For us Lions fans, Calvin Johnson was always a shining light among a disappointing football franchise. He was consistently making big-time plays but never experienced any super bowl appearances with the Lions. I’m sure the team’s performance was a key reason why he decided to retire at the age of 30. It appears after his retirement in 2016, he has been working on entering the cannabis industry in his team’s home state. More specifically, he wants to operate in the town of Webberville. He submitted his application back in December. This was very early on, when the state had just started accepting them.
At first the state had denied his application. The reason for his denial was the presence of unpaid traffic tickets. This minor issue was quickly handled by Johnson, and now he is officially pre-approved to operate in the state. However, receiving a pre-approval is not the same thing as being licensed to operate. The state of Michigan receives the original application and licensing fees from potential businesses. After that, it is up to the local government to grant final approval to someone. So Johnson will have to wait until the local board from Webberville gives him the thumbs up to celebrate. Communities that do not want cannabis businesses operating in their jurisdiction can vote to ban them. Even towns and cities that allow them to operate, can still choose to approve or deny specific applications.
I’m sure Calvin Johnson is thrilled to hear about his pre-approval for a number of reasons. The barriers to entry for new businesses in the industry are extremely high. Especially for someone who does not currently own a medical marijuana facility. Applicants have to be applying for a specific location, so they must already own the property they are applying for. That is very risky because if denied, all the costs to obtain that property would have been for nothing. Applicants must also pay for thousands of dollars in licensing fees when they submit their information. Obviously, none of this is a problem for an athlete like Johnson. However it would stop many potential business owners.
Calvin Johnson is clearly looking to vertically integrate his medical cannabis operation. He didn’t just apply for a license to sell it. Instead, he applied for a license to cultivate, process, and sell it at the retail level. The state requires a separate license for each step in the process, leading many to focus on a specialized approach. He wants his business to be as self-sustainable and profitable as possible. He has a large amount of available investment money, so it only makes sense to grow and process your own supply. Growers with a high-quality product will definitely be charging a steep wholesale price in the beginning stages of legalization. Being pre-approved this early has Calvin in a great position to establish roots in the newly regulated industry.
As things stand right now, the United States attorney general is Matthew Whittaker. He was appointed by President Trump after Jeff Sessions was asked to resign from his position last November. Barr was the chief of staff for Sessions at the time of his resignation, and is going to be used as a temporary replacement until a permanent candidate is selected. President Trump has made it relatively clear that his number one choice for that new position now is William Barr. He is very popular among republicans and doesn’t technically need a single vote from the democratic isle of the Senate to be confirmed, due to their majority. The marijuana industry is watching closely because it’s highly likely he will be the lead law enforcement officer in our country, and have a large impact on how federal marijuana laws will be enforced.
With a track record of not being very green friendly, its logical that he would take a very traditional approach to cannabis and try to enforce federal law on states that have successful and well established regulatory systems in place. Last week while testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr claimed he would not use any federal resources to interfere with states that have already decided to regulate cannabis. As long as businesses are complying with their individual state laws, he claims there will not be any interference. During Jeff Session’s time as attorney general, there was a ton of fear spreading throughout the industry because of his outdated approach to cannabis. Sessions went as far as rescinding the guidelines that were established by President Obama and designed to provide protections to businesses operating legally under state law. William Barr is not claiming to be pro cannabis in any sense though. He has admitted that personally he believes the drug should have remained in its illegal status. His stance is pretty confusing because he claims that Congress should figure out a way to stop state initiatives because he views them as “a backdoor nullification to federal laws”.
This guy does not seem like the ideal candidate by any means for those who are involved with cannabis. It definitely seems to be improvement from the direction the administration was heading with Sessions in charge. While that is not saying much, it seems that the momentum from cannabis reform has reached the point of no return despite his personal view of the plant. It isn’t fair to expect a pro cannabis view from anyone that Trump would want in charge of our country’s law enforcement. The Senate is expected to make their vote next month on whether or not to confirm him. It is predicted with a high degree of confidence that he will be confirmed as attorney general. I’m sure that this stance on states right’s will help insure he gains even more votes from the Senate.
Bringing cannabis to an airport is something most people would never think of doing. The benefits do not outweigh the risks. The fact that cannabis is a popular substance worldwide that can be found rather easily, prevents people from transporting it across state lines. While other airports in states with legal cannabis have made it clear bringing cannabis on their jurisdiction is not acceptable, LAX has decided to take a different approach. They have announced they will be allowing passengers to possess amounts that stay within the state’s current cannabis laws. This means that local police will not arrest people in the airport’s jurisdiction. Those who are departing the airport to a different location are no longer provided legal protection once they leave. It’s also possible TSA could hold you up until local police sort out the issue. The TSA is required to report violations of federal law and possessing marijuana is still illegal federally.
