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University In Colorado To Start Offering A Degree Program In Cannabis

The cannabis industry is constantly growing within the United States. When Colorado became one of the first states to fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana, federal bodies of government observed the states economy closely to see if there was a true market for it. Now, nearly six years later, not only have additional states followed in Colorado’s footsteps after seeing the massive success in business for the state, but Colorado itself is advancing every day with new ways to expand the industry. 

In fact, beginning in the fall of 2020, students at Colorado’s State University of Pueblo will be offered the chance to actually major in cannabis. According to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, state officials approved a program that would allow students to get a bachelors of science degree while studying in a Cannabis Biology and Chemistry program. This is the first ever program of this nature at any university or college in America. 

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“The new major is a proactive response to a rapidly changing national scene regarding the cannabis plant. Attitudes are shifting toward cannabis and its legalization for recreational use in numerous states, including Colorado. The program will be part of CSU-Pueblo’s department of chemistry and consist mainly of chemistry and biology coursework with some classes in math and physics,” a proposal for the program by CSU-Pueblo officials says.

Majoring in cannabis may sound like a questionable choice, however, the program is no different than studying to join any other sort of government regulated medicinal industry. The program itself has two paths of studying in which students can choose from. One path focuses on the more agricultural/biology side of marijuana, and the other is a more analytical track that focuses on the chemistry and logistic work involved in the cannabis industry. 

These two paths can open numerous doors for graduates who decide to take on this major, especially in a fully legal/regulated state. The two programs allow for major flexibility in regards to what part of the industry new college graduates might want to enter. Whether it’s within the dispensary/retail side of it, the agricultural/growing side, or the government regulated side, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to this new highly lucrative industry that’s growing everyday within our country. 

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Since being legalized six years ago, Colorado has exceeded $6 billion worth of marijuana sales alone, according to the state’s Department of Revenue. Colorado has truly taken this opportunity as a fully legal state and turned marijuana into a legal billion dollar industry; once taxes, licensing, and fee revenues are taken into account. For this reason, CSU-Pueblo has nothing but the highest of hopes for their new programs demand. According to CSU’s proposal, acquiring this specific new degree opens up doors even beyond just the cannabis industry as well. 

“[Students] could enter into a wide variety of businesses outside of the cannabis industry such as agriculture, food science, biochemistry and environmental sciences. Educating students who are capable of understanding cannabis science is required for the industry in all its aspects to be effective and safe for the consumer. As many 60 students could be enrolled in the major after four years,” the proposal said. 

The Department of Higher Education in Colorado is hoping to expand programs such as this one into many more of the universities located in the state. Cannabis-focused degrees and majors are most likely going to appear throughout the entirety of America as the herb gets legalized more throughout the forthcoming years. The market is extremely lucrative, and constantly growing, so it only makes sense that those who are studying the likes of business, economics, and medicine become experts on America’s next big multi-trillion dollar business opportunity. 

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How Cannabis and Religion Mix in California

The past several years have seen a remarkable surge in support for the legalization of cannabis throughout North America, with Canada having legalized the drug for recreational use, several US states doing the same, and legalization being considered in Mexico. Coinciding with the gradual process of legalization sweeping the continent, cultural attitudes surrounding marijuana have adapted, as a growing number of people support legalization and believe the drug’s harmful impact is minimal. As people have grown more comfortable with openly using marijuana in states where it is legal, cultures in these communities have integrated the drug into social events. A so-called cannabis cafe, where customers can openly purchase and smoke marijuana while enjoying a meal, recently opened in California with the support of celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. Perhaps more surprisingly, though, cannabis has begun to be integrated with church services in California, creating a unique intersection between the psychoactive drug and religious service. 

