California Craft Beer Summit returns to Sacramento Sept. 7-9


The inaugural California Craft Beer Summit in 2015 drew a few thousand people to the Sacramento Convention Center, with industry professionals and dedicated consumers gathering to mingle, talk about and taste the state’s brewing scene.

The event, now in its third year, is experiencing growth that mirrors California’s thriving craft beer industry. Organizers expect approximately 6,000 people to attend this year’s summit, which runs Thursday, Sept. 7, through Saturday, Sept. 9. About 200 of the state’s breweries will be represented, 160 of which will be pouring at Saturday’s outdoor beer festival on Capitol Mall.

The summit features guest speakers, educational sessions, and chef and brewer demos, many geared toward professionals but open to anyone who wants to purchase a ticket. Scheduled speakers include Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and David Walker of Firestone Walker, who is slated to discuss the evolving beer market.

Seminar subjects will include how to discern hop flavor and aroma, starting a brewery, marketing your beer and compensation within the industry. Cooking demonstrations will explore such topics as pairing beers with brunch.

Whether you plan to attend or sip your craft brew in the comforts of home, here are five beer-related issues that should be popular topics at this year’s summit:

The nexus of cannabis and beer

One of the event’s first seminars will examine how the legalization of recreational marijuana in California might affect the beer industry. Lori Ajax, chief of California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, will lead the talk – largely for brewers – on topics such as cross-licensing.

Could cannabis find its way into actual beer? It already has. Lagunitas Brewing Co., based in Petaluma, recently released its SuperCritical Ale brewed with terpenes, compounds of essential oils extracted from plants including cannabis and hops. The beer reportedly does not contain THC, the compound that gets you “high.”

Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association, said he doesn’t expect this to become a trend, though. Colorado and Washington, states where recreational marijuana use has been legal, haven’t seen an outpouring of cannabis-infused beers, McCormick said, possibly because taste-wise it doesn’t add much to the brew.

Women and craft beer

Rachael Akin, a co-founder of San Diego’s Benchmark Brewing Company, will lead a Thursday seminar about how to make the industry more gender balanced.

Akin is Benchmark’s “brand czar,” managing the brewery’s sales and marketing (her husband, Matt, is the brewmaster). Akin said a prominent theme of her talk will be the need for brewers to be inclusive in their marketing strategies as women – especially younger women – become a bigger part of craft beer’s consumer group and workforce.

“Some of the issues that come up are things like ‘Buxom Blonde’ as a beer name and how that sort of sends a message not only to people who might potentially be interested in working in the industry, but who might potentially want to drink that beer,” Akin said. “I know people argue that it’s just a joke and all that stuff, but if your joke is costing you business, maybe it’s time to reconsider it.”

Pink Boots Society, an organization formed to support women in the beer profession, will also hold a mixer Thursday evening at midtown’s Federalist Public House.

Breweries closing on the local level

It surprised many when Rubicon, one of Sacramento’s longest-standing craft breweries, recently announced it would be ceasing operations. Around the same time, American River Brewing of Rancho Cordova closed its doors, fueling questions of whether Sacramento is experiencing a beer bubble.

McCormick said he does expect to see more such closures throughout the state.

“You just can’t have the growth and the numbers that we’ve been seeing go on forever,” he said.

In recent years, McCormick said, California has seen new breweries opening at a rate of two per week – or about 100 every year. Many of those are small craft breweries, but at some point, he said, the trend must “balance itself out.”

“I wouldn’t at all consider it a bursting of a bubble,” he said. “I think it’s a maturing of the industry and a natural healthy progression.”

The popularity of hazy, juicy IPAs

McCormick said no one style is “all the rage” on the beer scene right now – but the closest is probably the Northeast-style IPA.

Unlike the typical West Coast IPA, the Northeast IPA has more of a “juicy, tropical aroma and flavor that comes from the use of English yeasts and hop breeds like Citra and Mosaic,” according to Imbibe magazine. The Northeast version often has a softer mouth-feel than West Coast IPAs, the magazine wrote, and is hazier and less bitter.

While the summit celebrates a full range of styles, McCormick said, he anticipates that a number of breweries will showcase Northeast-style IPAs at the beer festival.

Competition from the big boys

A major summit theme, McCormick said, will be competition on the beer market – especially from large global breweries entering the craft beer scene by buying up smaller local breweries.

For example, McCormick pointed to Anheuser-Busch InBev purchasing a series of craft breweries in recent years, including Chicago’s Goose Island and Golden Road Brewing of Los Angeles, which has plans to open a brewpub in midtown Sacramento.

The trend, McCormick said, could affect both consumers (who could have less variety to choose from) and smaller brewers (who might be forced off of grocery store shelves or tap handles by corporate-owned brands).

Regulations exist to level the playing field for craft brewers. McCormick said part of the role of the CCBA, which puts on the California Craft Beer Summit, is to protect those regulations.

The California Craft Beer Summit

When: Thursday, Sept. 7, through Saturday, Sept. 9.

Where: Sacramento Convention Center (1400 J St.), with the Summit Beer Festival held on Capitol Mall

Cost: $60-$299

Information: californiacraftbeer.com/craft-beer-summit/



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Las Vegas Dispensary Secures In-Flight Advertisements with Airline


Acres Cannabis — a cannabis retailer in Las Vegas, Nevada — has secured an advertising deal to appear in corporate airline Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, according to a press release from the company.

This announcement comes following a broad Clark County Commission proposal that would ban cannabis advertisements throughout Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport properties and potentially even in taxi cabs and other transport options for traveling to and from the airport.

Acres’ 20,000 square-foot medical and adult-use cannabis dispensary is located just off the Strip in Las Vegas. The company’s retail location also sports a large, in-house cultivation and processing operation with an open view kitchen so customers and patients can see first-hand the infusion of cannabis products.

“Acres’ recent Airline campaign creates another first for the marijuana industry and helps propel all of us towards mainstream acceptance,” said Acres founder and CEO John Mueller. “Acres plans to continue to lead the industry by cultivating one of a kind cannabis experiences.”

