Marijuana States

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On Wednesday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will likely come after recreational marijuana states. This time his remarks come on the heels of California legalizing recreational marijuana, which takes effect in January 2018.

Previously, Sessions and some DOJ officials said they’d uphold the guidance of the Cole Memo, which prevents the DOJ from using federal funds and local resources to crackdown on legally-operating marijuana businesses in states that have reformed their marijuana laws, The Sacramento Bee reports.

In a press conference, Sessions said, “In fact, we’re looking at that very hard right now, we had a meeting yesterday and talked about it at some length. It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental, and we should not give encouragement in any way to it, and it represents a federal violation, which is in the law and is subject to being enforced.”

He also said, “We are working our way through to a rational policy, but I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department believes that marijuana is harmless and people should not avoid it.” No one knows what Sessions means by “rational policy,” and the DOJ declined to comment.

Alex Traverso of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control said, “It’s understandable that those investing money into their businesses would be concerned about what may happen, but the Bureau has been so focused on the incredible amount of work we’ve had to do to get ready for January 1 that we can’t really focus on hypotheticals.”

In California, officials are planning to continue operating under the Cole memo’s construction. California state treasurer John Chiang said, “We’ve certainly tried to extend our intent that we want to work with the administration in good faith.”

The topic has been so up and down since the Trump Administration took over that Chiang said he knows it “could change in an instant” when it comes to Trump not acting against states with marijuana reform.

Regardless of what the DOJ decides to do they still lack the resources to take down each state’s legal marijuana industry.

Photo: huffingtonpost. com

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New Poll: Americans Say Texting Is More Dangerous Than Driving High

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The results of a Harris Poll were just released on November 28, and reveal that Americans think it’s more dangerous to text and drive than use marijuana and drive. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America requested the survey.

Texting and driving risk perceived by poll respondents, according to U.S. News & World Report:

  • 99% said using social media while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana
  • 98% said that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of marijuana

There is no definitive connection between marijuana use and an increase in auto crashes. More research is necessary to come to a proper conclusion.

When it comes to driving stoned, 18- to 34-year-olds are more likely to do it. The poll suggests that 6% of them would drive stoned, while just 2% of 55- to 64-year-olds would drive stoned.

Robert Gordon of PCI said, “Public education and awareness at home and school are an important step to educating teens on the dangers of driving under the influence. There have been extensive efforts to reduce crashes and deaths from driving under the influence of alcohol and distracted driving – we need to add driving under the influence of marijuana to the list of dangers on the road.”

States are in need of proper testing equipment that can determine if someone is too stoned to drive. Gordon said, “States need to be equipped with the latest research, data, laws and programs to help them address this growing problem. Increased training for law enforcement is necessary to help them identify and arrest drugged drivers.”

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Marijuana Parody of a Pharmaceutical Commercial Goes Viral

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Briteside, a Portland-based marijuana company, created a parody commercial themed around pharmaceutical companies’ drug commercials. The video advertises the side effects of marijuana use being “euphoria and uncontrollable giggling.” In just days, the video was viewed over 400,000 times.

The video brought thousands of new customers to Briteside, Forbes reports. It’s difficult to advertise for marijuana companies, but doing a parody helps them stay within the written law. Briteside is only a year old, but it’s expanding quickly.

Briteside already grows, sells and delivers marijuana, but it’s also helping other Oregon dispensaries with a new ecommerce marijuana delivery site that allow dispensaries to make deliveries more efficient and ordering even easier.

Justin Junda, CEO and co-founder of Briteside, says the platform is unlike any other and that “most sites want you to buy as much as possible and just load up the shopping cart, but we have to program controls into our online ordering site to make sure the customer isn’t going over the legal cannabis purchase limit in their state or sometimes their particular town.”

Briteside is also creating white label products for other brands, and some Briteside branded products are sold by partner companies.

The company’s 40 employees have stayed rather busy in the first year, and will remain busy, as the company plans to expand to both the California and Canadian markets within the next month.

Junda said, “The demand out there is huge. Way bigger than we ever thought it would be when we got into this.”

Photo: briteside

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DEA Classifies New Synthetic THC Drug as Schedule II Substance

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A synthetic THC product has been ruled safer than nature-made marijuana. The DEA has officially listed the drug, Syndros, as a Schedule II substance, which allows doctors to prescribe it. Meanwhile, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance.