It appears the key to staying out of trouble for traveling with marijuana via plane is knowing the local laws of the state you are departing and arriving in. We can only hope that other airports take a similar stance publicly about their policy on recreational/medical weed. Until it becomes a trend in airports across the country I would avoid bringing anything along for the ride. Those with serious medical conditions that are willing to take the risk to ensure the availability of their specific strain/product should only bring what is allowed in both states. TSA claims they are not looking for drugs but upon their discovery will report it to local law enforcement. This is a primary reason why it shouldn’t be declared until it has been discovered.
For Los Angeles specifically, the state is allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to an ounce of flower and 8 grams of concentrates. That should be more than enough to get you through your trip. There have been reports of medical marijuana patients being permitted to carry much larger amounts of their medicine because of California’s generous possession amounts for patients. It seems there is only one way to find out exactly what will result from a marijuana discovery outside of LAX. I’m not willing to test the waters myself, but I am interested in what will happen over time as people become more bold about traveling with their legal marijuana. Assuming other airports follow suit with a policy change reflecting their local laws, the TSA might stop bothering to report it at all. It’s also possible that if this becomes a trend, the federal government may respond and find a new way to prosecute these people. Technically most of these flights are in the jurisdiction of many more than 2 places. Today only 9 states have protections for recreational use and possession. So the vast majority of the country is still enforcing prohibition and this could be a technicality the government uses to respond like it usually does and target cannabis.
We all know that we aren’t supposed to smoke cannabis in public regardless of its legal status. Realistically, the temptation to light up outdoors on a beautiful day will not be ignored by many stoners. Depending on where you live, the risks vary but it will always result in some form of punishment. Thankfully no one else will ever be arrested for public marijuana use in the U.S. capital. Instead, those that are unlucky enough to evade the police will face a small fine of $25. Police will feel more like they are giving out a parking ticket then capturing some criminal. They will certainly not be going out of there way to cite people with a measly fine. They will likely only cite people who are blatant about their consumption. Catching someone for an arrestable offense always justifies an officers time and effort whether it is for marijuana possession or a serious assault. This policy change strips away the justification for wasting the taxpayers’ money and redirects the polices’ attention to more serious issues.
Before this policy change, officers already had the option to cite instead of arrest someone for public consumption. The change in policy simply mandates a citation instead of leaving it up to the discretion of the officer. The new change will of course not apply to minors or people that have outstanding warrants. This law also won’t apply to the large area of the capital that is considered “federal land”. Cannabis is still illegal on the federal level and violators could face federal penalties for consuming and possessing marijuana. Records have shown that possession arrests have been falling ever since marijuana was legalized in D.C. in 2014. The same can not be said for public consumption arrests. They rose from less than 100 in 2014 to almost 300 the past couple of years. It seems the police are targeting the same group of people in a different but legal way. The policy change put forward this past week is targeting this practice and aims to strengthen relationships between members of the cannabis community and the police force.
I would like to think that before the change was made, officers went with a citation more often than not when someone was caught smoking in a public area. While there is no data on how many people were offered citations over an arrest, the number of arrests were far too high. Nobody gets arrested for drinking in public unless they are being obnoxious or are a danger to themselves and others. Cannabis should be given similar treatment and even more leniency then this harmful substance. This issue does seem like a minor thing to discuss considering many states are still arresting people for possession regardless of where they consume it. However, it is important that the punishment always reflects the crime so that the majority of people respect the law and those who enforce it.
Legalizing marijuana has offered some great benefits to California and the other 8 states who have passed similar legislation. Some of the main benefits that come to mind are tax revenue, reduction in crime, personal freedom, and job growth. These are all improvements that will help to make the future a better place. Like other states in the past, California lawmakers are trying to undo some of the enormous damage the war on drugs has had in the past. The senate voted in a large majority to require prosecutors to expunge or reduce the punishments for people who were convicted of marijuana related crimes since 1975. The Department of Justice would need to review all these cases and determine which ones are eligible for reevaluation. Misdemeanors would be expunged in most cases while some felonies would be able to be downgraded to what is now considered a misdemeanor offense. This bill has not yet become law; it must be signed/vetoed by Governor Brown or it will go into effect automatically in early September.