There are currently 55 dispensaries licensed to serve the adult-use cannabis industry in Las Vegas — the industry, however, has experienced growing pains since the recreational market opened. Cannabis sales throughout the state have fallen dramatically as the state’s legalization law prevents anyone but alcohol wholesalers from distributing cannabis products.

A recent Nevada Tax Commission ruling found that existing liquor distributors cannot fully handle the industry’s distribution needs and called for the licensing of additional companies to move products around in the cannabis space.



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Burning Man 2017 – 70,000 festival goers brave massive dust storm to enjoy dancing, blindfolded oiled wrestling and a kissing booth


AS Burning Man festival enters its eighth day it looks to be bigger and better than ever before, despite having a massive dust storm, raging wild fire and soaring temperatures to contend with.

Saturday also marks the day revellers torch “the Man”, a giant wooden man-shaped construct.

Reuters

70,000 thousand people gathered in the dessert for the iconic festival
 A participant performs on the mutant vehicle Robot Heart in the Black Rock Desert

Reuters

A participant performs on the mutant vehicle Robot Heart in the Black Rock Desert
 Flames shoot from the Flower Tower at the annual Burning Man arts and music festival

Reuters

Flames shoot from the Flower Tower at the annual Burning Man arts and music festival
 Burning Man 2017is taking place between August 27 and September 4

Reuters

Burning Man 2017is taking place between August 27 and September 4

70,000 festival goers have set up camp at Black Rock City in the Nevada Desert to enjoy ten days of dancing, blindfolded oiled wrestling and having a go in a kissing booth… and the music.

During the festival, participants become citizens and help build and maintain the temporary city, which even has its own airport.

This year’s festival theme is Radical Ritual, with organizers inviting participants to celebrate “the ambiguous ground that lies between reverence and ridicule, faith and belief, the absurd and the stunningly sublime,” according to the Burning Man website.

Burning Man has become known for being one of the world’s biggest and most extreme festivals.

The annual festival sees tens of thousands of people gather for at least a week of mayhem and mutiny on a scale that puts makes Glastonbury look tame.

This year temperatures have exceeded 100F (38C) and revellers have had to battle a dust storm which swept around the “city”.

 Participants watch an art installation burn at the festival

Reuters

Participants watch an art installation burn at the festival
 Participants compete in blindfolded oiled wrestling

Reuters

Participants compete in blindfolded oiled wrestling
 70,000 people from all over the world gathered for the annual festival

Reuters

70,000 people from all over the world gathered for the annual festival
 A mutant vehicle travels across the playa

Reuters

A mutant vehicle travels across the playa
 Participants push the art piece The Jack along the playa

Reuters

Participants push the art piece The Jack along the playa
 Participants fight in Death Guild's Thunderdome on the seventh night of the Burning Man festival in Nevada

Reuters

Participants fight in Death Guild’s Thunderdome on the seventh night of the Burning Man festival in Nevada
 Participant Ryan Salazar fills out emotional baggage tickets at Big Imagination's 747

Reuters

Participant Ryan Salazar fills out emotional baggage tickets at Big Imagination’s 747
 Participants surround a burning art installation

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Participants surround a burning art installation
 Two participants embrace as an art installation burns

Reuters

Two participants embrace as an art installation burns
 Mutant vehicle Abraxas travels across the playa in the Nevada desert

Reuters

Mutant vehicle Abraxas travels across the playa in the Nevada desert

Nearby wildfires also threatened to cut festivities short after 30,000 acres of land were destroyed and traffic shut down for over 15 hours, according to The New York Daily News. The blaze is now under control.

The Burning Man Festival was first held by Larry Harvey and his group of friends in 1986.

They named the event Burning Man because it began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice on Baker Beach in San Francisco.

Since then, the gathering has been organised by the Burning Man Project and has become an annual event which this year was attended by over 70,000 “burners”.

 Burning Man participant Marshall Mosher from Atlanta surfs through the desert dust on a motorised surfboard

Reuters

Burning Man participant Marshall Mosher from Atlanta surfs through the desert dust on a motorised surfboard
 Diggy Shakes lights the art installation Efflorescence as approximately 70,000 people from all over the world gathered for the annual Burning Man arts and music festival

Reuters

Diggy Shakes lights the art installation Efflorescence as approximately 70,000 people from all over the world gathered for the annual Burning Man arts and music festival
 Kylie Webb of Santa Cruz, California spins inside a metal hoop on a roller disco floor

Reuters

Kylie Webb of Santa Cruz, California spins inside a metal hoop on a roller disco floor

And for many, it marks the end of summer, the festival is rounded off by living up to its title – with the burning of a giant wooden man-shaped construct.

Revellers from all walks of life — from surreal artists and far-out families to high-flying CEOs and tech titans – head to the sands for a party like no other.

In the past, electric car pioneer Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook joined the rebellious souls at Burning Man.

From obscure sculptures and wacky outfits to the ever-popular Orgy Dome – Burning Man seems to get more insane every year.

 A masked man takes part in a fire ceremony in the desert

Reuters

A masked man takes part in a fire ceremony in the desert
 A Burning Man participant who goes by the playa name 'Twinkle Mel' bicycles through Black Rock City

Reuters

A Burning Man participant who goes by the playa name ‘Twinkle Mel’ bicycles through Black Rock City
 A reveller dances under the blazing desert sun

Reuters

A reveller dances under the blazing desert sun


SEXUAL ELF Inside the world’s raunchiest sex tech festival – where randy punters can pick up the latest ELF sex robots and other bizarre ‘love aids’


 The madness doesn't come cheap - with tickets starting from around £300 per person without a vehicle

Reuters

The madness doesn’t come cheap – with tickets starting from around £300 per person without a vehicle
 The event takes place in the middle of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada

Reuters

The event takes place in the middle of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada
 A bizarre procession delivers a golden carrot to a shrine

Reuters

A bizarre procession delivers a golden carrot to a shrine

Last year’s festival hosted over 70,000 “burners” including 3,000 rich enough to fly in to its unregulated Black Rock City Airport.