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In Big Bear, California, roughly two dozen people regularly attend Jah Healing Church services, where joints are passed around as practitioners worship. One of the church’s founders, April Mancini, has said that she was inspired to combine the drug with religious practice after meeting a Rastafarian who ran the building as an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary in 2013. While she was initially skeptical of the drug’s religious value, Mancini later studied the Bible for references to the drug, and believes that she found them. While Jah Healing Church generally follows the Christian tradition, it also incorporates teachings from other religions like Rastafarianism, Buddhism, and Judaism. In addition to holding services that include the consumption of marijuana, the church has begun a food pantry and clothing drives.

In order to continue operating, cannabis churches will have to prove in court that marijuana is used as a genuine religious sacrament, a feat which will undoubtedly prove difficult.

Several cannabis churches exist throughout the state, and their existence has led to legal challenges concerning how the government should treat these unique institutions. The controversy stems from the fact that people at these churches do not pay for marijuana directly, but instate donate money to the church in exchange for the drug. Some churches offer paid membership plans, and while they do not advertise themselves as marijuana dispensaries, they often appear on lists of dispensaries online. As such, these churches circumvent state regulations concerning the sale of marijuana, which requires dispensaries to register with the state for a license in order to sell the drug legally. According to a cannabis trade organization, nearly 3,000 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries exist in California, meaning that even though the drug is legal, the way in which it is often sold is technically illegal. The marijuana black market continues to thrive and even surpass the legal market in size and scale, and cannabis churches are widely considered to be part of this illegal market.

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California government officials have a perspective on cannabis churches that differs wildly from the view held by people associated with these institutions. Whereas church organizers view them as primarily centered around religious service, enhanced by cannabis use, officials like deputy city attorney for Redondo Beach Melanie Chavira see them just as dispensaries under a different name. Speaking with the New York Times, Chavira said of these churches, “it’s not donation based, the customers are not religious patrons, everyone’s just there to purchase marijuana.” As such, law enforcement throughout the state has taken various steps to shut down these churches, generating legal battles currently being fought in the courts. One central figure in this story is Matthew Pappas, a lawyer who has fought on behalf of marijuana use for years. Pappas argues that the religious conviction held by cannabis church attendees is genuine, and that the government has an obligation to protect the rights of people who incorporate cannabis use into their religious practice. Mr. Pappas is also a religious figure himself, as he started an organization called Sacramental Life Church, which works with several cannabis churches in the state including Jah Healing Church. In order to continue operating, however, cannabis churches will have to prove in court that marijuana is used as a genuine religious sacrament, a feat which will undoubtedly prove difficult.

Marijuana Joint

Marijuana Use Linked with Heart Problems and Increased Risk of Stroke

Marijuana has long been one of the world’s most frequently used recreational drugs, and the public perceives the drug to be relatively safe, leading to its legalization in several US states as well as Canada. However, due in large part to its federal classification as a schedule I substance, available research on the health effects of the drug is limited, as scientists have long had severely restricted access to the substance. As its use continues to develop across multiple demographics, however, scientists are escalating their research of marijuana and its effects. It’s long been understood that marijuana use during adolescence can lead to lifelong psychological problems, including problems with memory and diminished IQ. However, recent research is uncovering marijuana’s negative effects on other parts of the body including the lungs, and surprisingly, the heart.

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Marijuana is well-known for causing among its effects changes in heart rhythm. As the drug’s effects are felt for roughly three hours when smoked, these changes are temporary, and heart function returns to normal after the drug wears off. However, arrhythmia experienced during marijuana use can cause greater circulatory problems afterwards, particularly in heavy users. As such, sufferers of cannabis use disorder, who use the drug frequently and compulsively, are at increased risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmia. Though arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart’s rhythm is disturbed and irregular, is often benign, it can also lead to life-threatening complications. Lower doses of marijuana are associated with a too-fast heartbeat, whereas higher doses are linked with a too-slow heartbeat. The concern about the link between arrhythmia and marijuana use is particularly strong for young people, who in the study were shown to have the greatest risk of hospitalization.

While some methods of consuming marijuana are less dangerous than others, the safest and healthiest option is to avoid using recreational drugs altogether.