Currently Oregon, New Hampshire, Colorado and Maryland have made it easier for past offenders to have their records sealed. While California wouldn’t be the first state to successfully expunge past marijuana records, other legal states have struggled to offer similar protections. These bills have faced opposition from prosecutors and other lawmakers who argue that these people knowingly violated the law at the time and it’s a dangerous trend to apply new laws to old cases. For example in 2014, the year recreational sales began in Colorado, a similar bill died in committee. The opposition argued that many drug distributors had their charges lowered to low level felonies. Their concern was that these serious convictions would have the possibility of being changed to misdemeanors. Luckily later in 2017, a similar bill was passed that just targeted marijuana misdemeanors instead of felonies. While it won’t have as much of an effect at reducing the damage of the drug war, it is still helpful for many people.
If California is successful at passing this bill, they will have done more than any other state when it comes to requiring judges to excuse past marijuana crimes. This is likely due to this issue being mentioned in Amendment 64, the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in the state. There was no framework established in 2016 when the initiative passed that established how the Justice Department would enforce the changes. This bill clarifies many of the uncertainties by establishing deadlines for the department and establishing that both misdemeanors and felony pot convictions must be reviewed for eligibility. There are a total of 218,000 cases that have the possibility of being expunged or downgraded to misdemeanors in the state of California alone. Imagine how large this number is if we included all Americans since 1975. All these people likely have faced issues when it comes to key parts of life. Things like seeking great employment opportunities or getting federal loans or grants for education can be nearly impossible. Regardless what the laws used to be, people convicted of non violent marijuana crimes were never criminals.
Medical marijuana legislation in the United States currently provides essential protection from prosecution to approximately 2.3 million patients. These patients are allowed to take their medicine almost everywhere, but when it comes to a federally funded college campus, those protections can vanish. Medical marijuana use is viewed as narcotics use thanks to the controlled substance act that still lists marijuana as a dangerous drug. Colleges are continuing to enforce a complete prohibition of the plant, and I’m afraid some people are not aware that bringing their medicine on campus can have serious consequences. Not only have some students faced criminal prosecution, but they have also suffered additional penalties from the school administration.
One of the best ways to eliminate running into any trouble would be to seek off-campus housing. It simply isn’t a viable solution to live in a dorm and hardly ever be able to find relief. There would be nowhere safe to store it and even the idea of smoking off campus would mean getting a new small supply each time. Edibles would be effective and stealthy, but many people prefer smoking/vaporization because the effects are immediate and much more predictable. Storing edibles may be harder to detect but I would still not recommend keeping it anywhere on school grounds. It wouldn’t surprise me if university police decided to weigh the whole edible and charge as if it were normal cannabis. Having your medicine at housing near campus guarantees no legal trouble and allows you to use it as needed. Patient possession limits are often set high enough to be considered intent to sell by police/universities. In Michigan, patients are allowed to have 2.5 ounces in their possession which would easily land non-patients a felony charge for intent to distribute. Always remember you’re subject to different laws on school grounds, regardless if it’s a college, high school, elementary etc.
I’m uncertain how long this type of prosecution will continue but I would expect to see some legislation taking effect before federal law officially changes. Arizona has already made headlines this year when the supreme court ruled that banning medical marijuana on public colleges violated the protections of the voter-approved law. Students in Arizona who have medical marijuana cards will not face criminal prosecutions but they have faced administrative penalties. The possession, use, and sale are all still prohibited on college grounds due to the federal funding provided by the U.S. government. That funding would not be threatened based on whether students are criminally prosecuted, but instead would be based on whether schools still prohibit the substance. This is definitely a step in the right direction as students will likely be willing to risk administrative action in order to have their medicine easily accessible. While other states have yet to enact similar policies, colleges across the country are removing the requirement that first-year students need to live on campus. Universities are doing this so patients can continue using their medicine and pursue an education without the risk of endangering their future. We still have a long way to go to ensure protection in the educational environment is not limited to those who treat their illnesses with pharmaceutical drugs.
The beverage company that owns several brands of wine and beer including Corona and Modelo just gained 38% ownership in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. In order to acquire this much ownership of Canada’s largest medical marijuana producer, Constellation Brands made a record-breaking investment. The owner decided to drop $3.8 billion in order to establish his company in the cannabis community before Canada’s recreational sales begin and before that sector of the economy explodes. He believes like many other cannabis consumers and businessman that the time for federal legalization in the United States is also quickly approaching. Robert Sands is confident that Canopy growth has market-leading capabilities that will allow them to expand and build their company across international borders.