And in the past there’s been a tent for mass lesbian romps, a human petting zoo and first-timers get hugged by a stark naked welcoming committee.

The event began Sunday and continues through the weekend about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Reno.

But anyone wanting to spark up a joint at the party should think twice – even though Nevada has legalised recreational marijuana.

 Festival goers are encouraged to show themselves and their personalities through various forms of artistic self-expression

Reuters

Festival goers are encouraged to show themselves and their personalities through various forms of artistic self-expression
 The region is "a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance"

Reuters

The region is “a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance”
 The festival is held in the Nevada desert and the dried up lake becomes the Black Rock City

Reuters

The festival is held in the Nevada desert and the dried up lake becomes the Black Rock City
 A performer spins burning poi, a staple activity at many festivals

Reuters

A performer spins burning poi, a staple activity at many festivals
 They named the event Burning Man because it began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice

Reuters

They named the event Burning Man because it began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice
 Artist Lazy Boy tags the art installation Deus Ex Machina

Reuters

Artist Lazy Boy tags the art installation Deus Ex Machina
 The annual gathering kicks off on the last Sunday of August, and runs until the first Monday of September

Reuters

The annual gathering kicks off on the last Sunday of August, and runs until the first Monday of September
 Rainbow flags are unfurled to celebrate LGBTQ culture

Reuters

Rainbow flags are unfurled to celebrate LGBTQ culture
 Two women escort a mutant vehicle on the playa

Reuters

Two women escort a mutant vehicle on the playa
 Burning Man participant Cole Wardley of Salt Lake City plays the Baby Grand piano inside the "Heardt" art project

Reuters

Burning Man participant Cole Wardley of Salt Lake City plays the Baby Grand piano inside the “Heardt” art project
 Burning Man participant Bob Rafie of France pedals his bike through Black Rock City

Reuters

Burning Man participant Bob Rafie of France pedals his bike through Black Rock City
 Burning Man participant Marie Sbrocca of San Francisco poses for the camera

Reuters

Burning Man participant Marie Sbrocca of San Francisco poses for the camera

“The broader public including those that go to Burning Man seem to think that at Burning Man, anything goes,” said Rebecca Gasca, CEO of the Reno-based cannabis consulting firm Pistil and Stigma.

Voters in the state passed a marijuana legalisation measure in 2016, and sales began at retail stores on July 1.

But consumption is allowed only in private and even possession remains illegal on federal lands, including the stretch of Black Rock Desert managed by the US Bureau of Land Management where the counter-culture festival is.

“You’re not exempt from the law at Burning Man, and that is doubly true this year,” festival spokeswoman Megan Miller told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

BLM officials say a pot possession arrest can result in a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

But federal agents made no arrests for any crimes last year at Burning Man, or the year before.


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10 Best Things to Do in Las Vegas While You’re High


Vegas sucks. You know it; I know it; everyone knows it. Vegas is a booze-soaked money grab that if you’ve done once, you’ve done a million times. Yet every time the season rolls around, we all find ourselves booking that room at The Cosmopolitan (best beds of all time) as if we expect it to be different this time around.

Spoiler alert: This time around it will be different. Because there’s legal weed to be had. Now that Nevada has legalized recreational cannabis use for adults 21 and up, switch your cocktails for cannabinoids and learn how to actually have fun in this city.

Step one: Hit a dispensary. There are many. I was able to check out two solid ones during my recent visit:

Step two: Find a place to consume. I’d strongly advise against smoking in your hotel room (unless you’re staying in one of these ones). Of course, public consumption remains illegal, so I’d also strongly advise against that too. However, I will say that there may or may not be a staircase behind Mandalay Bay that no one EVER walks by or through. I will also say that it may OR MAY NOT be the most perfect spot in all of Vegas to enjoy the flowers of your labor. But, you know, that’s only if it exists, which it may or may not.

Step three: Indulge in one of the following activities. In no particular order, we give you the best things to do as a high cannabis tourist in Las Vegas.

Eat at Nacho Daddy

If you do nothing else, make sure to eat at Nacho Daddy. My boy Sutton put me on game and it was the greatest decision I made that whole weekend. $15 won’t get you much in Vegas, but at Nacho Daddy it gets you a big-ass plate of filet mignon (cause I’m fancy like that) nachos that’ll have you feeling like maybe calories aren’t such a bad thing.

Wander Old Vegas and Fremont Street

(Jacek_Sopotnicki/iStock)

Up until this last trip, I’d never been to the famous “Old Vegas” that I’d heard so much about. Oh boy is it an experience. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where, within a 437-step distance, you can see a near-naked man dressed as a baby, followed by two white dudes with dreads battle rapping, followed by a bum dropping a deuce by the sunglasses kiosk like the world is his oyster. If you’re planning to a trip to Las Vegas, do yourself a favor, and take a trip downtown for the most Bruh, I’m Way Too High For This Shit experience that the city has to offer.

Walk the Vegas Strip

Obviously, right? If you touch Vegas and don’t wander aimlessly down the Strip (and then realize it’s actually a lot longer than it looks and now you’re so far from your hotel that you need to catch a Lyft back because your thighs are on fire), then did you really touch Vegas?

Get high and go on a walk down this street and you’ll find ample bright lights, photo opportunities, and enough street entertainment to keep you busy all night long. Plus there’s hella trash food for you to stop and grab, which is all my happiness requires.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace

(Cybernesco/iStock)

Speaking of food, eat at a buffet. Every hotel has one, but if you want the best one? Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace is the answer, my pals.

The bad news is that it’ll cost you 50 whole entire dollars, but the good news is they have lobster eggs Benedict and mac and cheese AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. And chicken and waffles. And an entire dessert station. They have it all. Get high, hit BB, and don’t stop eating until you feel $50 of satisfaction in your stomach. I saw a guy take off his shoes and get comfortable because he was full, but hadn’t recouped his money in food yet. Be like that American hero.