In addition to being linked with heart rhythm problems, marijuana use has also been shown to be linked with an increased risk of stroke, with frequent marijuana users being more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared to non-users. Again, this is true even in young people, who normally are much less likely to suffer a stroke than older people. This risk is compounded among people who use marijuana in addition to tobacco and have other health problems, including high blood pressure, that are known to increase one’s risk of stroke. Though the study does not establish a direct causal relationship between using marijuana and suffering a stroke, previous studies have shown that marijuana use leads to increased blood clotting and a narrowing of the arteries, suggesting a likely explanation.

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Researchers behind both studies, which are scheduled to be presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association this Saturday, November 16th, conclude that doctors should ask patients who have suffered a stroke or have heart problems whether they use marijuana so as to better prepare treatment options. As the studies have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, their findings are considered preliminary. Though the American Heart Association takes no position on the legalization of marijuana, it recommends that public health protections such as age restrictions on purchasing the drug and smoke-free air laws be put into place.

Disturbing evidence about the negative health effects of marijuana also recently arose in the aftermath of a spate of hospitalizations in connection with a series of mysterious vaping-related lung injuries, some of which lead to death. Recently, the CDC revealed that the ingredient believed to cause these emergencies is Vitamin E acetate, a chemical sometimes added to THC vape products to change the consistency of the oil, particularly on the black market. Of course, smoking marijuana also harms the respiratory system, as tar accumulates inside the lungs and carcinogens enter the body. While some methods of consuming marijuana are less dangerous than others, the safest and healthiest option is to avoid using recreational drugs altogether.

Cannabis Field

How Real Estate Investors Are Helping The Cannabis Industry Grow

The marijuana industry in America is vast and constantly growing. Economies tend to thrive when the herb is sold and distributed in legal settings, however, many states have tight regulations on this retail industry because of how new it is, and due to the fact that federally, marijuana is still an illegal drug. This makes the industry extremely hard to keep up with, as it’s forever changing. According to Crain’s Business Magazine, cannabis stocks are down 60% compared to where they were this past March, which was considered a peak period for this industry. In response, companies are selling real-estate as a means to keep up with costs and make up for other areas where finances are lacking. 

“We’ve done $375.6 million worth of deals in 2019 and the pace has picked up over the course of the year. It’s becoming more and more attractive for operators because of the scarcity of alternatives out there. Our pipeline has never been more vigorous than it is today,” said Paul Smithers, CEO of Innovative Industrial Properties Inc., the largest cannabis-focused real estate investment trust.

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The struggle that comes from living in a legal state in a country where the product is federally illegal, is finding the right real estate to run a cannabis business. Many landlords don’t want to rent out spaces to new marijuana businesses because of how up and down the economy for it is. However, the absence of willing landlords is only further contributing to the declining cannabis market. To avoid this struggle, many companies in the industry are just buying property to own and using their assets to gain further capital, (Crain’s). 

Development in the marijuana industry has definitely slowed down within the past year. According to Capital Advisers, this time last year the industry acquired $707.8 million in equity and debts. This year, that number decreased to a whopping $26.8 million, for Real Estate Investment Trusts, this isn’t a bad thing, however. Innovative Industrial properties Inc. (IIPI) owns a total of 38 cannabis business properties, which brings their personal stock up, and grabs the attention of big investors. When these investors invest in these real estate companies, they’re indirectly reinvesting into the cannabis business, so the acquisition of more real estate, leads to more capital and equity for the marijuana businesses. 

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“When we talk to investors, they get comfort that we are a real estate company foremost. We’re not unlike a utility. We’re the picks and shovels, if you will,” said Smithers.

Additionally, IIPI is able to keep themselves as a real estate business afloat when investing in marijuana properties by buying out the spaces and renting them out to other marijuana companies in long-term contracts. This ensures that IIPI doesn’t lose money on their investment, can continue to gain additional investments, and give the space to a growing industry that will, hopefully, bring in a significant amount of income. The additional investments also work in favor of the cannabis industry, as it lets companies like IIPI acquire even more space to continue to lease out to more cannabis companies.