This nearly $4 billion investment by an alcohol company is clear evidence of the culture change we have and currently are experiencing in both the U.S. and Canada. If this kind of thing were to happen just ten years ago it would have been considered shocking and extremely risky. Ten years ago there wasn’t even a Canopy Growth Corp. operating in Canada. Although medical cannabis laws have been in place in the country since 2001, recreational legalization didn’t pass until this year. Also, the U.S. hardly had any laws regarding medical cannabis besides a few select states which were mostly out west. The market was in early development and did not have the legal protections or the enormous customer base that continues to grow over time. Many still think that shifting focus away from the lucrative alcohol sector that Constellation brands worked so hard to build is questionable even at this point in time. There still is no guarantee that legalization won’t hit more roadblocks and get delayed for years. Nobody knows for sure if Canopy Growth will be successful in expanding its operations into a new country with established medical and recreational companies.
This move has to be extremely exciting for Canopy Growth’s point of view. With an enormous boost in capital, it should be able to maintain it’s status as the largest cannabis company/producer in Canada. Canopy also has stated they will not grow or distribute any of their products until it is legal at all levels of the government. They will not be dealing with individual states that have passed laws allowing recreational or medical cannabis. They are playing it safe and trying to remove any possibility of liability. This may have an impact on their ability to establish themselves in the United States and other countries because other companies may be willing to take the risk and build their business behind the security of state or local laws. However, with the type of cash they now have access to, they might be able to enter late and still be successful. They would still have a strong reputation from their presence in the north and use that as a sales point for new customers who aren’t aware. Another result of this investment is that Constellation will now be able to select four of seven directors for the company. Management positions are going remain the same for Canopy Growth for the time being. When news of Constellation Brands acquisitions first broke the stocks for the Canadian company rose 31.3%. I’m hoping that everybody has made their investment before Robert Sands did.
When a seed has visibly sprouted above ground and its first set of leaves are visible the seedling stage has officially begun. There are several different environmental conditions you can control to help your young plant grow a strong root system and a supportive main stem. One of these conditions is keeping a consistent air flow present at all times. It is crucial that there is some wind resistance blowing against the support system of the plant. I’m sure you have witnessed the images of long skinny cannabis stems that are stretching like crazy for the light without any root support. The wind that comes from your fan will signal to the plant that it needs to build a stronger foundation in order to survive its conditions. Cannabis is amazing at adapting to whatever environment it is placed in and that’s why it can grow in climates throughout the world. Be sure when first adding wind to the environment, that you gradually get your plant use to the airflow. At first, it’s going to be extremely weak so putting the fan on a medium/high setting could really stress out the plant beyond the point of recovery. As the stem continues to grow stronger, kick the fan up to its usual setting.
Humidity should also be in central focus early on in the plant’s life cycle. It is crucial to maintain the appropriate humidity throughout the entire growing process because humidity affects the rate at which your crops will transpire. Cannabis plants will always try and maintain a equilibrium when it comes to the water levels inside and outside the plant. So if the humidity in the grow room is too low the plant will begin to transpire dangerously quick and lose its necessary nutrients. New stunted leaves, dying flowers, and older shriveling leaves are all indications of rapid transpiration. In the seedling, stage humidity needs to be at its highest levels. I would recommend aiming for 70% and decreasing by around 5-10% each week until reaching the 40% mark. Until the plant has fully developed roots, lower levels of humidity in the air will cause stunted growth. It’s important to understand that levels above 45% are usually dangerous and unwanted in a grow room because they can cause mold and mildew in mature plants. It’s often hard to reach 70% humidity for your seedlings without the help of humidity domes or using a humidifier.
Another important determination to make is when to begin adding nutrients to the plant. I would say that it should be right around the same time you set up the fan and begin building its root structure. Up until the point where it shows its first set of leaves you should be fine using plain water that has been PH’d correctly. When you do begin adding nutrients, remember less is more and that the last thing you want to do is cause nutrient overload this early on. General Hydroponics brand has a chart that includes the appropriate amounts for the different stages of growth, including the seedling stage. I would use this as a guide more than a precise measurement. They often overstate the amount of nutrients you need in order to sell their product more quickly. I would also start smaller than the recommendations for other brands too until you know exactly how your plant will react.