Pool Party

Encore reigns supreme, but honestly, each pool party or beach club offers the same experience: overpriced drinks that never hit because the sun is killing your buzz, and pools of water that are probably half chlorine and half gonorrhea.

But hey, at least whatever DJ they booked is playing an excessive amount of UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ, right? RIGHT?! Wrong, but the reason these make the list is because they’re excellent for getting high and people-watching. Trust me.

Drais Nightclub

(gruizza/iStock)

This is the one club that I’ll absolutely swear by in Vegas. So many artists have residencies here that on any given night you might catch Trey Songz or somebody in concert for the lowest Vegas price possible ($40 for women, $70 for men). I saw Tory Lanez there, and he put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. A friend of mine saw Jeezy there. Last time, I was supposed to go see T.I. but ended up getting too high and passing out. Shout out to Cadillac Purple.

See a Show

Vegas shows will hit you for a grip, but in all fairness, so will everything else. At least with these you get some kind of worthwhile return on investment, in the form of a live performance and new experience.

I’ve only seen the Jabbawockeez and the Blue Man Group, but I can promise you that both of these shows are worth the high, ESPECIALLY the Blue Man Group. They don’t talk, they just make noise and do physical humor. Perfect stoner activity.

Go Skydiving

(Rene_Keller/iStock)

Ever gotten super-stoned, then dropped out of a plane with another man strapped to your back? I have. It’s fun as hell too. Vegas offers multiple skydiving spots on the Strip, but the real deal is Skydive Las Vegas, which is about 20–30 minutes from the Strip. According to the company, they’ll take you higher than any other skydiving spot out there … and getting higher is what we’re all about.

Bellagio Water Show

The Fountains of Bellagio are pretty cool to see, especially at night. It’s the perfect thing to settle in and stare at indefinitely after you hit a pre-roll or vape pen. It’s also one of the only things in Vegas that’ll leave you like, “Wow, fam, that was mad beautiful and touching.” Mainly because you’ll be so high that everything gets you in your feelings.

Gamble and Ruin Your Life

(Sezeryadigar/iStock)

It’s a monster that you run and run and run from, but eventually it’ll catch you. And once it does, say goodbye to any budget you thought you had. It’s so easy to be walking through a casino lobby and accidentally end up in front of the War table with a stack of $5 chips and a mind full of, “Someone has to win; why not me?” It’s even easier to walk away from that table six minutes later with 200 less dollars than you had. Being high won’t ease the pain of losing money on some dumb shit, but it WILL make it a lot easier for you to say, “Fuck it. At least those nachos were fire.”



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North Texas Experts Explore the Cannabis ‘Green Rush’


The Dallas-Fort Worth business opportunities within the budding cannabis industry could turn out to be be really “Kush” or a bunch of seeds and stems.

A panel of experts discussed medical cannabis and its impact on the local business community Thursday morning at the Dallas office of Munsch Hardt. The panel included Munsch Hardt attorneys Richard Cheng and Caleb Trotter, Martin Ray partner Zach Martin, and Patrick Moran, CEO of Texas-based cannabis company AquiFlow. The overarching message: Those that get into the industry early could get the largest return in a long-term investment if they’re willing to bet on the uncertain regulatory future.

A recent cannabis panel featured Patrick Moran (from left) of Acquiflow LLC, Richard Chang and Caleb Trotter of Munsch Hardt, and Zach Martin of Martin Ray PLLC.

“Do not build a short-term business model,” Moran advised about 50 people who attended the panel. “Pinpoint something that’s going to be profitable even if cannabis doesn’t take the turn you want.”

If Texas eventually loosens its regulations, real estate professionals could be some of the first that would benefit from the burgeoning cannabis industry estimated to be worth $25 billion in 2025, panelists said. And one company, based in Addison, is already counting on capitalizing on Dallas-Fort Worth’s cannabis real estate market. Grupo Resilient International Inc.—an Addison-based holdings company that focuses on real estate, infrastructure, energy, wellness, transportation, and data—acquired a 31,000-square-foot office and warehouse in the region in anticipation of the legalization of medical cannabis. The facility will serve as its Dallas cannabis “Agri-Campus” headquarters as part of its plan to offer solutions and services to accommodate cannabis growers. Similarly, Puration Inc., a Dallas-based company that extracts cannabis compounds, in June announced plans to acquire and expand a large nursery facility in East Texas for eventual cannabis production.

“Cannabis real estate is heating up just across the state line in places like Texarkana, Ark., as communities … jockey for cannabis businesses,” the presentation materials read.

“This is going to be a massive burgeoning industry, particularly for warehouse space,” Trotter said, citing examples in Colorado where early adopters profited off their quick decisions.

Though some are trying to beat a potential rush into the space, there’s little certainty about the future of the industry and how long it will take for regulators to loosen restrictions in the state. While eight states—Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Rhode Island, Maine, California, and most recently Nevada—have opened up their markets to recreational marijuana use, Texas remains much more restricted. Some states like Arizona, New Mexico, New York, and Florida allow medical cannabis. Texas only allows medical cannabis in very limited cases, and patients and healthcare providers have to show proof that other methods of treatments failed. While Texas remains highly regulated, it is slightly more lax in its regulations compared to states including Idaho, Kansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin, where all cannabis use is considered illegal.

To Cheng’s surprise, Texas passed Senate Bill 339, the Texas Compassionate Act, in 2015 to give individuals with epilepsy access to certain types of cannabis oils to treat seizures. The Department of Public Safety also approved provisional licenses to three companies allowing them to dispense medicine containing cannabidiol, one of the active compounds in cannabis, with low THC, the compound that creates the “high” feeling. Cheng says these moves all suggest Texas is slowly changing its mindset toward medical cannabis.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Cheng said about loosening restrictions. “When I got into this industry three-and-a-half years ago, people asked me, ‘Do you think this will ever be legalized in Texas?’ I said, ‘Yeah, a decade from now,’ but that was late 2013. [A bill] was signed in 2015. I was off by eight years.”