While it may be difficult for cannabis businesses to find private landlords to rent from, larger real estate companies are investing and doing their part to give this new and exciting industry a space to thrive. It can be argued that even now, after marijuana has been legal in some states for over five years, these real estate investors are ahead of the curve when it comes to putting money into this industry. Eventually, marijuana will be legalized federally, it’s just a matter of time, and government, but when that day arrives, companies like IIPI will already be in the game and thriving to capitalize off newer growth in the market.

Marijuana

California’s Marijuana Black Market Thriving More Than It’s Legal One

Marijuana has been fully legal in the state of California for almost two years, and yet the black-market for it is still thriving more than the actual legal market. According to an analysis completed by California cannabis sellers, illegal sellers outnumber legal marijuana retailers three to one! The biggest culprit is the internet, there’s a vast online marketplace and many websites that actually list off different locations and individuals you can buy marijuana from, legally or illegally. 

One of the biggest online resources being used in the state is a website known as Weedmaps, which the government is determined to shut down, along with any other website that holds a similar function. California cannabis regulators sent out a state-wide warning this week to websites like and including Weedmaps, stating that the inherit function of their website is illegal, and if it continues to stay active, heavy legal fines will be administered.

The United Cannabis Business Association, a statewide group of legal marijuana businesses, found that “about 2,835 illicit sellers, including storefronts and delivery services, are operating statewide. That’s more than three times as many illegal sellers as legal ones — 873,” according to their website

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“We’re the only state to go recreational and see a year-over-year reduction in legal sales,” UCBA president Jerred Kiloh said in an interview with NBC News. These results were shocking, frankly, to the legal marijuana distributors in the state. California is the world’s largest legal cannabis market, so when the herb actually did become fully legal (medically and recreationally for individuals 21 and over), the economy was expected to thrive, however, they didn’t account for illegal sellers to begin advertising as legal distributors. These store fronts are mainly popping up in Los Angeles and San Diego, most likely due to the large size of both cities and more relaxed enforcement of checking the legality of store fronts. 

The UCBA is targeting Weedmaps as their first major legal counter attack, the website is international, however, making it more difficult to shut down. The website itself lists all the marijuana retail distributors in a given place and since it’s international, the site doesn’t check if every store listed is state approved or not. In 2018, the state of California sent the website a cease-and-desist letter claiming that Weedmaps was “aiding and abetting in violations of state cannabis laws.” 

The site is potentially liable to pay $30,000 a day, which warranted a response from the websites CEO, who promised that every illegally advertised retailer will be removed from the site by the end of the year. Legal retailers aren’t satisfied with the slow pace, and have stated that Weedmaps shouldn’t have a say in “when they decide to stop breaking the law” which ignited a retaliation in Chris Beales, Weedmaps CEO. Beales claims that his website isn’t the reason behind why the California black market is thriving more than the legal market. He claims it’s due to a lack in supply, therefore, there’s a lack of demand. 

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“No other recreational marijuana state has seen the black-market issues. This is really superficial. The real underlying problem is that there’s insufficient licenses address market demand. When California voters made recreational marijuana usage legal, they gave cities leeway to outlaw sales or limit them locally as they saw fit,” Beales stated in a claim to NBC News.

The California law basically states that local governments can restrict and regulate marijuana sales as strictly as they want, which has lead to a massive decline in actual retail locations for recreational marijuana. In fact, less than 25% of the state actually allows the legal sale of it. In addition, these legal locations are charging nearly 25% in taxes for every purchase, because the law enforces state and local tax to be added on. The strict regulations within the State make it as if marijuana isn’t even legal outside of San Diego and LA. 

Law enforcement has cracked down even more on the shutting down of illegal dispensaries that aren’t properly licenced, and this year alone have shut down over 1,000 locations in Los Angeles alone. The crackdowns and removal may not be ideal for recreational users who aren’t a fan of the expensive tax and distant travels they may have to do to get to a legal dispensary, but unfortunately has become one of the top concerns for crime investigators in the state.

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