The last important thing a grower should monitor is the space between the light and the top set of leaves. During this stage, I would highly recommend only using compact fluorescent lighting due to the intensity of other lighting sources. Just like with high winds, high voltage lighting can cause irreversible damage that the plant may never recover from. Even with CFLs, not maintaining the right distance can cause similar problems. The ideal height should only be 2-4 inches above the highest point of the plant. Any higher than that, and you’ll likely see it begin to stretch into a skinny long stem. These lights still emit heat and if they are really close will cause leaves to wither and dry up. Make sure to check the height at least once a day and make adjustments as needed. Maintaining the perfect environment early on always pays off and leads to a strong support system capable of holding the densest of buds.
The most recent strain in my rotation that I have had the chance to grow several times over the past year is Wonder Woman. This indica dominant hybrid has a fruity/piney taste on the inhale that cannot be ignored. The flavor that this strain brings to the table is the reason why it has been a repeat in the garden this year. Yes, the yields are on the heavier than average side when compared to other strains, but it definitely isn’t the highest I’ve seen even in my own small garden. It likes to grow short and bushy like most indica strains tend to do. If you give it enough time in the vegetative cycle, it can grow some monster branches. The typical 2 months in veg 2 months in flower time frame has yielded as much as 8.5 ozs per plant. This is really impressive considering the premium quality of the buds it is capable of producing in the right growing conditions.
Wonder woman originates from breeding the 1998 cannabis cup winner, Ice, with a strain known as Top 44. Ice is sativa dominant and Top 44 is a pure indica strain. This results in wonder woman initiating more of a heavy body high than an energetic one. It’s an extremely relaxing feeling that also comes with a strong appetite boost. It’s best used for medical conditions like depression, insomnia, anxiety, and PTSD. This is because the mind is put at ease and there isn’t a ton of racing thoughts that many people experience from sativa strains. For those who don’t suffer from any medical conditions, it tends to bring a lot of euphoria and laugher. I know that it will stick around the rotation for years to come because it is extremely popular among consumers for the flavor and growers for the shorter flowering period. Expect it to be ready after 8 complete weeks although I have seen better results from adding an extra week.
Throughout the cultivation process, every grower uses their own unique technique in the way that they care for their plants. There are a ton of paths one can take to end up with a premium grade harvest. The germination stage is just one step in that process and there are also a variety of unique ways this stage can be initiated by the grower. Like most new growers, when I first started I went with one of the more popular methods using paper towels. There is no doubt plenty of growers who have had success using this technique, but I still would not recommend pursuing it unless you have a lot of time on your hands.
The paper towel method involves placing one or more cannabis seeds between a few moist paper towels and placing it in a dark area of the house. It seems that the main issue with this strategy is the fact that paper towels are very absorbent by nature and will not stay moist for a long period of time. So unless you are able to dampen the paper towels every few hours, the environment will be far to dry for the taproot to emerge. Remember that moisture and darkness are the two key environmental factors that a seed needs in order to start germination. Another reason I avoid the paper towel method is that the taproots are extremely delicate and can be exposed to potential damage when transplanted to the growing medium. Taproots are the foundation of your plant’s structure and should not be touched or exposed outside of the soil.
The number one method I have had the most success with and find the easiest is germinating directly in the soil or another preferred growing medium. It’s simplistic, but every time I have tried it with healthy seeds a stem broke the surface just 5-6 days after planting. Make sure that the seed is not too deep below the surface of the soil. This is a common mistake and for whatever reason people assume the seed should be a half inch or deeper into the dirt. Ideally, there should only be a 1/4 inch of space or a sprinkled amount of soil covering the seed. It’s important to keep a thin layer of growing medium above the plant so that moisture is still present and it also won’t take too long to break the surface once sprouted. Leave 7 days time before digging up the seed to see what is causing it not to sprout. Patience is key and checking on its status too early could damage the taproot and potentially kill your plant before it can even grow.
There is some disagreement among growers about when exactly a planted seed should be exposed to a light source. I would argue from experience that the seed will sprout just fine without any light. The optimal time to turn on the light would be right after the main stem becomes visible above the soil. This is when the plant will need UV rays in order to continue to grow more sets of leaves and stronger roots. Others have claimed using a light before the seed sprouts add heat to the process which helps speeds it up. In my opinion, if you can’t wait 4-7 days for a sprout then growing isn’t the hobby for you. Either way, the best type of light to use for the beginning of the seedling stage is CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights. They generally have the spiral design and do not generate much heat which is perfect. Young plants shouldn’t be exposed to high wattage lighting because it will be overwhelming and can drastically stunt growth. It’s best to change the light type after the seedling stage has passed and there are several sets of mature leaves and branches.