But some signals suggest Texas’ journey will not be seamless. DPS still has yet to issue the three approved provisional licenses, which were supposed to be granted on Sept. 1. Meanwhile, the three firms that were approved for provisional licenses were all granted to out-of-state applicants, even though many of the in-state applicants were arguably more qualified, Cheng said. “They are trying to prevent any roots from settling in Texas,” Moran said. And Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott are not interested in expanding patients applicable for the treatment, Martin said. Nor do either of them seem interested in offering a second round of provisional licenses, even though 43 firms applied in the first round, Cheng said.

“We’re archaic and years behind other states and other countries,” Cheng said about the state’s stance on cannabis. “So it’s time to kind of get with the game.”

The moral of the story, according the panel: Business professionals interested in the cannabis industry need to pay attention the potential opportunities that could soon be presenting themselves—especially in healthcare and real estate. These little green plants might not only be a big opportunity to rake in profit but a big leap in treating serious illnesses ailing thousands of North Texans.



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Behind Nevada’s 200% Marijuana Price Increase


Since Nevada began legal recreational marijuana sales on July 1, ongoing distribution issues and record sales have led to a 200-percent increase in marijuana prices. Ben Horner, general manager of Friday Night Inc., a Canadian cultivator whose Alternative Medicine Association (AMA) subsidiary is located in Las Vegas, and Mark Zobrist, managing partner of AMA, point to a shortage of supply to meet the increased demand and high taxes as major factors in the rising prices.

“All the other cultivations in town that I’ve talked to are definitely selling as fast as they can grow it, so it’s a race to expand right now and get that product to shelves,” Horner said in an interview with Cannabis Business Times. “The taxes that the state’s imposed on the flowers, pre-rolls and trim is also keeping the costs high, much higher than normal.”

“It’s available for recreational use now, so you do not have to have a medical card, which creates a much bigger population that can use the product,” Zobrist said. “The demand is … higher, and whenever you have higher demand and lower supply, you’re going to have increasing prices.”

In an interview with Cannabis Business Times, Geoff Doran, co-founder and vice president of business development at Colorado-based online cannabis wholesale platform Tradiv, offers additional insight on the state’s cannabis-related economic issues, providing tips on how both businesses and other states can avoid a similar situation in their markets.

Cannabis Business Times: What factors have led to this extreme marijuana price increase in Nevada’s market?

Geoff Doran: There [are] quite a bit of factors playing into this, and it’s nothing that Nevada, as a state, did. … I have to give them a lot of credit. They really fast-tracked the [adult-use] program in their state, which is something to be applauded. …

[Nevada has] had some issues with figuring out … logistics … or their supply chain, but I don’t think [logistics are] a major factor on why the price probably went soaring all the way up to $2,800 to $3,200 per pound. It’s certainly something to note that without a true distribution model in place right from launch, it’s going to be … hard to get the product from point A to point B. And if it’s not figured out, it’s going to cause some trip-ups. … [But] I see the transportation problem being a small percentage of the problem. Of course, there is a major need for transportation as we know first-hand here in Colorado, but there are other major factors to add into the equation. The first one is the lack of solid data to base very accurate analytical decisions on because we have an industry coming out of the shadows to the light.

Without solid information, the regulators have a tough job deciding on how many cultivation licenses they should hand out. There lies the problem with most states. It’s really hard to decide whether to set a limit on cultivation licenses or … have what I like, which is a true open market and let Mr. Market create the correct amount of inventory for the demand.

I also think that as a country we’re very naive about the amount of true cannabis consumers there really are out there. With that said, I think the regulators and the industry misjudged the plant count/licenses. The other factor is that, you have a lot of the growers who may have moved from a basement grow to scaling to 10,000, 20,000 and more square feet. This major change takes a little bit of time to dial in the yields and processes to bring the proper amount of cannabis to the consumers.

Unfortunately, it’s a perfect storm of distribution issues and probably yield shortages. It’s hard to expect a grower that just moved into a new building … to bring a perfect grow to the world. That’s basically like asking an athlete to get to the competition, put their uniforms on and immediately start playing without zero warm up.

CBT: How have the rising prices been affecting producers and retailers?

GD: For the dispensaries, it’s got to be a big pain because at the end of the day, we all work for the consumer. … Also, the beauty of cannabis is that there’s also the wellness factor. So there are patients out there, and it’s got to hurt the dispensaries when they have to bring up the prices just because [they] may have to pay $2,800 to $3,200 per pound. Most of them are small- to medium-sized businesses, so they probably don’t want to pass that buck on to the consumer or patient, but a lot of times, it’s a matter of survival for some of these businesses because they’re just getting up and going, so they don’t have a lot of reserves to lean on when prices are fluctuating like they do in cannabis. …

On the cultivation side, it’s got to be a pain because … they know that they have the sales there, and they want to get the price … and they know that they could really be helping and fulfilling orders. But they also have to work against getting it there with the distribution problem going on right now.

… It’s just that the supply chain has not been filled out and so that’s got to hurt on both sides, whether you’re a cultivator or a dispensary.

CBT: Can anything be done to alleviate the rising prices?

GD: I think so. … I think it’s just a matter of sitting down at the drawing board again and saying, “OK , let’s look at the gaps that need to be filled. Let’s look at the foot traffic, and really do a true economical study on the dispensaries.”

The state of Nevada has a really unique … tourist season, just like California would have and Colorado has, in the wintertime and in the summertime. What would alleviate the situation would be for the regulators to roll up their sleeves, meet with a lot of these cultivators, meet with the dispensaries, and see how many more plant counts they can add [for] the current cultivators. Maybe it’s opening up 20 to 50 … new cultivation licenses. … But again, it’s not one of those immediate solutions because the cycle for cannabis takes three months for a full grow. …

CBT: What other obstacles, besides the rising price of marijuana, do producers and retailers in Nevada currently face?