Syndros is made by Insys Therapuetics, the Arizona-based maker of fentanyl, the most potent, addictive and deadly opioid-based drug in the world, VICE News reports.

Insys Therapeutics’ founder and some executives as being charged by the U.S. government with defrauding insurance companies as well as bribing doctors. Several states and individuals are also suing Insys Therapeutics, stating their responsibility for “triggering America’s opioid epidemic.”

Insys CEO, Saeed Motahari says the launch of Syndros is a “pivotal milestone.”

“The DEA notes that FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol [THC] have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in Schedule I,” said the DEA.

Insys was frowned on when it donated $500,000 to anti-marijuana legalization efforts in Arizona during the last election cycle. It turns out it was developing Syndros at that time.

Photo: RussWiles/azcentral

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Nevada Officials to Discuss Resorts Allowing Recreational Marijuana Use

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This week, the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee is going to discuss the potential of recreational marijuana and the tourism assets of the state. Mixing marijuana with gaming hasn’t been something that regulators have wanted to entertain, but that could soon be changing. Governor Sandoval will be present at the discussions.

Both the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission have warned those with gaming licenses to keep away from the marijuana industry, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Many want marijuana consumption lounges to open, and they will be a topic at a Wednesday meeting at the Clark County Government Center.

Also on the list of discussion topics is allowing marijuana use in resort-type settings, which would make it easier for tourists to have a place to use their marijuana. It would also allow for more industry-related tradeshows and conventions in the state.

Deonne Contine and Kile Porter from the Department of Taxation will discuss how much more revenue would be generated from tourism if the state were to host bigger marijuana events.

A.G. Burnett from the Gaming Control Board and Tony Alamo of the Gaming Commission, who is also a medical marijuana supporting doctor, will be on-hand to talk about marijuana policies.

The meeting doesn’t have a designated time constraint, so it may last all day. Policy recommendations will be discussed at the meeting.

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Europe’s Medical Marijuana Industry to Be Worth $59 Billion, Says Report

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Prohibition Partners, a UK-based consultancy group, released its European Cannabis Report this month. The report was funded by ABcann (Germany), Elite Healthcare Distribution (United Kingdom), and CannTech (Israel).

The report states: “We believe the European medical cannabis market will be valued at almost €50b once all markets have implemented legislation and market infrastructure. This does not include revenue that will be generated from the additional secondary market and ancillary services. EIHA, Nova-Institute and HempConsult estimate that the European market for CBD as a pharmaceutical product is already worth €2b alone.”

The report also says, “Early research has shown that patients not only outnumber but also outspend recreational users in legal markets. This will clearly make the European medical cannabis market a key target for pharmaceutical companies over the next 5-10 years.”

Industrial hemp cultivation is also quickly developing throughout Europe. In 2016, European hemp cultivation increased 32%. France produces nearly 50% of the entire hemp production taking place in Europe.

Europe is very similar to the U.S. when it comes to individual states making their own rules regarding marijuana. The European Union has taken a similar approach by letting the countries decide for themselves.

The report says, “The past six months has seen the launch of the first legal and regulated medical cannabis market in Europe with Germany taking the lead . . . Europe will become a hotbed for new market development with new legislative bills on medical cannabis currently being prepared for local parliament in at least five separate European countries.”

In March, Germany became Europe’s largest marijuana market with the implementation of new legislation and 10 production licenses.

 Photo: psephizo

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California Churches Scrutinized for Offering Marijuana to Members

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Two San Jose churches are being scrutinized by the city for offering marijuana to its members. Authorities are calling the establishments fronts for illegal dispensaries. Coachella Valley Church is one of the marijuana-friendly places of worship under scrutiny.

Coachella Valley Church believes marijuana is a sacrament, ABC 13 News reports, and uses the drug for religious purposes. Parishioners are encouraged to use marijuana while at the church’s sermons.

Sebastian Grey says it’s not a dispensary, but an establishment of belief. When asked he said, “We’re a church. It’s just a $10 donation to be part of the church and then you’re a lifetime member.”

Some sermons are delivered on a video screen with advertisements that show Jesus using marijuana. The church looks and operates like many other churches across the country, but with the unique acceptance of marijuana use.

Photo: herb