GD: I think the one main issue right now is obviously they have a distribution/transportation issue that needs to be solved immediately. …

But the other one that I don’t think a lot of people think about is that different climates are going to affect … some of the cultivators. And to give you an example of what I mean, for instance, there’s been kind of a lull in the medical market in the last few weeks here in Colorado, and just talking to a lot of our cultivators and talking to a lot of people in the industry, … one of the factors that we’re seeing, and I think this is probably what they see in Nevada, is that in the summertime, the cost of HVAC or just airflow is going to go up because it’s hotter on the outside.

And so I imagine with Nevada, we just got out of the summer, and they probably had lesser yields. They’ll probably have a little more coming up in the wintertime, because it’s less cost to cool the entire facility. And if you have a facility at 10,000 square feet and in the middle of the desert, it’s going to cost a lot of money, along with water issues. I think those are some of the issues that Nevada’s probably facing right now, … just the electricity, water and proper airflow. So [if climate isn’t perfectly regulated due to costs], that brings down the yields, … not significantly, but it does bring down yields in the summertime. I think those are a couple of those issues, along with just growing pains . …

CBT: Can you compare this to a situation you have seen in another state and tell me how that state resolved the issues?

GD: … We’re a mature market here in Colorado, but we’re still seeing … a distribution problem here in Colorado. … Not as bad as Nevada, but two weeks ago there was only one courier operating, and … to alleviate that situation, the regulators really jumped on it fast, and they were reviewing as many licenses and applications as they [could]. …

Just like anything in life, communication is everything, and when a law is passed, the regulators really have a tall order to make sure that every participant and applicant knows what needs to be done in order to be an up-and-running business because what happened with the couriers is … they had a whole year to plan, and only one had all the proper paperwork together … that goes with the transportation license, and so you really can’t blame it on the two sides. To alleviate the situation, we really need to make sure that we’re, as an industry, talking with the government as much as possible. At the end of the day, if we’re going to be able to play in this industry … we’ve got to continually learn how we can teach regulators about our industry so they can make very viable and important decisions to help us grow. …

CBT: What steps can licensed producers and states take to avoid a similar scenario in their markets?

GD: One of the things that they can start doing now … is … start looking into the future because what … I’ve seen … happen in Colorado, Washington and Oregon is…—although [the price per pound may start off] really high , and they’re, for the most part, enjoying those profit margins—the glory days will come to a very fast halt, just like anything. I wouldn’t say [cannabis] is a commodity yet, but it’s certainly pretty close. … We saw in 2015, October, in Washington, even in 2014, [that] prices [were] at that $2,800 to $3,200 mark, and right now … it’s down to $1,000, and … [cultivators in Nevada and other states] should … be prepared for the price to drop. And the way they can make sure they’re ahead of the game is looking at technology.

… So if they’re really smart right now, and forward-thinking cultivators, they should start preparing now. And the way to do that is to use agricultural tech. … If [cultivators] don’t have their procedures dialed in and their technology to give small- to medium-sized businesses advantages, they’re not going to be making the profit margins they need to survive.

Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Top image: © Marko Bukorovic | Dreamstime.com



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Licenses for medical marijuana see decrease in Colorado, while recreational ones increase


The number of active marijuana business licenses hit an all-time high of 2,971 in Colorado this year, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division. But, medical licenses have actually seen a two percent decrease in the last year.

According to the latest Colorado Marijuana Market Report, medical marijuana businesses made up 54.5 percent of the active marijuana business licenses in 2016. That number is now down to 52.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the report shows recreational marijuana businesses have increased by two percent, up to 47.5 percent this year from 45.5 percent last year.

Paul Seaborn, an assistant business professor at the University of Denver, produces the quarterly Market Report. It keeps track of business licenses, the cities with the most licenses, and the companies with the most licenses.

The top five marijuana business license-holding cities in Colorado are Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Pueblo, and Pueblo West. Trinidad and Aurora are in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The businesses with the most marijuana licenses in Colorado are Native Roots and LivWell. 

Seaborn says the future of the marijuana business in Colorado is still uncertain due to federal illegality and law changes in California and Nevada.

© 2017 KUSA-TV



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Marijuana and the Gaming Industry in Nevada: Just Say No


On August 24, 2017, the Nevada Gaming Commission (“Commission”) engaged in a “Policy Discussion” regarding “Marijuana and the Gaming Industry.” Spurred by what has become a flood of questions from gaming licensees regarding their responsibilities in the recreational marijuana era in Nevada, the Commission hoped to provide some clarity and guidance for gaming licensees regarding the issues of third-party events and business associations.

Commission Chairman Alamo made clear at the outset that this was not a forum in which the Commission would be rule-making, but that it would just be a discussion of current law, as it applies to certain issues that have been raised by licensees.

Before delving into specific issues, however, Chairman Alamo also made a general statement about his view as to what the Commission’s policy regarding marijuana should be, which is that: “On one hand you have the gaming industry and on the other hand you have the marijuana industry and the two shall not meet” because marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and licensees must comply with federal laws. He pointed to Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 5.011 – which provides grounds for disciplinary action for licensees, including the broad category of actions that “would reflect or tend to reflect discredit upon the State of Nevada or the gaming industry.”

A survey by Chairman Alamo of his fellow Commissioners’ opinions on that statement elicited a general consensus from the Commission that involvement with marijuana was an unsuitable method of operation for Nevada gaming licensees. Along with fears of discrediting Nevada’s gaming industry, the Commissioners voiced concern that the federal government may take a stronger interest in Nevada’s gaming industry if the state appears unconcerned about marijuana use or promotion on gaming properties.

How this sentiment by the Commission will be put into effect in the form of disciplinary actions brought by Nevada’s gaming regulators is yet to be seen. However, the discussion that followed provides some hints.

The discussion focused on three issues:

  1. Events on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment that cater to or promote the use, sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana.

  2. Contracting with or maintaining a business relationship with an individual or entity engaged in the sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana, including vendors and landlord/tenant relationship.

  3. Licensees receiving financing from or providing financing to an individual, entity or establishment that sells, cultivates or distributes marijuana.

These three issues are but the tip of the iceberg, and Chairman Alamo recognized that with the statement that there will be future questions the Commission will look at that will require more nuance, and that these three issues seemed to present a good starting point for the discussion.

On the first issue – whether gaming licensees can allow on their premises events or conferences that promote the resale, cultivation or use of marijuana – a few points were made clear. One was that the Commission wants to have a “level playing field” for all licensees, and to not penalize those licensees who err on the side of caution in not allowing such events and lose out on revenue to another licensee down the road who books the marijuana conference. The Commission members, again, made it clear they were not setting policy and did not say that licensees could not host a marijuana-related conference or event. However, it was made clear that to do so would put a licensee at risk of disciplinary action. This risk was made clearer by the sentiment expressed by Chairman Alamo, who stated that the only way to get parity and stability between a licensee that abides by the law and the one down the street that doesn’t do so is to “file a complaint” so that the gaming regulators can act upon it.

Nevada Gaming Control Board (“Board”) Chairman Burnett, seeking to put a finer point on the question, asked the Commission if having a marijuana convention would be seen as an embarrassment for Nevada’s gaming industry. Commission Member Fuetsch responded that she believed that having a marijuana convention would “be the wrong thing to do and have an impact on the gaming industry if it’s held at a casino.” Commission Member Townsend responded: “No, no and no…There is no upside to a handful of dollars over a weekend than there is to the downside of the damage it can do to the integrity of the industry and the State.”

Chairman Alamo condensed the discussion of the second and third questions, which are a licensee contracting with or engaging in business with someone in the marijuana business, including in the landlord/tenant context, and a licensee providing funding for or receiving financing from a marijuana industry company. Both Chairman Alamo and Commission Member Pro were, as Chairman Alamo said, “crystal clear” on the final two issues – saying “no” to both of them and suggesting that licensees should “follow the money” and should not “go there in any way, shape or form.”

It remains less than crystal clear, however, what exactly this all means for licensees in practice. Commission Member Moran, for example, raised questions that cannot be easily answered, including if hotel rooms in casino resorts are private or public, whether children of gaming licensees may be allowed to be in the state-legal marijuana business and if a licensee comes into possession of money they learn came from marijuana business proceeds, should they not accept it?

Board Member Johnson said it best when he made the statement “that marijuana use violates federal law is not the end of the story” and expressed that Nevada’s gaming regulators must balance that concern with the will of the people in Nevada and our state’s legislature in voting for medical and recreational marijuana to be authorized in Nevada. But this, alas, will not be an easy path for Nevada’s gaming regulators to walk. There are many gray areas and countervailing rights and laws (reasonable expectation of privacy for guests in hotel rooms or the freedom of speech when it comes to events on gaming premises, for example) that must be considered. And, of course, there are issues of practicality – such as how much can you expect each gaming licensee to know about every customer and business partner and how far should licensees be expected to go to police marijuana use on their premises – that also must play into the creation of any good policy. For now, however, gaming licensees at least have more information than they did before regarding how Nevada’s gaming regulators may approach these policy issues going forward. If in doubt, “just say no.”



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Nevada Tribes Get Medical Marijuana Compacts


In June, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill that will pave the way for the state’s 27 tribes to grow and distribute cannabis products. The Ely Shoshone Tribe and the Yerington Paiute Tribe subsequently signed compacts with the state to cultivate, infuse, test and dispense marijuana, as well as issue medical marijuana cards, says Cassandra Dittus, CEO of Tribal Cannabis Consulting. That firm facilitated the legislation and agreements.

The two rural tribes join the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe in becoming medical marijuana providers. The Las Vegas tribe also signed a compact with the state and will open its facility in September.

Nevada tribal communities are particularly challenged in building sustainable economies. Most of the state’s tribes are in remote locations – Ely, for example, is in east-central Nevada along U.S. Highway 50, nicknamed “America’s Loneliest Highway.” The tribe owns only one truck stop, and other economic opportunities are very limited. In fact, the largest employer in the region is a copper, gold and molybdenum mine. Nor can Nevada tribes turn to gaming as Nevada is saturated with casinos, the legacy of once being the only state with legal gambling.

Download our free report, Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain, to understand this fascinating concept.

“This is really going to help us provide economic development to our tribe and services to our small community,” says Ely Shoshone Tribal Council Member Diana Buckner. “The governor has worked with us on the legislation, and we commend him for working with tribes.”

Dittus says that the tribes she partners with are more focused on medical marijuana than recreational, although state voters approved the Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative in November 2016 to open the state to both uses. During the three-year process, “The tribes adopted regulatory codes that let them issue marijuana cards,” says Dittus. “Those cards are also accepted for reciprocity with the state of Nevada.”

Bill Brothers is president of Phoenix-based firm Arizona Facilities Supply, the largest consultation firm specializing in medical marijuana cultivation, research, facility management and software development in Arizona and Maryland. Brothers says it’s important that a tribe entering the cannabis industry work within certain strictures. Unlike Nevada, Brothers says that not all states have developed protocols for tribal and state reciprocity in issuing user cards. For example, “Arizona and Maryland allow medical usage,” he says. “But Nevada allows for both medical and adult, or recreational, use and possession by anybody age 21 and over.”

But, he suggests that the Nevada tribes should be in the clear, since Drug Enforcement Administration raids on tribal cannabis growers were in states where the particular tribes were not complying with state law.

However, Brothers also says that “possession is not as much as an issue” since the Cole Memorandum applies to tribes. This document, written by former Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, states that the federal government will not necessarily pursue cases against well-regulated facilities that are operating within state law, and specifies the criteria that prosecutors will address, such as sales to minors. And tribes received an extra reassurance with the issuance of the Wilkinson Memorandum, issued in October 2014, which affirmed the provisions of the Cole Memorandum would apply to tribal lands.

There are also practical factors to consider when embarking on a medical marijuana operation: “People need to be aware that marijuana growing is not easy,” Brothers says. “Mold, mildew and bacterial pests are prevalent. It takes solid expertise to grow it commercially. There is no guaranteed success.” In fact, he knows of two operations that failed completely to raise viable crops.

But even with regulatory hoops to jump and the technical issues associated with commercial cultivation, more tribal communities are considering entering the market for cannabis products. “We have coalitions [such as the National Indian Cannabis Coalition] with the common goal of economic development,” says Dittus.



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Shango 5K Run to Benefit Veterans Village


Veterans Village Las Vegas keeps raising the bar when it comes to helping homeless U.S. Veterans find housing, jobs, food, clothing and medical and transportation services. The non-profit organization’s unique model, which relies on financial and material support from the private sector rather than government agencies, has drawn praise from state and federal lawmakers, as well as two U.S. Presidents.

(PRWEB) September 01, 2017

Veterans Village Las Vegas keeps raising the bar when it comes to helping homeless U.S. Veterans find housing, jobs, food, clothing and medical and transportation services. The non-profit organization’s unique model, which relies on financial and material support from the private sector rather than government agencies, has drawn praise from state and federal lawmakers, as well as two U.S. Presidents. Now that the model has been proven successful, the organization faces the ongoing challenge of raising money to meet the ever-growing need for these services.

The Veterans Village 5K Run and Fun Walk will take this mission to the streets of Las Vegas in efforts to raise private donations to build more housing for the city’s homeless veterans. This event, presented by Shango Las Vegas, will take place on Saturday November 4, at Smith Center Park, starting at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $30 and available online at http://www.itsyourrace.com or view our sponsorship opportunities available.

“Veterans Village Las Vegas is dedicated to creating an environment that is home to United States Veterans,” says Dr. Arnold Stalk, founder of Veterans Village. “We provide a continuum of care of housing and supportive services operating emergency housing, transitional housing, permanent housing and assisted living.”

Stalk’s innovative approach combines housing with holistic, comprehensive and intensive supportive services. This system branded by Stalk is known as “service enriched housing” combining the Veterans Village Las Vegas network of public and private partnerships resulting in 24/7/365 services for our U.S. Veterans.

With government resources stretched thin, Stalk seeks financial support from philanthropic businesses and individuals who share his commitment to serving veterans.

Stalk has established solid and active private sector partnerships with prominent hotel-casino operators, corporate businesses and small businesses throughout Southern Nevada as well as thousands of volunteers from various trade unions to help build, renovate and furnish housing units. Local supermarkets, restaurants, stores and Three Square Regional Food Bank provides daily food and nutrition. The UNLV School of Medicine and the Southern Nevada VA Healthcare system along with local hospitals are planning to work with Veterans Village Las Vegas along with Touro Medical University to provide free health screenings.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights will hold a fundraiser on Veterans Day. These and other organizations, including The Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, are helping Stalk realize his vision.

“Veterans Village 1 opened in 2012,” Stalk says. “It’s the first privately-run facility of its kind in the United States. With our 5K Run and Fun Walk, we hope to raise funds to complete Veterans Village 2. We’re asking all Las Vegas businesses and residents to participate and donate.”

Shango Las Vegas, the presenting sponsor of this inaugural event, understands the challenges facing veterans. Many of the company’s medical cannabis patients are veterans dealing with PTSD, CTE and other serious conditions related to their military service. Cannabis products are gaining widespread recognition and acceptance as effective treatments for these conditions.

“Shango has an ongoing commitment to help the men and women who fought for our country transition back into civilian life,” says David Thomas, Shango’s Policy Communications Director. “For many veterans, this is a very difficult process. Veterans Village is at the forefront of this effort and their success rate is impressive. We are privileged to partner with them.”

Brandon Rexroad, Shango Founder and CEO, says the company is committed to helping Veterans Village raise the goal of $500,000 for Veterans Village in 2018.

“This is a cause we truly believe in and will make every effort to help procure more housing for our vets,” Rexroad says.

Other event sponsors currently include Vela Promos, Zappos, Port of Subs, Royal Links Golf Club, Findlay KIA, Beckwith Printing and Brand Ltd. Additional sponsors are being sought.

“The Veterans Village 5K Run and Fun Walk is an important first step in a long journey to solving this problem,” Stalk says. “Our ultimate goal is to replicate our model in other urban and rural areas across the USA and make sure that no United States Veteran lives in crisis on the street.”

Veterans Village also receives support from Lutheran Social Services of Nevada, Las Vegas Urban League, HELP of Southern Nevada, U.S. Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, East Valley Family Services, Three Square Regional Food Bank, Clark County, SHARE, The Medical Reserve Corps of Southern Nevada, and Repurpose America.

For more information contact: Arnold Stalk, Ph.D., (702) 624-5792 or email arnoldstalk(at)gmail.com.

About Shango Premium Cannabis:

Based in Portland, Oregon, Shango has five recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon and a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas. Shango has cultivation, extraction and production facilities in Oregon, Nevada and Washington. Shango is a premium cannabis brand offering a full range of award-winning cannabis products including flower, concentrates and cannabis-infused specialties. Performing as an industry leader, Shango upholds the utmost levels of product quality and consistency, and business practices. Shango is a committed advocate for education on the safe and responsible use of cannabis products.

About Veterans Village Las Vegas

Veterans Village Las Vegas is dedicated to the creation of an environment that is home to United States Veterans. This is a unique and innovative approach to holistic and comprehensive housing with 24/7/365 crisis intervention intensive support services. Public and private collaborative partnerships have been created to provide supplies and services to residents including housing, medical, mental health and dental services, employment training, referrals and placements, food pantry/nutrition programs and transportation to the VA Hospital and VA primary care clinics.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/09/prweb14654698.htm

 



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